The Hunt for Red Eyjafjallajökull (Part 1)

 

Now that our writers have settled in, it appears they all want to start their own wee series which is awesome. Sindel starts hers today and it’s all about that most whispered of Eve specialisations, exploration…

Learning how to play Eve Online is frustrating. Learning how to play Eve Online while your 7-year-veteran husband is sitting behind you, staring at your screen like you sneezed green slime on it, is even harder.

“You should try putting XXX in that slot.”

“If you do XXX first, then YYY, you won’t die as much.”

“It doesn’t make sense to do XXX.”

” . . .”

Not only does it grate on my nerves, sometimes it pushes me past the point of even wanting to play. I’ll toss my headset, log out, and stomp upstairs to watch Firefly. Captain Mal would never tell me what I should or should not put in my slots. I like to think so, anyway.

After listening to hours upon hours of helpful suggestions (I’m not a total girl, you know; I understand he’s just trying to help), I decided I needed to spend some time in Eve doing things that my dear, sweet husband doesn’t know a lot about. My options were ridiculously limited, but there was one thing I knew I could do – something he hated doing, something almost everybody I know hates doing.

I could learn how to probe.

Probing, for any newcomers, was hard to learn and even harder to master pre-Odyssey. Hell, when I started playing Eve during Incursion, I skipped right over that tutorial after trying, and failing, for three hours to find their little signature. The tutorial was confusing, the diagrams didn’t make sense, and I kept mixing up the buttons. It went something like, “Do I hold down shift to move them, or alt? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand my probes are off-grid.” It’s much easier now, but still not a favorite pastime for most.

I knew learning how to properly probe wouldn’t be easy and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I found a very patient, very knowledgeable teacher and within an hour, I could locate signatures. After a week of practice, I could probe down most signatures in under two minutes. The first time I probed down a pod, on a dare from my husband, I knew I was ready for big things.

Exploring is great fun. There is a lot of ISK to be made in wormholes if you know how to do it right – so I’m told. You see, I’m not interested in making a lot of ISK. Okay, that’s not true. Everyone wants to make ISK and be space-wealthy. That’s not why I explore, though. I love finding things, I love seeing things that many pilots haven’t seen before. In the year and a half that I’ve been exploring, I have seen almost every major Eve landmark there is to see. I have been to every region and I have screen captured some of the most amazing sites. What else is left for me to see?

Eyjafjallajökull.

I first heard the name during the live event photo contest in July. Remember how the third tier of the contest only had nine images, instead of ten? Eyjafjallajökull is why. They felt bad about sending people looking for it, so they took it off the list. Upon further research, I was grateful for their change of heart. Named after a volcano in southern Iceland, this lava planet is next-to-impossible to find. Why? Because some sadistic ass at CCP decided to put just one of these planets in the game. ONE! In a wormhole. In a freaking Class 6 wormhole. This is the Holy Grail of exploration. Trying to make hundreds of people– a lot of whom dwell in high sec and would be ill-prepared to survive in wormhole space– search for it would be cruel.

If/when I find this, I’d be the Indiana Jones of Eve Online. I’d be Sindiana Jones.

I began my search last week. Logged into my trusty exploration alt, hopped into my Tengu and set out. This alt is based out of Ebo, one jump between high sec and low sec, so home seemed like a good place to start. In Ebo that day, there were three lovely holes to jump into. Two of the holes led to high/low sec, so I was stuck going into the third. Upon entry (always bookmark your entry point!), I warped off, made a safe, and set out to tackle this:

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Nineteen signatures – pretty light for a wormhole, but a little overwhelming when your probing skills are… rusty. But here’s the great thing about exploration: you only need to scan each signature down far enough to see what it is. Since I am doing straight exploration, all I am looking for is wormholes. Out of the nineteen, five of them were wormholes and the rest were gas sites (it took me 30 minutes to scan them all, for those wondering). Out of the five wormholes, one led to null sec, one to high sec, and one was the hole I’d just come through. So I was working with two. The first one dead-ended. The second one led to another w-space system, then another. You get the idea.

None of the rest of the wormholes had more than a handful of sigs in them but, after awhile, probing feels rather tedious. Three hours later, I ended up at the end of the chain, in some random system thirty jumps from where I started. I sighed, then turned on autopilot and began the long journey home. Such is the life of an explorer; for every time you succeed, you will fail a dozen or more times. You have to keep trying and not give up.

Currently, I’m training up the Astrometric trifecta: Pinpointing, Acquisition and Rangefinding – three skills I have already on Sindel that I never really trained on my alt. I welcome any advice anyone has that will lead me to Eyjafjallajökull, and I’d love some exploration friends should anyone be interested in accompanying me. If nothing else, please stay tuned here and follow my adventure as I search for this planet or die trying.

My money’s on the second one.

About the author

Sindel Pellion

Trying to figure out where you’ve heard her name? When not running in-game charity, The Angel Project, she has a thing for taking catchy pop songs and making mediocre Eve parodies from them. For some reason, people encourage this nonsense.