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Collateral Damage

Earlier this month I started the process of asset consolidation in high security space. It is the type of thing that I can do piecemeal and this has been a month for piecemeal projects. I tend to contract assets to two separate accounts. They both fly fully trained haulers which makes moving things easier. Things get sent to wherever I make my high security system 'home' base. Right now, that base is somewhat scattered. I decided to do some cleanup. I looked at my low sec assets and just pretended I didn't own any of that stuff and stuck to condensing high sec.

Over a weekend I wrote about a dozen contracts to Red Frog. I've written about my attempts at using different hauling services. At the end of the day, I've tried Red Frog, PushX, and public services as well as a few starter groups that have gone defunct. I've stuck with Red Frog, especially when it comes to things that are a bit out of the main travel pathways.

I've had one problem with Red Frog since I started using them and that was my fault. I under collateralize a package while tired one day and it was stolen. Said person stole a bunch of items and bragged about infiltrating Red Frog. It was one of the first times that I wound up as a collateral damage to something a bit larger in Eve. Nothing I lost hurt. It was odds and ends. The person who got it all would have wound up dumping it as a lot for ISK. Not a bad deal for them because it was free I guess.

I learned to double check my contracts. I often make mistakes on them and cancel and restart over and over and over...

Anyway, I wrote a bunch of contracts and promptly got busy at work and in game. I haven't paid much attention to see if my items were delivered. They are. They are not. Or, collateral is received. Red Frog maxes out at a billion ISK and I often top my contracts out around 900 million ISK.

I could move my own stuff but I've developed a fear of flying a freighter or Orca through any of the gank pipes. I've been bumped a few times. Once, someone tried to random me but he didn't lock me so I logged out in space. Another time they did lock me but they where to busy bumping someone else at the same time and I was able to warp out. There are only a handful of things that you can do to make yourself a better freighter pilot. My skills are maxed. I have implants in. But at the end of the day you are still a big, fat target for them to do with as they please. Having developed a fear of Machariel's in high sec I just stopped doing more than short trips across very high security space.

This morning, when working a character back into low sec around the seemingly omnipresent gatecamps of this area I decided to check her mail. I figured that I had mailed myself something. I often do that and I've learned that sometimes those mails break and refuse to stop flashing. It is not that I am obsessed with talking to myself. It is just a good way to leave a note for myself. I do it most often with market orders when someone is manipulating a price on a very cheap module so that I remember to check back the next time.

I blinked twice when I saw that it was a letter from Red Frog telling me that my courier could not be delivered due to the pilot being ganked. It also called me Sir, which amused me. Its normally the correct assumption in Eve.

Red Frog uses one alt to get the contract and another to deliver it. I was curious as to what package had gone missing. It had been almost a month and I'd not checked on them. A lot of them were a mix of things. Some high value. Some trash. All of different sizes.

Courier contracts do not tell you, the maker, what is in them. It is one of those details that I hate. "What was in that again?" I wondered as I saw that I had lost stuff.  The screen just mocked me and showed me the time that the contract was failed. That is not the time of the gank necessarily. It meant that I had to do a bit of detective work.

I had a three day period where the gank could have happened. I pulled of zkillboard and selected freighter kills. I then moved back to the time frame in question. Chances are that a red frog freighter pilot is going to be out of corp to avoid war decs. The chances are also that it is going to die in one of the two pipe systems on the route. It took about ten minutes but I was able to find a gank heavy morning and what looked like my missing package. A few searches looking for two key items in the package that I knew I had shipped and could not find in my assets and I was sure that I found it.

It all dropped too.

I made 100 million. I lost nothing irreplaceable. The pilot left Red Frog a week and a half later. I may rebuy some of the stuff. It was only a handful of hulls that I was not attached to.


  1. Perhaps its about time alternative (with jump count reason) gate paths between primary empires were available. After all, this is a game about options - but it seems the only way to cross over space is through just one line of systems? Networks should have redundancy as a prudent measure even if it is just for the Lore.

    1. I've already suggested this to Sugar before, because of the series of choke-points betwixt the market hubs. I think it would create interesting game play, counter play to Uedama syndrome, and could be done in such a way that there were multiple routes, some fast, some slow. Sugar seemed to imply (from my memory) that CCP was not tempted to interfere with the gate network all that much. I imagine if we could get enough players behind the idea, CCP would be interested.

      Rob K.

    2. 'With jump count reason' leaves a lot of room for subjective interpretation and after a little thought, I'm inclined to think this sort of approach gets at the current situation’s annoyance from entirely the wrong direction. It treats choke points and their associated risk as a quality of life issues rather than player generated topography.

      Player interaction creates the trade hubs not CCP. CCP didn't declare Jita the center of Eve's economic universe. Rather, emergent behavior coalesced into trade hubs like Jita. Accordingly, 'Uedama syndrome' emergent behavior coalesced as well. From this point of view, choke points aren't quality of life problems to be resolved, rather they are intriguing examples of Eve's emergent behavior success.

      With this in mind, I think CCP would find a ‘enable player contestation over player generated hi-sec choke points’ more palatable a request since it promotes even more emergent behavior rather than dissipating it. Right now, the baddies hang in Uedama waiting for tasty prey and then descend when a tasty pops up which leaves the prey with the option to either run the gauntlet, untasty themselves or take the loooong route. As far as it goes, that’s an interesting set of choices. What would be nice is the addition of an interestingly playable way for white knight heroes to grasp control of the choke point and protect the hapless cattle ponderously ambling their way through the short route gate from the baddies (possibly for a price?). (Keep in mind that the baddies aren’t exactly camping the hi-sec gate so you can’t exactly drive the campers off.)

      I hear player built stargates are in our future though I don’t know if they’ll connect hi-sec to hi-sec locations. That would be one intriguing emergent behavior response to ‘Uedama syndrome’. Another possibility might be some sort of protective escort service that somehow forces the baddies to eliminate the protective escorts before destroying the prey. A fight before the hunt so to speak. Hell, for something just off the top of my head, that second idea aint all that bad. I might have ponder a bit on whether it could be sensibly implemented.

  2. I look forward to the day when war decs make sufficient sense that transport corps will not only use their mains as couriers, but will think that makes perfect sense as the most economical and safest option available.

    Maybe the empires could decide they need to have a draft and automatically enroll all the newest cadets into FW, especially if Concord withdrew some patrols from border systems.

    Seeing transport corps engaged in minor turf border skirmishes with one another would be a sunny day in New Eden. The biggest, baddest struggles aren't more important or interesting than the ones that affect you personally.

  3. Taking a look at the ships of new Eden I sometimes come to wonder what lore stands behind them. Especially if you take a look at freighters it is hard to think a story around them. First the major empires invent their dreadnoughts, carriers and maybe even Titans and Supers. (After such a long time with Freighters I lost the time where they have been introduced) The empires created huge ships of destruction and with decent capabilities to defend themselves or at least hold out long enough. Then they invent Freighters, huge ships with great cargo and they go: “hey come on, you can put billions of stuff into that thing, lets not do any defensive systems on them”

    Yes. Right. Who wouldn't? Seriously, I like the concept of ganking and it should stay possible. But I'm old enough to remember the days where a high profile gank was something rare and special, nowadays its common sight and it just seems to be too cheap. Such huge Ships should be able to protect more than 1 billion of assets from gankers. Not in the way of “I just let that thing fly with Autopilot” but with true means of an active player to react. Currently it is “oh shit I'm history”. Using a target spectrum breaker and a capital repair or shield boost module at the right time should be an option to bring you ways to react on a gank.

    Balancing fleet doctrines and war efforts is not only about Ishtar fleets too dominant. It reaches into freighters versus gankers too and maybe this part got out of balance over the years.

    On a side note: I wonder how long it will take to have gankers jumping in calling “butt hurt?” If there ever be changes to freighters getting more survivability, the small but very very vocal group of gankers will be crying again very loud.

    1. "Yes. Right. Who wouldn't?"

      Yeah, well, I to am impressed by those container ships armed to the teeth that I always see when I go and visit the harbor...

    2. good point, but last time I check our current pirates don't "un dock" with state of the art destroyer ships.

    3. They have no trouble capturing/ransoming tankers and container ships with speedboats and rocket launchers in the straits of Aden and Malacca though, 2 of the worlds busiest shipping routes.

    4. That's true, Kaeda, however nobody in the Strait of Hormuz is in danger of Concord murdering them if they intervene in one of those hijacks. Intervention to prevent the crime is impossible in the straits of Uedama or Niarja.

      Punnishment? Yes, Intervention to save the bump target? Nope. It honestly wouldn't bother me to see the freighters get toughened up. During times of war, cargo ships were armed and escorted. Escorted by NPCs of the faction to which the pilot belongs? There's a huge spitball of an idea there. It would require a mechanism to determine which "non-lethal aggressive acts" would trigger a response, but it would be hysterical.

    5. Wex! We more or less spitballed the same thing (see my comment above) but your spitball dropped on grid some 19 minutes before mine. If anything ever comes of it *you* get to claim official credit.

    6. Well, I suppose you could intervene by wardeccing the know 'culprits' in those pipes and making them 'safe' once more for traffic through force.

      So it's not entirely true no intervention is possible at all (outside of the NPC corp issue).

      But I see what you mean.

    7. "First the major empires invent their dreadnoughts, carriers and maybe even Titans and Supers. (After such a long time with Freighters I lost the time where they have been introduced) The empires created huge ships of destruction and with decent capabilities to defend themselves or at least hold out long enough. Then they invent Freighters, huge ships with great cargo and they go: “...hey come on, you can put billions of stuff into that thing, let’s not do any defensive systems on them”

      First may I ask you to cite your source(s) that the largest warships were designed first?

      Because I doubt it… there is, to me, the unwritten lore of EVE, based on the overarching lore that we came here as an advanced people from Earth and when the EVE Gate collapsed there was The Fall… Civilization as a whole across the cluster fell back to early industrial if not pre-industrial levels for most of the races in New Eden. I say most as we do not know the full histories of the Yan Jung, Talocan, Jove and Sleepers for this period.

      But there is a fully logical assumption that we rediscovered space flight along the lines of the original discoveries… excepting of course that space flight was a known reality from our past and there may have been some basic theoretical knowledge that survived from before the fall, but it would not have been much.

      Any rediscovery would have had to have taken similar steps to the original discoveries… satellites to manned orbital flights to local body pre-warp flights to warp drive giving us intrasolar travel at which point we would have regained access to the legacy stargate system left behind by our ancestors, thence giving us the stars.

      This logical progression defines small rockets to manned capsules, to crewed flights, to manned frigate sized ships, to larger and more specialized ships including the advent of Warships as the races came into contact with each other.

      I would full well expect that cargo haulers of a variety of sizes would have been designed far in advance of large Warships. Freighters would have been all but required to move the massive amounts of ores, minerals and parts required for the construction of the largest Warships such as Dreads, Capitols, Supercaps and Titans.

      No… I feel Cargo transports of all sizes had to have developed in advance of the largest ships of the line. Industry and logistics are the backbone of everything… navies and civilization both.

      As for why aren’t they armed and better armored?

      Cause EVE is a game about PvP of course… sheesh. =P

    8. Nice Turamarth, but I'm pretty sure that my comment wasn't about "when was the wheel invented and was the cannon mounted on it before or after the first trader used it.
      But for you I will clarify: It is about "which ships where given into the hands of capsuleers in which order" and if I remember correct the dreads where in before the freighters. But as it is all long ago it might be different.

      Never the less, we live in a vibrant and ever changing universe with smart people / characters within the NPCs. If your trading ships get threatend regularly these smart guys and girls would evolve there designs to accomodate with the new situation.

      "As for why aren’t they armed and better armored?
      Cause EVE is a game about PvP of course… sheesh. =P"
      Yeah I know, and I want to do this PVP with my Freighter! ;-)

      "They have no trouble capturing/ransoming tankers and container ships" you are right again. But do eve freighters get ransomed? I would love a mechanic where that is possible (without this endless bumping) but currently you die or log off which ever happens first.

      Further more there is a little teeny tiny difference between our real world pirates and those gankers in eve (hey we have real pirates in eve too).
      Our Eve gankers blow up the ships for fun and profit. if the RL once would blow up the ship they simply would have a lot of trouble getting anything out of the wreck.

  4. I find public contracts a better deal than any of the services. They move at fair market speed, meaning the more you pay (considering the volume and collateral), the faster it'll get picked up. I routinely move 1-2B cargos around in highsec for 500k isk a jump for small m3 loads. The trick is to post the contract to the haulers channel mailing list.


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