Wormhole Spelunking

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Looking for a change to my usual mission running I set aside last night for my first solo wormhole expedition.  Not being sure of what to expect and wanting to plan for the worst, I jumped into a fresh clean jump clone and stuck a +3 implant in just for the one skill that I was training at that time.  Several jumps away in Rens I had parked a Rupture from back when I was running level 2 missions.  I quickly hopped into my pod and flew the cruiser back to Balgania to outfit it for PVE combat against the sleepers.

 

I probably could have read up about exactly what damage types to use and what resistances to stack. But I wanted to change things up a bit and thought it best to just go into this wormhole blind.  I ended up going with an omni tank armor tank on my Rupture and fitted it out with 4 auto-cannons, a smart bomb and a salvager.  My thinking was that I would only take on combat sites with frigate size mobs or smaller and thus I also grabbed a web and took a drone bay full of small scout drones.  The beauty of this setup is that it was assembled almost entirely of mission drops from my level four missions.  I have several thousand m3 in a storage container that I drop all frigate and cruiser fittings into that might be useful for outfitting.  It certainly paid off here.  A loss of this ship to the Sleepers or to some pirate gang would have very little financial impact on me. 

Which is for fighting and which is for fun?

Which is for fighting and which is for fun?

Now I was just missing one crucial component, an actual wormhole.  Luckily just one jump over from Balgania is a rarely traveled set of systems that I have always found to be nearly deserted sans miners.  Sure enough there were only nine other players in local and I found a nice wormhole just one jump from my main base of operations.  Taking my Burst frigate in to do some initial scanning and surveying I felt the excitement building.  This was, after all, my first trip ever into 0.0 space.

 

Happily I can report that there was no camp on the opposite end so I warped off to a faraway moon on the opposite end after setting a bookmark for my escape route.  Once at the moon I flew out in some random direction and then stopped and set an additional bookmark as my make shift safe spot.  Then I got down to the business of scanning down the system.  First I opened up my direction scanner and set it to 360 degrees and max range.  Assuming I understand the thing, if any other ship was in the area or fighting Sleepers then the ships or wrecks would show up here.  It was empty . 

 

Confident in my solitude I warped to the Sleeper site at 100 km.  This was to give me time to check out the site as well as adequate time to run away before I was tackled.  Upon warp in I was immediately aggressed by eight sleeper frigate size drones that began to MWD at me.  As I did an about face to warp back to my safe spot, I was highly impressed by the NPC behavior.   Not only were they coming in extremely fast (they had to have been going 2000-3000 m/s), they were coming in at various approach vectors.  Thankfully the frigates in my level four missions haven’t been taught this trick yet. 

 

Once in my safe spot I again scanned the system looking for any other sites.  No dice on this one.  No mining, no gas sites, no salvage, nothing else beside this one combat site.  Quickly I warped back to the exit point and jumped back through to civilized space, well you know what I mean.  Just one jump over and a quick dock up and I was back at the wormhole in my anti-frigate cruiser. 

 

I took the Rupture in and made it to my safe spot.  Once again the directional scanner was not picking up anything besides moons and planets so I warped back to the Sleeper site at 100 km.  Launching my scout drones as soon as I came into the area I was again under the guns of the sleeper frigates who were somehow able to shoot me in excess of 100km.  I turned on my damage control unit and flew head on into the fray.  I am not entirely sure but I think some crewmember started to recite the Charge of the Light Brigade as we prepared to do battle with this yet unknown enemy.

 

They closed to within 80km coming straight at me, then they all picked up approach vectors and it became difficult to keep track of where they were all going.  I simply chose the closest one at 50km and hit approach as the Rupture’s engines shot hot plasma into space in pursuit.  Now they were all within 40km and able to actually do some damage to my shields and I watched as their first volley took my shields down to 60%.  But it was now my turn to strike back.

 

I had locked up five of them and began heading straight at their small formation.  Guns blazing, drones…well droning along… I soon had the first one down.  Now I went to the second and noticed that the sleepers were pulling away from me and were about 20km out.  Had they figured out the range of my guns and pulled out beyond my effective range?  Did they sense the smart bomb I had loaded up as a nasty surprise for any would-be tackler?

 

Looking at my drones I now saw was had their attention.   In the blink of an eye one of my drones was turned into space junk.  I quickly recalled them to the drone bay as I once again opened fire on the nearest Sleeper frigate.  A second drone was into structure as the small flight of four safely entered the bay.  How dare they shoot my drones!  Clearly no one has explained to the Sleepers how aggro is supposed to work and the various rules of engagement. 

 

By now two of the Sleeper frigates were down and I was out of shields.  Luckily I was omni-armor tanked and I turned on my armor repper as I saw the red boxes surge back into white.  Redeploying my drones I turned onto the nearest frigate that was within 10km from my boat.  I turned on my webber and opened up with all four guns and 5 drones back in the fight.  It melted under the fire leaving just my rupture and three frigates left on the grid.

 

Even those three frigates were able to keep up with my tank.  Fortunately for me the combined fire of these frigates was not quite enough to break my tank and I was holding steady at around 50% armor.  Soon I was working on the last frigate and starting to move towards the nearest Sleeper wreck to begin looting.  I saw my drones get the final shot in on the frigate just as my armor repairer brought me back to 100% allowing me to shut it off.  Alas my victory was short lived as killing the last frigate caused a respawn and the Sleepers were not quite willing to give up this fight.

 

Seven cruiser size Sleeper ships and a frigate were now blasting towards me from 150km out.  Luckily I had time to loot several of the nearby wrecks and safely get out before the one frigate got close enough to tackle me.  On my way out I set a bookmark for the wreck and planned on warping back directly to it to check out the salvage from these guys.  Unfortunately upon my return the small frigate was only 40km away and had me targeted almost instantly.  I turned and ran.

 

Needing a plan to loot the remaining few wrecks and possibly score some salvage I decided that I would warp to 100km from the wreck and then draw the frigate to me.  Once the frigate was close enough I would destroy it and then I could ninja loot and salvage those wrecks without fear of being tackled.  Unfortunately the Sleeper mindset just would not cooperate.  While the small frigate did come towards me it stopped to wait at 60k for his cruiser buddies to arrive for backup.  So that idea was out.

 

Sitting back at the safe spot I weighed my options and decided to bring this operation to a close.  Perhaps with a bit more planning and research into Sleeper damage types and tactics, I could safely take on the cruiser spawn.  If nothing else I now know that I need to tank the last frigate while I loot and salvage all of the other wrecks.   I jumped back through the wormhole into Empire and checked the price tag on the loot that I had managed to grab. 

 

400,000 Isk…

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~ by Centuri on July 9, 2009.

2 Responses to “Wormhole Spelunking”

  1. Sleepers do all 4 types of damage so you have to omnitank it.

    They have 70% resists to all damage types, so it’s generally suggested you just use your highest damage type ammo. Downside is the short range, but… whachagonnado?

    And yeah — they switch targets to drones a lot, so you have to keep a close eye on them.

    Ah Balginia…. I missioned out of there for a while. Nice system, and lots of good places around it.

  2. I like the system and the agents is decent enough as LVL 4 Q15 Administration. While I was in Rens and Frans I had problems with ninja looters and salvagers. Lusitrek is another close by mission hub but it tends to have three to four times the number of mission runners and seems to have more potential targets for the ninja looters.

    If you head out of Balginia away from Rens there is an entire string of 1.0-.8 star systems that are largely deserted. Perfect for tracking down empty wormhole space.

    Now that I plan on doing this for a bit I have been doing some more reading up on w-space and it certainly seems like an interesting place. The systems are apparently not random and each system has unique properties and buffs and debuffs for various ship systems.

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