SI Radio Member Report: Agatir Solenth – 2101.07.06
Greetings my fellow corp men, women, & blog readers!!!
***Disclaimer*** This guide represents the way I go about scouting out Wormholes. The loss of any ship while attempting what is discussed below will be your own damn fault. It also assumes you know the basic mechanics of exploration scanning. (Exploration Guide & Exploration Tutorial) Any reference to a noob is merely tongue in cheek reference to the author’s own repeated mistakes.
So now that you have some of the basics of wormhole scouting… how do you put it all together?
Step One – Find a Wormhole
Warp to it cloaked, and bookmark it using the wormhole (right-click in overview, Bookmark Location) and not a spot in space, this insures a warp to 0m bookmark that lands inside the jump range of the wormhole. When you warp to the wormhole, land far enough away that you will not become uncloaked. It is not uncommon to land on a wormhole and find a ship sitting idle beside it. Just like a gate in Null or Low Sec you have to consider what is on the other side? You also must take into account what kind of space are you currently in? High sec allows the benefits of chasing someone in and offering an easy escape route if things go south. This easy escape route can also be used by a potential target. Pilots new to exploration often like to hug the wormhole like a safety blanket. Upon entry into a wormhole a ship will be generally within distance to immediately jump back out of the wormhole. (***Warning*** Jumping through a wormhole begins a 4 minute timer. During that timer you will only be able to jump through that wormhole once more, and will be unable to jump again until it expires.) There will sometimes be a small window of opportunity that may allow you to bump (MWD or AB) into a target to shove them off the wormhole. This usually occurs when they uncloak immediately having driven off the wormhole or they are too busy looking at the system map while scanning.
I used this exact tactic by following an Orca pilot into wormhole space. The bump did two things. It kept him from aligning out, and got him out of jump range. This allowed me time to get a target lock and point him. By making continues runs to the wormhole then back into him I kept him out of jump range of the wormhole, and I pounded away at his shields and armor (I told you my T3 “Anathema” has teeth). Lucky for the pilot I was in a generous mood and stopped at structure, and let him go (think of it as a form of catch and release). As he departed, I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind if he could tip me for being kind? The happy pilot, now safely back in High Sec, tipped me 100 million ISK. He was very relieved not to have to explain to his corp how he lost their Orca loaded with POS fuel. If you get the same chance, you could be looking at a 500 million ISK ransom or more. If the pirate ransom thing interests you, I’d suggest you check out some of the pirate blogs on Crazy Kinukz blog pack.
If there are no targets sitting on the entrance to the wormhole, check the wormhole’s status and signature (you may want to do this prior to chasing a target into a wormhole). Things to consider; what kind of space does it enter into, are there any signs of traffic (i.e. has its mass has been effected), what are the mass limitations of the wormhole? You don’t want to have your battleship gang show up, if the wormhole will only allows BCs and smaller. You can determine all of this information by reading the information from the wormhole (right-click Show Info). Using a wormhole web application you can check enter in the wormholes signature number. This will tell you the mass limitations that can enter at one time (size of ship) and the maximum allowable mass that may pass through the wormhole. (***Warning & Advisory*** You will never know the exact amount of mass that has passed through a wormhole, unless you are certain you are the first person to pass through it, and keep eyes on it. A wormhole will collapse when the total mass that has passed through it has reached or has surpassed its limit. Having armored plates increases your ships mass. Taking such modules offline prior to passing through them will reduce the impact of your ships mass on the wormhole. A MWD increases your ships signature radius, and may prevent your ship from going through a smaller wormhole when it is active.) If you are hunting mass isn’t as much of a concern, but if you are scouting it is vital information. The key word in all the descriptions is “critical.” If you see this word it either means that the wormhole’s life span or total mass has fallen below 25% of its starting limits. The wormhole is relatively fresh if you see in the wormhole’s description, “This wormhole is beginning to decay, and probably won’t last another day. This wormhole has not yet had its stability significantly disrupted by ships passing through it.”
If you are in a ship that is a scout, you need to insure your gang has the bookmark to the wormhole. One of the most frustrating things that can happen… You finally find some targets, but because you didn’t pass on your bookmarks to your gang you have to de-cloak and jump out to get them. Only to return to find that your targets spotted you on their Directional Scanner while you made one of those jumps, and now they are safely sitting in a POS force field. I recommend that your gang always have the bookmarks up to the wormhole you are working in. For you fleet types… operate as a +1 scout in wormhole space. This +1 recommendation only applies if you are actively scanning wormholes. If the routes have already been scanned down, bookmarks should already be available to the fleet, and you can scout farther ahead. Having a corporation storage can for wormhole bookmarks is a MUST for wormhole operations. (***Reminder*** Be sure your corp mates know how to take & make copies of bookmarks from a can. BTW you can only copy or move 5 at a time!)
Step Two – Jump In
There are a few things you need to do immediately after jumping in. They need not be done in a specific order, but all should be done before your initial jump in cloak is gone. Bookmark your entry wormhole (your People/Places tab should have already been open noob!) Don’t worry about the name you can change that later, when you’re safe. Look to see what is on or around your wormhole? Scan the system using the Directional Scanner (it should have been open too… gawd you noob!) Insure you don’t have “Use Current Overview Settings” checked. Yes this will show everything in system such as moons and planets. You want to know if all the planets in the system are within range of your location. If they are, you will know immediately if there are any player owned structures or uncloaked ships in space (Assume there may be some cloaked). If there are planets missing from the scan then you know you must make additional warps to get them scanned. This is what I like to call, “passive eyes on” the entire system. I do this prior to launching probes. Finally, begin to burn away (MWD/AB) from the wormhole, and activate your cloak.
Step Three – Get Passive Eyes on the Wormhole
Check to see if any custom offices are present. If, on your initial directional scan, you have not observed all the planets in system, then warp around the system cloaked until you have. Be sure your directional scanner is set to maximum distance of 2,147,483,647km (or simply fill the Directional Scanner Range box with all 9s and it will default to the farthest range). All signatures spawn within 4 AU of a planet. Any potential targets should be within Directional Scanner distance of a planet. The Directional Scanner should be used on the entire system, before you attempt to determine the location of any targets currently in system. Why? Because situational awareness is critical! In known space (k-space), a pilot has local to determine how many other pilots are in system. In wormhole space (w-space) you do not. The last thing you want to do is engage a target only to have 5 of his buddies land on top of you. It is not unusual for a group of ships doing multiple sites at once, particularly in class 1&2 wormholes.
A check of the entire system, with the Directional Scanner, will also help you determine if there are any POS’s in system, and if it is online (the Directional Scanner will show a force field present if it is). By locating all POS’s you can do several things. First, by clicking on the POS you can see which corporation is present, and by checking their information tab you can see its member strength. Second you can determine the most likely location your targets will run to when you engage them, or in that rare case that they are able to determine you are in their wormhole. If they don’t run back to the POS, odds are that they ran back to the wormhole that they entered from. With miners, the POS will be the location where their hauler, Orca, or Rorqal will most likely be. Solo miners will have to jump back to swap into a hauling ship, otherwise the hauler pilot will be sitting idle inside the force field. The POS is also the likely location for any AFK pilots as well. By putting eyes on the POS and bookmarking it, you will be able determine this type of information. In the case of miners, I will often watch to see how they are collecting their ore. If you are working in a gang with access to your own hauling ship, you can time this pick up run, then walk away with a killmail and a full can of Arkonor or Bistot as well.
If no ships are observed on the passive scan of the wormhole, then it is time to probe out all the Cosmic Signatures for another wormhole to hunt in. You should also be using the Directional Scanner. You can get one to two directional scans while you wait for your probes’ results. Be vigilant of your surroundings at all times! (Unable to scan down wormholes with combat scanner probes? Skill up noob!)
Combat ships with wrecks or mining ships with cans are what you are hoping to see on the Directional Scanner. It is now time to go find your prey. To this end the directional scanner is still your friend. By reducing the angle of the scan and the scan range we can determine which planet our target is closest to. (***Tip*** You can use the F-11 Key to Open the Map Browser. Four displays will appear. The solar system display will show your location in the system and the angle your Directional Scanner will be scanning.) Be sure to use a pvp tab in your overview and check the “Use Current Overview Settings” box in the Directional Scanner window. (***Reminder*** All signatures will be within 4 AU of a celestial object.)
The following is general guide for AU distances:
1 AU = 149,597,870km (150,000,000)
2 AU = 299,195,740km (300,000,000)
3 AU = 448,793,610km (450,000,000)
4 AU = 598,391,481km (600,000,000)
5 AU = 747,989,351km (750,000,000)
6 AU = 897,587,221km (900,000,000)
7 AU = 1,047,185,092km (1,050,000,000)
8 AU = 1,346,380,832km (1,350,000,000)
14 AU = 2,147,483,647km (2,150,000,000) *Max Directional Scanner Range
If the target is a combat ship with wrecks we can still passively attempt to locate the ship using the System Scanner by conducting a sensor scan without probes (this will take 30 seconds per attempt). All Cosmic Anomalies within 4 AU of your ship will appear. We can then warp to each anomaly to see if our target is present. If the target is not in an Anomaly or if it is a mining ship then we can be relatively certain our target is in a Cosmic Signature and we will need to use combat scanner probes to locate our target. (***Advisory*** Do not attempt to use core probes for this function. Using Scanner Core Probes may result in multiple Cosmic Signature hits, and does not look for ships. We want to find the ship not the signatures!)
Step Four – Probe Out Your Target
Before you drop probes attempt to use your Directional Scanner to determine what direction and range from the planet the target is. Having a direction will tell you where to move your group of probes to scan. When it is time to uncloak and drop your probes, the best location would be off of a planet outside of Directional Scan range from your target. This will help you remain hidden. For smaller systems a location closets your target will make for short warp times to the target. From there you can move your probes to the general location of your target. Because you have a general idea of your target’s location you can start your scan at .5 to 4 AU range. With luck you can have a 100% signal strength hit on your target with one maybe two scans. Once you have 100% signal, bookmark the location and warp to the target at range. Remember there could be a lot of debris you will have to negotiate to get to the target. Additionally, once you have a 100% hit either recall your probes or move them to conduct a scan outside of your target’s Directional Scanner range. If you are lucky, the target might have been lazy on his Directional Scans, and has not seen your probes during your probing attempts. Once you have eyes on your target, I have three things that should dictate your actions:
Be bold… Be Brief… Be Gone!!!
One last tip before I go. It is not uncommon to land 150km or more from your target. It may not be possible to slowly move across the site cloaked in time to engage your target. (The target may be finishing up salvaging the site’s wrecks, and only have one or two more remaining.) You can right-click in the overview, and bookmark the wreck. This will allow you to warp out, and then return to an optimal range of that last wreck your target is about to salvage. (***Disclaimer*** Not that I condone you wait until the last wreck is salvaged, to increase the possible loot drop from your target’s wreck.)
Fly Safe… Stay Profitable…
Next Report: To Be… or Not to Be… such is the way of pvp