Profitable wormholes

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This page should be updated due to game changes. Reason: complete rewrite of section 3 - POSes, old resource names, less defenders/more anoms

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 have a 'dry patch' in wormholes to run.

Contents

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 should run a D-Scan.

D-Scan: Safety First...

During your set of D-Scans you want to check the following.

  • 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.
  • How many ships and of what type are on D-Scan.
  • Which starbase structures are around, especially is there any XL ship assembly arrays.
  • Whether or not there's any wrecks on D-Scan

The Good

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 or the owners could have noticed you on D-Scan and warped off.

The Bad

If there's more than 2 POSes online 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

If there's a XL Ship Assembly Array and / or Capital ships (Carriers: Archon, Chimera, Thanatos, Nidhoggur. Dreadnoughts: Revelation, Phoenix, Moros, Naglfar) in the system the inhabitants should be fairly skilled and capable to use them on your fleet. Since it takes a fairly significant fleet to destroy any of these it's not advised to continue in the system.

If there's any T3 ship (Legion, Tengu, Proteus, Loki) on D-Scan it's advised not to continue as they are fairly potent when fitted and flown properly.

Almost There

You've established the current risk level. Next you need to check for historical risks.

There are various sites that gives you statistics on a specific system. A widely preferred site is dotlan. Here, for example, is 0P9Z-I in Branch.

What you are looking for is:

Jumps

The more jumps there have been, the more likely it is that another fleet is forming or the inhabitants are active in the wormhole. As of Crucible, DotLan displays jumps for 1 hour and 24 hours.

Ship Kills

Ship Kills are not a definite indication of PvP (sleepers, for example, will also kill ships), but it is a warning sign.

Pod and Deployable kills

Sleepers do NOT pod players, only other players do that. Additionally, sleepers will not interact with player deployables such as MTUs or Depots.

NPC kills

You are only looking at the last 2-3 hours here for safety purposes. If there have been kills in the last hour, it's fairly likely that the group that has been killing the sleepers are still in the wormhole.

Show me the Money

After you've established the relative safety of the wormhole, you can start determining the profitability of the wormhole.

Since you already have Dotlan open, you can look further in the NPC kills section. If a lot of kills have been made in the last 48 hours, it can mean that the wormhole has been cleared. Now drop your probes and scan the whole system to get an idea of combat anomalies as well as signatures in the system.

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.

Even though Radar and Magnetometric signatures are the most profitable, those 17 signatures might be all other wormholes, Ladar or Gravimetric sites. If there have been a lot of Sleeper kills in the last 48 hours, the chances are that you will not get good signatures in the wormhole system (even with a lot of anomalies).

In general if there are not many anomalies the wormhole will not be worth the effort to get a fleet out. However if there are a lot of signatures, 5 Radar / Magnetometric sites will make it worthwhile to put a fleet together.

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?
  • Are there any XL ship assembly arrays?
  • 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.

First, check at staticmapper to see if your wormhole has any suspected static wormholes. A static wormhole will always originate from the wormhole system and will always be of the same type (including destination type). It will NOT always end in the same destination system. If a system has a B274 static wormhole, there will always be be static to high-sec, but you could end up 2 to 35 jumps from your originating system

Also note that staticmapper is a community driven project where people report what wormholes they've found in a wormhole system and is thus neither complete nor 100% accurate.

Exiting a wormhole

Who exits the wormhole first should depend on whether you found it in high-sec or low/null/w-space.

  • If you are exiting to high-sec, most times the salvager can exit first. He should d-scan and watch for pirates camping the wormhole in high-sec.
  • 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. Running wormholes is not profitable if you have to self-destruct half your fleet to get out.

Exiting into low/null sec space

When exiting into a low or null sec system it is a good idea for a combat ship to jump first and confirm the other side isn't being camped. A salvager has no offensive or defensive capabilities and more than likely the loot that such a salvager is carrying would more than make up for a lost ship. But lost loot is lost... Make sure you check and follow the E-Uni SOP as well, especially when dealing with the fact you have a null sec exit into player controlled (SOV) null sec.

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