For those of you who don’t know, in WH space local chat is delayed. This basically means that if someone is in system with you, you don’t know unless you tell a joke so good that they type “lol” in local out of habit, or they uncloak in a stealth bomber and launch a bomb at your unsuspecting self. Considering that, again, anyone and everyone can and will try to kill you, you need to have an alternate method to detecting other players before they sneak up on you and give you a prostate exam with an interdictor, hence your directional scanner.
Most miners, highsec and nullsec, don’t give two units of tritanium about the directional scanner. If there’s someone in local, and they’re red, run, if not, keep mining, or get in a battleship.
I can only assume that the other denizens of other places besides WH don’t care about the directional either.
Anyway, the directional scanner works like a local chat, if you bought said local chat secondhand at a flea market from a dude with a shotgun and basset hound. It can’t see cloaked ships, only has an effective range of 14 AU, and, most damning of all, has to manually be pinged for new information.
If you ping your directional with active overview turned on, you’ll see whatever ships, etcetera are within 14 km of you. If you turn off “active overview settings”, then you get EVERYTHING within 14 AU of you, including moons, planets, and every single PoS module your tower has.
You may be asking why you’d ever want to turn off active overview settings, which seems reasonable at first, but shrivels away into idiocy with two key points:
Point one: By the time you see a ship on the scanner, you’re already dead.
Point two: Unless you turn your active overview setting off, you can’t see scan probes.
Scan probes are a very, very important thing to see on the directional.
The only way for someone to find and kill you is by using scan probes, the directional can see scan probes, there’s no problem, right?
Because of mining drone’s giant sig radius, and a hulks moderate sig radius, it’s fairly easy to find a hulk. This means that you, as a miner/sleeper killing dude, need to be very, very on the ball when it comes to scanning the directional. Or you die. Maybe not immediately, maybe not in a few days, but It’s almost guaranteed when you find yourself in a bubble you weren’t watching the scanner.
Of course, a jerk could, hypothetically, scan out a grav site, then come back in a combat ship a few hours later and gank whoever mining with no warning whatsoever, or have such good scan skills that he pins you w/ probes @ 16 AU or some way to counter the directional scanner.
The downside to having active overview settings turned off, which I’ve stated before, is that it picks up all the planets, moons, ectera nearby, making it hard to pick out probes. This is somewhat countered by a strategy I developed of watching the little scrolly bar on the right side of the directional box. If the thing changed, I scrolled through the box to see if scan probes had appeared. If the size didn’t change, I assumed I got to live another five seconds.