Ever since the Apocalypse update to Eve, which saw the introduction of wormhole space – I have been tempted to give W-Space living a try. On Sunday, I staked my little claim to my own little pocket universe. If I should get ganked, think only this of me: that there is some corner of a foreign wormhole that is forever Goonswarm.
Having at last got round to teaching myself the new probing system in order to probe down hostiles on-grid I set out, on Friday evening, to find a location. This was to be a solo project, so I decided to start out with a Class 3 wormhole. This, everyone said, could be just about reliably solo-run, and I would have a few of my army of alts available, so should be able to dual-box whatever came my way. Going for a Class 3 also gave me a fair chance of getting an empire wormhole every now and then in order to aid logistics.
I settled down with a large supply of diet coke (no beers on a Friday night: I had a rugby game the next day) and headed for Essence, on the rather speculative basis that I was less likely to run into a portal that was being camped or even just plain used if I was in Gallente space compared to the packed slumlands of The Citadel or The Forge. I also stuck to highsec since that seemed to be more likely to give me a Class 1-3 hit.
I started probing and after half an hour of experimentation I got into a pattern. One thing that the guides – and they are mainly poor or our of date – were hazy on was that you should use Sisters Core Scanner probes. Not combat ones, which have half the strength. In order to get hits with my alt’s mediocre probing skills, even in a rigged buzzard with Sisters’ launcher and probes, I found myself having to use all 8 probes at 0.5AU range (their tightest setting) and with each exactly on top of the signature. A few days later I discovered my mistake, but this definitely slowed me up! It did, however, demonstrate a couple of things that the guides missed out, and which were less obvious once I used the correct probes:
– Being in the probe’s range is not enough: a probe’s proximity to the target signature matters.
– The probing process is partially chance-based: move one probe a single pixel and rescan; move it back again and rescan once more. You may drop from 90% to 72% or it may go to 100%.
There was no shortage of wormhole signatures to be probed in highsec. I was quite excited about jumping into the first one: I half-expected a bubble on the other side with fast-locking canes, inties and vagabonds awaiting me. As any seasoned wormhole dweller would no-doubt be unsurprised to hear, all I found was space.
Remembering to bookmark the entry hole (and to label it “Entry Wormhole”, for ease of getting out again once I had more than one probed down), I started looking around. This was a class 3 wormhole and taking a look at http://www.staticmapper.com/ I discovered that it had two static wormholes: a Class 2 and highsec. Perfect for logistics and for getting to empire the splendid hauls of riches out that I envisaged winning, while providing nice, easy content for when the wormhole got low on signatures. What luck!
The directional scanner quickly shattered my mood. Three towers on scan. Only one forcefield, though, so at least two were the victims of lost interest. Sadly, the active tower turned out to belong to Russians. More precisely, to a 100-man Russian corp in a Russian alliance, with 60-odd killmails as a corp so far this month. Less than me alone, but clearly not just carebears.
I wanted their wormhole, though, and there is more than one way to skin a cat, although most of them involve a lot of clawing and scratching and a visit from an animal protection officer. One guide had warned me not to warp to signatures until I was ready to run them, as they would then despawn more quickly. I know that the Russians respect scorched earth policies, especially as we enter winter. So I probed down every signature and warped to it, cloaked. Let’s see who can last longest. I then logged off in the wormhole.
The next day, I did the same thing. This took about 20 minutes, and I was faced with the reality that I had started a cold war with the Russians, and that although my side traditionally win these affairs, it can take a good forty or fifty years to do so, and more tanks than I have available on my budget. So scanned down the highsec static, bookmarked both sides, and left in search of a Plan B.
Lookit dat cliffhanger ending…