People are now splitting into two factions the Enlightened and the Resistance. The Enlightened see the Shapers as a benefit to mankind and the next step of man's evolution. The Enlightened are attempting to help the Shapers expand their influence on Earth. The Resistance as the name implies is resisting the Shaper infiltration of Earth. The Resistance work under the belief that they are defending mankind.
Shapers are reaching the Earth through XM Portals. The two factions battle to control Portals and either open them up for the Shapers or close them down to the Shapers. XM Portals are found throughout the world. They are commonly found at post offices, historical sites, historical markers, government buildings, parks, and other public places. Using a scanner factions can hack a portal. Hacking portals allows faction members to gain items to use in the game. Players can hack both their factions portals and their opponents portals.
The factions capture these portals by physically going to the portals and either claiming an unclaimed portal. Unclaimed portals will appear gray on your scanner. Once claimed the portal will appear as either blue if it is claimed by the Resistance or green if it is claimed by the Enlightened.
A portal is claimed by placing a resonator on that portal. Resonators control the energy of a portal and each portal can have up to eight resonators. Resonators have varying levels from 1 to 8. The portal will have a corresponding level to the level of resonators the portal has attached. A portal must have all 8 resonators to be able to link to another portal. Linking portals is one of the most crucial parts of the game. By linking portals, territories are created by that faction. Once a minimum of 3 portals are linked that faction gains mind units. Mind units are the population contained within the controlled territories, and what what the factions are ultimately fighting over.
But the story is not over when a portal is acquired and linked. The opposition can attack enemies portals. Once they destroy a resonator a link is broken and the mind units in the territory are lost. Once all resonators are destroyed the opposing team can take control of a portal. So portals can and will change hands regularly.