Monday, August 29, 2011

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

It wasn’t infinity in fact. Infinity itself looks flat and uninteresting. Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity—distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. The chamber into which the aircar emerged was anything but infinite, it was just very very very big, so big that it gave the impression of infinity far better than infinity itself.
--Douglas Adams

Space is vast, and a lot of it remains uncharted.  Explorers are dedicated to discovering cosmic anomalies and deadspace signatures, although risky, pilots are often rewarded greatly.  Enter this career path if you wish to find out more about the secrets of exploration.

These missions don't follow the 1 of 10 Pattern of the others.  I'm not sure why really.  Perhaps it's to get you into the mindset that all the different exploration sites are really just disparate complexes that you run?  Maybe I'm just giving CCP too much credit on that one, but it's what I tell myself.  I'll continue to mark them as # of 10 in this post, but I'll also be including the name the game actually provides for them.

1 of 10 On-Board Scanning

Granted: None

Reward: one unit of Astrometrics

Bonus: <3h 26m for 79000

Accepting the mission starts the Finding Cosmic Anomalies tutorial.  Pretty basic stuff really, but it does make the completely contradictory statements of "On-board scanners are capable of scanning outwards from your vessel in a 64 AU radius." followed by "the on-board scanner searches outwards from your ship’s location when you begin to scan, but it only has a range of 30 AU."  I'm pretty sure this is just a blatant oversight on CCP's part after the change.  They remembered to update the tutorial, but missed where it said it twice. [Editors Note: As of Jan 2012 it's been updated, however the very next mission includes this outdated reference to the old Scanner range "Think of Scan Probes as little ships.  They have built-in scanners just like yours, except these ones can reach out to 32 AU, much further than your On-Board Scanner."]

The tutorial starts by telling you to undock in a ship of your choosing.  You then use your On-Board scanner to find an anomoly and loot a can inside it.  It really doesn't matter which ship you bring as long as it has 1.0m³ of cargo space.  I went ahead and did it in the Executioner I was running the Combat missions in as I wasn't sure if there would be combat, but there wasn't.

Upon completion of the mission you're told "As your reward, I'm giving you a very important skillbook: Astrometrics.  You should begin training it immediately, you will need to have it trained to level I in order to complete the entirety of this tutorial."  While this is definitely true, and it'll take all of 24 minutes to train that skill, it strikes me as odd that it includes that warning here, but not elsewhere.  I mean, I needed the Industry skill to complete that tutorial, but even needed to buy it off the market.  So why is this one different?  I have no clue.

2 of 10 An Introduction to Cosmic Signatures

Granted: one unit of Tormentor

Reward: 71000

Bonus: <3h for 61000

I'm not sure why I get a Tormentor for this mission.  I just thought a Magnate would have made more sense, but who am I to argue.  I change ships to this new ship and take it out with no fittings.  I found the mission to be a bit confusing at first though.  Undocking I expected to use my Scanner to locate something, but I just needed to warp to a Deadspace pocket.  Chalk that one up to my own stupidity I suppose.

The mission itself just has you going to various rooms inside a Deadspace complex.  The first room has a can to loot that provides you with a Probe Launcher and Probes.  The others are just representative of the different Signatures you could scan down, with explanations of what sort of module you need to take advantage of that signature.  I sort of get the feeling this was all just designed to waste my time while the Astrometrics skill was training.  Once I'm done, it's a simple matter of returning to my agent to complete the mission.

3 of 10 Gravimetric Site Scanning

Granted: one unit of Proof of Discovery Gravimetric: Passkey

Rewards: one unit of Survey

Bonus: <6h for 115000

My suspicions are confirmed when the next mission requires me to use probes to complete it.  I still haven't finished Astrometrics I though, so I take another break.  Accepting the mission started the aptly named Exploration tutorial.  I'm sort of a bad judge of how good the tutorial does of teaching you to scan for sites.  I remember it being really difficult when I first tried it, but I'm a lot better at probing things down now (Yarrr!), so it went rather smoothly.  I actually manage to scan down a Mag and Grav site at the same time, so I bookmark the Mag site expecting it to come up in a future mission.

Once inside the Grav site, I just have to activate an acceleration gate.  Inside the second room, loot a can and then head back to my agent.  Turning in the mission to great fanfare (at least in my mind), I move on to the next one.

4 of 10 Magnetometric Site Scanning

Granted: None

Reward: 57000

Bonus: <3h 30m for 75000

Magnetometric being a totally made up word aside, accepting the missions starts the...Magnetometric Sites tutorial, subtitled "What is Archaeology?" I'm sure there's an archaeologist right now who's feeling quite offended.  The process of scanning down the site should be identical to the Grav site, although I cheat and use my bookmark from before, and the tutorial has provided me with a Civilian Analyzer and Civilian Salvager for use once I'm there.

Once inside the Mag site, you'll be presented with two cans.  Worth noting that you didn't actually need to fit both the Salvager and Analyzer, since you only have to recover an object from one of the two cans to complete the mission.  The turorial told you to fit them both, but it lied.  Sneaky tutorial.

5 of 10 Radar Site Scanning

Granted: None

Reward: one unit of Astrometric Pinpointing

Bonus: <2h 15m for 54000

I'm sort of disappointed that they're giving you the skillbook for Astrometric Pinpointing.  It encourages you to wait and get it for free instead of buying it, which is making this entire process agonizingly slow.  With no skills other than Astrometrics, I'm having a hard time scanning sites to 100% on anything other than .25 AU distance scans.  I could continue training Astrometics for more probes, but it would take a couple of hours to complete and I intend to be done with this tutorial before then.  I actually spent the several scans on the first mission at 99.9%, which is just sort of condescending really.  Hopefully this time it goes smoother.

Accepting the mission starts the Advanced Hacking tutorial.  Again, Hackers all over the world are probably groaning at this point.  I'm provided with a Civilian Codebreaker, which I swap for the Analyzer and then head out.  Scanning down the Radar site goes smoothly.  Hacking, and I do use that term loosely here, into the container gets me another mission item, which is turned in and the mission successfully completed.

6 of 10 Ladar Site Scanning

Granted: one unit of passkey: Ladar Passkey

Reward: one unit of Magnate

Bonus: <1h 20m for 26000

Accepting the mission starts the Ladar Sites tutorial.  It talks about how Ladar sites are the source of Boosters, it's all a bit over my head really.  I would imagine a player going through the tutorial for the first time doesn't even know what boosters are yet, let alone care how they're made.  Anyway, once I'm to the site it's just another Container in space that I have to activate a module on.  At first I thought my codebreaker was failing to unlock it.  I let it run about ten times in a row, each time it telling me it failed, before actually trying to open the container.  It was already unlocked.  I'm guessing someone had been here recently before me, and that's why it was open, but I can't be sure.  Either way, you'd think it would give you another response besides telling you that it failed and autorepeating the module.

And that concludes the Exploration tutorials.  Wait a minute, why did you just now give me a Magnate?  Why are there only six missions?  I feel a little shafted by the early ending.  I guess they couldn't figure out a way to stretch Exploration over 10 missions...which is sort of odd really, as Exploration is one of the most varied careers you can do in EVE.  Oh well, next time is Advanced Military...which is like Military...only Advanced.




  1. haha, I enjoyed this post, especially with your cynical take on each mission ;)

    Also... check eve... you've got mail in regards to the blog redesign =P

  2. It's worth noting with these NPE missions, some of the chains are much more recent than others.

    Cash flow for capsuleers for example hasn't really changed much since I first played eve - some 4 years ago (there may have been some minor changes to the tutorials that pop up, but that's about it).

    The chains like exploration and advanced military on the other hand are quite a lot newer (I think they were brought in with apocrypha)?