Intro To WSpace 101 (And Myself)Posted: 2010-03-16
Well, it certainly has been an interesting couple of weeks for me in regards to online gaming.
Ahem, right. First things first. My name is JB, and I am a recent transplant into our humble corporation. To continue:
I was, in the past, a huge PC gamer. I’m going to unfortunately date myself somewhat here, but my gaming beginnings as a kid (on the PC anyway, my console beginnings were on the old Atari 2600) were back in the Doom era, which I ran (a relative term) on a 33Mhz 486SX with a 4Mb RAM upgrade. It came with 2Mb. And I believe a 54Mb hard drive that chattered like a pair of wind up teeth when in use. A lovely 5.25″ drive (for which disks seemed to always be corrupt) and a 3.5″ drive rounded out the presentation, along with a blaring (certainly not blazing) 2800 baud modem and Prodigy pre-installed. Did I mention it was a Packard Bell?
I’ve always had an affinity for the science fiction genre, both in and outside of gaming. StarControl II was an obsession early on, moving to X-Wing, then TIE Fighter, Privateer, Wing Commander, and finally Freespace, where the spaceship-shooting-an-invading-force-in-the-face-repeatedly genre seemed to die. There, of course, has been Egosoft’s X series, with its fun(?) interface as well as hours and hours of repeated poor battle mechanics. But, as I’ve aged, I have, like the opposite of any good cheese, gotten mellower. The concept of a game where I could hop on for a few hours, do something that felt like useful progress, hop off, and not be too terribly concerned with it appealed to me. So, last year I tried EVE.
I wasn’t a big fan.
Really, it was the lack of a skill queue that killed me the first time around. I couldn’t stand wasting hours of perfectly usable skill training time because I was at the day gig. I didn’t like the fact that the game punished you for having a life outside of itself. So, I played for a couple months, but left fairly dissatisfied overall.
This brings us to now. Blake, a good friend of mine for almost 20 years now, had been keeping me updated with his various adventures in EVE over the last year, sending me interesting screenshots and tidbits about the goings on within his slice of the heavens. He then mentioned his interaction with wormhole space, which piqued my interest. But then, however, he spoke of the skill queue, which sealed the deal for me. I was back on, and not only that, but my character from before, which did have some 1.3M skill points already, was still stored and I was able to jump right back in where last I stopped. As is the video game parlance of our times, woot.
I spent a day or two wandering about KSpace, gathering up the various extremely valuable assets I had spread about (such as my powerful Bantam), and proceeded to grab some skill books up with the generous loan of ISK Blake passed in my direction. Unsure of what to do exactly after that, he suggested I join up with his corp and head out of the great known into the great unknown. So, with a total lack of reticence and understanding I waited for a way to get to them (a route to empire, as they called it), which eventually came, a day or so later.
This all is a really wordy way of getting to what I really want to get to, but I like words, and I like to put them to paper, digital or otherwise. The real moral of the story here is that I was totally unprepared for the WSpace universe. Now, thankfully, I’ve had a great group of chaps to fly with who have been more than willing to explain to the unwashed neophyte what in the name of all that is holy and good (or unholy and evil, whichever way you may swing) they are talking about. So, without further lexical assailment, here are some terms and things to know for your first WSpace trek with friends or, hopefully not, with enemies.
WSpace has its own special breed of jargon the learning curve of which seems nearly unapproachable at first taste. That being said, however, there are easy explanations for these when space permits, which it does not inside of an EVE chat window.
C1-C6: Wormholes are separated into six classes that indicate the relative danger level of the space you may be heading into. A C1 wormhole leads to space that is not terribly dangerous, in WSpace terms, whereas the rats in a C6 will eat a solo player for breakfast. What becomes slightly confusing is that the term can refer to the space you are in (“We’re in a C3 right now”) or the wormhole that leads to that space (“Are we going to head into that C3?”).
Static, Static Wormhole: The game mechanics behind the WSpace wormhole system are very fascinating and highly intriguing, although a full documentation of them is not really necessary yet (but will be forthcoming in a later article). However, it is good to know what a static is. Every WSpace system contains at least one wormhole that will always, always be there. It does, however, still abide by the the usual time constraints of a wormhole, that is usually 16 or 24 hours, give or take a little. How can this be so, how can it both always be there and also be impermanent? Well, once the wormhole expires, a new one immediately spawns in its place, with two caveats. Firstly, the new wormhole will not be in the same location as the old one except by chance, and secondly, the new wormhole will not lead to the same system. So then, why is it static? A WSpace’s static wormhole will always lead to the same class of space, no matter what. If, within your system, is contained a static C3 (combining terms, smart, eh?), that means that wormhole will always exist somewhere in your system and will always lead to a C3 WSpace system.
Sleepers: You’ve got rats in null security space, and the analog to those in WSpace are the Sleepers. They bring big guns and drop loot when you make them go boom. Few in C1 systems, many and large in C6.
Directional, or just “dir”: More experienced players will know this, I did not. This refers to your directional system scanner, which can be accessed by clicking the icon underneath your cargo icon on the left side of your ship control panel. The icon looks like a radial radar sweep display. You’ll get a new window, and within it the directional system scanner. A preface: in WSpace, there is no local chat. That is to say, you do not appear on local chat until you say something, which no one does. In order to determine if you have other players in system, it is necessary to use the directional scanner. Set the range of the directional to maximum by entering a ludicrously large number in the range field, and set the angle to 360 degrees, and uncheck the box “Use Overview Settings.” This will insure that your scanner is scanning in a 360 degree sphere around you and out to 14AU. There are various recommendations on how best to sort your directional. Experiment and see what doesn’t get you killed.
Grav, Mag, Ladar, Radar: These are the various exploratory sites that are available in game. These sites spawn in system and offer some different PvE experiences for the player. All sites have some Sleepers; how many is determined by what class system you are in. Gravitational sites harbor asteroids for mining, Magnetometric sites offer relics and salvage for archeologists and salvagers, Ladar sites offer gas clouds for mining, and Radar sites offer locked cans for hackers.
Scan, scan down: Before a site can be warped to and explored, it must be fully scanned using the scanner probe system (the operation of which is somewhat outside the scope of this article). Additionally, wormholes cannot be warped to until fully scanned also. This process is usually referred to as scanning down.
Activate & Open / Clear a site: Each of the aforementioned exploration sites have a limited shelf life before they disappear. The timer for this shelf life begins when any ship warps to the site, and generally is in the region of about 4 days. Once a ship warps to a site, it is referred to as being activated. To open or clear a site refers to the process of destroying the sleepers that spawn at the site. Once opened or cleared, the site remains free of sleepers for the duration of the site.
Route out, route to empire: Getting a route from the WSpace system you are currently in and high security KSpace space is obviously very important to maintain your presence in the WSpace system. This is called getting a route out or getting a route to empire, and may involve traversing through several wormholes. Shop while you can, as these routes tend not to last terribly long for various logistical reasons as well as possible wormhole expiration issues.
BM, BMs in can: Because sites and wormholes are transient and ever changing, the only possible mode of navigation through them is through the bookmark system, or BM. Bookmark everything you must, especially wormhole entrances and exit, as you don’t want to navigate away from them without having a spot to warp back to. Just because you have jumped through a WH does not mean it will appear on your right-click local warp-to menu. In fact it won’t ever appear there unless you put it there, by way of a bookmark. BMs in can refer to the fact that somebody has stowed the bookmarks for the system you are inhabiting in a cargo container, so you can use them. Getting them is slightly counter-intuitive. Take them from the container and drop them in your cargo bay. Then, open your People & Places, and drop it in there. To make sure a copy remains, Shift+Drag the bookmark back to your cargo bay, and from there, drop it back into the container. So, bookmark, bookmark, bookmark. Which leads me to the next entry.
Scan out: Because wormholes and sites won’t appear in your local warp menus, it is possible to get marooned in the system without a way out if you navigate away from where you need to. To scan out refers to using your scanner probes to find a wormhole (usually the one you came from) so you can get back to a place you know, and is a big pain if you hadn’t planned on doing it.
K162: Not only the namesake of our blog, a K162 is a type of wormhole. In the overview window, every wormhole has a designation that is a single letter followed by three numbers, such as A123. However, a wormhole designated K162 is a special case. It is an exit from another wormhole. The game mechanic is as follows. Until a wormhole has been physically warped to, it remains disconnected from it’s destination system. Nobody in the destination system could enter it yet.
However, once a ship warps to the wormhole, a K162, or exit wormhole is then created in the destination system and the wormhole expiration timer begins to count down. Leaving wormholes un-warped-to, or unactivated, allows you to keep your system as isolated as possible, a good thing in WSpace life.
Hopefully some of this has been helpful. Feel free to add your own definitions or call me out on things I may have gotten wrong.