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I chose to play as Enlightened, but it appears that nearly all of the portals in a nearby city are already controlled by Enlightened. In order to get experience I need to hack enemy portals, not friendly ones.

Due to this, I was wondering if it is possible to switch sides in Ingress, from Enlightened to Resistance and vice versa? If it is possible, are there any side effects to doing so?

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Yes, but you have to contact Google and it takes about a month or two to complete. Google/Ingress will only allow one switch per player, apparently human approval must be involved in the process somewhere.

I switched factions because I didn't realize that the Rebels represented Luddites which I find philosophically annoying, it took many weeks for Ingress Support to finally change it.

Your account get's largely if not totally reset.

Here's the link to the help center where you can change it: Ingress Support

From the Help Center on changing accounts:

If a faction change application is accepted, that player’s Portals, Resonators or other items obtained will be lost, and the player will be returned to Level 1, 0AP. If one of your teammates changes allegiances, you may see NIAOPSDAEMONX destroying entities. Do not be alarmed, all traitor activity must be wiped. Some of your related entities may be destroyed in the process, but it is for your own good and the security of your faction.

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    As a data point, I requested a faction change. It took 17 days for the request to complete. Attempting to cancel at 16 days was unsuccessful. – Mondrianaire Jun 3 '13 at 17:47
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with the fraction change request you get to keep your badges but loose everything else. If you don't care about that you can do is what I did which was request to delete the account. It took a few hours, your email will be banned so you will need to use another one and boom it's done.

I need to mention that because you have to use another email, the vetting process to get into the groups will require some explaining from you because the (oh my god you must be cheating!) sign out button will forever show it's self in the [OPS]-device setting. If they will listen, just explain what happened and if they still don't believe you, just show them what happens when you try to log in using the original email (in-case you're wondering it won't work).

If there is still an issue with the vetting process just play the game on your own and let your links, fields, and take downs speak for you.

Remember it's a game, your supposed to be having fun with it

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Yes you can.

I wanted to switch because I didn't have support of my team mates - they group in pods, not as a whole team like the resistance. I live in a town where they don't play as much and the surrounding cities are full of blue.

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