XM anomalies are free, large-scale cross-faction events hosted by Niantic Labs in cities all across the world. They are great opportunities to participate in intense competition, meet fellow agents, and score some Ingress swag.
An anomaly is a competition between the two factions to complete specific goals. Anomalies are presented in a series spanning multiple weeks, with different cities participating each weekend. Over the history of Ingress, anomalies have been conducted in a variety of formats, and with various tweaks to the rules. The basics of anomalies will be discussed below; for specifics about the rule set for a particular anomaly, you will need to read the rules documents released by Niantic Labs for that anomaly.
Anomaly events are announced on the official Ingress Google+ page and posted on the Ingress Live Events page. In order to receive your anomaly participation medal, you will need to register on the events page and with your faction leadership.
A few days before an anomaly event, Niantic Labs will release the detailed scoring rules. The best place to watch for the rules is the official Ingress Investigation site. The details will vary, but a few general concepts tend to be consistent:
- The rules will group portals into four clusters. During the event, the cluster portals are displayed with colored rings around them in the scanner and on the intel map. These rings are referred to as ornaments. The color of the ornaments is different for each cluster.
- On the day of the anomaly event, agents will congregate at a start point, a portal within the first cluster marked with three triangles around it. Each hour of the four-hour competition focuses on a different cluster. At the end of each hour, a scoring window begins, typically lasting 5 or 10 minutes. At a random, pre-determined time during that window (unknown to the agents), a snapshot is taken of the portals in the active cluster. Scoring for that cluster is determined from the state of the portals at the time of the snapshot.
- The factions earn points for having certain objectives completed at the measurement time. In the past, these objectives have included owning portals (with some, known as volatile portals, being worth more), or creating links or control fields attached to cluster portals.
- More recently, there have been artifacts (known as shards) that spawn in the play area as well, which must be delivered to particular target portals during the anomaly to earn additional points.
- Sometimes points can be earned for other actions, such as winning the last septicycle in various cells.
After the last measurement, agents congregate at a predetermined location for the after-party, where the results are announced, prizes are given out, and agents mingle. The results of an anomaly series often have an effect on the Ingress storyline, details of which are sometimes released during the after-party.