Moving away from wormholes

15th April 2010 – 5.43 pm

Wormholes are passively dangerous. Connecting to other w-space systems makes wormholes natural attractors to predators, and as they act as cosmic bodies they decloak prey trying to sneak through them. If you have no cloaking device, the normal methods of navigation and jumping apply to wormholes, noting that you can be up to 5 km from a wormhole and still jump through it. With a cloaking device, you have an excellent chance of not being noticed, but care needs to be taken when navigating around wormholes.

Jumping through a wormhole will spit you out in to the connected system between 1 km to 5 km away from the wormhole on the other side. Cloaking devices fail to work when 2 km or closer to another object. This means that, more likely than not, you will be able to activate your cloaking device as soon as you shed the cloak gained from the transition change. When squeezed out over 2 km away from a wormhole, it is tempting to activate your warp drive to fling you to your destination—maybe the next wormhole en route, or your tower—punch the cloak, and enjoy the ride. But this is not a reliable way to remain cloaked.

Your initial position relative to the wormhole is arbitrarily determined and your direction of travel could turn you to face the wormhole you've just exited. When your ship aligns and gains speed you can easily find yourself moving to within 2 km of the wormhole, breaking your cloak. You will then have the reactivation delay that will make your ship visible in local space and on the directional scanner for much longer than is desirable. Being detected means nasty pirates can set up ambushes, or potential targets—miners, haulers, ships in Sleeper combat—can run back to their tower either to hide or swap in to ships bigger than yours. So whether you are in a scanning boat, stealth bomber, or transport ship, you want to get cloaked as soon as possible and remain cloaked. There are ways to achieve this.

First, check your overview after jumping. This will give an instant idea of any immediate threats. Don't worry about stealth bombers, as you can align and enter warp before the bomb reaches you, and any other cloaked ship will have too long a sensor recalibration time to be able to lock you before you can cloak yourself. Next, punch d-scan and check the results. If there are only celestial bodies visible you can probably move away from the wormhole and cloak or warp with little chance of being seen. If you want to warp, wait until you are just entering warp and are far enough away from the wormhole before cloaking. Just remember to ensure you have a bookmark for this side of the wormhole before leaving.

If there are ships or tower structures visible on d-scan from the wormhole then your ship uncloaked will be visible to them too. It is advisable to limit the amount of time spent uncloaked as much as possible, and this is where a proper method of moving away from a wormhole becomes important. To get cloaked as quickly as possible, and stay cloaked, some care needs to be taken. Spin your view around to determine which side of the wormhole your ship is on and hold the viewpoint so that you can move directly away from the wormhole. This generally means placing the wormhole between your external viewpoint and your ship. In quick succession, and in this order, start moving your ship away from the wormhole, activate your micro-warp drive or reheat, and activate your cloaking device.

Moving away from the wormhole removes your session-change cloak, and activating your speed boost ensures you clear the 2 km range as quickly as possible, enabling you to activate your cloak with no delay. The micro-warp drive will pulse for one full cycle as well, even after the cloak is engaged, pushing you a fair distance away from the wormhole. Performed correctly, this manoeuvre will mean you are only visible, locally and on d-scan, for a second or so. Although a pilot sitting on the wormhole and paying attention will note your presence—which they can infer from the wormhole flare anyway—and ship class, it would take some lucky timing for ships in d-scan range to notice your entrance in to the system. Sufficiently far from the wormhole for it not to decloak you when aligning for warp, your Buzzard can move off the grid to drop probes, your Crane can warp to the next wormhole en route, or your Manticore can warp to the bookmarked gravimetric site to be a dick, all with only the smallest risk of being detected. If you aren't flying Caldari ships I'm afraid I cannot help.

I have two notes to end on. Don't worry too much about probes being visible on d-scan. Although probes imply the presence of a scanning boat the position of that boat cannot be ascertained. As long as no ships or tower structures are visible you are as initially safe at the wormhole as anywhere else. However, some attention must be paid to the cosmic signature of the wormhole, which is effectively the grid beacon that is scanned to find the wormhole in the first place. The cosmic signature does not coincide directly with the wormhole, sometimes being several kilometres away from the hole itself—which is why you should always bookmark the wormhole after first warping to it and not bookmark the signature from the scan results. The signature has a tiny physical presnce that, whilst difficult to see, can be spotted. It also decloaks ships just as any other object. Care must be taken not to fly towards or near the wormhole's cosmic signature, or you will find yourself rudely uncovered.

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