Find out that if a freighter is mistakenly sent to low sec on autopilot, it doesn't automatically stop at the first gate with that pop-up screen saying, "This is dangerous, do you really want to do it?" If you're dumb enough to use autopilot, Eve Online figures you get what you deserve.
Discover that paying more than 300m for insurance on an Obelisk freighter that "I'll never lose" (see 1. above) was actually a pretty good idea. I got a 1 billion isk insurance payment when it blew up.
Realize that I'm a very bad pilot when it comes to flying in big RvB fleets out to shoot CCP noobs. Can't find the guy I'm supposed to anchor to (orbit around apparently). Didn't know how to "assign" drones. Overview doesn't have fleet mates to warp to when they're buzzing around a battleship more than 150k away - and when I change to a different overview to show everyone, there's a Very Good Chance(tm) that I'll warp to the target and then start shooting a fleet mate rather than the battleship everyone else is shooting...
Overall, a weekend chock full of learning experiences...
When I first read about the EVE Second Decade Collector's Edition, I thought - I'll get it!
Then I read that it was $150. Hmmm... Maybe not.
But then, as the release date got closer, I rationalized, "I've been playing this game for almost 3 years and only paid for the first year (when I didn't know any better) - since then I haven't sent a penny to CCP because I've been financing my addiction, errr... passion with PLEX. It's probably time to send some money to them."
And I thought, "Plus, what could be better than a rifter shaped usb hub?!!?!!"
So ordered it. And I watched the tracking info as the package made it's way from Georgia (in the US) to Seattle - several days by truck.
I had a slasher in Heild so I clone jumped there from the Solitude low sec backwater that I had been roaming unsuccessfully for a couple days. Actually I was going to jump my clone to another one in null sec - but I hit the wrong button...
Like I was saying, I had a slasher in Heild and jumped in it to head back to Auner - something like 18 jumps through low sec. It was pretty uneventful - nothing really around and when I got to the Metropolis faction warfare there were either empty plexes or plexes full of nasty ships that would shrug off my slasher without a second thought.
I continued on.
Eventually I was just a couple jumps from home in Auner and spotted a tristan owned by Shiva Makoto in a FW plex. Tristans can be tough nuts to crack with all of those drones. But it was time to have a fight, so I turned everything up to 11 and headed in. One of the things turned up to 11 was my tracking disruptor (the slasher has 4 medium slots and I stick a tracking disruptor with an optimal range script). It can be magic against ships with guns (and is worthless against ships with rockets or missiles) - so I'm always looking for a gunship when flying these slashers. The tristan sorta filled that bill, but it also had 5 drones that would not be affected by the tracking disruptor.
But again, I degress.
I hit the jump gate and landed in the plex right on top of the tristan that had hobgoblin IIs hovering around him already and he appeared not the least bit surprised by my arrival. I asked my tristan to orbit at a comfortable distance to hopefully mitigate some of the damage the tristan's 2 autocannons would be doing.
At this point comes the question about whether to shoot the drones or the ship. I have a rule that I follow in answering this question - if it's a frigate shoot the ship, if it's bigger then shoot the drones. It may not be a good rule, but it's the one I use to simplify things.
I targeted the ship.
It didn't go especially well, or especially badly. I was doing damage and had him repairing his armor. He was doing the same to me. But to a greater effect. It was pretty clear from early on that the drones were tearing into me enough that I wouldn't survive.
GFs were exchanged in local and I headed in my pod the two jumps back to Auner.
I looked over the ships in the hangar and noticed an old rifter that I hadn't flown in a long time. I hopped in and looked around the system. There were two or three ships in a couple of the FW plexes and nothing that looked like a good fight.
I went back to trying to figure out why my iPod was suddenly giving me a "Connection Lost" error whenever I tried to use Facetime(tm). I also flew my explorer around looking for profitable Gurista DED sites.
45 minutes later, after having not solved the Facetime(tm) problem and having conquered one Gurista Scout Outpost (4/10) that yielded a few million in the drop (I've been on a dry spell lately with the drop gods...), I headed out of the station in the rifter. And look who was there - Shiva Makoto. The same Shiva Makoto that killed my slasher two systems away.
I, of course, turned everything up to 11 and headed to the plex where he (and his tristan) were no doubt waiting for me again.
This time there would be no silly tracking disrupting or speed tanking. This rifter was built for damage and survival (3x 200mm autocannon IIs, a rocket launcher, 200mm of reinforced rolled tungsten, and an armor repairer II - all pretty standard for a rifter).
I set a close orbit, ignored the hobgoblins whizzing around my ship, and started pounding the tristan with top of the line Republic Fleet Phased Plasma ammo and Caldari Navy Inferno Rockets. It was hurting the tristan plenty.
This time I was ahead right from the start in the damage race. He went into armor first and then into structure. I was ahead! But not actually by that much... My armor repairer to doing its best to keep up but I was soon into structure. He was even further into structure. I'd pull back a little armor to give me some breathing room - but his next blast would immediately destroy that armor and also some of my hull.
I kept pounding him and was never behind. But never far ahead.
Eventually, the tristan exploded! I was smoking from all parts of the ship. Of my once beautiful ship, only 44 hitpoints (out of an original 3000+?) were still intact. Shields were destroyed. Armor was 100% destroyed. Structure was at 9% intact. And my guns were at 92% heat damage. It was a very, very close fight...
***Addendum - I ran across Shiva Makoto an hour after that second fight. He was finishing an FW plex in Auner and when he was done we had the rubber match - the 2 out of 3 determiner. It didn't go well and my rifter was destroyed. Shiva Makoto noted that he had forgotten to overheat his afterburner in the previous fight and had lost range control. I had not overheated my afterburner in this fight because of the damage the heat does to it and to adjacent modules - but maybe I should in the future. I see that the rifter is a faster ship than the tristan, so overheating would have let me get close instead of being held at 4000+ km...
I was looking for a fight and there were only two other pilots in Auner - I knew that for sure because they were lounging in the same station as I use as a base there. So I decided to make a roadtrip.
First stop was the neighboring system of Resbroko. That looked a lot more promising. There were a couple dozen pilots in the system. Nice! I noticed that one of the pilots was Haki Aldard who is a member of the R1FTA sister corporation - Black Dragon Fighting Society. So I reminded myself to be sure that anyone I jumped on wasn't Haki. I didn't want a repeat of that embarrassing fiasco...
I checked out the various faction warfare plexes and one of them had a punisher. That's fine. I pointed my rifter towards the jump gate, turned everything up to 11, and hit the warp drive button.
I landed and jumped. It wasn't Haki Aldard (it was Walksovernow) and he was waiting for me just a few hundred meters away. I hit all the right buttons and soon I had the punisher scrambled and webbed (of course, he had me in the same situation...). I started pelting him with my autocannons and rockets. Things went reasonably well, I worked my way through his armor and started on his shields when I noticed a couple distressing events.
My warp scrambler and web shut themselves off because they had no more capacitor. The rascal had an energy neutralizer and he was trying to disable my ship! Fortunately, autocannons don't need cap, so they kept up the attack. I turned off the afterburner to try to save some cap and managed to, at least temporarily, get my warp scrambler to hold him down again.
Then I noticed that my guns had burned out. That wasn't ideal. I resigned myself to a slow death as I had no way to harm the punisher.
And to top it off, a merlin arrived (no doubt one of Walksovernow's friends) to make it 2-1 against me. Excellent...
I continued my orbit of the punisher and remembered that I thought I remembered someone saying that maybe it was possibly possible to un-group the guns and continue shooting with the one or two of the three that were unburned out. If any were still in working condition. I checked the guns and one option was "clear group". What did I have to lose? I hit the "clear group" button and it turned out that two of my guns were still functioning! Attack!
I might be going to die to these two - but with some luck I would take down the punisher before I did! It was slow and they were doing damage to my armor and structure. I tried to align out and get away - but to no avail. My warp engines were seriously scrambled.
I continued the fight. The punisher was in structure. I was in structure. It was a race to destruction. An then the punisher exploded!\o/
I immediately warped away so that his pal in the punisher couldn't scramble my engines and was relieved to hear the friendly voice say, "Warp Drive Active".
With just 58% structure - I had survived the 2-1!
GFs were exchanged in local. I said, GF. Walksovernow said GF and noted that "the rifter was lucky" - which I totally agreed with. Haki Aldard say GF.
What? Haki Aldard? Oh no! He must have been in the merlin that arrived half way thorugh the fight! Instead of surviving a 2-1, it was a case of me being on the gank side of the 2-1!
I've really got to start paying attention to pilot names when there are friends in system. This is getting ridiculous!
Haki opened a private conversation and we chatted a bit. I admitted that I hadn't realized the it was him joining the fight and sent him a link to that previous fiasco. He said he knew about it from my blog already (I'm surprised anyone in our two corps doesn't flee when they see me in a system - I'm going to get a well-earned reputation as a menace...).
Haki apologized for joining the fight without asking - but said that he needs all the experience he can get. I was happy he had arrived and I could use some experience too from the looks of it...
In what appears to be my destiny of trying everything Eve has to offer, I've been active with one of my alts who recently completed training for flying a freighter. He bought an Obelisk with his profits from several months worth of Planetary Interaction in an out-of-the-way low sec pocket and hit the trade lanes.
I have a history of this sort of activity. Prior to playing Eve I played on a Star Trek mush called Among the Stars - http://www.trekmush.org/. It's like Eve but without the pretty pictures. Without any pictures in fact. It's a text based multi-player game that includes pvp and an economy of sorts. I used to buy goods from NPCs in one station and haul to to another station where the NPCs were offering to buy the goods for a higher price. I remember some of the routes being very long - like 8 or 10 hours - and I'd get up at 2am (much to the chagrin of my wife...) to unload cargo and grab some new cargo for another run. All of this was using ascii text - no pictures.
So when my hauler alt finally was able to fly a freighter, I thought I'd give it a try. And it's worked out pretty well. I'm enjoying finding contracts to haul - especially since I can load up the freighter and send it off on autopilot while I'm doing whatever else I'm doing.
From these two weeks of hauling cargo I've learn some things about contracts and hauling that might help others when they want to move things around the Eve universe. I know that I was always confused about what I could have hauled and how much to pay them...
First off, when you set up your courier contract (it's an option on the contracting screen) be sure to move things in reasonable units. 860,000 m3 and 1 Billion ISK in collateral are the magic numbers - keep your cargo under these two limits (one because of the size of most freighters and the other because of the danger of freighters carrying valuable cargo getting ganked). If you have to, break up your cargo so that it fits these two limits. Don't underestimate the value of your cargo and set a lower collateral - the hauler can see exactly what he's hauling and you're tempting fate if you have 2 billion in implants insured for just 1 billion isk...
And to answer one of the most often asked questions, you can have anything hauled - including assembled and rigged ships - just as long as the cargo fits the size limit. I've had jobs hauling orcas, battleships, piles of battlecruisers, full loads of minerals, piles of miscellaneous loot, etc.
If you are within the two limits (860k m3 and 1B isk) then you need to decide how much to pay for the hauling. Again there are a couple magic numbers. 500k isk per jump and 1m isk per jump. For instance, if you want to haul something from Jita to Amo (the high sec system closest to my home in Auner) then it's a trip of 21 jumps. A contact with a 10 or 11 million isk reward for the hauler - about 500k per jump - will get picked up relatively quickly - probably within an hour. A contract with a 3 or 4 million isk reward - 150k or 200k per jump - will sit a while, maybe even for a day or two. And a contract paying a reward of 20 or 21 million isk - a million isk per jump - will probably get picked up in a matter of minutes.
If you want something hauled quickly (remember "quickly" is a relative term when you consider how slowly these freighters go...), consider a million isk per jump. If you want it done today, then 500k per jump will probably work. And if you don't care when it arrives - throw out a smaller number. You might want to be on the high side of these numbers if you expect to have the cargo hauled to some out of the way location in Khanid or Aridia - the person hauling the cargo won't have any good options for a return load. On the other hand, if you are sending something from one trade hub to another (or from near one trade hub to near another trade hub) - then you might want to save some money and go with a lower reward because the hauler will probably be able to get a contract for a return trip and will take yours with that in mind.
The size and value of your cargo doesn't really come into the equation (at least for me). Personally, I consider any contract that's under 860,000 m3 and with collateral of 800 million or less (I'm still a bit leery of ganking and don't want to tempt fate hauling a glittering cargohold full of shiny loot).
Those numbers are only valid for high sec to high sec trips. They do not cover trips to high sec islands surrounded by low sec!
For low sec, the number of jumps doesn't matter quite as much. Then it's a question of cargo size and the number of low sec jumps required. Look at some of the other orders for low sec (including to high sec stations located in pockets surrounded by low sec) and get a feel for how much you need to offer. A round number like 20 million or 30 million or 40 million might be worth trying. The hauler will be using a blockade runner (3,500 m3) or deep space transport (35,000 m3) or jump freighter (320,000 m3) - so it's a totally different economy and there's not afk hauling... Definitely no afk hauling...
Hopefully that helps un-confuse you about hauling. I've been amazed at how many people are running cargo around Eve and how quickly jobs will pop up and then disappear as someone accepts them.
And I promise that I'll be back to Pirate Jack Dancer's mayhem soon...