Through Newb Eyes – 2 Years of wormhole space
I’ve been in Wormhole Space for a little under 2 years of playtime. About time we get down to having a look into those two years!
I left RvB in 2011 to join up with the Wormhole Engineers – a corp I had been recommended by someone or other. I was coming in from 6 months of solid PvP, with basic scan skills and little to no knowledge of wormhole space mechanics. Fortunately, my new corpmates and the internet had my back covered. What followed was one of the most intense learning periods I’ve undertaken in a video game.
The learning of wormhole space
Scanning. Signature sizes. Wormhole effects. Mass limits. Anomalies and sleepers. Hunting & directional scan. It was all a bit much. The twitch reactions and FC’ing skills I had gained in RvB were nothing compared to the game mechanics I had to learn. Add in needing to adjust to POS life (which at the time included copying bookmarks every time I logged in) and my mind almost imploded.
I never really covered the learning period in my blog at the time, choosing to focus on the hunting and killing aspects. Fortunately, the learning process never actually ended. Every other day I learn something new about wormhole space mechanics, or have to re-learn what was finely tuned thanks to CCP making changes to the probing systems in Odyssey. In order to help better my understanding, I actually started a wormhole guide (which is, for various reasons, on an indefinite hiatus). The writing of the first two parts of the guide allowed me to research further into some of the more confusing mechanics in order to lay them out in a way which was, hopefully, easier to understand for the newer explorers.
So the learning process was all well and good, but little compares to actually using the knowledge you have attained. For example, my first major test of using my d-scan knowledge came when trying to jump a pair of miners. I am fortunate to report it went well, and was my first actual application of probing from d-scan usage. Likewise, a similar event had me manage an industrial kill. These kills are not shiny, nor an example of elite piloting, but the two events were my first kills in wormhole space using the new mechanics and skills available to me and for this reason they’ll always be important.
The growing into wormhole space
As time goes on, your skills improve. This is not just true of your actual pilot skill (although some people are an exception to this rule) but also true of your character skills. As a result after 3 months of wspace I was soon in the Covert Ops Tengu which vastly increased my operational abilities during normal scouting. In addition, my corp was growing with their combat experience and willingness to engage. A push from me had us finally adopt voice communications (Ventrilo) which gave us much better reactions in combat. I was also able to start running C4 anomalies in our static, thanks to a second Tengu I had purchased, which allowed me to build a small buffer in ISK. My knowledge of mechanics had finally grown to a point where I no longer needed to ask in corp chat “how do I check a system effect” but as always, there was room for improvement.
The good news is my corpmates (and the alliance) were getting easier to fly with by the day. Constant banter, jokes and impromptu duels were cementing my faith in Wormhole Engineers and living in wormholes in general. Some new recruits had joined us as well, a couple of which would stay with us in the long haul (hello Firefly). The addition of Corp Bookmarks made our lives a lot easier to boot.
So it was all looking good. We were scoring kills and I was generally having a blast. My fun peaked after the Winter patch replaced the fuel for POS towers with the new Fuel Blocks. Many of you will have seen this story – Within hours after the new patch went live, I logged on and checked out our new wormhole chain. The resulting find netted me a carrier kill and a few billion in general loot. Easily one of the highlights of my EVE career.
Shortly after this though, my EVE life came to an abrupt pause. I moved country and with it my ability to play spaceships disappeared. I was off the grid for close to 6 months.
Ramping up the kills
After managing to return to Wormhole Engineers after my break, I found myself promoted from the evaluation corp into the main corp. Score. I now had access to the corp bookmarks which made my life a lot easier too.
The usual wormhole stuff continues, with my first few months back giving us some very interesting kills. It was time to amp the PvP skills up a bit. Killing 2 industrials in a group of three, with no ability to warp scramble them. We counter-baited a hostile gang in their home system, netting a Rattlesnake kill. A whole bunch of kills and other oddities occurred in August, including finding our Sister Wormhole (A Class 4 with several corpmates living there). We even opened a wormhole behind a hostile pilot we were trying to hunt. To add to this, we finally killed our first Capital ship in wormhole space.
Following the month of excitement, I finally got myself an upgrade in ships, trading my covops Tengu for a covops Proteus. Whilst much shorter range, it traded speed for a massively improved Tank with more DPS at 3km, which is where I would be when cloaked anyway. A flight of drones provided me with ECM capabilities which has, to date, saved my Proteus 3 times in the face of danger.
Later in the year, our shenanigans upped a notch by claiming a nullsec system (I think it lasted a week). We also fought off our first couple of attempted corp thefts, but our security was more than enough to stop anything more than a couple of ships being stolen. More notable kills came in the form of managing to decloak a Drake in nullsec and scoring another capital kill – this time in saving our own carrier, tackled when rolling a wormhole. One of my favourite fights in wormhole space to date!
My own skills were to a point where I was now satisfied. I knew the wormhole mechanics inside out. My probing was more than adequate, and we even popped a 10mn Slicer thanks to my probing.
Then it gets a bit worse.
The slow decline
It’s no secret that Wormhole Engineers has been suffering a slight activity issue. Most of our members had been struck by various real-life issues (myself included, hence the lack of posts here) so our EU timezone was looking a bit grim. We fired up recruitment and got a couple of new members along with our veteran members returning slowly, so our EU timezone is now up to what it was last August. So thank god for that.
However, there have been two very major changes to wormhole space that has caused me to start to fall out with it. Both brought on by CCP. You probably know what these are.
First off, CCP changed probing. They made it a lot easier, whilst removing some of the skill and the fidelity needed previously. Now this one is a bit of a mixed bag – I like the extra abilities (default formations, launch several probes at once) but simultaneously dislike other things. The reduced launch time makes it nigh-on impossible to catch ships when launching probes, for example. To be honest, I’m neither happy nor unhappy at the changes, but did prefer the older system.
Secondly, we have the new scanning overlay thing. I love it… in k-space. In wormhole space it’s a goddamn pain in the arse. Gone are the days when you could catch a ratting fleet unawares with a new wormhole. Before they had to have a probe up, with someone hitting “probe” and checking it for new signatures. You get lazy and forget to probe, you possibly die. Now the game does it for you, you just have to keep the window open. We have not had a single kill against a sleeper-ratting ship from a new wormhole since the expansion. We’ve jumped others of course, but those situations are independent of this change. There’s a lot more that annoys me with this auto-scanner in wormhole space, and my corpmate Penny has a brilliant post here which sums it up nicely.
So all of that brings us to today. I’ve had a blas so far and hope to continue doing so. I feel I’ve reached the peak in my actual wormhole knowledge, but still plenty to improve on in combat (don’t warp to bubbled gates in a Guardian, dammit). My interest in w-space has declined lately thanks to the issues above, but it’s turning around. My overall playtime has dropped like a rock thanks to recent events out of game, but there’s not a lot I can do there.
So that’s 2 years. Onto the next one.