You have the sob story of the guy who lost his entire net worth in his hauler, and is promptly quitting the game, alongside the exciting pirate tale of how an expensive bounty was made by carefully hunting down, and targeting some unsuspecting hauler on his way to market.
And thus the debate goes on about how tanky haulers should be. How expensive they should be, what their roles should or should not be, and how they should or should not be used.
But what about the actual gameplay of logistics in general? What about the fact that hauling stuff across empire is one of the most uninteresting, mind-numbing activities in the game?
While I am not an advocate for making things safer, in general, I do have to sympathize with hauler pilots. Pirates…gankers…have all the fun. The thrill of the hunt. Of setting things up just so, and swooping in for a bountiful kill. There is some skill involved…some thrill.
But hauling? There’s no thrill in being a successful highsec hauler pilot. There’s little skill involved, beyond attempting to fit your hauler with the limited slots you have. You can’t jump through the gate ‘better’ or get skilled in the tactics of warping. And all that lies before you, is the eons of space you must cross.
So what am I suggesting? I am suggesting we think outside the box a little, and not just focus on the ship, but the gameplay as well.
‘Alternate’ Trade Routes
What if wormholes that led to other settled space (non wormhole space) were significantly more ‘stable’ then those leading to unknown space? They could have significant amounts of mass to pass through them before collapsing, and some could last days…upwards to a week.
Not only would these wormholes come in handy in hauling items all over the universe, but they would also be a high commodity to find. Explorers could sell bookmarks to these locations and make a mini profession out of finding good routes to various areas, and selling them to logistics corporations and pilots.
Tech 3 Haulers
Haulers seems like a good ship class that could benefit from the modularity of tech 3 ships. Instead of pre defining roles for everything, and pumping out a ship of every flavor, why not just let pilots build their own?
You could add a module that adds another 3k m3 to your cargo space, or a module that increases your tank. You could add a module that adds +2 to your warp core strength, or a module that make you more agile. You could add ‘specific’ modules that allow shipment of certain items more efficiently –such as a ship bay module, fuel module, or a drone module.
Just the building of the ship would be interesting gameplay, and would broaden the potential market for wormhole dwellers, giving them additional options of things to make and sell.
Obviously, these types of ships would be a lot more expensive than our current haulers, and we’d still have to have some basic, tech 1 haulers. But, it would give logistics pilots something interesting to work towards and play with. And it would put something into the huge gap between hauler/transport ships and freighters.
Want To Courier Contracts
Transport and logistics pilots need more basic tools. Instead of relying on personal contracts, or on finding courier contracts that others have setup, why not allow pilots to put up generic ‘Want to Courier’ Contracts.
They can specify the maximum M3 they will carry, how much ISK per M3, and/or how much ISK per jump. They can restrict routes by security status (only routes in highsec for example) or give specific routes they will do, such as Amarr to Jita, or Rens to Amarr, etc. They can also restrict maximum collateral, to limit the worth of what they will be carrying.
This will give haulers and logistic pilots more tools to actually perform business operations like other pilots do in EVE, and even add a little competition into the mix.
The point of the matter is that logistics and hauling has developed (and is still developing) as a profession in EVE, and it should be given a little more consideration then merely tweaking a few tech 1 ships.