Thursday, March 27, 2014

Much Scanning and An Elusive Iteron

Wednesday.  I am on before the corp, but we are planning to do some PVE money-making tonight.  So there is plenty to do.  I want to map out our constellation, preparing for hole-closing and site-running.  How long will it take?  We'll see.

I log in.  From nothingness to somethingness, suddenly my Manticore exists.  I cloak as I do my login warp, then a quick dscan.  Nobody obvious.  Some C2 guys ran our two anoms yesterday, so there's nothing for anyone to do in my system.  I doubt anyone's around.  Still, there are three sigs, not the two I'd hoped for.  One is an already-known gas site.  One will be our static.  What's the other?

I warp out to our outer planet and launch probes.  The two new sigs are quickly resolved, and from their signal strengths I can tell which is the K162.  I warp to it first, bookmarking the other.  The K162 is "dangerous" and reddish -- that means C5.  Hmm.  Well, better have a look.  I enter C5a.

Dscan from the wormhole shows four towers, with some ships at them, but types that are not of interest to me.  A quick consult with shows these guys are probably European.  It's evening here in the USA; I doubt we'll see too much activity from them.  But, still, there may be a few night-owls up.  Let's have a look at the rest of the system.

I warp to the outer system, and dscan shows two more towers.  One of these has an Iteron V at it.  Now, that is of interest to me, if it is manned.  I am at the right planet, so I dscan and narrow down the possible moons by range.  Eventually I find the right one, and warp to it.

I land on grid with the tower.  Yes, the Itty is there and it is manned.  I am about 80 km from it so I look.  It is not aligned with the tower: where did it come from?  A planet, perhaps?  No, it came from some spot out in space just to the right of the inner system... oh.  It can from the wormhole to my system.  It appears that these guys have opened my system's static, and have run in some cargo.  Interesting.

I sit and watch for a few minutes.  But the Iteron is not doing anything, and probably won't do any PI at any rate.  I've got more exploring to do, so I warp back to the wormhole and jump.  Time to check out what's downstream from us.  I warp to the previously saved wormhole bookmark.  Then I save the actual location of the wormhole, and jump through into C4b.

Dscan shows a tower, but no ships.  A consult with shows the inhabitants are supposed to be USA timezone.  But the tower has a Chinese symbol for a name, and there are Cyrillic names on some of the POS parts.  I don't think these people are USA any more.

OK, let me check out the scanner for anoms... crikey!  This system has as many sigs as I have ever seen.  (Later, I count them: 33 sigs.)  Anoms?  Oh, about 40 of those, including 19 rocks.  So, that's good news for running sites.

There's also some bad news.  The system's static is a C1.  That's not great for site-running, because we cannot pop it.  We'll have to place a cloaked picket there.  (Fortunately, we have a new guy in the corp perfect for this.)  Also, the system is a wolf-rayet, which is bad for our shield tanked PVE fleet.  I think it will work though. Worse for me right now: each and every one of those sigs might be a wormhole.  Each and every one must be scanned at least to the point of knowing what it is (25%), and for practical purposes it must be scanned down fully and bookmarked.  That's a grim prospect.  I move off the wormhole, firing probes as I go.  Then I throw them out of the system, and go to find the tower.  It's easily found; I warp to it to watch.  I'll sit here to watch while I scan, just in case someone logs on to do PI.

I start scanning.  There are three sigs at the outer planet; those scan fast enough.  Now I move into the second-to-outer planet, which has a lot of sigs.  I get through the first few, when I realize that scanning in my Manticore is kind of dumb.  I don't think any targets are going to appear; the impressive proliferation of sigs and anoms suggests these guys don't play much.  It will take me just a couple minutes to get my Buzzard; the increased scanning strength amortized over 30 sigs should more than make up for the travel time.  So I'll head back home.  But before I leave, I activate all the anoms.  (Thank me when you get a new site in four days.)  Now through my static, over to my tower, and reship.  Then I return and get probes back out.  I am circling the K162 of our static wormhole, having found nothing better to watch.  I re-scan the general area I scanned before, to re-ignore those sigs.  Then I start working again.  I complete about eight sigs near the second-to-outer planet, and move on to the third.

A ship warps on to grid.  It's the Iteron V I saw before: same pilot.  But he is coming back in.  I missed him going out.  He lands on the wormhole and jumps.

How did I miss him leaving?  Probably he left when I was at over at the local tower.  Anyway, it's too late.  Even if I burned over the to wormhole and beat him to the C5 connection, I can't do anything in my Buzzard.  No guns, no warp scrambler.  So, I sigh and set to scanning some more.  I doubt I will see him again: he should have seen my probes both leaving and coming back in.

I am getting close to having scanned out this third-from-outer planet, when I find a wormhole.  It's a faint signature, so it is probably the static.  I warp over at 30km to look.  Sure enough: P060, to C1.  I'll have to explore through it when I get a chance, but not now.  I really don't want to lose my state.  Rescanning 15 sigs?  No thanks.

I resume scanning.  Gas site, gas site, data site.  I am close to done with this planet, when a flicker of movement catches my eye on my overview.  What?  Ah -- the Iteron is back!  He's on the wormhole, and then whoomp-crackle -- he exits to C1a.
I bet you'll be back.
I have seen him three times now: at his tower in C5a (having just come from our direction), in C4b coming back in, and now going out.  Obviously my probes are not deterring him.  It's very likely he will be coming back in carrying... I don't know.  Whatever he is trying to get in.  And probably fairly soon; I guess from the timing of his last run that there must be a hub fairly close to where ever the C1 system connects to.  If he's coming back in, I want to gank him.  To gank him, I can't be in this Buzzard.  I want my Manticore.  I am mindful that it might be a trap... or they may have a cloaky T3 or T2 sitting in C4b to gank me.  But I don't think so; nobody has gone for me yet.  In any case, it's worth the risk.

I take another trip to my tower to reship again.  Yes, this means I will lose my scanning-state, but hunting is more important than saving scanning time.

I return to the system in my Manticore.  It will probably be a wait.  Maybe the guy won't come back.  Either way, I am going to scan rather than just sit.  So I fire probes after I am back in the system.  Then I warp back to the C1 wormhole.  I orbit it cloaked at 2500m.  This is the best compromise between safety (if something nasty comes in), and being on top of the hole to make sure I am in range if the target returns.

Now I scan.  For the second time, I have to re-scan a whole bunch of sigs to ignore.  The outer system ones I can ignore simply by their location.  But all the other planets are close enough that they require re-scanning.  It's fairly quick, though, since I only need a 25% hit to do the job, or sometimes even less.

Minutes pass.  I finally re-ignore all the stuff I found already, and now I can start in where I was.  More or less.  It is time to start tackling the 10 sigs remaining in the inner system.  I put in the probes at 8AU, and get several gas sites IDed.  I get it down to six sigs, when bwaammmp.  Wormhole noise.

I quickly exit the map mode, and get my mouse poised to turn off my cloak.  Is it the Iteron?  A ship appears -- yes, the Iteron.  I uncloak, then I head towards him and start locking him.  I get my sebo on, as well as my weapon systems.  This should work; Iterons are slow aligning, right?  It does work.  He's locked; a round of torps hits him.

In pursuit.
Then he's gone.  What?  Where?  How?  He did not warp.  I am confused for a second, then I get it.  He jumped back through the wormhole.  I follow.

I expect to find him aligning on the other side.  But he's not in sight.  He is polarized, so he cannot jump again.  And I am certain he has not had time to align and warp.  So I conclude he must be holding gate cloak.  I immediately drop my own gate cloak, and start orbitting the wormhole at 500m, sebo on, hand poised over the overview.  When he appears I will lock him, and this time he shall not escape.

I orbit.  I orbit some more.  Evidently he is waiting out to the end of his minute.  I wonder if he has friends scrambling to help coming from C5a. This makes me nervous, but there's nothing to be done.  If the wormhole sounds, I will deal with it then.

I orbit some more.  How long is gate cloak anyway?  I thought it was no more than a minute.  I check on my local chat: it's been two minutes.  He can't be cloaked any more... and yet, no Iteron.

Oh.  Stupid me.  He must have a cloak: a normal old cloak.  He must have come through the wormhole and immediately cloaked.  I was a few seconds behind, and did not see it.  This means he will be sneaking off the wormhole.  Iteron Vs are not fast to begin with, and he will be at one-tenth or one-quarter speed.  So he is still here.  I just have to find him.

I start orbitting at 2500m.  Then 5000m.  It's slow; I realize that I'll have a much better chance to uncloak him if I turn on my microwarp.  I orbit, microwarping.  Then I cut across the wormhole to try a different orbit direction.

No pretty explosion.  I was busy.
There's the Iteron.  I have you now!  I start locking, which completes almost immediately due to the sebo, and I open up.  He's popped with the first round.  There's the pod.  I lock it, I think successfully, but before I can fire it warps clear.  How?  Ah, I have zipped beyond scrambler range due to microwarping.   Oops.  I cannot pursue since I have not scanned this system; presumably he will go back to highsec.

Let's see what he had.  I move over to the wreck and open it.  Disappointing.  Just a cloak and some cargo expanders.  (The killmail shows he had some ice products of modest value which got blown up.)  I loot and scoot out of there.

Since I am here, I'll scan.  The system does indeed have a highsec static according to  I want to find it so that my corp can get in and out.  There are 10 sigs.  I deploy probes and scan at 32AU to find and ignore any low-strength ones (the static is high strength as will be any K162s).  But there is just one.  Still, since I am not bookmarking everything and all the sigs are of the highest strength, it's not too much of a chore to scan them down.  They are all gas sites, except the static.  I go to check it out.  Sure enough, it comes out two jumps from Hek.  I bookmark it and head back in.

It is possible the guy will try to run in again, either in a new Itty V or his pod.  So, I think I will go back to sit where I sat before, on the C1 wormhole in C4b.  I enter, deploy probes, then start orbiting at 5000m.  (He might also try an interceptor.)

For the third time, I have to find and ignore previously found sites.  Sigh.  I set to it.  Once that's done, I finally scan down the last of the signatures and bookmark it.  Job complete!  Finally.

Jayne comes online.  We discuss site-running and I tell him what happened.  As this happens, I hear the wormhole noise.  Ah, what will it be?  I set my orbit to 2500m, then get ready.  It's a Helios, same guy.  It's very unlikely I can kill him, but I tell Jayne to get in position upstream as I try for it.  I uncloak and start locking, and he's gone.  Expected that.  But worth to try; you never know.

Jayne gets a bomber to our static in time to take another shot, but that one fails too, as was likely.  I expect the guy will not be trying anything else tonight.


  1. His mistake? orbiting. If he had gone either straight up or straight down, he probably would have escaped (albeit slowly).

    Also, all my indies run with a cloak. Not everyone in our corp agrees, with some thinking the additional cost of a cloak is not worth the protection.

  2. You don't have to rescan signatures. All you need is a piece of paper writing down its code (like ABC-123) and when you re-enter, just read the paper and ignore the sigs. Alternatively, you can order the sigs by name and pinpoint-scan them in that order. This way you don't even need a paper, you can ignore the first n

    I am completely at loss why did you waste so much time trying to gank an Iteron. If your heart desires Iteron killmails, you can get them by dozens in Uedama.

  3. As Gevlon noted regarding signatures. I put the sig ID in the name or description so I can quickly ignore already scanned targets after reshipping.
    Instead of waiting for 2 minutes I would have decloaked and tried to warp off before your return.

  4. We do so much scanning, it would be a waste of time to record the IDs. Generally we scan down entire chains, then either use them, or pop the hole and start over. There is usually no reason to re-scan a system. Only in odd instances like this do you need to re-scan. And even here he could have brought in an alt to avoid having to re-scan.

  5. Foo: it's not clear from the text, but I did try several orbits including a "polar" one. I expect he was slowboating straight out from the wormhole, although I don't know. Certainly the wreck ended up a few thousand meters away.

    Gevlon: Scanning in order is inefficient in typical situations, because you often get clumps of sigs. I agree that it would have been more efficient in this situation, but then I did not expect to be in and out so much.

    Gev & Raziel: I am aware of people using the ID in the bookmark. I have considered it, but it's not something I would want for my SOP. Doing it requires extra work on every bookmark. And yet I rarely have to re-scan a system, and even when I do, the new sig is often obvious enough that I don't lose much time (or even any time) distinguishing it from the older ones. You can usually tell a new sig by its location, and/or its ID.

    Gevlon: my heart does not desire Iteron killmails. It desires killmails where my gankee was trying hard to avoid me, and yet I managed to hunt him down anyway. See, ganking someone who's defenseless and not trying to avoid you is basically an engineering problem. It's solved. It may be an interesting challenge to solve that problem, and it may be interesting to optimize the solution. But once solved and optimized, it's no longer an interesting process to run; it's just grinding. You should know. Obviously ganking highsec miners is not interesting or you'd still be doing it.

    By contrast, ganking someone who is trying to avoid you is a challenge that renews itself, because there is a mind on the other end. You have to catch him. It is much, much harder; and it is interesting because it is not something you can boil down to a formula.

    1. Re: Your final paragraph in this reply: Exactly!

  6. try using siggy for mapping and saving sig ids

  7. ..Amazing write up. Even though it was "just an Iteron" the hunt and capture and thought process was very entertaining, and I can tell you had a blast doing it.

    Your response to Gevlon is perfect. I doubt he will understand it, because he knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.

  8. That was a fine write-up, thanks for sharing!