School of Exploration

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Read Policy:Ratting_Rights before Exploring

  • Data/relic sites: If you do not wish to complete all the containers in a data or relic site, please fail the remaining ones so that the site can respawn. You can do so easily by starting to hack the container and then interrupting the hack twice. These sites are FFA in all Imperium Space.

How to Scan

Launch your probes, it is worth noting that after launching you can cloak up if your ship has a cloak fitted - but bare in mind your probes will still appear on DScan You need to discount your own fleet (not needed if you’re alone), click “center formation on current ship” and set scan distance to 0.5AU - then scan and ignore all ships that appear on the results. (make sure the filter is set to ships only)

Launch the spread formation at 16AU and scan from the centre of the solar system, you can reduce or increase the size based on the solar system, but 16AU will cover most.

When you have a signature, click on it to show the sphere or a circle. The ship is somewhere within the sphere. Drag your cube onto the X in the centre, making sure you two this on both the x and y axis.

  • A red sphere means that only a single probe has the target within its range. As such the ship is somewhere on the SURFACE of where the target is.
  • A red circle means that two probes have the target within their range. The ship is somewhere on the line.
  • A red dot is where atleast three probes have detected the target, the ship will be within several AU of this red dot.

Your goal now is to get a red dot, if you haven’t already. Change to a pinpoint formation and set the distance so that the entire sphere or circle is within it, and scan again.You should now have a red dot.

You should now have your target, if you don’t then your skills might be lacking, you can make up for this by manually moving your probes, you can do this by holding shift and getting your probes as on top of each other as possible - you should save this custom formation, as it will come in handy in the future.

  • If you still can’t get the target, then your skills and/or ship just need improving first. Smaller targets are harder to probe down than larger ones and will take longer / will need better skills.
  • The ease or difficulty in probing down a ship depends on two factors. It’s Sensor Strength and it’s Signature Radius - Remember, you won’t catch everything and this is ok.


Relic and Data Sites

Relic and data sites are types of cosmic signatures that can be found with probing. It should be noted that relic and data sites are categorized into 5 differnt types and 5 different levels of difficulty, ranging from I to V. While a ship that is not bonus-ed to scanning can scan down a level I cosmic signature, even exploration-focused ships and fittings may struggle with level V sites.

Pirate Relic and Data Sites

Pirate relic and data sites can be found in all normal space regions, in C1, C2 and C3 class wormhole systems, as well as in shattered wormhole systems. There are pockets of space populated with a variety of cosmic structures (i.e., wrecked stations, abandoned machines) and several containers that need to be hacked before the contents can be accessed. The sites do not have any triggers or NPC defenders. Pirate relic sites contain T1 and T2 salvage materials, skill books and blueprint copies. Pirate data sites contain decryptors, data cores, skill books, blueprint copies and manufacturing materials. The contents may vary by faction.

List of Data & Relic Sites

Drone data sites

Drone data sites spawn only in drone regions: Cobalt Edge, Perrigen Falls, Malpais, Oasa, Kalevala Expanse, Outer Passage, Etherium Reach, and The Spire. Drone data sites contain three hackable containers: Two "High-Security Containment Facility" and one "Research and Development Laboratories". Most of the time the lone research container is empty but leaving it unhacked misses possibility for data site escalation.

Drone data sites contain drone components and blueprint copies for ' Integrated' and 'Augmented' drones. Each drone region drop blueprint copies for different racial drones: Kalevala Expanse and The Spire for Minmatar, Malpais and Oasa for Caldari, Etherium Reach and Perrigen Falls for Gallente and finally Outer Passage and Cobalt Edge for Amarr.

Drone data sites have two main differences from pirate data sites:

  • Failing the hack twice in drone data site will not destroy the container. Instead, there is a chance that failure spawns hostile frigates. These rogue drones can be easily handled by the drones of T1 explorer and do not pose a serious threat. These frigates need to be destroyed before you can hack again.
  • Drone data sites can escalate into another drone data site.

Ghost sites

Ghost sites are data sites with limited time and riskier failures. They can be identified from "Covert Research Facility" on their name.

The sites have an invisible time limit after which strong NPC force will arrive, blow up remaining containers and attack the pilot on-site. The hacks are also riskier as single failure will cause the container to explode dealing 4000–6000 raw explosive damage to 10 km radius.

Ghost sites contain Covert Research Tools, Villard Wheels, blueprint copies for 'Packrat' and 'Magpie' Mobile Tractor Units, ‘Wetu’ and ‘Yurt’ Mobile Depots and Ascendancy implants.

Sleeper caches

Sleeper caches are gated deadspace pockets with size limits for entry. Each sleeper cache has its own set of dangers. They contain a mixture of containers with damaging explosions on a failed hack, timed triggers, hazardous clouds, proximity explosions and sentry guns. For details see the page for individual sleeper cache.

Sleeper caches contain sleeper components, manufacturing materials, skill books and blueprint copies for polarized weapons.

Sleeper caches are data sites with various triggers and dangers. They are significantly more difficult than pirate data sites. Sleeper caches spawn in normal space and do not spawn in wormholes even though the sleeper connection would imply the opposite; they are not to be confused with the Forgotten Sleeper sites, which function more like combat sites.

The Sleeper Caches from easiest to hardest are:

Sleeper sites

Sleeper relic and data sites are found in wormholes. They are not empty, instead, they have strong sleepers defending the site that need to be defeated before hacking.

Sleeper relic and data sites can be identified from "Forgotten" and "Unsecured" at the beginning of their names. The combat in them is harder than in combat anomalies of same wormhole class and the rats drop sleeper components as they do in combat sites. They can be run as combat sites only looting the wrecks and ignoring the hacking part.

How to Hack (data & relic)

The goal of hacking is to find and disable the Container’s System Core. You do this by maneuvering a Virus through the board of nodes that represents the Container’s electronics.

Nodes are:

  • orange if explored
  • green if adjacent to explored nodes
  • gray if neither explored or adjacent to explored nodes
  • Clicking on a green node will reveal its contents: if the node is empty, it will turn orange and allow you to further explore adjacent nodes.

If the new node is empty it will briefly display a number between 1 and 5. The number is the distance to the nearest node with a System Core, Utility Subsystem or Data Cache.


  • 1 means an adjacent node is a System Core, Utility Subsystem or Data Cache
  • 2, 3 and 4 means the nearest System Core, Utility Subsystem or Data Cache is respectively 2, 3 and 4 nodes away
  • 5 means you are 5 or more nodes away from the nearest System Core, Utility Subsystem or Data Cache
  • The numbers 1-5 don't tell you how distant you are from the nearest Defensive Subsystem.

Instead of being empty a node may contain:

System Core

Finding and disabling the System Core is the goal of hacking.

Difficult System Cores are defended by advanced Defensive Subsystems

System Cores, Defensive Subsystems and your Virus have:

  • Coherence (Hacking coherence.png) which is their health
  • Strength (Hacking strength.png) which is their attack power

When you click on the System Core or Defensive Subsystem your Virus will attack. Attacking is turn-based:

  • your Virus attacks, lowering the System's Coherence by your Virus Strength and then
  • the System Core or Defensive Subsystem retaliates if it survived the attack

When you reduce the System's Coherence to 0, it is disabled and removed from the board.

You fail a hack when:

  • your Virus Coherence reaches 0
  • close the hacking window for any reason such as moving too far away from the Container structure

If you fail the hack:

  • twice a Data or Relic Site Container structure will be destroyed
  • once a Covert Research Facility Container structure will be destroyed and deal a large amount of damage to all ships in range
  • once a Sleeper Cache will release a deadly toxic gas, activate turrets or put up other obstacle

Defensive Subsystems

Defensive Subsystems prevent you from exploring adjacent nodes until they are disabled.

  • Firewalls have high Coherence and low Strength.
  • Anti-Virus have low Coherence, but high Strength.
  • Restoration Nodes give 20 extra Coherence to a random Defensive Subsystem at the end of each turn. They are a high priority target.
  • Virus Suppressors lower your Virus Strength by 15. Your Virus Strength cannot go below 10. They are a high priority target.

Utility Subsystems

Utility Subsystems assist you in disabling the System Core and Defensive Subsystems.

When you click the Utility Subsystem it will be added to a free utility slot.

Activate the Utility Subsystem by clicking on it in your utility belt. They can also be activated by pressing the number keys "1", "2" etc. The number of utility belt slots depends on your Analyzer module.

  • Self Repairs increase your Virus Coherence by 5-10 each turn for the three turns. Use it immediately as your Virus doesn't have a maximum Coherence value.
  • Kernel Rots reduce a System’s Coherence by 50%. Use it on high Coherence Systems.
  • Polymorphic Shields nullify the next two System attacks against your Virus. Use it before attacking high Strength Systems.
  • Secondary Vectors reduce a System’s Coherence by 20 each turn for three turns. Use it against a Suppressor Defensive Subsystem.

Data Caches

Data Caches can contain either a Defensive or Utility Subsystem.

  • Data Caches have a 50-50 probability of containing a Defensive or a Utility Subsystem.
  • Open a Data Cache by clicking on it. Open them only as a last resort.


Pirate faction relic sites contain the following items:

  • Salvage. Type of salvage is based on the faction.
  • Carbon
  • Spatial attunement units
  • T2 rig blueprint copies
  • POS blueprint copies

Data sites of pirate factions contain the following items:

Decryptors of all types

  • High-Tech Manufacturing Tools
  • High-Tech Data Chips
  • Carbon
  • Calm Abyssal filaments
  • Invention skill books
  • Blueprint copies for:
  • Target Spectrum Breakers
  • Ancillary shield and armour repairers (local and remote)
  • Faction POS modules
  • 'ligature' and 'zeugma' integrated analyzers
  • Medium and large micro jump drives
  • Reactive armour hardeners
  • Storyline materials. Not fully limited to only own faction materials.
  • Datacores.


Archaeology: Required skill for the use of Relic Analyzer modules. Gives +10 Virus Coherence per level.

  • Relic Analyzers require Archaeology, and are a fairly cheap mid-slot module used to interact with Container structures. A good amount of your income as an explorer will come from accessing these Container structures, so note this skill's importance!
  • Higher skill levels makes hacking Relic Site Container structures easier, with Archaeology V allowing you to use the powerful Relic Analyzer II module. Explorers should considering training Archaeology to V, especially if they intend to hack Relic Sites in NullSec or Wormholes.

Hacking: Required skill for the use of Data Analyzer modules. Gives +10 Virus Coherence per level.

  • A la Archaeology, Data Analyzers require Hacking, and open Container structures found in Data Sites, Chemical Labs and Ghost Sites. Hacking I has slightly higher requirements than Archaeology I, but make sure you get both skills, so that you can hack any sites you find.
  • Also like Archaeology, higher skill levels make hacking easier, and Hacking V will give you access to the Data Analyzer II module, which gives better bonuses, and is needed for Data Sites in NullSec or Wormholes.

Ships & Equipment


Hacking can be done in any ship that has mid slots for Data and/or Relic Analyzers. However, exploration ships have a role bonus for both Virus and scan Strength.

  • Each Empire's Tech 1 Exploration Frigate has a role bonus of +5 Virus Strength to both Data and Relic Analyzers. These ships also get an 7.5% (37.5% max) increase to scan strength per racial frigate level, which helps in scanning down Cosmic Signatures.
  • Covert Operation ships are the direct upgrade from Tech 1 Exploration Frigates. They get a +10 bonus to Virus Strength, +10% (50% max) per level bonus to scanning, and can use Covert Ops Cloaking Device II.
  • The Sisters of EVE faction ships all have a +10 bonus to Virus Strength, a 37.5% role bonus to scanning, and both the Astero and the Stratios can use a Covert Ops Cloaking Device II. They also get bonus to armor resists, energy turrets and drones making them capable combat crafts. They have lower skill requirements than Covert Operation ships, but they are more expensive than Covert Operation ships.
  • Strategic cruisers can be fitted with the Covert Reconfiguration subsystem that gives them 10% per level scan bonus, +10 Virus Strength, and the ability to use Covert Ops Cloaking Device II. Strategic cruisers are very expensive ships.


Data Analyzer or Relic Analyzer allow you to hack Data and Relic Sites. There is no additional high, mid or low slot equipment to make hacking easier.

Full list of normally used scanning equipment:

  • Data Analyzers are used to hack Data and Chemical Lab sites found while exploring. The T1 module has a base 40 Virus Coherence and 20 Strength, with the T2 Version has an additional +20 Virus Coherence (60 total) and +10 Virus Strength (30 total)
  • Relic Analyzers are only used to hack Relic Sites. The T1 module has a base 40 Virus Coherence and 20 Strength, with the T2 Version has an additional +20 Virus Coherence (60 total) and +10 Virus Strength (30 total)
  • Integrated Analyzers are modules that can hack both Data and Relic sites. They are more expensive then their specialized counterparts, have lower Virus Coherence and Strength, and smaller utility belt slots. Integrated Analyzers get bonus Coherence from both Archaeology and Hacking skills as well as rigs and implants.
  • Memetic Algorithm Bank Rig increases the Virus Coherence of both Data and Integrated Analyzers. The T1 rig increases the Coherence by +10, and the T2 version increases it by +20. Due to Calibration size and ISK cost, it is more cost-effective to have two T1 rigs than one T2 rig.
  • Emission Scope Sharpener Rig increases the Virus Coherence of both Relic and Integrated Analyzers. The T1 rig increases the Coherence by +10, and the T2 version increases it by +20. Due to Calibration size and ISK cost, it is more cost-effective to have two T1 rigs than one T2 rig.


Implant & Effect

  • Poteque 'Prospector' Archaeology AC-905 +5 Virus Coherence for Relic and Integrated Analyzers
  • Poteque 'Prospector' Hacking HC-905 +5 Virus Coherence for Data and Integrated Analyzers
  • Neural Lace 'Blackglass' Net Intrusion 920-40 -40 Virus Coherence and +20 Virus Strength for Data and Integrated Analyzers
  • The slot 10 EY-1005 implant improves Virus Coherence.
  • Poteque 'Prospector' Environmental Analysis EY-1005 +5 coherence for Data, Relic and Integrated analyzers

Tips and Tricks

Explore the board as much as possible before attacking a Defensive Subsystem. You may just stumble onto the System Core early! Restoration Nodes and Virus Suppressors are the exception to this though, as they should be removed from the board as soon as possible.

Always pick up Utility Subsystems as soon as they are exposed. If you keep exploring without snagging these, a Defensive Subsystem might pop up and cut off your access to them!

Always use a Self Repair as soon as you find it. It increases your Virus Coherence, so there is no gain in waiting.

Don’t open Data Caches until you’ve fully explored all their adjacent nodes. You don’t want your exploration to be cut off by an unexpected Defensive Subsystem! Difficult hack's Data Caches might expose Restoration Nodes and Suppressors. Leave opening Data Caches as a last resort.

Use the 1-5 numbers to guide your movement around the board. For example, if you're approaching an edge or corner of the grid, and the number 5 shows up, then trying to explore anything towards that corner/edge is not useful, because you know that there cannot be anything good within 5 nodes. In general, you want to click in directions that make the numbers smaller. Because the numbers disappear as you move along, you need to remember where there were 5's, so you know which areas not to bother going back to later.

Use the Rule of Six. This rule is slightly complicated, but can make your life when hacking much easier. The rule is that if you have a node that has six edges leading away from it ( a "complete" node with no missing nodes in the hexagon around it), then that node is guaranteed to 1) Have no Defensive Subsystems in it OR 2) be adjacent to the System Core. What that means in practice is that you can use these squares to move safely through the board, and any Defensive Subsystems you find tell you where the System Core is. It is usually worthwhile to try to reach and use areas of the map with many of these "complete" nodes when hacking. You can find a video tutorial here.

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