Life in a Wormhole: Home Security System #eveonline

We’ve got some old friends/new corpmates inbound for the home system soon. Exciting. Prompted by a couple discussions we’ve had, I’ve decided to put together how just logging can be different in the wormhole than the places in New Eden with which most pilots are familiar.

Space: Always cool. Rarely safe.

I have just logged in. What do I do first?

Okay, so here’s me, logging in for the first time that day, in our home system.

As always, I logged out outside our tower, at a safe spot, out at the edge of the system, preferably in a ship that can cloak, and ideally in a ship that can warp while cloaked.

  • Why outside the tower? Lots of stuff can happen while you’re offline. If the thing that happens is Something Bad, it will likely be happening to our tower. If you’re lucky, the tower is simply under attack. If you’re unlucky, the tower has been put into Reinforced Mode and subsequently surrounded in a network of Warp Disruption bubbles that will prevent anyone outside the tower from warping in (as you will try to do when you log out inside the tower) or warping out.  This impromptu lattice of death has acquired the disappointing in-game nickname The Rape Cage, due to the carnage that usually results when a tower’s occupants log on and helplessly warp right into the waiting arms of Death (the entrenched enemy fleet).

    Nathan and Max add: No effect can halt a log-in/log-out warp (when the game actually removes or replaces you, after aggression timers are over). This includes logging into a bubble around your POS; you’ll end up inside your tower’s force field as normal, but without the normal ability to escape. Since you’d probably rather be outside, scanning an exit to bring in reinforcements, it would have been better if you’d logged out while somewhere else, to begin with.

  • Why the edge of the system? If strangers in the system aren’t there to kill your tower (which they often aren’t) they’re usually taking advantage of any sleeper anomalies you have in your system. Those anomalies tend to spawn within 4 AU of celestial bodies, and most celestial bodies are closer to the center of the system. Thus, most anomalies and enemy ships will be in the center of the system. If you’ve logged out on the edge of the system, you’ve increased your chances of loading the game and getting cloaked up before anyone sees you.
  • Why cloaky? Information is always the best weapon to have, and the best defense. If you can log in without anyone noticing you, good. If you can ensure that you will not be spotted after that point, that’s better. By cloaking up, you’re basically undetectable by any means in a wormhole. That means you can gather information on anyone in the system without them knowing anything about you.  Advantage: you.

First: check the  System Channel Message of the Day, (and the Corp and Alliance MotD if you feel that’s relevant.) Any warnings? Any status stuff at all?

Second: Get the scanning window up, and the in-game browser open. The homepage of my browser is set to wormnav.com, and a second tab is open to the shared, secure, online page that we use to maintain intel on our home system. (What the IDs of any signatures are, any info on systems we’re connected to, how long before a wormhole collapses of old age, et cetera.)

  • Tower D-scan: I have a safespot that keeps me on the edge of the system but within d-scan range of all our friendly towers. I jump there (cloaked) and d-scan. Any foreign ships? Any weirdness at all? Visible enemy ships within d-scan of our towers are probably causing problems, especially if there are a lot of them.
  • Wormnav: Check wormnav for recent ship kills, npc kills, et cetera. Check the shared secure webpage on the system for any notes about incoming/outgoing wormholes that might be open.  If you see ship and pod kills on wormnav, be on high alert. Go to the bottom of wormnav and open up the battleclinic link for more details.  On the other hand, if you see very little activity, then things are looking pretty good for you.

    Nathan reminds me: Until the Crucible expansion, wormnav (and any other program using EvE’s API feed) also displayed the number of jumps in and out of a system, and some could compare the total against the number made just by alliance members. The API no longer shows Wormhole jump-info, which is why I didn’t mention it, but it’s worth mentioning its absence, because (like a /local channel and locator agent info) it’s something folks expect and rely on in Known Space and won’t find in Wormholes. I like that change, but it’s one more way in which wormholes are more dangerous.

Assuming nothing is immediately worrisome, you can:

  1. Stick around and do something fun.
  2. Do your Planetary Interactions/Skill Queue/Research/Manufacturing/Eve Mail Updates, if that’s all you were logged in for, and log out. Cheers.

If you Chose #1, You have More Stuff To Do

Bad stuff can happen at any moment.

Jump to a safe spot in the center of the system while cloaked (or jump to the safe spot and THEN cloak, if you must), and check out the center of the system.

D-scan again. Also: hit a Passive Scan. Most anomalies spawn in the center of our system, so if tourists are hitting our sites, they might be here and not visible from your starting point. Knowing where the anoms are makes it easier to find them.

Note: don’t log out in the center of the system, though — better to be out of d-scan of as much of the system as possible while the game loads. However: if your home system is small enough that there’s no place to be that isn’t within d-scan of everything else,  you might as well start out at a central safespot. Hell, for that matter, put your tower in the center too.

Anyway:

  • Analyze your passive scan: Least-important, but fastest to analyze. Are there anomalies here? If there are anoms on the passive scan and enemies on d-scan, they’ll often coincide.
  • Analyze D-scan: Any enemy ships? If yes, uncheck ‘use my overview settings’ and re-d-scan, looking for wrecks. If you see wrecks and ships, they’re shooting sleepers. No wrecks might mean mining (highly unlikely), gas harvesting (less unlikely), haulers using our system as a way through to known space (happens rarely, but does happen), et cetera.

If you see no ships here either, do the same thing from as many different locations in the system as you must to cover everything.

If you still see no strangers, you may deploy scanning probes. (Of COURSE you logged out in a ship that can scan.) Once you have done that, either recloak or jump back into our tower.

If there are any warning signs of ships, and you have a combat scanning-capable ship, get back out of d-scan of the enemy, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan to start locating them.

Once you’ve gotten to the part where you’re scanning, check our system’s secure webpage again; it will tell you how many wormholes there should be in the system and (if it’s up to date) even what their IDs are. Use your probes to resolve and bookmark them (and verify there aren’t more than those listed), but don’t visit them if you have the right number and want to keep the system “closed”. (Unopened outgoing exits cannot be gotten into from the other side.)

Now that you know everything’s secure, and where your exits are, you are ready to Do Exciting Activities, either solo or with others (who, if you are very lucky, might have even done a lot of this preliminary work before you logged in — remember to thank them).

Many ponies make light work.

By Way of Contrast…

… let me break down the login/security process I used when I was back in High Security Known Space.

  1. Log in.
  2. Take a mission.
  3. Go run it.
  4. Repeat.

I believe the pros and cons of both types of play are self-evident.

I leave the determination of their relative appeal as an exercise for the reader.

Wormholers: What did I forget?

Sound off in the comments.


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