EVE Evolved: A guide to probing in Apocrypha

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EVE Evolved: A guide to probing in Apocrypha
Several years ago, CCP released a new upgrade for EVE Online's standard system scanner. Scanner probes were deployable tools that could be used to find ships, drones and a few hidden complexes lost in the vastness of space. The system was later expanded to provide an awesome exploration experience – combat encounters, dungeons and rich asteroid belts were strewn throughout space for some lucky explorer to find.

With EVE's latest expansion, the exploration system received a complete overhaul. A new scanning system was devised, complete with new probes and probe launchers. As if that wasn't enough, a new "True Exploration" mechanic was introduced with the appearance of wormholes all throughout space. Many wormholes lead to one of the 2500 new star systems that aren't on the main system map, each of which contains lucrative but dangerous sleeper NPCs that drop components for tech 3 ship production.

In this article, I delve into the new probing system with complete strategies that have been proven to work. Read on to get an edge on wormhole exploration.

The old versus the new:
The old probe system was a complicated endeavour, with dozens of different probes. There were probes of a wide range of sizes, with larger probes having weaker scan strength. You had to pick the right type of probe for the type of site you're trying to scan down and had to manually warp around to lay probes down in the right places. The new system combines all of the old probes into one single new type – the Core Scanner Probe I. This new probe is equipped with a warp drive of its own and after arranging them on the system map, they will actually warp to your chosen locations before beginning their scan.

The core scanner probe can be adjusted in size and its scan strength adjusts to match, with smaller probes having a higher scan strength. To complete the package, scans now take only 5-10 seconds instead of several minutes and the results are no longer chance-based. The old chance-based mechanics have been replaced with a system based on player skill. Figuring out how to place your probes most effectively and giving it some practice will be the best way to perfect your scanning ability using the new system.

The loot:
The kind of sites you can find using probes depends on the security rating of the system it's found in. Hidden asteroid belts will tend to contain the same types of ore that the system naturally carries and sometimes types only available in lower security rating systems. Combat complexes get progressively more difficult but more rewarding as you go down in security level. Some complexes in 0.0 contain over a hundred battleships and the end boss can drop rare Gist and Corpum modules worth hundreds of millions or even several billion.

With the Apocrypha expansion, new treasures await explorers in the form of unstable wormholes. These can lead to either existing star systems in EVE or one of 2500 new hidden 0.0 security rating systems with no stargates or stations. These systems were once populated by the ancient races of EVE (the Yan Jung, Takmahl, Talocan and Sleepers) and relics of their ships and stations still remain. Of the four races, only the sleepers with their cryotechnology and advanced artificial intelligence have ships that remain in-tact.

Automated sleeper ships roam the systems, protecting the secrets of a long-dead but technologically superior civilisation. Their advanced AI and powerful weapons make them deadly foes but for those willing to risk combat, the rewards are definitely worth it. In addition to salvage components required in the tech 3 ship production chain, sleeper ships drop data libraries that can be sold to the various NPC factions in the game. These are like ship tags and effectively replace the bounties NPC ships normally have. To give an indication of the kind of isk this represents, I tackled some sleeper sites with a few friends. The frigates dropped around 200k of data libraries, the cruisers about 2 million isk worth of them and the battleships 5 million. Even though the sleepers are tougher than normal NPCs and most will require a group to fight, this is definitely on par with or above the level of isk that can be made killing asteroid belt NPCs in 0.0.

Read on to part 2 of this guide, where I discuss scanning techniques.
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