BB 42 – Eve In Review – Exploration

From the Freebooted BB 42 initial post:

“A gaming universe as vast and unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE’s gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog Banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever.

By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We’ll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online in its current Retribution incarnation.

Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?”

For this review I’ll be focusing on one of my favorite aspects of Eve: Exploration. By any means would I consider myself an expert on the subject, but it’s something I got a lot of experience in, especially the last six months or so when I moved into a C2 wormhole. This is by no means a tutorial, but a review of sorts of this fascinating side of Eve.

What is exploration

From the Eve Wiki : Exploration is the art of scanning a solar system for Deadspace signatures that do not normally appear on a ship’s scanners or overview. These Deadspace zones are designed to reward players for the additional work required to reveal them.

An explorer searches for sites in space, these can be gas clouds, archeology sites, a hidden belt filled with valuable ore, waiting to be mined, or a combat site. They all need different tools to be exploited, so an explorer needs quite a few skills (in game as real life) needs to be diverse. All sites need some combat skills, the lower you get in security status (not your own, but the system’s sec stat), the harder these sites and the ‘rats’ in them become. And since Retribution the enhanced AI also applies to complexes found with exploration.

How do I start ?

The most simple way would be to undock, bring up your ship’s onboard scanner and hit the scan button. The sites that might come up that way are called anomalies. In hisec you can very easily complete these in a cruiser. True exploration however requires you to have probes on board and a probe launcher. If you want to start out you can get a frig (like the one you got as a xmas present) that has bonuses for scanning. Once again the Eve wiki helps out here and gives a list by race and a list of skills you need.

Scanning in a wormhole
Scanning in a wormhole

Learning Curve

As with most things in Eve, it takes a while to get things done. The wiki above shows a method using 4 probes. I very much prefer scanning the Penny Ibramovic way. After some practice you will get a feeling though for various sites and where to position your probes and how at much AU you need to set them. Still it can be frustrating on some of the harder sites that just don’t want to be found and you’re stuck at 93%. I once spent almost 30 minutes trying to scan down a Radar site in our wormhole and I just couldn’t pinpoint the signal. And yes objects were thrown across the room and a rage quit followed, but the next day I scanned it down in a few goes ! In case you come across such a site, take a breather, go and do something else and come back with a clear mind.

You have to patient and persevere to make it as a successful explorer. Not only regarding the scanning itself, but there might be days on end where nothing valuable or worthwhile is showing up on your scanner in the systems or wormhole that you’re living in. For me this learning curve is part of the fun. It’s amazing I can now usually scan our hisec exit in our wormhole in just a few scans, where it used to take me quite longer when I first moved in.


One could argue that wormholes are the explorer’s ultimate playground. Unless you totally rely on your corpmates to provide you with bookmarks (and you don’t want to be that guy right ?) you can’t go anywhere in a wormhole except hopping from planet to planet ;). Usually you do the scanning in a covops or a T3 ships and then switch to a combat ships of sorts to deal with the Sleepers in a wormhole site. You can also do a thing called ‘day tripping’ where you don’t actually live in a wormhole but scan one out in known space and do the sites in the wormhole you find. Mind you that this can be rather dangerous, when the locals catch you, you will be shot on sight !

A sleeper site in Wormhole space
A sleeper site in Wormhole space


But is it fun ?

Yes ! Exploring and finding sites can be very rewarding. With some luck quite a few isk can be made, once you leave hisec (and even there for a new player some sites can be nice for isk as well). There is a nice post over on Low Sec Life that gives a good example. What I do like about exploration is that it ties in with industry, as you can find items that you can use for invention, or you can find hidden ore fields that you can mine. And you need combat skills. So it sort of links a lot of aspects of Eve together. In wormholes the loot from the sites are used for T3 production, in case you feel inclined to go that way. You can of course just sell your loot as well.

The Verdict

Learning Curve 3/5 – After reading some guides and the wiki you should get an idea on where to start, you do need a lot of hand on practice to get better at it though.

User Interface 3/5 – It has gotten better over the years, still can be a little frustrating. It’s hard to portray a 3d image on a 2d surface and interact with it in a 3d way.

Longevity – 5/5 – You can keep exploring and it will hardly ever get boring due to it’s randomness as well. There is always something out there :).

Overall – 4/5

Well that’s it, my review of one side of Eve. Hope this counts as a review, it also functions as a sort of intro for those interested but who haven’t dared to get into it. I hope you take the plunge and go out and explore some day soon.

Blog Banter 42 in review at Freebooted, 19 bloggers and 1000s of words.

2 thoughts on “BB 42 – Eve In Review – Exploration”

  1. You nicely summed it up there, Morph!

    More people from High Security space should go do day-trips. It’s real easy to do the combat sites as it does not involve so much scanning to find them.

  2. Thanks for the link, Morph.

    I recently found an old mail of mine, to my glorious leader, during the times of our early w-space adventure. It ended with frustration, and the line ‘Bah, I can’t scan’. Those were the days.

    I also remember thinking, probably a couple of years ago, that there is no way I could hunt people as effectively as Mick. I used to defer to his skills to the point where I hoped he would be around whenever we found targets, as I didn’t trust myself to find them. But when schedules conflicted and it was either do it myself, hunting or just basic scanning, or do nothing, I found the motivation to do it.

    Scanning was not easy to start with. Hunting using d-scan was difficult too. But training the skills, getting the right ship, and practice practice practice made me better. Now I am scanning constellations of w-space rapidly and fluidly, and more often than not my probes need just one scan to resolve targets in sites.

    There’s no quick path to being a good scanner, but if you’re going to live in w-space it is almost a necessity to hone those skills. They pay off every day.

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