Sometimes you just have to do what you just have to do, and so I found myself today moving some rather valuable cargo from Jita in the middle of the day. Not the best thing to be doing, to be certain, as there’s a fair number of gankers and pirates on throughout the day; and particularly on a weekend day. Somewhat stressful to say the least, however there are a few additional tips than I’d relayed the last time I blogged about hauling that can make such trips a little less stressful.
First, if this weren’t somehow obvious to begin with, never auto-pilot while hauling cargo. You give gankers more time to look at you and decide whether they want to ruin your day while you putter to a gate from 15km out. Warp to 0 and jump is the tactic you should always use when hauling cargo. But even then its best if you also have a scout along when hauling. I tend to use one of my baby toons that I use to create the courier contracts I mentioned in the previous blog, and will scout ahead 1-2 jumps before doubling back. That way I can see upcoming gate camps or scouts and make an informed decision whether to dock, detour or continue on with my hauler. If my hauler is in a Freighter or Industrial I might dock or detour if I see or think a gate camp might be possible but will usually continue on if my hauler is piloting a Transport. Obviously whatever you might be hauling will dictate which ship you haul it in. Regardless of the ship used to haul always use Inst-Undock way points from the market hub or station you’re hauling from. Insta-Undock way points are those that are immediately warpable to upon undock and that don’t require alignment. When undocking, you’re immune from being locked, scanned, or taking damage within the first 30 seconds. Or until you manually change direction or perform another action that removes the immunity prior to the 30-seconds of elapsed time. You become vulnerable to ganking as soon as you undock and start to align to your first gate and can be scanned. Ever notice how many ships are just sitting outside of Jita 4-4 scanning?
But if you can immediately enter warp upon undocking you gain a tremendous tactical advantage over what is often the first stage of a gank. Market hubs are dangerous for haulers because they represent a concentration of wealth. You’re there because that’s where the business is (mostly) and that’s why gankers are there too. Scouts will often scan for targets at the undock and relay the target information to the gankers, who will then follow the target to whichever gate. An attack can occur either at that gate or on the other side if it warps to 0.
It pays to spend some time preparing those insta-undock way points, which need to be in a strait line from the undock point out at least 150 km. With a prepared way point you can undock and be in warp to it within 2 seconds. From that way point you can align to and warp to the gate you need to jump through, or dock at another station to hand cargo off to another hauler. Misdirection can also be tactically advantageous, though perhaps not always necessary. If you believe you might be tailed, despite all of your preparations and tactics you might just be best served by docking and logging or using a hauling service.