Friday, 23 April 2010

Timing is Everything

Anybody wanting to PvP in Eve needs to get used to timers. Timers in Eve control a great number of things, such as when you may dock, when you may jump through a gate, when you may shoot at another player or when you may be shot at. PvP in wormholes is no exception to this.

There are two distinct timers that will come into play when you jump into a wormhole.

The Session-Change Timer

The Session-change timer is a standard one throughout the Eve universe. The timer is triggered by many player actions, including undocking, ejecting from a ship, jumping through a gate and joining a fleet.

In our case the timer is triggered when we jump through a wormhole. It will last for thirty seconds, and during that time we will be unable to perform any of the other actions that could possibly trigger the timer. Essentially this means that we will have to wait thirty seconds before we can jump back through the wormhole again. But you can get caught out by it in other ways as well. For example, joining a fleet just before you land at a wormhole will trigger the timer. That thirty seconds you have to wait is more than enough time for somebody to lock and even possibly pop your ship.

So the session timer is something you should always be mindful of. Luckily for us, rather than having to count to thirty, there is a visual setting that can be enabled to show us the session-change timer. From the Eve Main Menu go to the 'General Settings' tab then tick the option box in the top left corner labelled 'Show Session-Change Timer'. In-game the timer will show up in the top left of your screen as a very small whirling icon. Holding your mouse over the icon will tell you how many seconds are left until the timer expires.

Make sure to familiarise yourself with which actions trigger the timer and be careful you don't get caught out by it.

Wormhole Polarity Timer

The second timer to affect wormholes is the polarity timer. This timer is designed to prevent people avoiding PvP by constantly jumping back and forth through a wormhole. The timer is triggered when a pilot jumps twice through the same wormhole in quick sucession.

I couldn't find any concrete data on how this timer works, so I did a bit of my own testing. This is the conclusion I have reached. I believe that after the first initial jump through a wormhole a timer is started that is approximately five minutes long. During this five minute period you can make a second jump but are unable to jump a third time. If you try and make a third jump a message will pop up warning you that you are unable to jump. It will also display the time remaining until you can jump through again. This time remaining will be the five minutes subtracted by the amount of time hat has passed since the first jump.

In practice, the longest amount of time you will have to wait before jumping through the same wormhole the third time will be somewhere between 3 minutes 50 seconds and 4 minutes. This is because the two session timers caused by the first two jumps through the wormhole will already subtract 1 minute from the polarity timer and system loading time may subtract even more.

The polarity timer is linked to one specific wormhole. So the timer will not be triggered if you are jumping through different wormholes.

This timer is very important to remember if PvP is occurring on a wormhole. Any PvP targets who are being beaten will attempt to flee by jumping through the hole, and if they are then tackled on the other side they will most likely jump through the hole a second time. At this point they will have a polarity timer, so they can be easily dealt with.

In theory the polarity timer confers an advantage on the 'defender' of a system. The 'attacker' will have to make one jump in order to enter the system. Once the battle has started the 'attacker' will have to split their forces in order to prevent the 'defender' from using the polarity timer to their advantage. This can often make fighting at wormholes a bit frustrating, but it is important information to remember if you engage on a wormhole.

I hope that summary was useful. Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree with my theory of the polarity mechanics, or if you have any good/bad experiences of wormhole timers.


  1. Good summary of the issue. Very good to keep this all in mind in w-space. Hard to remember it at times though...

  2. Yep, this post was inspired by a mistake I made recently. If I had played the wormhole timer game properly I could've got a Tengu kill.

  3. You can DISPLAY the timer thingy?

    This changes everything!