Seeing Sansha in w-space

30th January 2014 – 5.33 pm

It looks like it's just me and our static wormhole again. Except, what's this? A Sansha anomaly? In w-space? Holy crap, we have a ghost site in our home system! I'm going in. ...after refitting my Loki with explosive shield hardeners. It would be a little embarrassing to lose a strategic cruiser to my first ghost site, after all. And, because of that, I completely over-tank my ship for explosive damage, just in case.

Ghost site in our pulsar w-space home system

In I go. Four containers, a tower, and a ticking timer. I pick one container and start hacking. I'm glad this isn't my introduction to the hacking mechanic, and that I've tried to learn the nuances of it beyond the simple node-hopping that my skill training and modules allow me to do in high-sec sites. I can merrily skip through this first container and crack it open without too much fuss. I loot merely some research goo.

Time for a second container. This one is a bit tougher to hack in to, enough that I fail on my first attempt. My first and only attempt, it seems, as the container explodes before I can try again. Maybe I have time for a third container. No? No. Come in number 21, your time is up. Sansha rats warp in, somewhat anonymously given that they are not highlighted by my overview, and the remaining containers explode.

Sansha rats appear in the ghost site

The rats prevent me from warping, but are cowards after my own heart. They warp away after a few seconds of scratching my shields, leaving me alone in a pocket of w-space. A pocket of w-space that contained my first experience of a ghost site. The next one will be better. I know that my Loki should be fine with merely adequate explosive resistances, and that I have time to scan the containers for the good booty before picking one to hack.

Now to scan my way out of the home system. I jump to our neighbouring class 3 system to a clear update from my directional scanner, letting me launch probes and blanket the system. Six anomalies, eighteen signatures. There are five drones too, but without any ships to command them they don't interest me. Warping around finds no occupation, although a mobile tractor unit appears on d-scan. It appears on my overview too, once I resolve its position with my combat probes.

Testing the defences of a mobile tractor unit

An MTU in empty space, in an unoccupied system, with no wrecks around it, surely can't be bait. Can it? I doubt it, so decloak and start shooting. I'm keen to see what sort of punishment they can take before releasing their goods. The answer is: quite a lot. Too much, in fact. It's a hardy bastard. This is less like shooting a Noctis salvager and more like scratching at an Orca industrial command ship. A boring number of autocannon rounds later and the mobile tractor unit finally explodes. Well, it disappears in to the aether, without even some satisfying sparks, leaving nothing behind.

I'm not surprised at getting no loot from the MTU really, and was more interested in understanding what it takes to pop one, for the inevitable time when I am tempted to crack one open whilst a fleet is engaging Sleepers in a separate w-space anomaly. Now I know that I would never try to do that, not with the amount of time it takes. I don't know who thought MTUs would stimulate interaction. They clearly won't. It will even discourage it, as vulnerable salvagers are forgotten in favour of these automatons.

Oh well. Time to scan. Amongst the gas, data, and relic sites is a K162 from high-sec at the end of its life, a healthy K162 from class 4 w-space, and the static exit to low-sec. Can the empire connections bring HR and his shiny new Tengu strategic cruiser home? Poking out either one to check has my appearing in high-sec Everyshore, sixteen hops from our colleague. 'I'll take it.' Mission accomplished.

Checking low-sec too puts me in faction warfare Placid, which doesn't turn HR around from his current journey. Me, I head for deeper w-space, back in to C3a and through the K162 to C4a, where d-scan shows me a tower and no ships. The dumbscovery scanner disappoints me by revealing two anomalies and just the one signature, the wormhole I entered through, meaning that I don't even need to launch probes to know all I need to know about this system.

At least finding the tower has the owner corporation match that of the MTU I destroyed in C3a. It's not much of a mystery solved, but good to know all the same. And that's that. I take myself back out to low-sec to scan the four extra signatures, ignoring two data sites and some gas to find a K162 from class 3 w-space at the end of its life. It's probably worth a quick look through for activity, but all I find is a piloted Tayra inside a tower's force field doing nothing. Instead of risking my route home disappearing, I leave the hauler to its nothing and do some myself, heading home and going off-line.

  1. 9 Responses to “Seeing Sansha in w-space”

  2. We had 2 Nocti and have sold them both. I noticed when I sold mine that I got quite a bit less than what I paid. We drop a tractor when we first start running a site. We each carry a couple. When we run out of tractors we either stop and go back and salvage, or if feeling bold just pick them up and drop in new sites. Eventually though we end up in dessys and spend just a couple of minutes on site in cheap ships salvaging.

    CCP Fozzie specifically said he wasn't trying to replace the Noctis, but I personally can't see using them any more. At least in C1-C3 holes and any L4 mission the Noctis is just an expensive gank risk. Its a shame really.

    By malcolm shinhwa on Jan 30, 2014

  3. Yep. I don't understand the reasoning behind the MTUs, beyond wanting to encourage the tidying up of high-sec mission sites and null-sec anomalies of wrecks. I don't see a way that they can be deployed in w-space that will positively benefit the environment.

    By pjharvey on Jan 30, 2014

  4. We have experimented with various salvaging methods incorporating tractors. Generally, they speed things up. And they make it easy to salvage as you fight, which is nice. I don't like leaving around wreck fields to signal passers-by.

    However, if you have sites with lots of distant wrecks, as is the case with many C4 sites, a Noctis is still faster, because the tractor speed on mobile tractors is much less. It is certainly riskier, ceterus paribus, so we only do it when we are pretty certain we are zipped up.

    I killed a tractor once using a stealth bomber, and although it did take a while it was not that long, maybe a minute or two. I can imagine doing it for real in some situations. I.e.: a fleet is running sites in a large system and they have left dscan. It is true, though, that using a bomber is safer since you can shoot torps from 30km out.

    By Von Keigai on Jan 30, 2014

  5. Totally agree about time to scan and choose the best can to crack first, I am still trying to ascertain whether warping in at zero cloaked actually gives you more time until you decloak or does the site activate when you initiate warp.

    By amarrahh on Jan 31, 2014

  6. Right, VK. MTUs make w-space PvE easier and safer. That, to me, is not a conflict driver.

    Amarrahh, in an as-yet unpublished post I find out that warping in to a ghost site is not enough to trigger the timer, at least not when cloaked. I believe it necessary to touch the containers for the timer to start.

    By pjharvey on Jan 31, 2014

  7. I thought the timer starts when the first non-cloaked ship appears on grid.

    By malcolm shinhwa on Jan 31, 2014

  8. That's a possibility. I haven't had the opportunity or inclination to do much testing.

    By pjharvey on Jan 31, 2014

  9. I believe that Malcolm is correct. Ghost site timer starts with first uncloaked ship.

    As for "conflict driver", I don't think MTUs are really intended to be that. And they don't change things much. You still have to salvage, and you still have to pick up the tractor and its contents. You still have to choose whether to escort the salvager or not. The main difference is we now only get to gank salvagers worth 5m instead of a 90m Noctis.

    By Von Keigai on Feb 1, 2014

  10. Yes, 5 M salvagers not needing to collect any bloot, as, in my limited experience so far, that gets taken by the fleet, instead of 90 M salvagers holding both bloot and salvage.

    The PvE fleet gets to take more home, risks less on the field, and a hunter gets minimal reward for a successful ambush. I think the MTU is another idea that works against the nature of w-space.

    By pjharvey on Feb 1, 2014

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