Smurf’s Probing Guide

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My First Wormhole:
Wormhole - Eve Online

In the old probing system it was fairly easy to take a group out in a gang; show them how to use the scanner, and how/where to place probes then walk them through the process of finding a site.

That kind of hands on instruction going to be a lot more difficult with this new system. The base scan time is now 10 seconds, and the same type of probes are now able to find any type of exploration site, but you must guide each individual probe to the site manually and use multiple probes to quadlaterate a result.

As a result, some aspects of the system require you to actually see how things are done on the screen, so it takes a certain degree of skill for the player, not just the character to get probing to work.

The following is a basic primer for the new probing system, I have included screen shots and other visual aids where possible because this system is very visually oriented. This is a work in progress, and I hope to include feed back given to me to improve it over time.

In order to get started with exploration it is handy to have these basic skills:

Astrometrics (rank 3) 4-5: I for Core Probe Launcher and all Scan Probes, II for Expanded Probe Launcher, III for Quest (40 min Moon survey) and Discovery Probes (10 min Moon survey), IV is the prerequisite for the supporting skills, and should be the baseline. V for Deep Space Probes and Gaze Discovery Probes (5 min Moon survey).

Astrometric Pinpointing (rank 5) 2-4: Reduces maximum scan deviation by 10% per level — This skill s useful especially in the early phase of finding a signal, my method of probing tries very hard to alleviate the issue of deviation by getting to 100% signal strength before trying to pinpoint the location. Technically you could get away with having none of this skill, but since it only takes a trivial amount of time to train to 3 or even 4, you may as well do it to make
your life easier.

Astrometric Rangefinding (rank 8 ) 3-4: Increases 10% scan probe strength per level — Increases 10% scan probe strength per level which makes it the most important of these skills, but it is also the hardest to train because it is rank 8. For example the training time for V is going to be in the neighborhood of 25-30 days. For that reason alone think that level 4 is sufficient.

Astrometric Acquisition (rank 5) 0-3: 10% reduction in scan time per level — Given that the base scan time is now 10 seconds, this skill is close to useless. As a rank 5 skill it would take in the neighborhood of 3 days to train it to IV, which is just not worth it to shave another second off of your scan time, even spending the roughly 15 hours to bring it to up to level III is iffy in my opinion, so that is were I would set the cap for that skill.

Related ship skills:
Racial Frigate II: Magnate (Amarr), Heron (Caldari), Imicus (Gallente), Probe (Minmatar)
Covert Ops: Anathema (Amarr), Buzzard (Caldari), Helios (Gallente), Cheetah (Minmatar)
Cloaking: To use a covert Ops cloaking device
Jury Rigging: To fit Gravity Capacitors to help with scanning.
High Speed Maneuvering: To fit a MWD

Other recommended skills: (someone in your gang should have these)
Archaeology: Minimal level III to be useful, V to use the new T2 module
Hacking: Minimal level III to be useful, V to use the new T2 module
Salvage: Minimal level III to be useful, V to use the new T2 module

Equipment:
The first and most important piece of equipment you need for exploration is a probe launcher, and of course probes to launch from it. Any ship can be used for exploration, but the frigates mentioned above offer a bonus and a covert ops frigate is optimal.

Attributes:

Ship fitting for your Racial Cov Ops:
High slots: All Cov Ops ships except for the Helios have 3 high slots, fit an Extended Scan Probe Launcher (An SOE launcher has a 5% strength bonus) and Covert Ops cloak, in the remaining slot remote armor repair modules and Salvagers are popular, in W-Space I could see Gas Harvesters being very useful as well.

Mid slots: A MWD is necessary equipment, I also like to fit a remote sensor dampener (with a scan resolution script), and a ‘Cetus’ ECM Burst (meta 4). You have to be careful using the ECM burst in Highsec, because it is an AE weapon and you will get concorded if you hit neutrals. The remaining Mids can be filled with cap rechargers, a code breaker, analyzer or whatever suits you.

While most Cov Ops pilots will tell you the key to staying alive in a Cov Ops is to never be seen, but sometimes “shit happens” in which case this fit -might- buy you a second chance at getting away in the event you get decloaked. The idea is to use the ECM burst to break the initial target lock, and using the sensor dampener to prevent a fast locking interceptor from re-locking after the ECM burst, thus giving you an extra second or two to get your cloak up and warp away.

Low slots: All Cov Ops ships except for the Buzzard have 3 low slots, if you do not have your Covert Ops skill up to 3 or 4 it is likely these low slots will be filed with CPU co-processors. Once you have your skill up a bit more, you can focus on speed and maneuverability, for example prior to this expansion I used 3 nanofiber internal structures to maximize align speed.

Now I am changing that to 2 nanofibers and an overdrive injector because the cargo penalty is not an issue with the much smaller probes. Others reverse this ratio to go for more speed, still others use Inertial stabilizers (which I avoid due to the signature penalty). It is up to you to decide what works best for your situation.

Related Implants (very nice but not required): (list borrowed from Reten Kip)

Slot 1:
Low-Grade Virtue Alpha
Primary: +2 Perception
Secondary: 1% bonus to scan strength of probes.
Set Effect: 10% bonus to the secondary effect of all Virtue implants.

Slot 2:
Low-Grade Virtue Beta
Primary: +2 Memory
Secondary: 2% bonus to scan strength of probes.
Set Effect: 10% bonus to the secondary effect of all Virtue implants.

Slot 3:
Low-Grade Virtue Gamma
Primary: +2 Willpower
Secondary: 3% bonus to scan strength of probes.
Set Effect: 10% bonus to the secondary effect of all Virtue implants.

Slot 4:
Low-Grade Virtue Delta
Primary: +2 Intelligence
Secondary: 4% bonus to scan strength of probes.
Set Effect: 10% bonus to the secondary effect of all Virtue implants.

Slot 5:
Low-Grade Virtue Epsilon
Primary: +2 Charisma
Secondary: 5% bonus to scan strength of probes.
Set Effect: 10% bonus to the secondary effect of all Virtue implants.

Slot 6:
Low-Grade Virtue Omega
+25% to all Virtue secondary effects.

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPF-0
2% decrease in maximum scan deviation

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPF-1
6% decrease in maximum scan deviation

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPF-2
10% decrease in maximum scan deviation

Slot 7:
Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPG-0
2% decrease in scanning time

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPG-1
6% decrease in scanning time

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPG-2
10% decrease in scanning time

Slot 8:
Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPH-0
2% increase in scan probe strength

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPH-1
6% increase in scan probe strength

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPH-2
10% increase in scan probe strength

Slot 9:
Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPW-1
5% increase in chance of archeological find

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPX-1
5% increase in chance of data retrevial

Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPY-1
5% increase in chance of salvage recovery

Slot 10:
Hardwiring – Poteque Pharmaceuticals ‘Prospector’ PPZ-1
5% reduction in cycle time of salvagers, analyzers, and codebreakers.

Finding a Signal:

The first thing you should get acquainted with is the scanner screen. At the top you will notice a number of buttons, from left to right these are:
Analyze: This button sets your probe in motion to move to the area you have indicated using the probe placement control, and directs them to scan the area indicated by their range sphere.

Recover: Probes are now reusable as long as you do not let their timer run all the way out. Be careful though if you press this button all your active probes immediately leave their current position and return to your cargo hold. This is not good if you have just spent a good deal of time finding and zeroing in on a signal.

Reactivate: Probes will now stay in space up to 10 minutes if you are disconnected, dock or jump to another system, use this button to regain control of your lost or deactivated probes.

Destroy: It does exactly that. As with the recover function be careful around this button because it will destroy all your active probes. Fortunately there is a pop up that warns you that you are about to do something stupid.

Map: On the far left side of your scanner is the map button. It toggles your view back and forth between the map and your local surroundings.

Now you are ready to launch your first probe:

Launch a probe and set the range to cover the whole system, if the system is too large to cover with a core scanner probe, you can either use a Deep Space (DS) probe or just use a core scanner probe set to the max range range needed to cover the whole system, or if the system is too large move the probe(s) around the system scanning at the 3,6,9, and 12 o’clock positions to cover the whole system, or until you find something you are interested in.

Once you have the signal you want within the range of your core scanner probe look at the distance result to determine if you can shrink the size of your probe down one or more sizes. Either way make sure your probe is set to the lowest range that will still pick up your target, which will also ensure you have the highest signal strength possible at your current range.

The distance result has some degree of deviation in it, so even if your probe says your signal is within 7au, you might find that the result disappears when shrink your range down to 8 au. In the example above, I went down to 4 au, but lost the signal so I had to go back up to 8 au because the actual location of the signal was further away than the results indicated due to deviation.

Once you have found the right range, zoom in on your probe by left clicking the probe’s name tag in space so that you can see what you are doing. Now click on your result to bring up the pink indicator bubble within your blue probe range. This indicates the approximate distance from your probe to the signal. Note that there is still deviation in your distance result so it will change if you rescan.

Using the pink indicator sphere as a guide launch a second probe (if you have not already). Position these two probes so that they both have sufficient range to completely cover the entire pink indicator bubble and rescan. If the pink indicator is too big for you to completely overlap with your two probes you will need to narrow it down a bit before you continue.

To do this, you will need to recenter your probe in the middle of the pink indicator and use your second probe systematically scan each of the six faces of the first probe’s control cube. With any luck you will not have to do all six sides.

For example, place your new probe directly above the first one with enough range to cover the top half of the pink indicator and rescan to see which one is closer to the target. Note that if your second probe turns out to be closer to the signal than the first, leave it there and move the other probe as you continue.

As you can see in this picture our 2nd probe was placed too high to detect the signal, because it did not cover a small sliver of the pink indicator at the bottom. If your signal is 100% this means the signal will more than likely be located in that sliver. If you are under 100% you will have some distance deviation, but the signal is still probably below the mid-line of first probe somewhere. Either way, move your 2nd probe down below your first and rescan.

As it turns out the 2nd probe is now practically on top of the indicated location as indicated by the red indicator circle near the 2nd probe. Were this not the case, you would simply pick a cube face on another axis and continue this process until you find which of the six sides it is on.

Adjustment of the 2nd probe a little further down centers the indicator circle directly between the two probes. If you have 100% signal strength you are pretty much home free. If not you might need to adjust your range or move your probes a little closer together to help get the strength up more, just be careful not to do too many adjustments at one time, because the indicator is still deviating from the actual position, and you might over correct and lose your target completely.

The Circle Indicator:
The Circle Indicator shows you were two probes have overlapped and resolve their results into a simple two dimensional circle that contains the location of your signal. If you are lucky you might get a red circle indicator between your two probes on the first cube face you try to scan the odds are 1 in 6.

Note that in systems with several signatures, you may end up with more than one (even several) indicator rings in the area were your probes overlap. If this is the case click on the individual scan results to bring up just the one signal you are looking for. If you are using a DS probe now is the time to recover it and just use core probes to continue. The reason for switching them out is because the core scanner probe is stronger and has less distance deviation, and this will also get you a lot closer to the target and hopefully remove some of the extraneous signals so that you can focus on finding the one you want.

If you are working with less than 100% signal strength adding a second probe will also boost your signal strength. In this example provided by Reten Kip you can see that he is starting at 47.10% signal strength with his first probe.

The addition of a second probe gives him the circle indicator and brings his signal strength up to 100%, also note that as the signal strength goes up, he gains additional information in the columns labeled “group” and “type” which tell him what kind of signature he has found, in this case it is a wormhole.

The (hopefully) final scan:
Now that you have your circle indicator it is time to launch two additional probes (if you have not already. Place them on either side of the red indicator circle so that each of your 4 probes has enough range to completely cover the entire indicator circle and rescan. If your signal is still under 100% you need a little extra overlap to account for deviation.

The Two Dot Indicator:
This shows what happens if one of the probes is slightly out of range causing only 3 of the probes to overlap this is indicated by the split results, if you look closely you can see two yellow dots, each with half signature strength. You can also see that the probe on the right side is just barely missing the yellow target indicator dots. If you place your probes so that they completely cover the circle, you should not see a two dot result.

The Dot Indicator:
One final adjustment puts the last probe into place with good overlap on the signal, a quick rescan gives you, a Green indicator dot, which means you now have a warpable target! Now comes the moment of reckoning, if your scan strength is still less than 100% your dot will not be Green, and you will not be able to warp to it. To fix this, zoom in nice and close, then reduce the range of your probes and scoot them in closer around the dot and rescan. Repeat this until your signal strength is 100%. See Example 1 in the troubleshooting section below for additional instructions.

If you’ve done it correctly you should now be able to warp to your target site. In this case, it is a wormhole.

I suggest bookmarking your find and making sure you have everything, such as a large group of friends before proceeding. When you decide to go in, operate it just like a jump gate. If it is W-space you will see this pop up:

If you are leaving probes behind you will also get this pop up:

Troubleshooting:
Here are some examples of common mistakes to help you figure out what you are doing wrong and how to fix it.

Example 1, The Useless Red (or Yellow) dot:
In this picture (taken from the eve online forum and cleaned up), was taken by a pilot who found a signal and appears to have gotten fairly close to it, but notice that the indicator dot is Red, this means that signal strength is not 100%. As you can see he has his probes set to .25 au, but the distance shows .866 au. This is an obvious example of distance deviation.

If your signal is under 100%, you will have a dot that is Yellow (mid strength) or Red (weak) and there will be distance deviation.

If this is happening to you, it means that:
Your signal is not where the dot says it is!!!

Simply put, the indicator is giving a false positive. To correct this, take one of your probes (or launch a 5th) and put it exactly on top of your misleading indicator dot, set the range high enough to cover the cubes of all of your other probes and rescan. If you do not get a better indicator with the other probes, you might want to expand your central probe to overlap all 4 probes entirely and deactivate them to clear the clutter of extra results and start over from this position until you reach 100% signal strength. Remember, if your skills and equipment are sub-par you might not be able to hit 100% with some signals.

You might also run into this problem if you use Deep Space probes to pin down the approximate location because of the weaker strength and increased deviation compared to core probes. If you get good at this, it could potentially be a lot faster way for you to zero in your first core probe to a reasonable strength/range in big systems, but you need Astrometrics V to do it.

Example 2, I cannot get any closer:
You only need enough overlap to adequately cover the indicator area, make sure your probes are not all jumbled together. This is a problem because the devs have coded a countermeasure into the probing system to keep people from just dropping a big pile of probes in one spot and spamming the results. This countermeasure will kick in if your probes are spaced at an angle less than approximately 1 radian (57 degrees) from each other, so if your probes are too close together (as in this example) you will get separate hits for each probe in the scan results instead of the single warpable hit that you want. To correct this, always place your probes in such a way that their control cubes do not overlap and try to keep your angles at greater than 60 degrees (that of a triangle or tetrahedron) or better yet stick to the square probe formation (90 degrees) outlined in this guide and you should not have this problem.

Video