Often there are features in games that keep us coming back for more, that little mini-game or part that for whatever reason we cannot seem to stop playing and for many of us that is often enough to carry us through the more troubling aspects of the game. In the exploration elements in Eve online I have found something so addicting that I try to make sure I am online at low population times in order to maximise my chances of finding something.
Exploration takes the form of an interstellar treasure hunt; upon warping in to a system you scanners will let you know if there are any anomalies (an ‘x’ on the treasure map of the system if you will) hidden in the current system. It is then a matter of firing off some probes and positioning them in space to try and get a more specific location, reducing their range and the distance between them until you can warp to the site.
It may not look like much, but this holds the key to great wealth (maybe)
My main targets in space at the moment are data sites and relic sites, in that order. In high-sec space data sites are undefended and contain materials that are worth at least a few million ISK, occasionally there is the odd blue-print, but I have not yet found one of any value. Relic sites usually contain parts which sell for significantly less, however there is the occasional gem hidden amongst the rubbish. Each of these sites requires you to play a hacking mini-game which causes loot to erupt out of the site once completed. In a manner similar to the crystal maze your time is limited and you need to grab as many of the containers as you can before they disappear.
All of the above are indeed fun, however they are not the reason that I cannot stop playing. As soon as I enter a system with possible sites I know I am in a race, but in this race I usually cannot see my competitors and even if I do I have no idea if they are in front or behind me. Every second counts as I reposition my probes and reduce the ranges in order to secure that elusive site location, hoping against hope that I am just far enough in front of the competition. Often it will take 4 or 5 systems worth of looking before I find something viable, making the desire to beat everybody else even stronger.
Nothing quite beats the high of warping in to a data site and finding all of the data points untouched and yours for the taking! A quick scan to identify any super high value targets and then I set to work taking as much as I can as quickly as possible because even after you win the race does not stop. That’s one site in one system and in Eve there are A LOT of systems, each one being searched for by any number of players all hoping for that elusive score.
An untouched comm tower, my holy grail!
I recently sold my exploration findings and made about 120million ISK for a few hours work which, although not big-league profits, is a fair amount for someone operating in the safer parts of space without much experience. Once I have the skills this will be being spent on better probes, a better ship and a decent cloaking device because, although high-sec exploration is fun, the real excitement (and money) is in exploring the parts of space where there is no security. Guess where I’m going…………….