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.