EVE: Wormhole space, and how it can be used

Having now experience wormhole (WH) space from a C1 to a C6, I’d like to talk a bit about the design behind them, and how players have adapted. Out of all MMO content, I think WH space in EVE is perhaps the most unique, most dynamic (real dynamic, not ‘dynamic’ dynamic), most sandbox thing out. It of course works in large part because of EVE itself, but even among EVE content WH space is really different.

For non-EVE players, here is a very basic rundown. Each wormhole is its own ‘zone’ that randomly connects to other ‘zones’, be it other wormholes or known space (high-sec, low-sec, 0.0 space). The zones difficulty scales from a C1 (easiest) to C6 (hardest), but not in all aspects. Finally, C1-C3 space is ‘shallow’, meaning the static connections (generally) go to known space, while C4-C-6 space can only have statics to other WH space. Random openings can also occur, so occasionally a C6 will have a direct route into high-sec. Confused yet? Hopefully talking about each class will clarify things a little.

C1: These WHs contain the easiest sleeper (NPCs), and also yield the lowest profits from fighting them. They are numerous, and only a battlecruiser or below can enter them. The low sleeper profits make C1s generally ‘pointless’ in that regard. But here is where players got creative, and the true nature of WH spaces comes out.

Not all things scale in WH space like sleepers. Planets, for instance, are all the same, and they are all set to the highest levels available (deep 0.0 space). This means that for planetary interaction, a C1 is just as good as a C6 in terms of output. That can be very profitable. Furthermore, since you can anchor a POS (or a dozen) in any WH, a C1 is just as good as a C6 for doing POS reactions or production, and since attacking a C1 POS is a major pain due to the ship and mass limits, your POS is (generally) far safer than even in Empire space.

Additionally, grav (mining) and ladar (gas) sites are not as strictly bound to WH class as sleeper sites. This means you can often mine the highest quality ore, and collect valuable gas, just as well in a C1 as you can in a C6. While WH space does present some challenges in terms of getting your goods to market or using them, the fact that they are available is pretty huge.

C2: While the sleepers are a bit tougher here, they are still fairly easy to solo for just about anyone with a decent battlecruiser, and the loot is still not amazing (though far better than lvl 4 missions). What makes C2 space special is that you generally (always?) have both a kspace static and a wspace static. This means that you can easily get supply into your WH, and also roll (force close) your wspace static to connect to others. Why would you want to do that? For PvP of course. Being able to connect to another WH, get a few cloaky PvP ships inside, and jump on unsuspecting players (perhaps farming valuable sleepers) can be very profitable and fun.

C3: The highest class of ‘shallow’ wormholes, C3 sleeper sites can be very decent ISK for small groups, or even a solo pilot with a solid ship. The type of static can vary, and something like a low-sec static means you won’t be getting a lot of visitors if you are good about closing unwanted random entrances. Having living in this type of WH for a while, I can easily say they make a great home for a smallish Corp looking to get into WH space.

C4: This is the WH class I have the least experience in, but what I’ve heard makes them sound like the redheaded stepchild of the bunch. The ISK jump from a C3 to a C4 is not major due to being unable to escalate the sites (bring a capital ship in and have more sleepers spawn), the logistics are harder since you are now in ‘deep’ WH space, and you still have all of the challenges in terms of invaders and such.

C5: At this class you can make some very serious (billions) of ISK due to capital escalations. The sites require plenty of logi (healer) support, and ships will die very quickly if people are not paying attention, but once you get some capital ships and know what you are doing, you will profit very quickly. Also due to the increased size of the entrances/exits, you can PvP roam in bigger fleets and invade others easier.

C6: The highest WH class with the highest ISK reward. Somewhat surprisingly a C6 is not a huge jump in ISK or difficulty compared to a C5, but it is higher. One big thing about C6s is that there are not a lot of them, meaning that if you have a static C6, you can roll the static and find the WH you are looking for ‘easily’ (in EVE terms. You still only have about a 2% chance per roll, and rolling can take 10 minutes or (much) longer). How you use this depends on what you plan to do, but it’s an important factor, especially when you consider the resources and skill level of Corps/Alliances at the C6 level.

And the above only really scratches the surface and talks about the ‘normal’ things people do with wormholes. I’m sure there are dozens of unique uses for WH space, with creative Corps and Alliances doing some very interesting things. But due to the nature of WH space itself, finding out what, let alone how, can be very difficult, if not impossible.

As veterans are always quick to point out, wormhole space is truly the last great frontier.

18 Responses to EVE: Wormhole space, and how it can be used

  1. kalex716 says:

    I concur. Eve wormholes is a brilliant stroke of content design and still remains that way to this day, despite its exposure.

    Its the way EVE was meant to be played IMO. Theirs so many lessons to be learned in the way that they’re constructed that can be appropriated to almost any emergent style design strategy in all games that its a shame not only has no one tried to repeat its successes in other projects yet, but even CCP themselves don’t even quite realize what they created.

  2. Rohan says:

    It’s an interesting concept. One thing I don’t understand, though.

    Why are the wormholes quasi-instances? Why not apply the concept to existing star systems in the “real” universe?

    It seems to me that existing star systems would have been the natural area to implement this kind of content. Was there some factor which pushed CCP away from real space?

    • Edward Teague says:

      rumors abound on this subject. a lot of people think that ccp is using wormhole space for places in the milky way, which would open up vast amounts of lore (since all the eve races originated from earth) and the potential to eventually find earth, or even reopen/restabilize the original eve wormhole. others think that it’s a parallel/alternate dimension, or even a massive scale of time dilation (i.e. the wormhole space actually IS empire space, but you’re catapulted an epoch or two into the past, predating the human settlers from earth)

      I dont’ actually know, but I think that leaving it as a giant question mark was a stroke of brilliance, as it keeps people busy asking ‘why? what is this really?’ keeps them from having to be bound to any one backstory/lore at this point, and opens them up to being able to generate potentially years of new content.

    • motstandet says:

      What do you mean by quasi-instances?

      The wormhole systems are not instanced at all. If you find system J142520 (http://www.wormnav.com/index.php?locus=J142520), you will be in the same zone as everyone else in the system. It’s the exact same as if you jumped into Jita.

      The only difference is the method by which you enter the system.

  3. Ano says:

    I stopped playing EvE Online before wormholes existed but I find them fascinating. Is it possible for a casual EvE player to explore C1 wormholes or is it corp level only?

    • Serpentine Logic says:

      Many solo players day-trip into C1 wormholes then escape with the loot. It’s a legitimate and effective technique.

  4. Having just watched “The Hatfields & McCoys” for the first time, I love how you added that W-space is the last great frontier. I’m feeling very wild west-ish. I couldn’t have put it better myself. I’m a C2 dweller, and a C3 is hopefully in the near future. W-space is truly the best space. Great read!

  5. kalex716 says:

    Wormhole life definitely feels like homesteading.

    I feel strange when i have to go back to empire to sell or get supplies, i feel out of my element, estranged, and i don’t trust anybody.

    I’m so used to seeing no ships on my overview (or if i do, thats bad!), that every single neut out of the corner of my eye reads as a threat.

    I also know the ominous sound of a wormhole being triggered so well, that i’m pretty sure it could wake me up out of a cold sleep!

  6. Another important point of WH space is, that every system has environmentproperties that change how your ship may behave. Depending on the kind of star the system contains, your weapons or defenses may function different from what you are used to! This adds to the uniqueness of wh systems. More information on these environments can be found here: http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Wormholes#Wormhole_Environments

  7. Shadow says:

    K space makes me claustrophobic now after months of w-space.

  8. wokyr says:

    seems you didn’t played enough on some, as you made mistakes ;)
    I won’t comment on C5 and C6 as I never lived on one.

    C1 : yeah, they are mostly used for mining, PI, and reactions POS, it’s pretty nice for industrial op and pretty safe, you can even build some capitals inside to be even more safe (kill an hostile tower, and protect yours)
    however there is NOT all gas here, the best gaz are only available on C4+ ;)
    also, as you can’t put an orca or a BS here, it’s horrible to close a static, so you are very safe, but if you see someone you don’t like… you’re fucked for a a few hours.

    C2 : ALL have 2 statics (while no other class have 2) . and there are rules.
    HS + C1 or LS + C2 or HS + C3 or HS + C4 or null + C5 or null + C6
    C2 can be useful for searching something better ; get on a C2 with a C2 satic, and you’ll be able to find any class quickly by collapsing the C2 or being patient, as C2 can connect to anything. this configuration is the most common for PvP activity, you also can PvP on the low sec exit., so really perfect for roaming corps.
    also C2 with C3 or C4 static are pretty useful to make a shitload of money, if you master the static collapsing you can farm ad eternum, and have even the highsec access on the other static.
    I live on a C2 with HS and C2 statics for 6 months, and I’m still living with the money I did this… and it was 2 years ago.

    C3 : these have the same money printing ability as good nullsec anomalies (like 50M isk / hour), so it’s where you begin to make lots of money.
    very few C3 have a high sec static, and for having lived on one, I can tell you it’s a pain, as you have very often people coming from k162 to go back to empire space, so it’s dangerous, and they also open your high static, so often you find your sites empty, as someone did them while you were away. and of course as there’s not much of these, you have a bigger risk of being evicted.

    C4 : these have double the C3 (about 100M isk /hour), they are very nice, but you need at least 2 (good) guys (or alts).
    at my time, most of them were empty, as there’s a shitload of them, and as they are between the easy C3 and the hard C5, not much want them, so in fact, it’s pretty safe if you know what you do.
    but C4 are a real pain when it comes to scanning, as you often have to probe for a while to get out ; the more you want money, the more time you’ll need to go back to empire ; a C4 with C4 offer all the anomalies you want as their an infinite choice, but getting out of these will take hours. it even happened to me (twice) after scanning 3-5 WH to enter to… the first one. yeah there were NO EXIT ! and GMs said it wasn’t a bug :P
    go to a C4 with C2 static if you want an easy exit, but these are the most demanded, so it will be more dangerous ;)

    as you say, each class have is special gameplay, but in fact every group of statics on each class have is special thing ;)
    also staticmapper is shit, don’t use it, eveeye is way better, i corrected the webmaster on the statics when he was doing it ;)

    anyway, nice blog :)
    Raid’En – ex wormhole trader.

  9. Megan says:

    Nice writeup, thank you. Looks like a good opportunity to ask a related question.
    I’m technically new to EVE (well, I started about 2 years ago, gave up quickly, and re-started about a month ago), but I am already eyeing wormholes. I wonder if at some point I could make myself a home in a C1.
    Reasons:
    - I really like exploration, but in highsec it’s a royal PITA. I don’t care how much ISK I make out of a signature, it’s finding and doing it that matters. And in highsec both finding things and finishing them before someone else flies in in a Tengu is rare.
    - Highsec is boring and crowded, but I don’t want to go into lowsec because I’m a peace-loving carebear and I dislike PvP. I know you’ll ask “what are you doing in EVE then?” I like space and internet starships.
    - I’m a loner in general, so even if EVE players were a likeable bunch (which they don’t seem to be), I would like to have my own quiet corner to retreat to and glare at passers-by. I’m considering trying to join a wormhole corp, but I doubt any corp would want a member who mostly wants to be left alone in peace and do her own things.

    So… what are my chances? Do I even have a chance? If I gathered enough ISK and skill and found an unoccupied C1, how long would I last before some arsehole decided to blow me up?

    • SynCaine says:

      It depends how much you play tbh. If you play a decent amount (20-30hrs a week consistently) I think you could make a C1 or C2 work, especially if you have a second or third account. You could run the sites solo while your alt scouts the entrance for you. Fuel costs would eat into your profits, but again it comes down to how often you play, and how well you use the WH (doing PI, running sites frequently, running connecting WH sites, etc).

      Its very doable, but certainly not easy. Worst case you try, fail, and end up back in empire a few (million) ISK poorer with a good story.

  10. wokyr says:

    when I began looking for a WH to live the first time, I found a nice unoccupied C1 3 jumps from Jita, after searching for about a week.
    I stayed here about 2 months, before leaving to a bigger system.
    Got issues once, but discussion were enough.
    So… you have a chance to do it.

    But it was at a time before Tyrannis, so there were less demand, was also lucky that the guy who wanted to more himself here agreed to leave without fight, and the another one I saw got bluffed by my lies about how I was ready to kill him.

    I myself was a carebear until 1 year ago when I joined a nullsec bloc, and didn’t do any PvP, and also came for others things than the open PvP world.
    But be conscient than on wormhole space you are on nullsec, when in fact you’re on more than nullsec (-1.0), and with no local.
    It can be very dangerous, but it depend a lot on your luck and how you play…
    If you want to try, do it.
    But you must understand that it may not work as planned, and that you loss some ISK, so don’t forget not to fly what you can’t afford to lose.

    Also, in case you’re not sure : you MUST put your own tower here, if it’s too expensive / dangerous for you to have a tower on a WH, then forget about living on a WH.
    (and better avoid a small tower)

  11. [...] in EVE. EVE isn’t my speciality, but this is syncaine’s description. The reason I count this as a separated game is that it seems perfectly possible for people who [...]

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