Life in a Wormhole: How Soon Can I Start? #eveonline

In the past, I’ve written a fair bit about what you need to bring when you decide to move into a wormhole. That list is intended for an entire group heading into a class two or something similar, however, so as we’ve had some old friends/new pilots coming to join us I’ve had to revise that list pretty extensively, focusing on skills, mostly, since we’re happy to provide a few appropriate ships until the pilots in question start making money.

As far as skills went, one of the two points on the skill list about which I was quite adamant, was this:

You should have all the skills and support skills necessary to fly an appropriate PvE ship without getting blown up in a Sleeper site. In a C2, that means a battlecruiser, using an all tech2 tank (very likely shield-tanked) and able to withstand AT LEAST 350dps of Omni damage (preferably 420), while still able to put out about 200 dps, minimum.

For even a new pilot, this means that if there is a skill – any skill at all – that affects your effectiveness in your chosen ship, those skills should be at least a 3, and many if not most should be 4 or 5. New pilots should then improve from there.

And I still think that’s a good goal to have, for the very limited topic of ‘pve sleeper combat’.

But I had a conversation today, and it got me thinking.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for the killing power of wormholes.

My outlook is something like this.

And that’s not wrong, but I was talking to this new pilot today, listening to him tell me how he has all these friends in his corp from his home town, and how they’re in a wormhole, and how he wants to get in there with them and participate, but really can’t until he can fly X with skill Y, because no one could survive in a wormhole without at least that much.

And I was like:

… because I just have to play Devil’s Advocate, I guess.

I started to explain how he could get into a wormhole without elite combat skills, contribute in valuable and very appreciated ways, every day, and even make some iskies.

Here’s What I Told Him

So let’s say you’re all gung-ho to get into a wormhole with your friends and (because they’re your friends), they aren’t saying stuff like “You must fly a TENGU! and Logistics Level 5! And perfect Scanning Skills! And did we mention ZOMG TENGU!?!” They’re welcoming, is what I’m saying.

And you’ve seen all the cool (and, let’s be honest, profitable) stuff there is to do in a wormhole, and you’re like:

And (again, because they’re your friends), they aren’t saying “no”, exactly. They are saying “maybe you should train a few more skills” or “you might end up being kind of bored if you can’t join in on ops” or something like that.

What they want to say is:

'Noob. This is you, trying to get into a wormhole.'

And they may be right, if you aren’t willing to explore some alternative ways to take part in the Exciting Activities. Let’s look at these alternatives:


This one is huge. Maybe you can’t shoot stuff that well yet, but you can be Scanning Guy. Everyone in the hole should be able to scan (and most should be able to scan well), but everyone gets tired of it from time to time (even me). Want to build a lot of good will? Volunteer to scan sometimes. Hell, most of the time — you probably need the practice. Learn how to scout a hostile system without giving your presence away. Learn how to find good systems for looting. These are all things that will endear you to your corp mates, but just as importantly, you will be teaching yourself valuable skills.

Edit to add (at Tweed’s suggestion): Some old videos I made on how to scan. It’s from the system we’re no longer in, so I don’t really care about operational security, and the videos might help folks.

Sleeper Combat

If you can’t fit a BC that can survive sleepers yet, know that there are other ways to contribute while you train:

  • Overwatch: put together a scanning frigate with combat probes and volunteer for scanning and overwatch duties while your fleet kills sleepers. It’s a vital role, and encourages you to train critical skills related to wormhole survival (cloaking, the various Astrometric skills). The only problem with this is that your ‘mates may not be entirely sanguine about the new guy’s ability to spot potential dangers (and, to be fair, you may not be, either) — if you’re saying “Hey guys, what does it mean when I get a bunch of extra ships on scan?” or “What do you mean d-scan doesn’t refresh automatically?” instead of “BREAK BREAK, SAFE UP”, someone’s probably going to die.  So if you (or they) want some time to learn the lay of the land before you play overwatch…
  • Salvaging: Train Salvaging to 5 and fit up a destroyer with:
    • a couple salvage rigs
    • 3 tech2 salvagers
    • 3 tractor beams
    • a cloak
    • a probe launcher (just in case)
    • and a MWD… and follow along behind your ‘mates salvaging as they kill: they’ll be happy to have someone with high salvaging skills maximizing their (and your) profits.Note: In both these cases, you should be getting a share of the loot for your contribution to the operation.


Now, I’m a terribad miner, but with a Vexor-class crusier, decent drone skills, and some miner IIs I can still pull as much ore out of a rock as a Retriever-class mining barge — only problem is my hold fills up really fast, so I get RSI from moving it to a jettisoned canister. Still, don’t let someone tell you you can’t mine in a cruiser, even if an exhumer is obviously better in the long run. That’s said: if they’re flexing their Hulks and screaming “THIS. IS. VELDSPARTA!” there’s still stuff you can do.

  • Overwatch: Hey, guess what? Miners still need a lookout, especially if your mining buddies like to cut the boredom with a little bourbon. Grab that  scanning frigate we talked about, drop a combat probe, cloak up, and start scanning. If they decide they don’t need that, then…
  • Hauling: That’s fine: unlimber your industrial hauling skill and cart the Mining Ferengi jetcans of ore back to the tower so they can keep mining and the Orca-class industrials can hide safely inside the force field. You get to watch the pretty warp effects a lot, and you stay moving and busy. No bad there. And, again, this stuff is all part of the operation, and you should get a fair cut of the profits. Everyone manages that differently, but fair’s fair.
Gas Harvesting?

This is probably my favorite non-combat thing to do in a wormhole, simply because it’s easy to max your skill out, and you can make perfectly viable gas harvesting ships out of cruiser hulls that damn near anyone can fly. In all seriousness, this is a great thing to train up, and one of the first things where you can be just as productive in a wormhole has the guy with 140 million skill points.

HOWEVER, if you just can’t bear to spend any training time on this, there’s still Overwatch and Hauling (see Mining, above).


PvP is not like Sleeper Combat. It’s potentially more dangerous, but also less strict than a sleeper anomaly in terms of the minimum requirements for participation. A two-day-old character can string together enough basic skills to fly a frigate and fill the role of “Tackle” in a PvP fight. At the very least, you should be prepared to do that (and that means practicing the skills with your mates so you understand what you need to do when the hammer drops).

Planetary Interaction

Basically, this is setting up robotic colonies on a planet and relieving said planets of their natural resources for the purposes of fun, profit, and tower fuel. I’m not good at PI, but I do have good skills in PI, because they are easy and quick to train, and it lets me help fuel the tower.

Other people in the wormhole are able to do that and still make 300 million isk every couple weeks, which means you can too.  Don’t look to me for “how”, though — like I said, I’m bad at PI.

What I’m Saying…

You could still be in the hole and doing stuff while you train those 15 days for a battlecruiser. Or a month for Tech2 guns. Or whatever. You can contribute, and more to the point, you don’t have to wait to hang out with your friends.

My suggestion? Do it.

“But What if All I Want to Do is Pew Pew Sleepers?”

Hmm… in that case:

You should have all the skills and support skills necessary to fly an appropriate PvE ship without getting blown up in a Sleeper site. In a C2, that means a battlecruiser, using an all tech2 tank (very likely shield-tanked) and able to withstand AT LEAST 350dps of Omni damage (preferably 420), while still able to put out about 200 dps, minimum.

For even a new pilot, this means that if there is a skill – any skill at all – that affects your effectiveness in your chosen ship, those skills should be at least a 3, and many if not most should be 4 or 5. New pilots should then improve from there.

Seriously. If you want to fight stuff, skill up or STFU.


Note: Everyone cannot cut these corners. This little breakdown assumes that if you’re coming into the system in what is essentially a non-combat role until you can get your skills caught up, someone (hopefully several someones) are shouldering the heavy burden of being the badass, both in terms of gunnery as well as all the unsexy skills that let Life in a Wormhole actually… you know… work.

If that’s not the case, none of you are ready.

With All that Said
I’ve found that I do still feel strongly about this:

At a minimum, have Astrometics to level 4 and Astrometric Rangefinding, Astrometric Pinpointing and Astrometric Acquisition to level 3 each.

Yeah. This is still something you should always consider a requirement. Scanning is life in a wormhole. It’s breathing. Don’t be a leech on your corp mates.


  1. I’m terribad at scanning. I have alright skills and I’ve done it but for some reason I don’t grok scanning. I am and remain a scanning leech.

  2. I’ve only recently realized something that I’ve been doing that makes my scanning a LOT more difficult than it needs to be.

    Basically, the central ‘overlap’ between the scanning probes needs to be ‘fat’.

    (Image from tiger ears.)

    You see how the ‘circle’ created in the middle of the scan pattern by overlap is big enough to encompass all the actual probes? That’s good — that’s the strongest scan.

    What I’ve been doing is more like:

    (Image also from tiger ears.)

    See how the scan probes’ overlap is really skinny, and just barely overlaps over that central probe? That results in a weaker scan, and as a result means you have to do a lot MORE scanning to get a 100% hit.

  3. That scanning thing is actually really helpfull.
    I have apparently spent all my scanning time doing it wrong. 😛

  4. Man, lately there’s been a good rush of well-written, informative wormholes articles around the net. Now I need to get permission to mirror them all on our website. >_>

  5. I’m a bit of a hoarder. 🙂

    I’ve got a ‘for blog posts’ image directory where I just stick anything I think might be kind of cool or useful or funny. Sometimes I use them right away (like that cat jumping thing), and sometimes they sit in there for years.

  6. Two Princess Bride in as many days. How can this get better? Perhaps an ROUS reference!

  7. Doycet you should probably link up your original scanning tutorial videos. they helped a lot!

    Few pointers:
    Shift – moves all probes together

    Alt – Moves probes twords center

    I use 7 in a 3d plus style and cant recommend any other way from my experience

    Start w/ 1 probe in the center and scan (at max range) to get a general range of hits and a complete site list

    Scanning is 3d! don’t forget to check both axis

    I like to drag the sizes of the scan down and hold shift to quickly change all the probes at once. Speed is sometimes very important

    Clicking on the probe name will center the view on it. i always remember what is my center probe number and click it to recenter my view.

    when recentering my probes on a hit i do it in two steps. Complete side view then hold shift and click the “face” of the square of the probe and drag to center. then change the view to a top down and do the same again. this will allow you to move the probes as a group in that plane only. this is better than clicking the arrows and dragging in one axis only but you have to be more careful to make sure your moving the probes in the correct axis. Don t try to grab the face and grab a arrow. This is bad

    The more zoomed in you are the better you placement will be.

    Creating the initial 3d plus is crucial!!! I launch all 7 probes then move them so the arrows are just touching at the tips. Don’t mess w/ the zoom when doing this and they should all be equidistant from each other. Then resize to the range as described above, alt move them into position, and then finaly center to the sig hit. You should never have to move an individual probe again. All shift/alt dragging from here

    A general note on the center section that overlaps… A good rule of thumb I like to have the center overlap be approximately the size of the next scan range down. So if you have all probes at 32au then the overlap would be a region about the size of a 16au probe. Not always true but a good place to start.

    In the beginning only step one size down then rescan. As you get better you can double or triple “drop” the scan range in between hits. This is more tricky but easy when you get the feel

    If you still feel you need practice go into hi sec and practice w/ some combat probes and lost drones. These are hard to get a solid hit on and you have to go down to the lowest scan range but its fun and good practice. Also u would be surprised how many T2 drones are lost. Its fun and a good way to hone your skills.

    Speed is crucial sometimes. Get a montra on how you do this and stick to it. Scan, position xy axis, change view, position zx axis, shift probe size down, alt move to center overlap, scan and the repeat.

    Practice, practice, practice…..

    There is more but im working on a very in depth scanning guide of my own atm so I wont give away all my secrets. 😉

    Thanks doycet. All my scanning skills started from your videos and others like it.

  8. Thanks for the suggestion, Tweed. I’ve added links up in the ‘scanning’ section; hopefully they won’t confuse people more than they help.

  9. I LOVED the Princess Bride reference 🙂
    I have scanning skills to 5 and covert-ops to 5 and logi 5… I guess I should start thinking about life in a wormhole. Though right now I am in a NPC corp :/

    I guess I have time to think it over, thank you for this small bit of encouragement.

  10. Read other w-space related topics on STC before going. Also make sure you are properly fitted and skilled for the job. Lastly : you will need to train a probing alt, no matter what.

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