Helios Manchester – My First Ingress Anomaly
Saturday the 24th August 2014 saw Manchester’s City Centre host an epic battle between the Enlightened and Resistance factions of Ingress.
The pervasive game by Niantic Labs holds what the players call Anomalies as a worldwide series of events which assist in progressing the story line. The outcome of the series will affect how the ongoing story behind Ingress moves forward, and it gives players from all over the world a chance to get together and work in what I can only describe as a military style operation to win battles against their opposing faction.
The current anomaly is named Helios, and is running from the 12th July to the 27th September 2014. Each Saturday during the 2 month period, the anomaly occurs at one or two Primary locations, and two or four Satellite locations, spread across 4 continents. One thing Niantic have been criticised for is failing to include sites in Africa and Australia, although the vast majority of users are based in North America.
On the 24th August, Manchester was a Satellite location for the anomaly, and saw around 200 Enlightened and 200 Resistance descend on the North West from all over the UK to battle for their team.
We had been previously split into smaller teams, and using Google hangouts we had spent the weeks leading up to the event electing a team leader and deputy to take charge, and discussing our tactics for the day. My team decided to meet early for breakfast and a quick face to face get to know each other before the main meet up. This was especially nice for us as many members were from out of town so we had not had the opportunity to meet in person prior to the event.
The event itself started at Angel Meadows Park and moved up through the Northern Quarter to the University buildings just South of the City Centre. We did have to be careful crossing the city between clusters 2 and 3, as the date had clashed with Manchester Pride, and there was an incident where we had to dodge the parade to get across the road and avoid being hit by a pink firetruck!
For each cluster, we were assigned on average 5 portals to control and protect. Our team of 15 split into smaller groups of 3, one on each portal. Each unit had a lead burster, deployer and modder, but we switched to assist our other team members depending on if we were attacking or defending. My team was Cluster Team 6, the T6 Gargamels!
One great thing about the Enlightened is the sense of camaraderie and teamwork within the group. In between clusters we would constantly be swapping inventory with those who needed it most, making sure everyone on our team had a charged phone and the suitable kit to get them through the next cluster. And with all the constant battling, I even managed to go up half a level!
In a head to head battle between factions, it was the Enlightened, with their superior tactics, who beat the Resistance in a comfortable win. With invaluable help from the Operators, and seasoned leaders to guide the way, the Enlightened showed true skill on the battle field, leaving the unorganised Resistance unable to come close. You can see a full breakdown of the results here.
Although the day was fast paced, there was thankfully plenty of time to move between clusters and discuss tactics before the next measurement, so as a newbie it wasn’t as daunting as I expected it to be. I also found myself getting the hang of things pretty quick, and it was nice to feel useful to my team. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed my first Ingress Anomaly, and I can’t wait for the next one! A massive thank you to the Enlightened Team Leaders who made all of this possible, and if you would like to join me in the battle against the Resistance and join the Manchester Enlighted, then join our group here, say hi, have some cake, and join the fun!
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