Niantic History Special Part II: The London ENL Interview

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Good afternoon Agents and Investigators. My name is Mustafa Said and welcome to another special edition of Niantic History.

I received a rare opportunity to conduct an interview with the London Enlightened Agents at the center of a whirlwind of secrets that unfolded during the previous summer Anomalies of #TimeZero and #SaveKlue: Richard Walden, Sam AlbuquerqueDom Armstrong, Chris Whittleston and Gonçalo Margalho

 

MustafaOK, so let’s go back to the beginning at #TimeZero: how did you get your hands on the package?

 

RichardI was the first one to approach the Niantic team on site at Greenwich Park. 

As first contact, I was to act as the voice of the enlightened. If we won we were to meet Carrie Campbell, which thanks to our outside cells, we did. To win on the day we worked out Greenwich wasn’t the highest scoring place for us so sent our guys to the secondary sites. We even sent guys to drive over night to the continent for keys.
Straight away we knew that the newly released virri would be the key at the main site so at Greenwich we double flipped portals to cause confusion. Once we were announced as winners, I had to go with the Niantic guy Mathue to find the courier. I found the courier and the package had a note for me from Hank Johnson to meet Carrie Campbell.

 

She was meant to meet me at the cutty sark:
map of eventw
On this map, A = the point where the announcement was made, B is where the courier was and c is the cutty sark. The Cutty Sark is a old clipper ship, so ties with the Niantic itself.
She wasn’t at the meeting spot, but then I saw her running along across the road so I ran after her. I’d been playing ingress hard for about 6 months so was a lot fitter than they must have expected from an gamer. So I managed to catch Carrie and give her the package.  She gave it back and told me to open it and to sell to the highest bidder. I then went to the pub and started getting messages from Hulong and the other XM Corps.

Mustafa: So Campbell told you to bid off to the Corps? WOW

Richard: While me and the gang had a few beverages, me and Dom decided to troll to see how important the doc was. Yes Mustafa: She wanted me to sell the package.

Mustafa: And that’s what led to the initial announcement that you weren’t going to sell it. just trolling :)

Richard: It did hit a nerve :p  We thought the selling was bad because we are open for xm but not humans using the tech solely for arms dealing. They offered us stuff that we could hack anyway.

 

Mustafa: Okay, please continue.

 

Richard: The day after the bids started growing bigger and we decided to try and stall while Dom edited in some secret code to the TimeZero video. We used Morse code and some reversed audio. I don’t think all our codes got cracked.

NEW Chris: They didn’t.  One was specifically for the London Resistance though. it was a bit…cryptic.

Richard:  And we used some codes from the TimeZero event to embed to get the coding guys interested.  Going backwards again between video release and the pub I started saying I’d lost the package to:

A) get Niantic attention

B) judge how valuable it was

C) stall for the edit to be finished

I even created a fake event and sent some people to look in the pub for the package. Then when the edit was done I Dom released it and I shared to g+, Quickly the ingress account called us out so I deleted their comments as fast as they made them. They then just clapped and knew we was pro. Especially when people started noticing code.

As soon as the first video was released we knew we needed a line.

So we got Sam to try fill us in on the story etc:

The Plan forms part oneThe Plan forms part twoThe Plan forms part three

After that, we started working on the next document and video. And we started putting the pieces together.We thought being Scottish and the London event not actually having any of the lore characters at it for everyone to meet, we could get her to London.

NEW Chris: All this time the corporations were making larger and larger offers to Dom and Richard for the glyphs. Dom joked about getting his inventory uncapped in exchange for them.

Richard: Lol, We was all at 2k limit. Who needs more inventory.

We had hacked like mad in Canterbury before TimeZero. Then virus arrived and the 1000+ L8 xmp were pointless.

Then we released the second video. It was a video selfie in my back garden. At the time I think we learnt so much, We really put the Google tools to good use.  I think it enlightened us all a bit more, we learnt so much about the true meaning of enlightenment:

hard research part real onehard research part one

We’d written loads of quotes from members of the Scottish enlightened and it was all pointing originally to a portal. A statue of some Scottish guy that situated in London. Anyone remember?

Sam: Hume

NEW Chris:We wanted to use David Hume.

Mustafa: Out of curiosity, when you began to receive the messages from the XM Corps, did you start getting them as soon as you had the package?

Richard: Yes Mustafa:

IQtech wants the packageHulong wants the packageVisur wants the package

Mustafa: Interesting.

Sam: The messages from the corps were getting very manipulative, pitching one against another.

Richard: Yeah after video 2 which was released by Gonzalo they tried to bribe.

Mustafa: The Corp messages got worse?

How so? I remember reading them thoroughly and all I can recall was that they just kept asking for Glyphs. Hulong was going to go ENL if you surrendered them

But in what way did they start to get more..aggressive in their demands?

NEW Chris: they were offering more and more mods, which at the time were relatively rare.

Richard: They offered the guys helping me bigger and bigger offers to stab me in the back.

NEW Chris: Weren’t they also making offers to Gon and Dom separately trying to get them to betray you?

Richard: Yeah, Dom got one from IQTech:

backstab

NEW Chris: One was an offer of 20 HS per page of the package to betray us. at the time – an insane amount of gear. Yeah, that one.  Richard, could you find Hank’s post to you when he first told us where to find Klue? It was somewhere on G+

Richard: One sec

NEW Chris: This was to Richard, Dom and Gon when Hank first announced that he could get Klue into the open for us.

Richard: found it:

Raise the Stakes

NEW Chris: So yeah – we had a couple of days head start on when and where the anomaly would be.

Richard: We used the time we had to get the portal and enlightenment organized. They really swelled and did us proud.

NEW Chris: Yeah those guys in Oregon were amazing. Super organised in a short time.

Richard: At the time, as Hanke says, Portland was about 90% blue 8s.

NEW Chris: We were clearly not meant to win it given their choice of location. It was a smurf stronghold.

Richard: Me and Dom got to say hi to klue over video call at the time of the event.

NEW Chris: It was a shame that we couldn’t tempt Klue back to the UK but the guys in the US did us more than proud.

Richard: After all of that Richard H Loeb asked us to release the Glyphs to him. That’s when Sam came up with The Glyph Hunt.

Mustafa: Loeb asked you guys to release the Glyphs?

Sam: Yes. We spoke to PAC about the idea that we would create a small parallel game to release the glyphs. A sort of virtual treasure hunting for them around the globe:

The Stash

(Most of the codes in that are probably dead but if not, have fun!-Mustafa)

Sam: So after we got the codes, we came up with a list of portals we were going to use:

Dinghy Dock Restaurant (Puerto Rico) 18.302170,-65.299582 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=18302170&lngE6=-65299582&z=18
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/I21nRHOlEa-zV6xx8pVW8UJYuk6VfFnpJZqppHewPHeDZUTLF3E1ySiE7vrqxjhZUjK1HzSMbCM
Lo:https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_Bf9UoZSKSbqumtQDV9sPxt1CxbwNEiToTl8EI0uNhxbdReqgs2TlYiLmAVPt6OqMafI-dosfuq60Po

Angel Cemebterio Tibas(Cost Rica) 9.961735,-84.088614 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=9961735&lngE6=-84088614&z=17
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/FdUD88m-ruOMLIbwGcwKewMz-4rHdqfiYt0PfnfKWOaKzVASTReT0WDCYVdJywMsft3z-Laz3E8
Lo:https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/MGvOjgQoYnXa3hv0kCw9gBuAUBwMXY0miIzcTztHTQJGVEMxa3aK8wvtmQm-zEUOYYeo0m_FdEa0nhw

Nicolae Titulescu(Romania) 45.645899,25.593818 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=45645899&lngE6=25593818&z=16
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/CCMPtTtcq3emOnFB_MI4Yh0GePIBgIEc1Pl6HBLFNcd2ME6CsVe-iNp8Wd8Nr_vIRDD86gL5Mzk
Lo:https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/AlK70TCxX3ZC8-xSlrhov4VI5TSL9z71K7ZbwXIKjZ6QD3yJiNqpY5iIIIF1hT6CFZJU8QuNBUMY2II

Iglesia de Conkal (Mexico) 21.074667,-89.520181 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=21074667&lngE6=-89520181&z=17
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/gnGAOw1ie2ATlrG96xySTyWi2DiZJZIr66eaqI3ysk6l4x-Cn0iMbSsnmpzzt_AB7kX9wCUxtTc
Lo:https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/XoXYrteIy059CjjrOB_qKJRblK7Uq7nSZltsGYtWpN4NY_fB2ef5FtOBLw07PmGpSvnmXVO8L50xTYQ

Escultura Centro Civico (Argentina) -33.121706,-64.334153 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=-33121706&lngE6=-64334153&z=18
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/btcRJdwn2Ju0BoDJK2OLD9IvE8WUU4XUyIcw0yK7Y4Y3MC2hCiFyoUKELFbrw_gadeR3mx3XF9lqYck
Lo:https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/ctoFXuV684shthIahBEGQ_ow7jxSX9ftLE_9S87hXUAER5sCwPxyz2NmiOCs7eKFjGT7TxRiOMAkUCY

Little Free Library (Russia) 53.208439,50.136097 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=53208439&lngE6=50136097&z=17
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/IqTspJZksNfPMEB1wK7JyPxwNxMgL3gXNSop6IQnG8Nd-jjNUIf8vJ3KYa2GZGoFuRw4mKHUMtA

Bihuroaz Kamana Mosque (Maldives) 4.175963,73.510601 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=4175963.0000000005&lngE6=73510601&z=18
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/AHOXmsGsuarH_xQu9L72n-INIcNsFLvS1FL0k3f9HqRYn6Ucjy6AeNthpCS2kgl_MWTA1qfUSRQ

Estátua garcia de orta (Portugal) 41.161633,-8.664824 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=41161633&lngE6=-8664824&z=17
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/G3pRhPXUewtwFxSbtn4cL5h2j9uWIuKVfrF5P5qysD_ybAI9hEIMCJCN4k6nI5PbWjwlBIwacX8

New Albuquerque (USA) 35.090461,-106.679512 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=35090461&lngE6=-106679512&z=17
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/hHsS5954sNNHykRCHkSev3NPfH6eBrMghQptnpGea12VKM2LmOOckX2DfDsW1tPqK4W4QqC-jY0

Travelling Palm(UAE) 25.057251,55.273601 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=25057251&lngE6=55273601&z=17
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/2rxBoeVGQOqlMQ1TMWe48ChiVz0kNz0Lqc_bMkBHqFTjsZr0Z3zop17mcw9MudXApKf0_w34jNE

O Cristo Redentor, Corcovado, (Brasil) -22.951591,-43.210848
http://www.ingress.com/intel?ll=-22.951591,-43.210848&z=17&pll=-22.951591,-43.210848
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/TTuZMWDky6f9LiaRV0hDvJ69GGiNi32DXgRvsmApv6dJuYN_P_H5ZWpPxvmXe7WnxnSsuxRJwOQ

NGK Church, Worcester (South Africa) -33.620533,19.453380 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=-33620533&lngE6=19453380&z=17
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/Plsban9lgyo-UEs1WAM0ZMnpnNTjw6KE9OsR1mhpApbmqsv-wybYA0SAWq5_xMFm86sth2sOS3k

Ingresso Sinagoga (Italy) 41.890272,12.478822 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=41890272&lngE6=12478822&z=17
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/zsilqN5g6IPaqnb65gC9cAjVTDfpuw2cvIZ8Z4EqDY-G5MGBbn8h0z6Fo4R6yle2yqLJViIS-hU

Saraswathi Temple, Osmania University (India) 17.418156,78.525519
http://www.ingress.com/intel?ll=17.418156,78.525519&z=17&pll=17.418156,78.525519
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/uDc1Ee-ekeMEM24ZCT1V0dK9s4_OWavS5TWW-_ZoMrmYm1bppzvieIki0fyFN4LgEDwdy8iIYOg
Agena Lion’s Club Memorial(Japan) 26.380295,127.851287 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=26380295&lngE6=127851287&z=17
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/6w9x1dysfRJUrFxdWdKBFi6BXComQ3JoDNCpGWhuog5UT7aZq44oez-uaw3II8WkgQcp3nOVAmk
The Little Mermaid Sculture (Philipines) 7.041331,125.584543 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=7041331&lngE6=125584543&z=18
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/ydIiu6s1ebHBUoA0uyek3x9LSHoVpdME7w3x2WWc_BHmwkmrR8BzFNFv5uewElKunWSKJBjySQg

Robert the Bruce(Canada) 51.061515,-114.092858 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=51061515&lngE6=-114092858&z=17
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/WB4ZiUdQ0Poe7MyXwjItvKNGPSkFNVgwkRYIgvkES3iEkC4aMWZdpfcAaonbH6gsrlj7ONlAgF4

Oamaru Steampunk (New Zealand) -45.058611,171.003055 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=-45058611&lngE6=171003055&z=17
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/UyztffQryM6QW_Bfq8v5w6F9ijflHCXYdUU3KmYXxHyPZlGcrcdf9t-EDQGQv_ycy_ZT-w4n9DY

Life Saved (United Kingdom) 52.374538,-1.265341 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=52374538&lngE6=-1265341&z=17
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/BV_UNb5MPOQAQcwtsOzP5Wr9T7ltbIZ4lM649S_TIWIT2nutlFopps93ERSa905_6VTdwFCY8-k

Leipzig Statue 4 (Germany) 51.341880,12.381241 http://www.ingress.com/intel?latE6=51341880&lngE6=12381241&z=17
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/9Jq1OwpdiZiOHX31ClXLoWc8RVFFbw1HKv50WbNtj3uPMkQdz8tMcm6Gl1AOYkeGu1kNlu7yuD4

(For Sam’s full thoughts on the Glyph Hunt, its formation and more, please check out this post: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SamAlbuquerque/posts/LrgztboRBzG)

Sam: We knew giving the glyphs means letting go of our involvement in the story.

Richard: Ingress is boring without us messing stuff up :p

Sam: They didn’t let anyone else mess up after us.

Mustafa: Niantic has kept the story close to their chest after you guys.

Sam: But I think the player interaction in the story line was probably one of the good things that happened, even if for a short time.

Mustafa: I’m crossing fingers it happens again. So, I want to ask a couple of questions to wrap things up. First one is a bit obvious:  If you could, would you all have done this again?

Richard: 100%. It was time consuming but my God it was fun.

Mustafa: It was a blast to see it all unfold.

Okay, second one: You guys are really the only players that have done something like this. Ever since your adventure, Niantic has kept the story close to their chest and rarely lets it fall into players’ hands. Do you believe that Niantic should allow players more interaction with the story beyond Anomalies?

Richard: That is tough. I can see it going wrong if everyone thinks they can affect the story.

Mustafa: Naturally, not all players will do what you did. Some might go crazy with power. Others might go too far in trolling.

Richard: Exactly.

Mustafa: If Niantic was to pursue a more player-oriented and driven story, how do you think they’ll go about balancing the stories of those with good intentions against those who might seek to cause chaos and disorder in the story universe?

Richard: The thing is player interaction and players molding the story is the nature of arg games. So ingress is now missing that side.

Sam: Niantic can still hold the control of the storyline. They should let it loose a bit, see how the players play it and when it does get too troll like, they could take the reigns back.

Mustafa: Okay, so as the story begins to grow and evolve with the soon release of iOS and the rumblings of a third faction, how do you feel about these things and do you have any words of encouragement for the new wave of Agents?

Sam: Apples are Green.. Come join us :p

Richard: Lol

 

Dom: Mustafa – I’ll say this: The whole thing started as a bit of fun. We were annoyed that the story-line was so boring. What had initially attracted many of us to the game seemed lacklustre: we wanted to see if we could inject some fun into it… for us, at least.


Although it started with a lot of trolling and inside-jokes – the original hangout we set up was called “Troll Niantic” – we soon realized that we *were* able to play ball with the writers at Niantic and that they were taking us seriously. At that point, we started to take things a lot more seriously too, and ended up with an enormous appreciation for the complexity of the story line and the work that the ARG writers go into.

 

 

And so, in conclusion, what are we supposed to take from this? At the end of it all there are two things I’d like to share with you all to close out my thoughts:

The ultimate reason

It was all for fun. Just to enjoy an interesting idea and have a blast doing it. But it was also a huge responsibility and came with its own little struggles:

The cost of the story

But despite all that, these guys had done all of this with a laugh:

At the end of it all, everything that had happened, all the drama and all the secrecy-it was all started from a simple idea to have a blast and enjoy the ride. And that is what changed the world of Ingress on June 30th, when the Enlightened managed to win the Anomaly and obtain Klue’s alignment.

 

Thank you all for being here during this special edition of Niantic History. Until Next Time!

 

About Author

I'm a member of Operation Essex and the Prometheans Community. I've been Investigating the Niantic Project since its launch in November 2012.

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Niantic History Special Part II: The London ENL Interview

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