Ingress agents belong to one of two factions (teams): the Enlightened and the Resistance. The two factions have differing philosophies regarding exotic matter, the Shapers and the N’zeer, but their in-game abilities are the same. There is also a third, AI-controlled faction called Machina.

The Enlightened

The Enlightened faction believes that XM, while potentially dangerous if misused, is critical to the advancement of our species, and that the Shapers are a benevolent species who wish to help humanity. They are represented by the color green and the abbreviation ENL. They generally view artificial intelligence as potentially dangerous to the future of humanity if not carefully controlled. Their symbol is a stylized eye with four rays emanating from it. Enlightened agents are nicknamed “frogs.”

The Resistance

The Resistance faction believes that XM is dangerous, or at least not sufficiently understood to merit exposing people to it. Many Resistance agents believe that the Shapers intend to enslave humanity, although some think that they may be benevolent but misguided. Some welcome the N’zeer, who have been opposed to the Shapers. Those affiliated with the Resistance generally hold artificial intelligence as being the key to humankind’s advancement. They are represented by the color blue and the abbreviation RES. Their symbol portrays a key enclosed in a shield. Resistance agents are nicknamed “smurfs.”

Choosing a Faction

New Ingress agents are required to choose a faction. While there are ways to change faction (such as recursion upon reaching level 16), it is best when starting out as a new agent to choose your faction with the intention of sticking with it.

Both sides have the same in-game abilities, and the storyline is careful to ensure that neither side is unambiguously good or evil. Therefore, your choice of faction comes down to personal preference. If you have a friend who is already an Ingress agent, you may want to choose the same faction as them so that you can play together. (Or, if your relationship is of a more competitive nature, you may opt to join opposite factions.)

Without a friend who is already an Ingress agent, many agents choose the faction whose philosophy most closely mirrors their own. Some ask around to find out which faction is the underdog in the local area and choose based on that. Some just go with their favorite color. Ultimately, the faction you join is a personal choice. Only you can know which one is best for you.

Machina

On 13 November 2022, a new, AI-controlled faction emerged called Machina. Details about how the Machina faction plays are still emerging; here is what is known so far:

  • They are represented by the color red, and their symbol is a red, glitchy combination of the Enlightened and Resistance symbols.
  • Machina assets are owned by an account named _̶̱̍_̴̳͉̆̈́M̷͔̤͒Ą̷̍C̴̼̕ͅH̶̹͕̼̾Ḭ̵̇̾̓N̵̺͕͒̀̍Ä̴̞̰́_̴̦̀͆̓_̷̣̈́ or U̶͚̓̍N̴̖̈K̠͔̍͑̂͜N̞̥͋̀̉Ȯ̶̹͕̀W̶̢͚͑̚͝Ṉ̨̟̒̅.
  • They appear to capture neutral portals with all level 1 resonators. The resonators seem to default to much less than 100% energy.
  • Machina resonators are gradually upgraded over time. They’ll also install mods and link to other nearby portals at random.
  • Machina links follow different rules:
    • They are are not blocked by links from any faction, but they do block non-Machina links.
    • They can exceed eight outbound links.
    • They are not impeded by fields.
    • The origin portal need not be fully resonated. When the link is established, the empty slots are automatically populated with resonators, and all resonators are recharged to their default level.
    • The remote portal can be a neutral, which will be automatically captured by Machina.
  • As yet, there are no reports of Machina installing powerups, creating control fields or appearing in scoring.
  • If you are zapped when hacking a Machina portal, it completely drains your XM.
  • Neutralizing a Machina portal is not reported in comm, and causes its resonators and mods to be dropped on the ground.
  • Attempting to use a flip card on a Machina portal causes it to be neutralized instead.
  • Three new stats have appeared related to Machina: “Machina Resonators Destroyed,” “Machina Portals Destroyed,” and “Machina Links Destroyed.” “Machina Control Fields Destroyed” has not been seen, but this may be because the stats don’t appear until you perform the associated action, and no Machina control fields have yet been observed.