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.


  1. CCP Fozzie has said on the forums this wasn't intended and will be fixed. If you look at the info for the ESS it can't be anchored near enough to a gate to provide that intel. Whs were just left off the list.

  2. Thanks. I was reading the ESS thread on the forums last night, but did not make it to the point of CCP involvement.