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My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guide: Securing High Value Items

We could have had it all,
Rolling in the deep,
You had my heart inside of your hands,
And you played it to the beat.
Adele - Rolling In The Deep

Every time I see someone with a huge but avoidable loss it bothers me. There are some pretty deliberate ways you can avoid big losses. But going into the ins and outs of not losing your officer fit Golem is not something I'm interested in. You know what does interest me though? High value cargo. This guide is going to go over some of the basics of securing high value cargo inside what should be secure space. Here's some simple rules.

Rule Number One: If you're moving high value cargo anywhere, don't tell anyone until you're done.

Rule Number Two: Don't move high value cargo during a war dec, on any character that anyone has active killrights on, or on any character that's got an aggression timer to pretty much anything.

Rule Number Three: You're not paranoid, you're protecting your investment.

The Basics:

People can scan your cargo without you ever knowing. A passive targeter will hide their target lock until they activate something on you. The cargo/ship scanner is not something that'll show up either. They can be sensor boosted to pretty much instantly lock anything short of a light drone, and in a fair number of cases, they'll manage to get a scan off on a cov-ops ship. Always assume your cargo is being broadcasted down the line to a fleet of battleships that's wondering if it's worth killing you or not. One day it will be.

I'm aware that there are methods to put couriers into cans and make their contents a mystery, but that's a beacon to anyone who's looking for a nice juicy cargo to snatch. They'll know you're hiding something for a reason and gank you for the hell of it.


First of all, here's a tip that'll save you a lot of trouble. You don't need to put a blueprint into a POS to research it. The Scientific Networking skill will allow you(at level 1) to place the blueprint in the corporate hangar(you will need an office there for this to work) at a station in the same system as the POS.

You can then run the research remotely, without ever exposing the blueprint to any danger(except the danger of someone stealing it out of the corporate hangar in the station). Additional levels in that skill only allow you to be further away from the BPO and POS when you initiate the research, while they'll always have to be in the same system.

In addition, invention, or anything that requires you to have items on hand, will require you to drop those off in the proper modules inside the POS first. You can still leave the BPOs in the station though.

Sweating the Small Stuff: Moving small items through high sec.

So now that is out of the way. Lets assume you need to move a Drake BPO x systems to where your corp's High Sec POS is. The path is all high sec. A large number of people will just throw it in a shuttle, set it on autopilot, and forget about it. These people are stupid. Unfortunately a good portion of the time, this works... which breeds a sort of complacency.

More paranoid folk will always warp to 0. This is better, but still not as effective as you think. Even more paranoid folk will take a cov-ops frigate, throw on the cov-ops cloak, fit it for max maneuverability and always warp to 0. These can still be smartbombed (smartbombs work in high sec, in case you thought it did not).

What to do then? Well, there is another ship in eve that warps cloaked, and has the ability to fit if not an impressive tank, then at least a decent one. Those are force recons. Most force recons can fit a decent if not impressive shield tank if they're not fit out for combat. This makes it incredibly unlikely for you to die to smartbomber. Outside of a T3 ship, which is pretty damn expensive, the Force Recon is the best suited ship for this job.

But even with all this, if your cargo is valuable enough, suiciders will come for you. You can solve that problem by breaking up loads into smaller parts. Yes you expose yourself to more jumps and therefore more danger, but if you take all these steps together, you become an unlikely target. There are, after all, plenty of folks autopiloting in shuttles. They're an easier target than you.

So what if your cargo is incredibly valuable, but you can't break it into smaller parts? If you want to go further down the paranoia path, only take the item a few jumps a day, and log in at different parts of the day to get it done. Sure it's time consuming, but think about how much work you'd need to do ingame to get enough money to pay for another one of what you're moving. Is it worth it to be paranoid?

So that's the small stuff. What if you need to move something big?

Big Problems: Moving big items through high sec.

You'll find things to a bit less complicated from here on out. Your options for large items are a lot less numerous. It goes in this order: Orca>Jump Freighter>Freighter>Cloaky Transport Ship>Warp Stabbed Transport>Regular Industrial.

Lets ignore the regular industrial and warp stabbed transport. The cloaky transport shouldn't be used for more than medium cost loads, as it's still pretty low on HP(works the same as the Force Recon's earlier). The Freighter is sometimes the ONLY thing you can use to move something, because sometimes things are just too big to use anything else. If this is the case, be careful of high population systems, break your cargo up if you can... and if you just can't: Only move a few systems a day. Always warp to 0 and never use autopilot. If it looks like you're about to land on something you don't want to be landing in, log out.

Sometimes you get lucky and you can use a Jump Freighter, which can jump from High Sec into Low Sec. You can cover a lot of ground jumping into empty low-sec systems with a station, then docking and moving the cyno further towards where you need to go. Then the Jump Freighter can go straight from low-sec to high sec via gates and complete the journey. Jump Freighters, when properly used, are impossible to catch. That is only if you follow the rules I stated at the start of the guide though.

The Orca is special. Stick a 100mn MWD on it, put a cloak on if you really want. After you hit align(starting from 0 speed) turn the MWD on and off. When it finishes cycling, you'll be in warp. What's so special about all that? It has a corporate hangar that'll fit up to 40k m3, and space for 400k of assembled ships as well. You can't cargo scan a corporate hangar. You can have an insanely valuable item inside, and no one has to know. On top of that, you can actually fit it out with an impressive-ish tank. And remember, if time/skill points isn't a factor, you can use these much safer methods to move small items as well.

So that's that. Opinions are welcome, as are any things I've left out.


  1. If you're shipping high value cargo use a 3rd party freight service like Red Frog, who 100% covers any loss of cargo on their part.

    Safe, reliable and 0 risk to you and you don't have to haul the crap yourself.

    Problem solved.

  2. Perhaps use "Red Frog" with an adequate collateral on the courier contract otherwise that would be insanity.

  3. One way to avoid possible smartbombing is to not warp directly from stargate to stargate. Warp to a planet (or better yet, safe spot) first. This way, when you approach the stargate, you're not on a usual vector.

    The only problem with this method is it takes longer, and gives those battleships further down the line more time to get set up.

  4. Yah Yosagi... you just set the collateral to the exact value of the item. That way if they get popped you don't lose anything. Their fees are very reasonable too. Only time the collateral becomes a problem is if you have a single item worth more than 1bil... then you need to think of other ways to move it, or move it yourself.

  5. Yosagi - Red Frog will insure a cargo up to 1 Billion ISK

  6. I see no mention of a webber alt to go with the freighter, which significantly speeds up align times. Less time aligning = less chance to get blown up.