Saturday, August 3, 2013

Exploration Relapse

Even though I had the best intentions of turning from the siren song of exploration back to the gritty world of frigate pvp (and I have killed a few times and died a few times in the past week) - I've had a relapse.  It happens to everyone from time to time.

A couple nights ago I loaded up my explorer alt's helios and headed out into the very unfamiliar wilds of null sec space.  My goal was to find the elusive Intact Armor Plates that are found in Sansha space and have a very nice price (in Jita they fetch 6 million isk each).  I made about 60 jumps (including several side trips to quiet looking neighborhoods) through three null sec regions (Providence - Catch - Stain) and in the empty systems (most systems were empty) I looked for relic sites which can contain a dozen Intact Armor Plates sometimes.  In systems with one or two enemies (remember - everyone is an enemy!) I sometimes checked for relic sites and sometimes passed through depending on how scary dscan looked.  In systems with more than two enemies - I passed right through.

I was picking up loot and learning what was valuable as I went along.  Intact Armor Plates of course, but also Power Circuits (at 3 million each) seemed like worthwhile targets.  And there were rumors about fantastically valuable blueprints for the lucky few.  I have a cargo scanner on the helios so that I could see what the cans might contain.

Things were going well as I headed towards my goal of the npc stations in Stain.  Until I reached them, there was no place to stop except for logging off in some remote corner of space.  I wanted to get somewhere that I could drop off my loot and not feel like such a pinata.  I was also scanning down wormholes in hopes of finding one that would return me to the safety and security of high sec space.  It was nerve wracking, but fun.  I never knew if there might be a warp bubble on the far side of a gate when I jumped through.  Fortunately, there never was and I only passed through one gate camp (way back in low sec on my way to null sec).  The cloaky helios is hard to catch - sorry gate campers!

Speaking of catch, it was in the Catch region where I stumbled across one of those legendary blueprints in a relic site - a True Sansha Control Tower Medium to be exact.  I grabbed it and checked the contracts - there are currently two available and they are listed for 750 million isk.  Nice!

But then the shakes started.

Here I was with more than a billion isk worth of loot in a flimsy helios and still more than a dozen null sec jumps away from the nearest npc station where I might get the treasure off the ship and to relative safety.

I was paranoid and made my dash to safety (though I did stop to poke at a few relic sites along the way if the system was empty and checked out every wormhole in hopes of a quick exit).  Using the map I selected a route that was as empty of capsuleers in space as possible.  I snuck from gate to gate - stopping at planets in scanning distance of the exit gate to be sure it was clear.  I held my breath with every jump into a new system since I had no idea what was on the other side.

Eventually, I made it safely to an npc station in Stain where I immediately docked up.  I dropped the loot into the hanger and finally relaxed.  What a trip!

Now to find a wormhole back to high sec so that I don't have to do the entire gauntlet in reverse...

Here's my helios fit (either the afteburner or microwarpdrive is offline due to fitting restrictions):

Here's the loot from the trip (the four blueprints (worth about 800m isk?) are not included in the 568 million isk value at the bottom of the photo):

PS - A few evenings later (a Monday night when the weekend crowds had gone away) I found a wormhole to high sec that ended just 3 systems from Amarr.  I safely deposited my loot in Amarr, put a couple blueprints up for sale (including the tower), and headed back to Stain to continue my adventures...

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