Highsec Hauling and Suicide Gankers
Tips for Hauling Your Stuff Through Empire
Hauling your ships and supplies through empire, there are several things to keep in mind:
- Sometimes it is cheaper to pay other people to haul your possessions around. If you are going to spend 1 hour of your play time moving your assets from point A to point B, in that same amount of time you could have earned 10-20 million ISK running missions. So if you can get your stuff moved for 2-4 mil fee it is simply a cheaper option to set up a courier contract. If you can haul your belongings AFK then this will always be cheaper than couriers, but it is very dangerous to do with expensive loads.
- Paying other people to move your stuff is also a safer option. Put a collateral on your contract and if your transport gets suicide-ganked you will get to keep the collateral money.
- Make sure to check out the local 0.0 market and contracts. Sometimes you can find good deals in 0.0 (firesales from people leaving the area, pvpers and ratters selling off their extra loot for some quick ISK, etc.) Prices in 0.0 also update much slower, so when a particular ship class rises in price in Jita very often in 0.0 you can still find these ships for lower prices. This is also true of modules: if you cannot find the module that you need in your items or corp hangar, check out the local market as it may be selling right next door.
- If your belongings are spread all over the known EVE universe and you would like to get them all together, set all the systems you would like to visit as waypoints. Then open map and under Autopilot click on option called "Optimize". This option will calculate the quickest route between all the waypoint you have to visit.
How to create courier contracts
- Select all items you want to transport, right-click, create contract.
- Pick courier as first option and either pick Public or you can also set contract to Private or to Corporation. Set contract to Private only if you have pre-arranged the trip with an Agony pilot. If contract is set to Corporation only Agony members will be able to see and accept it.
- Set destination system and station. Confirm that the name/moon/numbers on station are indeed where you want the items to end up at. If there are several stations in system with similar names, it is very easy to make a mistake picking end-point station.
- Estimate value of your items/ships. Put that value as a collateral. In case courier is lost you will be granted this ISK.
- Under "Reward" put the fee of how much you'd like to pay for this courier job.
Things to keep in mind when making courier contracts:
- The higher the collateral is, the fewer people will be able to accept the contract as it subtracts collateral value from their wallet upon acceptance. Quite a few of highsec couriers can afford to haul loads of 100 mil to 1 bil in collateral. Contracts with collateral exceeding 1 bil and nearing 2 bil will have to wait longer to get picked up.
- In high security space, volumes that are less than 30,000 m3 can be hauled by a transport class ship and priced at 80-200K per jump.
- Volumes greater than 30,000 m3 require a freighter class ship to be transported. These are priced higher, at 200-500K per jump in highsec, depending on where pick-up and drop-off locations are.
- If you are transporting items between two trade hubs (ex: Jita to Dodixie) you can pay a bit less because pilots who are traveling that way for other business will grab your contracts along to make some ISK on the side. If you are transporting items between a trade hub and some off-the-main-road system (ex: Jita -> some lowsec shithole in Molden Heath) then you will have to pay pilots more to take a detour.
- You can also break up volumes into smaller batches to ensure that more people are able to accept the job.
- For a lowsec transport job, try break up items into stacks of no greater volume than 9,500-10,000 m3 - the size of a cloaky blockade runner.
- Setting contract completion time to several days, especially when high collateral or lowsec are involved, ensures that it will get picked up sooner. This way people are less suspicious that it is a scam and that are camping them en route on an alt.
- Having your stuff hauled from highsec into lowsec or 0.0 will require much higher fee. Such contracts usually get picked up for 10-20 million fee.
Freighters for Hauling Assembled Ships
If you try to place an assembled ship into a freighter, the game will give you an error message and tell you freighters cannot accept assembled ships. However, there is a way to get around this. You can place assembled ships into cargohold of a freighter or a jump freighter if you package them into plastic wrap first. To do this, select your assembled ships and create a courier contract to your hauler alt. Keep in mind that assembled ships do take significantly more space than repackaged ships. An frigate hull will be anywhere from 19,000m3 up to 28,000 m3 in size. A cruiser will be approximately 80,000m3 to 120,000m3 in size. Battlecruisers will be in the order of 270,000m3 and battleships around 500,000m3. A freighter has cargohold of 830,000-980,000K m3 depending on race of freighter and skill of pilot and thus can haul about 30 assembled frigate-sized ships, 7-9 assembled cruiser-sized ships, 3-4 battlecruisers or single assembled battleship.
Important! Breaking courier packages instead of completing them voids insurance on ships that were inside the courier plastic package. If you are transporting insured ships, make sure to complete contracts instead of breaking plastic wrap packages to retrieve the ships with your freighter alt. This will preserve your insurance.
Highsec Suicide Ganks
Suicide ganking is a form of high-sec piracy where players seek out ships that are transporting valuable goods. Once found, suicide-gankers kill them, getting destroyed by Concord in process, and use alts to scoop up the contents of hauler's wreck. This activity is profitable because insurance payout on tech I battlecruisers and battleships almost completely covers the cost of ship and insurance fee. Maximum what suicide gankers lose is 5-20 million on their ship and modules. Statistically about half the ship's modules and items in cargo drop. Suicide gankers thus break even on killing haulers transporting just 50 million worth of loot. This activity requires that you sit on a highsec gate for hours, lose some security status and a few battleships, so of course you'd want to make at least 20 mil/hour profit on top of breaking even which means that around 100 million ISK is where the cargo contents of your hauler start to look lucrative to a suicide ganker camping a highsec gate in his battleship. Of course even empty haulers have been known to get suicide killed in empire just for practice or out of boredom.
Great majority of suicide ganking operations consist of one player piloting two characters. One is a gank-fitted battleship; second is a scanner-alt. Gank fitted battleships get fitted to do maximum alpha damage. Suicide gankers aim to kill haulers with one, maximum two shots to ensure that they hauler goes down before sentries and Concord destroys their ship in retaliation. Tempests are thus very popular to use for this activity because Minmatar artillery has the highest alpha in game (but lowest rate of fire). Armageddons are also quite popular because they do EM/thermal damage and can sneak in a few shots due to having good rof. These battleships are not tanked or rigged and are often fitted with just meta 1-2 modules - turrets/torp launchers, warp disruptor, weapons upgrades, target painters, tracking enhancers and tracking computers. Primary damage type that suicide-gankers aim to do is EM and thermal because most haulers are shield tanked meaning that EM and thermal are often lowest resistances on a hauler.
Most often suicide gankers pick high traffic lower-security systems like Uedama and Niarja to do their business in. In these systems Concord response is slow and you can go down to -4.0/-4.5 before you'd need to rat up your security status again. These systems are also en route between major trading hubs meaning they get lots of hauler traffic. Some suicide gankers stalk Jita or gates that lead out of major trading hubs. They lose more security status but also get to juicier haulers before the guys camping lower down the "hauler" pipe. The scanner alt is often parked a system or a gate in front of where the suicide ganking battleship sits. It is armed with passive targeter, ship scanner, and cargo scanner. With passive targeter the scanner alt is able to lock ships without their pilots seeing yellow flashing brackets on overview. This way targets are not alarmed that they are being locked for scanning. The ship scanner is used to scan modules fitted on haulers to estimate their tank. The cargo scanner scans contents of cargohold to estimate their value. Depending on where the scanner alt is placed this gives suicide gankers 10-60 seconds to estimate whether or not you are worthy of a gank. When faced with doubt many will prefer to err on the side of safety. Setting up your ship and cargo to place more doubt into their minds thus will increase chances of safe passage for you.
Suicide ganks of freighters happen more rarely because pulling down freighters requires more specialized setup - a medium-sized gang of 15-20 people in battleships and a freighter to scoop up the loot. These gangs also require prior preparation - 20+ replacement battleships set up and ready to go in system. While hauler kills can happen most anywhere in EVE freighter suicide gangs for the most part happen along routes between major trading hubs. To not look suspicious battleship pilots sit just a bit off grid aligned to a gate. Once their scout reports a juicy freighter coming in they all warp to the gate and take it down (this is the same tactic pirates use in lowsec when camping gates). If you are hauling valuable items in your freighter it is a good idea to run a scout through the route first and see if you can detect any freighter suicide gangs along the way. If you run a 360 scan around the gate and pick up 15+ mixed battleships within close proximity on your directional scanner, this might be it.
Other ships in danger of being suicide ganked are shuttles, frigates, and interceptors. These ships have very few hit points and can be killed in one shot by destroyers or cruisers. It is more difficult to catch these small ships and scan them down because of their fast align time and speed. However it does happen.
Tips for Avoiding Getting Suicide-Ganked
- Never afk haul valuable items. At 100+ mil destroying your T1 hauler becomes worth it and at 2+ bil destroying your T1 freighter becomes worth it as well.
- Use undock bookmark to get out of main trade stations such as Jita 4-4. Some suicide gankers camp right at the station undock point and attempt to kill haulers as they are aligning to warp out.
- Double wrapping all your packages makes the items inside them impervious to cargo scanner scans. Cargo scanners do see though secure and freight containers as well as plastic wrap. Their output shows items inside cans and plastic wrap as if those cans and wrap aren't there. However, they are only able to scan through a single layer of packaging such that if you have a can inside some wrap the cargo scanner will only pick up a can but not its contents (read below on how to do this).
- When hauling valuable items through empire use warp to 0m option, do not haul afk on autopilot. This makes it more difficult for scanner alts to get a lock on you and scan contents of your cargohold.
- Do not haul very valuable cargo yourself but outsource it to other people for a fee using public courier contracts.
- Always stack your items. Items get destroyed in stacks, so seeing a single stack of a valuable item always gets suicide gankers concerned - will it drop or will all of it get destroyed? On the other hand seeing many stacks of high value items removed any doubt from their minds that your ship is worthy of a gank.
- Cloaking blockade runners are practically invincible in highsec empire space as far as suicide gankers are concerned. If you need to haul some very valuable loot, purchase one, fit cloak on it, and use it as if you're traveling through 0.0.
- Lone suicide gankers will not go for T2 haulers (trasport ships), especially Minmatar T2 haulers that have high EM/thermal resists. However a T2 hauler will not guarantee you safe passage. It simply decreases chances of being suicide ganked because it requires a gang of battleships (3-4+) to kill it.
- Warp core stabs will not help you if you don't have enough tank to last an alpha strike of a Tempest. It will kill you in 1 shot as your hauler is taking its sweet time to align to warp to next gate. No stabs will save you from this.
- Saying that, you need to put some tank on your hauler. Untaked haulers go down very easily. Fit a passive tank, one that increases hit points and resistances. Always fit at least two shield extenders and also EM/thermal shield amplifiers. Core shield extender rigs will also increase your survivability. Do not fit active tank because you'll have to turn active modules on in every system you jump through to get full use out of them. Shield boosters and armor repairers are quite useless if something is trying to kill you in 1 shot.
- Common tactic to confuse suicide gankers and hide valuable items is throwing a lot of very cheap T1 and named modules, drones, salvage, minerals into your hauler among the few expensive items you need to haul. When the cargo scanner returns its results, the suicide ganker will be presented with a huge list of items and it will take him some time to estimate your ship's worth.
The cloack/mwd trick often gets employed by players to run 0.0 camps. And same can be done in empire. If you would like to transport a medium-sized load of high value goods, purchase a transport ship (cargo size around 28-30K m3), fit it with 10MN microwarpdrive and a cloak. When jumping through the gate, initiate alignment to the next gate, hit cloak and then immediately hit your microwarpdrive (yes, indeed hit the cloak first). You will see your speed first spike then fall as cloak is being activated, while your ship is aligning to next gate. While the velocity of your transport ship is still over the maximum velocity of it with cloak deactivated, initiate warp to the next gate. The cloak basically hides you from being locked while you're performing this maneuver and mwd allows your ship to quickly get to 75% of subwarp speed needed to initiate warp.
Alts and Webs
When you come out on the other side of the gate, your ship will be at full stop and cloaked. This gate cloaking effect lasts for 1 minute. Once you order it to warp to the next gate, the time it would take it to enter warp is simply the time it takes it to accelerate to 75% of its subwarp maximum velocity. If your hauler's max velocity is 100 m/s then once it picks up a velocity vector of 75 m/s in direction towards the next gate, warp will happen. Because TQ server treats ships as balls with engines growing out of anywhere the physical alignment of ship module you see on the screen actually does not matter (this is why you will sometimes observe ships warping sideways). So, the only thing warp is dependent on is accelerating up to those 75%.
To speed up this acceleration freighter and hauler pilots do a specific trick with a second character. They web their own ship. This decreases its maximum velocity but does not change its acceleration. So if your hauler's maximum velocity if 100 m/s and you web it down to 50 m/s, it will now only require to accelerate to 37.5 m/s to enter warp. Thus freighter and transport ship pilot are able to use webifying alts to make their bulky ships enter warp in just 2 seconds. If you are using out-of-corp alt this does require that you first get it flagged first by jetting cans, so that you don't get Concorded in empire space for applying webs.
Professional haulers also train their alts to have some basic leadership skills. This way when you are ganged together and are in the same system, your hauler or freighter will have 8-10% more shield and armor hit points as well as 8-10% better agility.
How to double-wrap packages
- Select items you want to transport, right-click, select make contract.
- Choose courier and under private type in name of alt or a corpmate who would be willing to help you out.
- Don't type anything for reward or collateral, set destination to any random station in EVE, set duration and completion time to whatever.
- Complete the contract and have your alt or a corpmate accept it. This will drop a plastic wrap package into his or her hangar.
- Have your alt or a corpmate r-click on this plastic wrap and repeat the process above, setting up another fake courier contract back to you.
- Accept this courier contract. This will drop plastic wrap package into your hangar. Inside this plastic wrap is another plastic wrap and inside this wrap is your stuff. This effectively creates two layers of plastic wrap around your items. When suicide gankers will scan contents of your ships cargohold, instead of list of items all they will see is 1 unit of plastic wrap as is shown on picture below. Note that they cannot see the size of this package neither the name on it.
Please note: While double wrapping items is ok, triple wrapping will not work. If among your items you have a secure container, and you have already created one courier contract with it packaging it into plastic wrap, it will not allow you to create a second courier contract with this package because it contains a can inside. This would count as triple wrapping (can-wrap-wrap) and so you will get an error message about a "populated container". If you are trying to double wrap items make sure you don't wrap secure cans along with them. Because secure cans count as one layer of wrap already, to fool cargo scanners you only need to wrap them with one courier contract (one layer of plastic wrap) anyways, so don't try to double wrap secure cans. Please note: You cannot double-wrap assembled ships. You can wrap them with 1 layer of plastic wrap but not 2 layers.
Trading hubs are locations where you can find a great variety of items selling for cheap prices. Cheap prices are due to higher turnover volumes of goods sold at a trade hub. Occasionally however trading hub markets get price fixed i.e. manipulated by traders who buy out all of the stock of some particular item and price fix it at 2-3x its original price. When making purchases in trade hubs, you might want to check price history graph of the items you are purchasing to see what the average price has been and whether you are about to seriously overpay.
The following link contains a list of all major and minor trading hubs in game: EVE's Trading Hubs