Wednesday 31 July 2013

A well executed wormhole gank

Metaphorically, I had a role in the opening scene of a ‘TV murder mystery’.  As the victim.

The Foo corporations currently have 2 wormholes; a C1 wormhole with a highsec static for those that require a highsec connection, and a C2 wormhole with a very good set of PI planets, having static connections to lowsec and another C2 wormhole (generally called C2A).

It was time to take some PI to market, and replenish our reserves.  Before downtime, I scouted out a C2->C2A->Highsec connection, with an easy run to Amarr. 

My primary PI hauler 'doctrine' is that the fewer trips the safer.  Every trip should be as full as I can make it.  Yes that means expanded cargo and rigs.  Previously I tried tanking Iterons in lowsec.  Tried and failed.  Admittedly I was flying lower class iterons back then, but ... it makes no appreciable difference.  Losing a ship in 10 seconds or 12?  My primary 'tank' is the bait ship.  Throw it into the water and see if there are any sharks around to bite it.  Bait ships are not foolproof but better than not having one.

I don't have a lot of pilots available for every run; and even if I did, I would rather fewer trips with more haulers.  That said, my normal process is to run once with a scout/bait first before heading into other systems.

We assemble Iteron Mark V's into a fleet, full of PI and warp as squads to the C2A, then to highsec.
Flying through the C2A, I thought I saw a ship change on dscan, from a wreath to a heron, but I was not sure.  My fleet jumps out into highsec and finds a Flycatcher (Interdicting destroyer) on the hisec side of the wormhole.  Mmm.  No local stations? Scatter ships to a distance from whatever celestial is easiest to find.  This would be a profitable gank.

Ok.  Breathe. Find nearest station.  Jump there, make a red frog contract.  I will fly my own items to the wormhole as they are 'elapsed time critical'. If I dont use the fortunate connections now the chances are it won't be there later.  I generally import ice based fuel components, topped up with cheap PI. I don't fly my own high end PI in highsec to market, I would rather explore my T2 equipment manufacturing business or update PI or ... anything else.  I only have one

Ok.  So I am mildly concerned about that wormhole connection;  I fly my now empty (and largely boring) Iterons off to Amarr and fill up on supplies, wait for downtime and do first life tasks.

After downtime and then some.  Even with extended downtime, I had extra first life tasks.

I swap one pilot out and put a disposable alt pilot into a disposable frigate: t1 frigate with t1 scanner, cloak, afterburner and very basic tank.  The frigate flys the Home->C2->highsec route.  It's clear.  I attempt to fly it back again, but misclick and polarise myself in highsec.  Could be worse.  While waiting the Iterons fleet up and wait on gate 1 system away from our wormholes home.

Ok, polarisation is clear.  Jump through all the way to home.  Nothing unexpected on dscan, nothing found.  Cloak up and orbit nice and close in our home system on the wormhole.

Iteron fleet jump in to the highsec system, jumps into the C2A; all is clear.  Nothing on dscan, but I can't see the K162 home on dscan either.  Warp to the K162.

Oh ... bless it. Bubbles.  Pretty, bubbles.  Deadly bubbles.

Pray, I have a bit in ECM midslot modules; hit them and hope.  Align to 'anything'; afterburners on where fitted.  I have a few Iterons caught in a bubble, 50k from a wormhole.  I am up against a T3 and 4 T2 ships.  Pop. followed by more Pop.

Well done to the hunters; so few of you have the discipline to not grab the first ship you see.  I assume the hunters had a 6th cloaked ship just inside the highsec wormhole, to know when to drop the bubbles.

For the record; Much much more ISK hauled out successfully than I lost (including embedded implants).  I would like to pretend that the losses were trivial.  But a lost hauling run is not just the loss of ship, but also a loss of time.  The loss of cargo, ships, implants bother me somewhat.  That I was caught despite thinking how 'clever' I was with my scout ship bothers me too.  Oh well. Every loss is a learning opportunity.

Notes to learn.
  • I have alternative pilots. No need to haul miscellaneous cargo through wormhole space with +4 implants.  This was a significant part of my loss.
  • Be safe: Set up safe bookmarks with a cloaky frigate.  Ensure I have a cloaky frigate on hand.  Warp to 250k ? 500k? off the wormhole, not in line of the highsec exit.  DScan from this spot.
  • The bait ship should be a hauler, not just a frigate.  I had an Iteron full of bacteria in my fleet, total value of cargo probably worth nearly as much as my cargo expanders.  It would have been an ideal bait ship.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Basic scanning walkthrough for finding wormhole entrance and exits

The Foo corps (i.e. more than one) are wormhole based.  We require our members to be able to scan their way out of a paper bag if absolutely necessary. 

Someone I was chatting with ruled themselves out of our corp due to the scanning requirements.  This post is for that player, and countless others like him.  Scanning is no longer hard, if you know how.  This post is not about fancy tricks or special sauce.  This post is about basic, routine, get back to empire space scanning with minimal skills.

I have chosen the 'weakest' of my scanning pilots for this walkthrough, with Astrometrics 2, Astrometrics Rangefinding 1.  This requires 3 hours of training on a brand new pilot.

This pilot has poor skills for scanning, yet will be able to scan his way out of a wormhole.  He will be flying a disposable ship.  The fit is to scan, everything else can be added to suit your tastes.  My real scanners have a real fit, but that is for another post.

Probe (7.5% bonus to scanning)
  • Core Probe Launcher 1 with 8 Sister Core Scanning Probes (10% bonus)
  • Prototype Cloaking Device I (for use when in hostile systems)
  • 1MN Afterburner (Not mircowarp drive)
  • 1 Damage Control Unit (just because)
Total cost at Jita : 2.5M ISK, most of that for the cloak.  Total ship training time including the cloak : 22 hours, 5M in skill books.  If you forgo the cloak it is 3 hours, 2.5M ISK in training.

Click on any screenshot to get a larger image of it.  I highlight parts of some images with yellow circles (red being a scanning in-game colour).

Launch Probes

You can not be in a POS shield or cloaked.  Warp 100K from something.  I tend to choose 100K from a random customs office.  Launch probes.

Get Safe

While scanning, I don't have the mental resources to also be hitting dscan.  'They' might see where you launched your probes.  Warp back to POS shields (if you have them) or 100K from a different object and cloak, and point double click somewhere in space away from anything to have your spaceship slowly moving.  This will make it hard (some would say nearly impossible) to find you.

Choose system view :  

You will want to chose the system view, either from the scanner window itself, or F10.

Default Scan

The default scanner shows you roughly where the signatures are as red spheres.  This post is about scanning for wormholes, so we will turn off anomalies. 

Look at the default scan.  (Almost?) All  signatures will be within 4AU of a planet.  What outer planets have spheres near them?  Don't worry too much about identifying which inner most planets have signatures, as they are all so close together anyway.

Today we have 6 signatures; Planets 6-8 we will scan individually; planets 1-5 we will do as a a group.

Chose your view.

First we want to be looking down at the system.
Hold your left mouse button and move your mouse 'up' will give you a top view.
Mouse scroll wheels zoom in and out. (can be given a keyboard shortcut)
Double clicking on anything centres your screen on that object.
Hold right click and move your mouse to manually centre on anything.

Centre on a planet.

I start on the outer most planets.
Click on the launch pinpoint formation.

Move the probe by clicking on it; dragging it to centre over the planet.

Double click on the probe and scroll in, adjusting so you are over the centre of the planet.  (I went back to a scroll wheel mouse primarily for Eve and scanning.)

Adjust your view so you are now side on, zoom in, and adjust your probe again.
View adjusted, now you need to move the probe down a little.
Swap back to top view just to check, and if necessary adjust one more time.
Then click the Analyze button.

Hopefully resulting in a red 'dot'

Scan down that red dot

First the top, then the side we repeat the above steps but this time around our red dot instead of around our planet.

Change your distance down by 1 step

I select all 8 probes from the list, right click and change the step down to 2 AU.

Bring your probes closer together

While holding the alt key down, drag on one of the arrows.  I drag the probes in until the selected probe is just overlapped by 2 extra probe spheres.

And scan again.

I have found a gas site; not what I am looking for; so right click on the signature and 'Ignore Result'.

Next Planet

This is a repeat of our last planet, but this time on planet 7.  We know that planet 7 had a signature from our default scan.
  • Launch pinpoint formation.
  • Centre on the planet, both from on top and the side. Scan.
  • Centre on the resulting Red dot, 
    • Align probe to red dot from top and side, 
    • Reduce range 1 step.
    • Reduce the space between probes
    • Scan.
  • Repeat this until we, unfortunately, find yet another gas site, so we ignore this result too.

Next Planet, again.

This is a repeat of above, but this time we learn we have a wormhole.
The yellow inverted arrow scanning is the same method as the red dot scanning above.

Got it at 1 AU.  Woo hoo.  I often resolve them at 0.5AU, and sometimes need to resolve at 0.25AU.  Save a bookmark, (right click) but do not warp there yet.

When saving the bookmark, note what you are saving.  Some use the signature only, others will include what planet or even the date (to make it easier to find from the main screen's context menu).  I simply use the signature name.

Scan the inner planets

The inner planets are within 4AU of each other, no point in scanning each planet individually.

For this scan .... 'Oops', I did not centre the probes on the main part of the screen, and got a circle instead of a point.  (Normally I can get a circle result without trying)

A 'point' means that 3 probes can see it.
A 'circle' means that 2 probes can see it.
A 'sphere' (like you get on your initial scan) means that 1 probe can see it.

All is not lost, I also got a gas signature from this scan, so will ignore it.

Generally, I target the strongest incomplete signature each time, but for the sake of the exercise will target the circle instead.

For the Circle (and sphere), centre your probes in the middle of it.  Do not reduce your range, and possibly consider even expanding it by one.  I note that for this scan, my probes cover the circle of where the probe will be.  I will keep the same range, and scan.  Again, I used top and side to work out where to centre my probes.

Oh, its another gas signature (I get a lot of those), ignore it.

Repeat scanning based off the sun until the inner planets are complete

This is just a rinse and repeat of scanning around the sun, until all of the inner planet signatures are located or discarded.  All my remaining signatures proved to be gas planets.  Even though I was in a C1, there may have been more wormholes.  The most I have found in our C1 was 4 wormholes.

Final spread formation 

Finally do a  spread formation to check for any recent (or missed) signatures.  You may need to do this 2 or 3 times centred on different planets if you have an exceptionally large system.

Other notes

  • If you miss a signature, expand your radius by one step and try again.
  • Some sites are inherently harder to scan than others. Try 3 times before moving onto the next signature.
  • When you recall probes, any (cloaked) hunters will be vigilant, expecting you to go where the probes last were; do not simply recall probes and immediately warp to where you last scanned.  'Stretch your legs' first.
  • The first bookmark you get from scanning is 'near enough', and may be 10K out from the actual location.   This gives hunters an opportunity.  Initially warp 50K to the bookmark, and grab an actual bookmark.  Go away somewhere else, then warp back to your second, more accurate bookmark.

Scanning no longer is hard.

Early in my scanning career, I was stuck relying on a backup scanning pilot, in a newbie ship, with basic scanners.  I could still scan my way, but it did take over an hour to do the system.

I re-did the missed 5 signatures, in 14 minutes.  I am not a good scanner, nor did I have a good ship or skills.  The 5 signatures were fairly easy (all gas), but 3 minutes/signature is a reasonable time for scanning newbies to aim for.

As your skills and equipment improve (both player and pilot), you save additional time (for example by doing things like jump 2 steps - 4AU directly to 1AU).

Scanning your way into or out of a wormhole system is within any pilot's reach.

For an alternative approach to scanning, from a 'hunters' perspective, read

Edit 28 Aug 2013 : Correction to the highlight on the pinpoint image

Sunday 14 July 2013

Wormhole (C1) PI farming corp recruiting

Foo signature industries is our latest corporation.  It is a C1 wormhole based, with a highsec wormhole.  It has a 8 planets comprising of Barren, Gas, Storm and Temperate. 

Alternative pilots; new pilots are welcome.

You will be able to do PI, and be prepared to learn to scan your way out of a paper bag.  You don't need to be great at either of these, and we can help you learn to scan.  2 days, 3 hours required training time per brand new pilot.

For this corporation, you will not like the awoxing or ganking of industrial playstyles.  No point in putting temptation in front of addicts.

For more information, see

Thursday 11 July 2013

Blog community efforts

A short note about the various blog community efforts out there.

Sugar Kyle has added an 'active blogs' page

Kirith has kicked off the latest round of 'blog banters' : EVE knowledge at
 Eve Bloggers has it's feeds back again, and is calling on bloggers to submit their own sites again, at

Eveblogs has it's independent blogs list at

And of course, there is my own blogroll effort at

I am feeling particularly interfering today.  I have no issues at all with several different large blogroll approaches being tried.  Each approach has it's merits, and it's difficulties.  Remain civil. The community will decide what approach it likes.

Bloggers; vote with your links.  Give backlinks back to the blogrolls that you want to continue.

Readers : use the blogrolls to access pages.  Many bloggers cast an occasional eye over the referral sources of their readers. 

For me, a blog roll's value is for those that are looking for new reading material, and possibly to make it easier for those less comfortable in maintaining their own RSS feeds.

As an open request to the maintainers of the blog rolls, please take an inclusive rather than exclusive approach.  Sugar Kyle has done a better job of putting together a list than anyone else I know.  Use her links to populate your current lists.  I will be updating mine *soon*.

For the record, as a reader, I use .  I will give it a 'nearly as good as the (former) google reader'

Monday 8 July 2013

Blog Banter #47 : Eve knowledge

Do you remember your sense of excitement in your first MMO.  That wonder in learning new things.  The thrill of the first dungeon boss, the first raid boss and finally that last boss of the expansion?  I do. Sometimes you felt stupid, but it was still a lot of fun.

I am a refugee from that other popular MMO.  The one where your eliteness is measured by the gear you have.  Where you learn the dance by watching a youtube video, and where, with the exception of a few guilds during beta, you are destined to be a follower and not a leader.

This is not to say that I was perfect at that game; but my limitations were twitch and time based; and difficulty in finding or making a group that wanted to run the content that I wanted to run, at the times I wanted to run it.  Some nights I spent way to long in trade LF1 healer Firelands (and even occasionally LF 1 DPS).  I completed Dragonsoul as a raid healer, admittedly in GKP runs, but more than holding my own.  I did not have what it took to organise heroic raiding.  So much herding cats.

I left that other game because of it's lack of complexity; and am loving Eve for it's abundance of it.  I have been playing 18 months now, and there is still so much I don't understand, still so much to do.  I have concentrated on making my own patch of space in a wormhole (now 2 wormholes), becoming competent with PI, and now moving into research and manufacture.

There are players with 5 years of low/null experience, who still see wormholes as strange mysterious places with different rules who have no idea how to live without local.  I don't have to go looking hard for challenges; they are just around the corner.  For me that is branching out into invention.  For you, that might be fighting in that nullsec war you may have heard about.

Given time, one person could probably learn a bit of everything in Eve, or a lot on a few topics.  While I can't speak on behalf of the day 1 veterans, from what I have seen, the rest of us can find somewhere to stretch into.

We have the right to get it right, get it good enough, or simply get it oh so wrong.  Don't fly/do what you can't afford to lose, but still dare to push your self imposed boundaries.

One of the most entertaining fights that anyone following even a few blogs will recall came about because someone clicked the wrong button.

I have taken out customs offices with a small squad of afk cruisers, probably to the hilarity of the gankers that came along and 'taught us'.   But I am the one with the customs offices now.

Research, both reading and experimenting has a place in this game.  While there are clearly wrong ways to do things (and you can't get much more wrong than afk shooting stuff in a wormhole), there is no single way to play Eve right.

Even if it ends up being stupid, dare to do something.

This post is inspired by

Starting research - T1 research for sale

We all know that research is meant to make ISK and enable 'cool items'.  I have been asked by some about how do you start research, and what is it good for?  This post is about T1 blueprints for sale.  Buyers of blueprints may also care about this post.
Two routes that I can see to making isk out of research:
  • Blueprint for sale : buy a BPO, research it for sale, sell it.
  • Blueprint for use : buy a BPO, research it for use, use it.
Some researched T1 blueprints can have very large margins, but are a smaller volume business.  Others T1 blueprints have cut-throat (or even negative) margins.  If you are in the market for a couple BP's, especially if you do not yet have the skills, consider buying them rather than doing your own research (your buying may increase my sales).

In theory, research for sale would be the same as research for use.  If you are planning to use a blueprint, you should care about comparing the cost of research vs the saving you make in ISK and/or time while manufacturing.  If you are planning for sale, you care about having a better blueprint than the alternatives for sale; whether simply cheaper or better ME (material efficiency), PE (production efficiency) and for blueprint copies (BPC's), the number of licensed runs.

Basic skills : Metallurgy, Research, Science, Advanced Laboratory Operations, Scientific Networking, Contracting.

A blueprint original has 2 research affected statistics:
  • Material Efficiency (ME), improved with Material Research.  Metallurgy 5 is recommended.
  • Research Efficiency (PE), improved with Time Efficiency Research.  Research 5 is recommended.
A blueprint copy (BPC) has a third statistic: 'Number of licensed copies'. That is, the number of runs that a particular BPC can be used for.  To make a blueprint copy, you care about your copy speed.  Science 5 is recommended.

Note that when doing T2 invention (requiring T1 BPC's), the only stat you care about is 'Number of licensed copies'.  More about T2 invention later.  However, if selling BPC's, you might like to apply ME and PE before copying, to maximise the available buyers.

Your research pilot will also want Advanced Laboratory Operations 4, for a total of 10 concurrent research jobs.  (ALO 5 would be nice but nearly a month for one extra slot, that I need to use elsewhere at the moment)

Scientific Networking allows for starting research jobs in another system in the same region.  1 is strongly recommended if you use POS for research.  Personally, I have trained this to 4.

While you can buy a 'clean' blueprint on the market, to sell, you have to use contracts or direct exchange (eg in a station).  will generally be selling to manufacturers (or possibly collectors that sometimes think of themselves as manufacturers).

Contracting is how I sell my researched BP's.  Note that as an individual you have a limit of 21 contracts per pilot, and that is with contracting 5.  Each account has 3 pilots, so you might like to sell with multiple pilots.  Corporate contracting allows you to sell up to 60 contracts per pilot.  A problem with corporate contracts is that you need to sell out of offices, and I like to sell my contracts in Jita.  An office in Jita is 1B per month, and we are not yet at a scale to justify that.  Note that there is a minimum 100,000 contract deposit.  An item exchange has upto a fortnight sale time, an auction (with minimum sale, and buyout option) has upto a week.

As a buyer, I like contracts with ME/PE (Runs if applicable) in the description.

Some blueprints have additional requirements; either in skills or extra items to do research.  Look at the Bill of Materials tab to see any additional requirements for each research type.

Look at the contracts in question and 'Find in Contracts'.  If you are planning on selling Originals set the Item Category to 'Blueprint Original'; For copies, set it to 'Blueprint Copy'.

Look at what the competition has done.  View contract, look at the Material Level, Productivity level, and for copies, number of licensed runs.  Do 'better' than the competition; either in terms of more research or cheaper blueprints.

I disregard any contracts that are simply re-listed 'clean' blueprints (that is, BPO's with 0 ME, 0 PE); use the market to trade those, much easier and quicker.

When working out your costs, how long would/did you spend on ME, PE and/or Licenced copies.
NPC ISK costs can be negligible, but you will have a wait of a month on at least ME and Copy higsec slots.  We use rough POS costs of 10,000 ISK/hour for ME and Copy slots; 1,000 ISK/hour for PE slots.  There is no right way to apportion costs between slot types, apart from to look at your own corporation's supply/demand requirements.

I have personal experience in researching T1 component research BPO's for some profit, and am starting to use my research as a base for manufacture.  I am not yet an expert in research yet, but for 3M POS research costs + 300k BPO; and selling at 15-20M is an acceptable return.  I have also had some profit with selling cheap BPCs as sets.

Other reading:
  • (check all the numbers; not all bp's are current)

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Odyssey Tech 1 Industrials, Round 2

CCP Rise has made 'special' industrials, and given us back our second highslot.

For the record, I take cheese with my (previous) whine.  Industrialists will do what they do, with whatever tools we are given.

For me the take home notes are:
  • Bestower becomes the largest T1 hauler by a trivial amount.
  • Dedicated Mineral Bay (Iteron Mark II), PI commodities (Iteron Mark III), Ore Bay (Iteron mark IV), Ammo Array (Hoarder).
  • T1 ships are given specialities : HP, Cargo (not the Itty 5 any more), Fast.
Each trip, every visit to a WH customs office is dangerous.  As such, I have previously fit to minimise the number of trips.  Keeping enough space spare in either cargohold or customs office so that, if caught, I can dump all goods into the customs office, align to home, and get my pod to safety have been my priority.  I don't get caught often, but it happens. 

Since the patch, my goto PI hauler is the Iteron Mark V.  With the new tiericide, expanded cargoholds are no longer needed for the Iteron Mark III (PI hold of 45,000m3) to hold more than a customs office (35,000m3). No point when flying to a customs office of hauling more than it will hold.  So, another hauler fleet replacement for us.

PI and Mining haulers will also want to replace ships. I know that some will want to use the fast/tanky t1 haulers, though I thought covops frigates/haulers would be better for that role.  It probably is worth brushing off those T1 BPO's and checking their ME and PE levels.  Except for Iteron Mark V's; probably time to lose those.  It will go from best T1 to ok, but every other T1 will be better at something than it. Every T1 hauler from Jita to Null and beyond replaced ships when Odyssey hit.  They will do so again.

I also expect the Iteron Mark V, Expanded Cargohold II and Medium Cargohold Optimization I markets will fall very hard.

For those that are interested, I will list my fitting thoughts.  Feel free to laugh, I am not entirely conventional (or probably even optimal) in my fits. 

I will be changing my fits from maximum cargo to maximum escape.  No industrial has a 'real' tank, but I only need to shrug off point and survive long enough to enter warp.

The Iteron Mark III will have a Slot layout: 2H, 4M(+1), 4L(+1); 1 turrets , 0 launchers

I have PI alts with different skills.  I am not going to worry too much about exact fittings.   Some ships will be a tighter fit than others.

High slots are easy.  Cloak and core probe launcher.  These ships will not often use them, but they are there 'in case'; both for backup scanners at home in case things go horrible, and if caught in neighbouring wormholes on the way to empire space.

For low slots, I am considering 3 warp core stablisers and 1 damage control unit; though I am unsure of the exact mix I will end up with (Nanofibers for quick align is another option).

With a ship that has a chance of escape, having a (so called) decent tank, yet keeping your signature small  becomes important.  16 seconds is the base align time.  Mid slots will most likely be an adaptive invulnerability shield, with shield extenders.  I am considering a shield booster, and/or shield hardeners; in part to get that signature down.

For rigs, Screen Re-inforcers? Low Friction Nozzle Joints? Core Defense Something?  Not sure yet; I will have to do some research.  That phrase ending with 'at the expense of signature radius' on the shield rigs bothers me somewhat.

We occasionally make runs to empire space to take out mined ore;  A similar fit will be used with the Iteron Mark IV.  As our hauler pilots are already Gallente industrial inclined, we will probably stay with the Iteron class for general hauling.

My eventual fit will be influenced by reading sites like Tiger Ears, under the theory that you should keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.