It’s been a long time since i’ve both logged in to Eve-Online, and then gone on to undock from a station to do more than rotate a ship in the beautiful glory of simulated space. In the last month I’ve made this leap, small though it seems, and have gone on to do such extravagances as level 4 missions and collecting datacores from research agents.
Not that level 4 missions are all bad, you do get some sweet loot.
And you meet lots of interesting people.
Stranded in my hangar. Right….
Having achieved these small things to get some basic grounding in the operation of a game that, while I spent much of my youth fanatically glued to, I’ve not played for several years, I decided to try some of the more fun PVE content Eve has to offer. The caution of my already speculative re-entry to Eve-Online is not unusual, even as a 7 year veteran leading gangs or fleets of players in to vastly outnumbered situations I considered myself a careful and measured player – if I were doing as described, it’d often be because I knew we had an edge that the much larger fleet would have a hard time denying us. Like any other experienced player, I was more than capable of riding the meta-wave and understanding how to always engage with an advantage, whether obvious or not.
Since then however Eve has changed in so many ways that it’s barely recognisable as the game we once played. So, putting the no longer relevant ego aside, I decided to explore some areas of the game I’d dabbled in previously.
Exploration is an aspect of Eve that always appealed to me, finding hidden places and taking hidden things and getting filthy rich in the process, all while sneaking around in a covert ops seemed like fun times.
After resubbing my alt, with archeology and hacking at V and solid covert ops skills in general, I began mooching around in 0.5s hoping to get lucky. As you can imagine the results were limited, highsec is highsec and there’s not much going begging. I did locate one of the new sleeper sites, which I decided to clear with a Harpy rather than the covert ops due to the repeating environmental damage that came along with the site. Aside from this one experience I found very little in highsec, and what I did find was mostly worthless.
Back in the covert ops, I took a trip that started in the above highsec safety of Lonetrek, passed through lowsec, and when I failed to find anything particularly appealing there, moved into Cloud Ring, Fade and on into Pureblind.
I probed down any cosmic signatures I could, ignoring anything that was not an archeology or hacking site – I had little interest in combat sites in an Anathema, and w-space seemed like a can of worms I wasn’t prepared to open yet, additionally, I didn’t want to lumber myself with more environmental damage sleeper sites that I would have a hard time clearing.
I travelled through and around, in no particular direction, clearing as many systems as I could before leaving through EC-P8R. Normally I would have avoided this system, as past experience assured me that EC-P8R has historically had shitstorm tendencies, however by this point I was feeling sassy and felt like taking the risk to help me get back into Eve-shape. After negotiating my way through a stationary bubble camp without waking up the nearby Cynabal pilot, I jumped back into highsec with what I’d managed to retrieve from the not so deep depths of nullsec.
Unfortunately the loot I’d collected from the sites I’d found while in nullsec turned out to be worth not so much, and much of it is still listed for sale and isn’t going anywhere fast. For the amount of time and faff involved in exploring nullsec as a solo player, uninterested in blowjobbing my way into Alliance held nullsec stations on a regular basis, this was, all things considered, a bit shit.
With this in mind it was a week or so until I logged back in, Christmas came between and extended this apathy towards my renewed Eve efforts. Fortunately I can be at times remarkably stubborn, so it wasn’t long before I found myself nosing through the blogs of Eve players that had made exploration their ‘thing’.
I read one line that reminded me that the wormholes I’d been ignoring don’t necessarily all lead to w-space, as many wormholes link different areas of empire space to one another. With this new possibility present in my mind, I logged back in and took the Anathema out for another trip, hoping to get lucky.
After clearing a couple of random nothing-special hacking and relic sites I found a wormhole to highsec, which I took to gallente space. After this I found another wormhole, this time leading to w-space. As mentioned above, I had been avoiding these as I was aware that w-space was far more populous than it had been, but a quick scan showed nothing apart from a lonely Minmatar tower and a couple of loose core probes. Additionally, there were around 8 unknown signatures, providing a level of camouflage if it turned out that the core probes had an active owner.
So I probed down a data site and got stuck in.
Then I got stuck in the data site.
By this I mean, while mid-hack (and I hadn’t been there long) an Astero frigate appeared behind me, and before I knew it I was webbed and scrambled. My somewhat baffled pod escaped, and I’m still not quite sure how he found me so quickly – all of the sites were concentrated in one area save for a couple of outliers, making the odds of probing down the correct site so quickly unlikely, or unlucky, in my case, and I’d been continually scanning without seeing any sign of combat probes, or ships, until the Astero was on me.
I have to also entertain the possibility that he’d already probed down the sites and simply warped through them until he found the one I was at, reinforcing my desire to avoid w-space unless I’m flying something capable of defending itself.
Now I have to entertain the possibility that if I sell everything I had previously collected, am I so much as breaking even on exploration? My previous assertion that it is ‘a bit shit’ has gained some extra ground, as I’ve not seen a single morsel of tasty loot, but rather a broad spread of rubbish trinkets, datacores and… well, lumps of coal.
I think it’s safe to say at this point that I’d have made more ISK if I’d sat and bored myself into a stupor doing level 4 missions, which is disappointing considering the risk vs reward principle that Eve has always touted.
Not giving up though, will resume banging my head against this particular wall soon™ as I’m also currently quite invested in Destiny and South Park: The Stick of Truth.