This is some of the best money in the game. You are essentially doing high PVP-style against NPCs for dropped loot. This loot goes into building T3Cs and other expensive things. This loot needs to be gotten back to empire to redeem. This works best as part of my Join a Corporation page. Thank you to Mac Gunderson for writing this for us!
Wormholes generally are connected via, suprise, wormholes! We usually call this J-space, after the system naming scheme. While all the rest of the space is known space, or K-space.
These wormholes come in a variety of IDs, all of them vieawable on http://anoik.is/wormholes. K162 is always one side of the wormhole, and the other side codes in several pieces of information, including size, where it leads (null/low/high/classed wormholes). I have more details in Wormhole Navigation on this.
Inside the wormhole, there is a 'class' of the wormhole, like C5. You can look up the system name, such as J100015, to figure out the class, OR you can look at the 'region' it is. A means Class 1 (C1), while F means Class 6 (C6). Our previously mentioned J100015 is in C-R00015, so is a C3. Each can give bonuses or negatives based on that class too, so some are better for shields while others are better for speed tanking, etc. These appear near your capacitor. The higher the class, the more likely you're going to have major effects, also to have stronger spawns. All wormholes have the option for 'statics', like they always link to certain space. Once you roll that static, you find another location similar to the previous one. http://anoik.is/systems has the list of systems where their static goes to.
C1 thru C3 is better suited for smaller ships, they will have smaller sites. They often have gas sites and safe Exploration sites. There are a lot of wormhole corps living in small sites, and just look for the signs.
C6's MAJORLY change your ship performance, so pay attention to the bonuses you receive! You can even get double your DPS!
The larger wormholes might be occupied by a larger member corporation. The member corporation might leave ships, Player Owned Stations (POS), or more likely citadels. Any abandoned citadel in K-space drops all their loot if it dies, while all citadels in J-space drop all their loot when they die. This type of life style is not suited for people who come and go from the game for this reason.
This is the hardest part of getting setup for Wormholes. You need to get used to probing and bookmarking wormholes. If you are planning on doing this solo, I would recommend two characters, just so you can watch your outhole.
You end up doing probing in a covert ops, an interceptor, or even a heron with a cloak. They all have their role, though the covert ops is the most popular due to the speed that it can scan down holes and hostile ships.
You MUST have eyes and probes in a hole you want to return/escape from. This is a requirement to escape. Once your probes are out of the hole, and if your hole gets rolled, you are hosed. You cannot get rescued outside your hole, generally, but is easy if you have probes inside it.
When you are inside, you are looking not just for anomalies but signs of life. You are looking for new anomalies and structures. Structures mean someones lives there. It is a good idea to keep all sigs in a hole scanned. If you have a shared bookmark, you warp to the bookmark, center probes on self, and rescan to instantly populate your lists.
Run the site
Next, you need to find a site and the ships to fly it. This varies a lot. Insert guide here if I can find one.
Sleepers do all damage types, so things like passive drakes or t3cs work well. Note, there can be neuts as well. In fact, any of the different EWARs can affect you, so you need to have the right setup.
It usually is kill frigates first, then work your way through the line up. There exceptions as there are some rats that neut or do specific ewar. Consult the website to see which to kill first, and kind of map it out.
Yes, this is hard. :D Join a corporation, they will babysit you through it!
There are videos on youtube for different things as well.
https://www.kelsarhu.com/whopps has a list of different values and the sites and what the damages are like.
Loot the site
You have to loot the site and get it back to empire! Using a jita alt helps here quite a bit. Because you're constantly scanning holes, it's usually easy to drop the loot off in low or high sec.
Wormhole ratting from Mac Gunderson
However, something I will put up front and center is this document: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vSaCHnBRDw8Ki6nuamMzQv3InN978Zh7F6RcwlYdJHnlQkDrrdz5zrG3Of_8eoyxeqJimMHt9-7GjLn/pubhtml#
That document is one of the many continuations of Rykki’s Guide, a compilation of wormhole combat site data. There are several sources out there for this data, but this is my preferred guide. We will cover this information more later, but I just wanted to drop the link here in case this is what anyone was looking for.
The residents of wormhole combat sites are the Sleepers. The Sleepers are ancient combat drones that have several unique properties compared to regular known-space (k-space) rats. Sleepers have omni resists and do omni damage — not in the same way as Rogue Drones do, where different types deal different distributions of damage; Sleepers deal almost exactly omni damage. They also use both turrets and missiles. All Sleepers have only armor and hull (no shield) and will repair their armor over time. Like most other rats, their hull resists are very low, so they will die very soon after breaking their armor.
As far as behavior goes, Sleepers will make use of scrams, webs, and very heavy neuts. Different rats will use different EWAR so make sure you know which ones to kill first on a given site — you can reference Rykki’s Guide or another similar source for this information. Additionally, every Sleeper rat has a specific range at which it will attempt to orbit you, and it will use a very fast MWD to move into that range if it is too close or too far.
Finally, and perhaps most notably, Sleepers love to target drones. Unlike regular anomaly rats, Sleepers use a “threat generation” system to prioritize targets. If you are in a drone ship and not shooting them (or shooting but not doing enough damage) they will aggressively target your drones. Although drones are commonly used for supplementary damage, or even a main source of damage with ships like the Gila, you should not attempt to run wormhole combat sites with something like an Ishtar or a Dominix unless you want to have an annoying time.
Supposedly, if you use EWAR or remote reps, Sleepers will prioritize you over drones. I have not tested remote reps and I cannot directly confirm the effectiveness of EWAR outside of having used a drone Proteus fit with a target painter. EWAR seems to work from what I can tell, but see what works for you.
As far as reward goes, Sleepers drop items, commonly called “blue loot,” which can be sold to NPC buy orders at certain stations in lowsec and highsec. In particular, there are NPC buy orders at the Amarr trade hub, if you are looking to move your blue loot somewhere via a hauling service. Blue loot is quite small so you can move it yourself in a blockade runner, or even in an exploration frigate or interceptor (I use a Buzzard most of the time).
Overview of Sites
Just like k-space combat sites, Sleeper combat sites come in two forms: anomalies and signatures. Combat anomalies are visible on the Probe Scanner without needing to be scanned down. The scannable signatures are a bit different from k-space though, as those sites actually show up as relic and data sites. Relic and data sites with names such as “unsecured” and “frontier,” without the name of a pirate faction in their title, are these Sleeper combat sites. They also contain hackable cans that drop T3 production materials.
Note: The “Sleeper Cache” data sites are completely unrelated to wormhole combat sites aside from the lore connection and the fact that sometimes the cans found inside have blue loot in them.
All Sleeper sites are grouped based on wormhole class. There are six classes of wormholes, from Class 1 (C1) to Class 6 (C6). So, all C2 wormhole systems will draw from the same pool of sites, and all C4s will have the same sites, etc. Although you could in theory clear any of the different types of sites, the two most sought-after wormhole classes are C3 and C5. Their sites provide the best value in terms of isk versus site difficulty. C2 and C4 ratting is possible but less popular.
A couple other notes before we get into the specifics of C3 and C5 ratting: In general when looking to wormhole rat you will want to go for the combat anomalies. Clearing the relic and data sites is generally possible with a properly fit ship but the relic and data sites tend to be closer in difficulty to the tier above.
Ships and Fits
Compared to other types of ratting, wormhole ratting requires very specialized fits because of the sites’ unique properties discussed above. However, the most important thing is to be able to tank the required damage and neut pressure for the sites you wish to run. Reference Rykki’s Guide for this info.
For C2 ratting you can use a Drake, but again, C2 ratting is not recommended compared to C3. You can find one here: https://ashyin.space/how-2-krab-3-low-class-sites/
For C3 ratting, you have several choices. These are not the only options, but they are the most common. However, a lot of different things work here if you can meet the tank, capacitor, and damage requirements. I personally use a fit for C3 ratting that I have never seen referenced anywhere else, but it gets the job done.
The first and perhaps most common option is a Praxis. There is no single “best” C3 Praxis fit because different fits have different strengths and weaknesses. In general, your fit will involve Rapid Heavy Missile Launchers and some drones with an active shield tank, and exactly how you fit it is a balance between damage, cap stability, and shield reps. Some fits have very high shield reps but cannot run them constantly because they are not cap stable versus site neuts. Others forgo cap stability for more damage. Figure out what works for you, but here are a couple examples: (post when I get a chance)
Cruise missiles used to be common but their application versus C3 sites, which are mostly composed of cruisers, is rather poor. For this reason RHML is generally a better option.
The Praxis’ main strengths are its tank and its price. A RHML Praxis, when factoring in the RHML’s long reload time, has similar or less DPS to other C3 ratting options. However, it has the best tank of all of them and is relatively cheap.
The second option is a Gila. A C3 Gila has relatively low skill requirements and although it is a bit more expensive than a Praxis, it is also more agile and can reach higher DPS numbers due to the RHML’s reload time. A C3 Gila fit will almost always be a passive fit with Rapid Light Missile Launchers and Hammerhead drones. (ed: the Gila is particularly expensive right now)
There are basically two styles within this category. One is to straight up tank the site with passive regen; shield amplifiers and 3 Shield Power Relays can tank the full site damage. You can drop a mobile depot and refit Shield Power Relays for Drone Damage Amps and back again as the waves permit in order to keep your damage up when you don’t need the full amount of regen. You can find such a fit here: https://ashyin.space/how-2-krab-3-low-class-sites/
The Rattlesnake at this link is technically an option but it’s way too expensive in my opinion.
The other style is to sig tank the site. This will involve a fit that doesn’t technically meet the site breakpoints, but can mitigate damage by keeping speed and transversal up. In particular, you will want to fly to a specific location on the site to be on top of high pressure waves when they spawn; that way you can get yourself in orbit around the battleship even if you get webbed. This video shows how to do this on a Fortification Frontier Stronghold as well as the associated fit: https://youtu.be/xZeW2vSH-uM
C3 Ratting (cont)
This sig tanking technique will be important for the third C3 ratting option as well. Also, there is an image album out there of the wave spawn locations for every single wormhole combat site, allowing you to learn where to properly “anchor” for each site. I found it once and have never been able to find it again. If someone finds this and sends me the link (Discord: wavec022) I will give them a 50 PLEX bounty (ed: first person only, was 500!), and it will be added to this guide.
The main strength of the Gila is the combination of SP requirement, general performance, and agility. If something suspicious shows up on D-scan, it will be faster to get a Gila out of the site than a Praxis. Additionally, if you are sig tanking, you will be further from the warp-in so if someone warps on you uncloaked then they will land a good distance from you. Other than that, the Gila is just an all around solid option for C3 sites especially with the sig tanking method.
The third option for C3 ratting is a Strategic Cruiser. All four of the T3Cs can be fit to run C3 sites fairly easily. Again, there are some variants for exactly how you want to fit them, but just use the site breakpoints as a guide. Sig tanking with T3Cs is more common and requires less precision than with the Gila fit because it is easier to fit a more respectable tank while not sacrificing on damage. Just like with anything T3C related, fitting is a personal endeavor and also factors in how much you want to spend on it. Ashy’s Fit Kitchen articles for each T3C also include a C3 fit for them; here is the one for the Tengu: https://ashyin.space/fit-kitchen-the-tengu/
The main benefits of a T3C are the general performance that comes with being a T3C, being able to fit a cloak and probes, and the psychological factor of being a T3C on D-scan. The T3C is my preferred ship for day-tripping because of the cloak and probes, and it will also generally be the hardest to catch of the three ships listed. However, it is pretty expensive and also has a higher skill requirement than the other two.
For C4 ratting you can use the same ships and fits as C5 ratting, plus perhaps a Rattlesnake. C4 ratting is significantly lower income than C5, but the sites are also much less risky and holes are less desirable due to the lower income, so some people favor C4 ratting.
I will write up stuff about C5 ratting in the future because it isn’t really a new player activity.
No matter what wormhole class or ship, the most important thing to have on your fit is a mobile depot with a probe launcher and probes. If using the T3C, make sure to have the subsystems. At some point you will get stuck. When that happens, you will be happy you have a mobile depot to refit a probe launcher and probes and scan your way out. If you have a T3C you should already have probes; if you have a utility high (as the Praxis does) you can fit the launcher but offline it to save CPU/PG.
Running the Sites
As a quick TL;DR for running sites, refer back to Rykki’s Guide. There isn’t really a special trick to running the sites other than having a proper fit and clearing waves in the right order. Make sure your ship can tank the max wave DPS and deal as much damage as possible, while having enough cap regen to tank the neuts. Then, kill rats in the right order — scrams first, then neuts, then webs, then remote reps, and save the trigger for last.
For the trigger rat, it will not trigger the wave until the last rat of that group is killed, so if the trigger has something scary like neuts on it, then just leave one alive.
There really isn’t much more to it than that. Make sure you drop your MTU to collect the loot, and your mobile depot if you are using a refit strategy.
How to Find “Good Sites”
This portion is a bit more subjective but here is what I have learned regarding how to find better / more sites.
Wormhole systems adhere to standard cosmic signature mechanics, meaning that once a site is cleared it will immediately respawn elsewhere in the same constellation. Although wormholes aren’t linked to the rest of the constellation via stargates, they do indeed have a constellation assignment that you can see in the system info. Because some systems in a given constellation are inhabited or more heavily traveled, their sites will get cleared out, and respawns tend to stack up in other empty systems.
The #1 factor, I have found, that categorizes these empty/undesirable systems is a lowsec static. I have both lived in a C3 and lived in lowsec looking to C3 daytrip, and I found my average daily income to be higher with the daytripping strategy. Wormhole groups like highsec statics for logistics and nullsec statics for content, and day trippers will be most common from highsec or nullsec. Lowsec static wormholes on the other hand are often ghost towns full of sites, and your main dangers will be scouts from other connections within the hole, or a local who comes across the hole after you do. So if you’re not ready to commit to living in a wormhole, or just want to try out wormhole ratting for a change of pace, consider basing out of lowsec or HS/Null next to lowsec and daytripping from there.
Also, if you are living in a wormhole, most of your content will come from your static than from your home hole. This is because you can reroll the static if it is inhabited, doesn’t have many sites, or you clear all the sites. For this reason, many wormhole groups will elect to live in C2s or C4s that have C3 and/or C5 statics.
Tengu - https://ashyin.space/fit-kitchen-the-tengu/ - This site shutdown, so have to use the wayback machine.
Rattlesnake - holy crap expensive :D
Gila - holy crap expensive for what it is.
Thanks to Mac Gunderson!
Send Mac Gunderson and evemail if you read this guide and found it helpful!