Greedy Goblin

Monday, November 25, 2013

Basic WH navigation guide

Before anything else: this is some quality moron. I mean not many people can lose a 42B Jump freighter to a single war enemy... OK, a 18B, zero tank Caracal is also remarkable act of stupidity. A 5B pod in a null ratting battlecruiser is minor fail compared to them. Now to the point!

Wormhole space itself isn’t that different from an average stationless NPC nullsec system. There is a star, planets, moons, anomalies with rats, ore and signatures. The largest difference is that there isn’t any local channel.

The big difference is navigation between the systems. In NPC nullsec, there are static gates in every system which show up on your overview. You warp to it, jump and you are in another system. Which system it is is written on the stargate. This is the same navigation that we learned on day 1, jumping from the newbie system to the career agent system. Later we also learned that one can jump or bridge to another nearby system using a jump bridge, a titan, a blackops battleship or any jump capable system, assuming there is another bridge pos or cyno ship present in the destination.

In WH space none of them exist. On the other hand you have wormholes. They are somewhat similar to stargates. You click on it, select jump and after a session change (no tunnel animation), you are in another system. Click again and you are back. However a wormhole is different from a stargate in several ways:
  • It is temporary, sooner or later it disappears and a new one will appear.
  • Every time one appears, it leads to a different place. The only way to figure out where is jumping in.
  • It has a ship mass limit. The smallest ones are limited to 20M kg, which is battlecruiser sized, the largest ones can transport a capital ship. The mass calculation is somewhat weird, counts the hull and the active modules, but not the offline modules or cargo.
  • It also has a total mass limit. When enough ships jumped on it, it closes.
  • You can jump and jump back. Then you get polarized and can’t jump for 5 minutes.
  • It can't be seen on the overview, unless you are on grid. To find it, you must probe it down and bookmark.
Let’s start with the last point, because it makes probe scanning the most basic activity of WH life. You must scan in wormhole space. At first you need a ship with a probe scanner. Practically any ship can equip it, but you are much better off using a covops frigate, a Sisters of EVE ship or a strategic cruiser, because they can travel cloaked while you are busy with the scanning interface and because they are bonused for scanning. To find a signature, you must boost its signal strength to 100%. It can be done by moving probes on it. The closer range the probes are, the stronger they are. This strength is modified by bonuses. Use faction (Sister of EVE) probe launcher and core probes. Use the scanning, covops and nullifying subsystems on a T3. Use scan strength rigs and/or scan bonusing midslot items. Learn the Astrometrics skills to 4 at least. Learning them to 5 is lengthy but give you access to T2 scanning medslot items.

Look around, dscan, decloak, launch your probes and cloak back. Activate the probe scanner interface. You will see the approximate positions of signatures as big red spheres. Move your probes to pinpoint formation, center them to the sphere center. Increase their range so they engulf the sphere:

Press scan and the probes gather data. Depending on your scan strength, probe range and the signature itself, you either get a red dot, or a yellow marker. Realign your probes on the dot/marker and decrease their range by one magnitude. You can also get a red circle or two red dots. In this case move the formation to its middle and try scanning without range decrease first. Sooner or later you get a yellow marker. It means that the type of the signature is known, for example I found a gas site (the red sphere belongs to another signature):

You can ignore signatures that you don’t care for, they disappear from the map and the list. You can undo ignore at the bottom of the list. When you found a signature you are interested in, keep recentering probes and decrease their range until you get green marker and 100%:

Congratulations, you’ve found a Wormhole! Let’s go and have a look. Warp to it to 100. Warping to zero isn’t accurate, you have to bookmark the WH on grid. Also, you need time to evaluate if you really want to jump, it’s better done from the distance.
It’s pretty, no doubt. And the color holds information, as it conveys the background color of the zone it leads to. It has a name “Z647”. It’s not just some random nonsense, this name is important. Go to the official Wormhole Wiki and search for this code. It will say:

The header is the most important. It tells that this wormhole will go to a Class 1 system. “Static” means that the Class 2 wormhole where I found it always have one of these Z647s leading to one randomly selected C1 system. The data also says that it won’t be there for more than 16 hours and maximum 20M kg ships can use it. If you “show info” the wormhole, it will also tell if it’s in the beginning, middle or end of its life and also if it has already transported many ships and in the risk of collapsing.

You’ll often find K162 wormholes. They are not a separate type, they are the “exit” side of every wormholes. After I jumped in the Z647 and looked back, I saw a K162. If you scan down a K162, you can only guess where it goes, the only way to be sure is to blindly jump into it. "Show info" will at least tell you it what kind of system leads to. As you will start scanning in normal space, you just jump system after system, scanning down signatures until you find one. It will most likely be a K162. Jump, and you are in wormhole space! Bookmark the hole, warp to a celestial and cloak up. It’s time to figure out where the hell are we!

First, have an overview with ships and probes. Make a dscan to see if anyone is nearby. Don’t forget that WH residents don’t show up on the local channel. Secondly, have an overview with moons, towers and force fields. Dscanning that will tell how many towers are around. Towers indicate residents. Towers without force fields are abandoned. By decreasing the dscan range or orientation, you can match the tower with its moon and warp to it to have a look and determine which corp owns it. These guys definitely don’t like visitors, they have lot of guns:

Like every system, ones in WH space have a name, displayed in the usual position of your screen. I was in J121323. So I went and checked its statistics on dotlan. The header tells that it a Class 2 system with limited PvE and PvP activity. You can look up its kills on zkillboard.

Would you like to live in this hole? I didn’t, because its static doesn’t lead to normal space. So I moved on and found another candidate. Scanned down all of its signatures. Came back the next day and found everything unscanned. Why? Because the signatures lose their name over downtime, but not their location. You can see that the wormhole from yesterday is right where I left it, but unscanned. However I could warp to its bookmark. I could also rescan it easily by centering short range probes on the bookmark location. This is a good way to have every signature known in your system.

With scanning, bookmarks, Wiki, Dotlan and Zkillboard you can easily find your way in WH space.

Personal note: Why did I go to WH space? There is no announced project yet and may never will be. Remember, that my planned society is rich and if there isn’t enough income in living in WH, it can’t work. While WH people throw around obscene amount of ISK/hour numbers about capital escalations, the situation isn’t that rosy, otherwise WHs wouldn’t be the least populated zones.

The problem is that for a trader, miner or missioner, the ISK/hour of his activity is his final number. I mean that on the peak of my income, when I had no other gameplay, I logged on, updated orders and transported for two and a half hours and logged off. In a month 50B income, 30*2.5 hours, 670M/hour, period. An Empire miner or missioner can do the same. But a null and especially a WH player can’t just log in, rat, log off. Items they need must be transported, this is especially hard deep down the rabbit hole. Sleepers don’t even give bounties, you must haul everything to Jita first to get money. Also, the space isn’t there for free, Sov and POS fuel costs must be paid. PvP isn’t an optional, “for fun” activity, you must fleet up and defend your space from invaders (or pay rent). Finally group activities (like capital escalations) always contain significant amount of waiting for other players. All these times must be calculated into the ISK/hour.

My plan is to look around and figure out what the actual income number is. Any further step depends on what I find, as the income must be significantly higher than highsec AFK mining or missioning.


Another Byte on the Web said...

Why do you still care about ISK? I mean, as much as it provides a nice number with which to measure success, it is not a very useful metric after a certain point – after all, there is not much you can do with 200B that you can't do with 50B.

Maybe you should try establishing different objectives? Differently from most MMORPGs, EVE lacks clear final objectives, functioning much more like a sandbox. Maybe your unsatisfaction with your prospect for projects stem from this.

For instance, instead of trying to make a profit from WH, you might try your hand in seeing how long you can protect a given WH space with a single account. Or maybe some rethinking about how these zones are valued – what are different ways to earn ISK from WH beyond the trivial mining/rating exploits. The thing is, it is almost impossible to beat trading income in the state the game is in now.

Anonymous said...

@ Another Byte on the Web

You can't buy many T2 BPOs for 50b, you can build a Titan with 50b, can't build many capital ships with 50b, you can't fully utilize a large POS researching capital BPOs with 50b (excluding the characters, PLEX, POS). There's lots more things you can do with 200b.

Anonymous said...

I think you've given yourself an invalid objective, since you'll need a team od players (or accounts if you multibox) to maximize income from higher class wormholes. By being solo, you pretty much sabotage your goal.

maxim said...

I second the "why do you care about ISK" notion.

Specificall, why is ISK / hour is an important metric to you? What do you plan to do with all the accumulated ISKs?

Otherwise - good guide on WH space. I've been needing one of those.

Paul Dejean said...

He cares about isk because isk allows you to replace dreads when you lose them.

Any organization trying to effect the big picture is going to lose dreads.

Anonymous said...

Just a heads up, people camp places where c1 exits like to show up, so starting up the pain in the butt will be stealth bombers, no local to see someone come and they camp above or below axis so you never see anything on d-scan. They sneak on in point you and all their buddies who were hiding off scanner range warp in and take out the fleet.

Anonymous said...

There are several problems.

You cannot say "because hardly anyone does it, it is not rosy". Trading is THE most AFK way to get isk in game, yet the number of people doing this as a main source of income is relatively small.
The same is true for several other gameplay styles.

People are not in wormholes for a number of reasons.

Secondly "I make X/hr" is meaningless without a base behind it. People see "I make 1b/day from trading" and never ask "how much are you investing for that return"
So, you make 50b/month...from what base investment each month? From 5b, 10b, 50b, 100b?
From how many characters? This is what also puts new traders off. You say "I make 50b a month", and they think you do it with one char only.

Anyway, wrt wormholes. As Another Byte said, find another metric :)
Isk is relatively meaningless, go for "number of wh systems I can control"

Anonymous said...

Isk is gevlons way of evaluating the various ways to play eve.
Its safe to say that he has been on MMOs for a long time and he doesn't just jump into stuff that does not make a difference.

Anonymous said...

@ Another Byte of the Web: "The thing is, it is almost impossible to beat trading income in the state the game is in now."

You can make upwards of 100-150m/hour per account doing Incursions and you have people multiboxing 10 accounts doing them.

There's also faction warfare missions which net net around 500m/hour per account (at a good tier) and scales as much as you have skill (think up to 6-8 accounts).

Anonymous said...

200B could buy a couple of titans. 50B could not.

Gevlon said...

ISK matters because without it you can only attract lolpvpers.

Without serious targets making serious ISK, no serious PvP-er can come and the whole zone drowns in frigate idiots.

Anonymous said...

1) Note that a single dscan won't see the entire system. Max dscan range is approx 14AU (slightly higher in reality). Make sure you dscan everything before dropping probes.

2) - is a wormhole-specific data aggregator that can give you class/static information as well as dotlan, eve-kill and other activity stats at a glance.

Anonymous said...

My experience with wormhole space is not extensive by any means, but I have lived in a C2 system for several months on two occasions. But I've got a couple comments about your article:

First off, due to the sporadic nature of wormhole sites you'll find that isk/hour can be a tough metric to use but it is doable. The only thing you can count on in wormholes sites is the fact that you'll have days where there are no spawns in your system except your static wormhole(s). And if you only work the sites in your home system, you'll find that you won't make much isk.

Second, you mentioned Sov and Rent costs. There is no Sov in w-space, so no need for TCUs, IHubs or paying Sov bills. But no Sov means no Sov fuel bonus either, so the towers burn fuel without the Sov discount. As far as renting goes, I don't know of any w-space renting organizations. I think many groups just go in and find an unused system and just move in.

Good luck wormholing. So how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Von Keigai said..., and staticmapper are both good sites for information about a system. Whenever you enter a new system, you ought to know its static, system effect (if any), and activity level. also gives you useful guesses of who lives there.

Do not rely on getting income from your home system. You can get a modest income in C4. (My system averages about a site per day, mostly combat sites, so maybe 500m per week if you run them all.) But C4 anoms are, I would guess, the most heavily farmed; that is, they have the highest spawn rate. C3 systems get a lower spawn rate of less-valuable sites. In C1 and C2 the sites are hardly worth running, and there many systems where they pile up.

What matters in C1-C4 wspace is your static. You get a new static once per day without even doing anything, and it takes 5 minutes to roll your hole (except C1). You can generate as many systems as you want. Any PVE-based wspace income scheme worth talking about relies on the infinite supply of sites available across the static. And you will want at least a C3 static, because the basic sleepers (C1/C2) just are not worth much.

(I have not lived in C5 or C6. However my impression from occasionally being up there is that there are a lot of empty systems. As such, the spawn rate is going to be depressed compared to C4. On the other hand, you can milk capital escalations four times per site. So it might not matter that much that there are fewer of them. Get a good group of guys and perfect your capital escalation procedure, and you should generate quite a bit. Even so, having a static in C5/C6 is still going to be exploitable.)

You do not have to farm sleepers to make decent income in wspace. The other thing to do is get a good farming system and farm. PI is great in wspace. It does not scale perfectly, but you can fit a lot of bases per planet without too many problems. You can also do everything one does at POSes: reactions, manufacturing of all kinds, research, etc. Gas worth sucking is available in all levels. It is in good supply in C3 and up. And lots of very expensive gas is available in C5+. And rocks worth mining appear on all levels. There is no mercocet but there are all the other ores.

Anonymous said...

As has been said before you sabotage yourself by going alone. Only c1-c3 sites can be solo'ed effectively, higher class wormholes require a group effort.

The ISK/h numbers that get thrown around for capital escalations are usually accurate. The big challenge of w-space is that when you are the only one in your corp/alliance online you can't do ANYTHING (other than cycling whs and looking for interesting connections).

WH corps work quite similar to raiding guilds in WoW. Even in a hardcore raiding guild you can't just log in and raid, in fact you won't be able to raid with your guild most of the time that you could theoretically be online. Only if 9-24 other players in your guild are online at the same time you can do any raiding and earn shiny purples. So you set up a raiding schedule that limits you to raiding on only 3-5 days per week only for a few hours each and yet - you will still sometimes end up in situations where not enough people end up for a scheduled raid (and in contrast to WoW raiding you can't just pug a spot or two in your w-space corp).

Casual raiding guilds in WoW usually die to too small bench sizes and RL commitments as they might not be able to get a full raid together for an entire week or two as soon as 2-3 of their members are busy irl. Casual w-space corps that try to live in c4 and above tend to die the same way.

Anonymous said...

A couple thoughts/corrections...
warping 100 to a new wh is a waste if you want to do anything but BM it, 20 is the norm, but not 10 since the sig and the WH are not physically in the same place and can vary upto 5k meaning you could warp right on top of the WH at 10k.
Finding a K162 indicates not only an exit, but that someone has scanned INTO your wh and might or might not be wandering about in your wh.
Keep in mind nearly all C1/C2/C3 wh that exit to HS are heavily occupied, try one with a LS exit if you don't want to start with a fight, Moving in solo is perfectly doable, but multiboxing to close unwanted holes (roll them daily, and keep track of the sig names) and run sites, even mining the ores efficiently you'll need 3-4 toons (not all the time, but at your disposal) lastly once you set down roots, thrown in a disposable scan alt from a diff toon as your last ditch scan alt, who can get you back in if your main toons get themselves podded.

GL out there

Anonymous said...

"Without serious targets making serious ISK, no serious PvP-er can come and the whole zone drowns in frigate idiots."

Well, conversely, as WH PVP isn't drowned in frigate idiots, people must be making serious ISK.

The difference is the sporadic nature of it - you log in, scan your chain for the day and then see what you have available to do - be it cap escalations, null/wh pvp, or logistics or whatever.

Von Keigai said...

I have posted some numbers on the economics of C4 PVE earnings that you might find useful over at my blog.

Anonymous said...

Towers without forcefields are traps. Usually used to get full moon coverage as an early warning system of an invasion (as an eviction is almost always started with dropping a tower...)... but one with guns and no forcefield could be "woken up" quickly and end your journey into WH space pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gevlon and everyone.
this helped a lot! maybe I start looking into WH space. till now I got the impression better to ignore it. but the static thing seems to be another way to travel around.