Welcome back to another episode of Newbie to Brave Newbie. This time we are going to be covering Exploration. I will do my best to explain this as simple as possible. THIS IS A LOT OF INFORMATION! If you grasp exploration you can make a ludicrous amount of money for a new player. One site can often cover 10 or more of your frigates.
So you have learned how to rat in Asteroid Belts, How to mine ore and how to Salvage. These are the simplest and most reliable ways to make money. Exploration on the other hand is a bit harder to explain, It does however have the potential for massive profits. unfortunately there is a little luck involved with finding the right sites so.
Exploration without wormholes involves jumping between systems and scanning down Cosmic Signatures with a specially fit ship, Once you find a suitable anomaly you warp to it and begin to break into data storage containers or relic containers through the use of the ship equipment and a mini-game. Successfully breaking in allows you to take the items out of it which can be worth millions of isk, My largest find was 102 Million isk from a single relic site!
What do you need?
As always getting started is very simple and all you need is a tech 1 exploration frigate. As always if you are in Brave Newbies you can get a fully fitted ready to go frigate from them completely free regardless of your starting faction and clone status.
The following are considered the Tech 1 exploration frigates, You should ask the Dojo for the one you can fly, If you are an Omega I strongly recommend you train the Heron instead of your nations as it has more mid slots allowing for an easier time scanning. If you are not in Below is a basic concept, you can fill the remaining slots with Tank or modules to help you escape since you are not a combat frigate.
Firstly, Alpha’s cannot use cloaks! You can still explore you just cant hide in systems so you will have to use bookmarked safes. You can create a safe by warping to a destination and whilst in warp create a bookmark. Then warp back to the bookmark.
Amarr – Magnate- Fit Core Probe Launcher, Prototype Cloak, Relic & Data Anaylzer, 5mn Microwarp Drive & 8 Core Scanner Probes
Caldari – Heron – Fit Core Probe Launcher, Prototype Cloak, Relic & Data Anaylzer, 5mn Microwarp Drive & 8 Core Scanner Probes
Gallente – Imicus – Fit Core Probe Launcher, Prototype Cloak, Relic & Data Anaylzer, 5mn Microwarp Drive & 8 Core Scanner Probes
Minmitar – Probe – Fit Core Probe Launcher, Prototype Cloak, Relic & Data Anaylzer, 5mn Microwarp Drive & 8 Core Scanner Probes
Additionally you will want to fit the following rigs to all of the above, “Small emission Scope Sharpener 1” & “Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade 1”
Lows I would recommend Nanofiber Structures and Inertial Stabilizers. These modules will help you align and warp out quicker. Alternatively you could fit two warp core stabilizers. These will allow you to warp out if you get caught by a single ship with a warp scrambler. The penalty for this is significant shorter targeting range and a longer targeting time. (Exploration requires you to be under 5km from the object anyway)
If you have additional mid slots free I would suggest you fit “Scan Range Finding Array” This module will make it easier for you to scan down Cosmic Anomalies. Since the heron will have two empty mid slots fit two!
How do you do it?
So you have your ship and you are ready to go! undock and open up the probe scanner window, You can do this by clicking the icon shown below or pushing “Alt+P” You will also want to open the D-Scan window shown below or by pushing “Alt+D”. Make sure these windows are visible as they are very important!
The Scan window allows you to check for for hostiles already in a site once you have scanned it down and allows you to check if someone is scanning your site down. You can refresh the D-Scan by pushing “V” to scan again and adjust the range/angle of the scan. (I will not be covering D-scan more then this. You want to look out for ships in the site and once you are there look out for Core Scanner Probes or Combat Scanner Probes. If they are within a short range of you then someone is also trying to find you or the site.
The Probe Scanner window is a little different as it shows you all available scan results, Since we are exploring you can go ahead and click the “Filtered Box” and filter out make sure the “Anomalies” & “Structures” are unchecked as these will just clog your view. Do this by clicking the button labeled in the image below as 7. (window might look a little different based on your UI Colour)
If there are no cosmic signatures then you need to jump to another system through the stargate. You can go through a few systems without seeing a a single Cosmic Signature. Often you will find a signature to scan it down and it will not be relevant. A little patience is needed.
Make sure your Core Probe Launcher is loaded with 8 Core Scanner Probes and go ahead and click the button Labeled “2” and then button “6” This will launch your probes in a pinpoint formation (the only formation you need) & will open your system map. When ever you have launched probes you should also be in stealth so go ahead and turn your cloak on.
Rearrange your windows so D-Scan, Probe Scanner and the Map are all visible along with Local window. You can adjust the map size to suite your needs.
Zoom out on your map to find the probe cluster which is denoted by a number of blue spheres and arrows. Using the arrows to drag the probes move them over the cosmic signature which will be shown as a red circle or sphere which are shown below. The map is completely 3d so you need to engulf the signature from all sides. (bottom left is an inset picture off what you want to achieve)
Each Cosmic signature shown in the “Scan Results” of the Probe scanner window will have its own Red signature on the map. If you have multiple signatures go ahead and click a single one in the table to hide the others and make it easier on the eyes when using the map.
If your probe cluster is to small to completely engulf the signature you can click on the edge of a blue sphere and drag the mouse to increase the size of all the probes scan range.
Once you have engulfed the signature click “Anaylyze” (button 1) in the probe scanner window. Your probes will move to the position in space indicated by your map and perform a scan.
The signature will now move position slightly and will display a single icon or a red sphere. The concept is the same only this time you reduce the probe cluster size by 1 by clicking and dragging one of the blue spheres edges. Surround the signature again ensuring it is in the center and scan again. Every time you scan reduce the size and reposition the probes. You will have to zoom your map in as you decrease the probe scan size so you can more accurately position them. The signature will also change colour to show your progress.
As you do this the signatures signal should increase in the probe scan window. You need to get this signal to 100%. As you progress towards 100% You will discover the type of site that you are scanning. If you discover a “Relic Site” or “Data Site” keep scanning the signature. If it is any other site ignore it and start scanning another signature.
In the event that you scan a signature and two icons or spheres appear the site could be ine one of two places. Reduce the probe size by 1 again and then position them over one of the icons and scan, If the result does not change scan the other one and then resume as normal.
The image below shows a scan that has split but also shows it is a combat site so we need not continue.
You can often tell if you are going to be able to do the site before you actually get the signal to 100%. This is handy to know and more will be cover a bit further down.
So you have finally managed to pinpoint the site location and get it to 100%! Recall your probes, turn off your cloak and right click the site in the list and select warp to!
Upon landing at the site you will be greeted with a variety of different environments based on type of site you enter. However they will all have containers that you need to approach and orbit in order to break into. Select one and orbit it at 500m. once you have closed in activate your Relic/Data anaylzer and a new window will open this is the minigame you have to beat in order to break in to the container.
You will not be able to scan every site. Some of them will require higher skills trained and better modules/ships. If you are at the smallest size for your probe cluster you can try zooming right in and centering the cluster perfectly.
Once you have done this you can hold “CTRL” and scroll the mouse wheel up slightly to bring the probes even closer together. Repeat this and you might have a little luck with getting the site to 100%
The Mini Game!
You found your site and now you are trying to break in to the containers to take the valuables. The image below shows a few key points.
Virus Coherence = Your HP If it reaches zero you will fail. Failing the game twice results in the can exploding (does not deal damage)
Virus STR = The damage you deal (Can be increased with skills, Rigs or even ships can have bonuses
Ability Slot = As you progress around the board you will find abilities/powerups which can be used to your advantage.
Starting Location – This is your start point, You can only two an adjacent node, from that node you can move on.
The aim of the game is to get from your starting location and move around the board and discover the System Core, Once you find the core you have to attack it and destroy it. Successfully destroying the core will close the minigame and allow you to loot the container.
Everytime you click a node you reveal it, You can only reveal nodes adjacent to a previously revealed node. For a brief moment a number will flash in the center of the node. This number indicates how many nodes are between you and either the System Core or an Ability or a secret node. It does not disclose how far you are from a defensive subsystem!
The system core is, Well the system core defeat it and you win.
There are a number of abilities which I will cover later, clicking the ability on the grid will add it to one of your 3 ability slots which can then be used at your disposal.
Secret nodes are a white circle on the node, The contents is unkown, It acts like a revealed node and allows you to pass straight through if you choose. Alternatively you can reveal the node and get either an ability or a Defensive Subsystem. These will be covered further down.
The rule of 6 is an easy way to navigate around the border in safety without revealing defensive subsystems, You can find more on this rule here —> Day 6 – Rule of 6
As you explore board you will uncover abilities/powerups. Below is a list of the 4 items you can find which are beneficial to you. These items are consumed on use but multiple are scattered through the board for you to find. They do not carry over between games so USE THEM!
Repair System – This item will regenerate your virus Coherence for the next 3 times. You can reach huge amounts of HP as there does not appear to be a cap. Use it the moment you pick it up.
Kernal Rot – This item will half the coherence of a defensive subsystem. This is great when used against large hp subsystems. Do not be affriad to use this on a lower HP system if you need to kill it to get past.
Polymorphic Shield – This item will prevent the next to instances of damage you take regardless of the amount. (activating the shield will count as a single turn)
Secondary Vector – This item deals 20 damage to a targets Coherence (HP) every turn for the next 3 turns. Click this item in your abilities and then click the target. This can be used to kill a system without you ever attacking or combined with your attack to deal large damage.
Whilst you have abilities and powerups at your disposal the System Core has Defensive Subsystems scattered throughout it to slow you down and ultimately prevent the break in. These system vary in Coherence(HP) and STR(Damage dealt) some are very deadly and should be dealt with immediately. Others you can ignore in some situations, You will pick up these situations as you play the games and they cannot really be put into writing since each one is unique.
If you reveal a Defensive Subsystem it will block your access past it and also lock out node adjacent to it.
System Core – This is your main target, its colour will vary to display the difficulty, Green(Easy) Yellow (Harder) Red (Hardest). The only real difference is the amount of HP they have. After a few games you can guess the difficulty based on the size of the board. Smaller boards will have an easier system core and less defensive systems.
Firewall – This is a basic system with high Coherence and low damage. Ideally you ignore it and explore the rest of the board first instead of wasting coherence. Found in all difficulties.
Antivirus- much lower coherence but packs a larger punch. Again, You should avoid it when possible. using a kernal rot or a shield will allow you to kill it without taking damage. If you use a shield you will still have 1 charge left. Found in all difficulties.
Restoration node – This node will add 20 coherence(hp) to another discovered defensive subsystem at random. This is a high priority kill and can render the game unbeatable if left alone. Will not target the system core or itself. turn so it will heal a random subsystem. Found in Medium & Hard difficulties
Virus Suppressor – Whilst active on the board it will reduce the damage you deal on attacking. Thus making your job even harder. Ensure you kill this as soon as possible. The harder system cores will be unkillable whilst this is on the board and even a firewall is an issue to kill. Only found on Hard
Sometimes you might get screwed over and start in a bottle neck and discover a bad node straight away. Some times the game is unbeatable with lower skills. Keep trying and get your reward.
You can find sites, You can do the minigame so what sites should you look out for? This is more of a thing for wormholes but I will cover it anyway.
Combat Site – Completely Ignore them, They offer you nothing at all you should stop scanning them as soon as it is shown to be a combat site.
Relic Site & Data Site – Keep scanning it. These are the sites you want to find. Relic sites generally pay more on average but data sites have a chance for a big payout. These are split further below.
Once you scan the site further it will reveal its name in full. These names describe the site and also reveal if you should go in or avoid them. A few basic rules apply to all sites.
Any site with a pirate faction name in its title is doable, unless it also says “Covert” Pirate factions are as follows:
The Blood Raiders
Sleeper Sites are a weird one and in general should be avoided until you have a bit more experience. They are littered with traps and one wrong move will destroy your ship.
Once you have a bit more experience you can do them with the basic exploration frigate so long as you can scan it down. Guides can be found online to walk you through these sites as they have to be done in a certain way to succeed.
The limited sleeper site does not spawn any enemies but instead has damaging traps.
Sites with the word Covert in will trigger a hidden and random timer upon warping in with your T1 Frigate. Once this timer expires very strong NPC’s will show up, Kill you and blow up the containers.
On top of this failing a container will result in it exploding and dealing massive damage, Enough to one shot your frigate.
These sites can be done to some degree by warping in, turning your MWD on and looking for the container that is named differently to the others. approach it and orbit whilst you hack it. You have to be quick and failing it will kill you. Successfully breaking into it can uncover very valuable items and lots of loot. Once you have looted it immediately warp out and do not return.
It is often worth trying these with an empty cargo hold, If you succeed you can make a large amount of Isk and failing the site doesn’t cost you much.
Now you have found your hall it is time to return home. Your cloak is very poor and will not work whilst warping and will drastically slow your ship.
To minimize your risk of death you should not warp directly to a gate. Instead warp to a planet or other object first and then warp to the gate at a distance. If a threat is there you can turn on your cloak, align to a target and then disable the cloak and warp back out. If it is clear you can burn to the gate.
The most dangerous part is jumping a gate. If the enemy has a camp set up on the other side you have very little chance of escaping and almost no chance at all if they have a bubble. You can attempt to burn out of the bubble and warp away if you spawned near an edge, Or you can burn back to gate and run away before they can jump through.
There is a trick you can do by clicking your cloak immediately followed by the Microwarp drive you will be able to get a burst of speed to try and get away from the camp. If you make it into cloak they can only find you by moving within 2500m of you.
- Keep your eye on local! If its clear then you are all good. If an enemy is present keep Dscan going and look for probes!
- If you are in Brave we operate a first come first serve basis on sites. If you warp to a site and someone is already there then you should leave. If you don’t leave they will likely kill you.
- Try not to get to greedy. You are better returning home with a hundred million isk then returning home with 1 billion isk. If you die on the way home it hurts less.
- One site can pay for a lot of frigates so don’t stay out too long as you are an easy target
- Fitting a Drone Link Augmentor in the high slot can allow you to out range all other T1 Exploration frigates and force enemies out of their site without exposing yourself to fire.
- If you are in Brave and get the Heron from the Dojo, I recommend you drop the cargo scanner & the Gravity Capacitor rig. Replace the rig with another “Emission Scope Sharpener” and the cargo scanner with another Scan Rangefinding Array” This enables you to more easily beat the relic minigames without hindering your probes ability to find sites.
This sums up the exploration introduction which I know is very heavy and has a lot of text. If you cant quite grasp the scanning do not be alarmed as it is hard to explain over text. A video which explains how to do it can be found below
All credit goes to the author ^^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wErCHjNTsRA