Thursday, February 27, 2014

Killing a Tractor

I've just sat down at the computer, after having decided to wait for an EOL wormhole to die.  That did not go so well -- it turns out the wormhole must have been very freshly EOL when I found it.  So I waited about four hours for it to die.  But finally it is gone, and I will have a new static wormhole to explore through.  First things first: must find it.  I am in my Manticore in case there is someone I can attack in the new system-to-be.  I launch probes, and quickly pick out the new sig from among the three gas sites we have.

Now I align to the signature, and make sure I am up to speed.  Then I warp.  I want there to be the minimum amount of time possible between my instantiating the wormhole and my being through it.  I land on grid, and I cross.  Let's see if there's anything interesting.

Usually, there is not anything interesting.  I've had a whole week of nothing.  But this time, there is.  There is a tower and four ships: Rattlesnake, Tengu, Noctis, and Probe.  That might not be anything by itself.  but there are also sleeper wrecks.

Spider tanking
I burn off the wormhole, not forgetting to bookmark it.  Then I get dscan up and get a general bearing on the anom where the wrecks are.  Then I narrow it.  I miss on the first two tried -- several anoms are quite close together -- but on the third try I am in a Frontier Command Post, along with the Rattlesnake and Tengu.  I warped to 100km, and they are almost exactly 100km from me.  Actually a bit further: I cannot look at either of them.  But I can look at one of their wrecks, which I do so I can see them better.  It's a spider setup.

At this point, if Jayne were around, I'd try to gank them.  A couple battleships with heavy neuts... But Jayne is asleep.  Hiljah has one character logged on, but he's AFK.  So, it's just me.  Being just me, I doubt I can gank this pair.  But the Noctis (and lack of mobile tractor unit) give me hope.  Let's hang out, make a perch, and see how these guys do salvaging.

Faster, please.
I head away from the pair to make my perch.  This takes time as they oh so slowly kill the sleeper wave.  I finally get out so that all of the wrecks are at least 150 from me, and I make my perch.  And finally the spider pair kill the last sleeper.  But wait, it's not the last.  That was wave two.  Here's wave three: three battleships and four cruisers.  Ugh, this is taking too long.  I check the clock.  It's already 11:30.  I go to bed at midnight.  Hurry up you guys!  I want to kill you sooner rather than later!

There's time, so I decide to locate the tower.  This turns out to be almost trivial: it's at a planet with just one moon.  I warp over and land on grid.  The Noctis is there, but unmanned.  The Probe is also there, and it is manned.  The name of the pilot suggests it's an alt of one of the spider-tankers.  So, I have the feeling that this is just one guy, or maybe two.  Having seen what there is to see, I warp back over to my perch.

The last sleeper wave is slowly getting killed.  Finally, it's over.  (Whew.)  The Rattlesnake and Tengu warp off -- but not before deploying a tractor unit.  It starts pulling in wrecks.  Ugh.  Well, that they have a Noctis out at all suggests they mean to use it.  So I am still hopeful.  And that they left suggests they might be getting it now.  I am watching dscan like a hawk.  But the Noctis does not appear on my grid.  Instead, I see a new small sleeper wreck appear.

Well, evidently they have decided to run another site.  I warp to the tower: no, not here.  I spin around dscan and find them in a new anom.  I warp over to it at 100km.  Four wrecks, so I know it is right.  But they are not here.  Where are they?  I look around.  Back at the tower.

Evidently they have just noticed the new sig in the system.  This may be because the first anom despawned.  (I am still holding to my theory that new sigs are not pushed, but there is an update when sites go away.)  In any case, something has spooked them.  Let's see what they do.  I warp back to the perch, keeping an eye on dscan.

I expect to see probes of some kind.  But after a minute or two, no probes.  Instead, I see a new sleeper wreck.  Surprise.  They've gone back to ratting without determining the threat level.

This would be great if I had a fleet to drop on them.  But instead it causes me a problem.  I want to be in bed in 15 minutes.  Given how long the last site took, I don't have time to wait around for them to get around to using that Noctis.  I want to get things done now, so I can do my PI and log off.  So... I think it's time to go after the tractor.

Unfortunately, the Snake and Tengu are just within dscan range.  So, unless they are totally clueless, they'll see me.  Either ship can easily drive me off.  But I think the odds are good I'll have some time before they notice, and my recollection is it does not take that must time to kill a tractor.  If they reship, that's more time I have.  Or if they waffle on attacking me because they have no information.  I think it's worth a shot.

Predamaged.  Nice.
First, I get set.  I set my dscan range to 11 AU.  This is just shorter than the distance to the other anom; this way I get warning of them moving.  Then, I warp in from my perch to 30km from the tractor.  I set an orbit at 25km, uncloak, lock it, and open fire on it.

I am a bit surprised to see it has significant armor damage already.  That's helpful.  It takes only two volleys to smash the shields and another for the armor.  Wow, this is going much faster than I thought.  I turn on my afterburner and head straight for the tractor.  Is it going to pop in three volleys?  No -- it's got a lot of structure.  My next volley destroys perhaps 1/8 of the structure.  Well, at least it won't die before I get close.  I set an orbit for 5km, then set to watching dscan.
Im in ur base killin ur tractor

The first few dscans I make are clear.  But then I see the Rattlesnake and Tengu, and this calls for a decision.  I could bail now, on the theory they are coming to get me.  But the POS is close, and I expect them to bail to the POS if they see anything untoward, and only then decide what to do.  So I decide to push it.  Let's see if they land on grid.  If they do, I'll bail.  Meanwhile, I am killing their tractor.

Seconds tick away, with my volleys every 8 of them.  Still nothing on grid.  Still nothing.... and boom.  Tractor killed.  I swoop in and grab the loot from the wreck.  Mmm, 36m ISK worth of blue loot.  Then I warp off ASAP.  I could stick around and pop wrecks if I was mean, but I'm not really.

Now I am done.  I'd like to stick around and perhaps ninja-salvage until they do something.  But I have no time for that.  It's PI, and logoffski for me.
Loot fairy: you're all right

All told, killing the tractor took 10 volleys of Caldari Navy Scourge torpedoes.  My cycle time is 8.25 seconds; thus, the total time spent killing the thing after uncloaking was about 75 seconds.

They could have shooed me off with either of their ships, but they did not.  Why?  To understand it, I think it helps to see it from their perspective.  There they are running sites, when all of sudden, they see a Manticore on scan.  OK, they bail and get safe at the POS.   Manticore still on scan -- evidently it is not just briefly seen moving off of a wormhole  Where is it?  It takes a while to locate; presumably they think to look at their tractor, and they see I am in that site.  Do they attack?  Seems obvious except they don't know I am alone.  For all they know, I am bait.  This stays their hand just long enough.  Maybe they even decide to go for it with a PVP ship or two, but by that time, I am gone.

Of course, the proper way to run sites is to keep updating your discovery scanner and bug out ASAP whenever you see a new signature.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Watching Wormholes Wobble

Another day, another dscan.  Dscan is clear as I log in.  But the probe scanner shows five signatures in my home system.  When I last checked, it was one.  So, it looks like we may have visitors.  Only one way to find out.  I pop probes and start scanning.

The first sig I resolve  is a wormhole, but by its signature strength it is not a K162.  Therefore almost certain to be our static.  I don't fly to it yet because it is possible (though unlikely) that none of the other signatures are wormholes.  And I do not want to unzip mindlessly.  Three more sigs are new gas sites.

Imagine this wobbling (image from Penny)
The last is a second wormhole, and by the fact that I get my 100% resolution at 1 AU probe distance, I know it is in the K162 strength range, and thus must be a K162.  (There are no wormholes with 10% signature strength that can appear in any C4 system other than K162s.)   Since it must be open (being a K162), I am not unzipping any further than I already am by flying to it.  I fly to it.  I find a K162 as expected.  It's blue going to lower wspace -- it's a C2.  And it's wobbling away, end of life.  Well, that's too bad.  C2a will have a highsec connection and we really need to do some logistics.  But not with an EOL wormhole.

Now I check my PI to see if I need to move goo, which is best done as zipped up as possible.  I don't need to do anything.  Great.  I'll instantiate our static and see if I can get a route to highsec that way.  I fly over to the static, being careful to align first so I have the maximum time to get into the next system.  I am in my Manticore; perhaps I will be lucky and surprise someone.  But, no.  The static, like the C2, is in EOL.  Evidently the C2 people searched it down and instantiated it 12+ hours ago.

This sucks.  No way out of my system other than EOL wormholes which I do not know the timing of.  They might pop in a minute, or in five hours.  No way to know, or even to get a decent idea, other than to recall the timing of my last static, but I deleted that bookmark already.

I could use mass to pop the static wormhole to recreate it.  But I am not so keen to play tonight as to want to pop wormholes by myself.  And the thing should vanish on its own if I just wait, on average, 2 hours.  I'll just read a book while I sit watching the C2, which ought to evaporate first.   Bye, EVE, I'll have an eye on you right over here.

It's about 7:30 now.  

8:30.  Wormhole still there.

9:30.  Wormhole still there.  It's kind of running longer than I had expected.  But now it must be short time.

10:30.  Wormhole still there.

11:00.  Shurrrrp!  The wormhole is gone.  Finally!  If I had known how long it was going to be... but I didn't.  No use backprojecting how I'd live differently if I was able to know things about the future. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Loot Spew to be Abolished

Via Sugar, good news: CCP Affinity has stated that the loot spew mechanic in exploration sites will be removed, perhaps as early as the summer release.  Hurrah!

I explored a whole bunch when Odyssey came out.  But at some point, I stopped.  I concentrated on the new ghost sites for a while.  Then I got busy moving my corp deeper into wspace, and I have not gone back to exploration.  Part of the reason is the spew mechanic; just the thought of it reminds me why I don't want to explore.

Why do I dislike it so?  A big part of it is aesthetic: it simply makes no sense within the asserted setting.  We are supposedly hacking a computer or analyzing a relic; either way, we are in search of valuable information.  Files don't magically erase themselves when you crack a computer.  And they most certainly don't launch themselves into space after setting themselves on fire.  And yet, that is what the loot-spew mechanic depicts.  It's immersion-breaking.

The other side of my dislike of the feature relates to how it works in game.  That is, that you have to be on your toes to actually collect loot.  Whenever I am about to crack a can, I pause, and I consult my cargo scan one last time.  I mentally picture the items I am looking to get, and I tell myself which loot can type(s) I am concentrating on.  I adjust my zoom to be just-so: not too far out, not too far in.  And then I pop the core and start gathering.  Click click click click...  All of that is a lot of mental work for the average payoff.  Compare it to the mental work involved in other resource gathering or farming activities.  I.e.: mining, or ratting.

And finally, I dislike loot spew because it tries (but fails) to make exploring into a non-solo activity.  Now, I got pretty good at collecting loot spew.  Given a cargo scanner, I can gather everything of value in almost every data site by myself.  But that's not true in relic sites.  Using an alt, I can get most of even that -- but I really dislike using an alt to explore.  I love setting out solo and just flying where I will; the scutwork of having to pilot two different accounts through nullsec for a modest increase in income is not to my taste.

CCP thought that loot spew would mean people would explore with another person, but I am certain this did not happen.  (They probably can tell, and that may be one reason they are giving up on it.)  The problem with bringing a second person is that you have to have such a person; and most explorers don't.  Explorers are solo guys.  Exploring is (or was) my goto activity for those times when I did not have a second person.  If you do have another person to play with, you probably don't want to be exploring; and even if you do, he probably doesn't.  And even if he does, then the two of you can still make better ISK by simply exploring separately.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Waste of Frigates

It's the weekend, and I am exploring in my Buzzard.  C4b had a lot of sigs, and nobody around after the initial occupant fled from me.  I scan down C4b.  There are three wormholes incident: my static, another C4, and a C5.  I elect to go with C5a.

Upon jumping, I see an interesting dscan: Archon, two Revelations, two Lokis, two Damnations and an Anathema (?).   There is also a tower.  This looks like a escalation fleet if anything does.  But there are no wrecks.  I move off the wormhole, bookmark it, and get cloaked.  Then I work dscan.  One Damnation and a Revelation are at the tower.  The others are out in space somewhere.  I bookmark the two combat anoms, but they are not there.  They are out in space somewhere I cannot trivially fly to.  I'll have to probe.  The system has eight sigs.  Are they perhaps running a data site?

My guess is confirmed a moment later when a Sleeper large advanced wreck appears.  OK, they must have just started on a site.  There is an outer planet about 15AU out.  I warp out to launch combat probes.  Fortunately they are off scan.  I launch probes then throw them out of the system.  Now I warp back in to find their tower.  This takes just a moment, as it is at a planet with just one moon.

Now I sit at the tower and get range to the wrecks and ships: it's about 5.3 AU.  That's convenient; I use the 4 AU scan distance and I place the bubble edges on me.  Now I start pointing dscan, in ever smaller angles, then searching for the group.  Finally I have it down to a five degree arc.  This is as good as I can do without getting closer.  But it should be good enough.  Capitals are huge.  I bring the probe distance down to 1AU, then I scan.  100% on several ships, and I throw the probes out of the system as fast as I can.  (While the probes warp and start their scan I remember to warp to the Archon at 100km.)  Did they see?

I get to watch a C5 site be run.  First!
Either they do not see, or they do not care.  Huh.  Bad opsec.  I wish I had a fleet to drop on them, but I don't.  Maybe they feel safe running with C4s open because we can't drop carriers?  Dunno.  Anyway, I am in the site, and now I sit.  I can't do anything with a Buzzard, except make a perch.  So I start slowboating away from them.  Once I get far enough out, I bookmark the position and then warp off towards home.  A Manticore is just as impotent as an unarmed Buzzard against capital reps, but they might make a mistake.

Hop, hop, and home.  Reship.  Then hop, and back to C4b.  Now I think about polarization and decide to wait two minutes for it to abate on the C5 wormhole.  That done, I warp to the wormhole and jump.  Then I burn off the hole, hoping they don't see me.  And I warp to my perch.

Eight more Sleeper battleships
The fleet is still there, still slowly killing sleeper battleships.  So, now I sit and watch.  This goes on for a very long time.  They kill all the battleships, then they escalate with a Moros.  Eight more sleepers.  More waiting.

I am wondering what they will do for salvage.  If they make a mistake, maybe I can slip in and gank something.  But so far, nothing.  Finally, they deploy a tractor unit.  (Guys: do when first in the site.)  So, that is one question answered.  I bookmark it and keep watching.

Eventually they get down to four sleeper frigates and one cruiser.  My guess is that this is the minimum level to keep the site around so they can milk it.  Anyway, they have left these guys alive for 20 minutes now.  And I see a Noctis on scan.  Then it enters the site.

Strangely, the Noctis does not seem to have tractors, or it's not using them.  Ever so slowly the tractor collects wrecks, and the Noctis grinds them.  Some of the ships leave, but the Archon and a Loki are still present.  So I cannot gank.  I keep watching.

Finally the Noctis seems to have realized it has tractors.  I see lots of wrecks moving.  They are rapidly sucked in and salvaged.  And the Noctis warps, leaving just the Loki and Archon.

At this point I expect them to bring in jammers to jam out the peskies and spring everyone free from their warp scrambling.  But this does not happen.  Instead, they bring in a Merlin.  What?  Maybe they can draw fire with it, freeing up the Loki or Archon?  It zooms off on microwarp, but before long it warps.  Well, that was about what I expected.

Finally the carrier gets free and warps.  Now it's just the Loki.  Since I am not going to get any action myself, I warp in closer to get a better look at what's going on.  How will they spring their Loki free of five sleeper scramblers? 
Sucks to be him.
Again I expect jammers, but no.  Instead they warp in another Merlin.  It starts zooming off, and then boom.  Dead.  Ha ha ha!  This is funny.  What else will they try?
More ships!
 A shuttle and a merlin.  The shuttle dies in one shot:
 And then the Merlin:
That didn't work.
This is officially too funny.

Next, an Executioner:
Keep trying.
Two more Merlins:
How about two Merlins?
Two Merlins and an Executioner:
OK, two frigs did not work.  Let's try three.
This last wave finally does the trick.  The Loki warps off.  The C5 guys lose another two ships.
The final Merlin goes boom.
Ha ha ha.  Um, guys, jammers? 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tempted by a Procurer

It's late night and I am roaming wspace in my Manticore.  There's an Anathema in C4b; I see him at the local tower.  I warp over expecting him to be in the force field, but he is outside.  What is this?  Why does he not cloak?

I look closer and compare him to the local corp: he is not local.  What's he doing?  He is jetting away from the tower.  Strange.  I cannot see shooting, but maybe the tower has him locked and scrambled?  I dunno.  He zooms off at microwarp speed, so there is no hope of my catching him from here.  And he's going in the direction of no celestial or anything else I can warp to, so there is no hope of bouncing to get in front.  Oh well.

He goes off-grid, and I continue to see him for a while.  Then he launches probes.  Hmm.  I am thinking about maybe getting a ship with combat probes.  Then, finally, he disappears.  OK, no combat probes.  I'll just hang out to see what he does.  Maybe I can ambush him coming back through a wormhole polarized.  I've got the system scouted since earlier today, with all sigs bookmarked.  Also I have all adjacent systems.  But there are three wormholes incident: a C3, my home C4, and a C5. Which is he from?  Not mine, but could be either of the other two.  I guess C3a since I have recently been in C5a and it was inactive.  So, I go to sit at the C5 wormhole.

I watch dscan, and his probes are out for some time.  Eventually, they vanish.  So I perk up.  Either he left the system and I missed it, or he yanked probes by hand and will probably explore a wormhole soon.  I watch.  Nothing.

I decide to move to my own home's static wormhole.  I fly over at 16, and watch.  Right after I show up, voila.  There's the Anathema on the wormhole, and he goes in.  I wait for him to be gone, then burn over to the wormhole to orbit at 500m.  If he comes back in the next five minutes, he will be polarized and I will have a meager shot at him.  I get my sebo on.  Now I wait.

My system is clean as a whistle.  Two combat anoms, one sig (my wormhole).  So the scout will be out either immediately, if he dares to be polarized, or he will wait five minutes with nothing to do.

The minutes pass, each one being 10 or more dscans.  I am watching it carefully in case anything drops on me.  I can either head through the wormhole, or try to warp off, depending on how much warning I have.  But nothing comes.  And then, the five minutes is up.  I could try to catch him anyway, but the odds are low and I burn off the wormhole to watch.  Sure enough, after about a minute, there he is.  He warps off cloaked.

I pursue to the C5, but he did not go there.  I see him briefly on dscan, suggesting he left the system.  I conclude he went to the C3.  I follow.

I don't see him in C3a, but I do notice that there are now three sigs.  There were two when I was here earlier.  This suggests a new wormhole, which would explain the scout.  I warp to an outer planet, launch probes, then move in to scan.  Scanning a single wormhole takes very little time, and soon I am sitting at a blue wormhole to wspace.  That means C2.  I bookmark it, and head in.

In the new system, C2a, I see lots of ships.  A Retriever and Procurer get my hopes up.  There's a tower, though, so they are probably there.  I move off of the wormhole, cloak, and bookmark it.  Now I am ready to look for the ships and tower.

There are two ore anoms in C2a.  I point the scanner at one, then the other.  OK, the Procurer is at the second one.  Procurer.  Tanky and cheap.  I smell a trap.  I've bitten on a similar one before, and gotten killed.  Still, I warp over to the site to have a look.

Yes, it's a Procurer and it is sitting still mining.  It has a jetcan out, conveniently.  I bookmark it.  Perfect warp-in.  Am I man enough to go for it?  Um... not just yet.  Let me find out about those other ships.  Perhaps they are all just sitting unoccupied.

Using dscan, I identify the planet where the tower is, then warp over to dscan the moons.  I find the one with the tower and warp to it.  The tower does hold all the ships, but unfortunately many of them are manned: an Orca, the Retriever I saw, and (worryingly) a Hurricane.

Now I do some figuring.  A Procurer should have a tank of about 50000 EHP.  I do about 500 DPS.  Math: 100 seconds.  That's plenty long for help to arrive.  But at least I would see help coming, assuming it is the Hurricane.  The real danger is that the Procurer is bait for cloakies in the site.

I consider that, then I think that if it is bait, having a bunch of people (including a warship) in a nearby POS is a remarkably stupid idea.  I guess they are just ignorant.  So, I think I will take a shot at it.  First, though, I set my dscan to just lower range than the distance to the Procurer.  That way, when I warp over there, I will not see all the ships at the tower.  So I can use dscan to warn of incoming.
The pod flees.

I warp to the jetcan at 10km, and the guy's still there.  I set an orbit for 5000m, and get my dscan pinged.  Now I uncloak and start shooting.  My first volley hits him and takes about a sixth of his shield.  That's about what I expect.  I am almost expecting someone to uncloak, but nobody does.  Ha!

Now I watch dscan as I grind him down.  Nothing coming.  He is down to low shields.  Nothing coming.  Then I am into armor.  Still nothing.

He ejects.  This surprises me a bit; I had turned off my sebo to save juice.  Woops.  I try to lock anyway, but off he goes.  I think for a second about trying to claim the Procurer, but it is of almost no value and there is that Hurricane to consider.  And two systems home.  Forget it.

I'll finish the job.  I open back up on the abandoned ship.  The armor and structure are quickly destroyed.  Boom.  I scoop almost nothing -- just a handful of cheap parts.  Then I GTFO.  I consider popping the wreck and the jetcans (he was mining Crokite), but I am not that cruel tonight.  It's been a good day for me.  I leave the cans and wreck for the miners to recover. 

I warp over to the POS to watch them, thinking maybe I can be cruel if they don't escort their retrieval party... but then I realize what time it is.  OK, guys, I can't linger.  Until next time -- don't mine with your system unzipped!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Discover Scanner Doesn't Push New Sigs

Nobody is around but me.  Earlier today, I ganked a Heron downstream from my EOL wormhole.  Now, our static wormhole has timed out and poofed.  I check: three sigs in my home system, as expected.  We have a Sizeable Perimeter Reservoir (a gas site) that I've been eyeing for a while.  Carebears gotta care.  Since we are now zipped up via the hands of Father Time, it's a good time to suck some gas.  In fact I have been planning this since I came back out of the old C4a: I already have my second-account alt logged on and ready in a Venture.

I warp over to see if the gas site has been instantiated yet today.  Yes, there are sleeper frigates.  Great.  I warp back to my POS and refit into a Drake.  Precision heavy missiles will do the job efficiently, off a cheap platform.  I warp to the gas site and engage.  It takes three hits to kill each frigate, and the job is soon done.  As I kill the last frigate, I warp in my alt to the C50 cloud and start sucking gas. When the sleeper dies, I warp back to my POS to get a salvager.

Now I warp out and salvage.  It's a lucky day for me: four nanoribbons from the six frigates.  (Often you get none.)  Now I warp back home and dump off my salvage.  My plan is to log out and log on my "peasant", a same-account alt character with just production skills relevant to wspace life.  (Those being: PI, sucking gas, and mining rocks, and also scanning in case of emergency.)  Von can only use T1 gas miners, whereas my alt can use T2, which means a 50% higher gas sucking rate.  It's worth the minute or two logging in and out.

I log in the alt and warp to the C84 cloud, and start sucking gas.  Then I get my two alts into a fleet so I can fleet-warp off if needed.  And then, I notice the discovery scanner.

There are four sigs on my "peasant's" discovery scanner.  I look over at the other screen.  There are still three sigs on my alt's scanner.  Interesting.  It's probably a wormhole; most new sigs are.  I check dscan, and there are no probes or ships other than mine.  We are in a gas site, which must be probed down.  I am in Ventures, which are tiny and moving and have warp core strength built in.  So, I feel reasonably safe.  I keep gas mining, at least for now.  First priority is to check and see if the new sig is a wormhole.

I fire probes and study the system map.  Yes, there is a new sig in the outer system.  I put my probes there and start scanning.  A few cycles later, and I have it: it is a wormhole, and it is a fat one.  K162 by the signal.

Now I check my second-account alt, and it still does not have the new sig yet.  Since I have noticed a character not seeing a new sig before, I figure this is a great time to perform an experiment.  I am not going anywhere, and I can dscan just fine on my main screen.  I will not do anything on my second account, and just wait for the new sig to be pushed to me.  How long will it be?

Meanwhile, I am sucking gas and hitting dscan like a fool.  Nothing.  Minutes pass.  The C50 cloud is sucked, and I microwarp over to the C84 cloud.  Dscan, dscan, dscan.  More minutes pass.  Finally, the site is exhausted, and I warp both characters back to my POS.

The second account was never updated that I noticed, and I was watching.  It had three sigs the whole time.  When I get back to the POS, I notice three sigs still.  When I compare, I find that both accounts now see the same three sigs.  My guess is that when the gas site despawned, it triggered the discovery scanner to update.  But the new sig, whenever it came, did not.

Looking back on it, I think it likely that the new sig was there when I was killing the sleepers in the Drake.  (Shudder.)  It had not been pushed to me when I was sitting there AFK before, and I probably did not check my discovery scanner when I changed ships.

My current theory on how the discovery scanner works is that new site spawns (which includes K162s in particular) do not trigger its autoupdate.  Old sites despawning do trigger an autoupdate.  This means that hunting through wormholes you instantiate should still work, assuming the potential victims do not know to force-update their discovery scanner.

If you have information confirming or falsifying my theory, please do make a comment.  Further research, as they say, is indicated.

Update: several commenters say I am wrong.  I know it is buggy sometimes, because I explore and see the lack of update in new systems.  So, maybe what I observed is a bug.  Still, even if that is so, it gives one the hope that hunting in wspace through non-K162s can be successful.

A Heron Pursued

It's the weekend.  Last night we ran sites in our static C4.  Before doing the sites, we closed C4b's static wormhole to a C2.  After our last site for the night, I stayed online.  I went into the new C2a from C4b.  All C2s have dual statics.  For this one, nullsec and a C6.  I searched down both wormholes and both were EOL.  So, not much to do.  I went to bed.

Today C4b and C2a will still be there, although time is starting to run short on our connection.  So, when I get up I log in and go through.  It is possible the inhabitants of C4b will be around, but no such luck.  There is one empty Probe, just like last night.  C2a is uninhabited, but I enter and dscan in any case.  Nobody.  I fire probes to look for wormholes.  A highsec connection would be useful for logistics.  If none, then I will open the C6 to look for good gas.

There are only two new sigs since last night.  They will be both statics.  I search them down, then randomly pick one to try first.  (Both have very weak sigs.)  It's the C6, bingo.  I enter and dscan.  The system is inhabited, but they are not here.  A trip to the outer system finds a second tower, but still no ships.   Now I deploy probes and look for gas.  The sites I want are all very weak; all the sites in the inner system appear to have a pretty strong signal.  There is one, though, near the fringe that looks weak.  I search for it.  After a few iterations, I find what I am looking for: a Vital Core Reservoir.  This will have 500 C320 and 6000 C540 -- both quite worth getting, although C320 is superior.  It will also have nasty advanced sleeper battleships and frigates, but not until 20 minutes.  You can get 30m in that time, mining C320, and perhaps 20m in C540.  So, that's my plan.

But not now. There are real life chores to do.  So, I go away for a while.  When I return my machine has crashed and rebooted.  I log back in with two characters, preparing to mine gas.  Jayne is there.  We get on coms and Jayne will come with a miner.  Now three of us set off and hop into C4b.  I dscan, and there is something new: a Heron is on scan.  Hmm.  OK, our gas mining plan is off.  A new impromptu hunting plan is on.  All three of us go back through the wormhole.  I hope he did not see.

Jayne gets a stealth bomber on a second character.  I log off one of mine to bring in Von.  This takes me a few minutes, during which Jayne has entered C4b and started looking for the Heron.  It is not at the tower.  It is not at the C2 wormhole.  And not at ours.  There are a few other gas sites we know of, but it would not be at those.  So, instead of heading directly for C4b, Von heads to our tower to get a ship with combat probes.  (Why does this guy not cloak? I dunno.  Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth.)  But before I swap, Jayne announces that the Heron is at the C2.  I guess that Jayne will get him, but he is not in range yet.  I warp straight for our static.

I cross, and Jayne says that the Heron jumped into C2.  I warp directly to the wormhole.  I figure that by the time I cross and jump, the Heron will be gone.  However he may still be in the system, and if he really has no cloak maybe I can catch him on a wormhole as he explores further.  I land on grid with the wormhole, and I jump.

I load grid, and to my great surprise there is the Heron.  He's 5000m from me.  Trap?  Dscan shows nothing, but that is not dispositive.  I'll find out.  I head straight for the Heron, and get my sensor booster on, then all weapons systems.  I expect him to jump, but he does not.  I have him locked.  The torpedoes fire and hit him.  Again, and boom, got him.
Got him!

Now I start locking the pod, and fire.  I got him!  Wormhole noise.  Uh oh.  And where is the corpse?  I loot the wreck (just low value stuff you'd expect), and Jayne says the pod is there.  Oh, I did not kill him.  Darnit.  Jayne goes for it but the pod warps off.  I jump back through.  We can see the pod on dscan, and we start getting a ship with combat probes again.  But before Jayne gets to that, the pod disappears.

Did he log off?  Maybe.  Or maybe there is a wormhole hidden among the 16 sigs.  We have probes and can check this out.  Eventually Jayne finds a new wormhole, another C2.  I go in, but the pod is not there and I can see several ships on scan including a Sabre and a T3.  That's not going to go well.  And anyway, our wormhole is down to about a half-hour left before it might despawn.  I think that's enough hunting for now.  It's time for lunch.

Just now I looked at the screenie and I can see it a guy from Brave collective.  Probably newbie in wspace.  Dude: you have a cloak.  Use it.  Never sit near a wormhole uncloaked.  Warp off to a celestial before firing probes.  In fact never sit anywhere in wspace uncloaked except safe in a POS. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ESS in Wspace Disabled

I tried out an ESS and they've already disabled them:
"Amarr"?  It was Caldari.  Bug.
Good for CCP.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Invasive Monitoring

It's the weekend.  I am out in my Buzzard, just returning home.  I usually explore in my Manticore, just in case I find someone.  But our static opened into a system with 20 sigs, and nobody around.  For so many sigs, the additional scanning power is nice.  The system scanned, I now head back home.

I jump across the K162 wormhole into my home system, and as usual, dscan.  Nothing unexpected.  But my probe scanner shows three sigs.  That is unexpected; there were two when I left.  A new sig might be something innocuous like gas.  But it is most likely a wormhole.  I want to find it to know what is there and possibly get a route out to highsec.  We have trade needs.

I am not concerned with locals seeing my probes, because I am the locals.  So I fire probes as I burn off the wormhole and then cloak.  From my cloaked position, I can now search in safety.  The new sig is obvious enough, separated from the others.  I put the probes on it and have the wormhole scanned in two scans.  Then I fly to it.  I consider getting my Manticore, but a new sig often comes with ships that a Manticore cannot kill.  My Buzzard has better evasion, so I stick with it.

I land on grid about 7000m from the wormhole.  Nobody obviously here.  So I head for it.  Just as I get to jump range, a Tengu uncloaks.  Evidently it was cloaked from its jump.  It's too late for me to back out, so I just head forward and jump.  On the other side, nobody is there and I burn off the hole immediately, fearing the Tengu might jump back.  It does not, and I am safely cloaked again.

"Caldari"?  This is wormhole space!
Now I dscan, as usual.  Dscan shows a force field, and an Orca and a Thanatos.  These are unlikely to be anywhere but safe and unpiloted in at the POS, so I don't worry about them.  There are also about a zillion warp disruptor bubbles.  Too many for a siege.  I wonder what is up with that.  But now I see something unusual.

On dscan, and also on my overview, I can see a "Caldari Encounter Surveillance System". What is that? Then I recall the recent release of Rubicon 1.1. ESEs are things that are supposed to be used in nullsec to tax ratters, and maybe drive some conflict. What's one doing here? I dunno. There are no bounties here, so I doubt there is any use. Sometimes you see people who have anchored a Territorial Claim Unit. It does not do anything in wspace, but it does make a beacon. I figure ESSs may be like that. Someone just wanted to see how it worked or something.

Well, forget it.  Time to scan.  It's a small system, so there is nowhere to hide to launch probes from.  I use a random customs office at 100km.  Probes out, I recloak and get busy.  First I resolve the wormhole I came through, so I can ignore it.  Then two gas sites.  Then another wormhole.  I warp to it at 50, since there is a lot more scanning to so.  It's blue -- C2.  That's nice perhaps for later getting stuff out to highsec.  Now I scan another wormhole, and it is coincident with the ESS.  Hmm.  I warp over at 20 to look.

I come to a stop, and there is a bubble covering the wormhole.  The wormhole is reddish, from dangerous unknown -- it's from a C5.  I recall reading something about ESS having a warp bubble to make it hard to take from.  So, this is interesting.  Perhaps they are cheaper than normal warp interdictor bubbles?  That must explain it.

Seeing as I have no interest in being here, I warp back out to near the wormhole to my system, and continue scanning.  I get three more gas sites, when I hear the wormhole strum.  A scout comes through, then warps in the direction of the C5.  Interesting.
Hey!  That's my name!

I am about to go back to scanning when I see something move on my screen.  What was it?  Then I notice my local chat window.  I have local chat up to time the polarity of wormhole transitions.  But now I see something unexpected.  The ESE has reported my presence by name (and that of the scout) in local!

Now I understand the use.  The warp bubble might be helpful.  But getting warning of and the name of a cloaked scout you've never seen?  That's mighty powerful.  Kudos to you, nimon, or whoever it was that came up with the idea. 

Here's the description from the Dev Blog on ESSs about what it does:
  • Whenever a ship warps to the ESS, a broadcast is made in local informing everyone in the system that player X is in the vicinity of the ESS. This triggeres even if the approaching ship is cloaked.
Personally, I feel this is not right for wspace.  In nullsec, giving away people warping is kind of obnoxious, but at least the unit functions there.  In wspace, the ESS is giving away information that it should have no way of knowing.

UPDATE: CCP has disabled the ability to anchor ESSes anywhere in wspace.