EVE Evolved: Wormhole piracy 101

If it seems like I've gone wormhole crazy lately, that's because I have. The wormholes that arrived with the Apocrypha expansion have infiltrated and enriched many different aspects of EVE Online, from exploration and corporate goals to small gang PvP and piracy. In previous articles, I looked at preparing for an expedition, untangled the mystery of the Sleepers and told the story of a tense week for Total Comfort alliance in the Sleeper's den. After a week spent hunting wormhole-dwellers for fun and profit, this week's EVE Evolved is dedicated to the fine art of being an interstellar cut-throat as I delve into the world of wormhole piracy.

Wormhole piracy is one of the few professions where small gang warfare is most prevalent. While many pirates have already begun including wormhole systems in their roaming gangs, our corporation (and I'm sure others) have come across a much more effective method. By setting up your own pirate staging base inside a wormhole system, your corp can use its regular outgoing wormholes to wreak havoc in systems all across EVE. Using this method, it's possible to spring attacks on people without anyone even seeing you coming. Whether you're planning surprise attacks on 0.0 systems or hunting in the 2500 new unknown sleeper systems, wouldn't you like to run your own pirate way-station?

Read on for an informative guide on using wormholes to wreak havoc around EVE and make a profit in the process.

Ship types:

Due to the mass limits on wormholes, the optimum ships to use to avoid accidentally collapsing the wormhole are those with a high power to mass ratio such as tech 2 cruisers or frigates. Our corp has had a great deal of success with haphazard gangs of heavy assault ships and combat recon vessels, with the occasional battleship thrown in when mass permits. Since the local channel is disabled in Sleeper systems, the best choice for invading them is a cloaked recon gang. A gang composed of cloaked Force Recon ships and Stealth Bombers will allow you to sneak up on targets while giving them almost no warning until it's too late.

No matter your gang configuration, a good covert ops pilot is essential to any wormhole piracy gang. Their primary goals are to provide intelligence on possible targets and use combat scanner probes to help land your gang right on top of them. Should your gang inadvertently become trapped, the covert ops pilot will also be required to find a new way back to normal space. Another important set of tools are the heavy and standard interdictors, which can be used to launch warp disruption fields around the target to prevent their escape pods from warping out. This adds an extra cost and inconvenience to the potential loss and so increases the ransom your gang can demand.

Serpentis way-station 4-0B:

A POS anchored in a wormhole system makes a great base of operations and rearming station for pirate vessels. As wormhole systems always have at least one static exit wormhole leading to a specific class of system, that wormhole can be used to invade systems and hunt for targets. The first step to establishing a base and forming your own pirate way-station on the frontier is to select what type of system you want to invade. In our piratical adventures, we found that class 3 wormholes were often brimming with targets, from lone battleships to full scale mining ops with Hulks and Orcas. Other good options include 0.0 systems as your gangs can appear from nowhere, attack pilots in another alliance's space and disappear back into the wormhole before a defense fleet arrives.

When you've chosen what type of system you want to invade, the next step is finding a system with the appropriate static outgoing wormhole. If you want a system that routinely links to 0.0 systems, search for incoming wormholes in 0.0 that link to Sleeper systems. The incoming wormholes will be denoted by the type K162 being displayed on the 0.0 system side. Similarly, finding one that links to class 3 systems is a matter of finding your way into a class 3 system and then searching for incoming wormholes there. To prove that your chosen system is viable, stay there for several days and scan out the new wormholes each day to check their type. This will prove that your system will always open wormholes to your chosen class of system and is an important final step before setting up your base.

Read on to part 2, where I discuss manually collapsing wormholes, tactics for wormhole piracy and the different types of targets you can hope to find.

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