Yes, I know, many of you are STILL waiting for your Ingress activation code. But it is for you, dear outcast, that I continue to write. Not just to spread the word about an amazing new Augmented Reality game, but to prepare you for the slightly overwhelming experience of diving headfirst into the craziness that is Ingress. I am going to start by answering a few Frequently Asked Questions, and below that I will provide links to some great resources for learning more about Ingress than I could ever put into a single article.
Question 1: Does it matter what faction I join?
Answer: No, not really. I am a member of the Resistance. I'm glad I am because here in the Chicago area, we are very organized. Although the game play experience is essentially identical, This isn't a choice you should necessarily make arbitrarily. The most important thing to consider is how organized each faction is in your area, and who seems to be winning. I would guess that in most areas things are fairly equal, but that is certainly not the case everywhere. If you are the type of person who likes to get in on the ground floor and make things happen, maybe you should join the least organized faction in your area and help them get their crap together. But if you are looking to only play casually, or if you are just the type of person who would rather fade into the background, you might want to join the faction that has an established Google+, Facebook, and Twitter page. I've only been to one Ingress meetup so far, but it was a lot of fun.
Question 2: Is this some hard-core game that is going to take over my life?
Answer: Not Necessarily. Over the last couple of weeks I have spent quite a few hours out and about playing Ingress, but I didn't have to. The game is surely addictive, just like any game with RPG elements. But it is also something you can just play around your area over lunch. You might even play the game on a Saturday afternoon and then not touch it till the next weekend without necessarily feeling like you are being left behind or missing out. Of course, one of the amazing things about Ingress is that everyone experiences the game a little differently. But don't let that scare you away, jump in with both feet and see what happens.
Question 3: WHY CAN"T I PLAY YET, I'VE BEEN BEGGING FOR AN INVITE CODE FOR WHAT SEEMS LIKE YEARS!!!
Answer: First of all, no need to shout, let's try to keep this civil. Second, be glad that this is till a closed beta. The game isn't perfect and this is a huge undertaking on the part of the developers. They will get there, but they will need a little time. I've had trouble getting an accurate location several times, and the game has crashed on me at least twice in the last few days. There is also fairly limited functionality. Finding nearby portals can be very tricky when you can only see your immediate area in the app itself. I know its easy for me to say this, since I've been playing for a while now, but be patient. This game is going to be awesome, and we will all get to play soon enough.
- This is the official Ingress help page that is a part of the official Google support forums. Helpful for an overview but at least for the moment, very short on details
- The Enlightenment and The Resistance each have their own Google+ page. In case you haven't already noticed somehow, Google+ is a must if you want to experience Ingress. You should also join the local chapter of your faction on Google+ and Facebook, but I'll leave the searching up to you.
- There are many people on Google+ with lots to show you. Check out my articles here and here to learn more about who you should add to your quickly growing "Ingress" circle.
- Make sure to check out the official unofficial Ingress wiki. It has lots of great information about the massive conspiracy that surrounds the ever-growing back story.
- There is a forum set up right now via Google Groups. It doesn't seem to have a ton of users just yet, but I'm sure that will change soon.
I hope this information helps to satiate those of you who haven't gotten the opportunity to play just yet, and for those of you who are already playing: you probably have a lot to learn, I know I do. Happy hacking everyone!