For the record, I said and repeated several times that I feel like high-sec ganking is at about the right balance now, with a tiny bit of advantage still in the hands of the gankers because T1 haulers are so thin and easy to kill. And that comes down to the T1 haulers have simply not kept up with the times. Damage -- and especially volley damage -- has increased geometrically over the last several years while the haulers are still operating like it's 2007. But that's not only to the ganker's benefit! The gankers are also penalized because it's much harder for them to gank for profit. There isn't really a platform that can scoop their ill-gotten loot and then tank while being suspect flagged, Microwarpdrive back to the closest gate, and escape.
So I thought it'd be fun to give a proposal for how I think T1 haulers should be balanced. Yep, it's time for a good old-fashioned proposal post. I don't do these often, but sometimes it's just fun to dream.
So first off, I think there should be five basic types of T1 haulers. In many ways, I'd like the varieties of haulers to match the variety of mining barges, which have different advantages and disadvantages.
- A general hauler, with "decent" tank, quickness, and capacity.
- A quick hauler with very thin tank and reduced capacity, but great agility and good speed.
- A tanky hauler with good capacity, reduced agility, two high slots, a drone bay, and a very good tank.
- A high-capacity hauler with good speed, thin tank, and poor agility. And finally,
- A specialized hauler with a small standard cargo bay, but a large ore/ice bay.
There should be a dedicated ore/ice hauler so that relatively new players can support mining ops. I'm perfectly fine with it using the Noctis hull if desired, though really, it should be a new hull design. The ore/ice hauler should be able to carry a little more ore/ice than a Retriever: about 30000m3. This gives players a good reason to fly it as a hauler over simply flying a Retriever and gives it enough capacity to fully refuel a Starbase Jump Bridge. Give this one two high slots, one of which is a turret slot, four-ish low slots, and four-ish mid slots. It should be able to hold standard cargo too, so that it can carry around mining crystals. About 1000m3 would do.
That leaves the remaining four haulers. Here's what each should look like, IMO.
General hauler. The general haulers for each race should hold around 5000m3 with no skills, with the same 5% per level bonus to cargo capacity and speed. That will give decent pilots 6000m3 without mods to expand cargo and good pilots 6500. That's about right for a general hauler. The general hauler should be able to tank about 10000 EHP; a single Tornado should be able to take it out without too much trouble, but single ships of cruiser size and smaller should struggle and have to bring friends. General haulers should have two high slots, and a mix of mid and low slots appropriate to each race. The general hauler should align and warp in about nine seconds when unfit and fitting should be carefully balanced so that they cannot fit a MWD without having to sacrifice just about everything (and fit RCUs or MAPCs) to make it work.
Quick hauler. The quick haulers should hold around 4000m3 at base skills, with 5% per level bonus to cargo capacity and agility. Quick haulers should align and warp in about six seconds when unfit and fitting should be balanced so that they can fit a 10MN MWD, or they should receive a role bonus for fitting a MWD. They should be given a single high slot and limited low and mid slots, no more than two or three. Their signature radius should be set pretty small. Tank should be about half the general hauler, or about equal to the current T1 haulers. The warp speed should be higher than average, 6 AU/s. The idea here is to give pilots who want a blockade runner something to start with.
Tanky hauler. The tanky haulers should hold about the same as the general hauler, about 5000m3 at base skills, and should have a 4% per level bonus to resists and 5% bonus to shield/armor HP, depending. They should be given a goodly number of lows and mids, sufficient to tank them to about triple that of the general hauler or half that of a bait Procurer, or about 30000 EHP. It should be given sufficient grid to fit a 10MN MWD without too much difficulty. In short, it should be made fairly difficult to gank on a gate, requiring either high alpha or webs. It should be given a small drone bay with which to defend itself, and two high slots both usable as weapon hard-points. Its align speed should be about 12 to 13 seconds when unfit and it should be given a warp speed of 3 AU/s.
High capacity hauler. The high capacity haulers should sacrifice just about everything for capacity. Tank should be equal to the quick hauler, warp speed and align time equal to the tanky hauler. But its base capacity should be around 6500m3, with 5% per level bonus to cargo capacity and speed. It should have lots of lows regardless of race.
Not every race should receive every type of hauler.
Currently, the Gallente have five hauler hulls and they should lose one of them but should have examples of all four of the types above. I recommend dropping the Iteron II. It's the most ungainly-looking and least iconic of the five. Of the remaining four, the Itty V should be the high-capacity hauler, the Itty IV should be the quick hauler, the Itty I should be the tanky hauler (it just looks butch), and the Itty III should be the general hauler.
The Caldari will need an additional hauler hull. I recommend creating a T1 skin for the Bustard ship model. That one will be the high-capacity hauler. The Badger II will be the generalist, and the Badger will be the quick hauler. The Caldari would thus lack a tanky hauler.
The Minmatar currently have three hauler hulls and they're fine with that. The Wreathe will be the quick hauler, the Mammoth will be the high-capacity hauler, and the Hoarder will be the tanky hauler. The Minmatar would thus lack a general hauler.
The Amarr currently have only two hauler hulls and will also need a new hull and there are no obvious models for one. So that's a new art asset that would need to be created. The Bestower would be the tanky hauler and the Sigil would be the quick hauler. The new model would be for a generalist hauler. The Amarr would thus lack a high-capacity hauler.
And there you have it. Thoughts?