Profitable wormholes

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This page should be updated due to game changes. Reason: complete rewrite. Its more up-to-date now, but the guide is not yet full consistent. How-to-read a wormhole-info-box. Then assess possible PVE/PVP activity. Then getting loot home. Maybe the article needs another story?

W-space is both profitable as well as dangerous. This article will guide someone that's new to w-space and what to look for to avoid wasting time or worse losing a ship while identifying where to spend time to maximise potential profit.

Note: Although a good wormhole can get you more ISK/hour than mission running, mission running is more consistent as you can run all sites in wormholes and just have to wait with nothing to do until new sites spawn (sp.


What this covers and does not cover

This guide identifies potential sources of risk within a wormhole, how to estimate whether or not a wormhole will be profitable, and what you will generally need in order to get a fleet together for your wormhole.

  • This guide does NOT cover how to scan down a wormhole.
  • This guide does NOT cover running sites within a wormhole.

First steps

Once you've found your wormhole and warped to it, the first thing you should do is bookmark it. After you've bookmarked it, you want to gather as much information as you can before you even jump into the wormhole.

You do this by having a look at the information as well as the wormhole type. The information of the wormhole will give you a message in the format of:

An unstable wormhole, deep in space. Wormholes of this kind usually collapse after a few days, and can lead to anywhere.

This wormhole seems to lead into unknown parts of space.

This wormhole is beginning to decay, and probably won't last another day.

This wormhole has not yet had its stability significantly disrupted by ships passing through it.

From this you are looking for the following pieces of information.

The first this wormhole seems to lead into unknown parts of space will tell you the destination of the wormhole. This info is from the Wormholes page:

Wormholes lead to many different places
  • they can connect W-Space to mapped New Eden systems (henceforth referred to as Known Space or K-Space)
  • others connect from K-Space to W-Space
  • yet others connect W-space to other W-space systems
  • and some wormholes connect K-space to K-space.
Wormholes forming within W-Space provide the sole method for inter-system travel for residents of the wormhole. There are no stargates in W-Space.

Secondly you are looking for this wormhole is beginning to decay, and probably won't last another day. This will tell you the time that will be remaining on the wormhole.

  • This wormhole has not yet begun its natural cycle of decay and should last at least another day. Indicates that the wormhole has just spawned.
  • This wormhole is beginning to decay, and probably won't last another day. There are more than 4 hours left before the wormhole collapses.
  • This wormhole is coming to the end of its natural life cycle. There are less than 4 hours remaining till the wormhole collapses.

Lastly you are looking for this wormhole has not yet had its stability significantly disrupted by ships passing through it. This will give you some information with regards to the percentage of the wormhole's total mass.

  • This wormhole has not yet had its stability significantly disrupted by ships passing through it. There is more than 50% of the total mass remaining.
  • Some ships have passed through the wormhole, but not to a critical point There is less than 50% but more than 10% of the total mass remaining.
  • This wormhole has had its stability critically disrupted by the mass of numerous ships passing through and is on the verge of collapse. There is less than 10% of the total mass remaining.

Ideally you don't want to go into a wormhole that has less than 4 hours remaining or has less than 50% of its mass left with a fleet as you can have half the fleet stranded or have the wormhole collapse while you are busy.

All looks good? Now you can jump...

Once you've jumped into the wormhole, the first thing you should do is bookmark the exit wormhole. Next, you cloak your ship. Before you even think about launching probes you try to get as much information as you can get without getting noticed (probes are easily visible for other pilots in the system).

Even without D-Scan you can:

  • look at and try to get information about the wormhole system (C1 to C5? Special effects?)
  • look at and lookup the wormhole system. Who kills who here? How much action does happen?
  • look at the custom offices - who owns them?
  • when you enter a system you can see all citadels and engineering complexes for a short time - even when you are not allowed to dock.
    • How many active citadels and engineering complexes are in the systems. Not active ones are on "low power". If they are not on low power it means someone is living in the system.

D-Scan: Safety First...

Now its time to start with D-Scans. During your set of D-Scans you want to check the following.

  • How many ships and of what type are on D-Scan.
  • Whether or not there's any wrecks on D-Scan
  • POS are still present in New Eden, but they are being phased out. Most still existing POS in wormhole systems are just lost and forgotten - the owners lost interest or lost access to the wormhole system.
    • How many active POSes are on D-Scan. An active POS will have a force field on D-Scan as well. Make sure you are not double counting them.
    • Which starbase structures are around, especially is there any XL ship assembly arrays.

The Good

  • Any citadel or engineering complex on low power CAN be inactive, but often decide the owners not to fuel it. Not using fuel does only shut off the service modules (production, refining, invention) and makes it easier to attack. The structure is otherwise completely working (docking, storage, offices, repairs, ..).
  • Any POS (tower) without a 'force field' up is inactive and can be ignored.
  • No ships or wrecks on D-Scan means that at present there shouldn't be another fleet running sites in the system.
  • Having drones on D-Scan without other ships. Stay for a while and continue scanning, it might be drones left 2 weeks ago - but also the owners could have just noticed you on D-Scan and warped off.

The Bad

If there's more than 2 POSes online/citadels/engineering complexes in the system it usually indicates a very active corporation has set up base in the system. Usually such a corp know how to defend 'their' W-space system and will engage any 'trespassers'.

Any wrecks on D-Scan means there's already a fleet in the system and it's a high risk to bring in another fleet as you can encounter them in an anomaly or get jumped by them. Further, it would mean less potential ISK to make when you manage to get a fleet together.

The Ugly

You see ships on D-Scan. All ships you see mean active pod pilots. Try to assess the situation. If its a single T1-scout it may be a guest in this wormhole system like yourself. In other cases you have to be willing to fight the others off. And if they are living there, they may reship easily.

Remember: There WILL BE cloaked ships around. You have to assume there are always other pod pilots active in wormhole systems. Even if you dont see anything on scans.

Show me the Money - launch your probes and scan the system

After you've established the relative safety of the wormhole, you can start determining the profitability of the wormhole. You uncloak, launch your drones and cloak again. Remeber: You have to warp off or at least move around: you may have been seen in the short moment when you uncloaked to launch your drones. Always assume a cloaked hunter just sitting near to you and awaiting the chance to kill you.

Interpreting the Probe Results

If there are 10 or more anomalies in the wormhole system then it's a fair indication that the wormhole will be profitable (and there is currently nobody running these anamolies).

In general if there are not many anomalies the wormhole will not be worth the effort to get a fleet out.

Time to call in the Cavalry

You've decided you want to try and get a fleet together. This information is the minimum to provide potential fleet mates for them to determine if it would be worth their time. All this information you should have from your initial scan of the system.

  • Locus Signature (Jxxxxxx from the top left)
  • Number of active POSes on D-scan (Number of force fields seen on d-scan. Make sure you d-scan at every planet, including planets far from the entrance)
  • The number and types of all ships seen on d-scan.
  • What is the state of the wormhole in time/mass?
  • How many anomalies & signatures are there? If there are less than 10 anomalies in system, scan them down so you know what you have.
  • Are there any wrecks (sleeper or player ship) on D-Scan?
  • Does the route to the wormhole pass through known war target systems/trade hubs/low-sec/null-sec?

Getting the loot home

A successful wormhole operation does not just entail getting the wormhole and getting a lot of loot. It also requires you to get everyone out safely and the loot to a trade hub to sell. Here are a few rules of thumb that will help increase the odds of survival.

Where to go

  • If you can exit the same way as you came (through your "chain"): Do it.
  • Otherwise: Try to scout a way first before you jump all your fleet ships through a wormhole.

Exiting a wormhole

Expect the other side of the wormhole to be camped. If you are exiting into unsafe space (low/null/w-space), a combat-fitted ship should exit first to ensure the path out is clear. On the all-clear, the salvager should be the next to exit, before the rest of the fleet.

The LAST person that should exit a wormhole is the scout. The only exception to this rule is if another fleet member has a probe launcher and good probing skills. That way, if the wormhole collapses while the fleet is still moving through it, the scout can find an alternate wormhole for anyone remaining in the wormhole.

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