Wormhole scouting

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Reference

Wormhole attributes
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Fittings

WHC Member Fittings
Noob Night in the Hole Fittings

NPCs

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External links

NPC Ships

This page is intended as a step-by-step guide to covertly scouting a wormhole for PvE/PvP Opportunities.

Contents

Things you need before you start

  • In order to scout a wormhole, you need to find one! Wormholes are cosmic signatures and must be scanned down.
  • Basic understanding of cloaking modules and cloaking mechanics.
  • The most important modules a scout can have are a probe launcher and a cloak. Depending on what you wish to do in W-Space, different ships have some pros and cons:
Type of ship Pros Cons

T1 Exploration Frigate

  • Excellent scanning bonuses
  • Fast and agile
  • Very cheap
  • Good bait (everyone loves ganking a daytripper on their first trip through w-space)
  • No Covert Ops cloak - you can't warp while cloaked
  • Locals will see you on D-Scan when you are forced to uncloak.
  • Fragile and easily ganked
  • Bad for scouting PvP targets, as they can see you
  • Targetable by POSes and Sleepers when landing on grid with them

T2 Covert Ops Frigate

  • Covert Ops cloak - can warp cloaked, making it hard for anyone to see you or find you
  • Good scan bonuses
  • Fast and agile
  • Fairly inexpensive
  • Can provide initial warp-in point for ganks and PvP
  • Fragile
  • Not terribly useful in combat

Stealth Bomber

  • Covert Ops cloak
  • Fast and agile, though not as agile as a T1 or T2 scanning frigate
  • Fairly inexpensive
  • Can kill industrial-class ships on its own
  • Can provide initial point on other lone targets
  • No sensor recalibration delay
  • Can provide a lot of firepower versus battleship and larger
  • Extremely fragile, even more so than a CovOps frigate
  • No scan bonus, making scanning more time-consuming
  • Longer cloak reactivation delay, meaning you will be visible longer on d-scan when uncloaking then cloaking again.

T2 Force Recon Cruiser

  • Covert Ops cloak
  • Able to participate in combat
  • E-war bonuses
  • Mid range price
  • No scan bonus
  • Requires good skills to fit
  • Much less tank compared to a T3 Strategic Cruiser
  • Easy to decloak on wormholes

T3 Strategic Cruiser

  • Covert Ops cloak
  • Scanning bonuses
  • Immune to bubbles with Interdiction Nullifier propulsion subsystem
  • Best choice for solo hunting or initial point
  • Expensive
  • Not as agile as a Covert Ops frigate
  • Easy to decloak on a wormhole
  • Skill-intensive
  • Pen and paper or a notepad program open.
  • The following sites open in a browser:

So You've found a Wormhole

Now it's time to start scouting, but before you jump...

  1. Bookmark the wormhole
    • Bookmarks created at a signature location from your scan probe results are often more than 5km from the Wormhole's actual location, resulting in your warp to 0km not placing you in jump range.
    • As such, you should bookmark the wormhole itself from your overview while on grid.
  2. The Wormhole Type ID from your overview can get some extra stats, if it's not a K162.
    • Google the ID, first result is nearly always the right one
    • Reference the table in the wiki
  3. Next, Show Info on the wormhole and reference this page for details: Wormhole Text and Example Wormholes
    • Make sure the wormhole is stable enough in both mass and time to safely jump through
    • If it doesn't have enough mass or time remaining for a round trip, plan on scanning your way out again, or find another wormhole.
  4. Attempt visual identification of wormhole destination

Even if the wormhole type is K162, you have some idea what you're jumping into, and whether or not you should be able to get back via this wormhole.

Time to Jump

If all the above lends to the idea that this world be a fun place to visit, it's time to Jump.

  1. Hold your cloak! (but remember it is only 30 seconds on a WH)
    • Bookmark the other side of the wormhole!
  2. Time to get your bearings
    • Link the system's locus ID (the J#) to fleet members
    • Ping d-scan, 360°, max range, using Wormhole Overview Preset
    • Your System Overlay will show signatures; record/report the # of Anomalies.
    • Evaluate your surroundings, and consider swapping gate cloak for your cloaking device
  3. If you see nothing threatening, start moving away from the wormhole, engage your cloaking device, and pulse your prop mod
    • Prop mods can be activated if button is pressed within 1 second of activating cloak
    • Consider changing your direction of travel so as to not be on a predictable path for those attempting to de-cloak you
  4. Decide if this wormhole is worth checking out using the following considerations:
    • Class of wormhole (C1/C2 are soloable, C3's require very good skills and a good ship to solo or a gang with logi, C4's and up require a logi supported gang)
    • Number of anomalies (easiest source of PvE)
    • Recent NPC/Ship/Pod kills in system from wormhol.es mirror Dotlan info (NPC kills imply it's been farmed recently, ship and pod kills may imply hazards)
    • Signs of occupation (if PvP is of interest this might be a bonus)
  5. Control your urge to launch probes
    • The main goal of wormhole life is never letting anyone know you are there until you are ready to, and probes are obvious, we will get to that later

Check for Occupancy

Now you are cloaked and somewhat safe away from the wormhole where your chances of being de-cloaked are lowered, and you've made the decision that time should be invested digging further, let's figure out who's home.

  1. Pull up your pod saver tab and show info on the Customs Offices.
    • One of the most obvious indications of habitation is Player Owned Customs Offices (POCO's) as they are labeled with the name of the corp which set them up
    • Interbus is the standard NPC Customs Office and can indicate that the system hasn't been colonized.
  2. Check Anoik.is to see if its API digging agrees with current occupation.
    • Anoik.is also has Dotlan info and links to public killboards check for recent kills and corporation activity.
  3. Pull up the system map and check system size.
    • Make note of any planets outside of 14.36AUs as they will not appear on d-scan.
    • If able to warp while cloaked, start warping to planets out of range to gather d-scan data (use both the Wormhole Preset to look for force fields, and the Looting Preset to look for wrecks)
    • While warping this is an excellent time to be making safe spots.
    • Utilizing a narrow beam d-scan, locate and make note of any planet at which you find an active force field and any ships nearby.

Check out the POSes

By now you have several safe spots, and a list of the planets with active POSes on their moons, time to locate the POSes for monitoring.

Create a POS Finder Overview Tab

This tab is useful in quickly locating Moons containing POSes. Caution, this tab does add clutter to your overview and d-scan results, particularly in a system with many planets being orbited by many moons. As such, it should not be used while in combat situations. Its benefit though is the ability to quickly reference moon distance, and align the d-scan beam towards a moon of interest

  1. Open Overview Settings.
  2. Click the 4-lined box and select Load 6 - Wormhole.
  3. Open the Celestial folder and check Moon.
  4. Open the Deployable folder and ensure that Mobile Warp Disruptor is selected
  5. Save the settings as 6a - POS finder.

Usage instructions

  1. Warp to the planet's custom's office at a random distance (warping to the planet at a distance can sometimes land you close enough to the custom's office which can de-cloak you) and switch to POS finder preset, sort overview by distance
  2. turn on camera tracking (default "c") and set 5° scan
    • If there are a large number of moons, this can be sped up by scanning 360° and locating the POS first by range
    • For example: if there are 20 moons, round up the current distance of moon 10 and use that as your max d-scan range, you now have eliminated half the moons that need to be scanned individually.
  3. Highlight each moon of the current planet in the overview, press scan
  4. Make note of any moons with active towers (those with force fields)
  5. D-scan the moon one last time, if there are any warp disruptors in d-scan that implies a trap has been set near the POS

Warping to Moons

When warping to a moon with an active tower, where warp disruption bubbles are present, the utmost care must be taken. As such here's a quick quide of bubble mechanics from Azual Skoll at The Altruist.

  • NOTE: This step may be ignored in the event there are no ships/probes/wrecks in system on d-scan indicating any pilots are active

Bubble Mechanics

A catch bubble on the left, and a drag bubble on the right.
Red line illustrates a safe warp path

Key points relating to warping to a POS:

  • Bubbles near a POS are used as catch or drag bubbles, and will pull you out of warp at the leading edge of the bubble provided that:
    • The bubble is on grid with your destination (regardless of distance)
    • A continuous line drawn from your start point straight through your destination would pass through the radius of the bubble (both in front, and behind the destination)
  • Common alignments to be trapped are as follows in order of likelihood:
    1. The planet the Moon is orbiting
    2. The star
    3. Adjacent moons of the same planet
    4. Other stuff...
  • The distance you will travel after dropping out of warp is inversely proportional to your ships agility.
    • Smaller more agile ships will end up at the edge of the bubble
    • Larger ships may drift all the way into the center of the bubble
  • traps are often littered with anchored cans, abandoned drones, corpses, and other assorted space trash.
    • The disruption field itself will not de-cloak you, being within 2km of any object will
    • Mobile Warp Distruptors are scanable, but if warped to at any distance they will drag you to them.

The Actual Warp

Now that you know which moon is occupied, you can hop on grid with it to check for piloted ships

  • NOTE: It is highly suggested to only do this in ships fitted with covert ops cloaks
  1. D-scan the moon one last time, if there are any warp disruptors in d-scan that implies a trap has been set at the warp-in from at least one approach
  2. Review system map for ability to create bookmarks perpendicular to common approaches of the planet/sun, or moons and planets unaligned with common approaches
  3. Select warp to moon at 0km - since POSes can't be anchored at zero, there is less of a chance of getting decloaked this way compared to warping in at a larger distance.
  4. While in warp, have a celestial or safe available for easy access in case you need to bug out (preferably as directly behind you as possible so that should you have to escape, you won't end up trying to warp forward where other POS modules or bubbles are likely anchored)
    • If you are caught, don't panic, chances are you still have your cloak, plot your shortest path out of the bubble with the fewest obstructions and slow boat out to empty space
    • If you've dropped cloak, don't panic, you still have >10seconds depending on sig radius before the POS can lock you, plot your shortest path out of the bubble, light your prop mod, and hit your cloak the second you are clear.
    • If you are locked, a properly fit POS will point you. Make sure you are out of the bubble and spam warp to a celestial. This way you can at least get your pod out quickly before occupants can react (POSs do not target pods unless controlled by players).
  5. If you wind up cloaked in empty space, take a second to gander at the bubbles.
  6. Identify a good vantage point to bookmark if you want to come back and spy
    • Should be ~80km off grid with the tower so as to make the Look At option available to anything in the field
    • Should be perpendicular to any bubble traps, and aligned with a bookmark or a celestial so that it can be warped to without any bubble concerns
  7. Hang out and gather intel
    • Piloted ships will be listed with their pilot on the overview and mouseover
    • Check what is online and what is merely anchored as far as defenses and industrial structures, more industry and less defensive online could imply carebear leanings of the occupants, though not necessarily true.
  8. Repeat for any other possibly occupied POSes

Scanning Time

If all has gone well up to this point, the only time your ship has appeared on D-scan is the brief time when swapping from jump cloak to cloaking device (that is if you have a covops cloak). No reason to break the blissful ignorance of possible occupants by announcing your presence now! Thus, the goal of the following section is to get your probes out into space, out of range for d-scan, as quickly as possible so that you may re-cloak and go about your business.

Find an Empty Spot

You and your probes will be visible while launching, so you want a nice spot out of d-scan range of any active ships.

Things to avoid (in order of importance)

  1. Active Pilots in space
    • Most likely to be regularly pinging d-scan
  2. Active POS with pilots
    • Sense of security means less likely to be pinging d-scan
  3. Active POS with no pilots
    • Possibility of new pilots logging in while you are de-cloaked
  4. Points between an active POS and active pilots
    • Possibility of someone warping by while pinging d-scan

If you can find a spot that is > 14.36au from all the above, super! If not, minimize your exposure to anything on the above list with the first 2 being the most important.

Launching Probes

Now, time to pop out some probes. Your goal here is to get your probes out, cloak up, and fling your probes out of d-scan range as quickly as possible.

NOTE: Always use combat scanning probes

  • You can see ships
  • 64au range is great for performing a blanket system scan
  • At each scan range, they have the same scan strength and variability as core probes
  • Core probes only benefit is the 0.25au range, but with Astrometric Rangefinding to 3 or 4 and a well fitted ship with a scan bonus, you will be able to resolve most sigs at 0.5au

Launch Steps:

  1. Warp to your spot selected in the last section
  2. Ping d-scan for active pilots
  3. Open system map
  4. Drop cloak, activate prop mod
  5. Launch minimum number of probes for a good scan
    • Optional: adjust probes to formation while waiting on launcher cooldown
  6. Re-cloak
    • Optional, only recommended when not hunting targets: reload probes prior to re-cloaking
  7. Set range on probes to 16au
    • Gives a graphical representation of max d-scan range, anything in that bubble can see your probes
    • NOTE: Launched probes start with the same range setting as when they were last recalled, best practice is to set 16au range prior to recall
  8. move all probes >16au from any celestial
    • Easiest to do by moving above or below the system plane
  9. Select scan to cause probes to warp off
  10. Ping d-scan to ensure probes are out of range
  11. Set probes to 64au
  12. Spread probes to cover the system, select scan

And we now have a list of every non-cloaked scannable object in system. From your results:

  • Ignore all the anomalies, they are easy to find again
    • Keep/Bookmark them if you think you may be hunting anomaly runners later, ignored anoms can't be reaquired after the sleepers are clear which is a prime opportunity to gank a Noctis.
  • Ignore structures as you've found all the POSes already
  • Count and record the number of ships, this should agree with results from d-scan
  • Record the sig ID's for the Cosmic Signatures that need to be scanned down

Now you have a choice, PvP or PvE? If there's no signs of threats, start scanning down sigs and making bookmarks for the fun to come. If there are juicy targets, move on to the next section and try and hunt them down.

Hunting Targets

So there might be something worthwhile in system to gank, this part of the guide will go over best practices of dropping in on someone unawares.

Finding Targets at Celestial Objects

  • No probes required, to be performed prior to launching probes
  • Most likely this will only be used to catch people working on PI
  • Scan objects of interest with a tight beam until target is located
  • Will require warping around in larger systems

Finding Targets at a Cosmic Anomaly

  • No probes required, to be performed prior to launching probes
  • Used for catching combat or salvage operations underway
  • Perform a system scan with no probes
    • Note: system scan range is limited to 64au, you will have to warp to any planets outside that range and scan again
  • Scan objects of interest with a tight beam until target is located
  • Will require warping around in larger systems

Finding Targets at Neither an Anomaly nor a Celestial

Target types

Below is a list of the general types of targets to be found in w-space and how to best track them down.

PI Hauling

Planetary Interaction is very profitable in wormholes, as such it is a popular activity for pilots to be working on while you pop into their system.

  • NOTE: combat probes are not needed to hunt PI haulers (unless you plan on getting them on a wormhole)

Opposition

  • Ship: T1 or T2 industrial, or if you are lucky and they are slow witted and flying an Orca
  • Fit:
    • Cloak and/or Probe launcher on the highs
    • Shield tank in the mids
    • Cargo expanders and/or warp stabs in the lows
    • Cargo expanders, agility, or tank in the rigs

Profitability

Low: - Most likely drop is an expanded cargohold. Any PI materials that drop are likely too large to fit in the hold of a combat ship.

How to Hunt

P-goo collectors are most often found warping between customs offices in their home system. Best ambush is to be at their next stop before they are. With skills to 5 they can only operate at 6 planets, thus you are time limited in tracking them down before they are done for the day.

  1. D-scan planets with a narrow beam until target is located at a POCO
  2. Warp to current location at range and start playing catch up until you land on grid with them
  3. Watch them align and warp to your optimal of their next POCO
    • Industrial warp speed is 3au/s so chances are you will arrive first
  4. De-cloak and wait to pounce
    • Stealth bombers can stay cloaked due to lack of recalibration delay

Risk

They may have friends in system, so do not linger around afterwards.


Rock Chewers

Ore sites in wormholes have lots of very large asteroids of every type, which makes them a desirable place to mine.

  • Note: probes are not required to hunt down a mining operation - wormhole ore is found in Anomalies

Opposition

Profitability

Low: - T2 strip miners are kinda nice, but the ore won't fit in a combat ship's hold.

How to Hunt

In w-space, ore is found in Anomalies and does not need to be probed down.

Risk

  • Drones, should be able to tank a flight of light or medium drones depending on the target
  • The Procurer and the Skiff can have some very nice tank
  • They may have friends nearby

Gas Huffers

Opposition

  • Ships: Venture, Prospect, T1 cruiser, battlecruiser, and possibly a T1 or T2 industrial
  • Fit: shield or armor tank
  • It used to be that the Hurricane was the ship of choice for gas harvesting due to its large cargo hold and lots of low slots, but the Venture has now overtaken this with gas going in its ore hold and it being far cheaper to replace. Battlecruiser gangs are still used in higher end sites for gank resistance.
  • The Venture will require 3 or 4 warp disruption points to lock down, though a high alpha strike can be sufficient

Profitability

Medium: - T2 gas harvesters sell nicely, and chances are you can fit some of the gas in a combat hold as it isn't very bulky

How to Hunt

In w-space, gas sites are the only place where gas clouds are found, and need to be probed down.

Risk

  • Battlecruisers can still fit some weapons and tank while huffing and shouldn't be considered a soft target
  • They may have friends nearby

Combat Operations

  • Ships: Combat ships and possibly Logi
  • Fit:
    • If no logi, shield or armor self tank either active or pasive. Most likely using long range weapons
    • If logi are present, most likely buffer fit either for max damage projection (incursion style fitting) or PvP fit for gank resistance

Profitability

Medium to High: - Chance at some nice shiny modules if players have taken the money to bling out their ships

How to Hunt

  • At an anomaly: no need for probes
  1. Run a basic system scan and d-scan each anomaly for ships
  2. Warp in, spread points, kill stuff, don't die to sleepers
  • At a signature: Need probes
  1. Launch probes covertly
  2. Get bearing and range with d-scan
  3. Place probes on best guess
  4. Scan, and with a good hit, recall probes or move them out of d-scan range
  5. Warp in, spread points, kill stuff, don't die to sleepers

Risk

  • Taking on combat ships, so be sure you have good intel on ships and are attacking with a force that can win
  • They may have friends nearby

Salvage Operations

  • Ships: T1 exploration frigate for hacking/archeology, Destroyer or Noctis. A Strategic Cruiser can also be fit with a subsystem that increases tractor beam range and velocity - if you find one of these salvaging, be aware that it will have a much better tank than any of the other salvaging ships mentioned above and in addition, it may have enough dps modules fit to kill you.

Profitability

High if you catch a salvage operation that has been through several sites, you can profit off the work of others

  • If you have a fleet, consider ganking the salvager with a bait ship, then when defense fleet warps in, bring in your fleet and get them too

How to Hunt

Best place to catch a salvage operation is to wait at a site that has already been cleared of sleepers, but not yet salvaged. In this case your goal will be to warp into a site being run while cloaked and wait until the combat fleet leaves and the salvager comes in. Same rules for finding a fleet in progress apply here with the exception of also using a d-scan overview setting that can see wrecks

  • At an anomaly: no need for probes
  1. Run a basic system scan and d-scan each anomaly for ships and wrecks
  2. Warp in, spread points, kill stuff, don't die
  • At a signature: Need probes (if only wrecks are present in the site, the site may despawn and become un-probable until a ship enters)
  1. Launch probes covertly
  2. Get bearing and range with d-scan
  3. Place probes on best guess
  4. Scan, and with a good hit, recall probes or move them out of d-scan range
  5. Warp in, spread points, kill stuff, don't die

Risk

  • The salvager will have limited defensive ability and most likely limited tank unless it's a Strategic Cruiser - see above.
  • Combat ships may be available, so do not stick around unless you are prepared to fight them

Using Multiple Scouts

If multiple scouts are available, this can greatly speed up the time required to properly scan down a given system, or chain of systems for combat/money making opportunities. In these cases, this is best done using some form of collaborative storage location of information so that multiple scouts do not end up stepping on each others toes. Some examples are listed below

Procedure

  1. Once a collaborative document/site has been started, the first scout places sig IDs for each signature in the document
  2. Each scout then calls out each sig ID as they begin to attempt to narrow it down
  3. Details of each signature are then updated and a bookmark is made
  4. Scouts then move on to the next signature not currently scanned or in progress
  5. As connecting wormholes are scanned, scouts can branch out into adjacent systems

Scouting Connecting Wormholes

Repeat the above for each connection (time permitting)

  • Remember to bookmark both sides of all wormholes
    • Also remember to bookmark WHs while on grid as scan results bookmarks have range variation from the actual point
  • Once you start moving 2 or more systems deep in w-space, make sure a map of connections has been generated, as you will become lost otherwise.

CovOps Traps

You might think flying around in a Covert Ops ship is pretty safe, and it's easy to escape from any situation. This is unfortunately not so. The well-known CovOps Trap is something to watch out for. It goes something like this (described from the point of view of the hunters)...

  1. You have a connection to an unknown w-space system. Maybe it's your static and you just opened it. Whatever the situation, the K162 is on the far side. You have a scout in that w-space system, that is looking at probes moving around on d-scan, and maybe a CovOps on d-scan.
  2. Your scout moves back to the K162, whilst your corp gathers the following ships: one interdictor, plus at least one fast-locking interceptor. More interceptors, and DPS ships that can assign their scout drones to the intercptor(s) will make a successful catch more likely.
  3. The scout sees probes getting closer on d-scan, until he has at least 4-5 probes within 2-3 AU of the K162. This shows the unknown scanner now has the K162 bookmarked. Sooner or later, the unsuspecting victim appears on the grid, and jumps through. Your scout gives you a heads up.
  4. As soon as the wormhole activates, the interdictor drops a bubble. This bubble lasts two minutes, and will prevent the victim warping away (unless he's in a nullified T3). The interdictor jumps through the wormhole immediately, decloaks on the other side (the side the victim came from) and waits.
  5. Your interceptor waits for the victim to decloak and re-cloak. If you're lucky, he manages to lock him before he can re-cloak, but what usually happens is the victim jumps back through in an attempt to get away. The interceptors immediately follow him and de-cloak on the far side.
  6. The interdictor sees the wormhole activate, and drops another bubble, and waits with everything running hot. Hopefully your interceptor(s) will decloak before the victim and run everything hot themselves.
  7. Your victim de-cloaks and then re-cloaks (we'll assume you weren't quite fast-locking enough to catch it). Your interceptors (plus any assigned drones) chase at full speed to where he disappeared. The more interceptors, and the more assigned drones, the more likely you are to de-cloak him. Once he's de-cloaked, it's a simple matter to kill him and his pod, since the bubble prevents warping out, and the wormhole polarization timer prevents jumping through again.

If you're the victim here, there's not much you can do about this situation. Microwarpdrives can be very useful at escaping interceptors trying to decloak you (you can activate them within 5 seconds of activating a cloak), as can anything that increases your velocity.

Flying a nullified T3 is not a foolproof way of countering covops traps either; because they take so long to align and warp an experienced interceptor pilot will be able to de-cloak, lock and point you long before you leave. Your best hope is to (a) hope for incompetent enemy pilots, and (b) don't take your T3 into unknown K162s, especially if you have seen any hostile activity and you don't know where they came from.

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