General exploration site information

This page describes the different types of exploration sites - common properties, loot, guards and general mechanics.

Updates to exploration in Apocrypha

Most of you are probably aware of all the changes brought in the Apocrypha patch. In semi-short: Revamped probing system - no more warping around, creating bookmarks to place probes, just drop and drag and drag and drag… Less probe types, less flavours, no more multispectrals. Finally, triangulation comes into play and gone are the times of chance based probing. Also, the probing times have been shortened drastically. Introduction of Wormholes and the W-Space.

The K-Space

That's shorthand for known space, that is the whole of the EVE world we knew prior to 10th March 2009.

Cosmic Anomalies

Simple encounters in open space (no ship restrictions, no MWD inhibition, no gates). Can be scanned down using the on-board scanner and are very common (sometimes 20-30 anomalies in a single system). Sometimes these sites contain a faction spawn (roughly 5%) and on a rare occasion, escalate to a DED complex (probably less than 5% of them).

Post-Apocrypha update: New cosmic anomaly sites were added. Might be just a false sensation of mine but the rats in the new sites tend to target the drones less (which is good news for drone users, I suppose).

Cosmic Signatures

These are the proper exploration sites. The on-board scanner can't scan them down. Instead, a scan launcher loaded with scan probes needs to be used (refer to an exploration guide on details how to scan down a cosmic signature). The signatures can be divided into 5 groups:

Hacking Sites

Used to show up as Radar on multispectrals and they still reside in this category even with the multispectrals gone and forgotten. These sites sit in open space (same as cosmic anomalies) and usually consist of some rock formation, debris or asteroids, hackable objects and NPC guards. Most of the sites are guarded only lightly. After taking care of the guards, you can hack the containers (shards, com towers, mainframes, databanks) using the codebreaker module and subsequently loot them. The loot is generated randomly from a loot table corresponding to the object class. Shards are the least valuable, databanks (or mainframes?) are the most valuable. Generally, Radar sites provide items needed for invention - interface blueprints, interface components, datacores, decryptors and invention-related skillbooks.

Post-Apocrypha update: Names of the hacking sites have been changed, the names no longer show the level of the site. Also, new hacking sites were added ( 1 to each security class ).

Archeology / Salvaging (ArcSal) Sites

These sites belong to the Magnetometric class. Similar in composition and layout to hacking sites. Instead of hackable containers, they sport containers which need to be analyzed or salvaged (using analyzer and salvager modules). Also the guards tend to be a tad stronger. The containers yield salvage parts (used in rig construction), T2 rig BPCs and various skillbooks. Due to the high availability of T1 salvage parts most high- and low-sec ArcSal sites are rarely worth the probes used to find them. Also, according to reports on dNightmare's site, some of the containers are booby-trapped.

Post-Apocrypha update: Names of these sites have been changed as well. New sites were added, there seems to be a distinction between them in terms of equipment needed - salvager only sites (Looted, Ransacked, …) and salvager + analyzer sites (Crumbling, …).

Hidden Asteroid Belts

These are the Gravimetric cosmic signatures. Basically asteroid belts with ores corresponding to lower security space (i.e. a high-sec hidden belt might contain low-sec ore, a low-sec hidden belt might contain 0.0 space ore). Once the asteroids are touched with mining lasers, NPCs begin to spawn (like in regular asteroid belts). Some gravimetric sites spawn NPCs even without touching the asteroids. It is rumored the first spawn has higher chance of having a faction ship. The site despawns at the first downtime after 72 hours since its first discovery or despawns immediately after all ore has been mined out (and nobody is in the belt).

Post-Apocrypha update: I haven't noticed any changes, except for the new asteroid graphics (which isn't exclusive to exploration-related content).

Gas Clouds

These are the Ladar signatures. I have very little info regarding the ladar sites. They can either be gas clouds which can be harvested using a gas harvesting module or a combat site with some hackables holding stuff related to booster production (reactions, blueprints). Hisec ladar sites are restricted to Mykoserocin gas clouds only (basic resource for Synth booster production). Cytoserocin (Standard, Improved, Strong boosters) is present in systems with security level below 0.5. See this EVElopedia entry for further info on combat boosters.


Complexes (also called dungeons by some people) are marked as Unknown in the type column. They're the sites focused on battle, having one or more pockets (rooms) connected by acceleration gates or similar devices. The last pocket usually contains a boss or an overseer of some sort and/or an overseer structure (loot! yarrr…). There are two flavours of complexes - DED and non-DED. Static complexes of DED rating 3/10 and higher were moved to exploration and became the DED complex flavour. The ship restrictions are clearly given by the DED rating and activation of acceleration gates brings up various messages that form a sort of background story. The final pockets might contain complex-class modules (Coreli A-Type, Pithum C-Type, Core X-Type, etc.). The non-DED flavoured complexes are usually less restrictive on ship types.


Wayposts are static complexes which can be seen in overview and needn't be scanned down.


Introduced in the Apocrypha expansion, these objects link together random systems, including those located in the W-Space. Essentially they act as stargate of sorts (with limited lifespan, maximum ship tonnage, etc.). This website has some interesting information on various wormhole classes.

Escalations / Expeditions

Escalations are extensions of complexes. Certain objects or NPCs in some sites act as escalation triggers sending you on a voyage through many systems and multiple encounters (steps). If you happen to trigger an escalation, an entry in your journal appears under the tab Expeditions accompanied by a story message and destination system. At each step there's a chance the escalation 'fails' and the whole expedition comes to an abrupt end. However when the EVE's random number generator is merciful and you manage to tackle all the pirate scum at each step, you can expect a reward (or not, depending on the EVE's RNG mood) and a nice DEAD END message saying you've successfully finished the expedition.

As stated in the Cosmic Anomalies (CA) paragraph, the CAs escalate too. However it's quite different as there aren't multiple steps in such an escalation, only a DED complex.


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