Honing a mostly pointless skill

30th October 2013 – 5.43 pm

I'm not even supposed to be here today. But I'll try to make the best of it, as long as somebody hasn't jammed chewing gum in to our static wormhole so it won't open. Bunch of savages in w-space. The known sites have faded away, but my probes reveal five signatures. That's a number suspiciously larger than one, do we have potential visitors? Nopers, as three signatures are so weak they are almost certainly data or relic sites, and the only chubster is a pocket of gas. It's not so exciting after all.

Jumping to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system doesn't look much better than being at home, although a clear result from directional scanner is probably more a result of being in range of just the one planet. Yeah, I'll keep telling myself that, right until I've launched probes, performed a blanket scan, and explore the system. I can warp directly to the tower that remains from a year ago to see the sole ship in C3a as being an unpiloted Thanatos carrier, and assume that the twenty-one anomalies and twenty-two signatures means that this inactive state is the norm and not the exception.

I start poking signatures. There is plenty of gas, far too many data sites, and, thankfully, not just the one lousy wormhole. I actually resolve two lousy wormholes. The static exit to low-sec is pristine, the K162 from class 4 w-space at the end of its life. Neither really beckons to me, but low-sec is currently the best option. I've also picked up the hobby of trying to identify the destination region by looking at the colours seeping through, dunno where I could have got that from, and I'm guessing from the mix of Verge Vendor and Cloud Ring that I'll end up in Placid. Which I do. If nothing else happens tonight, I can at least be pleased with that.

I'm in low-sec Placid, but I'll scan the one additional signature before making any kind of assessment about the state of the system. It's a combat site. This place sucks. But I have an exit, which gives me the opportunity to poke through the EOL K162 to C4a without the risk of completely isolating myself. And C4a is eerily similar to C3a. The two systems share the same first four digits of their J-numbers, and a tower and Thanatos appear on d-scan. An Orca too, but I doubt the industrial command ship is piloted, particularly when I am spat in to the system well over six kilometres from the wormhole.

Back to C3a, and now what? I'm not collapsing our static wormhole on my day off, but looking at my star map shows the low-sec system to be a dead end, the sole stargate leading to a system that acts as a border between Placid and Syndicate. That makes me feel a little nervous about traffic, but who takes stargates to and from null-sec? People who live there use jump bridges, or whatever, or so I'm led to believe. But I'm also led to believe that roaming gangs out for blood will take the slow, stargate route. Who should I believe? My own sensors, I think. How daring, how brave, I'm gonna do it!

And by 'do it', I mean 'return to low-sec and stargate-hop to another low-sec system. I'm not going to cross the border to null-sec, as I'm not a complete idiot. And so I use the stargate to exit the dead end, see the other side is clear, and launch probes to scan the three signatures in this new system. Wormhole, relics, and a combat site with added Drake. I ignore the battlecruiser to reconnoitre the wormhole, jumping through the K162 to class 5 w-space to return to my natural habitat.

D-scan is clear, my notes are uselessly old, so I launch probes and explore. Seventeen anomalies and thirteen signatures don't look positive for occupation, and neither does a lack of tower anywhere in the system. Arguably that second one more. I poke around for wormholes and find two pretty early, one a Z142 outbound connection to null-sec and the other a K162 from more class 5 w-space. After some gas and data sites I'm back to wormholes, resolving a second Z142 and a K162 from class 2 w-space. That's a pretty good result.

Null-sec first, as I am keen to hone my identification skills and, with any luck, add to my collection of images. The first Z142 looks like Stain on the other side, and it is, but just a bit further away than I expected, as I actually appear in a system in Querious. But more important than where I am is where this Imicus now on my overview is warping to, which sadly turns out to be a hundred kilometres from the wormhole. I hold my cloak, hoping that the frigate will like what it sees and burn my way, but it doesn't. The Imicus turns, warps, and leaves the system.

Imicus appears 100 km from the wormhole, but only briefly

Never mind. After the Imicus leaves the system so do the two other pilots, leaving me alone, alone to rat and scan. Well, to rat, as there are no other signatures, so I find a battleship, reduce it to a wreck, and return to C5a. Across the system, peer at the other Z142, and wonder why it looks like Placid on the other side. Maybe it's the same mix of Verge Vendor and Cloud ring, and as the wormhole leads to null-sec and not low-sec perhaps I should guess that it leads to Syndicate. I jump through, see that I am indeed in a system in Syndicate, and give myself a pat on the back. Nice reasoning, Penny. But there are still no more signatures to scan, and I don't fancy popping a rat for the sake of popping a rat, so jump straight back to C5a to see what's through the K162 to C5b.

A tower, an Orca, nothing interesting. My notes from five months ago say two towers, nothing interesting. I believe you, notes. Back to C5a once more, and across to C2a, which I've saved for last for a reason. This connection from C2a to C5a probably means the class 2 system's other static connection leads to null-sec, and I'd like to look for that. Of course, if there's a ship to shoot along the way all the better. That there isn't doesn't come as much surprise this evening. Scanning the twenty-six anomalies and thirteen signatures doesn't even resolve any other wormholes, not a single K162, so whoever connected here really didn't want to. But I resolve an exit to null-sec, as expected.

That looks like the Malpais nebula on the other side, but it doesn't have the lightning bolt shape I would expect if the destination region were actually Malpais. Nearby regions Oasa and Perrigen Falls don't match what I'm seeing either, so where does the wormhole lead? I jump through to appear in a system in Outer Passage. Excellent, as that's a new image for my collection, and just what I'd hoped to find. Now I can take a look around, see that I'm in a system lacking pilots but not other signatures, and set about ratting and scanning. Combat site, combat site, combat site. I finish off the rat—pop—and I'm gone.

  1. 5 Responses to “Honing a mostly pointless skill”

  2. Ever since I learned that a wormhole's destination class can be determined by its color (and coming across your handy color chart), I've tried to practice, predicting where I'll end up before I jump through. Wormholes that lead to k-space still trip me up though.

    I didn't know you could determine the destination region though. Is that a recent addition (when the nebula artwork was redone), or has it always been that way?

    Gives me something new to practice, at least.

    By Araziah on Oct 30, 2013

  3. It's always been there as far as I know (or at least as far as I've been looking) it's just harder to do on K space WH's with the new nebulae as it's not exactly the same look depending on how far away from the actual nebulae you are. If you take a trip from Jita to Dodixie and watch the small greenish nebulae get bigger and bigger as you get closer, it'll make more sense.

    Generally though you can guess based of the "average colour". The more yellow the more Amarr, the more blue the more Caldari, the more red the more Minmatar and the more green the more Gallente.

    Then there's the weird colours for Khanid and Ammatar that always throw me. LS follows the same average colour thing, Null is it's own different beast.

    By BayneNothos on Oct 30, 2013

  4. Just in case it's been missed, my latest project is to catalogue New Eden's wormhole colours, where it seems to me that many of the destination regions are distinctive enough in some way to be able to identify them through a wormhole by sight.

    The usefulness of such information is still debatable. I could say that it becomes possible to distinguish between empire and null-sec regions when dropping out of warp next to a K162 without opening the information panel. Or that you can start adapting your plans sooner when you see that one wormhole leads to The Forge and another to Aridia.

    But, really, I think I've discovered why I am getting continued enjoyment out of trying to identify wormhole destinations by colour: it's immersive gameplay. It doesn't matter to me that what I am doing has no real function, I just really like the feeling that I am piloting a spaceship in a real galaxy, where my experience plays a role in what I do and what I see. Having colours associate with nebulae, and those nebula patterns associate with regions, gives me a sense of being in a connected environment, a sense of familiarity, and one that helps me immerse myself in the environment.

    By pjharvey on Oct 31, 2013

  5. <3 the color chart. Use it regularly to impress my friends and win bets.

    Blog's great, read daily, please continue :)

    By Mortlake on Nov 2, 2013

  6. Winning bets! Why didn't I think of that?

    By pjharvey on Nov 2, 2013

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.