Life in a Wormhole: A Somewhat More Coherent Defense #eveonline

Now that Tira has ably defended the wormhole from invasion with an unarmed scouting vessel and a single combat drone, Bre and Berke can bring their haulers back into the system, each one filled to brimming with fuel products purchased from ice asteroid mining operations.

Unfortunately, such ice products are bulky (at least they feel bulky when you're buying them in the quantities we require), and we've nowhere near met our quota. Shan is heading out to known space through that same exit recently abandoned by Hurrr, taking piles of PI out to market, and I ask if he'll bring back another load, which he's happy to do.

Just as he jumps through our wormhole, however, he announces a deadlier contact that a Badger II hauler on scan -- looks as though the bomber pilot that he spotted earlier is back, jumping into the system just as Shan jumped out.

This time, it's Bre rather than Tira that responds to the call, jumping into her Crow, warping directly to the wormhole, and jumping out to known space. We have eyes watching the wormhole, and they seem to think that the Purifier bomber warped away just before it cloaked up -- there's a good chance (if Bre moved quickly enough) that he's not back within visual range just yet, and won't know she's around in a bomber-eating combat interceptor. Her plan is to simply wait outside the hole until Shan returns in his durable Mastodon deep space transport, then shadow him back through the wormhole in hopes that the unarmed ship will draw the bomber out of hiding.

It turns out she won't need to wait, as our eyes-inside report that the bomber is back and orbiting the wormhole at a torpedo-friendly distance. Bre powers back toward the other side of the hole just as the bomber resumes his cloak, but she decides to jump anyway, hoping that the wormhole activity alone will be enough to get the other pilot to tip his hand.

It is. Caw Caw Bang holds its naturally-occurring jump-cloak for a few seconds, the opponent bomber decloaks, and she immediately locks it up and drops into a high-speed orbit just inside the range of both her warp disruptors and the Crow's missile launchers. Unlike most other combat interceptors, the Crow is as effective at long range as it is at brawling distance -- to be honest, it's probably even better at long range, as the broader 20+ kilometer orbit lets her maintain a higher top speed: so high, in fact, that once she settles into a stable orbit, the bomber's larger, slower torpedoes are actually unable to catch up with her and the Crow stops taking any damage at all. The nimble interceptor builds up a collection frustrated-but-harmless warheads trailing in its wake, unable to fulfill their purpose before they run out of fuel.

Such is not the case with the bomber, however, as the Crow's lighter but faster missiles find the fragile ship again and again. Unfortunately, with the wormhole immediately adjacent, Bre isn't able to snag a kill -- the bomber pilot sees where the fight is going and jumps through the wormhole and out to high-security known space just as the last of his shields drop. He doesn't wait around, either, and has already jumped out of the system by the time Bre jumps through to check his status.

That's about all the excitement we need for the day, so once Shan has returned with his Mastodon, Bre jumped into a Raven battleship and jumps back and forth through the wormhole until the anomaly collapses from the stress and leaves our system a bit emptier, and a bit more secure. It's been a busy morning.


Life in a Wormhole: Outside Input #eveonline

I'm still traveling, so an actual blog entry is a bit difficult at the moment, but I did want to share a couple of quotes that (I feel) are really important things for me to remember.

First, Voltaire:

Second, Grace Murray Hopper:

Suffice it to say that these two bits of advice will be affecting things around here.



I meant to post this morning,but the need to actually make a flight interfered. Still, funny, and the new missile effects are very cool.


Life in a Wormhole: Desperate Measures #eveonline

[Because I didn't feel like waiting another day...]

It's the next morning, and our Message of the Day has been updated, notifying our pilots of Hurrr's dogged persistence. Also, there appears to be a Purifier-class bomber ghosting around the system, but Shan hasn't seen it in a hour or more.

"There is a problem," he comments, "with always leaving our front door open."

It's a hard point to argue with, though on the flipside, it sometimes rewards us with some hilarity.

Bre is ready to cook up the next month's worth of tower fuel, so she and Berke jump into haulers and head to the nearest market for the requisite asstons [metric] of ice-mining-related fuel ingredients that we can't harvest inside a wormhole. Shan is gone for a bit, so Tira steps up to keep an eye on the wormhole while everyone's out and about.

Things are quiet.

That's when Hurrr's hauler lands on the wormhole and jumps out into high-sec.


Tira nudges her Helios covert-ops ship closer to the hole, but doesn't jump through immediately. Hopefully, our visitor's hauler is about to warp off to a station (or, better yet, a gate), and it wouldn't do to alert him to the fact that the wormhole is being watched by jumping through while he's still nearby.

Tira gives it a slow sixty-count, then jumps. No ships nearby, but she does see (thanks to the suddenly populated Local channel) that Hurrr is still in-system. She moves a few kilometers off the wormhole and informs Berke and Bre of current events, but the pair are nearly a dozen jumps away and in the most non-combatty of non-combat ships. Any hole defense is going to be up to little Tira, whose personal hobbies include playing stealthy lookout, salvaging wrecks, hacking, archaeology, and long walks on the beach.

Hopefully Hurrr won't jump back to the wormhole until --

Oh crap.

The Badger Mk II lands on the wormhole and jumps immediately. Tira has no choice but to follow and attack.

There's only one little problem.

She's in a Helios.

The Helios covert-ops frigate. Exactly as dangerous as it looks.

Now, covert ops frigates aren't, as a class, particularly rugged or well-armed ships at the best of times, but the Helios ranks especially low in this regard, simply because of its fitting limitations: in order to put on an advanced cloak and a probe launcher (both pretty much mandatory if you plan to use the ship for its intended purpose) you have to forgo mounting any kind of weapon on the ship itself. (This particular helios once belonged to Ty -- it is now exclusively Tira's mostly because no one flies the things if they have any other option.)

Still, Tira does have a few tools at her disposal...

The Badger has already decloaked on the far side of the wormhole, and appears to be aligning to warp. Tira decloaks as well, target locking the Badger and activating her Warp Disruptor II. Many would consider that sufficient, but as we have learned from watching Tiger Ears, sometimes a pesky hauler will fit one or more warp core stabilizers to their ship, to protect them from just such an attack. Tira flips on her microwarpdrive and burns straight for the ship, ramming into its shields and sending it skewing sideways and off its alignment.

So: warp disrupted target, out of alignment, and you still don't have any guns.

But you do have



combat drone.

Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!

Tira sics the drone on the hauler, and that's about when the pilot realizes his couch privileges have been revoked. He jumps through the wormhole and warps away.

Bre reenters the adjacent high-sec system only a few minutes later, and Hurrr still there, presumably hiding in the nearest station.

Hurrr > Bre! There's been a misunderstanding with one of your pilots.
Bre > I heard about that! Come back up to the wormhole and we'll get things completely straightened out.

Our diplomacy team is ready to assist you.

Hurrr, perhaps to his credit, declines. Berke, just arriving on the scene, spots him heading toward the system's outward-bound warp gate.

A few hours later we notice that the planetary colony he set up as been remote detonated.

Life in a Wormhole: I *still* don't even... #eveonline

CB sent me an email yesterday.

"For your blog."

I can only assume he intended it as a portrait of our transient P.I. pilot. I love it when people do my work for me, in advance.

In fact, my job is doubly easy, because, when I log in the next day, I have an email from Bre, containing a chat log.

Channel Name: Local
Listener: Bre

[ 05:24:50 ] Hurrr > So... basically you cant run T3 on a single planet no more, eh?
[ 05:25:32 ] Hurrr > trying to make Smartfab UNits...doesnt seem to let me get enough PG
[ 05:25:58 ] Bre > no... that changed over a year ago.
[ 05:26:04 ] Hurrr > great
[ 05:26:27 ] Hurrr > so much for my WH PI pay for an account plans :(
[ 05:26:38 ] Bre > well, that and the tax rates we have set for -5s and -10s in here.
[ 05:26:46 ] Hurrr > I guess I better look for best paying T2 then eh?
[ 05:27:19 ] Bre > by all means, set up a couple. helps us buy new ships.
[ 05:27:30 ] Hurrr > its ok...I just try to get this PI stuff to work..if I manage to set something up..I will ask for some arrangement (ed.: I can think of a couple ideas...)
[ 05:27:41 ] Hurrr > if not...you are more than welcome to whatever taxes you make
[ 05:27:46 ] Hurrr > I wont interfere much :)
[ 05:30:03 ] Hurrr > how is life here in WH land anyways..? pretty quiet?
[ 05:30:15 ] Bre > not tonight.
[ 05:30:47 ] Hurrr > oh..you guys saw some action?
[ 05:32:28 ] Bre > well, no, I was referring to /local
[ 05:32:35 ] Hurrr > oh..sorry
[ 05:32:44 ] Hurrr > I will learn the proper ethics..and be quiet :)
[ 05:33:17 ] Bre > no no. I'm glad you spoke up.
[ 05:33:38 ] Hurrr > and seriously..if I piss you guys off..I can leave...
[ 05:33:51 ] Hurrr > I just want to be quiet..and try this PI thingy without offending anyone too much
[ 05:39:38 ] Hurrr > you mind if I chat here Bre?
[ 05:42:20 ] Bre > go right ahead.
[ 05:42:32 ] Hurrr > have u tried PI yourself?
[ 05:44:18 ] Bre > I'm very bad at it.
[ 05:44:22 ] Bre > it's why I set up so many.
[ 05:44:24 ] Hurrr > I just wante to see if I could have 2 alts in 2 wormholes..that pays for the account..
[ 05:44:39 ] Hurrr > just make a trip once a month or so..
[ 05:44:56 ] Bre > it's doable, but honestly you could do that out of a lowsec.
[ 05:44:59 ] Hurrr > that was back when I thought I could make T3 items still :(
[ 05:45:04 ] Bre > yeah.
[ 05:45:28 ] Hurrr > low sec is SOO camped though...and so many unfriendly pirates
[ 05:45:55 ] Hurrr > my hope was to find a semi quiet wh..and just puts around on a planet or 3
[ 05:46:20 ] Hurrr > cloak an industrial and just slowly learn how it works..
[ 05:46:30 ] Bre > Sure. Wormholers are generally a warm and fuzzy bunch.
[ 05:46:41 ] Hurrr > now that I can only make T2..not so sure any more..
[ 05:47:57 ] Hurrr > only 47M / mnth per planet..before taxes...
[ 05:48:13 ] Hurrr > not even close to a Plex.....are C4 MUCH richers??
[ 05:48:18 ] Hurrr > do you happen to lknow?
[ 05:48:35 ] Hurrr > I saw u guys had a static C4..and I popped in there..but only 4 barrnes in the one I checked out:(
[ 05:49:16 ] Bre > actually, the quality of the planets is based on the systems truesec.
[ 05:49:22 ] Bre > and all wormholes are -1.0
[ 05:49:40 ] Hurrr > ooh...so only matter for me is number of useful planets..
[ 05:49:53 ] Bre > so all wormholes have the same quality PI
[ 05:50:04 ] Bre > pretty much, yeah.
[ 05:50:08 ] Hurrr > damnit...my stay here might eb shortlived then :(
[ 05:51:20 ] Hurrr > Rocket Fuels seems to be about best T2 I can find. I'll set that up for now.
[ 05:58:22 ] Hurrr > gotta recouperate my stuopid ivnestment before I take off at least :)
[ 06:15:45 ] Hurrr > Ok mate....I think I'll call it for tonight...hope to see you again tomorrow:) hopefully equally peaceful:)

We checked, and sure enough, the guy set up a rocket fuel installation, even though the tax rates for non-corp-members extracting products from the planets would actually cost him more than the product itself will sell for. Unbelievable.

Clearly, he needs to die.


Life in a Wormhole: I don't even... #eveonline

"Can anyone give me some tips on how to set up Planetary Interaction colonies? I'm hoping my two alts can make enough ISK to pay for my pilot's license every month."

Now, normally, I wouldn't hesitate to give out some advice. I think it's fair to say I'm generally a pretty helpful guy, but there are few -- just a few -- things about this particular situation that give me pause.

1. I don't know the guy asking, and he's not in my corporation. This isn't a real deal-breaker, honestly, but it's first in a series.

2. He's asking in the /local channel. This is basically like standing in the middle of a park on a Saturday afternoon and speaking in that 'not quite shouting, but too loud to be ignored' tone of voice that you most often hear used by the homeless guy arguing with an otherwise innocuous looking lamppost. Again, this is not (strictly speaking) a deal-breaker, until you consider...

3. This is all happening inside our home wormhole system. DING DING DING DING. We have a winner!

That's right: someone wandered into our wormhole system from high-sec known space, took a look around, decided things looked promising, and started making plans to set up planetary interaction colonies on OUR planets. Then, realizing they knew little about the process, started asking for advice in the /local channel for the wormhole -- a channel which is NEVER* used for any* reason, because it gives away your presence. (Unlike known space, the local channel does not populate with the names of the pilots in the system unless they say something, so if you don't use it and remain stealthy, no one will even know you're there.)

People, I have to admit I was speechless. That doesn't happen very often.

I didn't respond immediately.

My first reaction was to try to figure out where the interloper was located. I was already cloaked up and sitting at an out of the way spot in the system, so I spent the next few minutes warping from one corner of the system to the other, checking all points between, and generally scouring the place, looking for my target.


"Hello?" Came the voice again.


"There's a guy talking in /local," I said to CB, who was running errands outside the system.

"I thought you were in the wormhole," he replied.

"I *am*."

"What?" CB began, almost interrupting himself with "Kill him."

"I would, but I can't find him. He's cloaked up somewhere."

"Where are you?"

"Cloaked up somewhere."

"Well... what's he want?"

"He wants advice on where he should set up P.I. on our planets, so that he will make enough money to pay for his monthly account."

There's a moment of silence at this.

"You're shitting me."

"I am not," I reply.

CB suggests a couple possible options -- some get a bit too complicated to sum up here, but I really do believe a picture can be worth a thousand words.

They all pretty much went something like this.

"Nevermind," says the pilot. "I need to get going. Talk to you later!"

I blink as my watchlist flashes red.

"He just logged off."

"He just -- in the wormhole?" CB asks.

I rub at my temple, sure that this is going to be the start of a long week. "Yeah."

Those of you coming directly to random-average to check up on our misadventures will have noticed that there's a new image on the left side of the page. That's the image for my new book, Hidden Things, which is hitting the shelves in September, thanks to the fine folks at Harper Collins.

Anyway, it seems to me that if you happen to like the stuff I put up here, you might enjoy a book full of words I wrote, even if it doesn't have any spaceships in it (and only a few mentions of aliens). If you'd like to know more, check out my other web site, where I talk about it some more, gush about how cool I think the cover is, and explain how to win a copy before it's even released.

Now, with that out of the way, tune in tomorrow to for more adventures of Idiot P.I. Guy!


Life in a Wormhole: Administrivia and Bookmarks #eveonline

First, a note.

I get asked the same basic questions often enough, and find that they are answered by previous posts often enough, that I have compiled a list of those guide-like posts onto a single page that I can now direct people to when necessary.

Now then...

A few days ago, I mentioned that the naming convention for the bookmarks shared at a corporate level in the C6 system was a bit... arcane.

That's actually being a bit kind. I don't want to say there is no system at all -- there is -- but I think it's fair to say that it's sloppy and hard to navigate. When I'm in a hurry (say, trying to warp away from pursuers), the last thing I want to deal with is opening a list of possible warp-to points and say "Okay, now... which one of these goes where I want it to go?

Every time I open the Corporate Bookmarks folder.

Now, everyone's going to have a system that works for them, and in your own private folders, that's fine, but when you're sharing bookmarks with others (as the corporate bookmarks folder automatically does), it's important that the file name (because that's essentially what it is) conveys a lot of at-a-glance information.

In descending order of importance, here's the information I think a bookmark for a wormhole needs to convey:

  1. What kind of bookmark it is. (Note, this is true for all bookmarks, while everything after this is basically wormhole specific.)

  2. Where the wormhole originates.

  3. Where the wormhole's going.

  4. Where it opened from. (Did you open it outward, or did someone else open it in to you.)

  5. When it was opened.

  6. What's on the other side that's important.

So let me give you some examples of what that looks like. For this example, let's assume we live in a class two wormhole, and that we've agreed that our wormhole is always going to be referred to as "C2". (There are many C2s, but this one is ours.)

In addition, any other wormhole will be referred to by its type, plus a sequential letter, so the c4 we connect to will be referred to as "c4a". If we happen to explore our way into a second c4 on the same day, that would be referred to as "C4b", and so on.

So here's a bookmark name:

WH C2 -> HS (MAY15 0310e) Amarr -5

What does that tell us?

  1. This is a Wormhole (WH) bookmark, not a LADAR, RADAR, MAG, GRAV, or any other kind of bookmark.

  2. It originates in the C2.

  3. It is an outbound wormhole. (The -> is pointed away from the c2.)

  4. It connects to High-sec. (HS)

  5. It was opened on MAY15, at 0310 hours, evetime. (O310e) From that, we know the hole will die of old age somewhere around 0300 evetime, MAY16.

  6. The closest market system is Amarr, which is five jumps away. (Amarr -5)

The bookmark for the highsec side of the wormhole would look like this:

WH HS <- C2 (OPTIONAL: System Name.)

That's quite a bit simpler. Here's another one:

WH C2 -> C4a (MAY15 0340e) AAA:p5m10

This (obviously fictional) wormhole was opened at 0340 evetime from our C2, into a C4 occupied by "Triple A", also known as Against All Authorities; their tower is at Planet 5, Moon 10.

Here's a slightly more worrisome one:

WH C2 <- K162(C6) (???) StarBridge

In this example, we have an inbound wormhole that was opened into our hole from a class six wormhole. We don't know when it was opened, so we don't know when it will die. What we do know is that the C6 is held by a corporate member of Star Bridge, a Russian wormhole alliance that can sometimes be a problem for US wormholers.

More extensive notes (who's been seen using a hole, what kind of ships, et cetera) can be sent out via evemail, posted to the MOTD, or shared via secure mapping tools like Siggy or and API-authenticated version of Wormnav.

Obviously, everyone's going to have different formats they use to convey this information, but I don't think anyone will argue that this is all information that's important to have, and that it should be shared in this or some similar uniform way -- the only other rule I'd add to the general guide to naming conventions is "keep it short", because the file name will truncate in most drop-down lists. If you don't have a naming method yet (or if it's terrible) please accept my invitation to start with this method as a jumping off point for a system of your own.


Life in a Wormhole: Obviously Time to Go #eveonline

"Ty, where are you?"

I don't know the speaker, but he certainly seems to know me, and he's talking in the comms channel used by the "c6" corp I've joined (though I haven't actually seen the c6 yet).

"I'm out in Sinq Laison."

"Grab a gas miner! We need some more people to clear out this system we're connected to."

"Oh... um... sure? You have a high-sec exit?"

"Of COURSE we do -- we have static connection to high-sec."

"... you do?"

"Yes. We're over in the class 1."

The... what?

It turns out that the corp has a number of pilots -- mostly alts and newer players -- living in a class one wormhole. Or at least that's what I'm able to infer; the fleet commander is too busy giving me orders to explain very much background.

"We have an inbound wormhole from a class five, and we've scared off the locals in that system, so we're going to harvest some of their gas. Grab a gasser ship and hurry over!"

This statement gives me pause for a number of reason (not the least of which being the idea that some alts and new pilots 'scared off' the residents of a class five wormhole), but dammit... I've been trying do SOMETHING with these guys, just to get to know them, and if I can't get into the class six wormhole, at least I can do this.

Whatever this is.

It's twenty-five jumps through known space to get to the C1's entrance, and by the time I get there the fleet commander has herded his pilots into gas-harvesting ships and gotten them into the most profitable of the gas clouds in the neighboring system. I follow the obscurely named bookmarks in my corp folder (more on that in a later post), rushing from wormhole to wormhole, and finally land on the cloud, flip on all my modules, and begin gathering up the gas alongside my new fleetmates. The thorax cruiser I've brought in for the task does the job well, and if we happen to get attacked, it's a relatively cheap ship to lose. That's the pessimist talking, as we've never lost a gas-mining ship in our previous wormhole endeavors, thanks to heads-up play and diligent look-outs watching for --

"I've got a unknown Buzzard on d-scan."

Bye-bye. I'm aligning to our exit wormhole by the second syllable of "buzzard", and in warp before anyone responds to the scout's announcement. Conveniently, my hold is full of gas by this point, giving me a second excellent reason to leave.

The first one is the Buzzard, of course. As a covert-ops frigate that can warp around a system cloaked, there are literally only two reasons that ship should ever show up on scans: one, he just logged in; two...

"Looks like he's dropping combat scanning probes."

Yup. I land on the wormhole leading back to the c1 system and realize that it's actually quite wobbly looking. I check my ship's information on the anomaly (which I hadn't done on my rush to come and help out) and realize that the wormhole is critically destabilized due to a high number of ships traveling back and forth through the connection. Any reasonably large enemy ship (or friendly ship, for that matter) would probably destroy the wormhole, leaving the whole fleet stranded in an enemy system, and yet they've brought in a bunch of ships to collect gas.

That seems a little... reckless?

"Don't worry about the probes," I hear the FC say. "Just keep pulling gas. If you get full up, dump it out to cans. We'll pick them up when the Op is over."

When it's over? I might be a bit overcautious, but I'd say the op was over when someone spotted a non-friendly ship scanning down your unarmed fleet of newbie pilots in a verified hostile system with a tenuous route home.

Whatever. Not my op. I jump back through the hole and align to the tower to dump off the gas. It might be the only gas they actually retrieve out of this op, and at this rate I think they might need the profit to help replace ships.

"The probes are --"

"I've got a tengu on scan."

"Same here."

"Two Tengus, actually."

"Two? I don't... oh, there it is. Yeah. Two tengus."

I jettison the gas into a storage canister and nod to myself. The buzzard isn't a big threat in and of itself, but with two strategic cruisers as backup, the little ship is basically the point of a very jagged spear. Obviously, now is the time --

"Just ignore them," I hear the FC say. "They haven't found us yet. We'll leave when it's obviously time to go."

WTF did I just hear?

I look over my ship's fittings. Five gas harvesters. Three ECCM modules. Cargo expanders. Five ECM drones. Not exactly the most intimidating array of firepower. I don't have clearance (apparently) to get into any of the ship hangars in this tower, either, so there are no other ship options here for me -- no way I can help, other than calling out an FC I've never met, in the middle of my first Op with a new corp.

"FC," I say, "Ty's dropped off his gas at the tower. I'm sorry I can't stay longer."

"No problem -- we'll probably be done here in 20 minutes or so, anyway."

Yes, I think to myself. I imagine you will.

With that, I warp back to the wormhole leading back to known space, and try to get as far away as I can before the inevitable screams of the innocent begin.

Sometimes, boys and girls, "Trust" is not the appropriate response.

Life in a Wormhole Eve: For the Republic! #eveonline

Our wormholes-of-note (both our class 2 and the class 6) continue to have absolutely abysmal connections -- the class 2 system is connected to high-sec, yes, but it's out in a CONCORD-controlled hi-sec 'pocket' of systems deep in the lawless Aridia region, over a dozen jumps from contiguous high-sec and another thirty-five jumps from anywhere useful. Everyone already in the wormhole stays there, and I'm left to my own devices back in civilization.

My 'what to do' solution is to return to my 'repair my standing with the Minmatar Republic' project. Rather than a series of normal missions, I've decided to run through some of the "Cosmos" missions available for the Minmatar. COSMOS missions are special, in that each mission can only ever be run once per pilot, and are generally quite a bit tougher than normal missions of the same 'tier', which makes them a bit more interesting. Each of the four major factions have a constellation where all their COSMOS agents hang out, and the Minmatar constellation isn't far from the section of Gallente space I'm in, so I hop into my Ishtar heavy assault cruiser (which I expect will be small enough to be allowed into most of the sites I plan to run) and head over.

Things go all right for the first few missions, but get considerably more complicated when I realize that some of the missions involve hauling large quantities of stuff around. The Ishtar is many things, but 'capacious' isn't one of them, so I'm forced to pick up a cheap hauler to move the macguffin crates back and forth.

Luckily, this doesn't take long (and I can watch MLP on Netflix while I jump from system to system), and soon I'm back in the Ishtar... only to be told that HACs are "too big" to fit into the next mission (never mind that it's the exact same hull as a normal vexor cruiser). So it's back to the market to pick up some cruiser-sized ship. What's available?

No... no... no... no... no... Oh, here's one. A Stabber? Really? That's the best cruiser hull available within 11 jumps?

Minmatar: Good firepower. Little light on the armor.

(Note to self: haul 25 rupture-class hulls out Nakugard, marked up 25%. Profit.)

So I get in my new... stabber... and prepare to speed-tank a LOT of NPC pirates.

Well... if nothing else, flying a stabber in level 3 cosmos missions is a lot more exciting than using a Ishtar. I mean, who needs hull integrity? Not the Minmatar, baby!

For the Rebublic!

I run through all the COSMOS missions in the first system in the constellation with at least a dozen more agents to go, and realize that I don't need to move on to the next system, because the (massive!) boosts to my standing for each of these one-time-only missions is enough to finally put me over the top on my Minmatar Republic standings, finally returning me to the coveted ranks of the "truly beloved less objectionable Gallente dilettantes soiling our stations with their perversions."

Which I choose to count as a victory.

Life in a Wormhole Eve: Incursion Sissy #eveonline

One of the options tossed around when we first left our old system was "let's just forget wormholes for awhile and run Incursions." This was mildly amusing because none of us have ever done Incursions in any way, and we know next to nothing about them.

The basic idea behind Incursions in Eve is that there are randomly occurring invasion events happening all the time around New Eden, driven by Sansha's Nation, an NPC "pirate" faction (really more of a rogue state) living on the edge of space in the accurately named Stain region. The Nation is supposed to be a utopian society "based around the exploitation of brainwashed slave labor and a small, cybernetically-enhanced elite", so... you know... "utopian" as long as your not one of the brainwashed slaves, I guess? Anyway, the nation got curb-stomped about a hundred years back, but it survived and rebuilt until it was strong enough to launch daily attacks against any constellation in known space, at any time. (Pretty serious rebuilding success, if you ask me.)

I've read up on Incursions in the past (it was actually the storyline behind the Incursions that first drew me back to Eve after giving it a pass four years previous), but as they are pretty much exclusively group content (profitable activities start in the 10-man range and go up to 80-man fleets) requiring well-fit battlecruisers at a minimum, it really didn't turn out to be something I could do when I started playing, despite the fact that that was WHY I started playing -- good marketing on CCP's part, with a shitty payoff for anyone the expansion actually lured in.

Anyway, with time on our hands and a really phenomenal string of bad connections to the c6 (and the c2, actually), we've decided to try out Incursions to see what the big deal is.

In order to accomplish this with a minimum of fuss, Dirk suggests that we set up a time to do it over on the Singularity server (which is inexplicably abbreviated "SiSi" by the player base). This idea provides a number of benefits:

  • We don't have to know how the ins and outs of the Incursion-running "society". Since it's a profitable activity that requires a lot of people to do successfully, a whole bureaucracy has sprung up around Incursions on the live server. There's the public channel for incursion group recruiting... which no one uses. Then there's the channels just for the Shield fleet doctrines, and another for the Armor fleet doctrines... both with notices about which incursion is being 'primaried' by which channel... except now people aren't really using those channels any more, because they're too mainstream, and all the real hipster incursion runners have their own private, invite-only channels where they organize their groups. Yeah. Screw that.

  • We don't have to have all the Incursion waves/pulls/triggers memorized, because SiSi is currently running the new version of the Incursions that is about to be released on the live server, and these new incursions don't have ship triggers and fancy ways you can blitz through and run the sites in a few minutes; in the new Incursions the wave composition is semi-random, you kill all the bad guys (focusing on the more dangerous or annoying ones first), then more bad guys show up. Simple. Provided you do your job well, you should be fine.

So we log into SiSi with only six pilots, and head toward the nearest Incursion. Obviously, no one is running Incursions on the test server, so Sansha's Nation is running rampant in the constellation we've selected, which gives us a bunch of disadvantages, not the least of which being the fact that we're running the sites about 4 pilots below optimal fleet composition, with only two Scimitar-class logistics ships (myself and Dirk) and four DPS (CB, Shan, Em, and Si in a mix of t1 battlecruisers and t1 battleships).

Honestly? We should probably explode hilariously, but what actually happens is we run a couple sites and it's no big deal, once we figure out which ships need to die to keep our logistics ships from getting jammed. It's basically like fighting sleepers.

I know on the live server, our little group would never work -- Incursion sites can be 'contested' (run by multiple gangs of pilots) with 100% of the rewards for that site going to whoever hurt the Nation the most, and we obviously aren't going to outmatch a blinged-out fleet of 10 pilots with our ragtag band of tech1 ships and novice logistics pilots (though we could probably do quite all right by sneaking out to the largely-ignored incursions that spawn in low-sec and setting up lookouts, even if we only got paid for the ship bounties). No, I get that; we can't fly these ships and expect to 'beat' the other incursion-fighting fleets.

But never let anyone tell you you can't bring a well-fit, non-pimped hurricane into an incursion site and contribute; never let anyone tell you that ship will explode instantly. That's just plain wrong. Yes, the fights are moderately interesting (for PvE), and the Sansha are (sadly) probably as tough as any npc PvE targets in EvE -- roughly on par with Sleepers.

But that doesn't make them impossible. Hell, for the (allegedly) 10-man sites, it doesn't even make them that hard.

Anyway, that's how we spend the next few hours and, once we've taken the measure of the Incursion sites, running them about as 'hard' as we can (all buffs in favor of the Nation, half-sized fleet of non-optimal ships and non-maxed pilot skill sets, with no previous Incursion experience), our curiosity is sated, and we head back to the live server to do something productive.


Life in a Wormhole: Wading through the Muck #eveonline

I've left my notebook elsewhere today, so I guess I'll be forced to rely on my own shoddy memory of the days following our move into the Summer Cottage.

And as far as that wormhole system goes, things are pretty straightforward; the tower is online, all our pilots are setting up planetary interaction colonies, and we're busy enough that we leave our static connection to class four wormhole space largely alone.

Unfortunately, we can't really leave our high-sec exit alone, due to the pilots who need to fly in and out of the hole to get supplies or bring in ships, which means it's somewhat difficult to safely do anything about all the anomalies and signature in our system.

And there are certainly enough of those -- after scanning, Bre reports at least a half-dozen mining sites, twice as many Ladar-emiting signatures, and quite a few Radar and Magnometric signatures as well. Awesome, we if could do anything about all of that, but we can't and in the meantime they seriously clutter up our scanning, complicate security, and slow us down. Painful executive decisions must be made, and that means I get to fly around to the least desireable of the Gravimetric and Ladar sites to activate their timers and hopefully clear them out of our sky in a day or two.

Meanwhile, we're talking with the U.S. contingent of the corporation that lives in the class six wormhole, trying to work out a good time to move a few ships up there for a test run. Our schedules don't seem to mesh very well, though, as we have more than a little trouble just getting on comms at the same time, let along coordinating a move. The majority of the corporation appears to be in UK and EU timezones, which means there's limited time in which we're online at the same time, and they seem to prefer to use that conversational window to nag me about the fact that we haven't gotten moved up to the c6 yet. Awesome first impression.

I'm trying to keep some momentum on things, so I drop membership in our corp and apply to theirs, just to show we're interested. This does seem to buy us a bit of good luck, as we actually manage to line up a good entrance to the c6 the next evening. Em, Shan, Dirk, and I all jump into assault frigates and head toward the entrance, but in mid-trip I get a message request from someone interested in buying the old wormhole.

There hasn't been a lot of movement on this front, so this warrants a full-stop to our current plans in case the deal goes through -- if the sale actually happens, we'll need to help move our friend's tower out of the system. I negotiate a reasonable if not great price, and contact a broker at Taggarts to manage the transaction the following evening. The buyer balks at using a broker, but seems to come around when I explain that the deal simply isn't going to happen without that fraud protection in place.

We make our apologies to the guys in the c6, and wait for the deal to close the next day.

... which of course doesn't happen, as the buyer backs out. Was the price too costly, or was the guy simply unable to figure out a way to con me out of a wormhole with a broker involved? Who knows? Certainly not me.

In any case, we've been delayed a day, and the new exit from the C6 is in the ass-end of Aridia. I'd make a run for it through low-security space, but my future roommates are already heading out for the night.

All in all, the last couple days have been a pillowfight of productivity: lots of movement, but not much to show for it.


Life in a Wormhole: Proud Mary #eveonline

We've left our jobs in the cities and trade hubs of known space and returned to the wild river of Anoikis. Shan and Em are busying themselves with setting up planetary colonies (after convincing me to set the tax rates on the customs offices high enough to 'pay off' my investment in the system as quickly as possible). Meanwhile, Bre is moving most of her main ships into the tower, since she's decided to stay here rather than travel up to the class six wormhole (where the system effects seriously cripple most of the ships she flies most often). I'll be glad to have at least one veteran permanently active in our little home in the Space Hamptons, though I suspect there may be a few more as time goes on.

Other ships are coming in as well; even those pilots heading to the c6 are leaving one or two pointy ships for system defense and impromptu system pruning (which the c2 needs quite badly).

It's good that we do, because we decide to wrap up a day of setting up colonies with some sleeper shooting, netting all our pilots 50 or 60 million isk each for an hours work. All in all a fine way to christen our new summer cabin.


Life in a Wormhole: A Brief Critique #eveonline

"Fuck everything," mutters CB, "about this tower interface." Two days have passed since we moved into a new wormhole, and he is helping me anchor the last of the defensive modules outside the force field.

"It's... pretty bad," I agree, dragging another module to where I want it. "It used to be even slower."

"I can't believe you've been doing this for two days..." CB says. "And two different systems before this one. I guess should just stop bitching."

He pauses. "But seriously, fuck everything about this tower interface."

Life in a Wormhole: Closing the Deal #eveonline

Two of the three corps who used to live in our old wormhole system have moved out, with one still manning their tower to maintain a presence there and to give the rorqual somewhere to live; the system is for sale. [Author's Note: this is STILL the case, so if anyone wants to buy a class two wormhole with lowsec/C2 exits, POCOs on all the planets, and a Rorqual, contact me.]

I presented a number of corporations/alliances to our pilots, listing pros and cons, and the corp that whimsically likes to run high-end sleeper anomalies in assault frigates caught everyone's fancy. The only thing delaying our move into this system with our main characters is getting our old wormhole sold, really.

Meanwhile, I found myself sitting out in known space, bored, with too much liquid ISK on hand. This usually ends in some kind of head-shaking/-smacking hilarity; in this case it meant I won a [mumble]illion isk bid for a wormhole with easy high-sec access and a perfect setup for planetary interaction. After some discussion with everyone else this is actually deemed a not-horrible thing, so rather than back out of the deal I go forward with it -- it will provide our alts (and some main characters with no interest in the class six wormhole) a place to hang out, shoot sleepers, mug high-sec tourists, and run ridiculously complicated, semi-profitable planetary interaction colonies.

Or is that ridiculously profitable and semi-complicated? I honestly can't remember anymore.

Em and I are discussing the logistics of getting set up -- obviously we already have a tower and defensive modules -- hell, Berke still has them in his orca from when we took them down in the last wormhole (it's not like it was that long ago) -- but I'm going to have to set up Player Owned Customs Offices on all the planets, and Em did that in our last system, so I'm picking his brain to get a shopping list of all the stuff I'll need for all umpteen planets.

The list is pretty extensive. And expensive. Whew. Turns out I'm going to spend as much on the POCO parts as I did on the wormhole itself. Yikes.

"Do you want me to pick all the parts up?" Em asks. "I'm already in a market system."

"Leave it until we close the deal for sure," I reply. "It might still fall through."

Our Taggarts broker is on the ball, however, and gets everyone where they need to be for a quick and relatively simple transfer of hole ownership (in which the broker holds the buyer's money until everyone is satisfied, then takes their cut and pays everyone else accordingly). While they wait for the green light, I take the contracted bookmark coordinates, jump into the wormhole system, and use combat scanners to verify that the only man-made stuff in the system is dead and semi harmless (an abandoned, picked-over tower in the system will need to be completely destroyed at some point, but isn't a serious problem right now).

Meanwhile, Em, Shan, Berke, and CB are hauling all essential supplies toward the entry system.

"How's it look?" asks the broker.

"Pretty good," I reply, recalling my probes and hitting directional scan. Something catches my eye. "I... can't help but notice that all the custom's offices are owned by a player corporation, not NPCs."

"Yep," says the seller. "Once you're happy, our director will transfer ownership of all the POCOs over to you guys. Should only take a few minutes."

"Right, right..." I say, trying to keep my voice calm. I switch comms over to Em, Shan, and CB. "So... you know this system I'm buying?"


"You know how I figured it was worth [mumble]illion?"


"You know how we figured that getting enough player-owned structures set up in the system would cost us just as much as what I bid for the system?"


"Well..." I drag the word out. "The corp selling the hole already set POCOs up, and they're just giving them to us."

There is a long pause.


"We are getting this wormhole for, basically, the hardware cost of the installed structures," I say.

Em is the first to speak. "Close this deal before they figure that out."

I do that thing, with many compliments (as always) to the Taggart's broker.

"Be careful," says the seller, just before he leaves. "There are a bunch of guys from a wormhole corp out in the high-sec system connected to the wormhole."

"It's okay," I assure him. "I'm pretty sure that's just the moving crew."

"Wow, you guys move fast."

The comms channel closes, and it's time to get to work.


Life in a Wormhole: Experiencing Technical Difficulties

All the energy I would normally allocate to writing a post seems to be tied up in trying to figure out why my main Eve account has expired, despite having 280+ days remaining on its 'balance'.


Life in a Wormhole: So Now What? #eveonline

[Before I get started, some of you may know that I've been dealing with lots of sick kid issues that have started to seem like Something More. I have updates on that (and good news) over here, for those who care to know. Now on with the show!]

I won the bid on the wormhole, of course (Murphy's Law would have it no other way). With no desire to get into some kind of bidding war (I'm not much of a haggler offline, either), I'd simply opened with the amount I thought the system was worth, and apparently shut down any other interested parties who'd started low and planned to work their way up.

I still had options -- the most EvE-like being a quick email to the broker saying "LOL just kidding" and carry on as if nothing had happened -- but backing out of the bid rubbed me the wrong way, and frankly it was a pretty good system, depending on what we did with it.


I decided to get some input from Em and Shan and let them know of my special brand of recklessness.

"You bought a wormhole?" Em asked.

"I won the bid," I corrected. "The deal's not done yet."

"What... so..." He seemed to be seesawing between head-shaking amusement and incredulity. "Are you not going to do the C6 thing?"

"Well, first of all, I can always just back out of it."


"But... no. I'm still planning on the c6 thing, but this seemed like a really good backup plan and maybe something we could sort of do on the side."

"On the side?" Em repeated. "A second wormhole?"

"What system is it?" Shan asked (quietly, as he does most things).

I gave him the system signature. "I figure there's pretty much perfect Planetary Interaction, and it's got a persistent connection to high sec, so it's easy to get to, and we have plenty of alts who aren't going to be doing anything in the c6, so they can handle day to day stuff and basic defenses. We can keep it kind of pruned down by running a few sleeper sites when nothing else is going on, and the other static connection is into class 4 wormholes, so even if the c6 doesn't work, we can switch to the c2 and still be able to find harder sites to run and some better PvPers."

"Huh," murmured Shan. "It'll let us make silicone." He and Em had been using P.I. products in the last wormhole to make nanite repair paste, but the system hadn't had everything they'd needed -- I'd heard them mentioning the need to haul in multiple loads of silicone in the past.

"It lets you make anything," I said. "I mean, the PI alone would pay for the system in a month or less, right?"

"Yeah..." said Shan. He's quite adept with Planetary Interaction set ups, and based on what he's told me, it's possible (with about 10 days of pilot skill training) to set up planetary colonies that will net as much as 300 million isk in passive income, per character, per month. I'm personally terrible at setting such things up, but it sure sounds like something worth getting better at, and anyway I just really like the idea of being able to do something that will let all the guys make some easy money. I've got more than enough operating capitol, but some of the newer pilots aren't as well-off -- for them, the passive income from setting up PI on their main and even one alt on the same account would make a huge difference in the kinds of options they have. Teach a man to fish, as they say...

"So... you're saying buy the system. Set up a tower, and mostly just run P.I. in it?" asks Em.

"And keep it as a backup," I say, "or a place for some guys who aren't ready for the c6 to hang out and do their thing."

"Okay," says Em. "I thought you were crazy, but that actually sounds pretty cool."

"So you think I should do it?"

"And set up the Custom's Offices for some really high tax rate until you make back all the money you paid for it," he adds. "We can all make money after that, and you'll be paid off in case someone comes in and blows it all up."

His reasoning is pessimistic and entirely accurate and realistic. Welcome to EvE.


Life in a Wormhole: Bad Influence #eveonline

A day has gone by, and I'm still terrorizing the enemies of the Minmatar Republic in my Ishkur assault frigate, which is easily enough to deal with any of the level 3 missions I'm given. The evening is quiet; all of our Red Frog hauling contracts have come in, everyone's belongings have been returned to the right hangars at our corporate offices, and most have taken the night off. It's just me on our shared comms until CB logs in.

"Evening, evil slave trader."

"Yo. How's that Minmatar standing looking?"

"Die in a fire. What're you doing?"

"Nada. Looking at that ship fit you sent over for running around a wolf-rayet system."


"Yep. You think we're going to do it? I'll put it together if we are."

"Yeah, it's really starting to look like it. I can't decide if people like it because it's crazy, or because we only have to commit a couple ships, there's nothing else to move in, and if we don't like it we can leave easily."

"Probably both."

"Probably." My email flashes, and I open it and read while dodging Angel pirate cruisers and letting my drones chew through the enemy ships. "Oh, this is hilarious."

"What is?"

I forward the email to him. "Taggarts just listed a wormhole for sale. Pretty much exactly the one we've been saying for six months that we wanted to move into." I scan the stats for the system on Wormnav. "Jesus. Perfect set up for planetary interactions. You can make everything in there. Hell, if you did nothing else but that, you'd still basically be printing money. And those static wormhole exits..." I shake my head. "That's going to go for a lot."

"How much?"

I tell him.

"I'll throw in 400 million," he says. "Right now. Bid on it."

"Nah..." I shake my head. "Everyone's gung-ho for the c6 insanity. Em and I have talked about a new system, but he doesn't think we have enough people for a solo wormhole setup if more than a few of us take the night off. Logoffs breed logoffs."

"We did just fine with just you and me and Gor," CB counters, echoing my own thoughts on the matter. "And if someone wants us blowed up good, we're gonna blow up good, no matter how many people we have."


"Bid on it, you know you want to," he says. "We'll set up PI and couple towers, and if everything else falls through, we have a cool backup plan."


"Biiiiid on it," he repeats. "Don't make me start hiding slaves in your cargo bays again."

"What do you mean, 'again'?" I look at the email, check my bank balance, and decide I have too much money laying around. I shoot a quick email off to the broker (who I've worked with before on other sales), putting in a bid a bit below what I think the hole is really worth, but still a big chunk of change. I expect I'll be outbid quickly, and have no intention of going any higher. If I get outbid, this is all harmless, and if it isn't, I got a pretty good deal.

"It's in."

"What is?" asks CB.

"The bid."

He laughs. "Holy shit, you actually put a bid in?" There's a pause. "I mean... cool."

I rub at my temples. "So much hate."

"You love it and you know it."

"So. Much. Hate."


Life in a Wormhole: ...Really? #eveonline

Since leaving our old wormhole, the recurring question has been "what now?" There's been a little discussion of  non-wormhole options -- mostly "maybe I should try Incursions", but that's a bit like saying "I should become a day trader"; it sounds like it would make money, but I don't know anyone who does it, don't really know where to start, and there's a good  chance the structure and drama would quickly annoy me. Anyway, aside from saying "we should try that sometime, just to say we have", all other options involve wormholes in some way, ranging from 'move to an alliance system' to 'just get our own hole and forget everyone else' to ' join up with someone else entirely'.

Now, at the point where we left the wormhole, no one was talking about future plans, at least in part because we didn't want to get into that conversation with friends who were also leaving but whose plans didn't necessarily mesh with ours. Em and I have talked about this, weighing the pros and cons of staying in the alliance (the downsides we know) versus some other option (the downsides we don't). For me and CB, the pros of a fresh start outweigh the cons, but for Em and the Walrus guys the thought is "if we go somewhere else, it should be somewhere that's clearly different and better for us than where we already are."

And hunting for a solution has fallen to me, or at least I feel responsible for doing the legwork, since I accelerated the timeline of moving out of the old wormhole (forcing other folks to act/react), and am making "staying together" harder by not just moving into another alliance-owned system.

Luckily, there are a number of good options I have readily available, simply because when we originally joined the alliance, I'd done similar research and found a few other options that I'd really thought were interesting. To be honest, some of them I liked better than the alliance we settled on, but they were vetoed by Gor (or preemptively by me, since I knew Gor would) because they were single corporations, rather than alliances, and Gor wanted to maintain the security that comes from being the person in charge of the corporation you're in -- in short, he didn't want to join a corp and give someone else the ability to see what he had in his station hangars, and since this is EvE, it's pretty hard to argue with his caution.

That said, Gor's not actively playing now, so wormhole corporations that we can join individually, rather than alliances we'd join as a corporation are back on the menu, and I propose a couple that I like to the guys (Lone Star Exploration and The Night Crew). The appeal of either of these corps is the attitude, the history, the personalities of the guys in charge, and the fact that they both seem to have little to no interest in the political machinations present between some wormhole groups.

I also mention that the CEO who recently led those cloaky tech3 cruisers into our system would really like us to join them, but the response to that is a bit like my reaction to news that Bioware is releasing new DLC for Mass Effect 3.

Why yes: as a matter of fact, I *am* still bitter.

The guys will laugh to read this (since they can pull up the hundreds of pages of emails these conversations generated), but I try pretty hard to simply present the pros and cons of the various groups my research turns up, link to their recruitment information, and step back out of the way to let people chew it over. As I said, I feel like I've put us all in this situation, so I've resigned myself to go along with whatever the group decides. (I don't always succeed in this passive presentation model, because frankly it's not in my nature, but at least I try.)

Anyway, the pros and cons are weighed.

This goes on for a bit.

It has been going on, actually, for the better part of a week. I distract myself with running missions for the Minmatar Republic (mumblegrumble CB). The problem is that every group I mention carries with it some concern or yellow flag for someone -- obviously, there's never going to be a perfect solution, but it seems like we can't come within targeting range of a consensus.

Then, while browsing reddit, I come across screenshots from some crazy wormhole corp whose members are apparently using the strange effects of their home system to run high level Sleeper sites... in assault frigates -- ships that should, by all accounts, be instantly vaporized.

I post an email into the thread where we've been talking about various wormhole corporations, putting in nothing but the reddit screenshot and the caption "or we could join these guys."

The reaction was... not what I expected.  I see excitement, amusement... interest. I don't know if it's because it seems like something different, or because it seems like they're a bit crazy, or simply because it seems like they just don't take everything so bloody seriously as 9 of every 10 wormhole corps, but for whatever reason, the guys are very interested in this unknown band of misfits.

I am asked to make contact.

Life in a Wormhole: Manning the Barricades #eveonline

[Something very strange happened yesterday, and because of that this post didn't show up on the website, nor did it actually save in WordPress. It *did* however show up in my RSS feed (which is apparently subscribed to an alternate timeline of my life), so I was able to grab it from there and repost it here... for the first/second time yesterday/today. The time loop is closed. Or... opened? Wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey. ]

No, we’re not under attack again; the title comes from a question posed by Patito in the comments of the last post:
Given recent events, I’m rather curious what your opinions are about the number of pilots needed to reliably and safely work a wormhole. Specifically in your opinion, what is the minimum number of pilots needed (assuming all in the same timezone and relatively similar play schedules) to make living in a C2 pleasant? As I understand it, when you run with smaller numbers someone might come along and decide you need to be removed and there’s not much you can do about it.

So this is really two questions, about which (I have learned) everyone’s opinions are going to differ. (Since we moved out of our old system, we’ve been talking a lot about what we want to do next, and part of that discussion process exposes everyone’s thoughts on how many people we “need” to accomplish given tasks.)

Making Living Pleasant
Let’s address these two questions in order, starting with “how many people do you need to make living in a wormhole pleasant?” I’ll mostly stick to talking about the lower-end wormholes, because (a) that’s what he asked about and (b) that’s what I know the most about. That said, the differences between living in a c2 versus a c5 are largely those of scale, so most of this should broadly apply anywhere in Anoikis.

To an extent, it depends on what you want to do in the wormhole. If the basic idea is that you want to just shoot the local sleepers for their loot, run some planetary interaction, maybe occasionally poke around in your connecting systems or something, then you don’t need many folks at all, especially if any of the players have an alt account who can sit on a second screen and be your passive lookout while you’re doing something that leaves you vulnerable. Class Two sleeper anomalies can be soloed reasonably easily in about twenty minutes or so with decent combat skills, and the same amount of isk can be made from gas clouds or asteroid fields in roughly the same amount of time. A few extra people makes it go much faster, to the point where even if you split the loot from a group effort, you’re doing as well or better than you would be on your own — good design, CCP! Bottom line, you can make about 60 to 80 million isk in an hour in a c2 wormhole, whether you’re alone or with a couple friends. It was just me, CB, and Gor in our first wormhole, and we were fine: our own paranoia and inexperience hampered us more than anything, really — we didn’t see some of the features of our system as the opportunities they were.

There are benefits to a decent class two system in terms of PvP as well: Class two systems are unique among wormholes in that they all have two guaranteed wormhole connections, rather than one. This automatically gives you multiple options in terms of people to shoot. Our second wormhole (the one we recently left) was an explorer’s dream, as it connected to additional class two wormhole space, which meant we were guaranteed no less than two additional wormholes to poke around in every day, plus a connection to PvP-friendly low-sec in the other direction. Our only mistake there, in terms of having someone to shoot, was that we kept the entrances closed much of the time, which meant we lowered our chances of getting tourists in from known space. Eventually, we rectified that.

Regardless of your known-space connections, there are opportunities: a persistent connection to high-sec left open and inviting can be hilarious fun (more on that in a few days), low-sec gives you immediate access to individuals who are frequently only out for a good fight, and a null-sec gives you a chance to roam through vast, largely uninhabited space without the need to worry about low-sec gate guns and other annoying technical issues. The same spread of opportunities exists when you start looking at your wormhole-space exits as well: Class 1 and Class 3 systems often house pilots who don’t expect a fight since those two types of wormholes do not enjoy persistent connections to wormhole space, where as Class 4 and higher systems tend to attract pilots looking for a good fight and more comfortable with long stretches of time away from known space.

Obviously, if you’re going to be more active with your PvP, you may want a few more people online, especially if you’re looking to do something other than stealthy covert ganking of unsuspecting soft targets (the meat and potatoes on most most wormhole PvP menus) — even sitting off an open high-sec exit waiting for an unsuspecting explorer to jump in requires a bit of commitment and maybe an extra set of eyes to do it right. In our first wormhole we were lucky to share the system with a German corporation. Between us, we were able to keep eyes on the system much of the time. In our second home, we had more pilots around, but all on the same timezone. This made it easier to ‘do something’ during our primetime, but far more blind during our off hours.

Too many pilots makes things somewhat more difficult in another direction, of course: in our second home, all of our pilots logging in at the same time usually meant that some system was about to be stripped to the bone like a cow dropped into a hazy cloud of piranha. That said, I think that for the health and longevity of your group it’s often better to err on the side of slightly too many pilots for your available resources rather than slightly too few — many hands will generally always make light work, the profits available in a wormhole usually scales pretty well, and unexpected PvP opportunities are always more easily handled when you have more people around on your side to join in. Conversely, with fewer pilots you might easily find yourself in a situation where you must pass an opportunity by (either for PvE or PvP) simply because you don’t have enough people (or the “right” people) to take advantage.

So… what does that all mean? I guess “it depends”. I’m a huge fan of Penny’s blog Tiger Ears, which features two pilots (and a rotating background cast) living quite happily out of a class four wormhole. They’ve had to take a breather in k-space when things got too hot, but generally they make it work, and work quite well. Based on that, I think you can easily make an argument for as few as one smart, active player doing quite well in a wormhole (though that sounds like it would get pretty boring after awhile).

By the same token, the idea of being part of a corporation with dozens of active members, all in the same high-class wormhole also appeals to me — good odds of there always being someone else on when you want to do something, and of there being enough people on to do whatever catches your fancy.

The only thing I don’t think works very well is a situation where you have pilots spread out over a bunch of systems, whether you’re all in the same corp or in dozens — it’s just a good way to guarantee that you’ll never be where you need to be. A couple systems, maybe with exits that make it easy to move back and forth? Fine. Otherwise…

A Question of Survival

To refresh your memory, the last part of the question was:
As I understand it, when you run with smaller numbers someone might come along and decide you need to be removed and there’s not much you can do about it.

I wanted to address this separately, because I think there’s a difference between “having enough people to effectively live in a wormhole and enjoy yourselves” and “having enough people to keep from getting your head caved in by a fleet of battleships.”

It’s possible to do that first thing fairly easily. However when it comes to hole defense in the face of a determined and/or powerful attacker, you will either have enough people or you won’t — it’s somewhat out of your hands, because if a group seriously wants to burn your stuff, then they will probably do that, unless you are very lucky or extremely dedicated.

Really, that statement should read: “When you [live in a wormhole] someone might come along and decide you need to be removed.” Period and full stop. Whether you have only a few members or over a hundred will not change what a determined opponent will do — it will only affect how many people they bring along to do it.

Those cloaky tech 3 cruisers we dealt with over the last couple months were all members of an alliance with more than enough active members to stage a successful tower siege — they have the means and the manpower and the resources — they didn’t do that because they didn’t want to do it, pure and simple, and if they had wanted to the end result would have simply boiled down to who had a deeper roster of people willing to come help or who had a deeper wallet with which to hire mercenaries.

Basically, moving into a wormhole in EvE is a lot like undocking a ship — you need to leave the station with assumption that the ship you’re in is already lost. Maybe not today — you might get lucky — but eventually, it’s scrap. If you move into a wormhole, write that investment off — as soon as you anchor and online a tower, accept the fact that you might never be given the opportunity to take it down again under your own terms. Assume it’s gone.

Maybe not today — you might get lucky — but eventually.

If things go better than that, you’ll feel really good; if they don’t, you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a dirty little secret about wormholes: they haven’t made me rich. I have pretty much exactly the same amount of liquid Isk as I did the first day we moved into our first wormhole, well over a year ago. (Although it’s fair to say I have more wealth in assets than I did.) Wormholes let me have the kind of fun I enjoy, in the amounts I like to have it, and generally break even. If I get ahead for awhile, I’m sure Berke will lose another Orca during a hole crash; if I get behind, that’ll be the week I find a really sweet wormhole to sell on the market. It works out.

And if someone shows up with fifty battleships in formation around my tower?

Well, I’ll put up a hell of a fight. I’ll throw every ship I can at them. I’ll use all the tower defenses that I have at my disposal, because I went to great effort to set up a tower that is as defensible as I could make it. But if they have more firepower and equal will, they’re going to win. At some point, I’m going to wake up in a clone out in high-sec, and I’ll have to start over.

Which is exactly what I’ll do.

What I’m trying to say in this (very long) answer to that (very tricky) question is that you should try to have enough people around you to do whatever it is you want to do, but don’t cripple yourself by saying you don’t yet have enough people to defend against some hypothetical tower-crushing assault. You don’t. You never will — they will just bring more people. If you join a big alliance to *get* that kind of protection, you’re going about things the wrong way — an alliance can help you with your corporation-sized problems, but once you join that alliance, you won’t have corporation-sized problems anymore; your problems become alliance-sized: you attackers won’t send enough people to take you out — they’ll send enough people to take you-and-your-allies out, or they won’t come at all.

Or they’ll show up in cloaky gank ships, which isn’t a problem you can beat with numbers, regardless.