Some observations on Ingress based on my experience. It will be different for everyone.
1. It helps to play where there are many people from your side. It helps if they live in the same area.
2. When there are substantially more opponents in the game, it is difficult. The number of Resistance players in Singapore clearly outnumber the enlightened. There are almost no level 8 Enlightened Portals near where I live. I have only seen it less than ten times. Maybe, three or four times at best. I see Resistance level 8 portals frequently, daily in fact.
3. People generally only reinforce their friends when they play, at least on the Enlightened side. They don't look to a larger overall purpose.
4. Home portals. If one has a portal or two within reach from one's home or office, it is substantial. It helps a fair bit.
5. Routes. If one's daily route does pass through portals, well, it helps a lot as well.
6. Many players, especially the diehard ones, use multiple accounts. I don't but I observe many do. They use a second one as a mule to store items, as a reinforcement to deploy shields quickly and more. And some have third accounts.
Oh well. I was not expecting a level playing field anyway.
Time to quietly fade away. In any case, I won't be noticed. I was a quiet low level player.