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Can we still call it 'Exploration'?

Author
Thenoran
Tranquility Industries
#1 - 2013-07-08 21:01:04 UTC
I came back to try out Odyssey and much as I do like the shiny new UI and how well it is all presented, it is just too easy.
Exploration can't be called a profession if everyone and their dog can do it with no time or skill invested into it.

I remember the original exploration system before Apocrypha/Trinity with Magnetometric/Ladar/Radar/Gravimetric probes with various radiuses in Quest probes and Sift probes.
You would spend literal HOURS tracking down a hard Gravimetric site (and in those days, I did).
Sure it was painstackingly hard but every skill level put into exploration was worth it and if you finally found that site, you'd often be the only one for hours.

Now granted, that exploration system was archaic at best and even getting a signature at all was chance based and each scan took several minutes (each level of an 8x skill removed a minute or so, starting at 10 minutes with a regular launcher).
On top of that, you had SEPARATE probes for each site type (Magnetometric/Ladar/Radar/Gravimetric) and SEPARATE probes for each radius (which was 0.5 AU, 1 AU, 2 AU and 4 AU if I recall), you also could not get your probes back so you had to stack about 10 to 20 of each type and combination for each trip (I usually did about 6-7 systems in a trip).
You had a separate system wide multispectrum probe to see if anything was in the system to begin with.

It was also NOT possible to move your probes. You had to create individually WELL placed bookmarks during warps between celestials to get good coverage of a solar system. Some systems were painfully hard to get good coverage on with your probes as they could not overlap with each other (only their scan ranges could overlap, but Probe A itself could not be within the scan range of Probe B). I still have like 300-400 of such bookmarks gathering dust.

BUT, having a Buzzard with level V skills, scan strength rigs, faction probe launcher and faction probes was actually worth something. You could find sites other players simply did not have enough scan strength for and your scan time was about 3-4 minutes with good skills and equipment.
Large Gravimetric sites were infamous for being hard to find.

As such for me it took usually anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour or two to scan down the harder gravimetric site (not THE hardest though as those could take hours) and most radar/magnetometric sites took 20 to 40 minutes.

And then when you finally found it, bookmarked it, switched ships and got the goodies, IT WAS WORTH IT.
Even then there was competition and seeing another pilot's probes on your scanner meant you had to hurry and this was one area where skill and time invested (such as having good bookmarks) made all the difference.

Right now, having that Buzzard and all that time and effort invested into Exploration feels like a complete and total waste.
Anyone can grab a Gnosis, fit a Probe Launcher with just lvl I - III skills and find nearly anything.
And then they can do that site with that same ship, with the same lvl I - III skills and run it all just like that.
Only combat sites could provide a combat challenge depending on its level (but you've already found it).

If there was a clear distinction between easy sites and hard sites, I would've been completely fine with all of that.
The easy sites for the newer 'explorers' (cant really call them that yet) and the harder sites for those who actually put time and effort into it.

The harder sites should simply have a minimum amount of accuracy and scan strength required before you can narrow them down. If a new player cant get 100% on a site, have Aura give them a message stating they'll have to invest into exploration skills if they want to narrow that sucker down.

And Cosmic Anomalies should still require SOME effort.
You are providing those same Large Gravimetric sites to miners with 0 exploration skills for FREE.
They literally don't even need a Probe Launcher or need to have touched this new 'Exploration' of yours.
If I tell you there is a 100m3 gold cube in an alley somewhere, you can hardly call it 'exploring' if you then go there and claim the damn thing. If it were buried into the ground for half a mile and you had to scan it down from scratch, then it is called exploring.
The new scanning overlay should only appear if you have a Probe Launcher fitted, how is it Exploration without scanning?

And honestly, add some really hard to find sites that require a lot of scan strength.
I know it may come over as elitist or whatever but I really do miss the old feeling that Exploration was unique and not for every player. Not everyone did it, not everyone wanted to do it and not everyone had the patience for it.
Deciding to invest into it was a decision I made because I liked doing something different that wasn't mining or shooting rats in a lvl 4 mission for the unteenth time.

It could reward you with a nice faction item in the best case, or just some random loot and scenery in the worst case.
It was a lottery but one where the odds were decent enough that you'd keep trying.
Back then it was a bit underdeveloped and I once went so far to spend about nine hours scanning down a Large Gravimetric site. I did eventually find it and despite several probes from other explorers over the following three days, no one else ever scanned it down which did feel pretty nice at the time.

Again, I have no problem making Exploration more available for newer players, but right now...there is no Exploration.
There is fitting a Probe Launcher to your [any ship] and you're all set.

For easy to find stuff that's acceptable, but I really have to ask you guys; What is my Buzzard with lvl V exploration skills and faction launcher + probes worth at the moment? Did I waste time training that Astrometric (8x) skill to level V? Would I be better off just folding and getting a Gnosis myself and leave my Buzzard purely to finding ships?
Randy Wray
Warcrows
Shattered Foundations
#2 - 2013-07-08 21:27:16 UTC
I feel like CCP kinda slacked in the oddysey expansion, they better have something big coming up because the features they released in oddysey.... well they werent really features, just iterations.

Solo Pvper in all areas of space including wormhole space. Check out my youtube channel @ http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd6M3xV43Af-3E1ds0tTyew/feed for mostly small scale pvp in lowsec/nullsec

twitch.tv/randywray

Annunaki soldier
Perkone
Caldari State
#3 - 2013-07-08 21:29:47 UTC
the only difference i see on scanning is knowing your possibilities. It was the same with deep core probes.

Now i like the new system. You have more and more people actually leaving their space and do sites , so more people to hunt also

Ride hard, live with passion 

Johan Toralen
IIIJIIIITIIII
#4 - 2013-07-09 00:24:15 UTC  |  Edited by: Johan Toralen
Agree with you OP it's too easy to probe down the sites. It doesn't annoy me so much because of other ppl picking up the profession but because of loot devaluation.

What i could see work is if the easiest sites stay as they are for noobs to get a taste of the profession. In nullsec even a monument site can net some good loot with a bit of luck. All the next tiers should be one step above of what they are now in regard to how hard it is to probe them down. The top tier should be really hard, require all the best equipment, some arrays in mid slots, all skills at V and perhaps even some implants. And those sites shouldn't show up on the system scan and be located close to celistials so you actualy have to work for finding them and have to invest in skills and equipment.
Tauranon
Weeesearch
CAStabouts
#5 - 2013-07-09 01:43:54 UTC
There are 5 races and drones, high, low and nullsec encounters to do +a few single region oddities and there are the 6 wormhole classes.

Its exploration whilst you keep going out to find encounters you haven't done before. if you just stick to a few systems in the same region, then you are a prober.
Tauranon
Weeesearch
CAStabouts
#6 - 2013-07-09 01:56:01 UTC
Thenoran wrote:
I came back to try out Odyssey and much as I do like the shiny new UI and how well it is all presented, it is just too easy.
Exploration can't be called a profession if everyone and their dog can do it with no time or skill invested into it.

I remember the original exploration system before Apocrypha/Trinity with Magnetometric/Ladar/Radar/Gravimetric probes with various radiuses in Quest probes and Sift probes.
You would spend literal HOURS tracking down a hard Gravimetric site (and in those days, I did).
Sure it was painstackingly hard but every skill level put into exploration was worth it and if you finally found that site, you'd often be the only one for hours.

Now granted, that exploration system was archaic at best and even getting a signature at all was chance based and each scan took several minutes (each level of an 8x skill removed a minute or so, starting at 10 minutes with a regular launcher).
On top of that, you had SEPARATE probes for each site type (Magnetometric/Ladar/Radar/Gravimetric) and SEPARATE probes for each radius (which was 0.5 AU, 1 AU, 2 AU and 4 AU if I recall), you also could not get your probes back so you had to stack about 10 to 20 of each type and combination for each trip (I usually did about 6-7 systems in a trip).
You had a separate system wide multispectrum probe to see if anything was in the system to begin with.

It was also NOT possible to move your probes. You had to create individually WELL placed bookmarks during warps between celestials to get good coverage of a solar system. Some systems were painfully hard to get good coverage on with your probes as they could not overlap with each other (only their scan ranges could overlap, but Probe A itself could not be within the scan range of Probe B). I still have like 300-400 of such bookmarks gathering dust.

BUT, having a Buzzard with level V skills, scan strength rigs, faction probe launcher and faction probes was actually worth something. You could find sites other players simply did not have enough scan strength for and your scan time was about 3-4 minutes with good skills and equipment.
Large Gravimetric sites were infamous for being hard to find.

As such for me it took usually anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour or two to scan down the harder gravimetric site (not THE hardest though as those could take hours) and most radar/magnetometric sites took 20 to 40 minutes.



It was horrible busy work, and I hated it so much that I stopped probing and waited for the wormhole expansion to deliver us a usable toolset.

There was no upper time bound on the detection, and you had to hang around doing it, so realistically it was a second account task (which I didn't have at the time), and your combat pilot should have been off doing missions or something whilst your alt ground away at the sig, because it was mackinaw ice mining levels of do nothing.

Tauranon
Weeesearch
CAStabouts
#7 - 2013-07-09 02:01:39 UTC
Thenoran wrote:


Right now, having that Buzzard and all that time and effort invested into Exploration feels like a complete and total waste.
Anyone can grab a Gnosis, fit a Probe Launcher with just lvl I - III skills and find nearly anything.
And then they can do that site with that same ship, with the same lvl I - III skills and run it all just like that.
Only combat sites could provide a combat challenge depending on its level (but you've already found it).

If there was a clear distinction between easy sites and hard sites, I would've been completely fine with all of that.
The easy sites for the newer 'explorers' (cant really call them that yet) and the harder sites for those who actually put time and effort into it.



a - the gnosis is actually supposed to be good in its role.

b - meh, finding serpentis logistical outpost is one thing, completing sennans tip with a gnosis would take a long time, and be punctuated with many scary moments.
Jack Miton
Dark Venture Corporation
#8 - 2013-07-09 02:37:38 UTC
Ive been bumming around in HS on a probing alt and yeah, it's HILARIOUSLY easy.
each system immediately tells you if there are sites, scanning them takes 2-3 passes each at most (even with sh*tty skills) and you dont need tank or guns to run mag/rad site >_<
yeah, seems legit...

skill level also make very little difference.
as a wh player i obviously scan a lot and i have a main probing toon i use with all skills at 5 and all the scnaning implant and some l4 skill, no implant toons.
before the changes the time takes to scan systems was significantly different between them.
now? maybe a 5% difference... and that's for 2.5bil in implants and 2-3 months training time...

There is no Bob.

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Tzar Sinak
Mythic Heights
#9 - 2013-07-09 11:43:59 UTC  |  Edited by: Tzar Sinak
Thenoran wrote:
...


Very well articulated. Thank you. I remember those days fondly.

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marVLs
#10 - 2013-07-09 12:34:00 UTC
I like some Odyssey changes like probe formations and launching 8 probes at once but...

Easy mode Overlay scanner is bad it should be at least that You need to hit that button to activate a scan and it should take more time to make full lap.
There should be skill for OScanner (x5):

lvl1 - range 5AU
lvl2 - range 10AU
lvl3 - range 15AU
lvl4 - range 30AU
lvl5 - range 250AU

Or something like that to bring skill matters.

Other thing is moving grav sites to anomalies - it's bad either, it only buffs HS mining, and nerf LS...
arktyus
Federal Defense Union
Gallente Federation
#11 - 2013-07-09 12:40:08 UTC
Maybe I'm not doing something right and you guys can help me out. I explore in HI-sec and when I see a site come up, I launch drones and start to scan. Sometimes The sites come back with a decent % and I can get it to 100% after a few tries, but sometimes I can't get it passed 30% or 40%. My skills aren't the best, maybe lvl 3 in all the necessary scanning skills. So you guys are saying it is so easy and low skills should be able to scan all the sites. So what Am I doing wrong? I use the default pinpoint and spread formations, sometimes adjusting manually. Go from 32 and keep dropping from there.

Anything I'm missing or if you guys could give me the pro tips that would be great. lol

Also from what you guys are saying, is it even worth me getting the exploration skills up to lvl 4 and 5?
Tauranon
Weeesearch
CAStabouts
#12 - 2013-07-09 13:01:49 UTC  |  Edited by: Tauranon
The spread formation is useless for pve scanning.

Make certain you spin the map so that you look at the probes from the side as well as the top so that you center the pinpoint formation on the hit on all 3 dimensions, keep reducing and scanning.

If you have an unbonused ship, and its the lowest couple of strength sigs, you may fail to hit 100% it at 0.25au. If so you just need to keep manually moving the probes closer to the reported hit. I've done the lowest strength possible sig from an Ishtar unbonused, so I know it does work. (you can zoom the probes closer with one of the hotkeys, without requiring a step down from the probes, I just can't think which hotkey it is whilst my client is patching)

level 4 skills are worth it for sure.
arktyus
Federal Defense Union
Gallente Federation
#13 - 2013-07-09 13:21:43 UTC
Tauranon wrote:
The spread formation is useless for pve scanning.

Make certain you spin the map so that you look at the probes from the side as well as the top so that you center the pinpoint formation on the hit on all 3 dimensions, keep reducing and scanning.

If you have an unbonused ship, and its the lowest couple of strength sigs, you may fail to hit 100% it at 0.25au. If so you just need to keep manually moving the probes closer to the reported hit. I've done the lowest strength possible sig from an Ishtar unbonused, so I know it does work. (you can zoom the probes closer with one of the hotkeys, without requiring a step down from the probes, I just can't think which hotkey it is whilst my client is patching)

level 4 skills are worth it for sure.


I've been viewing from all angles getting the top and bottom probes lined up with the dot or circle. I just did one where I couldn't get the thing passed 8%. Yet all the combat and wormholes I can get 100% with ease. Are the data and archeology sites that much harder to scan down? I'm using a Heron to scan with.

Daniel Plain
Doomheim
#14 - 2013-07-09 13:32:30 UTC
this

I should buy an Ishtar.

Darko Atlante
Riemannian Manifold Torus
#15 - 2013-07-09 13:55:28 UTC  |  Edited by: Darko Atlante
Scanning is for kids now, I remember all the OP said back in 2007 I did a lot of exploration. No warping probes, my mining alt can now scan down anything with absolutely minimum skills (Astrometrics lvl 1, Astrometrics Rangefinding lvl1) which he couldn't before. Kinda funny I scanned down a wormhole with his crappy skills and started mining Arkonor in less than 10 min. Exploration skills to V is worthless.
XXSketchxx
Sniggerdly
Pandemic Legion
#16 - 2013-07-09 16:49:01 UTC
I'm not reading all of that.
Tauranon
Weeesearch
CAStabouts
#17 - 2013-07-10 02:32:37 UTC  |  Edited by: Tauranon
arktyus wrote:


I've been viewing from all angles getting the top and bottom probes lined up with the dot or circle. I just did one where I couldn't get the thing passed 8%. Yet all the combat and wormholes I can get 100% with ease. Are the data and archeology sites that much harder to scan down? I'm using a Heron to scan with.



If you put an 8au pinpoint formation centered on a celestial, it will give you a reliable estimate dot for every sig on that celestial (the sigs spawn around celestials). You should then be able to move onto any one of those, and progressively scale the scan down, without the estimate error ever being greater than a step down - particularly if the heron is your starter race, and thus you've got at least 3 levels of heron bonus.

There are plenty of data and arch sites that have the same strength as combat and wormholes. Over time the weakest grav, and (theory - I never actually saw a ded5 in highsec), weakest combat site sigs have been removed from highsec, so there just happens to be an arch and data site or two for each region left on that strength, ie its not a rule that data/arch be weaker sigs.

8% if you've scaled down to 1au or below means that the hit is actually right on the edge of your formation only being touched by 3 probes, and you've got a large error in the drawn estimate if it was shown anywhere near the center of the formation. Afaik the algorithm is additive - ie it won't subtract out a possible area for a sig when a probe "didn't hit it", so it can produce a wild estimate even if technically that estimate can be disproven by other probes not hitting it.

If you see that kind of oddity, both scale up the probes again (to say 2au), AND move them a bit to change the 2au estimate. (when you move the probes you change the error estimates which means it will probably be a smaller error, so the subsequent scaling down is more accurate). If the estimates interest you, you can turn all bar one probe off to manually disprove locations of the estimate (all fun stuff that only really happens with weak skills or unbonused ships).
Tierius Fro
Coronado's Cross
#18 - 2013-07-10 03:50:06 UTC
I am an old school explorer, too. I enjoyed exploration when it was a niche profession. It took time to scan down sites, and so not as many did it, and the rewards were greater, with varied activities (combat, radar and mag, ore, and gas).

Now it might as well be an extension of missions, they so are so simple to find. What is the point?

Well, I know what the point is. CCP craves destruction. Destruction drives the EVE economy. They made it easy to do so you are more easily found, and more likely to have contested sites in low sec.

Having entry-level, easy exploration is a good thing, for hi and low sec, and even null. But CCP needs to develop tiers of difficulty, so with higher skills, and a bit more time invested, you can find the bigger, badder, and more profitable sites.

http://ridingevewormhole.blogspot.com/

Talemecus Valta
Cosmos Industrial
#19 - 2013-07-10 11:29:14 UTC
I agree, but there are hard to find sites in Hi-sec, and these are too few to count as difficult.

Make all sites so that players need at least lvl 3 in their skills for scanning down in Hi-Sec, lvl 4 for low and lvl 5 for null.

Also, sort out the market so that stuff can be sold at a decent price.

At first I thought that the market would level out after a couple of months, but it doesn't look that way, with everyone picking up datacores and esoteric stuff for just a few minutes of clicking.

As for a Faction bpc, I've not found one yet. Sad

Talemecus Valta, PVP Cannon Fodder, Valta Industries.

Johan Toralen
IIIJIIIITIIII
#20 - 2013-07-10 13:27:30 UTC
Talemecus Valta wrote:

At first I thought that the market would level out after a couple of months, but it doesn't look that way, with everyone picking up datacores and esoteric stuff for just a few minutes of clicking.


It will level out eventualy but not at level that i'm happy with. t2 salvage prices are a little more stable now but still very much vulnerable. I could probably single handed crash it down another notch or two if i get rid of my stash and i'm sure i'm not the only one who has hoarded in hope for price rebounding. I also noticed a trend of seeing more frig explorers again deep in null. So that certainly isn't gonna help.
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