Ingress Level 7: The false summit
(Note, Sept. 7, 2016: In 2013, level 8 was the highest attainable in Ingress. It has since been increased to 16.)
This is a progress report on my Ingress play — so those not interested can stop reading and not waste any more time.
I finally reached Level 7 last week. A great feeling. As with most games and as in life, the closer I got to the goal, the more excited I got and the harder I pushed. On that last day I started blowing up every portal that looked even a little weak. It took a lot of my bursters to do it. Claiming and rebuilding the portals used up virtually every resonator I had. Many, in fact, were not completely built out. When I finally hit L7 and headed home, I had about 6 resonators left. I’m still rebuilding my supplies.
In blowing up those portals, I precipitated a bit of a war with the player who considered himself their owner. Apparently he took offense and so began blowing up “my” portals. Not really mine, since nobody really owns a portal, but those featuring my resonators. Portals exist for anyone who wants to hack and/or capture them. And the points come from flipping, claiming, and rebuilding them, not from simply holding them. (I’m repeating that to myself today as that same player is systematically taking down every portal and field I set up in the last two days.)
Anyway, I made it to L7. It took about two months. I had to earn 600,000 AP (action points) to do it. But the smug feeling of triumph didn’t last very long. L7 is a false summit. Reaching it is exhilarating. Satisfying. But then you look up to the true summit, Level 8. And it’s another 600,000 AP away. It’s as far from L7 to L8 as it was from L0 to L7. L7 is only half way to the top.
Ugh. I’m tired. The gleam is gone. The enthusiasm has cooled. For the moment, anyway. There is no longer any incentive to drive three, or five, or ten miles to claim a single neutral portal in order to earn a meager 1,700 AP. Or to spend two hours walking around a local park for the umpteeth time in 90° heat, or to get up early enough to get to that park before it gets hot, just so I can come home with 10,000 more points.
Now I spend more time at home studying the map on my computer, watching what other players are doing, looking for areas where I can capture several portals and create some links and fields. I spend more time weighing whether the potential gain makes the drive worthwhile, whether I want to burn gas and energy to get there. (Before I started playing, I gassed up the car maybe every two months; lately it’s been every 10 days. The game is not without overhead.)
And then there’s my run-in with the police. That really cramped my style. I keep moving now if I see a patrol car. I get nervous if I sit idling in one spot more than a few minutes. I’ve skipped target portals because a cop car was parked nearby. I worry if someone will report me because they’ve seen me in their parking lot so often. It’s amazing how many police there are in this town when you don’t want to see them.
I’m competitive enough to think I won’t quit playing this game until I get to L8. I want to join the elite eights. I want to be one of the big dogs.