Plugging a skill gap

25th July 2012 – 5.34 pm

The w-space constellation's been mapped, and although it's a few hours stale I choose to roam first before scanning afresh. There seem to be enough connections and systems to warrant at least a brief look around for activity and targets before considering the appearance of new connections, and the longer I can resist launching probes the longer I'll stay covert. Such is my will that I don't even scan the home system, instead thrusting my Loki strategic cruiser towards the static connection to our neighbouring class 3 system.

According to my directional scanner, C3a is quiet and clear from the K162. My notes place me in this system five months ago, but a bookmark to the local tower is a more convenient way to find out if anyone's home. I warp across to see that, no, no one's here, so I merely perform a passive scan, bookmark the eleven anomalies, and move on. I pick the N968 to visit first of the three wormholes in the system, and jump through to see ships and a tower on d-scan. Again, I have been here recently but, again, a bookmark to the tower lets me more easily see that the Covetor mining barge, Drake, Ferox, and Talos battlecruiser, Iteron hauler, and Hound stealth bomber are sadly all empty. That mix of ships would offer good opportunity had any or all of them been piloted, making it more of a shame that none are.

Still nothing is happening in w-space, and I've checked all of two systems without having launched scanning probes. This is an outrage! But I have another system to roam through, and I return to cross C3a and jump through a K162 to class 5 w-space. Only bubbles are on d-scan, which lets me move away from the wormhole and cloak with less chance of being seen. I always secretly hope a stealth bomber will take a potshot at me when I enter each system, but I remain unlucky with this transit. Warping across to the tower sees yet another unpiloted ship, this one an Orca industrial command ship floating empty in the force field, giving me another dreary system. It looks like I'll have to get my scanning probes out now.

I'm not about to scan the w-space I've roamed through just yet. There is a fair chance of new connections having opened up, and if they have been opened since earlier scouting then there is more chance of activity, but I'd rather tread fresh ground. Each system has a connection to k-space, this C5 holding a K162 from null-sec, so I'll look for wormholes outside of the scanned constellation. Exiting w-space to an unoccupied system in the Tenerifis region lets me rat and scan, and I find and start shooting a rat battleship as I push my probes around to determine the only other signature here to be rocks. My Loki handles the battleship without problems, though, and I achieve both ratting and scanning simultaneously, which lets me appreciate my efficiency if not the lacklustre scanning result.

I return to w-space, pass through C5a back to C3a, and in to C3b where I sadly see no change in activity levels. I take my leave and exit w-space through the static connection to low-sec empire space, where I appear by myself in a system in the Derelick region. Rat and scan, man. Like the null-sec system, I find a rat battleship in the first rock field I enter, and my probes pick up one additional signature. Unlike the null-sec system, the signature resolves to be a wormhole, an outbound connection to more class 3 w-space no less. Continued exploration could pay off again, particularly as entering the system has a tower and Bestower hauler on d-scan.

A previous visit to this class 3 system points me towards the tower, which d-scan confirms remains in the same place. But my appearance over six kilometres from the wormhole and sitting on the cosmic signature makes me suspect the Bestower will be empty. Undeterred, I warp to the tower but indeed find the hauler as unpiloted as every other ship I've seen this evening. W-space tonight is as dry Oscar Wilde's wit, but nowhere near as entertaining. I've not exhausted my options yet, and even though I know C3c holds a static wormhole to high-sec I launch probes and take a look around. Seven anomalies and seventeen signatures get reduced soon enough to ignored ladar sites and the single wormhole, which also takes me to the Derelik region. Continued scanning only finds the wormhole I'm sitting on, leaving me the one direction to go.

Back to low-sec, in to C3b, across to C3a, and I leave still-inactive w-space for another low-sec system, this one in Verge Vendor. Faction warfare pilots kind of stop me ratting as I scan, in that their presence dissuades me from casually poking in to rock fields, and a lack of signatures stops me scanning as I don't rat. Now I've checked every system for new connections, found a couple, and still not had any pilots appear on my overview. The lack of activity has somewhat taken the wind out of my sails, which is a particularly drastic situation being in a Minmatar ship. I take one last look around the w-space constellation—C3a, to C3b, to low-sec, to C3c, back to low-sec and C3a, in to C5a, and back to C3a—to see no change in any system, and head home for an early night.

Actually, I could use a skill book or two. It's getting a little petty to continue ignoring a whole race's ships because I think they're ugly and useless, and think I perhaps ought to train to fly Gallente cruisers. It's maybe snubbing the Gallente scum a bit too much to be able to fly two types of marauders and three types of strategic cruisers but not an Exequror. Checking our hangar shows that we don't have any spare lying around—and why would we, useless bits of paper that they are—but I could use the empire connections and spare time to go and buy one. I estimate only needing ten minutes to pop out to market and make my way back, even heading out to high-sec through C3a, C3b, low-sec, and C3c, so there's little reason no to do it.

Of course, an estimate of ten minutes real time turns in to half-an-hour in New Eden, but I knew it would. What I actually hoped was that working my way to high-sec, crossing a region border, and getting to an academy system that sells the Gallente cruiser and battleship skill books would pass enough time for w-space to have woken up by the time I get back. It's a vain hope, though, and I knew that too. But collecting the skill books provides some tangible progress for the evening, and there was a slight chance that I'd return to w-space to see activity, particularly as my route took me through most of the systems in the constellation. But there remains no change as I pass through w-space on my way home, and I slink away to a corner of our system and go off-line.

  1. 7 Responses to “Plugging a skill gap”

  2. Last night I had someone open a wh to me from Amarr, made shopping really easy lol...

    Zandramus

    By Zandramus on Jul 25, 2012

  3. When you fly with enough corpmates in Gallente hulls, the ugly lumps eventually grow on you.

    By r on Jul 25, 2012

  4. I'm going to get ugly lumps growing on me? What have I done!

    By pjharvey on Jul 25, 2012

  5. Gotta love those direct wormholes to a trade hub, Z.

    By pjharvey on Jul 25, 2012

  6. Quick question, you've mentioned about landing on what you expect to be the wormhole celestial (when you find yourself 6-8km from the hole after jumping) a couple of times in the past week or so.

    This is usually followed by an observation about the system 'probably being uninhabited'.

    How much of this is supposition vs fact? I know the wh-gods are a fickle bunch, spitting you out 800m from a hole on the one jump when you're setting up to engage "squishies" (our wh-dwelling miner/pi/noob friends), but is >58km a guarantee of an inactive hole?

    Be one more thing to add to the grey-matter if so.

    By Spudzeebee on Jul 26, 2012

  7. Good idea on getting some Gallente in your head. Cloaky probing ganky Proteus may get you out of that Tengu for good.

    By Gwydion Voleur on Jul 27, 2012

  8. In the old days, Spudzeebee, when a system hadn't been loaded after the daily downtime and you tried to enter it through a wormhole you'd fail to jump and get a message that the wormhole was stabilising. You then dismissed the dialogue and tried a second time, at which point the system would be initialised and loaded and you would jump successfully. Invariably, you would then appear in the system sitting almost on top of the cosmic signature some 6-8 km from the wormhole.

    The reason for the system not being loaded was because no one had logged in or visited the system since DT. A patch has seen been introduced so that your ship simply pauses in space as the node loads the system, and repeated attempts to change systems are made automatically until the system is ready, with no failure or warning message given to the pilot. The only hint that the system hasn't loaded and thus not been visited since DT is this pause, which is easy to miss. But there still seems to be a correlation between appearing further away than normal from the wormhole and on the cosmic signature and the inactive status of the w-space system.

    This is mostly supposition, though, and without checking each system rigorously I can't really claim it as fact.

    By pjharvey on Jul 27, 2012

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