Duration: 1 hour
Location: Any, no need to undock. However, 101/102 are likely to follow directly after, which would depart from Aldrat and will require scanning-equipped ships.
- What is a wormhole
- How wormholes form and collapse
- What is w-space
- How w-space is similar to k-space
- How w-space is different from k-space
- Things you find in W-Space
- How w-space is profitable
- How w-space is dangerous
- How to stay safe(ish) in w-space
- Mumble registration and access - make sure you have Mumble sorted out and operational well before the class begins. Use this guide for set-up: http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Mumble
- Access to the Class.E-UNI in-game chat channel
Additional information: The class will be a lecture with a Q&A afterwards. There is no practical element, so you are free to attend wherever you happen to be docked. However Wormholes 101 will immediately follow this class, which is a practical fleet in a wormhole near Aldrat - for this you would need to be in/near Aldrat
Notes for the teacher
- Class.E-UNI chat channel, to receive questions and post relevant links
- This wiki page
- Covert ops pilots to scout for a class 2 wormhole near Aldrat to facilitate Wormholes 101 directly after Wormholes 100 completes.
Teachers should not just recite this wiki page. 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.
What is a Wormhole?
A wormhole is a portal between two solar systems, similar to a stargate. However unlike stargates which are a natural feature of the game and remain where they are, wormholes are spontaneously occurring phenomena. Wormholes appear and disappear throughout New Eden in all areas of space.
Where do they spawn?
Wormholes can spawn in any system in EVE regardless of security status. Like other cosmic signatures, they will spawn somewhere in space within 4 AU of a celestial object such as a star or planet.
Where do they go?
Wormholes can bring you anywhere. They can go from hisec to hisec, lowsec, nullsec, w-space and vice versa. Most notably they are the only way to get to w-space.
How to find them.
Wormholes are found via exploration. They appear as cosmic signatures with type "Unknown", and must be scanned down. When the signal is strong enough, the subtype will be listed as "Unstable Wormhole".
Naming & Show Info
Each wormhole has an entrance and an exit. The entrance is one system and the exit is in another. To see the name you will have to be on grid with the wormhole. It will be visible from the overview or from the show info window. A list of wormhole names and what they mean can be found on the wiki: http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Wormhole_Information
The name will tell you:
- The lifetime - how long, approximately, a hole will stick around
- Mass limit - how much mass in total can jump through before the wormhole collapses
- Jump limit - how much mass can jump through on each individual transit
- Where it goes - what type of w-space or k-space it leads to.
However, it will not tell you exactly how much those values have degraded since it was first spawned.
The exit side of a wormhole is always named K162. It spawns when a player jumps through entrance wormhole. Therefore, you always know that if you find a K162, someone else has found the other side. The exit side will give all the same information as the entrance, with the exception of the name. You can still tell what type of space it goes to, what condition the hole is in, and whether or not larger ships can jump through it.
By using the show info dialogue, you will see a rough estimate of the time and mass allowances remaining on a wormhole, as well as the size of ship that can jump through. There is some variance, as a freshly spawned wormhole does not always have exactly the amount of mass listed. Allow for a 10% variance. Example show info dialogue boxes can be found here: http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Wormholes#Example_Wormholes
Every wormhole has at two very important mass values associated with it:
- Maximum mass allowed per jump, and total transfer mass.
- The max per jump determines what class of ship can be brought through the wormhole.
For mass per jump, a hypothetical 300 million kg mass limit wormhole would easily allow any battleship, but a 20 million kg limit would allow only battlecruisers, heavy assault cruisers, strategic cruisers, or small through. There is one class of wormhole commonly referred to as a "frigate hole" that allows only frigates, destroyers, and specially fit Heavy Interdictors through.
The total transfer mass determines at what point a wormhole will collapse due to overuse. Each jump made through the wormhole will subtract that ship's mass from the beginning mass allowance. When the transfer exceeds the allowance, the wormhole will collapse. Even a single kilogram of mass remaining will allow any ship up to the max per jump to travel through the wormhole.
A third mass property is regeneration. This is an amount of mass that will regenerate over time, up to when the time limit expires. As far as we know, frigate holes are the only wormholes that regenerate mass, to the point where they are impossible to collapse.
Knowing your limits enables pilots to be mostly safe about not collapsing a hole they don't intend to. However, original wormhole mass can vary by up to 10%. Therefore you cannot be certain exactly how much mass it will take to collapse the wormhole.
Some modules will increase or decrease a ship's mass. Most notably:
- Armor plates - These mass to your ship. They can be put offline to eliminate the effect, and then onlined again after jumping once 95% capacitor is available.
- Propulsion modules - When active, prop mods add a certain amount of mass to your ship. If a prop mod is active as you enter a wormhole, that additional mass is subtracted from the mass of the wormhole. For instance a battleship running a 100mn microwarpdrive or 100mn afterburner will add 50 million kg when the module is running.
- Warp Disruption Field Generators - When launched from a heavy interdiction cruiser, these bubbles reduce the mass of the ship. These reduce the mass of the HIC by 80% while active. These percentages stack so having 2 bubble online means a 96% reduction in mass. This allows a HIC to go through a hole with minimal mass on the way out, then turn off the bubbles and come back through with a prop mod on. This is typically done only when rolling a crit hole.
Every wormhole has a fixed lifetime, usually 16 or 24 hours, when first spawned, that will eventually run out. At that point, the wormhole will collapse without notice. Show Info will inform when it is less than 25% of time remaining, however these values can have some variation. Downtime seems to not count toward a wormhole's lifetime.
Collapsing and respawning
Once a wormhole's lifetime has expired, or its mass limit reached, it will collapse.
In k-space, this is the end of the story. The wormhole collapses and does not respawn.
In w-space the story is different. This is explained in more detail in the section on static wormholes to follow.
How are they different from stargates?
- Unlike stargates, which are fixed and can be counted on to remain where they are, wormholes constantly spawn and expire.
- Like a stargate, jumping through one will give you a 10 second session change timer, however it will only give you a 30 seconds 'gate cloak' timer instead of the 1 minute that the stargate gives you. See Timers.
- Unlike gates, you can be as much as 5km away to jump.
- When you jump through, you will spawn some distance from the wormhole. This depends on the mass of your ship and the amount of mass left on the wormhole, plus a random amount of variability. For instance a Covert Ops frigate will spawn anywhere from 7km to 10.5km, depending on the lifecycle of the hole. This means that a Covert Ops frigate will never land within decloaking range of the wormhole. A ship with much larger mass, such as a carrier or dreadnought, will land anywhere from 15km to 18km off the hole.
- Each jump from system to system will generate a 5 minute timer preventing you from doing the same jump in the same direction for the duration of the timer.
- If I jump from System A to System B, and then immediately jump back from System B to System A, I won't be able to jump A to B again until the polarization timer runs out.
- If I jump from System X to System Y, wait 1 minute, then jump back, I have to wait out a 5 minute timer before jumping X to T again, and an addition 1 minute before jumping D to C again. Polarization times happen both ways!
- This is a very important thing to keep in mind, especially if you need to quickly leave a wormhole.
What is w-space?
W-space, is the collection of 2500 star systems reachable only through wormholes. Though they are technically arranged in regions and constellations, in practice this means nothing as connections are constantly changing. This space is all described as "unknown", as it does not appear on any map. The true security level is always -1.0. In addition, its sovereignty is "unclaimable", meaning that players are unable to claim space, build stations, upgrade, or any other benefits of typical 0.0 space.
General system layout
Although in general w-space has the same appearance as k-space, note that there are no NPC agents, no stations, and no place to dock up to repair or log off safely. Many w-systems are very large, sometimes over 100 AU across, so care should be taken when using d-scan to survey a system, and when making long warps.
When learning about being safe in high-security, low-security and null-security space, one of the most accepted tactics is to watch local. The local channel contains a list of all the pilots in system, and will alert you the moment someone enters system. In w-space, that's all gone. There is still a local channel, but it will only display pilots that speak! A new w-space system could be entirely deserted, or contain a large fleet, but local would remain the same. Unless a pilot must do so as a last resort, nobody ever talks in local in w-space - you reveal yourself, and you learn nothing. Not being immediately visible to everyone is a feature of w-space and allows you to scout and collect information that would otherwise be unavailable.
Most w-space scouting is done via d-scan. However a d-scan will only tell you the type and name of a ship. Local will display your name, which will allow whoever else is in system to look up your corporation, killboard, etc. Don't give out free intel!
As K-space is ranked by security level, w-space is ranked by class. Class 1 wormholes provide only a moderate challenge for a player with mediocre skills, while a Class 6 will require multiple ships, many T2 or T3, and experienced pilots to survive cosmic signatures and anomalies. It is difficult to describe how challenging each class is, though the Uniwiki has a number of pages that describe in great detail what each anomaly or signature will send your way:
Before moving into a higher class wormhole, attempt to trigger extra waves and ensure you are still able to sustain your tank and deal sufficient damage.
W-Space Links (Down the Rabbit Hole)
If you find yourself going deeper in, make sure you don't lose track of which system you are in, and remember that any link behind you could collapse either due to time or mass without your knowledge. Keep either a paper map of where you're going, or use a mapping program such as Eve W-Space. Always bookmark both sides of a wormhole. Always either fit a probe launcher (offline if need be) or have a mobile depot and probe launcher in your hold. You don't want to have to self-destruct your pod to get out.
Some wormholes have special effects such as increasing small weapons damage or increasing shield capacity. There are many environments, each with multiple effects. These effects are stronger the higher class of wormhole space.
The environments are: Black Hole, Cataclysmic Variable, Magnetar, Pulsar, Red Giant, and Wolf-Rayet. Each environment pairs with the class of wormhole to determine the effects. See more here . Note that these effects do not have any impact on POSes or NPCs.
Each w-space system has at least 1 static wormhole. The name "static" can be misleading. It doesn't mean that the wormhole is always in the same place, or always goes to the same place, or that the wormhole lives forever.
Instead, it means that at any given time, a w-space system will always have a wormhole connection. This wormhole will always be of the same type, thus it will have the same mass, lifetime, and lead to the same type of space.
Let's assume you are in a w-space system that has a O477 static. There will always be a wormhole in that system that leads to a C3 w-space system, that has a 2 billion kg mass limit, and a lifetime of 16 hours. When that particular wormhole collapses from overuse or old age, another signature spawns after about a minute, and must be probed down. It won't spawn in the same place, it won't lead to the same C3 system as the old one, but the new wormhole will be an O477 wormhole.
Practically this means:
- If you have probes, you can't get stuck in a particular w-space system.
- The neighborhood is constantly changing. Your neighbors one day will be completely different the next.
Each system in w-space has at least one static wormhole, leading to k-space if it's a C1 or C3, or to w-space if it's a C4, C5 or C6.
Other wormholes may appear in the system as well, but the static wormhole will always be present.
What's in w-space?
The only NPC occupants of w-space are the Sleeper drones. Although called drones, these ships are frigates, cruisers, and battleships which act similar to players, hit hard, and require massive damage to take down. What happened to the Sleeper peoples is the subject of an ongoing EVE storyline, as they were highly advanced in their technologies.
Basic sleeper properties
Sleeper drones are deadly because they are very strong, and act more intelligently than most NPCs. They lack shields, but instead have heavy armor with high omni-damage resistances. They attack with both lasers and missiles, which combined will deal all types of damage as well. Depending on the class of wormhole and type of sleeper, they will web, scram, nos, and remote repair. They also target switch, switching to whichever target within range they feel is the greatest threat or the easiest picking.
They will target drones, and especially dislike EMC and logistics.
Cosmic anomalies and signatures
Combat sites focus on PvE combat, with the only resources being the wrecks or the sleepers found there. These sites typically contain three waves of sleepers, and are easier to clear than Data or Relic sites, but much more difficult than Gas or Ore sites. Most of your ISK will come from combat sites. Anomalies up to 64AU away can be found using a ship's On Board Scanner.
Ore sites are asteroid belts. Since w-space is technically null security, you will find all types of unbonused ore present. Higher class wormholes and more advanced sites will yield greater quantities of rare ore such as Arkonor and Mercoxit. [This needs to be confirmed.]
There will be sleepers present, but only a single wave. They are not present on first warp in, instead spawning 15-20 minutes after a player has first initiated warp to the site (called "activating" a site). The sleeper spawn timer will start even if the player cancels warp and never actually arrives at the site. This mechanic can be taken advantage of to activate all ore sites in the system and come back later to clear the sleepers. The asteroids are often very large, and even a modest Arkonor roid will be 5,000 units. At 16m^3 per unit, that's 80,000 m^3 in a single asteroid.
The following three sites are Cosmic Signatures and must be probed down to access.
Gas sites contain two gas clouds which at can be harvested using gas cloud harvesters. They always contain the same gas regardless of wormhole system class. They all appear in every class of w-space except for the Instrumental Core Reservoir and Vital Core Reservoir which only appear in C5 & C6 space.
Harvesting this gas is also referred to as huffing. Unlike k-space gas which is used in the manufacture of mostly illegal boosters, w-space gas is used in Tech 3 Production to manufacture Strategic Cruisers and sub systems. Like Ore sites, they are guarded by a single wave of sleepers (with the exception of the Vast Frontier Reservoir which spawns in 2 timed waves).
The sleepers are not present on first warp in, instead spawning 15 - 25 minutes after a player has first initiated warp to the site. The sleeper spawn timer will start even if the player cancels warp and never actually arrives at the site.
Be aware that the Ordinary Perimeter Reservoir is an exception to this rule; it has 5 sentry guns that are present when the site spawns. These have a very powerful alpha strike and will easily destroy a frigate before it can warp away.
Gas sites can be ninja huffed by harvesting until sleepers spawn and warping off as soon as that happens. This can be done with great success in the Venture (Tech 1) or Prospect (Tech 2) mining frigate, which has a large ore hold (which also holds gas) and a bonus to gas huffing.
Ninja huffing can often be better ISK per hour than running combat sites in C2/C3, especially with poor skills. A good website to help estimate this is http://blitzmann.it.cx/gasSites/wormhole/
Data sites have multiple containers, often in a grid or array of some kind, that can be accessed using the Data Analyzer module. They will contain SubSystem Datacores, RAMs, or other production/invention components. However, they will be guarded by usually four waves of sleepers. These are often quite difficult when compared to combat sites, and the loot they drop is not particularly good in C4 and under. Typically these sites are run for the sleeper loot and salvage.
Relic sites are similiar to Data sites, except that they require the Relic Analyzer module to access the containers. Relic loot will be components from which T3 blueprints can be Reverse Engineered. These components will be wrecked, malfunctioning, or intact; the qualities will produce either 1, 2, or 3 run blueprint copies. Relic sites are guarded by four waves of sleepers.
W-space also contains rare Ghost Sites. These are the only place in w-space where you will see faction rats. W-space Ghost Sites drop the most valuable loot if run correctly. They do not contain sleeper rats and behave differently than normal w-space exploration sites.
Risk vs. Reward
Sleeper loot and salvage
Salvage, on the other hand, is used by players in Tech 3 Production. Battleship wrecks [is this correct?] require a salvaging skill of 4 or higher, although a salvage tackle may be used in place of a rank in the skill. One item of salvage in particular, Melted Nanoribbons, far exceeds the ISK value of all others.
Tech 3 Strategic Cruisers are the bread and butter of w-space. They have very high resistances, are modular and customizable, are the only ship that can fit an interdiction nullifier (other than naturally bubble-immune Interceptors), but still fit in a package the size of a cruiser. As such, they are tailor made for w-space, being able to adapt to new situations while having great survivability, firepower, and low mass as to not destabilize wormholes. However, beware the price tag. The hull alone will run you over 100 million ISK, and each of the five subsytems will cost you anywhere from 20 to 100 million, or more, making for a very expensive ship once fitted out. A "cheap fit" T3 will be 300 - 400 million ISK. A T3 ship must have all subsystems filled to undock but subsystems can now also be swapped in space using a mobile depot.
Because there is no list of those in local like in K-Space, players are always at great risk of being attacked without warning. The terms of an engagement are almost always set by the aggressing party, and thus it's not a fight, but a gank. Players are ganked for profit, fun, or control of space. Despite the seemingly vast stretches of empty w-space, a happenstance connecting wormhole can link an empty system to a highly active, aggressive, residential wormhole corporation.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent getting ganked. Instead, do what you can to mitigate any potential losses. "Only fly what you can afford to lose." Although daytripping in w-space is usually undertaken as a PvE venture, you cannot choose to avoid PvP. If you fly a faction ship with deadspace mods for racing through level four missions, keep it docked. If you deal with w-space enough, you will be ganked, but don't worry, it's still worth it. Most w-space corps love PvP and will jump at a chance to kill you and your pod.
How to be (somewhat) safe in w-space
The Directional Scanner is often your primary source of intelligence regarding what else is in system with you. When jumping into a w-space system, you should always, always, always check your d-Scan while holding your jump cloak (after bookmarking the hole, of course!). No matter how recently you were in the same system, or if you have a friend in system, check your d-Scan. Things can change very quickly, and any warning at all will help.
Many pilots will use certain overview filters to aid them in determining what is in system with them. These filters are often personalized, and can be added gradually as a user becomes adept at using d-Scan.
This is not a class on d-Scan, however it's worth mentioning that d-scan can be used in a variety of creative ways, including roughly locating things, telling if a ship is in a certain place (at an anomaly for instance), or telling if multiple ships are in the same fleet (if they use the same naming convention). It can be used to covertly locate things whilst you are cloaked, by changing the range and narrowing the angle and pointing your ship camera or solar system view camera at things. This is useful in combat scanning particularly, as you want to have your probes visible for as short a time as possible.
Ship Naming Convention
Some w-space corporations have their own ship naming conventions. This helps them to quickly identify neutral/hostile ships because they can easily tell if a ship on d-scan is friendly or possibly not. Should you take a fleet into w-space, it is recommended that you do the same. Having a naming convention that is unique can in many cases alert you to the presence of possible hostiles in the system - that is if you catch them on d-scan and they aren't clever enough to adopt your convention in order to fool you into thinking that their ship is part of your fleet.
Unless you happen to want to go to a celestial or a cosmic anomaly, you will always need a bookmark to go somewhere in w-space. Every time you warp somewhere new, you must bookmark it to be able to return without aid or doing work all over again. Nota bene: If a wormhole is bookmarked from the scan result window, it will be inaccurate up to approximately 5km. Instead, a bookmark should be made from the overview once on grid with the wormhole.
In addition, although it is impossible to warp to a wormhole via the right click contextual menu, you can bookmark it, then warp to the bookmark.
In addition to the basic bookmarks such as an entrance or exit wormhole, other points such as a hostile control tower, observation points, group safe spots, or bombing points can be very useful. This has been a great update for W-Space since prior to that the only way to share bookmarks was through the use of a jet-can. While any corporate member may create corp bookmarks, and edit/delete his own bookmarks, only those that have the Corp role "Communication Officer" may edit/delete corp bookmarks that are not his own. In EVE University that role is assigned to the Sophomore title. Copying Bookmarks is still required however if you are part of a group that is not all in the same corp.
System Occupancy and POS Intel
One easy way of getting an idea of who occupies the system it to check the ownership of the system's POCOs (Player Owned Customs Offices). POCOs can be seen on your Pod Saver tab as long as you have it set up correctly (Setting Up a Pod Saver Preset) and by showing info on them, you can see who owns them. Once you have the corporation/alliance name, you can search for it on a site such as https://zkillboard.com/ to find out their combat trends. This can give you an idea of whose home you are playing around in.
The exact procedure of gathering intel on POSes might be beyond the scope of this class. It is, however, worth mentioning that any excursion into w-space should always have some time set aside to gather intel on the resident's POSes - if any are present, before starting your intended activities. This should include:
- the POS locations (Planet/Moon)
- ships inside the POS shield (piloted/unpiloted)
- location/alignment of bubbles - if any - around the POS (are they "dirty" bubbles - cans or other stuff around that is meant to de-cloak you)
Having the POS locations will allow cloaky scouts to keep an eye on the POSes and relay any pertinent information to the rest of the fleet - such as when pilots log in/out, what kind of ships they are flying and if/when someone warps away, what direction they went. Without POS intel, any ships appearing on d-scan are harder to pinpoint...is it just someone passing through or are the residents logging in and possibly getting ready to ambush your site-running fleet, for example.
Once a person is cloaked there is no way to detect them. Therefore, with very rare exception, as long as you are cloaked you are safe. There are tactics to try to decloak possible covops or recons, such as anchoring containers near drag bubbles, especially on approaches to POSes. If you have a cloak, keep it up as much as possible. There is nothing to gain by being visible, and safety comes in being invisible.
Anomolies vs. Signatures
Although everything has to be scanned down, not everything needs probes to find. While in a cosmic signature you have reasonable expectation that there will be probes in space before any unfriendlies arrive, although they may only be out for under a minute before company arrives. Also be aware that hostiles may have visited your system earlier and already have bookmarks for all the signatures, making it unnecessary for them to launch probes to find you.
In an anomaly, hostiles can enter through a wormhole out of d-Scan range, cloak, warp to your nearby planet, on board scan, d-scan to narrow down your anomaly, warp in at range, and position themselves next to you.... and there's no way you can see them coming. The only way to detect this intrusion is to be constantly probing for new signatures... and to remember that every ship can find your site while you're in an anomaly.
Expecting the Unexpected.. which actually makes it expected
If you hang out in w-space long enough, someone WILL try to gank you. Know it's coming, have a plan, and keep your chin up when you lose a ship. So long as you're a pessimist, all surprises will be happy ones.
W-Space takes many aspects of EVE such as teamwork, research, information gathering, negotiation, resource management, and yes combat, and distills them into relatively small, intense encounters. Even within the vast reaches of EVE space, w-space is the frontier, a place that is still unmapped.
If you rush into these areas, you can be overwhelmed. But don't let this get in your way as a new player -- explore and have fun in wormholes! The risk is worth the reward. Wormholes are a lot of often heartpounding fun.
May Bob the Wormhole God smile upon you.
(But this is not a class on Bob.)
- Bubble: A warp disruption sphere, either mobile, projected by a Heavy Interdictor, or dropped by a Interdictor.
- Critical: Less than 10% mass remaining.
- EOL: End of life, an indicator that a wormhole has 4 or less hours of lifetime reamining.
- Gank: A surprise attack.
- K-space: The 5,000 systems that appear on your world map.
- K162: A generic exit, which is only spawned when the other side has been found and a player initates warp to the entrance.
- Locus Signature: The number J###### that appears in place of the usual information when in w-space, used for reference.
- Stage 1: The first dialog of a wormhole's mass limit; greater than 45% remaining.
- Stage 2: The second dialog of a wormhole's mass limit; between 10% and 45% remaining. Also sometimes called "first shrink".
- W-space: 2,500 systems that can only be accessed through wormholes, indexed by Locus Signature, and ranked by Class from 1 to 6.
- Directional Scanner Guide
- Wormholes 101
- http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1314015 (significant musings on the backstory of sleepers/talocan/wormholes)
- http://eve-survival.org/wikka.php?wakka=WormholeSpace (encounter types in wormholes, and what to expect there)
- For auditory learners and commuters: Lost in Eve podcast – Season 3 – Episode 7 answering a half hour long list of wormhole beginner questions in the segment starting at 1:24:00 (hours:minutes:seconds)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXiqpglBw_s "Introduction to Wormholes" video on youtube, by Seamus Donohue