Sometimes, a small number of artifacts (sometimes called shards) will appear at various portals throughout the world as part of a special event. Agents can create links to move them to a target portal for their faction to capture them. Each faction’s objective is to capture more artifacts than the other.
Artifacts, when they appear, are always located at a portal. They are visible as special portal highlights on the intel map, and as objects floating over their current portals in the scanner. An artifact will periodically move along a link attached to its current portal to a new portal. Usually, the anchoring portals for the link will be required to be at a certain level or higher for the artifact to move along it. If there is more than one eligible link attached to the artifact’s current portal, one is selected at random. Artifacts prefer to move to new portals rather than return to the one from which it came. If no eligible links are available when it’s time for an artifact to move, there is a chance it may jump to a random nearby portal; the odds of this occurring increase the longer it stays at the same portal. The specific rules that dictate exactly when and how an artifact moves from one portal to another have varied with each artifact event (and sometimes during the event).
One or more portals will be designated as “target portals” for each faction. A target portal is displayed on the intel map and in the scanner with a segmented ring around it. When an artifact is brought to a target portal, it is said to be captured and scores points for the faction corresponding to that target portal. (Note that the portal’s actual alignment does not matter; scoring an “own goal” is not unheard of.) The segments fill in as artifacts are brought to a target portal. Each faction’s objective is to capture artifacts, while preventing the other faction from doing the same.