Here's an Eve Online Exploration Guide by Sketch. It teaches you how to explore on your own (solo), how to find distant exploration sites, things to avoid (wormhole space being one, you can easily get ganked there.) Note that it's best to first do the exploration tutorial provided as it is very helpful in getting you started. Now, onto the guide!
1. The Premise
Everyone loves a good loot drop. But they’re rare right? Too often do we see posts of the nature “exploration is broken, patch broke drops, DED plexes got nerfed, etc.” This is in most cases a failure to understand the RNG of eve and the fact that while you may have only got overseer effects on that 4/10 or received no escalation on your unrated plex, there are plenty of others who ran those same sites and hit the jackpot and got a full escalation + jackpot respectively.
Now for many people who explore casually, the one drop they get is pure luck. They did it once, got lucky, great. For others, they start to realize that drops come and go, escalations dead end sometimes but eventually you’ll get that full escalation and gold at the end of the rainbow.
For me, I began to realize that, go figure, the more I explored, the more stuff I got. Moreover, the more sites I actually found, the more stuff I got. It’s simple probability. Common sense that seems to be amiss. Imagine the lottery. Are your chances of winning better with 1 ticket or 100 tickets? Common sense of course says 100 is better than 1. Thus it became my goal to…find more sites.
My journey began on the forums. I recalled a thread from around the beginnings of Apocrypha discussing signature sizes and things of that nature. The exact thread can be found here. In short, the author discovered that there was a certain amount of “signature sizes” and these correlated to “target strengths” which were modified based on the users skill/gear/implants. Unable to find anything but an image of her excel sheet, I set about to reinvent the wheel so to speak it was time to rediscover ancient works of a great scholar.
I cannot thank you enough, Miss Moonwych, for your contribution to my work.
Initially I did not have the skills for deep space probes, but I assumed that core scanners would work in this theorized “filtering” mechanism. A futile effort ensued and I was quickly assured that I would have to wait for the skill to finish. To my discovery, core scanner probes and deep space probes are significantly different. Yes the obvious difference is the maximum range, 32 AU v. 256 AU. But what I discovered (and perhaps is common knowledge; alas I was but a noob) was that Deep Space Probes have a significantly lower base sensor strength. In fact, they have a measly 5 base sensor strength, compared to the vastly superior core scanner probe with its 40 base sensor strength.
Based on my rudimentary understanding of the scanning mechanics, I reasoned that perhaps due to the higher sensor strength of core probes, they were more susceptible to “noise.” Thus the “target strengths” that would show up at a 32 AU scan would be vastly different each time, due to the noise associated with varying distances to the signature being scanned.
When Astrometrics 5 finished, I had Deep Space Probes ready to go. Based on my conclusions, I theorized that a 256 AU probe would allow me to do two things. First, I would be able to scan an entire system at once. Very nice. More importantly however, the low sensor strength of the probe would allow me to have consistent results regardless of probe position in relation to signatures in the system.
The hypothesis proved correct. I found that in each system I checked, the results I was uncovering were revealing a pattern.
4. Practical Application
The next step was determining what strengths correlated to what sites. I embarked on a furious mission to find as many “different” sites as I could. DED complexes, watches, vigils, hideouts (I was sticking to high security space, yes). Each time I found a site that I was interested in (only combats as I have no interest in radar/ladar/grav/mag), I noted the SIG ID, reset my scanner and rescanned the system with a 256 AU Deep Space probe, annotating the results for the noted SIG ID. Furthermore, I expanded beyond Caldari Space, visiting Gallente and Amarr. Nicely enough, Sansha Watch and Gurista Watch have the same result. This consistency showed to be true throughout the various faction spaces.
A list began to form. Soon I was able to filter out much of the junk that I wanted nothing to do with and get watches, 4/10s and vigils constantly. The loot began to pour in as I found more and more sites at a much faster result than before I had been using Deep Space Probes.
5. The Sheet
A final problem arose. I was getting better gear, better skills. Thus, my initial signatures from the DSP scan were changing. I needed to formulate a way to account for this. Additionally, I wanted to share this stuff with my friends so they too could enjoy the plunder. Thus I created this sheet. I am no mathematician and nor am I exceptionally skilled in Excel. My basic premise was to find an equation that converted my known results for specific sites (signature sizes) to whatever the user input.
The sheet is a work in progress and does not account for anything outside of high security space. It also does not account for virtue implants (I got lazy). I myself have nearly completed it in terms of combat sites, but this release will only contain high security combat sites. I leave it up to the community to use it as they will.
Take note that this method of filtering is not fool proof. Yes you will still find radar/ladar/whatever when you are searching for the signature that correlates to DED 4/10. The point is that you will not find DED 4/10 at anything other than its prescribed signature.
I hope you all enjoy my story and if not, at least enjoy this spreadsheet. Much credit goes to Miss Moonwych for her previous work in this field.
If you would like to submit your own hints or tips for Eve Online, please post a comment below. Thanks for visiting.