In the first and second installments of this series I talked about all the operations players can perform in this game, and this final installment will give some details of how players move up through the sixteen levels of the game.

Player Level Requirements
All players start at Level 1.  Getting to Level 2 is very easy, a few portals captured, a couple of fields and you’re there.  Level 3 is a bit more of a climb but by getting to that point you can finally start to use some Bursters that do a bit of damage, and you’re also probably hooked on the game by then.  So you move on.

L1 = 0 AP
L2 = 2,500 AP
L3 = 20,000 AP
L4 = 70,000 AP
L5 = 150,000 AP
L6 = 300,000 AP
L7 = 600,000 AP
L8 = 1,200,000 AP

Hitting Level 8 is an important milestone because you can now use every item in the game.  Also, your XM bar capacity has gone from 3,000 at Level 1 by increments of 1,000 to 10,000.  Beyond Level 8, the increases will be in jumps of 1,500, not 1,000.  This tops out at 22,000 for Level 16.

In order to move up levels beyond 8, you need to start accumulating advanced levels of the various badges awarded for cumulative action in the game.  The requirements are:

L9 =  2,400,000 AP + 1 gold, 4 silver
L10 = 4,000,000 AP + 2 gold, 5 silver
L11 = 6,000,000 AP + 4 gold, 6 silver
L12 = 8,400,000 AP + 6 gold, 7 silver
L13 = 12,000,000 AP + 1 Platinum, 7 Gold
L14 = 17,000,000 AP + 2 Platinum, 7 Gold
L15 = 24,000,000 AP + 3 Platinum, 7 Gold
L16 = 40,000,000 AP + 2 Onyx, 4 Platinum, 7 Gold


This is a little less daunting than it might seem if you take into account the fact that any higher level badge also counts as all the lower levels for the same badge.  So for example, if you currently have Gold in Recharger and Trekker, plus Silver in Guardian, Illuminator and SpecOps, you have all the badge requirements for Level 10.  This is due to the fact that those two Golds also count as two of your five Silvers.
Badge Requirements
The badge (sometimes called “medal”) definitions and levels are:


Badge Name & Measure Bronze Silver Gold Platinum Onyx
Explorer – hack unique portals 100 1,000 2,000 10,000 30,000
Seer – discover and submit new portals 10 50 200 500 5,000
Trekker – kilometers walked 10 100 300 1,000 2,500
Builder – deploy resonators 2,000 10,000 30,000 100,000 200,000
Connector – link portals 50 1,000 5,000 25,000 100,000
Mind Controller – create control fields 100 500 2,000 10,000 40,000
Illuminator – Capture MUs in Control Fields 5,000 50,000 250,000 1,000,000 4,000,000
Recharger – Recharge portals (000s) 100 1,000 3,000 10,000 25,000
Liberator – Capture Portals 100 1,000 5,000 15,000 40,000
Pioneer – Capture unique portals 20 200 1,000 5,000 20,000
Engineer – mod portals 150 1,500 5,000 20,000 50,000
Purifier – Destroy enemy resonators 2,000 10,000 30,000 100,000 300,000
Guardian – control portal for consecutive days 3 10 20 90 150
SpecOps – Complete unique missions 5 25 100 200 500
Hacker – hack portals 2,000 10,000 30,000 100,000 200,000
Translator – Glyph Hack Points 200 2,000 6,000 20,000 50,000
Sojourner – Consecutive Days Hacking 15 30 60 180 360

A word or two about some of these:

  • Seer: When I started playing the turnaround time from submitting a suggested new portal to getting an answer from Niantic was fairly steady around three to four weeks.  Sometime in the months leading up to the iOS version of the game releasing (May-July ’14), the lead time started creeping up.  It’s now highly erratic and in the area of five to seven months.  Also erratic is the quality of review.  Junk portals are being approved while excellent public art is being rejected.  Sometimes the rejection reason is given, but more often it’s a simple boilerplate “does not meet our criteria.”  You can read the criteria in vain for anything that your portal submission misses.  To deal with what was obviously an unmanageable backlog, Niantic has stopped crediting new submissions (as of 2015-01-01) toward this badge.  Perhaps that is preparatory to canceling it or mothballing it entirely.  TL,DR; I do not recommend submitting new portals until the review process is improved.
  • Illuminator: When you make the third link completing a field, you get credit toward this badge for all the MUs enclosed by that field.  If you make several layers of an onion field, the MUs really add up.  I advise finding the active group of your team in your area and pitch in on some team operations that will make multi-thousand-MU fields.  Even Platinum level in this will be accessible to you pretty quickly.
  • Recharger: Another badge that’s very accessible to get to higher levels even for novice players.  Spend a rainy afternoon somewhere warm and dry with a hundred or so keys and power cubes from your travels.  All the XM points you expend recharging friendly portals count toward this badge, and it’s not at all challenging to rack up a million an hour.
  • Guardian: There is indeed one badge in the game that creates more complaining than Seer, and here it is.  This is the only badge where succeeding in making higher levels of this badge is almost completely out of your control.  What happens here is, you capture a portal, you become its owner, you place your resonators, you keep a key and you hope for the best.  If your portal gets attacked and taken down, you start all over.  Some players (who clearly need lives) monitor the comms using scripts that filter for news of a portal being taken over.  If it stays in one player’s ownership for close to 90 or 150 days, they send out alerts to other players like themselves who will then go out specifically to deny people the Guardian achievement.  Mind you, this accrues no benefit to them other than knowing it has caused someone else frustration.
  • SpecOps: A relatively new feature of the game is called Missions.  These are little side-quests created by other players that string together four or more portals (and possibly Field Trip waypoints (about which the less said the better, but if you must know start here)) into a kind of scavenger hunt that you can travel around and play.  Finishing a Mission you have never done before gives you a count toward this badge.  If you’re out playing anyway, the Portal card now has a Missions button that shows you any Missions of which the portal is a part.  Highly recommended.
  • Translator: Another side-game you can play as you hack portals, if you have time.  By long-pressing the Hack button instead of tapping it, you are brought into a new screen where you are shown a grid of 11 dots and then anywhere from one to five patterns of lines connecting the dots.  In the game’s story, these patterns are called Glyphs, and they represent the Shapers’ attempts to communicate with us.  Our task is to repeat the pattern(s) we have been shown to acknowledge the message. Successfully replicating even one Glyph gets you bonus items on the hack, while replicating all the Glyphs offered gets you points toward this badge.  The higher-level the portal, the more complex the Glyph-Hack and the more points it’s worth to succeed.  There are practice apps to help you get good at catching the Glyphs and reproducing them.  Apparently the idea is, each Glyph stands for a word or concept, and the sequences are “sentences” expressing ideas that the Shapers wish to communicate to us.  Well, the fact is, once you associate each pattern with a word it becomes easier to produce it again from memory.  Whether you think you have been “enlightened” or not is a separate matter.
  • Sojourner: Hack every day, never let 24 hours go by without hacking.  That’s all there is to this.  I think it was introduced to get people calmed down somewhat about the Guardian situation, since there’s clearly nothing Niantic can (or is willing to) do about the scummy characters described above.  I have found that the best and safest pattern to keep your progress going toward this badge is to make sure you hack sometime in the morning and sometime late in the afternoon.
So that’s it.  Aside from Niantic’s own site, I did a fair amount of the research I needed to do on Decode Ingress, which I recommend as a good reference site that is keeping itself pretty-well updated.
A final note: Niantic is in the process of rolling out a new game, called Endgame.  I don’t know about it, though.  It seems like a senseless time-suck.