Going down the Rabbit Wormhole

While I’ve dabbled in Wormholes before, I’ve never really gone too deep. Once in a blue moon, I’d spend a few hours scanning an anomaly down, jumping into a wormhole, and then kinda putz around aimlessly.

I’d attempt to hack a data or relic site or engage in some “ninja mining:” relatively quick and short sessions of mining or gas harvesting before PVE enemies (“rats”) or other players show up. I’ve certainly never solo explored chains of wormholes, for fear of getting lost. Boredom would set in quickly and I’d drop exploration again for several months.

I didn’t really learn or retain much as a result. This time, however, I wanted to really get a good taste of what wormhole exploration had to offer. To do that, I put together a basic fitting for a Prospect, a T2 expedition frigate.

[Prospect, Gas Ninja Speed Prototype]
Warp Core Stabilizer I
IFFA Compact Damage Control
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Warp Core Stabilizer I

5MN Microwarpdrive II
Survey Scanner II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Expanded Probe Launcher I
Gas Cloud Harvester II

Small Processor Overclocking Unit I
Small Processor Overclocking Unit I

Combat Scanner Probe I x16
Nanite Repair Paste x50

This fit comes in at under 50 million ISK. Since my goal was exploration and ninja mining, I focused on cloaking, probe scanning, and resource gathering Defensive capabilities were nil; speed and the ability to run away would be my means of staying alive. It should be noted that this fit is very tight for me: CPU utilization is at 96%, even with CPU Management V.

Probe Scanner window in EVE; shows a system map of the wormhole, with list of 20 anomalies or cosmic signatures.
Lots of sites for gas harvesting in this C4 wormhole!

So far, all is going pretty well. I’ve only come across a handful of people in the wormholes I’ve visited, and only once did someone warp on to grid with me. Luckily, I scanned at the right time, saw the unfamiliar ship on the directional scanner, and MWD+Cloaked away about 30 seconds before an Eris landed and bubbled. I was able to jump out with the enemy pilot none the wiser.

Since I’m mostly solo, I’ve been using Tripwire to help me explore. I can jot down cosmic signatures, record what they are once fully scanned, and track my journey so I know how to get back to high-sec. It even takes some of the work away by auto-tracking and noting where I’m jumping to and from. Pathfinder is another site that provides a similar service that I may try.

Tripwire says I’ve added 262 signatures and added 75 wormholes so far. The longest chain I’ve taken from my “starting” high-sec system is 5 wormholes. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to get back to my start each time.

Screenshot of the browser-based Tripwire service. Shows a diagram of connected systems, statistical graph, list of found anomalies/sites, and some of my notes.
The UI of Tripwire from a recent excursion.

In terms of profit, I’m probably ISK-positive, having harvested somewhere between 100-150 million ISK worth of gas. Ninja mining, however, in a single Prospect doesn’t seem to be particularly profitable, especially given how much time I’m spending scanning down the gas harvesting sites or new wormholes. I’ve likely spent at least fifteen hours in wormholes in the last week.

Nor is it without danger. About half of the gas sites I find already have scary Sleeper rats on them. For the rest, I get between five and twenty minutes to harvest before the Sleepers appear. With no offensive or defensive capabilities, I have no choice but to run.

I should also mention that I’m on my second Prospect. I lost one to sentries at a gas site when I accidentally and stupidly decloaked on grid to launch scanning probes. My poor ship, the aptly named, “Junior Prospector” was obliterated instantly. So I’m down about 50 million ISK already.

Screenshot of in-game Mining Ledger, showing graphs of what gas types I've harvested and the amounts.
Definitely harvested more gas than I thought I did.

Overall, however, I’m having a lot of fun exploring wormholes and learning a lot. Aside from breaking the monotony of ice mining or “getting blueballs” in null-sec fleets, I’m finally taking the time to participate in this side of the game. W-Space (or J-Space) is one of four main areas of space in Eve. I play in high- and null-sec all the time — while mostly avoiding low-sec, other than travel — so it’s great to finally get my toes wet here. I’ve even convinced a buddy to join me. Maybe one day I’ll set up shop in a wormhole. I certainly see the allure.

In the meantime, it’s time to get back to exploring the unknown. Back to going down the rabbit hole.

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