Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Freighters, WTF?

Our battlegroup has been redeploying, and rather than move all my ships and supplies myself, I tried a courier contract. A day later, however, no one had picked up the contract. That's probably normal, but it surprised me. I expected a faster response. I've put out courier contracts before through my trading/hauling alt, and they were always completed within hours.

Granted, those hauls were between trading hubs, which meant that the freighter pilots had a pretty good chance of finding a reverse haul, so they didn't have to deadhead with an empty cargo hold. It would be a revenue trip both ways. Also, since they base out of the trade hubs, they didn't have to travel to the pickup point. But to make up for that, I offered a rate more than five times what I had previously offered. I guess that wasn't attractive, or nobody was looking for hauls in those regions. One more mystery of EVE that I don't understand.

Anyway, I had long ago trained my alt on all the prerequisites for the Freighter skill, so 67.5M ISK and an hour's training later, I bought a freighter and started the long, slow, flight to the pickup point. God, these things are slow, and there's little you can do to change that, since Freighters don't have any fitting slots. But I knew that.

In addition to being unable to fit modules, I also knew that freighters were limited in other ways. They can't open their cargo areas in space to jettison or scoop up cargo (except, apparently, when looting the wrecks of other freighters), and despite their huge size, their cargo bay wouldn't be able to carry assembled ships (no cargo bay can).

I was ready with the workaround for that last problem. You see, while a freighter can't directly carry an assembled ship, it can carrier a courier package that contains an assembled ship, so I contracted my alt to carry my assembled ships. The rest of my stuff I just station traded to my alt and dumped it in the cargohold. Or at least that was the plan. It didn't quite work out.

What I'd missed was that freighters can't carry cargo containers (except the 120000 cubic meter non-expanding General Freight Container). The idea is apparently to prevent freighter pilots from increasing their hauling capacity by filling the hold with hundreds of containers.

The problem is that I use containers a lot in stations to keep things organized. Whenever I buy a brace of ships for PvP, I also buy all the fittings and pack them into containers. Then if I want to move three unassembled Caracals to another station in my Orca, I just grab three containers of fittings to go with them. This avoids having piles of fittings lying around, and it keeps me from having to search for parts when fitting out a new ship.

I'm not sure why CCP doesn't want to have magic expanding freight containers in freighters, but couldn't they just have turned off the magic? Why ruin our ability to organize our storage? This doesn't even accomplish what they want, since there's a workaround. It's the same as for assembled ships: Courier packages can contain anything, including magic expanding cargo containers, so I just put them in a courier contract to my alt.

Still, what kind of freighter can't contain freight containers? WTF?