The Fury Road of Wormholes

Knowledge of how to navigate wormholes to find fights is not common in 0.0 groups. Wormholers have of course developed it into a fine art. However, with the force projection nerf of Pheobe it is increasingly relevant to everyone. Trying to talk about it I can draw on the Pandemic Legion experience. I find myself in the odd position of having to walk the line to avoid giving away secrets. This is an interesting point in itself. Information about how this game works is sometimes deeply obscure. This gives everyone in the know a serious advantage, which they preserve by keeping their mouths shut. For example last year I did a study with regard to the Alliance Tournament that unearthed information which made the difference for at least one match, turning a loss into a win. By explaining this, I probably have already said too much. As to my telling CCP about my findings so that they are more informed about how the (meta?) game works? That is the choice between doing free unpaid Q&A or possibly getting a share of alliance tournament winnings. Of course this approach leaves CCP impoverished in terms of knowledge, and as a result they make decisions that more informed specialists feel are poor. I would disagree with the claim that I have some obligation to provide information to CCP, but it is a bitter irony that by not providing the information we get results that we dislike. It is even more ironic that most of our opponents are so lazy that publicly providing this kind of information may not actually harm us most of the time. We could follow The Mitanni’s example and wear our hearts on our sleeves. We could publish complex how-to guides that would sit unread. The problem is that there are some very good players and theorycrafters out there who would punish us severely for that kind of hubris. We have to treat people with respect, as if they could beat us given any edge, which in our case means maintaining the wall of silence. So with that in mind let me quote Oh Takashawa, a PL pilot who does a lot to support our fleets. This is what he has to say on reddit: PROBING REALLY HARD

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The secret as such is probing everywhere, with lots of people, particularly from your starting region and in the place you want to go. You do this for a few hours before your timezone comes online. That is it. This is not even very good for roaming. When you show up through a wormhole the enemy can respond and blob you. Roaming wormholes is good for ambushes and raids. Stay too long, and you will be destroyed by overwhelming force. For one thing the enemy can use capitals. while the wormholers can not. A triage carrier is a cheap, low risk force multiplier the defenders have exclusive access to. A serious defense can be mounted with stacks of slowcats, and subcapitals will be able to do very little. There is also the danger of the defender locating the wormhole and collapsing it or camping it. For example, a few days ago I ran a small fleet through a wormhole in Deklein. A tiny roaming gang had earlier gone through and they had tackled a Chimera ratting in and anomaly. As quickly as we could, we formed, burnt to the Chimera, killed it, and burnt home. The clock started ticking the minute that carrier was tackled. At any moment during the process we could have faced overwhelming numbers of capitals or been blobbed by a subcap fleet. In response an Imperium FC convo’d me and asked me to come back. I told him that we would not, claiming that we were tired. I do not know if he was frustrated with us, or if he had another reason, but he brought 50 man Ferox fleet through the wormhole. He told me he wanted a good fight. I told him that I “promise nothing.” The Ferox fleet proceeded to camp our undock for a while as we formed. When he left we cyno’d in front of them to the wormhole entrance with battleships and triage carriers. We even put a few Chimeras on the hole as a joke. We went so far as to remove mass from the wormhole by sending battleships back and forth until the hole went critical. The Ferox fleet’s attempt to escape became a slaughter. When they burned to the wormhole, only a few of the Ferox made it out before the wormhole collapsed. We lost an interceptor. This is a pretty good example of what not to do. Do not let the enemy know that you are coming. Do not give the enemy time to form. Expect to be facing heavy compositions and capitals. Do anything in your power not to get cut off from home. A final point unrelated to wormholes specifically is never to expect a fair fight unless the enemy promises one, and even then they are probably lying to you. Forming T3s to third party big timers is a different kind of experience. 100 T3s can make a significant difference in a close fight, and will throw off an FC’s calculations when they unexpectedly show up. At first glance this tactic is powerful. For starters T3s are brokenly overpowered. Theoretically, a battleship fleet, which cannot fit through a wormhole in any numbers, should be the most powerful subcapital fleet that you could form. When a cruiser fleet comes through a hole it should eat dirt against defenders in battleships. This is obviously not the case.T3s are nearly the ultimate expression of subcapital power, and when they show up in numbers, they are terrifying. We have come directly into systems with fleets in the middle of an engagement, and wiped everybody out in terrible one sided fights. The thing is, if you step back for a moment you will find that the tactic is fairly easy to counter compared to the effort the attackers are putting in. If the defender probed the system an hour before the fight and collapsed the in wormhole the ambush is prevented. One guy could stop it. In fact, a small team of probers can keep PL out of a region entirely if they want to. It takes them much less effort for a group to protect themselves from wormholers than for the wormholers to make a connection. Wormholers have to scan multiple regions to make the connections. Defenders only have to scan their local area or region. Brave did this really well, despite how motivated we were to visit them for more fun. the brave standard of excellence

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In short, you can live up to the standard of excellence set by Brave Newbie mining barges, or you can whine to CCP for the nerfhammer to save your sorry ass. Wormholes have a lot of content in them. The episode with the Chimera and the Ferox fleet was after the nerf. If you put the effort in, there are rewards. In EVE 2015, ignoring your local wormhole situation is a serious mistake.  
Tags: Mukk, wormhole connections. Pandemic Legion, wormhole travel, wormholes

About the author

Mukk Barovian

Mukk is a long time skirmish FC with a penchant for overpropping his ships.

  • I know from experience how difficult it is to probe suitable chains within acceptable timeframes to enable fleet movement. What Taka describes is a remarkable effort. I was ambivalent about this change before since it doesn’t really affect me directly right now but this article has swayed me into the “why the hell is CCP nerfing significant effort and coordinated gameplay?!” camp. If only they could nerf the lazy out of people instead!

    • Foobles

      Given that CCP deliberately made roaming through wormholes to null sec easier in a series of recent changes it’s entirely reasonable for them to tone down their effects a bit.

      Kronos (July 2014)
      Additional low sec wormholes

      Hyperion (August 214)
      Second static added to class 4 wormholes.
      Additional random (non static) wormholes.
      Bookmark copying faster and easier.
      Wormhole signature codes consistent over downtime.

      Rhea (December 2014)
      Thera (permanent wormhole hub)

      I think that somewhere in there they also boosted null-null wormhole frequency but I can’t remember when that happened.

      • Kamar Raimo

        I don’t think null-null WHs ever got increased. Through the addition of more random non statics, the amount of null-WH-null connections became higher though.

  • Raven

    I found it weird you kept saying wormholers. As someone who used to live in C5 space I would consider you all k-spacers since that is where you live. Wormholers are people who live in w-space. But maybe that is just my old outdated lingo.

    • Justin

      Not outdated.

      And every wormholer knows the “secrets” PL is trying to puff their chests up over.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Even some non PL k-spacers know some of them 😉

        • Justin

          PL’s only advantage is that they have a pulse, heh.

      • be cool

        Let them have it 😉 it’s what they live for

  • yearlyeyeroll


    * Scan the chains backward from the destination.
    * After awhile, you will figure out that most WHs from particular regions/constellations tend to end up in certain other regions/constellations regularly (e.g., getting from Dronelands to Amarr space is almost a given).
    * Just roll the hole

  • AFK

    Getting aids and favors from CCP has a long history, most famously used by goons but going all the way back to T20. “The meta game” is really a genteel term for plain cheating. So Sort Dragon is really just following a long tradition.

    The question is why Sort is getting all the flak, when it should be CCP getting hell for this. My only guess is that most EVE players, including PL, are back in full on CCP fanboi mode over a few more shit sanctums and structures that will probably never be released.

    • Messiah Complex

      CCP should be getting hell for this. First, they make a senseless change (a directed nerf that punishes competence and organization) for a non-reason (subcap ‘power projection’) without any public discussion. Second, they announce the change by way of a single, cryptic line in the patch notes. Third, they inflame the discussion with an opaque post about how some unnamed CSM member(s) came to them with the idea.

      It boggles the mind.

      • AFK

        Riiiiight. People directed more anger towards CCP over the fleet warp change (lol) than over this wormhole change??? Then again maybe the urge to shit on Sort Dragon is powerful enough to overcome one’s rational mind.

        • Messiah Complex

          Think of it this way: if a public discussion had occurred beforehand, the Sort Dragon fury would never have happened.

  • Kamar Raimo

    “In short, you can live up to the standard of excellence set by Brave
    Newbie mining barges, or you can whine to CCP for the nerfhammer to save
    your sorry ass.”

    This sentence sums it up perfectly.

    Basically, because some people in nullsec are too lazy to work on their defensive tactics all kinds of wormhole residents now have less connections to the outside world.

    Great job. What’s next? Nerfing wormholes to lowsec because you can’t deal with frigate gangs that threaten your ISK printing operation?

    I don’t even care whether it was Sort Dragon or whoever on the CSM, if CCP really made this change because of the input of CSM members, then the people in questiuon should be ashamed of themselves and take their sorry alliance of lazy nullbears to highsec where such risk averse whiners belong. Actually that is even unfair to highsec players. Maybe the people in question should go play a game where no non-consensual PVP exists.

    • my favorite part is the tacit acceptance of the most paranoid possible explanation for the nerf

      • Kamar Raimo

        Well, Fozzie wrote in his devblog that the change was prompted by some CSM members. It’s not a conspiracy theory if it was clearly stated where the idea came from.

        The speculation begins when people blame specific individuals based on imperfect information.

  • Tarsas Phage

    The uses also extend to highsec wardecs, believe it or not. Over the 5 years I’ve been doing them, there have been many occasions where I’ve had to reverse-probe a WH chain to get around the neutral scout of a war target missioner, or Orca that’s chilling at the end of a serial pipe. First you look for HS-HS or HS-LS wormholes, and X702s to C3s with HS statics, and so on. It’s just using terrain that is already there, all you need to do is put forth the effort to actually access it.

  • Excellent article, especially the part about “trade secrets” and “never expect a fair fight”


    So that is why most csm member go out of their way to make life for wormholers hell, so that there is no one to intercept their fleets… .

  • Ashur Penken

    I like how you said wormhole have a lot of content in them but it seems that Null Bears only content here is farming and traveling. Quit being bad and pretending you’re good at wormholes.

  • Facts

    No problem with the article itself, but this shit did NOT start with PL. DBRB has been running bombers using this method for years ! “Oh were the only ones not lazy and we figured it out” hush ya mouths pl.

  • Tahn Goldenmane

    Honestly I believe that if PL was just using the WH’s to gank ratters, or occasionally drop by to say hello to 3rd party a fight then there wouldn’t have been the level of backlash that occurred which resulted in the ‘nerf’ (I say nerf because it is only a slight reduction honestly).

    “Forming T3s to third party big timers is a different kind of experience. 100 T3s can make a significant difference in a close fight, and will throw off an FC’s calculations when they unexpectedly show up. At first glance this tactic is powerful. For starters T3s are brokenly overpowered.”

    This is exactly why you had CSM People screaming their bloody heads off about this. Based on various podcast reports from CSM members, it’s obvious that it wasn’t just Sort that was blowing a gasket. The problem is that PL was repeatedly and consistently using the WH Super Highway to do the above on fights. I mean the reason is obviously that people got tired of PL third partying every fight/timer that they could get their hands on. Granted it was lots of juicy content for them and SOMETIMES their they were invited to the fight from one side or the other. However way to frequently they went in and just third partied the shit out of things and when you do that often enough people get sort of pissy. I mean it’s no different than when pre-pheobe you would have certain entities titan bridging on 20 vs 20 man roaming gangs, capital fights, or whatever else. That’s the whole point of the power projection nerfs, to left people who want to fight each other have a reasonable chance to do it without someone else putting their nose in other people’s bizniss.

    To be fair, it wasn’t just PL doing this, if it were then it wouldn’t have been something CCP would have agreed to change. However with FoziSov coming up the potential for abuse of this with every fozisov timer in the game being made public though the crest endpoint was absolutely a factor in this change. It’s still not going to stop PL or whoever else wants to do it from using the WH Super Highway to third party the shit out of timers, it just dampens it a bit. And for the record I totally plan on killmail whoring with the best of them in whatever fleets I can get into :-p

    • Kamar Raimo

      In the times before Phoebe it would regularly happen that an engagement with waffles in Placid/Black Rise resulted in being dropped on by PL.

      Yeah, it was about as interesting as the badly executed jump-scare in a low-class horror movie, but it wasn’t a big drama either. In the same way, being third partied by powerful T3 gangs? That’s what you calculate for these days.

  • JZ909

    Nice article! I like the insight into this under-discussed topic. However, I don’t like the new mechanic. I think a reduction in mass limits would be better than a reduction in time. It would reduce the strategic impact of these holes without forcing more scanning grind.

    • Orunis

      That’s a great point, hope CCP is taking notes…