EVE: Scanning down options

One of the defining and critical features of a sandbox MMO is options. Options are different than layers in that options don’t fade or get replaced by “the next thing”. You ‘finish’ layers. You can’t ‘finish’ options.

EVE has a lot of options, all ultimately resulting in one thing: more ISK. More ISK is always on the mind of an EVE player, and as your wealth moves up or down, your gameplay adjusts. You fly pricier ships when you have more ISK, you gamble more, or you don’t focus on ‘farming’ as much. When your wealth dips, you refocus on more profitable activities.

One of the options our Corp has been somewhat focusing on lately is scanning/exploration. Initially the driver here was poking around in wormholes, but last night we also used exploration to find a Grav site for our Sunday Mining Op. It’s not a huge difference, but it does mix things up and add something new to a weekly event, gives us a different mix of ores/minerals.

Scanning is somewhat of a mini-game within EVE, one that initially I found incredibly frustrating. Some of the blame lies in the UI, which can make seeing the location of an item difficult initially in 3D. Another important aspect is simply the newness of the activity. It’s a much different task than anything else in EVE, and when you don’t know some of the tricks (shift-click dragging all probes, setting the camera focus on an object by clicking it), it can seem borderline impossible to get a site to 100%. And the ever-present factor, skill training, is there as well. When you first start out, you likely won’t have all of the skills you need at V, or even IV, which makes the whole thing a bit harder/slower as well.

What I am looking forward to is scanning down combat sites with my indy alt, and having my combat pilot run them in his Assault Frigate. While the total amount of ISK generated won’t be the same as running level 4 missions in my CNR, it will be something different, and if I get lucky with a faction spawn perhaps the ISK won’t be horrible. Mostly though this will help me improve at scanning itself, which is a valuable skill not just for PvE-based activities, but for PvP. Being able to scan down an enemy ship quickly can be the difference between scoring a nice kill and someone slipping away.

Exploration is just one more item in the EVE bag of tricks. And rather than replacing the previous ‘end-game’ activity, it’s an invisible option in every system, waiting patiently for you to mess around with.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in EVE Online, Inquisition Clan, MMO design. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to EVE: Scanning down options

  1. Sand says:

    using combat probes to sniff out targets in safespots is a great skill to have, too.

  2. thade says:

    I really enjoy the “scanning mini-game” as it were; took me a few videos and some practice to really get what’s going on with it, but I like that it has many in-game applications (finding resources, picking fights, keeping tabs on enemies). Definitely something on my short lists of things to focus-train in the near future.

  3. Tahna Rouspel says:

    It took me a while to learn how to scan properly, but now I have more skills trained in scanning and I have a lot more experience.

    What really improved my scanning speed was when I discovered the ‘ALT’ key while scanning. If you press the alt key and drag on a probe’s arrow, All your probes will move toward/away from the center probe. It helps in adjusting the distance of your probe formation.

    • SynCaine says:

      So you use alt when dropping down in scan bubble and making the cross of probes smaller, letting you move all probes in the same distance? Nice tip!

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t know that one.
      Thank you! You just chopped my scan time ata least in half.


    • kilratha says:

      Yeah awesome tip, I got this one by reading through comments on the Youtube video.

    • Devore says:

      This is something (shift, alt) the probing tutorial unhelpfully doesn’t mention, even though it shows the person doing it (although I haven’t watched it in a while, so maybe I am wrong). That cuts down your scanning time by 90%. Manually repositioning probes one by one? Would drive anyone insane. No wonder people think scanning sucks.

      Yes, holding down alt and dragging a probe will resize your probe cluster around its geometric center point.

    • Mara Rinn says:

      nitpicky correction: the alt+drag gesture resizes the selected constellation of probes around the geometric centre of the constellation (i.e: the “mean” of all (x,y,z) coordinates). You don’t need to have a probe in the “centre” of the constellation to resize the group.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Exploring if 90% of the reason I started EVE.

  5. Hong WeiLoh says:

    I started off with exploration too.
    Problem with exploration is that unlike missions, incursions, etc, which have their own lil communities to “protect” (read: whine incessantly and LOUDLY about) their pet interest, exploration doesn’t seem to. :CCP: being :CCP: made up a :coolidea: with plexes and all, but don’t really seem to have any clue WTF they WANT them to do/be/accomplish. Hence the Sanctum/Haven nerf, then the Sanctum/Haven buff, then the “general exploration” (new sites with new drops) buff… but there’s really no rhyme or reason to it. Yet another item in-game that needs SERIOUS thought and consideration, and :iteration:.
    To me, exploration is still as you just made it out–“something to do on the side” to spice things up a bit, not a viable “career” on its own. It’s more like playing the lottery: occasionally you strike it rich, most times you make just enough to play a couple tickets next week. Just as “lottery contestant” isn’t a viable career in RL, “explorer” isn’t one in EVE, ESPECIALLY in hisec. Just something you throw a few hours into every once in a while to see if you “strike it rich”.
    (Note that that does change somewhat when you speak of low & null — but especially in low, the odds of being “chased out” of a site — or killed IN one should you try to stay and fight it out, are extremely high, therefore negating a lot of that potential “reward” with lots and lots of risk)

  6. Out here in nullsec, exploration is definitely a lucrative endeavour. If you ‘only’ find a wh, well, it’s good to know it’s there, and who’s on the other side (they may be red or neutral). If you’re lucky it’s a straight-to-highsec hole, ideal for getting your valuables out and new pilots or alts in.

    If you find a combat site, the rewards can be very high, with blueprint drops, T2 loot, faction mods or snake implants and such. Of course you don’t hit the jackpot all of the time, but there’s good ISK to be made. My corpmates have raked in billions, over the past few months.

  7. Mara Rinn says:

    Syncaine: when it comes to options, remember to check out St Mio’s “What to do in EVE Online” graphic: http://swiftandbitter.com/eve/wtd/

    Thank you for continuing to write about your experiences in EVE!

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