Exploration is one of the more time honoured professions of EVE. But there have been few explorers who really put themselves above the rest by taking on challenges that most wouldn't dream of doing. One of the most well known explorers of New Eden is Mark726 who has maintained the EVE Travel website for a number of years now chronicling his adventures throughout the galaxy.
But while Mark726 focuses more on the lore driven aspects of the universe of New Eden, there is another explorer out there who's sole purpose is to see the entire cluster of New Eden and beyond - Katia Sae.
Six years ago the character of Katia Sae was born with what was probably considered a simple task at the time - visit every known space (k-space) system of New Eden and their planets. But when you consider that there are 5,201 K-Space systems with over 44,000 planets suddenly the scope of the project comes into perceptive. Its no wonder the project took an estimated three years of active game time to complete. Yes that's right - three years of game time was spent visiting every system in New Eden.
When the new updated graphics came out in 2009 of the planets and background nebula, I knew that would provide a unique approach to do it a little different than what had been done before.
But how does someone taking on such a monumental task keep going and keep the game fresh? Surely devoting all of ones gaming time to a singular task is a recipe for burnout.
(I do) a little bit of everything. Mostly High Sec stuff, hauling, trading, manufacturing, etc. I have a pirate alt as well in Stay Frosty. Katia Sae is my exclusive character for what she is doing. I did stop twice over the 6 years, but mainly for personal reasons. I had lost my mother who had passed away, then another year later, my father. Both times I took extended breaks, but I eventually came back. Just something about Eve, I don't think anyone ever truly leaves for good.
I asked Katia if there were any memorable moments during her journey?
One of the most memorable and perhaps the funniest was when I was asked in local why they couldn't find me on any killboards. I found it was more difficult to explain than I thought when I said I hadn't lost a ship nor engaged in any combat. I don't think they believed me or could grasp the concept. :) It was never my goal to not lose a ship, that was just icing on the cake.
Indeed, this perhaps shows the second, and for most of us, astonishing feat of this task - Katia Sae has never lost a ship to combat nor fired a shot in anger. Some people may scoff at this and think that its not such a big deal, but if you think back to the last time you lost a ship just moving around, suddenly the whole thing is put into perspective. Thousands of jumps in all areas of highsec, lowsec and nullsec and Katia has never once been caught. Its quite a feat.
Upon completion of her task I asked Katia what she did to celebrate?
In character, Katia returned to her home station in Saisio and bought a new dress and shoes! :) As a player, I had the shakes until I got in station and was safe. It was the day after US Thanksgiving and I couldn't believe I had just completed K-Space.
Of course like any good explorer, they cannot remain in one place for very long, the urge to seek out new places compels them into a new adventure. In this instance, there was one last frontier to be explored, Anoikis or as its more commonly known, Wormhole Space.
I've currently explored 219 systems. I'm not visiting every planet like I did before, scanning is taking a fair amount of time. You can see my flight log here of where I've been already as well as the pictures I've taken so far here. (But) W-Space is definitely more challenging and I'm finding that I'm really enjoying the scanning aspect of it, even though it does take more time. For the character, I think she's found what would be her favourite thing to do, so to say. In other words, if she wasn't doing this, she'd be a W-Space dweller.
But the ever shifting landscape of the connections too and from Anoikis present a unique challenge as every 24 hours the connections between systems change completely. This means being able to plan an effective route to explore is next to impossible. So how do you prepare for such a journey?
I do expect it to become more and more difficult as I find the ones I need. I imagine in the end. During my month off, I spent time practising my scanning skills. I also learned how to use Tripwire, which I had to iron out some kinks after I got started. I prepped a new excel spreadsheet to keep track and wrote some scripts to process that data so I could update the blog and my gallery. Processing images and keeping up with stats takes more time than you'd think. I'll have to call in for help to track down the last ones I need. Hopefully, Signal Cartel will be up for that challenge when the day comes. :)
Katia is a member of Signal Cartel, an Eve Corporation dedicated to peaceful exploration of the New Eaden universe. Who operate under the credo "We embrace the attitude of a true explorer: we are friendly to others in our travels, neutral and never initiating aggression, and endeavouring at all times be perceived by the New Eden community as a non-threat. Although we never intentionally seek to harm, we may defend our friends and our ships. In suffering losses, we respond with good cheer and shed no tears. In this way, we aim to be recognized and respected by all across the cluster and left in peace to do our work."
For final words I asked Katia if she had any advice to give to budding explorers and she offered this in character from an interview-
New experiences are often preceded with fear: fear of the unknown, fear your abilities will not suffice, fear of failure. The unknown is nothing but ignorance and ignorance can be overcome with knowledge. Old abilities can be strengthened, new abilities can be acquired ? both physical and mental. Failure only comes if you give up. In anything you do, learn from your mistakes, ask for guidance when needed, and don't give up.
Blog - Follow Katia's journies through New Eden and Beyond
Gallery (45,000+ images) - A gallery of shots tanken during her voyages
Katia's You Tube Channel
Unfinished Business (Return to Eve Online)
So it begins, Exploration Phase II: Nullsec
Known Space Completed!!!
Home: A Place I've Never Been (W-Space journey begins in Thera)
Astrophotography 101 - Tips and tricks using photographic techniques to take amazing screenshots.