Scanning and you

I won’t lie; I’m a work-shy freeloader when it comes to scanning. Usually, by the time I sleep through my alarm, eat breakfast, take a shower and get around to logging on, there’s either a grav to hit or a WH to haul ore through for the next paycheck. Unfortunately, I can get dedicated to the tiniest things, and my brain won’t shut off till the task is complete.

This is why it’s currently… four in the morning and I’m still trying to scan a highsec exit. So, scan tips.

An important think to remember in wormholes is that there are two types of wormholes: incoming and outgoing. Or, as I like to call them, “someone’s found us” and “we found another empty neighbor”. Most WHs will have a static type, which means that at any given time if you start scanning that WH you will always find a WH of the given type, for example, a c6. Since the WH we currently reside in has a static C6, this makes scanning a route to highsec all kinds of fun and laughs, when you consider that C6s are the deepest you will go into WH space and are therefore have the lowest chance of a nice highsec to cart 400,000 m3 of ore out of.

Anyway, here’s the process I’ve developed that works for me:

1. Go through the WH/warp to empty space

2. Don’t forget to BM the WH before you do anything else.

3. Open your scanner, go to the directional tab.Turn off active overview settings and press scan. If you don’t see scan probes, PoSes, pos guns, ships, or anything that looks threatening, proceed to step 4. If not, inform your corp mates, and proceed to step four carefully.

4. Launch four probes, then move 15km away from the WH.

5. Cloak.

6. Set one of the probes to 32 AU and move it to the center of the system. If the probe does not encompass the entire system, set all the probes to 32 AU and do the best you can.

7. Press “Scan”, wait 5-10 seconds, then look at the signatures that result. Whine to your corp about how many signatures there are (if over 15) or how unlikely a highsec exit is (if lower than 15).

8. Choose a signature at random.

9. Set your probes to one size bigger than the sig..sphere. If the sig is a red dot, set the probes to 8 AU.

10. Move your probes into a 2D diamond shape, and move as group (shift-click) so that the four circles form some sort of weird shape covering the circle completely. Hit scan again.

11. If the signature disapeared, and there are no other signatures, make your probes one size bigger and scan again. If there are other signatures, go back to step 9 for that sig.

12. If there are now two signatures of the same name, curse quietly to yourself. Move your group of probes slightly up or down so that only one sig is encompassed. Rescan. if the sig vanished, move the group over where the other sig used to be. If that sig vanished as well, curse a bit louder, increase probes by a size and scan again, going back to step 9.

13. If the sig formed a 2d circle: Curse again. Make the probes one size bigger, encompass the circle, and scan again. Go to step 9.

14. If the sig formed a red dot: Silently cheer to yourself. Go to step 17.

15: If the sig turned yellow: look at it in the scanner menu. If it’s the type you want, cheer and go to step 17. If not, angrily right click and select ignore this signeture. Go back to step 6

16. If the sig turned green: Yay! You just found something! Make sure your ship is cloaked and warp to 20km of it. Bookmark some object with an informative name:

“Bitchin Crokite” is not informative. “Excep. core Crokite” is. “I hate scanning” is not informative. “Static C6” is.

17. Reduce your probes by one size and adjust them to keep forming the diamond around the dot. Press scan again and go to step 9.

18. Fake a disconnect so you don’t have to help scan another damn c6 w/ 30 sigs in it.

In flowchart form:

Hulkamania running wiiiiiild!

Please don’t throw  something at me, but I’m going to draw a comparison to WoW and Eve. In WoW, each server has about 2-3 thousand people. The equivalent of our market is an auction house, of which there are three of. There is no “Want to buy” option, and you can only post auctions, with buyouts.

Here’s where I’m going with this: cornering the market is fairly easy. For those who enjoy shooting things instead of making spreadsheets, let me explain: cornering the market is basically where you feel like increasing your wealth by 30% or so, by making other people complain. The only requirement to do this is to have so much ISK or gold pieces or whatever that a new player would sell a kidney to get as much as you have. In Eve, by comparison, with fifty thousand players online on a good day, you need so much cash a new player would murder a small town for their organs before you can think about cornering. Add to that that the issue I’m griping about today cost 100 mil before the cornering, don’t wonder if you see 3-4 towns go off the map soon.

Where were all these rich players when I was mining in a navitas?

The base concept is simple: pick something that everybody wants, say, hulks, or something, and buy all of them on the market, and relist them at 120% of the price you paid. As regular people see your sell orders for 120 mil, they will either undercut you by a little or a lot. If it’s a lot, like, say, 105 mil, then buy their order and relist it at 120 mil. If it’s around 119.5 mil, either buy it or ignore it if you’re low on funds and might need to buy more of the ships at 100 mil. Anyway, what this does is make all the miners very upset because they still really, really badly want hulks but they have to pay more, and since you have all the hulks, they have to buy from you. eventually, your strategy makes critical mass and you either run out of money and the price goes back down, or the new price becomes the norm and you get rich and everyone poorer than you whines when you pour that money into cornering the exotic dancer market or whatever.

Anyway, according to marketeers who enjoy making spreadsheets and some normal people, the cost of hulks first rose to 140 mil because the moon rebalance made some new goo expensive and the old expensive goo cheap, but no-one wants to sell the old goo cheap, so the prices now include twice as many expensive components as before. The fact that hulks are now at 190 mil is because jerks (read: players) with lots and lots of isk want more isk for some reason so they are all cornering the market AT THE SAME TIME. As such, hulks are spiraling high.

Way, way back in my life, my dad told me a story about the zebra… tulip? I forget. Anyway, the story was that people sold the tulip to other people, and the other people would sell it to other people for more, and on and on and on until one dude said “Why the hell am I trading my house for a case of flowers”. And the price went back down, to the sadness of all the flower sellers.

Since I mine in WH space with several friends, all in hulks, we’re being more careful than usual with our scanning tomfoolery, since 200 mil to replace a hulk doesn’t sit well with any of us. A quick check of EFT shows hulk max yield at 1360, and my yield at 1166. Covetor max is 1234, and 1019 for me.

So, according to that, first:

My mining yield is really sub par, so I should stop training drone interfacing and get back to ABC IV refining skills.

and second:

A Covetor isn’t that big of a step back, and I can certainly weather using one until hulk prices balance back out. God, I hope they balance out. WH mining is stressful as it is without feeling like you’re flying a ming vase.

As a parting note, why the heck can’t I moon mine in WH space? Seems reasonable to me. I suppose the counter argument would be that no-one can attack your PoS without a goodly time investment and luck, but considering we’re limited to one system before the logistics increases exponentially while tied to a fuggin rocket ship, woudn’t that balance things out a bit?

Fly… very carefully.

Dominion nullsec mining

Dominion has me worried, not on how nullsec will become more interesting, but on how it will affect nullsec mining. As I said earlier, WH space mining is arguably the riskiest and profitable way to make isk in eve. It’s balanced that way, because after you mine the ore while looking over your shoulder every few seconds to make sure a Loki isn’t behind you, you have to either compress or refine the ore, then get it out of the WH itself which usually equates to pulling teeth while very carefully watching local(if you get a nullsec link) and the directional as you go through C2s, C3s and nullsecs. Getting supplies into the WH is a hassle, seeing as you need to haul any large amount of equipment in an industrial, and unless you have the isk/time invested in a covops blockade runners, gate camps are a pain.

On that note, losing 100 mil to a lowsec gatecamp while holding 6000 m3 has persuaded me to upgrade from my faithful, infinitely customizable Iteron mark V to a Viator which, had I been smart enough to use it previously, wouldn’t have lost me a total of 200 mil worth of modules over the last month. Anyway, Dominion.

What we’ve seen so far has been what we’ve been told, a moderately smooth transition from the old to the new, and funny people to laugh at when they lose freighters. On the freighter topic, my fingers are crossed that that will fix the megacyte market. and by “fix”, I mean “make my WH mining more profitable”. On this topic of profit, the news on grav sites scares me. Quoting a recent devBlog:

“Ore Prospecting Arrays: These are hidden asteroid belts and you get one site guaranteed for every level of upgrade to a maximum of five.  These are not the typical hidden belts though.  If you’ve ever been into wormhole space and seen some of the riches there, then you have an idea of what to expect.  Within these hidden belts reside mythical beasts such as ‘King Arkonor’ and many of his closest friends. These sites will re-spawn every downtime, so even if you do not mine out every rock, there will be fresh ones waiting for you the next day.”

In the WH space I like to say I live in, the roids are, coining a phrase, fuggin monsterously huge. Some unforeseen circumstances arose and it was just me in my hulk , my alt in a hauler, and an orca pilot who had fallen asleep in the pos a few hours ago. Timing myself, in about 7 hours of sitting there suspended between being scared and being bored out of my skull, I mined about 55,000 units of bist and the roid I was working on did not die. I have no head for the market, mostly because a good friend manages the selling of the refined ore, but i’m gonna assume that 880,000 m3 of nullsec ore is worth a hella lot. The immense wealth I am sitting on is still at risk, we could get bubbled getting it back to jita, hauling it out through connecting WHs and nullsec, and then a jita gank. But that’s what makes this whole lovely world balanced. If we wanted titanium, we’d mine in highsec for hours and make 3 mil per jetcan instead of the lovely 15 mil per jetcan nullsec ores bring. But in highsec you have local and there aren’t people activley seeking your murder. Except goons or hulkageddon or some dude in a destroyer killing you and still making enough isk to buy a new destroyer and do it all again. Anyway, its all a beautiful graph of risk verses profit.

I feel that nullsec changes are going to take that graph and break it over it’s knee. In friendly nullsec, which is where miners would usually go, I’d assume, there is very little risk. Admitted, you can’t AFK mine, but you’ve got local and you’ve marked every space-tree for 5 systems in every direction. If someone who wants you dead even thinks about scanning you out and killing you, you have about 5 minutes notice to warp out and maybe go back and get the jetcans too. This safety while still getting nice lowsec ores and the occasional nullsec, depending on how deep you are, is again balanced by you having fought tooth and nail for every damn inch and someone could bring in a fleet of dreads at any second and kill everything you’ve ever worked for. If I’m reading this change correctly, then for every system you control and upgrade, you’ll be able to get up to five very, very rich belts full of ABC, which can then be mined at much less risk than WH mining, which then can be hauled out through friendly nullsecs and sold, or used to build more dreads that can be used to scare the hell out of your neighbors or be used as space-lawn furnishings or whatever.

Bottom line, I expect the ABC market to start lowering prices or for everyone and their dog who can mine in nullsec to have enough ships to use them as torpedo ammo. So, in scenario one, the bottom falls out of the ABCs and WH miners start getting richer slower and new corps start getting money faster. Scenario 2, the market holds and everyone builds more blobs with the influx and there’s more Internet spaceship fighting hurray. Taking a step back, there’s a chance that this will all just end up with happier new corps and more ships to bash against each other, but there’s also a chance that things could go downhill.

I’m expecting the market to react in 3-4 weeks, since right now people are more concerned with actually getting the upgrade thingys into the nullsecs :P. Let me know if I can put one of those up in a wormhole, I’d guarantee we’d appreciate some minin love. Or maybe some sort of… incoming wormhole detector, which playes a sound file that sounds like a little girl screaming whenever an incoming WH appears.

Something for everyone

It seems to me that Eve Online has two real means of profit: safe or exciting, with middle grounds to cater to anyone’s preference in terms of safety or shooty fun. On the extremely safe end,you have manufacturing. Obtain some BPs, get some mats, haul them to a POS anchored in .7, wait a week, haul it to Jita, sell, buy more mats, repeat. On the extreme shooty fun end, you have combat, specifically piracy. Not being a pirate myself but having heard several of them quote ransom figures and loot sales, I’d reason that profit is to be had, just sporadically at best. Fun as some people say watching their wallets fatten by selling blocks of ice is, I’d wager that piracy is much, much more fun to most of the player base.

Less safe than manufacturing, you have mining, ice mining in particular. Assuming no-one hulkageddons you, you can comfortably sit and watch a movie or something while you garner a steady income, boring though it is, ice is the most consistent income there is, with manufacturing based on whether or not someone needs the item you wish to sell. Everyone in a medium to large corp need POS fuel, although Dominion may lower prices.

Farther down the spectrum for safe, you have high sec mining, fairly safe but slight risk of flippers and other annoyances, still lucrative, but not as simple as ice by an albeit small margin. Low sec mining is much riskier, by that becoming less safe, but here is where your profits have a noticeable increase over high sec or ice mining. Arguable safer than low sec mining is null sec mining in space which you, your corp, or your alliance has laid a claim to. In here, assuming you can tank/obliterate the rats, there is the best ore you can find and by watching local, you are almost certain to have advanced warning enough to run yourself back to the POS. The riskiest form of mining, and in my opinion the stupidest/silliest, is mining in null sec you have no claim to. If anyone that does have a claim to that space sees you, they will make it a point to crush you and get you out of their space, less they appear weak to the surrounding null sec owners and partially because it’s their space they fought tooth n nail for, what the hell are you doing in it?

Hopping to the other end of the spectrum, in combat. Piracy is one of the most staggered paying professions you can pursue, but running missions gives you a much more stable income but is more dull, but not dull enough for you to watch a movie. Correct me if I’m wrong, but warping the tank in, waiting for aggro, then warping the Oneiros or whatever in for repping, dps dps dps, looting/salvaging, next room, repeat. Unless you get attacked by gankers or an unexpected wave of pirates that target the logistics, you should be fine. It’s still much more profitable than piracy tho. Ratting and complexing fall here as well, but having never run a plex before I’m forced to assume that its basically the same concept but with bigger numbers, damage, reps, and lewtz.

Somewhere between shooty fun and mining is blockade running, or taking courier contracts. To me, this seems riskier than most paths but has the potential to be boring, comparing running through ten hostile nullsecs with 100m3 of exotic dancers to hauling 80k m3 worth of minerals to one highsec station. It’s as risky or as safe as you want it, but doesn’t seem to have much profit in it, especially since the more profitable a courier is, the more likley the destination is on the other side of goon space or something.

From normal space ratting to sleeper ratting. Sleepers possessing a much better AI are indeed challenging, forcing you at higher levels to make sure that every ship has a high tank less you be obliterated. Much more time consuming and riskier than mission running, but salvage sells well and it’s more exciting, even if it takes 15 minutes to scan out the next spawn, less if you chain spawn. This is the second most risky niche in my opinion, because there is no local chat. To the slim number who have never been in W-space or don’t know the implications of lacking a local chat, it basically means that there could be a ship cloaked 2001 meters away from you and you will never, ever know. Even if you do get jumped by 6 battleships that you swear weren’t there a second ago, you still have a chance at fighting back tho.

The niche in eve that has the best profit for the riskiest situation, in my opinion, is wormhole space mining. It’s all the fear and eyes in the dark mentality of sleeper killing, but you have no offensive capabilities and anyone with a tech 1 auto cannon and a warp scrambler can kill you with a cough. And the best part is, people actively seek you out with intent to surprise you, because if you manage to see them before they scram you, you survive to mine another day and they don’t get a kill notification. For those of you who haven’t been in WH space, the only way to find out if someone is in the system with you is if the ship you’re looking for is uncloaked, within 2 million kilometers of you, and you happen to press the scan button on your directional at the right time. Keep in mind that most c5s, the places with the best ore to be had, are larger than 2 million kilometers, so there could be a fleet just outside looking for you. Needless to say, it’s moderately scary. But the problem is, you don’t get ganked very often. Sure, when a wolf kills you and manages to pod you back to empire, once you get some ore sold and manage to get a new hulk back in the WH and start mining again, you’ll be clicking that scan button like a woodpecker. But after a few hours, you’ll slow down. And after a few more hours, you’ll slow down to scanning maybe every cycle, because you’ll just be sitting there, with nothing happening. And a few hours after that is when, according to Murphy’s law, a fleet of titans will somehow appear and roflpwn you before you can say “WH size restrictions”. Each unique play style seems balanced with risk vs profit, and each one has its own degree of interaction and fun you can derive.

(keep in mine that since megacyte had tanked to 3 thousand, WH mining isn’t as profitable as it used to be and that honor may be  deserving of epic mission arcs or something)

If you want to make money without fun, you make a thousand tractor beams and sell them in Jita. If you want to beat some poor soul within an inch of his life and demand his lunch money or his life, you can do that too. If you want to subject yourself to hours of sitting at your computer, clicking the scan button in fear, you can do that too. It’s all a beautifully balanced game that somehow is appealing to anyone and everyone who can see the fun in living in a world where someone could kill you at any second almost anywhere you care to name.

Of course, in theory you could start the game, move to jita moon 4, and use courier contracts and buy orders to work the market, with little to no risk, but i think 90% of eve’s playerbase would get more joy from making an excel spreadsheet. To the 10% of people who know how to work the market perfectly and have made many, many spreadsheets, please don’t pull your metaphorical strings and bankrupt me with your ungodly amount of cash you spent the last few months making.

edit: oh jeez, forgot moon goo. grab a few hundred friends, muscle your way onto the 0.0 grid, do whatever it is the new soverenty rules require, drop a pos, set up moon array. wait a few weeks refining/stockpiling, throw the resusts into a jump freighter or something, haul to jita, repeat. takes very little effort, sorta risky (see: 100 friends), with nice returns. Course, there is the overhanging risk that someone ELSE with 200 other friends will kill you faster than you can say “where’d our cyno jam go?”.

second edit: made a confusing graph


Scanning Ship and Skills

My WH partner and I have been making some good profits in the last few days.

Early October Profits

Early October Profits

So you want a piece of the action? Well, you need to be able to find routes back to a trade hub in empire and to do so quickly. A good scanning ship in WH space with proper support skills is invaluable in WH space. Below is my Helios (Gallente Covert Ops) scanning ship and skills.

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

Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
1MN MicroWarpdrive II
Low Frequency Sensor Suppressor I, Scan Resolution Dampening

Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe I
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

This ship is speedy at 3308 m/s with Level V skills. If you ever get caught in a bubble (remember this is 0.0) or warp scrambled, you can hit the MWD and zoom away. If the aggressor is in close, you can use the Sensor Suppressor to reduce their sensor range and targeting speed.

When you need to scan down a link to k-space, you need to do it quickly. Having the additional skills on top of your Covert Ops bonuses will help you pin signatures faster; take the time to train them.

Astrometrics IV
Astrometric Acquisition to III. 10% reduction in scan time for each level.
Astrometric Pinpointing to III. 10% reduction in scan deviation for each level.
Astrometric Rangefinding to III. 10% increase to scan probe strength per level.

With this setup, I am able to scan down a new system in 15-30 minutes and get a lot of the signature types at 2 or 4 AU. Being able to quickly identfy the type, such as Ladar/Gravimetric/Magnetic/Radar, means you can move on to the next signature to find the coveted wormhole links.

When you pin a WH, bookmark it, warp to 100 K, cloak up and use Wormhole Thingie to find out what type of link you have found. Bring up the info on the WH and pay attention to the status. If you have found one that is on the verge of collapsing, disregard it and rescan in a few hours.

My corp uses the terms green, yellow, and red to refer to WH status. Green means that it has just formed and will last a 18/24 more hours. Yellow is used for WHs that are “beginning to collapse” and Red is for WHs that “probably won’t last another hour”.

Happy WH pinning!