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Exploration Ghost Sites

Ghost Sites are pirate facilities which can be hacked (like Data sites), but which have unique mechanics which set them apart. They were introduced in the Rubicon expansion in late 2013. They were tweaked in December 2015.

Finding A Ghost Site

Ghost Sites can be found using the probe scanner, using probes. They shows up as cosmic signatures (type: Data sites), and occur in all categories of space (hi-sec, low-sec, null-sec and wormhole). They show up in the anomaly list as “<size> <faction> Covert Research Facility”. The <size> is solely dependent on the security rating of the system:

  • “Lesser” in high-sec
  • “Standard” in low-sec
  • “Improved” in null-sec
  • “Superior” in wormholes

Note: The “Besieged Covert Research Facility” and “Contested Covert Research Facility” are not Ghost Sites. They are Combat sites with NPC battleships. So do not warp your hacking ship into a Besieged or Contested site. As expected, more difficult Ghost Sites are more difficult to hack, have more rats appear - but have better loot. All have the same number of hackable containers (often called “cans”) though. When you enter warp to a Ghost Site, a pop-up message appears that warns the capsuleer that the site is dangerous.

Getting Loot

When you enter the site a timer is started (unless you warp in cloaked). The time is random and not shown, but it seems that the more ships are in the site at once, the longer the timer (in practice, if running a site solo, you will generally have enough time to hack and loot 2 cans before the timer expires). Since time is of the essence, it is not generally recommended to scan the containers with a cargo scanner due to the limited time that is available before the rats warp in and make the cans explode, however if you're fast and have not fitted warp core stabilizers to your ship, you can. The stashes are opened by the hacking mini game known from data sites; once the hack is complete, you can loot the cans directly. The cans are normally in a square, equal distance from each other, with one having better loot than the rest. (There are reports of the can having the best loot is named differently than the rest.) The hacking difficulty is comparable to the difficulty of hacking a data or relic site in a system with the same security status. If you fail your hacking attempt, either all the containers in the site will explode immediately or just the container you were working on will explode (see also below), unlike with normal data sites. If just the single can explodes rather than all of them, you can continue hacking but the hidden timer is still running. Unlike regular data sites, when these cans explode, they do damage to your ship.

All sites may contain Covert Research Tools. Hi-Sec and Low-Sec usually contain Shattered Villard Wheels, which are a required component to build the ‘Ascendancy’ implant set.

Other possible Hi-Sec Loot:

  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Alpha Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Beta Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Delta Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Epsilon Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Gamma Blueprint Copy

Other possible Low-Sec Loot:

  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Delta Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Epsilon Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Gamma Blueprint Copy
  • ‘Wetu’ Mobile Depot Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Alpha Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Beta Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Omega Blueprint Copy

Other possible Null-Sec Loot:

  • ‘Wetu’ Mobile Depot Blueprint Copy
  • ‘Yurt’ Mobile Depot Blueprint Copy
  • 'Magpie' Mobile Tractor Unit Blueprint
  • High-grade Ascendancy Alpha Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Beta Blueprint Copy
  • Mid-grade Ascendancy Omega Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Delta Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Epsilon Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Gamma Blueprint Copy

Other possible Wormhole Loot:

  • ‘Wetu’ Mobile Depot Blueprint Copy
  • ‘Yurt’ Mobile Depot Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Delta Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Epsilon Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Gamma Blueprint Copy
  • High-grade Ascendancy Omega Blueprint Copy


After the timer expires (irrespective of how many containers you have hacked), rats (based on the local pirate population) will show up to destroy the cans and defend the site. These rats have no bounties, nor any known drops, but they do a considerable amount of damage (based on the system's security status) that can reach 2000+ raw damage, and they almost always use warp scramblers (confirmed in high sec, null sec & wormhole), so you're generally stuck there for the duration.

These rats do warp out after some time, so they're generally not worth killing. If you don't warp off before you're scrammed, your best hope is to be able to tank their damage (and the explosive damage from the cans).


All the containers in the Ghost Site will explode if:

  • The hidden timer (see above) runs out, or
  • You fail in a hacking attempt. (It has been known for only one of the containers to explode if failed. In cases like this you may continue hacking however the hidden timer is still running.)

If you fail in a hacking attempt, and all of the containers explode, no rats will show up, but you will take damage from the explosion. If the timer runs out the rats will appear and shoot the containers, which causes them to explode. In this case the explosion may be delayed for some reason, up to 30 seconds, which can allow you to warp out before it blows, assuming you are not warp scrambled. If you can tank the explosive damage, you can use those extra seconds to continue hacking/looting a can. After the explosion the rats might hang around for another 30 seconds and shoot at you before warping out. But they will warp out when it's their time to do so, even if you're still at the site, and alive.

This explosion damage seems to be around 4000–6000 raw explosive damage appears to be based on your ship's current distance to the containers. It also appears that the explosion radius is about 10 km.

Ship Fitting

A ship for running Ghost Sites should fulfill several roles:

  • Hacking the containers (so at least a hacking module, and preferably a bonus to the hacking minigame)
  • Quickly flying from one container to another (to be able to hack as many containers as possible before the timer runs out)
  • Tank the explosion and the rats

Recommended ships:

  • Armor-tanked T1 cruisers (e.g. a Vexor or a Maller)
  • Gnosis battlecruiser
  • Stratios
  • Strategic (T3) Cruiser

NOT a regular cloak frigate!

Mid Slots

In order to hack the containers as quickly as possible, the following mid-slot modules are needed:

  • Microwarpdrive (to fly as quickly as possible between containers).
  • Data Analyzer (to hack the site). (It used to be Data or Relic, but became Data-only in December 2015). It's always better to use the T2 version, if you can fit one - especially for ships without a bonus to the hacking minigame (T1 cruisers or certain T3 configurations).
  • Cargo Scanner (to determine which can/cans are worth hacking). Some pilots always cargo scan and cherry-pick. Others feel that because of the limited time before rats arrive, that it's not worth cargo scanning if you are using warp core stabilizers or anything that causes your targeting to take longer, as you do not want to waste precious time cherry-picking. (One option is to cargo scan other cans while hacking the first one, to choose the best can do to next.)


Armor-tanked ships are recommended over shield-tanked ships, as when the three mid-slot items listed above are installed, there is generally little room left to fit a good shield tank in the midslots. The Stratios or a Strategic Cruiser are excellent for running Ghost Sites, but these ships are very expensive and make for juicy targets during wartime. The Gnosis is a good choice, as it is not that expensive, and has lots of slot for required modules, and to mount a good tank. T1 exploration frigates or covert ops frigates are not recommended for running Ghost Sites, as while these ships are fast and make for excellent hackers, they tend to be too fragile to survive the explosion and/or the rats in Ghost Sites.

This will work for all areas of hi sec space regardless of pirate faction!

The recommended fitting is as follows:

  • 1x 1600mm Armor Plate
  • 1x Medium Armor Repairer
  • 2x Energized Adaptive Membranes
  • 1x Anti-Explosive Armor Pump I

Less might do, but with this you will survive! While not critical a Damage Control is always a good idea.

It should be noted that shield tanking is also an viable option, if you have enough mids to fit it.

It might seem counter-intuitive to fit both a plate and a repairer, but remember that without decent buffer the explosion might hurt you and the repairer will keep you alive when the rats start shooting you. You might be fine with just the plate or the repairer in hi sec but when you move on to other parts of space both will be needed (unless you have logistics). Having the repairer is also a cheap way to fix armor damage.

It is worth remembering that the explosion of the cans is ALWAYS explosive damage, but the rats will deal damage according to their faction, so tank accordingly.

  • Guristas - Kinetic / Thermal
  • Serpentis - Kinetic / Thermal
  • Blood Raider - EM / Thermal
  • Sansha's Nation - EM / Thermal
  • Angel Cartel - Explosive / Kinetic

The Egg Thief Tactic

An alternative tactic is to Blitz the ghost site.

Egg Thief Fitting

Any rookie ship. Travel in a capsule to any station where you do not have a ship to get it.

  • Data analyzer
  • NPC dropped Micro Warp Drive

An improved version uses a T1 exploration frigate (the hull bonus to hacking makes it easier to successfully hack a can, particularly in the low- or null-sec variants) fitted with a Data Analyzer, a MWD and a cargo scanner.

How To Do It

Keep one thing in mind. Like an angry crocodile, the NPCs will tear you apart on sight. Be fast.

When warping into the site, spot the oddly named can and approach it as fast as possible. Target all four containers, and use the cargo scanner on them all as you approach. Usually one of the cans will have significantly more loot; approach that one to hack range.

Hack the can, quickly but not recklessly (you don't want to fail the hack).

Once you have hacked it, loot and get out as fast as possible. If you fail the first hack, consider abandoning the site as time is ticking and the NPCs are angry.

You will not succeed every time, but your loss will be quite small while the gain is high.

Other Ships Too

This tactic is viable with any of the other ships/fits described on this page too. Especially if you're worried about your tank; or worried about someone else warping in on you.


  • Warp in
  • Hack one container (either the oddly-named one; or the best one from a cargo scan)
  • Loot it
  • Warp out

Ghost Raider Gang

You need 4 x Stratios fitted with proper tank as described above and covert ops cloak. With one of the gang in squad command, gang aligns to Ghost site making sure they're further than 2 km apart from each other and cloak up. Squad warp the gang into the ghost site. Assess and assign each gang member to a can; they slowboat to their respective cans. When each member is within 5 km (Data analyzer range), pause, decloak together and begin hacking. Leave before the rats appear.

eve/pve/exploration/sites/ghost_sites.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/04 22:13 (external edit)