Exploration combat sites for new players

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This guide details how to get started with combat sites that are found via exploration. Once you get good at clearing sites you can make several million ISK per hour from basic sites.

Combat sites are pockets in space filled with rats to shoot at. This guide focuses on the three most common types: Combat anomalies that can be found without probes and cosmic signatures (unrated and DED rated) that need probes for locating. Cosmic anomalies are easier, have no ship restrictions and pay less. Unrated and DED rated combat sites require probes to scan down, have ship size limitations but pay on avarage more than anomalies . DED rated complexes pay especially well.

Contents

Advantages:

  • You can start making a significant amount of ISK with only Astrometrics I and a good frigate, and more with a combat destroyer or cruiser.
  • There is no need to grind standing up for agents.
  • It can be more exciting to scan things down and do them rather than repeating the same missions over and over again.
  • There is a chance of a faction spawn that might drop really good/expensive loot.
  • For those basic sites, you don't really have to be worried about EWAR. There won't be any warp scrambling frigates to worry about.

Disadvantages:

  • Faction spawns are rare and rarely drop anything.
  • You have competition - not a lot with the cosmic anomalies, but it gets worse on combat sites that have to be scanned down. In missions you get your own deadspace pocket (although you can be scanned down in it).
  • To be somewhat effective you should be a few jumps away from the Uni HQ, to reduce the competition from other Unistas, which will reduce your ability to quickly join up with PvP fleets if you want to.
  • After a while, the sites do tend to get repetitive, sometimes as much as missioning.
  • Drops can be very inconsistent. Most of the time you get nothing but any of the sites can drop several hundred million isk worth of loot at once.

Getting Started

Combat sites all involve combat. Unrated and DED rated complexes also need to be scanned with probes while combat anomalies can be found with no additional equipment.

Skills

For combat you will want to train the skills for your weapon system of choice, tanking skills and general fitting skills.

For probe scanning you should look at training Astrometrics, Astrometric Rangefinding and Astrometric Pinpointing. Higher skill level will make scanning easier and faster but even at low levels you can scan down combat sites to run.

Be careful when operating near trade hubs in hi-sec space due to war targets. Clearing K-space anomalies and signatures should be treated in the same way as missioning. Read tips for surviving during war time for more information.


Ship and fit

When doing anything in EVE you will need to use the right ship for the right job. While selecting the hull and fit you should remember the following:

  • Exploration involves traveling around in multiple systems. You will be usually on your own and need to have everything you need in your ship.
  • Probe launcher requires a high power slot. Some ships have so called "utility high" meaning they have more high slots taht weapon slots.
  • Usually aim for cap stability to make your life easier.
  • Shields are often preferred over armor so the low slots can be used for damage enhancing modules.
  • If you use drones bring spare drones in cargo. They are easily forgotten in sites and sometimes die.
  • Bring 16 core probes. This way the launcher autoreloads after launching probes.
  • Rats of different regions are different. Each deals different damage type, has different resist profile and uses different electronic warfare. You should at least select your hardeners to match the incoming damage.
    • Angel (Minmatar space): Deal and are weak to explosive and kinetic damage. Use target target painters that are mostly harmless.
    • Serpentis (Gallente space): Deal and are weak to kinetic and thermal. Use sensor dampeners that will drop your targeting range.
    • Blood raiders and Sansha (Amarr space): Deal and are weak to electromagnetic and thermal. Use tracking disruptors that will hinder all turret users and neuts that will hinder ships with active tank.
    • Guristas (Caldari space). Deal and are weak to kinetic and thermal. Use ECM that will annoy everyone.
    • Rogue drones (everywhere). Deal various damage types, mostly kinetic, thermal and explosive. Weak to electromagnetic and thermal.

The following sections detail some basic fits for combat sites. With better skills you can upgrade the modules to T2 and with better fitting skills you can use more cap hungy, more CPU intensive and more PG intensive modules.

Frigates

Frigates can enter all sites. With modest skill a frigate should be able to complete some of the easiest combat sites. NPC frigates deal low damage and cruisers can't hit small targets too well. Largest danger for frigates are destroyers and they should be dealt as soon as possible.

Tristan is arguably the best frigate for the job. Using drones allows it to stay far and thus take very little damage. If drones aren't your thing the only combat frigate with utility high is rifter. All other T1 combata frigates must sacrifice one of their guns in order to fit a probe launcher resulting in a bit anemic damage output. The gun based frigates also need to close into firing range to apply damage but this also brings them into firing range of the rats so they will need to be able to tank the incoming damage.


Tristan - signature
Tristan: Tristan - signature
EFT
[Tristan, Tristan - signature]
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Small C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I
Upgraded Thermal Dissipation Amplifier I

AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier
AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier
AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I


Hobgoblin I x8

Core Scanner Probe I x17

Fitting template high slot label.png
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Icon hi slot.png
Icon hi slot.png
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6003_64.png
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9568_64.png
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31370_64.png
31370_64.png
31370_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
YES
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Upgrade to T2 modules as you gain skills for them.
  • Aim for cap stability. If stable without all the capacitor modules swap a rig for more damage.
  • Switch amplifier to match incoming damage.
  • Switch drones to match weakness of target.
  • Carry extra drones in case you forget some in space or they die.
  • Use range to stay out of reach of the rats.
Merlin - signature
Merlin: Merlin - signature
EFT
[Merlin, Merlin - signature]
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun
Core Probe Launcher I

1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Small C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I
Upgraded Thermal Dissipation Amplifier I
Eutectic Compact Cap Recharger

Vortex Compact Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Vortex Compact Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Fourier Compact Tracking Enhancer

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I



Core Scanner Probe I x16
Antimatter Charge S x2000

Fitting template high slot label.png
7287_64.png
7287_64.png
17938_64.png
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6003_64.png
6437_64.png
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11105_64.png
6325_64.png
Fitting template subsystem slots label.png
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Fitting template drone slots label.png
Fitting template charge slots label.png
30013_64.png
222_64.png
Icon dashed triangle.png
Icon dashed triangle.png
Icon dashed triangle.png
Fitting template rig slots label.png
31370_64.png
31370_64.png
31538_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
YES
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Upgrade to T2 modules as you gain skills for them.
  • Aim for cap stability. If stable without all the capacitor modules swap a rig for more damage.
  • Switch amplifier to match incoming damage.
Rifter - Signature
Rifter: Rifter - Signature
EFT
[Rifter, Rifter - Signature]
200mm Light Prototype Automatic Cannon
200mm Light Prototype Automatic Cannon
200mm Light Prototype Automatic Cannon
Core Probe Launcher I

1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Small C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I
Upgraded Thermal Dissipation Amplifier I

Counterbalanced Compact Gyrostabilizer
Counterbalanced Compact Gyrostabilizer
Fourier Compact Tracking Enhancer

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I



Core Scanner Probe I x16
EMP S x1000
Phased Plasma S x1000
Fusion S x1000

Fitting template high slot label.png
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8869_64.png
8869_64.png
17938_64.png
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6003_64.png
6437_64.png
9568_64.png
Fitting template low slots label.png
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6325_64.png
Fitting template subsystem slots label.png
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Fitting template drone slots label.png
Fitting template charge slots label.png
30013_64.png
185_64.png
184_64.png
183_64.png
Icon dashed triangle.png
Fitting template rig slots label.png
31370_64.png
31370_64.png
31370_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
YES
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Upgrade to T2 modules as you gain skills for them.
  • Aim for cap stability. If stable without all the capacitor modules swap a rig for more damage.
  • Switch amplifier to match incoming damage.
  • Use ammo that hits enemy weakness.


If your combat skills are good but scanning is troubling you can also use the T1 scanning frigates for combat sites. Use drones for your damage and take advantage of your drone control range to stay out of harms way. They are quite similar to tristan but with lower damage output.


Probe - signature
Probe: Probe - signature
EFT
[Probe, Probe - signature]
Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

Upgraded Thermal Dissipation Amplifier I
Small Clarity Ward Booster I
1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Upgraded Kinetic Deflection Amplifier I

AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier
AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier
AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I


Hobgoblin I x7

Sisters Core Scanner Probe x1

Fitting template high slot label.png
17938_64.png
Icon hi slot.png
Icon hi slot.png
Fitting template mid slots label.png
9568_64.png
6441_64.png
6003_64.png
9582_64.png
Fitting template low slots label.png
41034_64.png
41034_64.png
41034_64.png
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2454_64.png
Icon dashed diamond.png
Icon dashed diamond.png
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30488_64.png
Icon dashed triangle.png
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Fitting template rig slots label.png
31370_64.png
31370_64.png
31370_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
YES
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • * Use drone range to stay out of enemy range.
  • * Upgrade modules to T2 as skills allow.
  • * Aim for cap stability. If third cap rig is not neede swap it for anything you want to.
  • * If fitting room left fit any guns.


Destroyers


Destroyer can enter all cosmic anomalies, all unrated copmlexes and 2/10 DED complexes and above. While destroyer has much higher damage output than a frigate it is also slower and easier to hit. A destroyer is able to owerpower easier sites with superior firepower. As with frigates, cruisers will have trouble hitting a fast moving destroyer and other destroyers are the largest threat.


Thrasher - signature
Thrasher: Thrasher - signature
EFT
[Thrasher, Thrasher - signature]
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP S
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP S
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP S
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP S
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP S
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP S
200mm Light 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP S
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Small Shield Booster II
Thermal Dissipation Amplifier II
1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner

Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Small Projectile Ambit Extension I
Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I



EMP S x7311
Core Scanner Probe I x1

Fitting template high slot label.png
8863_64.png
8863_64.png
8863_64.png
8863_64.png
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FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
YES
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Downgrade modules from T2 to meta if needed
  • Switch amplifier to match incoming damage
  • Switch ammo to mach taraget weakness
  • Run shield booster when needed. Once most enemy ships are dead pulse it when needed
Algos - signature
Algos: Algos - signature
EFT
[Algos, Algos - signature]
Core Probe Launcher I
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun
125mm Prototype Gauss Gun

1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Thermal Dissipation Amplifier II
Small Shield Booster II

AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier
Vortex Compact Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Fourier Compact Tracking Enhancer

Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I


Hobgoblin I x12

Core Scanner Probe I x16
Antimatter Charge S x1000

Fitting template high slot label.png
17938_64.png
10694_64.png
10694_64.png
10694_64.png
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10694_64.png
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2539_64.png
400_64.png
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11105_64.png
6325_64.png
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2454_64.png
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222_64.png
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31406_64.png
31406_64.png
31406_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
YES
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Switch between meta and T2 modules as your skills allow.
  • Run the shield booster when needed. After you have destroyed most rats you sholdn't need it constantly
  • Switch drones to match weakness of target.
  • Switch amplifier to match incoming damage.


Cruisers


Cruisers can enter all cosmic anomalies, lookouts and unrated complexes that are above lookout and 3/10 DED complexes and above. Cruisers enjoy high damage and good tank. They can run most high security sites they can enter without issues. Only the hardest DED site is tricky hard and the hardest unrated complex is very hard for a cruiser.

The fits here have T2 tank. While they do work with meta modules you should train the skills for T2 tank as soon as possible when you move to larger hulls. With the ship prices beginning to be in 30 million range the pilot should consider using sister core scanning probes instead of normala core scaning probes. A full set of 16 is still much cheaper than rest of the fit and they will help making scanning faster.

Vexor anmd its navy issue variant are perhaps the most popular T1 ship for PvE. There are numerous fits for them with shield tank, armor tank, oversized AB and more. they can use light, medium, heavy and sentry drones depending on how you like to fly it. When flying drone ship take advantage of your drone range and stay out of weapon range.

Turret based ships like rupture are flown very differently from drone ships. they often uses short range guns and needs to get close to apply damage. To survive in close combat they have considerably stronger tank. Hitting frigates requires some manual piloting to reduce angular velocity.


Oversized AB passive shield
Vexor Navy Issue: Oversized AB passive shield
EFT
[Vexor Navy Issue, Oversized AB passive shield]
Small Solace Scoped Remote Armor Repairer
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, EMP S

100MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Large Shield Extender II
Medium Cap Battery II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Damage Control II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Omnidirectional Tracking Enhancer II
Omnidirectional Tracking Enhancer II

Medium Core Defense Field Purger I
Medium Core Defense Field Purger I
Medium Core Defense Field Purger I


Hobgoblin II x5
Hammerhead II x5
Warden I x5

Core Scanner Probe I x1
EMP S x1

Fitting template high slot label.png
16439_64.png
17938_64.png
9417_64.png
Icon hi slot.png
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3841_64.png
3496_64.png
2281_64.png
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2048_64.png
4405_64.png
4405_64.png
4405_64.png
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33824_64.png
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2456_64.png
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185_64.png
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31802_64.png
31802_64.png
31802_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
NO
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Use range to reduce incoming damage.
  • Carry extra drones ro replace lost and dead drones.
  • The gun is for drawing aggro, any gun works.
  • Switch drones to hit weakness.
  • Downgrade modules to meta if needed.
Oversized AB passive shield
Vexor: Oversized AB passive shield
EFT
[Vexor, Oversized AB passive shield]
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, EMP S
Small Solace Scoped Remote Armor Repairer

Large Shield Extender II
100MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Medium Cap Battery II

Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Damage Control II
Omnidirectional Tracking Enhancer II

Medium Core Defense Field Purger I
Medium Core Defense Field Purger I
Medium Core Defense Field Purger I


Hobgoblin II x9
Hammerhead II x8

Core Scanner Probe I x1
EMP S x1
Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16

Fitting template high slot label.png
17938_64.png
9417_64.png
16439_64.png
Icon hi slot.png
Fitting template mid slots label.png
3841_64.png
35657_64.png
2281_64.png
3496_64.png
Fitting template low slots label.png
4405_64.png
4405_64.png
4405_64.png
2048_64.png
33824_64.png
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2456_64.png
2185_64.png
Icon dashed diamond.png
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30013_64.png
185_64.png
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Icon dashed triangle.png
Icon dashed triangle.png
Fitting template rig slots label.png
31802_64.png
31802_64.png
31802_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
NO
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Use range to reduce incoming damage.
  • Carry extra drones ro replace lost and dead drones.
  • The gun is for drawing aggro, any gun works.
  • Switch drones to hit weakness.
  • Downgrade modules to meta if needed.
Passive signature runner
Rupture: Passive signature runner
EFT
[Rupture, Passive signature runner]
Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe
425mm Medium 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP M
425mm Medium 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP M
425mm Medium 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP M
425mm Medium 'Scout' Autocannon I, EMP M

Kinetic Deflection Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Thermal Dissipation Field II
10MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner

Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Tracking Enhancer II

Medium Core Defense Field Purger I
Medium Core Defense Field Purger I
Medium Core Defense Field Purger I


Hobgoblin I x5

Sisters Core Scanner Probe x9
EMP M x1
Phased Plasma M x1000

Fitting template high slot label.png
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31802_64.png
FITTING DIFFICULTY
EVE VERSION
LATEST
ALPHA CAN USE
NO
EFT
FLEET-UP
SKILLS
NOTES
RECOMMENDED SKILLS
NOTES
  • Switch hardeners to match incoming damage.
  • Switch ammo to hit weakest resist
  • Use speed to mitigate damage from cruisers and larger.
  • Can run all high sec signatures up to vigil without issues. Even vigil is possible with skill and knowledge.


Battlecruiser

While battlecruiser can still enter all anomalies and same unrated complexes as cruisers it suffers from inability to enter 3/10 DED site that is commonly found in high security space. In general a battlecruiser is not a good choice for doing combat sites in high security space.

The sites

Combat sites can be divided anomalies, signatures, escalations and static complexes.

  • Cosmic anomaly.
    • Visible in probe window without scanner.
    • Low chance to either contain faction spawn or escalate.
  • Cosmic signature
    • Needs to be scanned down with probes.
    • Unrated has moderate chances for faction spawn and low chance to escalate.
    • DED rated have guaranteed faction spawn that can drop DED modules.
  • Expedition
    • Escalates from anomalies and unrated signatures.
  • Static complex
    • Relic of the past and should be mostly ignored.
    • Visible beacon on overview that can be warped to.

The System security determines how hard sites spawn while region determines what pirate faction sites spawn. Most high security sites can be completed in cruiser.

In addition to these there are occasional in-game events that contain combat sites. These sites show up as beacons on the overview and run for limited time.

Cosmic Anomalies

Cosmic anomalies are the first type of exploration site, they appear automatically in the ship scanner whenever you enter a system. Cosmic anomalies come in a few varieties; this article deals only general site structure, see Cosmic Anomalies for a fuller listing.

Cosmic anomalies are ungated pockets in space. They have several waves of rats that spawn when a trigger is triggered. Usually next wave appears once the previous wave has been destroyed but on some sites destroying a specific ship will trigger next wave. The last wave can contain a faction commander spawn. This commander has different name from normal rats and can drop valuable faction module, implant or pirate faction ship blueprint copy. Destruction of the last wave can also escalate the site. If an escalation occurs a text window will pop up with escalation message and the escalation is added to expeditions page on journal.

When looking for faction spawns or escalations and your ship is able to tank the incoming damage of the waves it is possible to trigger all waves as soon as possible to get the possible faction spawn and escalation.

Once a Combat Anomaly has been completed it will disappear few minutes after you warp out, so make sure to bookmark the wrecks if you want to salvage them later. Ore sites will despawn when all asteroids have been depleted, or after an internal timer expires.

To see information on a specific cosmic anomaly see Combat_sites#Combat_anomalies.

Cosmic Signatures

Combat sites that appear as Cosmic Signatures are more advanced exploration sites that need to be scanned down with probes. They are gated deadspace complexes with limits on what ships can enter.

The deadspace complex usually consist warpin and one or more additional rooms. Any warp into the site will land on the warpin. In each room there is an acceleration gate that will fling ships to next room. The acceleration gates are however most of the time locked. Most common requirements for unlocking the gate are destrying all hostile NPC ships in the room, unlocking it with a tag (consumes tag), destroying a specific ship or destroying a specific structure.

Each room can also contain multiple waves of enemies. As with anomalies the next wave is usually triggered by destroying all ships from previous wave or by destroying a specific ship. Other triggers are proximity to an object in the room, damaging certain ship or structure and timed spawn.

The prize of the site waits in the last room. DED rated complexes are quaranteed to contain an overseer or a structure that drops DED modules and on some sites pirate faction ship blueprints. In unrated complexes destroying ceratin targets has a chance to spawn a commander ship that can drop a faction module, implant or faction ship blueprint copy. Unrated complexes also contain two or more escalation triggers. Destroying the commander is always one escalation trigger but the sites always contain an alternative trigger that can be triggered if commander does not spawn.

The complex can also have split routes and multiple opportunities for faction items. For example serpentis narcotic warehouses contains two routes that both contain an overseer cruiser with small chance to drop a faction module and a structure in last room that can drop DED modules and a faction ship blueprint copy.

When running cosmic signatures it is often best to rush to the commander as fast as possible as they are the most profitable objects in the sites.

Each site is unique. Spawn triggers, defender waves and escalation possibilities can be found for each site in Combat_sites#Cosmic_signatures.

One often forgotten combat site group is chemical labs. They only spawn in certain low security regions and show up as gas sites. They are defended by two defender waves and to get the valuables you need hack containers with data analyzer. They can drop drug related commodities, drug blueprint copies, drug related skillbooks and drug related implants. For more information on chemical labs see Combat_sites#Chemical_labs

Expeditions

Sometimes, completing an exploration site will escalate to an expedition. These are like followup missions and usually have a chance to happen if you kill a faction spawn at the end of a site. If an escalation occurs a message window will appear with escalation message and the expedition is added to your journal on expeditions page.

Escalations from cosmic anomalies will lead to a deadspace complex that are normally found as cosmic signatures. Escalations from unrated cosmic signatures are unique four part expeditions that are only found as escalations. Each part has a chance to lead to location until fourth location is gained. Each of the three first locations have high chance to contain a faction commander with normal commander drops and the fourth location will usually contain quaranteed DED module drop.

You'll only have 24 hours to complete an escalation. When you warp to an escalation site, make sure to make a bookmark, since the bookmark in your journal only marks the system you need to travel to.

More info on escalation is found in Combat_sites#Expeditions

See also

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