Via Lux Birmingham – My Third Ingress Anomaly
Another year has passed and a few more Ingress Anomalies have come and gone, but August 2016 saw a return to the UK with the latest installment, Via Lux Birmingham.
Having once again spent the last year pretty much forgetting that Ingress existed, having an anomaly we can attend again brought us back out of the woodwork and into this amazing community. Since Niantic separated from Google, anomalies have seen many changes. Firstly, they run a lot more often, and in the past year we have seen Abbadon, Obsidian and Aegis Nova coming and going, we were now ready for the next installment, Via Lux. Secondly, the anomalies themselves are changing, and Via Lux would have us take part in our first ever hybrid anomaly.
Saturday 27th August saw hundreds of Enlightened and Resistance Agents descend on Birmingham for another battle. Whilst previous anomalies in the UK had seen the Enlightened team rising to victory. Both Helios and Persepolis had the Enlightened winning by a large number of points, Shonin saw the Resistance steal the lead, the Enlightened took it back for Abaddon, but by Aegis Nova, we were back on the losing team. Why? Aegis Nova was the first hybrid anomaly, involving both cluster and shard events alongside, and the UK Enlightened don’t seem to do well with shard anomalies.
As with our previous anomalies, Birmingham had four cluster measurements throughout the course of the day. With a strong start, the Enlightened still beat the Resistance in the first two cluster measurements, although measurements three and four saw the Resistance come through for the win, it was the shard measurements which caused us the most trouble. Beating the Resistance in only one of three shard measurements, our points fell way behind in this area.
Via Lux was a very different experience for us.
First up there was no big group photo arranged before the start of the anomaly. Something you might think is quite small and insignificant, but when you’re spending most of the day wandering the city in small groups, you can’t underestimate how getting everyone together before the anomaly begins can help you feel a part of something bigger, and really sets a good mood for the rest of the day.
Secondly, we weren’t allocated to a cluster team, but to a flexible team, which meant that we would be sent wherever the operations team felt we would be of most use throughout the day. Gone were the days of moving between your four allocated clusters, spending time chatting and enjoying your breaks in between frantic cluster measurements. Now you start 90 minutes before the first cluster measurement even begins to help locate shard target portals and shards, and once the first shard appears at 1pm, you’re non stop battling or trekking across the city until after the last cluster measurement has completed.
It was a tense start to the day with a Resistance starburst going up very close to us in the half hour before we were due to start. It was a tense time, with our team eager to help take it down, while ops were insistent we needed to wait. Whatever they were planning worked, and the links fell before the shard target portals started to appear.
Our team spent the day trying to assist on the shard side of the anomaly, swapping between defending Enlightened target portals and attacking Resistance ones.
Due to our low game play between anomalies we were the only level 7’s on the team, so once again we were placed on shielding duty. Despite being an important role to play, you can’t help but feel a little less useful than the level 8+’s. This also means we didn’t level up very much during the day, so our days of relying on anomalies to bring in the points are gone, and we’re going to have to reside to playing outside of events to get us to the next level. We made a decision to put a concerted effort into reaching level 8 before the next event, so we won’t have to worry about it again.
We had some fun times during the day where an Enlightened field was cast all over Birmingham and I got to see my first shards in person, after only hearing about them previously.
There wasn’t tons of walking overall, but the non-stop gameplay did make it feel more intense than previous anomalies we have been to. It also meant for less down time to chat to your team or have a little fun along the way.
My team was amazing, we had strong leadership and the operation team were great at ensuring we were sent where we were needed. Not being on comms did leave us feeling a little lost at times though, often moving from place to place and we were never quite sure where we were going, why, or what we needed to do until we had got there. It was very hectic, and our leaders did an amazing job, one which I don’t think I could have managed any where near as well.
At the end of the day we found ourselves quite far from the after-party, and facing a long drive home we decided to end our anomaly there. Before heading across town, our team decided to stay with us and have one final team drink before we left, which was really nice to finally have that time to relax and chat.
One the way home we heard the news that the Enlightened had lost. While not the first time in the UK this had happened, it was the first loss for us, and it’s not a feeling we enjoy.
Via Lux was a much different experience to us than Helios or Persepolis, and to be honest I don’t think we enjoyed it as much, even if we had won I think I would feel the same. We’ve not been put off from future anomalies, but we do think that we will be requesting to be part of a cluster team next time, so we can get back to what we do best.
We won’t know who has won overall until the end of the month, but we’re expecting the next anomaly to kick off around New Year, so we don’t have long to level up and prepare!Thanks for reading!
Like me on Facebook - Follow me on Instagram - Follow me on Twitter