The Expedition

High Sec, shit. I’m still only in High Sec. Every time I think I’m going to wake up back in the wormhole. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I’d wake up and there’d be nothing…  I’ve been here a week now. Waiting for a mission, getting softer. Every minute I stay in this station I get weaker. And every minute Sleeper squats in w-space he gets stronger. Each time I look around the station walls move in a little tighter.

Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one. An expedition.

“I may say that this is the greatest factor — the way in which the expedition is equipped — the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.”

-Roald Amundsen.

The time has come for the Next Big Eve Goal(tm).  Without one, I tend to wander a bit, log in less, queue up random skills and end up doing something else.  A project.  Not merely an activity.  Something that appeals to my sense of adventure and exploration.  An Expedition.

In our little casual corp, we’ve been bandying about the idea of setting up our own Player Owned Station in high security space.  The idea was that we could set up a research station on the cheap to do invention and research and copy BPOs without long waits.  As an idea that wasn’t too bad.  It fed our industrial tendencies but lets face it, it wasn’t that exciting.  Neat maybe, but not exciting.

So it came to pass that the idea of setting up a POS in a wormhole might be fun and rewarding.  The more we discussed it, the more intriguing it became.  It was the unknown.  It was 0.0 but the lawless, no sovereignty kind of 0.0.  It was risky.  It was difficult to get to and potentially very difficult to get out.  You could become marooned.  There was the promise of finding exotic and precious things and in there lurked evil monsters.

An expedition to w-space.  We’d need to be as self contained an operation as possible since resupply would be dicey at best.  And, like all the best things in Eve, it would require lots of planning, strategerizing and yes, perhaps a few spreadsheets.

Like the Asmundsen quote, we should plan on making our own luck.

Through the Eye of the Needle

The first constraint to consider is the fact that wormholes have a mass limit and a time limit. For example, a Q317 Class 1 Wormhole will permit only a maximum of 20 million kg at a time to pass through and an aggregate total of 500 million kg to pass through before collapse and it will only persist for 16 hours.

Finding a candidate wormhole is the first order of business.  Initially, I think we’ll opt for a fairly pedestrian Class 1, 2 or 3 wormhole as a trial run.  The ideal wormhole candidate should be reasonably fresh and undisturbed by ship travel.

Plan A will be to insert a probe ship capable of cloaking and with an ample supply of probes to scan down the system.  In a perfect world, a buddy will remain on the k-space side of the hole on recon.

The prober will apply basic wormhole hygiene upon arrival:  bookmark the entrance side of the hole, bookmark the exit once in the wormhole, immediately establish a safespot and then do some quick basic scans of the system to see what potential it has.  If it looks like a go, assemble the expedition.

Much of the logistics will depend on who wants to participate in this little adventure, but I’m initially trying to plan so that 2 people with 4 total accounts can set up a base of operations that will be self sufficient for the duration of the stay in the wormhole.

Maximum utility and minimum mass is key.  Likewise, a big point of the expedition is to obtain minerals, gasses and other booty that we cant find in high sec where we operate, so having some hauling capacity will be key as well.

Plan A will be to bring in an Orca with the vast majority of necessary items.  Even with its ginormous mass, in one haul it should be able to carry an entire POS set up, fuel for a few months, extra ships, ammo, etc.  Once in, the Orca can proceed to the safespot, cloak and wait for a base site to be scouted.  All the others can then meet up at the safespot and monitor wormhole traffic.

That's it?
That's it?


From what I’ve read, conventional wisdom suggests that a medium control tower with a collection of passive defenses should be enough in w-space.  The idea is that a) with the wormhole’s time and mass limits, you’re not likely to see too many ships of the battleship and above class and b) you don’t necessarily want to kill passers by, but rather make it a long drawn out affair to assault your station thus risking the collapse of their exit.  Turtle FTW.

Initially, I’m planning for a medium control tower, corp hangar array, ship maintenance array, refining array, research lab, and some storage and maybe a manufacturing array of an undetermined flavor.  It would be nice to be able to replenish any losses without having to leave the wormhole, but it may prove to be too much hassle.

The prober would scout a suitable moon location for the POS and then it would be anchored and put online.  Once the bubble is up, everyone can warp in and unpack while the system is scanned down fully.

In a perfect world, we’d leave a lifeboat (e.g. a cloak fitted Heron with probes) at a designated safespot, eject and return to the station.

The Expedition Fleet

First things first.  Any wormhole ship should have a probe launcher and a cloak.  You can never know when you might be the one stuck on the wrong side.

Next, versatility and survivability should be key.  Insurance would probably be worthwhile in the not so unlikely event.  Of course, any wormhole assembled ship would be without, so we should choose wisely.

  • Scouting: a Covert Ops ship would be ideal for probing, or in the alternative, a frigate like the Caldari Heron which gets scanning bonuses.  Covert Ops would be optimal in the event of a needing to use an inconvenient null or low sec wormhole exit to get back to home k-space.  Scouts would also serve as hackers and archaeologists as well.
  • Combat:  With a small group, I’d want a battlecruiser.  A Drake with a passive tech II omni tank should do it.  Tough, mass efficient and reasonably cheap.  Alternatively, a gunnery ship like the Ferox would probably work.  Probably not taking out 3 BS sleeper spawns, but probably enough firepower in a group.
  • Mining:  Undecided here.  I’m not sure I’d want to risk Hulks and Covetor/Retriever is probably too lightweight.  While great at what they do, the Hulk may be too limited in utility for w-space.  For gas cloud harvesting, I already have a Ferox set up for w-space that can easily be repurposed for mining with 5 miner IIs (no crystals to wear out) or combat.  The cost and flexibility of that platform with an almost-as-good-as-a-Drake tank makes it very attractive.
  • Local Hauling:  Cheap industrials fitted with a cloak should probably suffice.  The goal is to haul to base at the first hint of trouble.  Alternatively, if it gets popped either by a Sleeper rat or a player interloper, good luck to them.  They still have to get any loot out and they’re in our house.
  • Distant Hauling:  Getting small quantities in and out of the wormhole would be best served by a transport like an Occator (2 points built in) or a Viator (can warp cloaked).  If the exit is high sec, then a local hauler would be ok.  Given the mass budget of wormholes, its likely more efficient if a bit riskier to export minerals, etc. via multiple small industrials.
  • Salvage:  Nothing beats having a destroyer salver only a jump away.  Cheap and fast.

Funding It All

I think the entire POS set up with a few months of fuel can be bought for under 300-400 million isk, and we’d plan on using it in more than one instance.  I think I’ve convinced a corp mate to go in on it with me, so thats not that big of an investment.  Skills of course, cost what they cost to get up to snuff.  Getting to covert ops is really my main gateway at this point.  I should have a character trained on it this next week.

If I can obtain or purchase some key BPOs or BPCs, we could manufacturer any replacement ships we might need rather than haul their mass through a WH.  Stockpiling an initial cache of common ammo and modules also shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive.  Particularly if we bring BPOs or BPCs with.

The initial population would be a minimum of 4 accounts, but hopefully a few others will join us.  If all goes well, we could be ready to deploy in a weekend or two.

So what am I leaving out?

18 thoughts on “The Expedition”

  1. I currently live at a PoS in wspace. It can be quite lucrative. You seem to be off to a good start. If you’re going in with a small group I would suggest class 1 or 2.

    We mine quite a bit of ABC ore, nice money especially when you’ve exhausted all of the anomalies. I can’t fly a Hulk, so i put together a Ferox with Gas Harv’s and Miner II’s. It can take some hits and live long enough to jump out. The retriever really does feel fragile there, but once you clear a belt of sleepers, I’m not sure they respawn.

  2. Good to know. I’m starting to read some stories coming out of w-space but it can be a bit daunting.

    If its as lucrative as you say, then maybe I’ll bring in the hulk once I recoup a bit. I haven’t done the math yet, but I suspect that a Ferox with Miner IIs and the boost provided by the Orca will be a good all rounder platform.

    Of course, thats making me regret neglecting my gunnery skills as I missiled up, but hey, its Eve. There’s always something else you should be training.

    Has fuel been much of a problem for your POS?

  3. My buddy is running a POS solo (him and his alt) in a wormhole and having a blast. As long as your wormhole opens to high sec often enough you should be good to go.

  4. Fuel isn’t really a problem… just keep a couple indy’s around loaded with it. We also have a couple folks who fly blockade runners, so we can get supplies as our exit WH is often low-sec/null-sec.

    We are in a higher class wormwhole, but pull in over a billion isk a week easy.

    If you shield up your Hulk, you should be fine. The belt rats don’t web/scram (least I don’t think they do).

  5. Just one thing: If you intend to refine and manufacture in wormhole space you’re looking at a Medium tower (which will up your costs). Badly setup small towers can be taken down.

    1. I was just reading your account the other day…

      I was planning on at least a medium tower, but as I get more paranoid I keep wanting to add more to it. I may just go with a large tower so I can fit it all and have some decent defenses.

      Defense-wise, the tentative plan in order of priority is 1) strontium, 2) ecm and 3 shield hardeners. I’m hoping that attackers would get bored/run out of time and leave first. Especially if they couldn’t afk fire. I’m hoping that would be enough.

      Of course going large and adding more modules raises the cost by quite a bit and the cost of fuel goes up as well. My scratch calculations say the large station would be around 700 million and the fuel would run about 80 million a month (less if we harvest our own ice).

  6. I’d be very careful. Our Alliance discovered the hard way this week that each w-space pocket has multiple wormholes connected to it from both hi sec *and* low sec.

    We had a half dozen people doing mining and ratting when a *different* wormhole opened up than the one we came through. And this one was apparently a low-sec or 0.0 hole, because a six ship pirate fleet came through to play. Needless to say we weren’t expecting much PvP action, and lost four of our own six ships.

    I don’t know much about POS’s but you better put some big guns on it and lock the front door before you leave.

  7. It seems to be all about location. There are some w-space systems that do not open up to normal space and ONLY open up to other wormhole systems.

    Finding one of these pockets would prob be the best route to take to avoid unwanted visitors. It does make running supplies or getting your spoils to the market a bit problematic.

  8. Sounds well planned-out! Could be a lot of fun.

    The wife and I have run through a few wormholes, just playing around. She does the scanning/probing stuff and I hit things with a club. On occasion we have had one other corp member join us.

    Are you guys recruiting? Just curious…I can’t say definitely that I would join, but we only have 5 members in our corp and only 4 active (all RL friends though). We’ve had thoughts of running our own POS too, but it’s never going to happen with our current makeup. About the best we manage is getting three members together for a short-lived romp through low-sec.

    Anyway, great blog. I’m interested to see how the expedition turns out!

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