Exploration 101

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This is a syllabus for a class, intended primarily for the teaching staff.

Teachers should only use this as a guide -- ensure there is added value for students rather than simply reading this document.

This syllabus was reviewed and is up-to-date (Rorhke Shardani - Jan 12, 2016)

Non-faculty: notify the Teaching Department and add {{Update}} if this information is out-dated.


Class Information

This chapter contains the standard information of this class pertaining to scheduling and class contents. The general information should be sufficient to create a proper class topic for scheduling on the Eve University forums. Additional information relevant to the teacher is listed under Notes for the teacher.

Extensive changes to Exploration were made in the Odyssey Expansion in June 2013. This class may or may not properly reflect those changes.

General information

Duration: 01:30 – 02:00

Location: Slays is recommended; surrounding systems are suitable for a scanning practical (A common system is not needed - students can find any system near to where they are with a Signature and scan it themselves for the practical)

Class contents:

  • What is Exploration?
  • Why explore?
  • The types of exploration sites and what to expect
  • Skills needed and recommended
  • Ships
  • Equipment
  • Hi-sec vs. Low-sec exploration
  • Practical
  • Final comments

Student requirements:

  • Mumble
  • Astrometrics II or higher
  • Exploration frigate fitted with a probe launcher and probes

Additional information: Students are encouraged to be in Aldrat as the practical is highly useful to get you started with the art of probing.

Notes for the teacher

Required materials:

  • Teaching channel
  • Nearby system with 1 or more signatures for the students to scan down

Teachers should not just recite this document. Make sure to read it thoroughly, use its structure as a guide for the structure of your class, but also make sure to be aware of the finer details of exploration. If you plan on teaching this class repeatedly, please make a note of the frequently asked questions and add them, including the answer, to the end of this document.

Class contents

What to expect – exploration site types

When entering a system you will be able to see the number of available Cosmic Anomalies and Cosmic Signatures in system, but with a very loose location. When scanning you will reveal more information about the site the stronger the signal, learning the site type at 25%, it's name at 75% and an exact warp-in location at 100% (obviously).

Cosmic Anomalies will be instantly available without scanning but contain less valuable resources. In most systems they will be NPC Combat Sites or Ore Sites, with Faction Warfare locations joining them in Faction Warfare systems. In general these are all best avoided in favor of Cosmic Signatures.

There are five types of Cosmic Signature:

 Combat   - Contains a combat site.
 Relic    - Loot sites require the Archaeology skill. No NPC spawns post-Odyssey. 
 Data     - Loot sites requiring the Hacking skill. No NPC spawns post-Odyssey. 
 Gas      - Site containing gas clouds that require specialized mining skills to extract.
 Wormhole - Contains a Wormhole
 Note that NPC enemies may be triggered via approach or interaction with site objects.
  • Combat sites (Anomalies and Signatures) are usually filled with NPC enemies, with difficulty depending on system Security Status. They may contain major loot or Faction items. Salvaging skill are highly recommended! On rare occasions you may get an escalation, which will appear in the expedition window of your journal. Escalations usually direct you to a new site and may result in Faction items. Beware however, they can be very challenging even in Hi-sec! Be prepared to lose a ship as one or more rats may point and scram and you can be overwhelmed very quickly. It's best to search online for the escalation name for additional information before entering.
  • Ore sites (Anomalies only) contain Ores (and sometimes Ice) not usually found in the Asteroid Belts native to the region of space you are in. For example it is possible to find Low-Sec ores in High Sec in an Anomaly.
  • Relic / Data Sites (Anomalies and Signatures) - these sites contain containers that you can perform Hacking on to get the contents of the cans as loot. If the site name contains a Pirate faction name (Angel / Guristas / Serpentis etc) then there will be no NPC rats there at warp in. In a wormhole, a site with "Unsecured" or "Forgotten" in the name will have Sleepers waiting for you at warp in - be prepared in an appropriate combat ship.
  • Gas Sites (Signatures only) contain clouds of Harvestable Gas that can be gathered in an appropriately outfitted ship. In a Wormhole, do not warp to the site unless you are immediately prepared to collect the gas, since warping to the site starts a 15 minute timer after which Sleepers will arrive to defend the site.
  • Wormholes (Signatures only) are not covered in this class, but remind the class to bookmark the exit if they ever enter one! Wormholes come in many different types and have many different characteristics, refer to the main Article linked here for more information

The bread and butter of any profession: skills!

Exploration itself is a fairly skill-light profession, only Astrometrics absolutely necessary but this will only allow the scanning of more basic sites.

Astrometrics +5% scan strength, -5% maximum deviation and -5% probe scan time per level
Astrometric Rangefinding +5% probe scan strength per level
Astrometric Pinpointing -5% maximum scan deviation per level
Astrometric Acquisition -5% scan time per level (more useful for combat scanning than exploring)

Archaeology Allows you to access loot containers found in Relic Sites.
Hacking Allows you to access loot containers found in Data Sites.
Gas Cloud Harvesting Allows you to harvest gas from Gas Sites. See Gas Cloud Mining for details on Gas Mining.


Introduction to Scanning & Probing

Exploration post Odyssey expansion

Article on how to win at Hacking

Exploration ships

Any ship with a free High slot can fit a probe launcher and start to explore. However, it's best to use an exploration frigate as they provide relevant bonuses to scanning:

 Gallente   -  Imicus
 Minmatar   -  Probe
 Amarr      -  Magnate
 Caldari    -  Heron

All give a 7.5% increase to scan strength of probes per level of <Racial> Frigate and a flat Role Bonus of +5 to the Strength of Relic and Data Analyzers.

For lo-sec or if carrying the most expensive equipment (i.e. a possible target for suicide gankers), it's recommend you either fit a prototype cloak or use a Covert Ops ship:

 Gallente   - Helios
 Minmatar   - Cheetah
 Amarr      - Anathema
 Caldari    - Buzzard

All have a flat Role Bonus of +10 to the Strength of Relic and Data Analyzers and the following Covert Ops skill bonuses:

  • 20% reduced CPU need for Cloaking Devices per level
  • 10% increase to scan strength of probes per level
  • -10% bonus to survey probe flight time per level

They all also have a boost to the racial weapon system of choice per level of <Racial> Frigate, but don't let this encourage you to take them into combat!

The Sisters of Eve also have 3 ships that are useful for Exploration. The Astero and Stratios can fit a Covert Ops Cloaking Device, the Nestor cannot. They are much faster to train into than the Tech 2 Covert Ops frigates, but are also much more expensive to purchase. You can find Rogue Drone Nexus Chips (46-X, 43-X, 42-X) as loot drops in Combat Anomalies and Signatures) that can be traded in for 1 run BPC's at Sisters of Eve agents).

Until you have Covert Ops trained to IV, the Sisters of Eve ships offer you better bonuses than Covert Ops Frigates.

 Frigate    - Astero
 Cruiser    - Stratios
 Battleship - Nestor

All three offer a flat Role Bonus of +10 to the Strength of Relic and Data Analyzers and can fit Covert Ops Cloaks. The Astero and Stratios offer a 37.5% bonus to the Strength of Combat and Core Scanner Probes, the Nestor offers 50%. As faction ships you need to be trained into both Amarr and Gallente hulls of the appropriate level - Amarr offering Armor Resistance bonuses and Gallente offering assorted Drone bonuses.


Probes and probe launchers are available in different qualities/bonuses:


 Core Probe Launcher      - Easy to fit, but they can only launch Core Scanner Probes.
 Expanded Probe Launcher  - Have a high CPU requirement to fit, but they can fire Combat Scanner Probes.
 Both items are available in Faction variants from Sisters of Eve with a 10% bonus to probe scan strength.  Tech II variants are also available which grant a 5% bonus to probe scan strength.


 Core Scanner Probe       - The basic exploration probe used to find sites.
 Combat Scanner Probe     - Slightly less efficient at finding sites than the Core probes, but can also find drones, ships and other structures.
 Both items are available in Faction variants from Sisters of Eve with a 10% bonus to Base Sensor Strength.  Probes do not have Tech II variants.


 Gravity Capacitor Upgrade      - Gives a 10% bonus to Scan Strength (15% with T2). Stacking penalties apply.
 Small Memetic Algorithm Bank   - Adds +10 (+20 with T2) to Virus Coherence for Data Sites 
 Small Emission Scope Sharpener - Adds +10 (+20 with T2) to Virus Coherence for Relic Sites

TEACHERS NOTE: Consider linking some finished builds for each basic frigate at the end of this section.

Hi-sec vs Lo-sec exploration

Hi-sec is relatively safe for explorers with few troubles other than site NPCs. Beware gankers however if you're flying around uncloaked with expensive fittings. Loot is in the 10k to 20m range. There are many explorers active in high traffic systems so it can be hard to find a good stretch of systems containing sites.

Lo-sec should only be explored while cloaked; even in you are in a safe spot you are a sitting duck waiting to be scanned down. Either fit a Prototype Cloaking Device or use a Covert Ops ship to explore. There are normally more sites available as there are comparatively fewer explorers than in Hi-sec. Site NPCs will be generally harder, you need a well-tanked higher class ship to survive. Loot items worth 10k to 100m and above, the sky’s the limit.


1 - Call the class to assemble in Slays-adjacent system you know to have a few sites in.

2 - While people gather explain the scanning interface and button functions, including checking the box to exclude Cosmic Anomalies.

3 - Instruct the class that no one should run the sites in this system during this class, both for fairness reasons and to prevent the site from despawning.

4 - Have each person launch their probes and explain the Spread Formation and Pinpoint formation. Mention custom formations can be made but are not covered by this class. Explain arrow-movement, cube movement, holding Shift to move a single probe and holding Alt to condense or expand the probe formation. Mention that the center of rotation for the camera on the scanning screen is set by default on the location of your ship at the time you opened the screen, but it can be changed to any planet in the system by double-clicking it. Double-clicking the control cube also changes the camera rotation point to the current location of the formation.

5 - Explanations of the results; show this via screencaps.

 Sphere      - A single probe hit or the basic location provided when entering system; position the Pinpoint Formation in its center and rescan.
 Circle      - A two probe hit; position the Pinpoint Formation so that it covers the entire circle and rescan.
 Two dots    - A three probe hit; one dot is correct (though probably with deviation), position the Pinpoint Formation to cover both dots and rescan.
 Single dot  - A four probe hit; position the Pinpoint Formation on the dot, reduce range and rescan. Repeat until you get 100% and a warp-in.

6 - There is no 6.

7 - Give the class 5-10 minutes to try to find the sites. Tell them to keep the results to themselves and check at the end to see how they did.

Final remarks

Exploration has ups and downs; loot is random, sites can be hard to find (both due to too many people and hard to pinpoint locations) and exploration ships are rather vunerable. You can have a bad day and find no sites, or you may find 100m of loot on your doorstep. You will learn to hate Wormholes (and possibly Combat Sites), but when you get that big win it'll all be worth it.

Open Q&A session on all subjects

FAQs in class: none added yet.

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