Saturday, 10 September 2016

Ingress Fitness: Tips for a Hopeful Guardian

Last week, I talked about a couple of Ingress badges: the Trekker and the Guardian. Of the two, the Guardian is hardest to get at its highest level. I think I managed to get to Silver once, and Gold twice before losing the portals that earned me those levels. To get to Black is incredibly hard.

The only tips I can think of for those of you looking to take a portal to 150 days are these:

  1. It's best to choose a portal a long way away from civilisation. Even small towns can be home to Ingress agents. Also be aware of holiday destinations. If they are popular, they may not be the best place to situate a hopeful guardian.
  2. It's best if the portal is in a space that has restricted hours. Many National Parks in Australia, for example, close between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. No nightwalkers (players who like to do their ingressing at night, away from the heat) are likely to take down the portal between those hours.
  3. It's best if the portal is located early on a walking trail where people don't expect there to be any portals, or very late into a walk when people are just wanting to get back to their campsite or car, and are less likely to stop to take down something well defended.
  4. It's best if the portal is well defended. That means getting it to more than level 5, which means teamwork and cooperating. Maybe take along a few friends and get them to help you by adding level 7 or 8 resonators, and turrets, force amps or strong shields. If it's a long walk with lots of other portals, you can do the same for them. If you come across a portal belonging to your team, you can boost its strength, as some players did for me, recently. Without their help, I'm not sure I would have kept the portal for the full 150 days. Ingress can be played on your own, and in your own time, but it is still a team game in this respect.
  5. Don't link or field from this portal, as that's bound to draw attention to it. Face it, what ingress agent worth their salt can resist taking down a field or link put up by the opposing team?
  6. Don't brag about your portal until the days are done. Don't talk about it. Don't drop hints about it. It is the portal you have when you don't have a portal.
  7. Make sure your Agent Profile (under Device in your scanner) is set to "Make agent stats private." This makes it hard for agents of the opposing team to see if you have an active Guardian portal, since the days don't show, and can't be checked to see if they are increasing. There *are* players who seek out Guardian portals and take them down. This is especially important if you are an active agent, who makes a pain of themselves to the opposing team, and who has gained a dedicated following of opponents who make it a point to take back what you have captured.
  8. It helps if the portal you are hoping to be a Guardian for, is in an area of dodgy phone reception. This limits the number of other players who can get their scanners to work in the area, and thus limits the number of attacks that can be made on the portal.
  9. Remember to recharge the portal regularly. Check in on it, in the morning and in the evening, and sometimes during the day, but don't let its health rule your life. If a capture is going to happen, there will be very little you can do about it. Just make sure the portal is fully charged, at all times, and hope for the best.
  10. Also, remember that  no portal can ever be yours. You might be trying to get your badge, but the game goes on. Trying for Guardian does not give you the right to claim a portal as solely yours, not even for 150 days. If it is captured, it's nothing personal, it's just the game. Find another portal, and try again. Many players look after multiple portals they hope will one day earn them the Guardian badge, and this is in case one is captured before the badge comes through. You would be advised to do the same.
IMPORTANT: NONE of these tips guarantee you will be able to guard a portal for the requisite 150 days you need in order to gain you Black Guardian, but they will help improve your chances of doing so.

Finally, good luck. You're going to need lots of it.

And, now, it's time to move.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Ingress: The Via Lux Adventure Medal—Day 3

Sorry, no location pictures—and no badge pictures for today. I had to visit the tax agent, because it’s really time to get that done, in Australia, and then we were busy getting the yard in shape for the annual house inspection that renters go through, here. I now have two lovely garden beds, a mowed lawn, trimmed trees and bushes, and four mulch buckets starting to make dirt from scratch. A pretty good day’s work, but not much Ingress. Despite that, and despite visiting places I’ve already been, I still managed to hack some portals, and two of them were one’s I’d missed. So, slow start, but a win, in spite of it.

Via Lux Progress:
Day 1: 5 uniques visited
Day 2: 30 uniques visited
Day 3: 2 uniques visited

P.S. The scanner has had an update, and there are voices on my scanner… Why are there voices on my scanner? And what do they mean?

 It is definitely time to move.

Ingress Walking: A Mission by the Lake

I know it should be pokemon, but, for a couple of weeks, now, I’ve been trying to complete a mission series. Missions earn you badges, and mission series badges usually form pictures, in a mosaic kind of way. Missions give you walking routes, so that you can take yourself exploring while you're getting fit, and missions give you an added purpose for being where you're being and going where you're going. They make exercising easier, and, yes, more fun.

I’ll talk more about my current mission series later, but, today, I thought I’d take you for a stroll by Lake Burley Griffin, for Part 10 of the Explore Canberra mission series designed by Enlightened agent, delta284.
 Here’s what the badge looks like:

If you’re on foot, this mission is best done from the Carillon portal, as you can catch a bus to the next mission location in the series not far from the stop at the other end. To get to the National Carillon start point, you can either walk down from the city, or catch a bus that travels to a stop on Constitution Avenue just past Anzac Parade, and then walk. Action has a handy “Trip Planner” function that can suggest a route and a bus.

The mission, itself, takes a half hour or more to complete, depending how distracted you get by other nearby portals, or by capturing, linking and fielding, as you go.

This day I chose to walk from the city. It was Sunday, sunny and not too cold – absolutely beautiful!
First stop is the National Carillon on Aspen Island. It’s beautiful, see?

After you’ve hacked this portal, head back up the hill towards the line of flags. This is the National Police Memorial of Australia. It is stunning. You need to view the waypoint on your scanner, but there is a portal, there, as well. When you are in range, touch the orange tear drop to open up more information about it. Then touch the back arrow to return to your scanner. You can also hack the portal, but it won’t count towards completing the mission. It will count towards your Explorer’s badge, though.

Head back down the hill towards the Carillon, and then follow the path right. This will take you to a very large anchor—the HMAS Canberra Memorial. This memorial commemorates the sinking of the HMAS Canberra at the Battle of Savo Island in 1942. You have to hack this portal.

There are public toilets near this portal. I don’t recall seeing any others along the mission route, although there are others in the gardens.

Your next stop is the Merchant Navy Memorial, which recognises the Merchant Navy which contributed to efforts in both world wars. It is beautiful, especially in spring, when the cherry blossoms are out. You need to hack this portal.

Following the path along the lake shore, you will pass a point called the R.G. Menzies walk. On the day I walked this mission, the Canberra Times Fun Run was on, so I couldn’t get a clear picture. I did get close enough to hack it without trouble, though.

Keep following the lake around, until you come to a small cottage. This is Blundells’ Cottage. Once home to a bullock driver, named George Blundell, it has stood for over 150 years. It was being repaired on the day I visited, so I didn’t go inside.

Choose a path that follows close to the lake shore. This particular day, I chose one that was a little away from the water, rather than right along it, due to the number of runners and walkers, so I didn’t get a shop of the memorial plaque for Gallipoli Reach. I did, however, take a nice shot of this pumping station, also dedicated to Gallipoli Reach, and I was able to get close enough to make the hack for the mission.

The next portal you encounter as you continue along the lake shore, is the statue of this handsome dude—Sir Robert Menzies. He has been, so far, Australia’s longest serving prime minister, and led the country during World War II. You can have your photograph taken with him, if you like, but don’t forget to complete the mission hack before moving along.

Crossing the weir, continue along the lake front until you see a flagpole on the slope of a small hill overlooking the lake. This is the flagpole presented to Australia by the Canadians in 1957. If you’re here on July 1, you will see the Canadian flag flying from the top instead of the Australian flag. The portal here is called “Canadians Ahoy”. Don’t forget to complete the mission hack as you go past.

After passing the flagpole, continue to walk until you see what looks like a world globe made of wire. This is the Captain Cook Memorial Globe. It is part of the Captain James and Cook Memorial, the other half of which is the water jet that shoots out of the lake in a direct line with the globe, hence why this portal is called “Captain Cook Memorial Jet Canb”. It is your last hacking point in this mission. Don't forget to rate the mission when it asks.

If you are doing this mission as part of a series, and you want to get straight into the next part, follow the path slightly right until you reach Commonwealth Avenue. Do not go under the bridge, or cross the road, but go up to the road and walk back to the bus stop on the side you finished the mission on. From here you can catch a #1 or #2 bus to the Australian National Mint, which is where the next part of this series is located.
And happy hunting! Now, go; it’s time to move.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Ingress: The Via Lux Adventure Medal—Day 2

Sorry, no location pictures; I did these missions, so I could get back to writing as quickly as possible. Mission Badges as follows:

Via Lux Progress to Date:
Day 1: 5 uniques visited
Day 2: 30 uniques visited 

 P.S. It's also important to note that there could be hackable uniques accessible from the bus.

Either way, it's time to move.

Ingress: The Via Lux Adventure Medal—Intro and Day 1

Every year, Niantic hosts gatherings called Anomalies, where agents from both sides gather to progress the Ingress story-line. Usually, these gatherings take place in large cities a very long away from Australia… although in 2016, part of an Anomaly was hosted in Sydney, with an accompanying mission day. Still, Australia is a big country, and Sydney, although close, was still four hours and several days I couldn’t take off from family and university away, so I didn’t make it. Anomalies come with badges to celebrate participation, and, when they are hard to get to, it can be a bit discouraging, but you accept it and enjoy the game you can play. So, you can imagine my surprise, when Niantic announced a medal for the latest anomaly that could be played anywhere in the world. It really made me feel part of the game, again.

This medal was still going to be a challenge, though: Find, visit and hack 300 portals you haven’t visited before. I’ve been fairly thorough in getting to the portals around where I study and live, so this meant a little bit of journeying for me—but not as challenging as it would be for some of the players who’d been playing much, much longer. To make it just a little more difficult, the challenge started when I was in the middle of a mission series, which I’d already taken far too long to complete. I couldn’t just dump it, when I’d finally reached a point in the semester when I could complete it, now, could I?

So, what could I do?

I took a look at the next few sets of missions, and realised they would take me to portals I’d never visited, and, as a bonus to that, each set of mission portals was surrounded by a bunch of others that weren’t on the mission. I love multi-tasking. Score!

Now, I could really get started.

While the mission started on September 1, the weather and some loose university ends meant I didn’t really get rolling until the 4th, when I undertook Part 10 of the mission series, along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. To be honest, I didn’t expect to come across any portals I hadn’t visited yet, because I’d already done a mission series in the area, but I was wrong.

I found five! Now, five isn’t a lot when you have 300, but it’s still more than zero. With this very, very slow start, I was on the board.

Only 295 to go.

That’s just under 12 new portals to be hacked each day for the rest of the month.