Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Wormhole Expires Suspiciously

It's the middle of the day, and it's the third day of our new wormhole system.  We're still grinding down dead sticks (and soon enough, Interbus COs).  So, we need drones for our grinding Vexors.  I was supposed to bring up the right drones with the Vexors, and I thought I had.  But evidently, not.  So, I need to get to highsec to buy drones.  Also there are a few other things on our list.  So it's time to scan out.

We have our static, and there is a second signature which turns out to be a wormhole.  Two C4s, C4b and C4c (our home is C4a according to convention).  I take our static, C4b.  Hiljah takes the other.   We start scanning.  My system has a C1 static, hidden among 16 sigs.  I ignore low signature ones, then go through the others, starting with those that appeared after downtime.  One of these is a C5 that I ignore for now.  Then I find a K162 to C2.  This will have a highsec, so it would be perfect, except that it is EOL.  Most of the corp won't be play for another few hours, so it is not useful.  Finally I find the static to C1, but it is also EOL.  Probably the C2 guys, whoever they are, came up here and scanned it down, soon instantiating the C1.  Both wormholes will probably expire at about the same time, which will be any time in the next four hours.  Not waiting.

Now I check out C5a.  I go in and start scanning; there are only four sigs.  All of them are wormholes.  One is the wormhole I came in.  There there is a C6 that is EOL (no thanks times two).  And I find a lowsec exit, but it is way the hell out in Aridia.  Quite a ways from anywhere.  Finally I find the static - another C5.  Well, I could go that way, but I think I will go explore the other direction.

Hiljah has scoped out the first system, finding two C4s beyond it.  So that is where I start.  I scope the first one down, but I see ships.  There is a Raven I am seeing at the entrance.  Is it popping the hole?  Yes, I think so.  I cannot do anything in my Buzzard.  But maybe I can in a stealth bomber.  So, I warp to the hole, and the Raven is there again.  I jump, and it jumps too.  The other side is clear and I burn off, then warp.  Jump to home, then over to our tower, and into my Manticore.  Then back to C4c, and across to the wormhole at 50km, to watch.  Initially I see nothing.  Then the wormhole pulses, and the Raven comes through.  I am just thinking about if I should move closer to attack it on the next pass, when the wormhole vanishes.  Oh.  I guess not.  The Raven warps off.  As I sit there, a Buzzard uncloaks, and then a Tengu and a Loki.  Now I am glad I did not attack.  I am also glad I did not get trapped on the far side; I had not realized the wormhole was so close to being killed.

These guys are not local, so they must have come from C4e, which I have no explored yet.  Now I am not going to, at least for a while.  Instead, I warp back home, then across our new system, and into C4a.  I will watch the EOL C1 hole; when it vanishes, its replacement will have good odds of a good connection.

I am AFK for a while.  I come back: it's still there.  OK, more AFK.

I come back: it's still there.  Well, let me check the C2 that is EOL.  I order the warp; as soon as I do so, the wormhole to C1 vanishes.  Wait!  Was that a coincidence?  I don't know.  But awfully suspicious.  I warp to the C2, but it has gone away. 

We have noticed before that watched wormholes never seem to pop.  Maybe there is actually code in there to prevent wormholes from expiring when there are pilots on grid.  What's your experience?  Ever been watching an EOL and seen it expire as soon as you order a warp off grid?


  1. I have see wormholes expire many times and it is a neat graphic :) Although it does seem to take a wormhole much longer to expire if one is sitting on it but that may just be the randomness of it all.

  2. God! I'll never, ever move to a deeper hole. Thanks for the warning, and good luck with your new system.

    One question: if it's so deep, wouldn't local production be better than hauling? I mean mining ore and producing the ships, drones, ammo, even other POS components locally.

  3. I've sat and watched wormholes die of natural causes. Not recently, though. But they certainly die without prompting.

  4. Penny, I have seen them die on grid as well. What I wondering is if my presence on grid extends their life in some way. I am not sure exactly how.

    I might hypothesize that in starting a warp off grid I triggered some bit of code which itself triggered a "maybe wormhole die now" check. (We know that the lifespan is random 24-25 hours.) So, perhaps one can speed wormhole death simply by sitting on grid and continually ordering and cancelling an off-grid warp.

  5. Gevlon, hauling of most things is not hard, and also local needs are minimal. For example we expend perhaps 1000 cruise missiles in a C4 site. Each one is 0.01 m^3, so, it takes about 10m^3. We don't lose drones often enough to matter. Given that we absolutely must do supply runs every so often anyway (for fuel, which is bulky), we can easily do a few percent more and have missiles too.

    Also, mining just does not pay well relative to PVE. Killing sleepers is worth maybe 100m/character-hour, assuming there are sites to run. And it produces almost no volume. (Blue loot are 0.1m^3 IIRC; salvage is 0.01.) Mining pays poorly by comparison. Refining is a problem -- you lose 25%, which is bad, but you cannot refine infinite quantities per time unit as in empire. Also, mining produces massive volumes of stuff. Compressing it only gets so much.