EvE Online: Exploration Guide

EvE Online Exploration Guide
naxer 12.04.2019 0

Welcome in EVE Exploration Guide. EVE  Exploration is one of many career choices in EvE Online and with an introduction to Triglavian sites it's currently more profitable than ever. It's a good, yet active, a way of making money for a single player. You can skill exploration fairly easily and its fairly easy to learn and takes some time to master. Entry-level exploration ships are quite cheap so there is no harm in trying. 

Table of contents

1. Make sure you know this Checklist before EVE Exploration

2. Skills required for Exploration3.

3. The best Ships and Fittings for EVE Exploration.

4. T2 Frigates and Astero.

5. Tier 3.

6. Possible Region Types during EVE Exploration.

7. Planning a route.

8. Scanning.

9. Useful links


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Plenty of systems in EvE, from high to null sec, have hidden sites called Cosmic Signatures. A player with enough skill and an exploration ship can scan them down to reveal what those signatures truly are. Cosmic Signature can turn out to be a gas site or a combat plex, but apprentice EVE explore will be mostly looking for two types of sites: Relic and Data. As you upgrade your scanning equipment and get overall better at a game you can take benefit of the two, more dangerous but more rewarding, types of signatures: Covert and Sleeper. 


Hacking is performed via a minesweeper-like minigame and is pretty much the same on all types of sites but varies in difficulty levels, there are two types of containers you will find during your exploration: Relic and Data, each of those will require a different module to hack with, Relic will require Relic Analyzer and Data will require Data Analyzer.  

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The loot you will find will vary. You can find cheap salvage, commodities as well as very valuable BPC's and data keys used in R&D of advanced modules. The contents of the containers on the site depend on the type of the site (and system security). In this tutorial for EvE exploration, we will cover the basics, after reading it you should know enough to just go out there and explore. 


Make sure you know this Checklist before EVE Exploration

  • Always make sure you have the recommended skills before flying out

  • Fly cheap, entry-level EVE exploration does not require officer module/expensive implants to perform

  • If you are in null-sec corp always be sure to join standing fleet and comms 

  • If you are in null-sec corp explore in the systems occupied by your alliance 

  • When scanning signatures stay cloaked 

  • The "core" of hacking window usually is somewhere on the other side of the starting point 

  • Open and loot all containers on the site, don't leave scraps for fellow explorers unless you are in danger

  • Always ensure your ship 

  • Sell your yield in the market hub.


Skills required for Exploration

  • Scanning

    • Astrometric Rangefinding (scan probe strength +5%/lvl) 

    • Astrometric Acquisition (scan probe duration +5%/lvl) 

    • Astrometrics (scan strength +5%/lvl, -5% scan time per level and -5%/lvl scan deviation) 

  • Hacking 

    • Hacking (+10 virus coherence when hacking data sites) 

    • Archaeology (10 virus coherence when hacking relic sites) 

      It's important to have those sites at level 5 first as they unlock T2 analyzers

  • MISC 

    • Cloaking (Training to level 4 will unlock the Covert Ops cloak).


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The best Ships and Fittings for EVE Exploration

All faction exploration ships are pretty much the same that's why we will focus on most popular pick among explorers everywhere Heron, a T1 EVE Exploration frigate for Caldari but any faction can train to fly it pretty fast. The slot layout on the Heron makes it a most popular T1 frigate as it can fit two rangefinding arrays which will greatly boost the speed of your signature scanning. The ship is cheap and, pretty much, disposable so you have multiple Herons across multiple systems ready to explore anytime. Below we will show you some standard fits.


You can copy-paste the fit from the website straight to EvE, just copy the text below (including ship name) and open the fitting window in EvE online, click "Browse" and then select "Import From Clipboard" .


[Heron, Heron T1 Explo] Nanofiber Internal Structure I Nanofiber Internal Structure I 5MN Microwarpdrive I Relic Analyzer I Data Analyzer I Cargo Scanner I Scan Rangefinding Array I Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I Improved Cloaking Device II [Empty High slot] Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Small Emission Scope Sharpener I [Empty Rig slot] 

Note: If you are an alpha account you can completely ditch the Improved Cloaking Device, just exercise extra caution when scanning signatures. 


T2 Frigates and Astero

Tier 2 frigates are usually top-of-the-line EVE exploration vehicles and should suffice for most non-hostile exploration content unless you want to flex some muscles with T3 Tactical Cruiser fit for exploration. T2 exploration frigates are cheap and rigged for stealthy exploration with little to none defensive capabilities. The biggest advantage of T2 over T1 is the ability to fit a Covert Ops Cloak device which allows you to warp while cloaked making it infinitely safer for you (and extremely hard for enemies to catch you). The fits below are designed to capitalize on ships strengths bolstering the stealthy/defensive approach to EVE exploration. 

Unscrammable Astero

[Astero, Unscrammable Relic Astero]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I
'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I
'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I

Relic Analyzer I
5MN Microwarpdrive II
Scan Rangefinding Array I
Scan Rangefinding Array I

Core Probe Launcher I
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Hornet EC-300 x15

Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16


Low align time / instawarp Astero

[Astero, InstaWarp Relic Astero]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Warp Core Stabilizer II
Warp Core Stabilizer II

Relic Analyzer II
5MN Microwarpdrive II
Scan Rangefinding Array I
Cargo Scanner II

Sisters Core Probe Launcher
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II
Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

Hornet EC-300 x15

Nanite Repair Paste x85
Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16


As you can see we have used Astero in both cases. Astero is a "pirate" Sisters of Eve faction frigate. Why Astero over T2 Empire Faction frigates? It's simply better at everything and is currently the most popular EVE exploration frigate, strong bonuses to hacking, scanning and ability to use CovOps cloak along with some drones makes it perfect all-around ship for lightweight exploration. Of course if you want you can swap Relic Analyzer for Data Analyzer at any given time, or use multi-purpose but those are pretty expensive. If you still want to use your faction frigates here are some basic fits: 



[Buzzard, EvE Isk Scanning Fit] Nanofiber Internal Structure II Micro Auxiliary Power Core II 5MN Microwarpdrive II Relic Analyzer I Data Analyzer I Scan Rangefinding Array I Scan Rangefinding Array I Core Probe Launcher I Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Salvager I Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16 



[Anathema, Anathema Buy EvE ISK Fit] Warp Core Stabilizer II Warp Core Stabilizer II Nanofiber Internal Structure II 5MN Microwarpdrive II Data Analyzer I Relic Analyzer I Scan Rangefinding Array I Core Probe Launcher I Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Salvager I Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16 



[Cheetah, Cheetah EvE Scanning Fit] Warp Core Stabilizer II Warp Core Stabilizer II Micro Auxiliary Power Core I 5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Data Analyzer I Relic Analyzer I Scan Rangefinding Array I Core Probe Launcher I Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Salvager I Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16 


[Helios, Helios Buy ISK Scanning Fit] Warp Core Stabilizer II Warp Core Stabilizer II Nanofiber Internal Structure II 5MN Microwarpdrive II Relic Analyzer I Data Analyzer I Scan Rangefinding Array I Scan Rangefinding Array I Core Probe Launcher I Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Small Emission Scope Sharpener I Hornet EC-300 x1 Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16 


Tier 3 

Tier 3 is where you are joining the big boys league. This is the apex exploration predator but with high efficiency comes high... or extremely high cost. You are not going Tier 3 to be cost-effective, you are going Tier 3 to flex and, apart from occasional hacking, prey on Exploration Frigates that can have no hope of defending themselves against your power. You will be spending lots of EvE ISK on that so be sure you are not spending your entire wealth on that ship. Flying a tactical cruiser around paints a target on your back as having this expensive ship on your killmail earn the killer some bragging rights. Just like driving a Lambo around the worst neighbourhood in Chicago.


No matter which faction T3 you will pick, it won't get any cheaper. The hull alone might cost less that Sisters of Eve exploration cruiser - Stratios, but the T3 subsystem and the fit can average around 500 million ISK, and that's for a standard issue T2 fit with no officer bling. The relatively small cargo hold is the only downside when flying a T3 but once you are flying this beast you can afford to be pickish on what you carry with you, keeping the treasure and jettisoning the trash. All that ISK is not only for flexing, Tech 3 cruiser with proper skills trained and good fit is nearly utacklable and capable of resisting damage of Superior Sleeper Caches which are heavily guarded data and relic sites, not to mention other EVE exploration ships will very likely just evacuate the site if they see T3 entering the stage. 


Possible Region Types during EVE Exploration

Altho site name will tell you everything you need to know about the signature, the types of signatures you will find depends strictly on the kind of space you are flying. You will encounter different things in High-Security empire space, Low-Security, Null and Wormhole. 


High Sec is relatively safe but the loot isn't really worth that much compared to lower security regions of space. High-Security sites, apart from yielding cheap loot, are also highly contested but they are a good take-off point for your exploration adventure. Complete few sites to, at least, familiarize yourself with probe-scanning and hacking minesweeper before you venture into more dangerous parts of cosmos. 


Low Sec higher risk, higher reward but not really worth the risk. Since low-sec systems are more populated than null and yield less valuable items you are basically risking more for less. Hunting explorers in low-sec is a favourite pass-time activity for many veteran players in stealthily fit Tengus or Lokis. One thing you don't have to worry about, however, is the interdiction bubbles since they are not allowed outside null. 


Null Sec is a high-risk high-reward zone. There are more dangers down here since players can now use interdiction bubbles to stop you and if you are not smart about your travels you can end up extra-crispy and no amount of eve isk will save you. Due to some permanent blockades on the outer rim of major alliance territories, your manoeuvrability might be limited unless you take the wormhole route. 


Wormholes/J-Space also has relic and data sites but unlike sites in "Imperial Space," they cannot be done in an exploration frigate as they contain hostile NPC ships. Altho they are faction sites in low-level wormholes (C1,2 and 3) that are relatively safe for frigates to get hack if careful, these sites are same as in null sec so it's more risk for the same reward. 


Thera the largest and most dangerous solar system in EvE. Its generally very bad idea to go there for exploration. 


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Planning a route

When exploring, you won't be sticking to one system, or one region even, you will be travelling far and wide jumping from solar system to solar system looking for signatures. That is why it is good to plan your route ahead. You will be most likely be lucky with signatures in systems that are not visited very often. Picking empty systems has one more advantage - it's less likely to get shot. Look for systems with no or almost no people, no recent kills and low recent jumps. You can plan your route using intel from http://evemaps.dotlan.net/


If you find a certain route yielding good results and bringing you plenty of eve ISK, you can note that route down in your notepad (Neocom -> Accessories -> Notepad) then click the "A" icon on the upper-left side of your window, in the search bar enter the first system of the route and click search. In the pop-up window, double-click the correct system, in another pop-up drag the picture of the solar system into the notepad and repeat the same for all the "crossroad" systems on your route.



Always scan from a safe spot. If you don't have "safe spots" its time to create some now. If you are in a hostile system warp between any 2 celestial bodies and while warping and save a location and bookmark it (CTRL-B). That way you will create yourself a safe location "somewhere in space". Remember to cloak after setting out probes and stay cloaked, not only enemy wont be able to see you but you will also disappear from any d-scan and combat probe results. 


Be sure to monitor local chat, if you are in null-sec NEVER explore in a system with neutral or hostile players unless you are ready to fight. Having D-Scan up at all times during 360 of the area also helps, there might be stealthed ships around that you won't see with your combat probes but you will be able to D-Scan their probes!


If all the preemptive measures in place lets get down to scanning:

  • Launch Probes 

  • Center the probes

    • If a signature is close to a planet or other celestial center your probles around it 

    • If the signature is far away from any station/planet/gate put the probes in the center of signature's sphere and increase their range 

  • Press the scan button 

  • Re-centre your probes after each scan lowering the scan radius over and over until you reach 100%.


If you are having problems getting that last few per cent and you are already at 0.25AU scan radius you might wiggle with your probes a little, hold shift and move the probes closer together but don't move them too close as you might lose the signal altogether. If you still can't reach 100% this means you need either to skill up your scanning skills or get a better ship/implants to enhance your scanning but those might cost you quite a bit of eve ISK. 

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Types of Cans

There are three tiers of containers that you will find on the site. Depending on the type it might be (in order of value/difficulty) Rubble/Remains/Ruins for Relic sites or Com Towers/Mainframe/Databank for Data sites. Lesser value does not mean worse loot, just lower chance for good one, still you might hit a jackpot by doing lowest tier of the container. 


The hacking game

Hacking minigame is basically minesweeper with few tweaks. Your goal is to reach a core node and break it. On your way there you will encounter helpful "utility subsystems" and hostile nodes that have various unfavourable effects and locking neighbouring nodes blocking passage and you have to either destroy them or find another route: 

  • Firewall: each time you click it you take damage, it usually takes 2-3 hits which can result in 20-30 damage. You can risk leaving them unless you are forced to go through. 

  • Anti-Virus: same like firewalls but hit way harder, best to leave unless that's your last resort 

  • The Restoration Node: You have to destroy this as soon as it appears, not only it has high health pool but each click on this node (or any other node) will increase the health of any other revealed hostile nodes on the grid. Pop your Kernal Rot or Self Repair to mitigate the damage. 

  • The Virus Suppressor: this one will ruin your day, aside from having ridiculous amounts of health, once revealed it will cut your damage to half. If you have Secondary Vector utility now its the time to use it.


Utility Subsystems randomly appear and you can stash them in one of three slots to use them whenever you see fit. 

  • Self Repair: Basically heals you for every move you make, you can go over your max health with this to prepare for incoming damage or pop it when attacking hostile nodes to mitigate damage. 

  • Secondary Vector Utility once you activate it on a hostile node it will apply 60 damage over 3 turns. 20 damage instantly and 40 more on your next two moves.

  • Kernel Rot using this on a node will take away half of its health. 

  • Polymorphic Shield utility prevents any damage from nodes for next 2 clicks.


Each "can" allows gives you to attempts of hacking with exception of ghost sites. Failing twice will cause the container to explode which deals no damage unless you are in a ghost site where failing can cause entire site to blow up killing most explorer hulls.


Site respawn

When you finish a site another is spawned instantly somewhere in the universe. It is hard to tell where it will spawn and what type, the current conclusion is that it is completely random. If a site is finished it creates a new one instantly, if it's not, however, it can take up to an hour to create a new one, that is why it is strongly requested to finish all the sites. By finishing we mean - opening and looting every can. 


Ghost Sites 

When scanning down a data site, on a rare occasion it can turn out to be a "covert facility". When you warp to those sites a timer will start. Its good idea to warp in cloaked as the timer will only activate upon your decloaking. The timer is not displayed. If you fail a hacking attempt containers will explode dealing massive damage. When the timer ends hostile NPC's will warp in, destroy all containers and attack you dealing massive damage and disrupting your warp. If you want to even have a chance of surviving this you will need to fly a T3C or buffer tanked Stratios. 

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Sleeper Caches 

Those wormhole/null sites appear in three variants: Limited, Standard and Superior. After you enter limited site's first room you will see a container and an acceleration gate, to activate the gate you need to hack the container for the key. In the second room, you begin by hacking remote pressure stabilizer to prevent pocket wide explosion, after that you need to rush to dented storage depot, you will only have 2 minutes to do hack it. After doing this you will need to return to the location you warped in to (marked with a beacon) or you will start taking damage from a toxic gas cloud. Once you get to safety go for Remote Defense Grid Unit, after hacking this one you can access all other cans.


This is the end of our EVE Online exploration Guide. Let us know how do you like it and what will you want to read next!


Useful links

Recent Kills Tool: https://zkillboard.com

Detailed system info: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/

Prevent gatecamps: http://eve-gatecheck.space/eve/


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