Wormhole Space is sort-of hip these days. There are several varied blogs dedicated to it (and I don't mean mine). There is a new wormhole-themed podcast. Both themittani.com and EveNews24 try to outdo each other when it comes to reporting on wormhole related events.
Still, it remains a minority program. Only about 5% of EVE players make their home there. That is about a fourth of the amount of people playing in Nullsec while the total of systems in Wormhole Space is not much smaller than the amount in 0.0 space.
In this article I will try to shed some more light on that last frontier of EVE Online and provide an overview on what it really takes to be prepared for a life out there among the few who have taken permanent residence in Wormhole Space.
The state of things
Wormhole Space is at the moment mostly occupied and frequented by four general groups;
- 1 Alt corps and utility operations
- 2 The frontier settlers
- 3 The PVP specialists
- 4 The daytrippers
So who am I writing this for?
In this article I will mainly focus on groups 2 and 3. I will try to offer a basis for the reader to decide whether they could be part of any of those two groups and therefore become full-time wormhole residents, embracing that particular playstyle.
You may have heard that Wormhole Space is only for very experienced and high-skilled players who can at least fly Strategic Cruisers and preferably a lot of other advanced ships up to and including Carriers and Dreadnaughts. That is only partially true, but there are a number of basic qualities you as a person and player would need to have to find a place in a wormhole corporation and get the most out of your experience.
There is very little instant gratification in wormhole space. There are no beltrats you can just go and shoot or missions to run. You wont find PVP targets easily and quickly. Even finding your way out of your own little system takes work and therefore time. In the lower class wormholes you can still do the PVE content alone, and you will likely have a static exit to known space where you can find other things to do. The further you move up the hierarchy of wormhole classes, however, the more isolated you will be, and PVE content requires anything from squadrons of ships up to small fleets.
I already mentioned that you will need to find your own way out of a wormhole system and that you will have to work together to clear the various PVE sites. You will have to set up and maintain a Player Owned Station (POS) and Player Owned Customs Offices (POCOS). You will also have to cooperate to defend those against enemies. You have to be a team player on some level for almost everything in EVE except flying solo, but hardly anywhere else - except maybe small gang PVP corps - this aspect is as important as in Wormhole Space.
Wormhole corporations tend to be smaller than comparable outfits in the rest of EVE - certainly much smaller than the average Nullsec corporation. Because of that, they depend on almost every member to develop initiatives of their own. Often there is no large leadership structure that hands down orders or makes sure you as an individual have something to do. This also means that you can develop your own initiatives without having to ask for permission for every little thing. The exact policies will vary from one corporation to the other, but in general the stated things apply.
Trust and Trustworthiness
You are going to be in this together. POS security is infamously lacking. You are to some extent at the mercy of your fellow players and they are at yours. Apart from finding a way out, it is pretty easy to steal from a wormhole corporation. Because of that, they tend to be very paranoid in their recruitment. You will rely on eachother for scouting, intelligence, and mutual protection. It is often said that trust is the most important thing in EVE. Nowhere else will you find that to be more true than out there.
It is almost an implicit requirement when considering all of the above, but it doesn't hurt to state it explicitly. Especially in Highsec and Nullsec one will often encounter people who like to spam local with smacktalk and links to questionable content or engage in trolling and griefing. In wormhole space such behaviour is generally frowned upon, both for practical reasons and a vague form of mutual respect. First of all, talking in local or opening a conversation gives away information. Your opponents will know that you are there and can collect information about you and your corporation. The second reason is a bit more difficult to explain. Because there are very few people in Wormhole Space to begin with, there is little reason to try and alienate them with aggressive verbal abuse. Also because of the small playerbase, there is a sort of mutual bond and little actual competition for resources. Finally there is a certain self-image among many wormhole occupants that they are above such behaviour. As a matter of fact, major fights can start because of transgressions. (1)
Skills and Ships
In the second part of this article, I will address this subject in-depth. Right here where I am writing about the most basic requirements for wormhole life I can tell you that there are a few abilities you definitely need to have:
- Use scanner probes: Train the Atrometrics skill and it's support skills Astrometric Rangefinding, Astrometric Pinpointing and Astrometric Acquisition. The minimum is to have Astrometrics to 4 so you can use at least 5 probes at the same time. This is the beginning of all wormhole operations: Finding your way in and out of wormhole systems can only be done by scanning for exits.
- Fly a covert-ops ship: That is either the Cheetah, Buzzard, Helios or Anathema. Your main advantage in wormhole space is being able to operate completely unseen, and those ships (and all others that can use a Covert Ops Cloaking Device) allow you to do so. Personally I would recommend training for the Cheetah or the Buzzard but all four of them are equally suited for scanning and flying cloaked.
- A solid PVE ship: This will vary depending on the corporation you would like to join and the wormhole they live in. Also your personal playstyle will influence this. For some it's about (gas)mining, others might want to concentrate on combat sites. In the lower class wormholes a decently fit Battlecruiser with good support skills will be sufficient for combat oriented PVE, but the further you go, the more you will see the need to train for Strategic Cruisers and Battleships. More on that in the second part of the article.
- Anchoring and POS defence: You will make yourself a lot of friends among wormhole dwellers if you can help setting up a POS and even actively defend it by taking control of it's turrets. Many corporations actually require you to do so. Those who do not will certainly be happy if you can.
- Hauling: Logistics (not the ship type but the moving around of stuff) is very important for wormhole life. You need to bring in ice products to fuel your POS, and you will not ever make a single ISK if you don't bring out products and loot to the markets in New Eden. To begin with, it is nice to be able to have a racial Industrial Ship skill at 4. Eventually you will find that it is very helpful to be able to fly cloaky haulers (Transport Ships) or maybe even an Orca.
At this point, you might have decided that wormhole life is not your cup of tea. Too much hassle, too much unnecessary e-honour, too much commitment or any other reason why you can't or wont fulfil any of the above criteria.
If that is so, then I wish you all the best with your chosen career in EVE.
If you - however - feel that the above appeals to you and if you think you can fit in with any of the two principal groups of wormhole dwellers, then stay tuned for my second part where I will go more in-depth on the issue of ships, skills, strategies and the various playstyles wormhole space offers these days.
(1) Just listen to this episode of Down the Pipe about how a major wormhole fight got started.