Delve is one of the most important regions of space in EVE Online. As a source of great wealth it has hosted some of the most powerful alliances in EVE Online's history, but has degenerated into a sort of free for all. This is a guide to the features of interest in Delve.
Delve is one of four regions in the game that is partially player-conquerable and partially NPC owned. In CCP's original conception of the EVE universe, Delve and the other regions like it would be sort of springboards into null-sec, where pirate corporations and up-and-coming alliances could base to threaten their neighboring space. Since the NPC sections of space can't be controlled and the stations there are open to everybody, any players living there have very little to lose. The worst that can happen is that they need to smuggle their goods out some time down the road, whereas if an alliance loses control of a conquerable station huge amounts of assets can be permanently trapped there.
Delve is connected to three other null-sec regions: Fountain, Period Basis, and Querious. It is also connected to the low-sec region of Aridia. Getting to Delve from high-sec is relatively easy through low-sec in a fast or cloaking ship, though a route from the Agil system through Querious is an option if you are willing to fight your way through.
Each region in EVE Online is uniquely situated, with varying wealth and danger.
There are also several pirate agents floating in space near the gates of the KFIE-Z solar system. These agents offer one-time-only offers for blood raider ship blueprints in exchange for tags dropped by Amarr NPCs, but require extremely high standings in order to use them. These are a nice bonus for dedicated Blood Raider mission-runners, but useless to others.
Blood Raider Space
Space owned by pirate factions is available to all, even players that have spent their entire EVE careers shooting that faction. Similarly, the stations can be docked with by any player that has not attacked another ship within the past thirty seconds. This means that it is something of a no man's land; even alliances that control all of the surrounding territory cannot hope to keep Delve's two NPC constellations locked down. As a result, the place is constantly infested by pirates, mission-runners, and little wolf packs of alliance ships trying to get kills.
Features Of Value
Delve has four big things going for it: Blood Raider rats, moons, booster gas, and stations.
The Blood Raiders are an NPC faction full of blood-drinking cultists hell-bent on drinking capsuleer blood. They inflict EM and thermal damage that is generally easy for armor-tanking ships to tank, and are also vulnerable to the same damage types. They mostly use energy neutralizers to sap capacitor, which is annoying but not as annoying as many of the forms of electronic warfare used by other NPC factions. Their battleship spawns are generally worth less than the battleships of some other factions, but are much easier to kill. Delve is essentially an Amarr ratting paradise.
In this era of that uniquely northern moon mineral, technetium, Delve's moon value is a bit ragged around the edges. Still, there are few pilots out there that would scoff at a dysprosium or promethium moon, of which there are many, at least according to Dotlan. It is also very likely that there are at least a couple technetium moons present that are not on Dotlan (those that discover them would no doubt prefer them to remain a secret).
Delve has a COSMOS constellation, wherein can be found several difficult sites of mild interest for EVE players in general, but only limited value as a source of revenue. Still, some players will want to run the the LADAR exploration sites within the OK-FEM constellation, wherein can be found the main ingredients for the Mindflood combat boosters, used to give big bonuses to capacitor. LADAR sites are easy enough to run, but making boosters is a convoluted process.
Finally, under the current sovereignty game mechanics, stations are an incredible defensive advantage, giving an extra layer of defense that must be overcome before a solar system can be taken over. Delve has thirty conquerable stations as of this writing, more than enough to make the region hardened against invasion. Indeed, the last major space empire to lose total control of the region (IT Alliance) still essentially retains a constellation with one of its successor group due purely to the tedious grind involved with conquering stations. Having this many is definitely an asset, at least until CCP changes sovereignty mechanics again.
Refugee Ground Zero
Delve is one of the most hotly contested regions in the game.
It's hard to say who will end up on top, or whether the region will continue to exist in a fractious state of flux. The diplomatic ties seem to be firming up for now, with a possible mega-alliance or coalition being the result down the line. Still, anything could happen, and that's part of the magic of EVE Online.