The economic path in EVE Online can involve an annoying amount moving stuff to and fro. Buy orders to be collected. Production to be distributed. Pricing to be checked and modified.
You really get a sense of your local area when you put up a five jump buy order and see all the stations from which you end up having to go collect stuff.
Including how many low security systems are close by.
It was during a venture into one such low security system that I lost my rigged Mammoth. After that, I swore I would not take such an expensive and vulnerable ship into a low security system again.
My immediate solution was to switch to a completely unfitted Badger for such runs, diminishing my losses should I get attacked.
The longer term solution, as several people suggested, was to get a blockade runner, the Caldari version of which is the Crane.
It was not a cheap ship. It was 27 million ISK for the Transport Ships skill and another 24 Million ISK for the ship itself, making it roughly 170 times more expensive for me than just to build a Badger. And it does not even hold as much as a Badger!
Still, it has its advantages. It is faster to do just about everything. It carries much better shields with higher resistances. And it has two built-in warp core stabilizers, so it is tough to keep this ship from warping when it wants to. Unless you run into a heavy interdictor, but that is another story.
With a pair of Expanded Cargohold II‘s fitted and my current skill level, it can haul over 7,000 cubic meters of goods. It won’t replace my rigged Mammoth and it’s 29,000 cubic meters, but it is viable for many missions.
When looking at the EVE Online forums for suggestions on fitting a Crane, I noticed that most of the setups included a cloaking module of some sort. And, since at one point in my training I picked up the skill to use such modules, I fitted one to my Crane, not quite knowing what to expect.
Cloaking, as you might suspect, has some limitations.
You cannot cloak near anything. So you cannot cloak right outside a station, close to an asteroid, next to another ship, or when you have cruised up to a jump gate. 2,000 meters seems to be as close as you can get to something.
You cannot cloak when you have any modules running.
After you jump to another system, you have to make yourself visible before you can cloak.
You cannot cloak once you have been targeted.
When you are cloaked your speed is reduced by ~90%. You are very slow.
And when you want to warp, you have to uncloak first, then start warping to your destination, leaving you momentarily (you hope it is only momentarily) exposed again.
On the plus side, you seem to be able to stay cloaked for a long stretch. The module does not eat capacitor like, say, a shield booster.
So, while I appreciate that CCP had to be careful to not build an overpowered, “get out of jail free” super module, I am not quite sure I have figured out the most effective way to use this limited power of invisibility.
My current thoughts are, for system travel in low sec is, jump, go visible, cloak, align, move (if you have to), go visible again, warp, rinse, repeat.
And, as is the norm in EVE, I won’t know if that is effective until I have somebody there trying to kill me.
Still, I am happy with the ship. It looks good. It flies nicely. It goes places I don’t like to go and brings back things I like.
So I named it after my wife!