It really feels weird to be docked in a station – there is something unnatural about being invulnerable, visible and blind to the events outside. Basically, its the exact opposite of being in a Wormhole. But after 3 weeks of bumming with my team of alts through a myriad of holes, it is nice to take a break. I always imagine my Gallente characters visiting houses of ill repute while my lone Caldari character character is left inventorying the spoils of the trip.
I had wondered for a long time, what it really takes to live in a Wormhole as a solo player. There are basically 2 paths: The obvious one, where I find an unoccupied hole, bring a tower, bring fuel, bring ships, bring guns… or the less obvious where I take my team of 4 characters and squat in someone else’s system, run their sites, hopefully kill someone and basically take advantage of all that Wormhole space offers without having to pay for the infrastructure. The second path is much more appealing. I have run (and paid for) POSes. Its not fun.
Alright, so first things first, what kind of system? I chose a C1 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I can solo the sites in my Stratios (see this blog) while my Tengu holds overwatch. C1 sites are actually pretty valuable these days (thank you Corbexx!) and they run pretty quickly. Secondly, C1 systems are nearly always occupied by carebears running PI or mining operations which make great target practice.
In addition to the Tengu and the Stratios, I bring an Out-of-corp Helios pilot who hacks cans and generally provides Intel. He looks / is harmless and I often use him in Nullsec to scout ahead of my main guys and look for trouble and opportunity. With hacking alone, I can make very good ISK (Nullsec) but the cargo hold is pretty limited. My fourth character solves that problem, he comes into the hole with a salvaging Catalyst destroyer and anchors secure containers in my temporary home. These containers are ubiquitous in Wormhole Space – unlike Mobile Depots, they can not be scanned down and survive downtime resets, they offer great temporary storage. Of course, they need to be dropped at 2nd or 3rd tier safe spots. I tend to also rename them to make them look like the infantile propaganda containers commonly found in EVE:
And so I am “invading” J113434 a C1 with a static nullsec exit. The nullsec is a nice touch, it offers both ISK making and opportunities to drop onto someone. As for Intel, the hole appeared to be perfect – an active but smaller corporation lives there that makes all the mistake a Wormhole corporation can make, from floating ships to never scanning until they need a route. The floating ships were especially illustrative this time, they they showed mining operations with substantial numbers, PI hauling, site running with Drakes and Vexors and salvaging with Destroyers.
When I came in, the system was lousy with 20+ signatures but only 2 or 3 anomalies indicating that the locals really didn’t care about gas mining (gas is hard to export, especially when you mostly have nullsec routes, sleeper loot is much smaller and much more valuable). The POS also didn’t have a gas array supporting this hunch.
Well, despite the floating ships, during several days of watching the tower, I did not catch any activity other than a shuttle logging in a few times and then logging off after a few minutes (resetting skill queue or PI harvesters or something like that) its pretty disappointing – I had looked forward to a solid ambush, taking down a Drake or an entire mining fleet. But it looks like my targets are solidly on the other side of Planet Earth. My friend Oreamnos suggests a neat trick – park my Helios outside their POS and screen-capture the ongoings all night, then fast forward the next day to spot my prey. Sort of like a hunter’s wildlife camera. Its a mean and evil mechanic – I love it! For technical reasons related to my PC, it didn’t quite work but I will use this in the next round.
Anyway, I am running their sites, I have been in this hole for a week now, lets break out the Hammerheads and blow up a few sleepers. The Stratios cleans these sites without much trouble, I just have to watch Drone Aggro. I run about 5 sites or so in short succession, my alt is using the Catalyst with great effect to salvage the wrecks and gathers the loot.
The next day, I happen to have a high sec hole 4 jumps from my base. Its too tempting to miss and I take my cans down, bring my salvage and loot out and tally up. Overall, I made 150 million out of this hole and the few nullsec hacking sites I ran. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I wasn’t really there to make money, I was there to prove a point – that one can quite perfectly live in Wormhole, run sites, stalk the locals until the sites run out. The respawn rates appeared to be ~ 2 anomalies / day + 2 signatures (gas or hacking) – thats not a lot but with adjacent holes and the nullsec connections would provide much more.
I might do this again when I need ISK but this time, less intel, less stalking and more shooting.