Wormhole Fundamentals, How to Crash Wormholes (Ep 4)
Unlike stargates, wormholes are not permanent. Wormholes will vanish after a certain amount of time, usually 16 or 24 hours. However, wormholes will also vanish after a certain amount of ship mass has passed through them. You can take advantage of this to get rid of wormholes faster than just waiting for them to die, but you have to know what you’re doing or you’ll trap yourself on the wrong side.
First of all, what’s “mass?” Every ship has a “mass” statistic, which you can find on the fitting screen. That’s the mass in metric tons. There are three ways to change the mass of your ship. First, fitting armor plates will increase your mass by a small amount. Second, turning an afterburner or microwarpdrive will temporarily increase your mass while the module is running. Third, a Heavy Interdictor’s warp disruption field generator reduces the mass of the HIC while it is running. As we will see, changing your mass can be very useful when crashing a wormhole.
Every wormhole type has two mass limits, the single-jump mass limit and the lifetime mass limit. You can find these mass limits on StaticMapper or other wormhole information sites. The single-jump limit tells you the largest ship you can put through that wormhole. For example, this U210 has a single-jump limit of 300,000,000 kg, or 300,000 metric tons, exactly the mass of an Orca running a 100mn prop mod. That means that you can never jump any ship with a mass greater than 300,000 tons through this wormhole. Sorry capital pilots. The lifetime mass of a U210 is 3,000,000,000 kg, or 3 million metric tons. After 3 million tons worth of mass has passed through a U210 wormhole, that wormhole crashes. Well, roughly. There’s a little bit of random variation thrown in here, plus or minus up to 10%.
In order to crash a wormhole safely, you need to have some idea how much mass is left. If you’ve been watching the wormhole since it spawned, that’s relatively easy. Otherwise, you have to rely on the wormhole’s mass stage. If you show information on a given wormhole, it gives you two pieces of information. First is whether or not it is “End of Life,” or within 25% of it’s time limit. The second is the mass stage. When it has more than 40% of its average mass limit left (ignoring the 10% variation), it will say “has not had its mass significantly disrupted by ships passing through it.” If it has between 40% and 10%, it will say “Has had its mass disrupted, but not to a critical degree yet.” Less than 10%, “Has had its mass critically disrupted and is on the verge of collapse.”
When you go over one of these mass stages, the wormhole will visibly shrink, but the visual effect is unreliable, so show information on the wormhole before your next jump. By using the total mass of the wormhole and knowing when you trip it to the next mass level, you can estimate how much mass is left and plan your crash in such a way that you know the final jump will put you on the side you want to be on. For example, on the afore-mentioned U210, 10% of the mass limit is 300,000 metric tons. That means if you put an orca on the far side of the wormhole, then bring it down to critical mass using smaller ships, you are guaranteed that bringing the orca back with a 100mn propulsion mod running will crash the hole. Try to create “sure bets” like this, because crashing yourself on the wrong side of a wormhole is a good way to get yourself trapped and/or killed. It’s generally a good idea to put scanner probes on your crashing ships, or keep a scanner ship on the far side until right before the final jump.
One good insurance policy is to have a “crasher HIC.” A HIC running two bubbles simultaneously will have approximately the same mass as a pod. If the same HIC also has a 100mn propulsion module, you can go out with about 1,000 metric tons and come back with 60,000 metric tons, making it very unlikely that the hole will crash with the HIC on the wrong side of it. Note that this does not work with wormholes connected to class 1 systems, as they have a single-jump mass limit of 20,000 tons. In fact, you probably don’t want to bother crashing most links to class 1 systems, because many of them have total mass limits of one to three million metric tons, and chipping that down 20,000 tons at a time is about as exciting as mining veldspar.