Thursday, 14 November 2013

Some Tips for Wormholes

I recently wrote a post on Reddit that was an answer to the question "I'm about to start playing in and around wormholes, what should I know?" (That wasn't the exact question, but close enough). I've seen this question pop up quite a few times, and I've especially taken notice now that I actually live in one myself. The reply I wrote (in my opinion) contained a lot of information, but it didn't really put it into a structured format or go into as much details as I'd have liked (that seems to be one of my common writing traits).
So here they are, fleshed out and in a (mostly) logical order. I hope they are useful to you. I've even included some pictures. And headings.

Your Ship and Skills

If you're new to wormholes, and/or scanning, do yourself a favour and use a bonused ship. That means a ship with bonuses to scanning, such as a Covert Ops ship (not a Stealth Bomber). You'll absolutely want to be using that Covert Ops cloak, so that you can actually warp around, so don't use one of the Exploration Frigates.

My advice to you is to use the Helios. It has a good slot layout, and ample CPU and PG. And it can use a Warrior II. I have fits for every Cov Ops, and the only one that sucks dick is the Cheetah. I just can't seem to get that fit to be as good as the others. Personally, I use the Helios. All of my characters can fly them, and I have like a dozen lying around all over the place.

In terms of fitting, use a bonused launcher and some of the 'new' scanning modules that go in your mid slots. You want every advantage you can when you're starting out. Once you get a little better, you can drop the scanning modules for other things like points and stuff. I pretty much still always use a Sister's Expanded Probe Launcher on all of my scanning ships, it gets a nice bonus, and gives you better fitting options. It can be a little pricey, but assuming you follow all of my tips, you shouldn't really be losing them very often, so it's money well spent.

Even if you don't use the best launcher, invest in the Sister's probes. You can use them in the normal launchers, and they aren't that expensive - especially now it's impossible to accidentally leave them behind.
Here's the fit I typically use:


[Helios, Scanning]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Overdrive Injector System II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Scan Pinpointing Array I
Scan Pinpointing Array I
Scan Rangefinding Array I
Scan Acquisition Array I

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher, Sisters Combat Scanner Probe

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I


Warrior II x1


For your skills, you'll obviously want them as high as you can, and it doesn't take that long to train them all to III. After that, putting in the time to train them to IV is worth it if you plan on scanning things on a regular basis.
In order of most useful to least useful goes like this:

Astrometics > Pinpointing > Aquisition > Rangefinding

That applies to the scanning modules too by the way. Training them all to V takes a long time and to be honest your SP is better off else where unless it's a dedicated scanning character.

Wormhole Navigation

If you have access to a wormhole mapper like Static Mapper or Vippy, use it. There is no reason to ever not use these utilities. Ever.

If you don't have access, and can't get access, make sure you are using a simple, effective way of  mapping where the fuck you go. I used to do this using a pen and paper and this very quickly escalated to my desk and immediate surrounding area in all directions being covered in little scraps of paper with random letters, numbers and arrows on them. I'd have been sectioned if any body had seen it.

I've seen people use Excel (or the free Google equivalent  or flow chart making software very successfully to do this.

Along side the mapping, it's very important to manage you ingame resources carefully as well. By resources, I'm referring to your bookmarks.

Moving around in wormholes requires bookmarks. There are no gates and if you lose the ability to find your way home, the only option is to self destruct (there is another option, but it involves humiliating yourself in a public way). If you lose your ship, and have no bookmarks, you're fucked.

This means that you will aquire a LOT of bookmarks. And it means that you will have to create and maintain a very disciplined bookmark system.
There are dozens of different ways of doing this, and every body has their own variation.

Firstly, you'll want to set yourself up some folders within your Bookmarks window (in People and Places, CTRL+E). 

You'll be wanting the following folders as a minimum (you can call them what you want):

Perches - Perches are bookmarks that allow you to "perch" off an item/area/object of interest. In K-Space (non WH space) this can include stations, gates, planets, moons, fight grids. You will still be visiting K Space, so having this folder allows you to keep your Bookmarks properly organised. In WH space, it can include perches off wormholes, off asteroid belts or sites, off anchored cans, off bubbles etc.

Safes - This is a bookmark that is in a safe place (duh). Somewhere that makes it hard to probe you and hard to D-Scan you and does everything in it's power to make sure no-one can warp to you. It's generally made in warp between two places, but good safes involve warping between two or three other safes to create better safes. I have an infographic for this (that I stole) and I'll write a piece on how to make them at some point.

Tacticals - This is the folder where you Insta-Docks and Insta-Undocks should go. If you don't use Insta bookmarks, you should. I also use this folder for tactical places in our HH, such as 200km from POS towers (in a few directions) and is we store the bookmarks for anchored cans in space

Hostile Towers - Whenever you run across a hostile tower, you should bookmark it. It's handy to know where the residents live, and if a new ship appears on D-Scan, you can easily check whether it's in the POS or not.
Sites -  If you scan something down, and then leave a system, you lose the scan result and can no longer warp to it. Unless you bookmark it and put it in this folder.

Get Home - To navigate in WH space, you will go through many many wormholes. You'll want to bookmark them all, or you'll spend your time forever scanning the wormhole you want to go to and never get anything done. The Get Home folder is used to make it very simple to navigate your way out of a wormhole chain. It doesn't matter if you live in WH space or K Space, you still want this folder. If a wormhole you go through connects directly to a wormhole in the direction of the system you live in, put the bookmark here.

Non Chain -  This is similar to the 'Get Home' folder, but is used for WH bookmarks that are not in your direct chain. For example, if I find an NS exit and I go a few jumps in a particular direction and scan out a new wormhole, this is not part of my home chain, so that bookmark and those that connect, are placed in this folder.

Once you have your folders set up, the second important thing to get used to doing is naming or labelling them properly. "Spot in J123456" is fucking useless to anybody as a bookmark label, and yet that's the default if you click "Add Location" and just click the yes option. You know what the default bookmark label for a wormhole is? "Wormhole". Fucking useful.

Create yourself a useful, easy labelling discipline. For example, within our corp, the bookmark in our Home Hole that leads to our static is always called "1% > SC3". 1% is the default label for any wormhole within our home, so we might also have "1% > NS" or "1% > C5". The SC3 part means that it is the static C3, so if we have a sporadic connection to our hole that is a C3, we can tell the difference.

On the other side of the hole, the label is reversed, so it would be "SC3 > 1%". I've seen very similar labelling that uses a reversed arrow rather than reversed items so it would be "1% > SC3" and "1% < SC3". I think that is a bit confusing, so I'm going to advise you not use that.

Let's just hold on a second here. I want to point out something very important. Very. Important.

Always bookmark both sides of the wormhole. Whenever you have a wormhole on your overview, the very first thing you should be thinking about is "Have I bookmarked this side of the hole?". This applies even if there is a 200 man gang waiting for you on the other side.

Now that's out of the way, what happens when your chain includes multiple wormholes of the same class? This is going to happen, there are only six wormhole classes so it's inevitable that in any wormhole chain there will be multiple holes with the same class. This becomes confusing when trying to remember which C3 was which. To get around it, label them individually like C3a, C3b, C3c.

Lastly, every wormhole has two states that change. Time and Mass. When you "Show Info" on a wormhole, it will display these states, and at what stage the state is. This is Eve, so it isn't as simple as that. It doesn't tell you "Expires in 3hrs 28mins" or "You can get 3 Battleships and 2 Cruisers through this hole before it collapses". Instead, there are set phrases it uses.

For the Time option, there are two stages - Normal and End Of Life. If it is EOL, you should label the bookmark as such, as it means that you might warp back and it's gone.

For the Mass option, there are three stages - Normal, Half and Critical. If the hole you find is at anything other than normal, this is an immediate red flag to you. If it's at half, it means that this hole is pretty active or that someone is in the middle of collapsing it. If it's critical, this is like a double quadruple red flag as it means the collapse is pretty imminent. You should probably avoid going through these holes for any length of time, if at all.

You should memorise the phrases that are used to notate these stages, and learn what they mean. There are lots of places you can find with Google that will explain them in detail.

Every time you go to a wormhole, you should be checking this information, and changing your bookmark label if necessary.

Just for clarification so that you don't forget.

Always bookmark both sides of the wormhole. Whenever you have a wormhole on your overview, the very first thing you should be thinking about is "Have I bookmarked this side of the hole?".

Another thing to avoid doing is labelling things you scan by their signatures. You should note what signature is what within what ever system you are using to map your chain (so that you notice new ones) but the signatures (such as ABC-123) change at downtime so are completely unreliable.

Finally, don't forget to clean your bookmarks out every now and again. At some point in the future, you will end up in a system for the second time, and if your old bookmarks are still in your folders, you're going to get very confused.

Polarisation

This mechanic seems complicated, but its really not once you get your head around it.

Unlike gates in K-Space, you cannot endlessly jump backwards and forwards between wormhole systems. If you jump through the same wormhole twice in a quick succession (within a 5 minute window), you will be polarised. This means you cannot jump through it again until that 5 minutes has expired. This can mean that you die. They also don't care about your aggression timer, so you can shoot something and then immediately jump through the wormhole.

This is known as running away and is frowned upon.
  
Being Eve, there is no obvious way of knowing you are polarised until you try to jump through and are given a rude NO YOU CANNOT DO THIS pop up. You are now uncloaked by the way. The pop up will at least tell you how much longer you have to wait, but please don't sit there uncloaked until this time has expired. Unless you are in my wormhole, in which case, please do.

Moving Around

OK, you've come through a wormhole. What do you do first? You bookmark this side? Good. Now what?

Well, firstly, you'll give your D-Scan a hit and see what's up. Your D-Scan should be using your current overview settings (the tick box at the top, ticked) and your overview should include the following:
  • Control Towers - If you see a Control Tower on D-Scan, but no forcefield, the tower is offline.
  • Forcefields
  • Ships - Ships will show up, even if unpiloted. If they are on scan, and you don't see a control tower, you can kill them (or them you)
  • Wrecks - Wrecks indicate that someone is, or recently has been, killing sleepers.
  • Bubbles - Bubbles are bad news.
One you've got an initial idea of what's in your immediate vicinity, the first thing most people do is drop probes. Don't do this. Burn off the hole and cloak. Then hit F10 on your keyboard, your max D-Scan range is 14-and a bit-AU. From your current location, is every celestial in the system within 14-and a bit-AU? Probably not. Warp (cloaked) to the celestials that are outside your D-Scan range, so that they are in your D-Scan range, and D-Scan. Check the whole system this way so you have a fairly comprehensive idea of whether the system is active or not.

Once this is done, choose a celestial that has the least amount of activity (preferably nothing on D-Scan at all). Once there, you can uncloak and drop your probes. Immediately cloak again, and go back to your F10 screen. Move your probes way the fuck away from anything and hit scan. By doing this, you are making your probes leave your current grid, and not be on anyone's D-Scan. Just because you haven't seen any activity does not mean people are not active. I've made several kills by warping somewhere, seeing a bunch of probes sat doing nothing and then proceeded to decloak whatever was sat in the middle of them.

Once your probes are gone, warp somewhere where you have the largest coverage of the system with your D-Scan. This will generally be somewhere near the centre. Don't warp at 0, and don't warp at 100.
Now you can start scanning. Be methodical about it, I generally scan all the signatures on the outside of the system and work inwards. Some people work through the signatures alphabetically. It doesn't matter how you do it, just be methodical about it. Whenever you scan down a new wormhole, don't bookmark it from your scanning window, warp to it at range, and bookmark it from your overview.

When you bookmark something from your scanning window, you are bookmarking a general location, so when you warp to it, you will not land at 0. you will land anywhere between 2-7,000m away. If you are being chased, this is bad. If you bookmark it from your overview, you will warp at 0.

You can bookmark Gas, Relic and Data sites if you really want to but you probably aren't in the position to run them. We'll get onto why later.

Another handy thing to bookmark is all the anomalies. You don't need to scan these down, but they disappear once they've been run. If you are transiting the same WH later on, and you notice a Noctis on scan, but not at a tower, he's probably at a despawned site, salvaging the wrecks. Luckily, you have this bookmark, so you can find him and kill him. If you do bookmark the sites, you should probably have a separate folder for them, as you will find systems with dozens of anomalies.

You should always scan out all of the signatures while you're there. If you find a WH half way through the scan, jump through to see what it is and come back, you have to go through the whole rigmarole of dropping your probes again. Only once everything is scanned and bookmarked should you start investigating what you've found.

Whilst in a wormhole, you should be cloaked as much as possible. Whenever you uncloak, someone can see you and someone can find you. Your Local window doesn't display who is in local unless they speak, so if you're cloaked, you are invisible.

Another important thing that I think is important so I'm going to make it oversized and bold is:

Always, always, always assume you are being watched and followed by something or someone that can kill you. Act accordingly.

OK. Wormholes are not only fun to explore, and lead to awesome places, but they are also pretty profitable. That's why people live in them right? Right.

They way you make most of your money in Wormholes is by killing Sleepers. Sleepers are NPC ships, much like the NPC ships you find in K-Space, except they're mean motherfuckers. They have no shield, only armor and hull. Unlike it K-Space, they also have omniresists and put out omnidamage, meaning you cannot stack your defensive modules in to a particular type and tank them. 

They point, neut, scream, web and target paint too. And even the frigate sized Sleepers put out an absurd amount of damage. What I'm trying to say is don't try and kill Sleepers unless you know what you're doing, and never try and do it in your Cov Ops frigate, because you will die.


I was going to write about Wormhole Mass, How to Make Money without Dying and Wormhole Effects, but I've already written enough words for today so you'll have to wait for a second part.

3 comments:

  1. Lots of information here, but some pictures to help with the wall of text is always nice. Hope our holes meet some time.

    ~Delois

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to do some pictures and add them before I posted it tonight, but then I stated scanning chains and ran out of time...

      Delete
  2. Good overview. I look forward to reading the rest.

    ReplyDelete

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