Tag Archives: Ingress Intel

Emerald Specter 49: Storytelling

If you haven’t been paying attention, Emerald Specter.com is quickly shifting to telling stories. Stories about all kinds of wonderful things, some in “real time,” and some pre-written. With this focus, this branding, I’ll be moving things in directions that I hadn’t necessarily intended when I started moving the site in this direction.

In August, No Man’s Sky Update 1.3 will be released and that will (apparently) introduce all kinds of new little goodies to the game. There is an ARG, or alternate reality game, that is currently happening (entitled Waking Titan) which is leading to this update’s release. This is all important because I’ve decided to tell a narrative using No Man’s Sky but not using No Man’s Sky “narrative,” if that makes sense. I’m waiting for the update to come out to see what other things I’ll have access to in order to tell the narrative that I have in mind. I’ve come up with the basis of this narrative, now I wait to see what alterations I need to include with the release of this update. This IS happening and I’m going to be doing this a little differently than I initially intended (though included as an option everywhere I’ve talked about it).

There will be two narratives going on at the same time… the first is the narrative of the live stream of the game I’m playing, complete with audio commentary as I go and my “co-pilot” will join me at being somewhat “in character.” The reason I continue to put that term in quotations is that if something comes up in the real world while I am playing, I’ll break character and may even have some “dead gameplay” happening while we figure out what is happening. I’m planning on a schedule of when to follow along live but this is really just gathering the information for the other part of this narrative: the edited and “finished” product.

Ideally, the idea is to have a cohesive “season” of story told through several installments. When you watch one of these polished episodes, you’ll get some of the live in-game audio but you’ll also get a lot of voice over narration, telling the story that is harder to pick out from the live feed. Did you see me react a certain way on a planet and didn’t really understand format he live feed, even after watching the scene three times? Well, in the voice over polished episode, you’ll hear about the story beat that was intended to be included in the live feed but my “in character” perspective wouldn’t necessarily understand what was happening.

Yes, I am thinking deep on this one. I hope you’ll enjoy what I’ve got planned.

Moving along, I’ve mentioned on the Specter Show about writing serial fiction for this site. While I stalled slightly after writing “episode 1” of the series, I have started in on the first third of “episode 2” and I’m not looking back. I’ve gotten Kevin Couick (from the Greatest Show) interested in the writing of a serial, so we may have a second serial gracing the site that I am not directly involved with! I’d edit, as I have asked him to do for me, but I wouldn’t be writing anything about it.

With the series I’m working on, which I’ll call “Untitled: Series 1,” I want all 12 or 13 episodes completed, edited, and released in 12 or 13 consecutive weeks (as if I were HBO releasing one of their original series on their channel). Once I’m done with the editing and scheduled set up of the release, I intend to start working on another series. Will that be Untitled: Series 1, Season 2? Probable, though I don’t want to exclude the possibility of New Series Season 1. With Kevin in the mix, I wouldn’t feel the pressure to expand into another series right away, as there would be more content to release that would be interesting for you (the audience).

Keep strong if I decide to write a different series instead of season two of the first one… there are lots of stories I have to tell and some of them need to be out there before continuing with the already released “sequels.” Besides, if you like both series, THEN which one do I write third? Right?

All this talk of writing may also result in audio versions of these episodes. So, with the release of a season and then a release of the audio versions at a future date, I would essentially have a novel and an audiobook released within a relatively short span of time.

Also, I don’t know if Kevin intends to novelize his offering but I am intending to novelize mine. Some people like to hold a book when they read and I’d like to be able to sign something for those that really enjoy what I will write.

If you’ve been paying attention to some of the things I’ve talked about on past episodes of the Specter Show, you’ll note there are a couple of items that are completely missing from any sort of documentation in the last few columns or episodes… that would be the narration I was talking about doing for the Doctor Who synopsis readings that I’d promised. I haven’t forgotten about them, I have pushed them to the background because I am actively writing and do not want to interrupt the creative process. I may also discover that I don’t have time for that until a “lull” in the writing process, too, so perhaps saving it for later would be a better thing.

The final thing, which is sort of a storytelling topic, is the concept of columns. I have been writing multiple columns at one point, would liked to have gotten back to that for the sake of content, and I have failed to relaunch things like I’d promised. Well, I’m considering doing something a little different and that would mean an explanation of how and why I’m considering this.

I used to write a professional wrestling column waaaaaaay back in the 20th century (which ran for 350 weekly releases for a website that has since gone down in quality). That would be six years plus of writing about professional wrestling. How did I accomplish this feat? What made the column last that long?

First and foremost, I chose a single topic and talked the hell out of it. Sometimes it was about a match, sometimes it was about an angle (a storyline between two or more wrestlers), sometimes it was about history (lineage of a championship, progression of a specific character, or the rise/fall of a federation), and sometimes it was just about what was currently happening in the world of wrestling (at that time, it would have been between WWE and WCW… later being between WWE and TNA). After the first 50-75 columns, though, topics started to be a little tougher to fill out the entire column length (which was about 750-1500 words, depending on the topic). My audience was clamoring for more, so I did something unexpected…

I added sections to the column.

The first part of the column then became a brief “info dump” about what I thought about what was currently going on at the time. This was about 250-500 words, depending on how interesting the angles were at the time.

The second part was the “traditional” column, containing a focus on a single topic that was now reduced to 500-1000 words, depending on the specific topic. This was also an opportunity to revisit ideas I’d already written about and retell them in the shorter format.

The third part was a story I started developing as part of a series of fictional accounts. At first the story would be released to fantasy booking (setting up angles or shows with specific matches or whatnot). Once the fantasy booking started to see a lull, I created a fictional wrestler and ran him through entering the business and eventually becoming a Hall of Fame character in the twilight of his career.

That third part was, by far, my most popular feature. The third part was also another 500-1000 words, depending on the era of the wrestler’s life I was currently in (and whether he was involved in some random, small federation or one of the “big 2” at the time). There were random columns through the remainder of my run that were nothing but the third section, and those were the highest read columns I ever wrote.

Unfortunately, those columns are not available on that website any longer… not only have they drastically redesigned, they apparently dumped their historical information (I checked), so most of what is on that site now is either new or just plain “in the now.”

If you’ve been paying attention and haven’t gotten distracted by my recounting of my wrestling column, you may have figured out that I am thinking of doing that with this column (or a brand new one). I would write about a topic that relates to the website (like the Emerald Specter column you are currently reading), include the SpecterFit column that I have wanted to relaunch (which wouldn’t always be long enough to warrant a full column, so this new format would fit much nicer into what I’m looking to accomplish), and there are other columns that I wanted to resurrect as well (Storytelling Specter, Game Specter, UFC Specter, Footie Specter, Chess Specter, Ingress Intel, Fantasy Football Specter, and Specter Who) that can be included as pieces or rotating pieces in the final column.

Everything on this site is in a constant state of change. I am adapting as I go and rather than wipe the site and reboot, I want to show a progression of where I came from to where I am at, currently. This column will reflect that.

Starting with Emerald Specter 50, the column will be rebranded slightly with a name that will encompass more about what is going on with the site as a whole (including all the sections I mentioned). I don’t have a name picked out at the moment, but it’ll be something similar (and expanded)… something like Tales from the Emerald Specter, Wrath of the Emerald Specter, Welcome to the Specterverse, Journal of Emerald Specter.com, or something along those lines… the numbering won’t be reset and we will see if that works to move into the future.

I’d love to hear feedback… @EmeraldSpecter on both Instagram and Twitter, email me at emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com, or simply submit a comment on this column.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next week for the grand opening of the new column.

Ingress Intel 6 – Farming

You want supplies?  You want bursters?  You want resonators?  Then come on down to *location redacted* for the best ones of them all!  Level 16s!  Come down to *location redacted* to farm the best Ingress supplies around!  Hurry, available while supplies last.

Ingress300Alright, that was a little fun to start things off with a fake commercial, right?  Come on…

Anyway, I’m here to talk about farming.  I am a farmer, of bursters, and I’m ramping up for one hell of a grand “get out of town” party.  There’s a plan that will be put into motion and I need as many bursters, resonators, and all the fun things associated with that I can get my grubby little hands on.  That means I need to do me some farming!

Where I’m from, the exact city, there are two level 8 portals with ultra rare multipacks (2) and ultra rare heat sinks (2) on them, allowing us to hack them about 25 to 30 times a piece.  When they both burn out, as long as you’ve glyph hacked them the whole time, you’ll end up with about 100 new toys to play with.  At least 100 new items, though a lot of them will be resonators.  Bursters still come but they won’t come as much.

The whole process takes about an hour to burn both portals out.  Get some friends together and you’ve got yourself one bunch of people staring at their phones and glyph hacking without doing more than telling a few quippy anecdotes to pass the time.  The glyph hacking makes the hacking non-stop, by the way.

Sure, there are only of them and once they’re burned out it takes a full four hours to hack them again, but at least they are there and are close enough to do the multiple hacking.

This is because our entire city (we are technically two cities) has agreed not to take these portals out, though we can flip them all we want, we can farm them without needing to worry about not having a place to farm.  That is something, at least.

I am always wanting to farm them, though I don’t get there as often as I’d like.  I would love to set one up a lot closer to home, too, because the portals aren’t exactly outside the front door.  Having one just outside the front door would be awesome and I’d love to suggest that but I am only one of two people that can make a part of a level 8 portal.  Being able to have a few more in on that and having everyone in the area be on board with making more untouchable portals.

That doesn’t have much to do with farming, though.  Find your local farm.  Farm it.  You need to be able to get stuff at your level and you need to make sure that you have everything you can get for when you really need it.  Who knows when you’ll come across an enemy portal that just looks like it needs to come down.

Hack it.

Ingress Intel 5

There are badges in Ingress that everyone needs to have in order to advance to certain levels.  These badges are normally of the silver and gold (and black) varieties and they are somewhat hard to achieve, depending on where you live.  While the easy ones would be easy to get, you might want to look at concentrating on the hard ones first because the easy ones will just sort of happen based upon where you live.  Let’s check out badges!

Ingress300The badges that I am aware of that everyone can get are as follows:

  • Connector
  • Builder
  • Explorer
  • Guardian
  • Hacker
  • Mind Controller
  • Purifier
  • Seer
  • Liberator
  • Pioneer

Sure, these all sound great… but what are they?

The CONNECTOR badge is for how many links you can make between portals.  The levels are 50, 1000, 5000, 25000, and 100000 links.  If you’re out to create these on purpose, TRYING to get these links, then you’re going to find that everyone in the world will be working against you, even your own faction, because there will be very little in the way of options for linking.

The BUILDER badge is for how many resonators you deploy.  The levels are 2000, 10000, 30000, 100000, and 200000 resonators.  Again, TRYING to deploy these things will have you finding very little available in the way of options.

The EXPLORER badge is for how many unique portals that you’ve hacked.  The levels are 100, 1000, 2000, 10000, and 30000 hacks.  Unless you live in a high density area, or you travel a lot, I don’t see this one being achieved easily.

The GUARDIAN badge is for how long you control a portal.  The levels are 3, 10, 20, 90, 150 days.  Sparsely populated areas are the ones with the advantage here, though even those can be trying times if no one will leave remote portals alone to achieve this.

The HACKER badge is for how many times you’ve hacked.  The levels are 2000, 10000, 30000, 100000, and 200000 hacks.  These shouldn’t be too hard to achieve, unless you’re in the middle of nowhere.  There should be enough portals to hack without needing hundreds of places to go.

The MIND CONTROLLER badge is for how many fields you have created.  The levels are 100, 500, 2000, 10000, and 40000 control fields.  Without regular access to at least three portals, you’ll have a hard time getting far on this one.  There is potential, though, especially in high density areas.

The PURIFIER badge is for how many enemy resonators you’ve destroyed.  The levels are 2000, 10000, 30000, 100000, and 300000 enemy resonators destroyed.  If you’re a lone wolf in a largely enemy controlled area, or you’re in a high density area, this one should essentially just happen.

The SEER badge is for discovering and submitting new portals.  The levels are 10, 50, 200, 500, and 5000 portals.  Without starting the game early on, I personally don’t see how this one can be achievable by a vast number of the plays (especially the newer ones).

The LIBERATOR badge is for capturing portals.  The levels are 200, 2000, 8000, 15000, and 40000 portals.  If you’re in an even, or heavily enemy territory, you shouldn’t have an issue with this one… otherwise you’re going to be working on this one hard.

The PIONEER badge is for capturing unique portals.  The levels are 20, 200, 1000, 5000, and 20000 portals.  This one is another high density or travel based one, otherwise would be hard to get.

These are what you’re fighting for, in order to get higher levels than 8.  They aren’t as easy to get as you might think, unless you fit into the ones that I said were easy for your particular area.  Don’t shoot for the easy ones, they are easy… shoot for the hard ones.  They take work, the easy ones will just happen.

Hack away.

Ingress Intel 4

One of the hardest badges for me to get inside the game of Ingress is the 150 guardian badge.  I was stopped at 112 days by a stupid cheater and I’ve not come close since.  Why, you may ask?  Well, in my area there is just enough competition to keep me from getting said things and if I don’t get my guardian badge before I leave North Dakota, I don’t think I’ll be able to get the badge.  Where I plan on going has a LOT MORE COMPETITION and I think that trying to hold a portal for anywhere longer than a couple of weeks is going to be a hard, hard task to accomplish.

Oh yeah, this is Ingress Intel.

Ingress300Do you know how hard it is to sit here and write that I came within 38 days of getting the highest badge for guardian portals?  It’s very hard.  In fact, I’m going to pause to recharge the few portals that I need to keep charged in the hopes one of them lasts into the 149+ day area… I’ll be right back.

(Jeopardy Music Plays)

Okay, I’m back.  Yes, I actually did do some recharging there.  So, nobody drive out to the Sage Grouse to take it down, okay?  I need me the guardian portal.

No, I don’t own the Sage Grouse.  Fooled you.

There are lots of badges that I’m interested in getting.  I’d like to get the one that is for destroying resonators… and the one for connecting portals.  I need 2 more silver badges to get to level 9 as I type this and that means I need to do some Ingress stuff in order to advance myself in the world a little.  If I can get the “easy” badges for my area, when I move, I can get the easy ones there and then I can be a level 16, in which there aren’t many in the WORLD right now.  No, not many level 16s at all.

Ingress has got me wanting to go out and be active.  I could combine this column with my Fitness Specter column to really get people more active… but then I would have only one column and that wouldn’t be any fun at all, would it?  Maybe I should do a cross over, but not today.

There are a number of players in my area that do what I call “drive by playing,” which eliminates the point of having Ingress in my opinion.  You should want to get out and walk around, which I do more often than not, and want to be out in the world.  I’ve met plenty of interesting other players in this and they have also been outdoors being active, which means that we’re all playing the way that I think the game was intended.  Why not get more active and join the community?

We rely too much on computers and phones to get in touch with people but we don’t spend time getting out, getting badges, and meeting friends.  Let’s all Ingress together.

I’d really like to get in on the next event FIRST HAND rather than remotely, too.

This was kind of disjointed, but hey, this is my column and I can do that.

Charge that portal.

Ingress Intel 3

If you’ve noticed a pattern, I’ve stopped subtitling as much as I used to.  That makes finding something specific you’ve read a little harder to find, but it allows me to write a little more freely.  If you really hate it, let me know.  Otherwise, let’s get to this…

Ingress300There is so much going on in the world of Ingress right now, I can’t even wrap my head around all of it.  I’ve met with a Niantic employee, I’ve hacked a virus, and now I’m trying to figure out if there is a news stream or video series about Ingress I should be following a little more closely than I currently do.

That means I’m not really following anything all that closely.

As Niantic is a Google property, that means that Google Plus is really the first place to start.  With some new decisions made in life recently, I’m spending 50% more time in Google Plus than I used to, which means I’ve cut the amount of time I’m spending on Facebook.  The move has many reasons but for the purposes of this column, I’ll concentrate on one of the biggest factors in the decision: ease of following Ingress posts.

I like to see passcodes come out, I like to see updates on the latest event going on, and I like to see little tips and tricks that help making play the game a little easier.  I like to see the updates and what is coming down the pipe, too… and the best place for that is Google Plus.

Some people deride Google Plus as the social network for Google employees.  Keep on thinking that because that means those of us who realize the place is way better than Facebook can keep having the place all to ourselves.  At least Google is upfront and honest about using our information for making money, whereas Facebook is trying to hide the fact and slowly roll out what they wanted to do in the first place.

The way posts are displayed makes for better viewing, too.  I could use a little improvement on the iOS display in the app but I am overall satisfied with the experience, I think.  I say that to point out that finding the Ingress posts that much easier!  I can see three or four columns of information at once and key in on the pictures that I know relate to Ingress.

In order to play the game, you need to have a Google ID… that means you have a Google Plus profile.  That also means you have other stuff but if you have the Google Plus profile, why not check the place out?  Sure, you’re used to Facebook’s setup but were you used to MySpace when Facebook popped on the scene?  Hmmm?  Think about that for a moment.

People don’t like change, but if you want the best and most up to date information for Ingress, Google Plus is really the place to be.  Come on over and check the place out.

Ingress on it.