Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Making Good Use of the Things That We Find

"Making good use of the things that we find, the things that the everyday folks leave behind".

So said the Wombles, beloved recycling obsessed characters of British children's television.  And in last nights adventures, I finally grokked something useful that makes a ISK at a good rate.

I used my scanning/nina-salvaging ship to try and track down mission runners, but had no success with it. The ships I found disappeared before I could nail down their position. I scanned a cosmic signature, which turned out to be Serpentis Lookout. Reading the description of this on the net, it seemed more than my Imicus and 4 hobgoblines could handle, but I figured since I was a bit bored, I'd try it anyway, perhaps hit the first room only and bug out.  But when I got there, the whole place was cleaned out, no pirates, no wrecks, no loot. A lone Myrmidon arrived at the same time as me. I'm guessing combat sites in Arnon get cleaned up very quickly.

I decided to scan for drones again, and try to learn how to combine the directional scanner with the probing game.  Between them, they tell you everything you need to know, but it can be difficult to successfully combine their results. The d-scan will tell you approximately where the valuable stuff is and if there's a ship next to it; if there is, it is probably the owner. And the probes will nail down the location so you can warp to it. Remember, they have to be combat scan probes, not the cheaper probes. The cheaper ones ONLY find cosmic signatures. They do not pick up ships and drones.

I found it very helpful to do the following from a position high above the solar system, looking down, so every group of items at a planet was in its own narrow "cone of view" from where I was floating.

So, you start with the d-scan on 360 degrees (ie The Entire Area) and max range. Check the "Use Active Overview Settings" box and make sure your overview is on a tab with just ships and drones. Now you have a list of every ship and drone in the sky.

Look down the list and pick out any tech 2 drones: Warrior II, Hobgoblin II, Inferno II etc. These are worth about 400-600 THOUSAND ISK a piece.  Focus on those that show more than one. They are probably together in a group, which will make them much easier to find when you switch to using the probes.

Narrow down the scan to 180, then 90, then 60, then 30, then 15. At each step, re-point your view to keep the valuable drones in the results of the d-scan.  I don't try and get the 5 degree result, I've never successfully done it, and I don't think it is necessary.

Then adjust the range, shrinking it until the drones drop off the results list. Now you know approximately how far away the drones are, and in what direction! Remember 150M km = 1AU, approximately.

Switch to the probe scanning system. Click on the sun, or some other celestial object - the system will tell you how far away it is, so you now have a sense of scale. Using the d-scan information about how far away the probes are (converted to AU), position the probes in approximately the right place. For example, if the sun is 14 AU from you, and your targets are 7AU (1 million km) away, you should scan approximately half way between you and the sun.

Here's why you picked a group of drones. In a busy system like Arnon, the sky is littered with lost drones! If you are looking for a single tech 2 drone, you won't be able to distinguish it from the cheap stuff lying around. But a group of 2,3,4,5 drones will all have the the same signal strength!  So it is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to identify them, control-click the drones in the results list and see the red indicators show up in the spheres, then probe that location down accurately enough to warp to it.

Make sure, while you're doing this, that you check the "Ships" filter in the probe results. If there's a ship with the same signal strength as the drones, it is probably the owner. In my experience, though, most drones you find this way are lost and yours for the the taking.

In other news, I'm making a very nice profit, though the actual amounts involved are small, in selling Gallente Shuttles, Salvager I and Expanded Probe Launchers to the denizens of Arnon.  Don't under-estimate how much people will pay OVER the regional average just to avoid travel.  The shuttles I have are, it's not secret, bought from two jumps away for a third of what I'm selling them for.

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