New Player Exploration Career Guide (part 1)

This is my attempt to write a guide for newish players that are interesting in doing Exploration in Eve. It will be a multi-part guide written over the course of a few weeks months. It is based on my experiences and research. Accuracy is attempted, but not guaranteed.

Part 1: Overview

Part 2: Getting started

Why Exploration? 

It is primarily a solo activity although 2-3 players with tightly coordinated schedules would also do well.  You have to like scanning.  You will do a lot of it, and if you hate scanning, then exploration is probably not for you.  You have to be ok with randomness both in activity and in rewards.  You may complete a very long, difficult complex and get very little reward.  Then you may spend 2 minutes hacking a container hit the jackpot.  In addition to the randomness, it scales with time spent.  It is not a passive activity.  ISK per hour ranges from 5M to 500M with the average being around 100M per hour for a moderately skilled character (not counting time spent transporting/selling loot).  You can definitely PLEX an account (or two), but if you are looking for the really big money you should go into Trading

Here are some of the reasons that I like it:

          There is always something to do. 

          I am not dependent on other players for fun or ISK or activity.

          I still have the option to engage with other players either cooperatively or competitively.

          I travel all over the New Eden map and see the personalities of the various areas.

          It generates plenty of ISK. 

          I can vary my play-style from high to low risk depending on my mood. 

          I get to fly expensive (sub-cap) ships

          I get to spend most of my time outside of highsec. 

          I enjoy getting big loot (0.5B – 1.5B ISK)

Some other pluses (that don’t necessarily apply to me):

          It can be done in low and null sec.  If you already live there or have to live there, this may be a plus for you. 

          It can be done on an alt.  Especially the data/relic sites don’t require a massively skilled character.

 

Getting Started:

These are the phases of Exploration if you are starting from scratch.  If you already have a moderately skilled character, you can skip the early phases.  I will spend more time talking about each phase in upcoming posts, but it is worthwhile to think about what kind of explorer you want to be.  You can do “hacking” exploration where you only do data and relic sites.  This means a lot of time spent playing the Hacking Mini-Game.  You can do “combat” exploration where you only do the combat sites.  These are similar to missions given by combat agents and involve shooting lots of NPC’s.  “Combined” exploration does both of the above as well as Ghost Sites and Drug sites.  I don’t personally consider Gas Mining to be part of Exploration so this guide will not cover that.    

“Combat” exploration is probably the most profitable if you are in an area where sites are available. “Hacking” is the easiest to get into both in terms of ISK and Skillpoints.  “Combined” makes the best use of your time and gives you the most options for play, but requires the most investment of Skillpoints and ISK. 

The phases that I outline below reflect the different types.  If your plan is the “Combined” then you can decide whether to focus on “Hacking” or “Combat” first or jump back and forth between the two. 

If you do intend to do combat sites, you should try to decide which ship you plan to use in the later phases and use ships and weapon systems that put you on that path.  Right now, the 2 best choices are the Stratios with Drones/Armor and the Tengu with Heavy Assault Missiles/Shields.  The Tengu is better, but at least there is a choice.  The Legion is nice, but it can’t do sites that have neuting and really struggles with sites that have high EM/Thermal resists.  The Proteus does ok, but struggles with projecting damage.  Both the Legion and the Proteus (and the Stratios) suffer from the fact that Shield Boosting scales up better than Armor Repairing when deadspace modules are used as well as the fact that the low slots needed for damage mods must be used for tank.  The Loki doesn’t get a Shield Boosting or Armor Repairing subsystem and thus has difficulty fitting a strong tank of any variety. 

 

Phase 1a: “Hacking” High sec profession sites

Ship: T1 exploration Frigate

Training: ~ 1-3 months**

Major Skills: Racial Frigate IV, Archeology IV, Hacking IV, Astrometics IV, Astrometric Rangefinding III,

Modules: Core probe launcher, T1 Data/Relic Analyzer, T1 rigs

Cost: < 10M

Risk: Very low

Reward: Approximately 5-10M per hour

 

Phase 1b: “Combat” Ninja salvaging

Ship: T1 exploration Frigate

Training: ~ 1-3 months

Major Skills: Racial Frigate IV, Astrometics IV, Astrometric Rangefinding III, Salvaging IV-V

Modules: Expanded probe launcher, T1-T2 Salvager, T1 rigs

Cost: < 10M

Risk: Low-Moderate

Reward: Approximately 5-10M per hour; higher if also ninja looting

 

Phase 2a: “Hacking” Lowsec profession sites

Ship: Covert Ops Frigate/Astero

Training ~3-6 months

Major Skills: Racial Frigate V, Archeology V, Hacking V, Astrometics V, Astrometric Rangefinding IV, Covert Operations IV, Cloaking IV

Modules: T2/Sisters probe launcher + probes; T2 data/relic analyzer; Covert Ops Cloaking Device; Scanning or Hacking Rigs

Cost: 25-125M

Risk: Moderate

Reward: Approximately 20-30M per hour

 

Phase 2b:  “Combat” High Sec combat sites

Ship:  Gnosis/Astero/Stratios, T1 exploration ship + Battlecruiser /Assault Frigate

Training: ~3-9 months

Skills: Varies a lot depending on ships used.

Modules: core launcher, t1 rigs + T2 weapons, T2 tank

Cost: 50-150M (500M+  if using the Stratios)

Risk: Low; slightly higher if doing lowsec escalations

Reward: Approximately 30M per hour

 

Phase 3a: “Hacking” Nullsec profession sites (+ Ghost sites w/ Strategic Cruiser)

Ship: Covert Ops Frigate or Strategic Cruiser

Training ~3-9 months

Skills (Covert Ops): Racial Frigate V, Archeology V, Hacking V, Astrometics V, Astrometric Rangefinding IV, Covert Operations IV, Cloaking IV

Skills (Strategic Cruiser): Racial Cruiser V, Archeology V, Hacking V, Astrometics V, Astrometric Rangefinding IV, Cloaking IV, Racial Electronic Subsystems V

Modules: T2/Sisters probe launcher + probes; T2 data/relic analyzer, Rigs

Cost: 50M – 600M

Risk: High; Somewhat lower in a Strategic Cruiser with an Interdiction Nullifier

Reward: Approximately 40-60M per hour

 

Phase 3b: “Combat” Lowsec combat sites

Ship:  Stratios/Strategic Cruiser

Training: ~6-12 months

Skills: Varies a lot depending on ships used and which sites you want to focus on.

Modules: core launcher, T2 rigs, T2 weapons/tank with deadspace/faction upgrades

Cost: 0.5B – 1.5B

Risk: moderate

Reward: Approximately 80-100M per hour

 

Phase 4: “Combined” Lowsec combat, profession, drug, ghost sites

Ship:  Stratios/Strategic Cruiser

Training: ~9-15 months

Skills: All of the above

Modules: Sisters core launcher, T2 rigs, T2 Data/Relic Analyzer, T2 weapons/tank with deadspace/faction upgrades

Cost: 0.5B – 1.5B

Risk: moderate

Reward: Approximately 100M per hour

 

Phase 5: “Combat” Nullsec Sites

          This is a special case.  You can do the low end sites with similar fit/skills to the Lowsec combat phase.  The high end sites generally require multiple ships (friends, dualboxing, boosting) or an exceptional combination of pilot skill and expensive fittings.  I have little experience here, but it is a planned project.  I will elaborate as I get more experience. 

Ship: Strategic Cruiser(s) + ?

Training: 24 months+

Skills: V’s for your chosen ship/tank/weapon system

Modules: Sisters core launcher, T2 rigs, T2 weapons/tank with deadspace/faction upgrades

Cost: 2B – ?

Risk: high (both from players and NPC’s)

Reward: Varies a lot depending on how quickly you can complete sites.  Comparable to Lowsec at approximately 100M per hour. 

 

 

 

** Note on training times:  They are pretty broad because they assume that like most players you will try lots of different skills like industry and weapopns and PI, and social skills, etc.  The actual training times for the minimum requirements are significantly shorter (should you choose a very dedicated training path).  The training time speaks more to general game experience time of a casual to moderate player than it does to the actual training days required.

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