Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sansha Wormholes for PVE and PVP

This post is an introduction to PVE and PVP in Sansha shattered wormholes. Other players have written quality guides to shattered wormholes and frigate wormholes--the fantastic blog Interstellar Privateer has an introduction to these systems and their lore, and Invading Your Hole has a great series on making isk in these systems--but no one (to my knowledge) has talked much about Sansha systems. There are only three Sansha wormholes, making this form of gameplay niche even for EVE online. However, I spent a month in two of these wormholes with 4 characters (an exploration alt in two, a PVE character to run the bigger sites, and Sven to PVP), and I would say they have some of the most interesting PVP and PVE opportunities in the game (not to mention some of the most interesting lore--I mean, pirate NPCs living in a shattered wormhole, what's not to love already?!). I put an exploration alt in the Sansha system with a LS static, and another in the system with a HS static. If someone were to ask me what I would do for isk if I did not trade, I would say PVE in Sansha wormholes. In my opinion they combine many of the fun aspects of wormholes with null/low sec exploration all in one system.

The three Sansha systems are: 

1)  J010556. A Pulsar C4 class with static connections to HS, C1 space, and C2 space.

2) J011195. A C4 class with static connections to LS, C5 space, and C5 space.

3) J005299. A C4 class with static connections to NS, C3 space, and C5 space.

I will refer to these as the "HS," "LS," and "NS" Sansha systems, respectively. 

 The essential info about these systems is this:

-All three of these systems have at least 3 static connections (each to a different type of k-space), plus receive wandering wormhole connections. (The above WH statics might not be 100% accurate, but the k-space static info is accurate.)

-Only Sansha relic and data sites spawn in these systems--meaning no sleeper relic and data sites spawn here.

-All named Sansha combat sites spawn in these systems, from 1/10 to 10/10.

-Regular C4 gas sites spawn in these systems, containing sleepers.

-Sansha combat anomalies spawn in these systems, in great numbers, and including Sanctums.

-These wormholes get a huge amount of traffic. They have at minimum 3 static connections at any time, but also receive wandering connections (reflective of their C4 status). I have seen as many as 7 or 8 wormhole connections in the HS Sansha system and never fewer than 3 or 4.

-The first rule I discovered about these three wormholes is this: All of these wormholes get a huge amount of traffic. But, if you want to do PVP in Sansha wormholes, your best bet is to fly in J010556, the Sansha wormhole with the HS static. It gets considerably more PVE and PVP traffic than the other systems. However, if you want to do PVE, probably focus on either the LS or the NS Sansha hole.

How I Found the Wormholes (aka the lazy way)

For over 8 months I've been casually looking for a few (5 or so) particular wormholes, including any of the three Sansha wormholes. Wormhole dwellers can fairly quickly find particular holes by causing static connections to collapse and respawn, or just by waiting a few weeks, given the sheer number of connections they map. The method of simply manually search for a wormhole one system to another is theoretically feasible, but not practical. Instead, I've taken the long road to finding a few specific wormholes, which involves just checking the listing of wormholes connected to Thera on EVE Scout everyday. Sheer statistics worked, and after some eight months I've found the specific wormholes I had in mind. I've wanted to write this blog post for 8 months now, but I only found the wormholes in December. Hence the "lazy" way of finding wormholes!

PVE in Sansha Wormholes

In discussing PVE in these wormholes I am going to describe my method. My method is best suited for solo players, whereas groups can run the content much more straightforwardly. However, large wormhole groups would be better off printing isk in a C5/C6, so PVE in Sansha wormholes is probably better suited for solo or duo players anyway. 

Here was my method for PVE: I camped the LS Sansha hole J011195 for a little over one month. I placed a low SP alt in the hole in an Astero. This character essentially lived in the hole, using a mobile depot and occasionally dropping off loot into the LS system of the day. I primarily only did PVE once a week on this character. By far the most time consuming part of living in these systems involved scanning down the signatures--there were as many as 20 signatures in system at one time. Very few players do (/did) PVE in the LS/NS Sansha systems. One reason for this is because explorers looking for pirate relic/data sites in wormholes will immediately skip Sansha holes once they see the system is a C4. Traditional C4 holes do not spawn pirate relic/data sites, so Sansha holes get ignored (see below for how this plays out in PVP in the HS hole--it basically means mostly newer explorers visit, who do not know the type of wormholes to look for).

Anything you can do to speed up your scanning time will increase your isk per hour in these systems given the number of signatures and the fast respawn rate. I used the Astero because it could easily scan and run all relic/data sites in the system, first. My records suggest that around 4-5 exploration sites appeared in the hole per day, with as many as 10 present at one time(!). My theory for their respawn is that the respawn mechanics for Sansha wormholes is restricted to the pool of 3 Sansha systems. I believe this is the case because if I ran a relic/data/combat site in one Sansha wormhole, I would often see the site respawn in the other Sansha hole I was camping. I can't confirm this, but in any case all site respawn very quickly in these systems, meaning you can log in one day, run all the sites, and log in the next day with most of them back.

The second reason I flew an Astero is because it can easily run the 1/10 to 3/10  Sansha combat sites (it can run the 4/10, but it takes a very long time). The key to making good isk in Sansha wormholes--as well as staying alive, given how much traffic comes through these system with all of the wormhole connections--is blitzing the PVE sites as fast as you can, and knowing which sites in particular can be done quickly. There are two PVE sites that can be blitzed in less than 15 minutes: the 3/10, and the 5/10. For the 3/10 (the Sansha's Command Relay Outpost), there are just two pockets. You simply need to kill the overseer in the first room, loot the key (and see if any good but rare faction mods dropped), and then kill and loot the commander in the second room. With less than 3m SP I was able to run this site 6 times with an average time of around 5 minutes, and an average loot value of 50m. 

But, of course, you will often find Sansha 4/10 sites and all the way up to 10/10. If I found any of these sites I wanted to run (obviously the Astero can't do them), I would simply fly my alt in a Tengu to the LS connection, pop in, run the sites, and leave. In terms of isk per hour, only one of these sites is really worth it unless you have a friend to help speed them up: the 5/10. One of the best blogs about exploration in EVE, Pilgrim in Exile, covers this site in extensive detail. The key is, you can blitz the 5/10 in under 15 minutes. I am not going to cover how to blitz the site because I can't add to what Pilgrim already has, but it is worth noting that you can blitz this site in a number of different ships. He has a specialized HAM Tengu that is very fast, but HML Tengus also work (and can still complete the site in under 15 minutes), and the Ishtar and Gila work well too. I ran around 7 of these sites, an average time of 13 minutes, and an average isk of 200m. 

If the wormhole does not have players actively hunting, I also run the 4/10, 6/10, and sometimes 7/10 Sansha sites. All can be done solo in an Ishtar, Tengu (except the 4/10 since you cannot enter in T3 Cruisers), and other typical PVE ships. However, all of them take a fairly long amount of time since you cannot blitz them like the 3/10 and 5/10, but are often worth doing if you have the time.

As mentioned, I primarily did PVE in the LS Sansha system. However, the HS Sansha system has one advantage: it has the effects of a C4 Pulsar. This significantly buffs shield tanking, and makes it possible to run the 7/10 and up using shield fit ships like the Rattlesnake or Tengu and so on. After around a month of very casual PVE in these systems (doing PVE sites only once or twice a week), I came away with over 3b isk. You could easily farm one of the holes and make upwards of 5-10b isk a month in them if you were active two or three times a week.

PVP in Sansha Wormholes

I also had a second project I wanted to explore in these wormholes: PVP. My overall opinion from a month of PVP on Sven in the HS Sansha wormhole is this: You get a ton of traffic through the wormhole, but it is primarily two groups of players. First, you get some newer explorers. More seasoned explorers will often pass the wormhole up because they do not expect a C4 to have relic/data sites, while veteran explorers who might be living in the Sansha hole are difficult to catch. Second, though, you have the wormhole groups who find a connection to the Sansha systems and want to run the sites. I have seen wormhole groups bring in 5-10 players in Gilas and Asteros and clean out the system in a few hours. There is not much I can do against such groups as a solo player (especially in the weird off-meta stuff I fly). However, it is a great place for wormhole groups to find PVE groups to kill. Here is my only notable example:

I am on the killmail, at the very bottom. Here is how I organized the death of this 3b isk Golem: One night, there was a random connection to null sec in the HS Sansha wormhole, to I N F A M O U S space. A covert ops explorer pops in, then leaves. He comes back in a Golem and starts running the Sansha Sanctum anomalies that populate the system. Of course, I am a solo player and never have anyone to "Batphone." I also don't have any big ships nearby (and it turns out he had a mobile depot with warp core stabs to refit if tackled (hence the stabs on his loss mail--those were refit), so I would have lost the kill solo anyway). So, I looked at the killboard history for the wormhole, and contacted a group that was active there a few hours prior. 20 minutes later, they show up in a T3D fleet, and thankfully the Golem is still present. I decloak and pew just to get on the killmail. The group even gives me the loot for providing the intel, how nice! :3

But beyond this instance, there were no other notable kills I got or was on, and in total I only got 19 kills in the HS Sansha system. A regular C1 with a HS static would have netted more kills in a month in my opinion. I am still the top all-time killer in J010556, though, and those 11 kills in the Endurance in the system are from me (lol)!

Sansha wormholes are one of the rare instances in EVE where I would say the PVE opportunities are more exciting (to me) than the solo PVP opportunities. In the future I may return to these wormholes to PVE (especially if I ever stop market trading), as they provide a really niche and unique type of gameplay in EVE with their combination of pirate NPCs in shattered wormhole systems.

If there is anything I can do to improve this guide, let me know! Any suggestions or further info about these wormholes would be much appreciated, as I believe a few others players regularly do PVE in these holes as well. 

1 comment:

  1. wow.. I had no idea there were Sansha WH out there. Great read!