Exploring for ISK - It pays the bills
Exploration in EVE Online is a not-so-simple gameplay feature that has the power to make or break you. As the resident Chaplain in my own corporation, I like to say “Bob giveth, and Bob taketh away“, meaning that while the RNG (random number generator, which determines just about everything and we personify as ‘Bob’ in our own pseudo-religion fueled by wormhole craziness) can bless you with awesome sites, you may also end up rolling into a populated wormhole and getting popped before you know what has happened.
In this article, I aim not to preach, but to give tips,tricks, and information about scanning that may save your ship, your cargohold, your pod, and your dignity.
Cosmic Anomalies: These are sites that you don’t have to scan down to access but include combat sites featuring hostile NPCs and are often ran to make isk via PVE, referred to as “krabbing”. These sites are of no use for exploration, so you may safely ignore cosmic anomalies by using the “filter” option in the probe scan window.
Cosmic Signatures: These are locations in space that you have to scan down with core scanner probes to access. There are a few types of cosmic signatures, but not all of them are of interest to someone who wants to scan for profit. These start their lives as red lines that progress to yellow and then finally green as you scan them.
Combat Sites: Much like the combat sites in the Cosmic Anomalies tab, these sites contain hostile NPCs that can be killed to make money. Some sites, such as The Maze (found in NullSec; be careful, anyone can shoot you), can be bookmarked and sold in a contract.
Gas Sites: Features clouds of gas that are mined for profit using specialized harvesters and mining ships. Provided you can clear the 1-time spawn of hostile NPCs and not get killed by other players, one ore-hold in a Venture can cover any losses if you were to be killed.
Relic Sites: These are your bread and butter as an explorer and require a Relic Analyzer module to access, following a hacking minigame. Relic Sites can contain untold millions of isk in a single can, ready to be taken by any entrepreneur skilled enough to seek them out. They are found in every aspect of space, including wormholes, with the most profitable sites being found in NullSec and Wormhole space. For any self-respecting explorer, maximum profit is the goal, so don’t be afraid to take a cheap ship wormhole diving to find your fortune. The rule of thumb regarding Relic sites is thus: If it’s faction (Angel, Guristas, etc), it’s safe. If it’s not (Forgotten Frontier, etc), don’t mess with it, you will die.
Data Sites: These are the little brother of Relic Sites and are accessed after passing a hacking minigame by using a Data Analyzer module. They’re like the relative locked away in the basement when company comes over because they’re rather embarrassing. Simply put, Data sites are not worth the time to do because they are not as profitable as their relic counterpart.
There are a few exceptions to this, however: Covert Research Facilities, Abandoned Research Complexes, and Sleeper Caches.
Covert Research Facilities: These sites contain 4 cans that can contain expensive blueprints and parts and can spawn anywhere. The downside to these sites is that failing a can will cause it to explode destroy your shiny new scanning frigate or NPCs will spawn if you linger for too long and will blow up both you and the cans.
Tips for Covert Research Facilities (Ghost Sites):
- Warp to the site cloaked. (Omega Characters)
When a pilot warps to the site uncloaked or decloaks within the site, a timer is started. This timer is somewhere around 2 minutes for one pilot and seems to extend with more players in the site. This will allow you to get within range of a target can and save precious seconds
- DON’T GET GREEDY
Pace yourself and be aware of your time. If you’ve just taken forever to pop a single can, do not be afraid to warp away from the site and end it right there. That extra can will never be worth losing everything because you can’t make it out
- If you’re about to fail a hack, warp out.
These cans explode and do a large amount of damage when you fail them. Rather than lose your ship, just keep a calm head and warp while keeping the minigame window open. This will cause the can to explode after you have warped, as it considers any closing of the window or disconnection as a failure. Do not come back to the site after this, as you will probably die.
- Use the “Keep at Range” or “Orbit” option to avoid a disconnect.
Data and Relic analyzers have a range of 5,000 meters and cannot function past that. If you are hacking a can and stray farther than 5,000 meters, you will be disconnected from the minigame and the can will explode.
- For the Advanced Miser: Take a cargo scanner to scan all the cans and determine the best loot.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Just scan it and pick which one is the one you want. Do bear in mind that this will cost you precious seconds.
Abandoned Research Complexes (Drone Data Sites):
These sites are found only in the “Drone Regions” in NullSec. (Cobalt Edge, Perrigen Falls, Malpais, Oasa, Kalevala Expanse, Outer Passage, Etherium Reach, and The Spire) This means that other players will have no problem finding you and killing you, so always be prepared to run or fight. The site contains 3 containers to hack, but can contain valuable drone parts and BPCs. Failing these cans will not cause the can to be destroyed, but may spawn 3 hostile NPCs. Their damage is negligible and a single light drone will be enough to destroy them. You will not be able to hack again until they are destroyed. This site can also escalate into another drone site, which will be indicated by a message in the “Local” chat.
Sleeper Cache sites:
These sites spawn only in known space (Sorry wormholers) and present many dangers to the brave explorers attempting to access their treasures. There are three variants (Limited, Standard, and Superior) with their own size limitations and dangers. The only advice I can give is this: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS. When I first started as an explorer, the clouds of gases killed me long before I figured out what was going on. Good spatial awareness will save your life.
EVE Wiki site guides:
Limited Sleeper Cache: https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Limited_Sleeper_Cache
Standard Sleeper Cache: https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Standard_Sleeper_Cache
Superior Sleeper Cache: https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Superior_Sleeper_Cache
Wormholes: Essentially, wormholes are tunnels through space that can take you to another area of space. Wormhole space has no jump gates and is only accessible via wormholes. That being said, if you lose your probes due to disconnect or something equally crappy and have no bookmarks to show you the way, your options are to A) Kill yourself or B) Contact Eve Scout Rescue and hope to god you’re lucky. There is no “Local” chat and no way to determine if anyone is nearby other than use of the Directional Scan. Players can easily sneak up on you if you aren’t paying attention.
Wormholes have their own classification system and this determines what it contains. C1-C3 wormholes are your friend. Any other classification (Besides Shattered Holes) is useless to you unless you want to Krab or Jew. These wormholes will have a chance to spawn those delicious faction relic sites that we love and can even give you more connections to lower class wormholes. More wormholes = more money.
Shattered Wormholes are a special wormhole in which sites from all classes of wormhole can spawn. These are typically larger and contain a very large amount of both Cosmic Signatures and Cosmic Anomalies. These are a gold mine as long as you can keep your wits about yourself and stay safe from others.
For more information:
Hacking is a minigame encountered when trying to access Data and Relic containers. The objective of the game is to traverse nodes to reach the system core and destroy it. When you uncover a node, you will uncover tools/perks, defensive subsystems, or a number telling you how far you are from something useful (Think minesweeper).
Hacking is pretty straightforward, with EVE Uni covering it pretty well.
The one trick for hacking that will make your life easy and help you hack the most is The Rule of 6. The rule of six is pretty simple: Any node completely surrounded by other nodes (all 6 sides, hence “rule of 6”) will almost ALWAYS be safe. The one exception is if the System Core is in the immediate vicinity of or occupying that node. Using this method will save time and frustration, hopefully increasing the isk you can make.
- Always use D Scan
The Directional scan will save your life time and again if you just pay attention to it. In wormhole space, it is your only friend. Make sure to have the angle set on 360 degrees and spam the hotkey for it all the time. If you see probes, feel free to adjust the distances to see if your site is being scanned down. If not, you may have a bit more time to get that last can and get out
- Use the “Keep at Range” option
Something that I have found effective when hacking cans is to use the “Keep at Range” option to stay 2250m away from a container. This keeps me close enough to loot a can without moving, but far enough away to activate my cloaking device if I need to.
- Use common sense.
When making a decision ask yourself: Is it worth losing my ship? Chances are, that last can or that next site might not be too appealing when you know someone is actively hunting you.
- Offload your cargo
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That next site you scan may have someone waiting in it to kill you. Cut your losses and make that extra trip somewhere safe when you find yourself with an expensive cargohold. Your wallet will thank you.
Thanks for the read and fly safe! o7
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