Losing out on loot

10th March 2013 – 3.21 pm

'System scanned, wormhole not open yet.' Ah, good, Fin's home. I kinda forgot that she got caught and sent back to a high-sec clone vat. Thankfully, the puppet and Aii found a high-sec connection yesterday, which our glorious leader was able to use to return. Now we can get back to looking for other pilots unfortunately trapped in Orcas in w-space, although that doesn't seem to happen to others as often as it does to us. We can dream.

Actually, before seeing what's beyond our wormhole it's worth taking a moment to realise what's at home. A single anomaly isn't much, but considering the shaky status of our wallet it's probably best that we slaughter the Sleepers for the loot before someone else does. It won't take long to clear one anomaly either, so we both board our Sleeper ships, sweep through the anomaly with launchers firing, and sweep through a second time with salvagers to tidy up. A good result with the salvage nets us a neat 160 Miskies too, which is a handy start to the evening.

Now to roam. I jump ahead of Fin, who needs a short break, which is a pity. As soon as I enter our neighbouring class 3 w-space system and update my directional scanner I see two Dominix battleships, a Machariel battleship, and plenty of Sleeper wrecks. I probably need some help here. Then again, I appear in the system one kilometre from the wormhole, leaving me a fair distance to cover before I can activate my cloak, during which I'll be quite obvious to any watching d-scanner.

I make the most of my situation and activate my on-board passive scanner as I move away from the wormhole, and update d-scan once I am able to cloak and disappear. The battleships are still around. I bookmark all of the anomalies my passive scan revealed, knowing that once the anomalies despawn then the scan result, whilst still visible, will become a shadow as the cosmic signature disappears. I check d-scan again. The Dominices have gone, the Machariel remains. I would say that means the two Gallente ships were engaging Sleepers, and the faction battleship is empty in the local tower.

The disappearance of the Dominices probably also means that I was spotted and the ships have bugged out. It could perhaps mean that the pilots coincidentally finished their operation at the same time I entered the system, but that's unlikely. Opening the system map sees that nothing lies out of d-scan range, and locating the tower is trivial in a system with only two moons amongst the eight planets, where I indeed find the Machariel empty.

So the Dominices are visitors. My best bet now is that they bring back a salvager, but sweeping d-scan around the twelve anomalies I uncovered doesn't find any wrecks. That's weird. But if the wrecks are in a radar or magnetometric site then the site should still exist, whether or not there are ships in them, as long as the containers remain untouched. That means I can scan them. And if the active anomalies somehow weren't detected by my on-board scanner, which has happened before, notably in our home system with dick blues, I may need to hunt a Noctis with combat probes anyway.

I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system. Eight signatures. There is still no sign of other ships, so I scan, scan, scan. A weak wormhole is curious, as the static connection for the system leads to low-sec and should be quite strong. Gas and rocks won't have produced the Sleeper battleship wrecks I can see on d-scan, and that Drake on a second wormhole is interesting. The battlecruiser could be a salvager, or an escort for one. I warp in to take a look, to see the ship sitting on a K162 from class 2 w-space. But whatever he's doing, it's clear I didn't scan quickly enough.

Battlecruiser incidentally appearing on scanning results

My probes have been spotted and whatever salvager was coming will know someone's looking for them. In fact, it's fairly obvious that the ships saw my Loki strategic cruiser before it got cloaky, otherwise the Drake wouldn't be loitering on the wormhole, so I think it's safe to say my presence is known. I keep scanning. Three more signatures give three more wormholes, leaving me with no magnetometric or radar sites resolved. I'm not quite sure how my on-board scanner fails to see active anomalies, but it does.

Drake loiters on a K162 from class 2 w-space

Hold on. The C2 K162 is the home of the Dominices, presumably, and one of the wormholes is a U210 exit to low-sec. But that still gives three other wormholes in the system, even without our newly spawned K162. I'm amazed the Dominices even started clearing Sleepers from anomalies in a system with so many open connections. On the one hand, I've had blues come to our home and apparently not even reconnoitre our tower, so there are some careless capsuleers around. On the other hand, the pilots certainly were wary and vigilant with d-scan.

Even if the pilots were wary, they should have realised the risk of someone finding them would mean more than a threat to their ships. Still only the Drake sits on the wormhole, no salvager coming, which means that all of their time in combat will go to waste if they can't collect their loot. That's a bit of an oversight, if you ask me. And it looks like the loot will go to waste. I can't find the sites without a ship in them to focus my probes on, and the C2ers aren't looking to bring a salvager in. The Drake jumps home, I wait a bit longer, no one comes. Never mind, I have more w-space to explore.

One of the resolved wormholes in C3a leads to more class 2 w-space, this one an outbound link. The static exit to low-sec is at the end of its life, as sadly is the A982 outbound connection to class 6 w-space. But that just makes me shake my head. How did the C2ers think Sleeper combat would be safe with an active connection to a C6? And not only that, but the last wormhole is a K162 from null-sec, a connection opened from the null-sec side. This system isn't safe! Those are some crazy pilots.

I ignore the now-empty C3a and jump to C2b to look for some more pilots with curious ideas about fleet safety. The second class 2 system doesn't quite offer a lesson on fleet security, but it does make me scratch my head concerning another aspect of operational security. Now I know that locating towers around planets is far from difficult, but hiding amongst a dozen moons can make the process somewhat time-consuming, depending on how stealthy a scout tries to be. So quite why the locals put all five towers around planets with one or two moons, when the system holds three planets with at least twenty moons each baffles me. Don't make it so easy!

The easily found towers don't matter so much right now, as no one's home. And scanning the five anomalies and twelve signatures resolves static connections to class 1 w-space and high-sec. This is living on the edge, guys. Still, I think the system is used mostly for reacting gas products, so is actually a pretty good choice for that. And I have a C1 to explore. A rather extravagant class 1 system, as it turns out, as two of the three ships my blanket scan reveals are carriers. That's a lot of firepower for a simple system. The third ship is a Mammoth, sadly unpiloted in a second tower, and scanning finds just the one wormhole, the exit to high-sec, EOL. After a promising start, w-space has gone quiet.

  1. 4 Responses to “Losing out on loot”

  2. The range on your on-board scanner is 64 AU. So you won't always see all anoms in large systems.

    And I am sure you know that if you have even one probe out, you will only find anoms that are in within the range of a probe.

    By Von Keigai on Mar 11, 2013

  3. Yes, thank you. However, if d-scan can see the ships, with its range of under 15 AU, then the passive scanner should pick up all the anomalies those ships can be in.

    I've had this happen before, in the home system in fact, when a passive scan failed to pick up an active anomaly ships were shooting Sleepers in.

    Anyway, it's always good to have this kind of information disseminated, particularly as the ranges have changed between patches and expansions.

    By pjharvey on Mar 11, 2013

  4. Over the weekend I was lurking in a sleeper site in a stealth bomber, watching a Tengu kill sleepers. He had a Noctis alt around which I could not get to, thus I waited. (Missed him -- another story.)

    Anyway, I noticed something when the Tengu had cleared most of the site, two waves or so (some sleepers were still left). First, there were two sleeper relics that had been lit up that went dark. Also, around the same time the anom stopped appearing in my list of anoms from the ship scanner.

    My experience to date has been that anoms (and sig sites) are detectable until they despawn, which happens only (a) when some triggering thing (i.e. a dread gurista) has been killed, and (b) everyone has left the site. But this appears to have changed, or possibly I just never noticed. Anyway, it is something you might look into. My new working theory is that the site despawn works as before, but CCP has changed the scanning code so that as soon as the triggering thing is blown up, the site stops appearing in scans.

    My guess is they changed this in Retribution. I did a lot of exploring before Retribution so I am pretty sure I would have noticed it in sig sites, at least. (That is, you are in a site, and scan, and you no longer see the site you are in.)

    By Von Keigai on Mar 18, 2013

  5. It used to be that sites never despawned, as long as a ship remained present. This caused a mild form of griefing with AFK-cloakers staying in null-sec sites, preventing them for despawning and so preventing new sites from spawning. This was changed a while back so that the site despawns after a certain time, maybe five minutes, once all rats are gone. This will happen even if visible ships remain in the site.

    Another change that was made concerned cans for radar/magnetometric sites. The sites used to despawn after the rats were cleared, if a ship didn't remain in the site to keep it alive. This caused problems for w-spacers, at least, maybe others, I don't know, in that hacking/analysing needed to be performed before moving on. It was logistically awkward. Now, the site will remain in space until one of the cans is 'touched' by a player, after which it will despawn normally, although in this case 'normally' still gives plenty of time for all cans to be looted.

    I'm sure that sites shouldn't be detectable once despawned, even if ships remain there. What I've seen, however, on a couple of occasions, is that a site will be active, with Sleepers being engaged, but not detected by a passive scan, and maybe not even with combat scanning probes. I still haven't determined the conditions that may cause this. Your idea that the site becomes undetectably because the last wave of rats has been triggered is plausible, although it doesn't really jibe with the mechanics of sites and scanning.

    It's a difficult circumstance to determine, if only because it happens rarely under general conditions.

    By pjharvey on Mar 18, 2013

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