I was thinking about scanning etiquette this weekend. That is, when you are in a system probing and another player is also probing. In high sec, it is technically a free-for-all with the fastest scanner/hacker/plexor/salvager winning. The only calculation is: Am I enough faster than the other player to make it worth it to compete with them? Other than the ninja salvaging last weekend, I haven’t probed in high sec for a very long time. With my current skills, I would compete and try to beat the other player to the sites. But my current skills make it much more profitable for me to be in lowsec so there are other calculations in play.
In nullsec, it seems everyone safes/cloaks up as soon as a non-blue entity enters the system. The risk of blops drop, bubbles, etc seems to dictate that the most conservative approach be used.
In wormholes, anytime probes come out, everyone is on high alert.
Lowsec is more interesting in this regard (at least to me). While it can still be fairly dangerous, I would say the the majority of the players that I see in lowsec are actively avoiding conflict, but you never know for sure. So, as a matter of course, I find myself observing an odd form of professional courtesy with my fellow explorers. This is by no means universal, but I think other lowsec players have a similar approach.
Pilgrim’s Scanning Etiquette: As exploration professionals, we both make the best use of our time by following a first-come first-served rule. I will assume that you are an exploration professional unless you show that you are not.
Pilgrim’s Lowsec Scanning Rules
1) If I enter a system and see “core scanner probes”, I will assume the player is only doing the relic/data sites and I will scan for combat sites. If I only see profession sites, I will move on – with one exception.
Exception 1: If you are ignorant enough to decloak and run a profession site while I still have probes out, I will take the opportunity to educate you on the dangers of lowsec and relieve you of your ship.
2) If I enter a system and see “sisters core scanner probes”, I will usually skip the system. The only exception is if I know the player is in a covops ship and then I will follow rule #1.
3) If I am already scanning a system and someone else shows up and starts probing, I will finish probing and wait to see what the other player does. If the player moves on, I will run the sites. The the player doesn’t, then I will wait to see if Exception 1 applies.
4) If I am running a profession site and probes show up, I will usually cloak up. No cans in lowsec are even close to profitable enough risk a ship. If the player moves on, I will finish. If not, I will wait and see what happens. A pro will notice the hacked cans and move on.
There are additional exceptions I suppose. I have been known to scan a system with a plan on maybe running the sites later on the return trip. I assume other players do the same on occasion. I am sure that some players even scan and wait. However, it is hard to pull this trick more than once and it means spending a lot of wasted time (= lost isk) waiting and it isn’t likely to be practiced by exploration professionals.