Penny the explorer

21st March 2010 – 3.58 pm

It seems like I am having to find a hundred ways of making scanning sound interesting. It must be interesting, otherwise I wouldn't be out in w-space spending many a quiet evening in a Buzzard trying to find wormholes. But I don't particularly look forwards to scanning, the interface often frustrating me one way or another, so I find myself wondering why I keep doing it. On reflection it seems that the answer is not that I enjoy scanning as such, but the exploration that comes from it.

Although there is financial gain to be made from resolving any of the Sleeper sites that can be found, whether mining rocks or gas, or destroying Sleeper ships for loot, I am generally looking for wormholes. My initial aim was to find a route back to the empire space of New Eden, maintaining a tenuous link with what passes for civilisation when unceremoniously dumped out near Amarr, and to take care of production or sales of my own little industrial efforts. But more recently I am leaving w-space less often, yet I still look for wormholes. It is possible that I simply lack the time to make use of an exit to empire space. But this lack of time is either shaping my motivations, or my true motivations are made clearer by having to focus my available time. I just want to explore as many systems as I can.

I start making a record of which systems are connected to our own, ostensibly to uncover any sign of a pattern that probably doesn't exist. But I have found keeping this record rather more appealing than I thought I would, keeping it updated with every jump that I make in to a new system. I check thoroughly whether I have visited this system before, on what date, whether the system is inhabited, and what activities I engage in whilst in the system. I really need to get this information stored electronically, particularly as it is continually growing, but that I am still interested in this little list after weeks of exploration is revealing.

I like to find out if a system is occupied and, if it is, where the tower has been anchored. I naturally then visit the tower to see its configuration and defences, and what ships are sitting inside its shields. The information I gather can be important, as it offers insight in to the relative threat of the system's inhabitants and whether they are currently active or AFK at their base. And it is clearly beneficial to know if the system is uninhabited, because then any sites can be plundered with less threat of being ambushed.

But just seeing how everything connects, which systems the wormholes are joining today, fascinates me, as does watching the capsuleers come and go, what ships they are in, which way they travel, how they react to seeing probes or ships in their system. And, of course, if they can be made targets. All this is possible because of the dynamic nature of w-space. Each day, a gateway will appear that is almost guaranteed to lead to a new system to explore. And, indeed, if the current wormhole leads to a dull system or one deemed too hostile it can be closed and a new one will appear that leads elsewhere, such is the nature of static connections. A new system to marvel at, different capsuleers to spy on and observe, new pathways and routes leading to different regions of New Eden.

Scanning is a necessary task, a means to an end. It isn't my favourite pastime, but it certainly enables me to see and explore many more new places and interesting sights than I ever imagined I would. And the nature of w-space that entails the ever-changing neighbourhood, and forcing capsuleers to live a relatively transparent life in the shields of towers instead of stations, provides a rich environment to indulge the explorer in me.

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