Wormhole Fundamentals, Wormhole Polarity (Ep 5)
As we have explained in our first episode, wormholes are bridges which connect W-space systems to other W-space systems, or W-space systems to known-space systems. Wormholes are much like the gates found connecting known-space systems to each other, with three primary exceptions.
These exceptions are:
1 – Wormholes are not permanent; they are limited by mass and time.
2 – There is no agression mechanic preventing you from jumping through a wormhole.
3 – There is a mechanic to limit the number of times you can jump through a wormhole in quick succession. This is called Polarity.
In known space, any aggressive action, from activating guns or e-war modules on a target, to simply leaving your drones to attack a target, puts a sixty second timer on your ship, during which you cannot jump. This serves to create a way to force fights in known space, by trapping your enemy on the same side as you for sixty seconds while they wait for their timer to expire.
Wormholes have no such restriction. You may jump through the wormhole with whatever modules you like still activated. Another mechanic is used instead to provoke fights: polarity. Polarity simply means that your ship cannot jump the same direction through the same wormhole more than once every four minutes. So if you are in system A and jump into system B, and quickly back again, it will be four minutes until you can enter system B again.
Each direction you travel through a wormhole keeps an independent polarity timer with your ship, however. So, say that you use wormholes to jump from system A-B and B-C in quick succession. You may still traverse from C-B. At this point you would not be able to travel from B-C until 4 minutes after your initial B-C jump, but could traverse from B-A safely, at which point you would have to wait our your timer for A-B in system A.
In another example, you travel from A-B. You wait for 1 minute in B before proceeding from B-C. In system C, you wait for another minute before using the wormhole from C-B, where you wait another minute before traversing B-A.
At this point you may jump from A-B again immediately, as it has been four minutes since you made the initial jump. However, if you try to immediately jump B-C, you will get a polarity error that states you must wait additional time in system B before travelling to C. When you can jump back into C, you’ll get the same error for jumping C-B, because each side of each wormhole independently keeps a polarity timer with your ship. Confused yet?
This may sound a bit overwhelming, but the best way to learn about polarity is to try it out on a wormhole in high-security space. Just make sure that you wait out your polarity timers in hi-sec, however, because every wormhole space system has a security of -1.0, so you can be engaged at any time, by any forces present. It can be embarrassing to die on the wrong side of a highsec hole.