Friday, May 20, 2011

Patch Notes: Scanner's Delight

In the latest update, CCP has given those of us who play in wormholes a few helpful additions.  Sadly, still no swapping subs and putting together T3's at POS's.  We've been promised that for so long (and so long ago) its beginning to feel like it's CCP's version of Duke Nukem Forever.  And I just ran outta bubble gum.  Its like the WH version of the white unicorn - really pretty to talk about, but seeing not so much.

And we didn't get the bookmark thing.  Initially we were going to get the scanning improvements which consisted of a harder faster stronger on-board ship scanner, probe UI improvements, and the ability to see bookmarks on the overview (cue Hallelujah please).  However there seemed to be a problem with the bookmark thing, so it is promised for a later patch which could be the next one but like with the T3 thing, I'm not holding my breath.

So what did we get, and does it really work?

What we got was the improvements in the on-board scanner that was mentioned at Fanfest.  Prior to the patch, the on-board scanner was restricted to 4 AU and took 30 seconds to scan.  As a scanner it was generally useless, as it only managed to ding up anomalies.  In fact, I'm sure most people weren't even aware of its existence.

Now however, it is slight more useful.  CCP improved the range and the speed of the scan.  Now it scans up to 64 AU and only takes 10 seconds.  Those of you who know how to hunt in wormholes without probes, start rejoicing now.  Those of you who don't, well, continue to be paranoid.

It is important to note this change is only for the on-board scanner, not D-scan.  D-scan is still limited to its 14 AU range.  And thankfully it doesn't take 10 seconds.

So what does this mean?  Well having to use a probe to get all of the anoms in a system quickly no longer needs to be used.  With one pulse of the on-board scanner, in 10 seconds you will have all the anomalies in all but the largest systems.  Useful when running anoms but don't have all the bookmarks.  Instead of flying from planet to planet scanning for 30 seconds you can just hit it once near the center of the system and have all that you need.

The other addition is UI improvements to probes.  It sounds kind of strange in the patch notes and even me trying to describe it isn't really enough.  So I will helpfully provide you with screenshots and descriptive text for when you finally get a chance to try it yourself.

Basically, holding down the ALT key will scale the probes around center.  Apparently they added a green line to make it more intuitive but I actually disagree.  Perhaps spreading probes out more will help, but I use the standard 5 probe formation and didn't really A) notice the line or B) felt like it made it more intuitive.

Luckily for us however, CCP actually did make scanning easier with this change.  We start with the standard 5 probe setup:

Standard 5-Probe Formation
From there we scan to find sigs on either 32 AU or 16 AU depending on how you start scanning.  I usually start centered on a planet at 16 AU.  Once you find your sig, simply drag your middle probe over the sig, then while still holding down on the left mouse button hit shift.  This will bring the rest of the probes in line in the 5 probe formation.  You can also hold shift and drag as well.  After I recenter my probes, I then select all of them in the scan box and reduce them down to the next lower level, in this case 8 AU.  It ends up looking like this:

Now this is where the ALT feature comes into play.  Select one of the outside probes:

... And press and hold ALT while dragging the selected outside probe toward the center probe and...

Presto!  Perfectly positioned probes while maintaining the center probe on the sig.  Press button, receive bacon.  This change helps make scanning less clicky and faster by way of not having to drag 4 probes to the center.  One of the better ideas CCP has done, and is a solid step in the right direction for once.

Interestingly, this works for advanced 8 probe combat scanning techniques as well.  Adjusting the outside probes by using ALT keeps the probes in the center where they are.

All in all, great changes.  Now show me waiting on that T3 thing.  At least DNF is coming out this year.


  1. Excellent. Thanks for the description on what the probe change does. I couldn't get my head round it from the patch notes.

  2. This was the update I had been waiting for. the best yet IMO

  3. Love your blog, been very helpful to me as a new wormhole corp member. I would really like to see you post about the "advanced 8 probe combat scanning technique" referred to in your post. Keep up the good work!