Sneaking a whale through a system

10th October 2013 – 5.48 pm

I come on-line to see no apparent repercussions from yesterday's late-night entertainment. I'm not really surprised, when the fleet couldn't stay motivated to properly poke one of our customs offices. Even though I have a notification that one of our tower's defences has been tested, all is intact. I feel safe, so forget about yesterday—although still glow from the podding of the salvager holding all the loot from the fleet's evening—and turn to tonight. It's just me and our static wormhole, giving me one direction to go.

Jumping to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system sees two towers and a Wolf assault frigate on my directional scanner. I feel a bit wary about the tiny ship, mostly because of my recent encounter with a similar ship in a system holding a similar armour-boosting Wolf Rayet phenomenon. But I'm getting ahead of myself, considering the ship is only on d-scan and not on my overview. It may well be unpiloted at one of the towers. And speaking of towers, consulting my notes sees a visit ten weeks ago, when there were five towers, all around the same planet. Something has clearly changed.

Both of the towers in d-scan range are new, and warping around sees that the other towers are still present and holding more ships. As I check for pilots one of them goes off-line for food, so it seems from his announcement in the local communications channel. He may get told off for doing that. But his message makes me look for wrecks, and a switch of my overview and update of d-scan sees them, a bunch of Sleeper wrecks somewhere in the system. There's no sign of a salvager, though.

At the towers are a piloted Dominix battleship and Heron frigate, and nine other assorted ships empty of capsuleers. No ships are in space, so whence the wrecks? They aren't in an active anomaly, so maybe in a relic site. A data site is a technical possibility, but it seems most w-space pilots ignore the relatively worthless data sites for ones that actually generate ISK.

An update of d-scan, done periodically as a matter of course, now has a Hawk assault frigate somewhere in space. Actually in space too, not at a tower, but I can't tell where. A wormhole, maybe. He's not with the wrecks, which is the main point, and they remain my main interest. A quick hunt for them has my noting the presence of a single Sleeper battleship wreck, which would make the site either a low-value anomaly or an unfinished relic site. There may be little point in scanning for the site without a ship in it. If the anomaly has despawned I won't find it, and if it's unfinished it has probably been abandoned.

The Hawk disappears from d-scan, a bit more waiting sees no change, and eventually an Orca industrial command ship blips on my scanner. Maybe I should be looking for wormholes instead of waiting for a ship to come to the ignored wrecks. As I am about to scan the system anyway, revealing my probes to anyone paying attention, I make my first scan where I think the wrecks are. Would you look at that, a relic site. A quick reconnoitre sees the site unfinished, some Sleepers still idling around, waiting for a capsuleer to shoot. I know the feeling.

I blame the discovery scanner for the abandoned site. I hate it for pinging newly spawned wormholes so obviously to the destination system. Still, scanning resolves three more wormholes, so maybe the locals were taking a risk anyway with running the site, if it was them running it. But I still blame the discovery scanner for shouting out my arrival. It's an ill-conceived system that has ruined the unknown nature of w-space.

Checking the wormholes has my ship first landing next to the static exit to high-sec, which takes me to a busy system in Metropolis, near the trade hub of Rens. I would get fuel if I felt safe. But maybe I do feel safe. All looks quiet in C3a, with almost no movement, and certainly no one apparently interested in finding our K162, just running from it. Okay, I'm getting fuel. I ignore the other two wormholes in C3a, head home, and swap my scanning Loki strategic cruiser for an Orca.

I load the whale with loot and other export materials and take myself out to high-sec, which is unsurprisingly smooth. It's coming back that may be awkward, but I'll worry about that when I come to it. A small diversion has my selling the Sleeper loot, then I hit Rens and sell everything else, filling up my cargo space with fuel blocks for the return journey. I even sell the one unit of morphite that was weirdly in my hangar in Rens, but which after undocking I realise was a placeholder for my inventory.

With the mineral sitting in the hangar, Rens would appear in my galaxy-wide items list, so that when I poke in to empire space I can gauge how close the hub is. I have the same in the other trade hubs, and if it weren't for not being able to sell one of the export items, a particularly useless piece of salvage probably from some low-quality data site, then Rens would have disappeared from this list. I really need to be more careful.

Travelling through high-sec is easy. And, as it turns out, so is travelling across C3a. There is no change to d-scan as I enter, and I warp to our K162, jump home, and warp to our tower without problem. So little problem, and such is my desire to want to keep our fuel stocks healthy, that I consider making a second trip. Don't be predictable, so the advice from a particularly wise capsuleer goes, but maybe whoever's watching won't be expecting this. I take the Orca out for a second run along the same route, quickly, before anyone notices, and maybe even before potential polarisation effects will have expired.

Getting out to high-sec still has no oranges in the system, and I reach Rens at best speed, stuffing the Orca full of bricks a second time. Knowing how reckless I'm being, I keep moving, not stopping to think, and hop stargate-to-stargate, warping to the wormhole to C3a and jumping in. No one on the wormhole, no change to d-scan. I break for our K162, reaching the clear wormhole, jumping home, and warping to our tower again. Well I'll be. I'm safe and sound, and our tower has enough fuel to last for quite a while. I would say not to try this at home, kids, but go for it. I'm sure you'll be safe too.

I have a little time to spare, so board my Loki once more and go back to C3a to reconnoitre the two other wormholes I resolved earlier. The first drops me in to empty space, the wormhole either a signature echo or collapsed, forced or by reaching the end of its life. The second is a T405 outbound connection to class 4 w-space, critically stable and EOL. Maybe the Orca blip on d-scan earlier helped destabilise this wormhole, or collapse the other one. Either way, I'm glad I ignored them to get fuel, as it seems to have been the best use of my time tonight. Good job, Penny.

  1. 3 Responses to “Sneaking a whale through a system”

  2. Yikes. Some awful risk-taking there. We import and export most stuff using cheap industrials. Expensive small stuff goes out via blockade runner.

    Regarding C3 sites, my corp has come to appreciate the relic and data sites quite a bit. Two of them are hard for C3 sites; their difficulty is more like a C4 site. That may be a problem for some corps, but their payout is also higher. That's just for killing the sleepers. You can get more payout from the cans. Cracking the cans is easy in C3; not at all like in C4. The cans at data sites are barely worth doing. Relic sites, though, pay quite well. Perhaps 50m for the 10 cans or so in a C3 site, and it will take you maybe a half hour to crack them all once you are good at the minigame.

    Were you not tempted to bring in your Zephyr? Battleships have nice blue loot.

    By Von Keigai on Oct 10, 2013

  3. You have such a way with words.. While reading I kept thinking "And now the orca will blow up"
    But no such thing, quite lucky that the other residents were not paying much attention :)

    By E'dyn on Oct 11, 2013

  4. Thanks, E'dyn. It's always a mystery what will happen to any industrial ship flying through w-space.

    Cheap indies are great, VK, but they really don't hold much. I don't know if there is a better one for fuel blocks now, but being able to make one trip in the Orca that is the equivalent of three of four cheaper ships can be much less of a risk than making multiple trips.

    Even if the Orca is noticed, if the wormhole you're using hasn't been scanned you can be in, across, and out of the system before anyone can catch up with you, and you've got a month's worth of fuel brought in. Doing the same trip to bring back a week's worth of fuel has never felt worth it to me, because we rarely get a convenient exit even once a week.

    So you need to make multiple trips with the indies. One trip with multiple pilots would be okay, but making the same journey more than once can get you in to trouble. The problem that I see is not so much losing the ship, which is cheap, or the fuel blocks, which you may not even be carrying at the time, but you lose the potential fuel blocks that you need at the tower. If you can't get the ship home, your tower has lost a week's worth of fuel.

    Yes, I made a repeat trip today, and I arguably got lucky. I like to think that I made a calculated risk, based on my experience and scouting. Seeing another Orca warp through, a lack of probes to indicate fresh scouting for our wormhole, and a complete lack of any mobility to continue the site or counter any potential ambushers made the system feel pretty safe, even given the extra connections.

    As for the C3 sites, the data sites are pretty worthless for the extra loot, as you say, and the relic sites can be good. The main benefit of the data and relic sites, though, is that they need to be scanned to found, which makes them inherently a little safer than basic anomalies. You get a little extra time and warning if someone's coming after you.

    Our problem with the sites is that they need a repeat visit to loot and salvage. The Sleepers spawn at and keep range from our ships, which is fine when using Tengus and coming back with a Noctis, but making a second trip again adds risk. Our favoured anomalies, on the other hand, have the Sleepers all come quickly in to range of a Golem, which can fly with Tengus for anti-frigate support, letting us shoot, loot, and salvage as we go. We are in and out of the system, taking back all of the loot, with one visit.

    Flying with the Golem is quicker and a little safer. It prevents a solo ambusher from catching a salvager, for example. And if a fleet is capable enough to catch us as we fly in our combat ships, we would be vulnerable to them anyway. Plus if a threat appears and we have to bug out, we keep all the loot currently cleared. We don't have to abandon completed sites.

    I didn't really think about bringing a Zephyr in to loot. I had no idea what sort of surveillance the site was under anyway. It is pretty safe to bounce my Loki off a perch to snatch loot one wreck at a time if I get the urge.

    By pjharvey on Oct 11, 2013

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