Give hauler ships an innate cargohold to make them actual haulers

Was talking about this in another thread and wanted to toss up a suggestion thread about it.

Essentially: hauler ships have nothing that separate them as haulers right now. Because of the way that optional slots work, and the need for combat ships to have good optionals, you end up in situations where certain haulers are on such close footing with their warship counterparts that it's not worth buying the hauler just for that task, or they are totally outclassed by their warship counterparts (looking at you poor T-7).

Give T ships an innate cargo hold, a base cargo space in tonnage that exists regardless of whether you put a cargo rack on or not. This would guarantee that haulers will always have an advantage when it comes to hauling over other ships. For example, choosing to give the hauler class ships a % of their maximum reasonable carrying weight (running all cargo racks except for lowest possible t slot shield).

T6: 98T max, 20T innate. Max tonnage able to be hauled: 118T.
Keelback: 82T max, 16T innate. Max tonnage able to be hauled: 98T.
T7: 278T max, 56T innate. Max tonnage able to be hauled: 334T.
T9: 758T max, 152T innate. Max tonnage able to be hauled: 910T
T10: 470T max, 94T innate. Max tonnage able to be hauled: 564T.

Anyhow, I think that this would help create a proper hauling niche to some of the ships, without actually needing to risk overpowering them in any other way by adding even more options to them (since guardian modules could allow them be modified in more clever ways using those slots).
 
I don't know about making them quite that large or restricting it exclusively to freighters, but I do feel that all ships should have a single cargo hold as a core internal similar to how they all come with inbuilt fuel tanks. Obviously, freighters would have a larger core hold, as well as larger ships having larger holds too, but when I do feel that ships going around with 0 cargo capacity to be a bit dumb. Even specced down to the bare metal hypercars in real life have room for a couple of bags in them while military ships (particularly smaller ones like destroyers) have often been used as freighters in warzones without any refitting or modification and the larger ones carry enough cargo without refitting to provide disaster relief duty.

Smaller ships like the Sidewinder, Eagle and Vipers would obviously just come with a class 1 internal cargo bay (maybe even converting one of their retconned extra C1 slots into a fixed cargo bay to avoid massive cargo bay inflation on these ships), Haulers and the larger smalls would see a C2 slot instead. This principle would scale all the way up to the largest ships having C6-7 inbuilt cargo bays.

You are also quite incorrect in saying that they are completely outclassed by warship counterparts. The T7 is incredibly aggressively costed, having greater hauling potential than anything in its price range and it is arguable that the next ship in terms of price that can rival or exceed it is the T9. The T9 is only matched by the Cutter, which is currently the top-end ship in the game and is rank locked as well as costing triple the amount. The last round of buffs to the T7 and T9 already propelled them from the realms of "cost efficient but inflexible" and into "no alternatives that cost less than 300% more"; any further buffs to them would push them into "rest of ship roster might as well not exist for a trader" territory. The only "hauler" that is anywhere near the same level of efficiency as comparable multiroles is the Keelback, which is a multirole in all but name anyway.
 
You are also quite incorrect in saying that they are completely outclassed by warship counterparts. The T7 is incredibly aggressively costed, having greater hauling potential than anything in its price range and it is arguable that the next ship in terms of price that can rival or exceed it is the T9. The T9 is only matched by the Cutter, which is currently the top-end ship in the game and is rank locked as well as costing triple the amount. The last round of buffs to the T7 and T9 already propelled them from the realms of "cost efficient but inflexible" and into "no alternatives that cost less than 300% more"; any further buffs to them would push them into "rest of ship roster might as well not exist for a trader" territory. The only "hauler" that is anywhere near the same level of efficiency as comparable multiroles is the Keelback, which is a multirole in all but name anyway.
While this may be true, it's mostly irrelevant. If you were to build a comparable Python to a T7, this is what it would look like:

Python Basic Trader: $244 mil
272T hauling
267m/s straight line with 348m/s boost
13LY laden jump
32 degree/s pitch rate with pips in engines
Medium ship; can land anywhere

T7 Basic Trader: $81 mil
276T hauling
197m/s straight line with 329m/s boost
15LY laden jump
22 degree/s pitch rate with pips in engines
Large ship; cannot land on outposts


So the price difference between these two is about 200mil, right? Except a Cobra MkIII's small 16T hauling capacity would bring 25mil per run deep core mining, so in 10 runs (about 5 hours) you'd have the Python.

At that point, why would you fly the T7? You can't land on outposts, you have a much worse pitch rate for when you get interdicted, much worse straight line speeds and you only gain 2 LY jump range. Armor and shields are comparable between the two.

The moment you get past your first month in the game, the T7 becomes pointless. It's just a stepping stone on your way to the real ship, the Python or (if you are determined to remain in the large ships) the Big 3. My suggestion is to actual give these ships a valid lifespan beyond just the first month of the game. If the T7 was actually able to haul a sizeable amount more than the Python, being able to run 334T compared to the pythons 272T, it might actually be worth buying for someone who isn't having to penny pinch early on.
 
I don't know about making them quite that large or restricting it exclusively to freighters, but I do feel that all ships should have a single cargo hold as a core internal similar to how they all come with inbuilt fuel tanks. Obviously, freighters would have a larger core hold, as well as larger ships having larger holds too, but when I do feel that ships going around with 0 cargo capacity to be a bit dumb. Even specced down to the bare metal hypercars in real life have room for a couple of bags in them while military ships (particularly smaller ones like destroyers) have often been used as freighters in warzones without any refitting or modification and the larger ones carry enough cargo without refitting to provide disaster relief duty.

Smaller ships like the Sidewinder, Eagle and Vipers would obviously just come with a class 1 internal cargo bay (maybe even converting one of their retconned extra C1 slots into a fixed cargo bay to avoid massive cargo bay inflation on these ships), Haulers and the larger smalls would see a C2 slot instead. This principle would scale all the way up to the largest ships having C6-7 inbuilt cargo bays.

You are also quite incorrect in saying that they are completely outclassed by warship counterparts. The T7 is incredibly aggressively costed, having greater hauling potential than anything in its price range and it is arguable that the next ship in terms of price that can rival or exceed it is the T9. The T9 is only matched by the Cutter, which is currently the top-end ship in the game and is rank locked as well as costing triple the amount. The last round of buffs to the T7 and T9 already propelled them from the realms of "cost efficient but inflexible" and into "no alternatives that cost less than 300% more"; any further buffs to them would push them into "rest of ship roster might as well not exist for a trader" territory. The only "hauler" that is anywhere near the same level of efficiency as comparable multiroles is the Keelback, which is a multirole in all but name anyway.
I don't even think about how much a ship costs any more when I'm considering whether to use it. It's just a complete non-issue, as a "spec" it might as well not exist. The only items with a cost that impacts anything are a fully A-rated big 3 (barely any impact), or a Fleet Carrier (large impact). And I'm not super rich in this game either, it just literally doesn't matter after your first like week in the game, with credits how they are currently.

Also, frankly, even if credits were rebalanced I don't like the idea of balancing a ship around credit cost primarily because at a certain point in the game those credits don't mean anything, and I would still like every ship to have some use even then. It should never feel like you are choosing to handicap yourself to fly a ship in literally any situation.
 
So the price difference between these two is about 200mil, right? Except a Cobra MkIII's small 16T hauling capacity would bring 25mil per run deep core mining, so in 10 runs (about 5 hours) you'd have the Python.

At that point, why would you fly the T7? You can't land on outposts, you have a much worse pitch rate for when you get interdicted, much worse straight line speeds and you only gain 2 LY jump range. Armor and shields are comparable between the two.

The moment you get past your first month in the game, the T7 becomes pointless. It's just a stepping stone on your way to the real ship, the Python or (if you are determined to remain in the large ships) the Big 3. My suggestion is to actual give these ships a valid lifespan beyond just the first month of the game. If the T7 was actually able to haul a sizeable amount more than the Python, being able to run 334T compared to the pythons 272T, it might actually be worth buying for someone who isn't having to penny pinch early on.
And what you are pointing out there is the ongoing problem with income inflation in Elite rendering 90% of the entire ship roster pointless from a mechanical point of view (yes, I know people fly certain ships out of personal preference or for lore reasons, but this is about mechanical performance). Credits are the problem, not the ship progression itself. Back in the earlier stages of Elite's history, that 200 million difference wouldn't be 5 hours in a smaller medium ship, it would be closer to 20-30 hours of dedicated exploit-level grinding or 100+ hours of regular profitable gameplay. And that's without going into how the galaxy used to be generally more lethal and repair bills used to be higher, so ongoing player outgoings used to be higher.

Transport ships aren't the only victims of income inflation, but modules outside A and D grades are pretty pointless outside a few exceptions (such as SCBs that have larger overall capacities in B-grades), the majority of the small and medium ships in the game are rendered irrelevant from a performance perspective by the Kraits, Python and FDL. Even the T7 is rendered pretty moot compared to the T9, although admittedly it does have slightly longer jump ranges. Combining this with the impeccable stupidity of NPC pirates and even the cheaper trade commodities are pretty pointless to consider. I'd even go as far as to say that the broken economy accounts for the majority of Elites current balance issues.

Fix credits by whatever means necessary, and suddenly all these gameplay mechanics and options actually matter again. Ideally, some kind of ongoing maintenance costs should also be included such that the ideal ship isn't just your largest and highest specced ship, but instead a ship that has an appropriate loadout and size for the job at hand. The problem is that the entire game has basically been built and balanced around credits being this ultimate bottom line that has since been completely eroded by poor balance decisions.
 
Been saying it for a while now.

We've got military slots. We also need industry slots (for racks , fuel tanks, refineries, prospector limpets ) and exploration slots (for fuel tanks, research, recon limpets, srv and dss)
Oooo I like this take on it. Possibly more than my own idea lol
 
Been saying it for a while now.

We've got military slots. We also need industry slots (for racks , fuel tanks, refineries, prospector limpets ) and exploration slots (for fuel tanks, research, recon limpets, srv and dss)
Yeah, having only universal slots with big ship selection makes balancing virtually impossible and credits are no longer a faction. Therefore more specialisation is needed. However, people didn't like the Saud Kruger passenger slots. Perhaps the same principle could be implemented in a bit softer manner. For example, the largest slots on the T ships could be "cargo optimised", meaning cargo racks put of them would have 25% more tonnage than normal, but you can still put other kind of modules in them if you want. Or entire ships could have these bonuses, like haulers getting a percentage bonus for their total cargo capacity, luxury passenger ships getting cabin class upgrade and so on.
 
Been saying it for a while now.

We've got military slots. We also need industry slots (for racks , fuel tanks, refineries, prospector limpets ) and exploration slots (for fuel tanks, research, recon limpets, srv and dss)
So how is this going to work? Are we going to magically find even more module space down the back of the couch, or are we going to cripple the versatility of ships by saying "This has 'Explorer' in the name, so you can't use it for anything else"?

I'm flying an AspX around the Bubble without fuelscoop, SRV hangar, or limpet controllers - the absolute last thing I need to put into it is a fuel tank.
 
Yeah, having only universal slots with big ship selection makes balancing virtually impossible and credits are no longer a faction. Therefore more specialisation is needed. However, people didn't like the Saud Kruger passenger slots. Perhaps the same principle could be implemented in a bit softer manner. For example, the largest slots on the T ships could be "cargo optimised", meaning cargo racks put of them would have 25% more tonnage than normal, but you can still put other kind of modules in them if you want. Or entire ships could have these bonuses, like haulers getting a percentage bonus for their total cargo capacity, luxury passenger ships getting cabin class upgrade and so on.
I think the passenger slots on the saud kruger ships were a good example of "Slots done wrong"... as you say, the same principle could work in a softer manner. Also, Luxury Cabins are basically trash at the moment, due to terrible implementation of Luxury-class passenger missions (and the fact they're, for all intents, relatively indistinguishable from Economy passengers when you trade off advantages/disadvantages)... I have a beluga which i fitted out with nothing but luxury cabins, fuel scoop, FSD Booster, 4t of cargo and cursory shields. It does nothing but collect dust. But I digress.

The configuration of "Cabin only" slots messed with the dedicated passenger ships configurability something shocking, meaning for something like the beluga, you could only have two of three of the following: Good Fuel Scooping, Good Shields, Good FSD Booster. You couldn't do all three at the sacrifice of some cabin space, which I think is an entirely reasonable option.

You could integrate the cabin slots into one of the Combat/Exploration/Industrial suggestions I made before, or have dedicated "Liner" slots, but not just restricted to Cabins; rather, they'd include a few other modules such as cargo racks, fsd boosters and fuel tanks.... but frankly, they look a lot like an industrial or exploration slot then. There could be a balance, but I'm not being paid to design FD's game here :)

While I wholeheartedly like your suggestion of things like "25% more tonnage than normal"... you're going to hit three snags here.
1. The anti-EVE crowd, since that's pretty much exactly how EVE's ship configurations work
2. The Space Legs crowd. The class of a module refers to it's physical size... doubling as each class goes up. The baseline comparison is Cargo Racks, C1 = 2t, C2 = 4t, C3 = 8t etc.. They decry "magical bonuses" because there's no way they could be physically represented (to suit a non-existent feature).
3. The purist crowd, who think no ship should have a dedicated role, and you should instead "blaze your own trail" <rolleyes>

That is, a Class 7 Shield Generator takes up the same amount of space as a Class 7 Cargo Rack (128t)... if a ship allowed 25% extra tonnage, how would that look when a Class 7 Shield Generator would take up the same amount of space, and Cargo Cans are a uniform size. It's a stupid argument imo, but it's one people have tried to make about this sort of thing.
 
So how is this going to work? Are we going to magically find even more module space down the back of the couch, or are we going to cripple the versatility of ships by saying
Not like we haven't gone down that path before, looking at Supercruise assist, and every other ship rebalance that's ever occurred. Game balance can't be hamstrung like that.
"This has 'Explorer' in the name, so you can't use it for anything else"?
We're also already doing this with a dozen ships in the game at the moment through military slots... and no, it's not like all slots become verboten for everything except those modules.
I'm flying an AspX around the Bubble without fuelscoop, SRV hangar, or limpet controllers - the absolute last thing I need to put into it is a fuel tank.
Hooray? I never mentioned an Asp X to begin with, and if I remember right it's pitched as a multipurpose vessel. We could change that one if you want, but end of the day, change happens? (Looking FC's in the eye here...)

It's one of the things holding ships like the Asp Scout back. Can't make it much better because it'll kill off other ships in it's value proposition, but it's awful in it's current state. But if there were non-overlapping paths FD could rebalance ships down, then that'd provide better alternatives.

EDIT:
So, here's an example. I'm aware the Asp X can make a reasonable fighter vessel.

Pretend for a minute that the Asp X, converted to this sort of system, gets:
  • It's C5 turned into an Exploration Slot; and
  • Gets an extra C2, or two extra C1 exploration slots

This is all as an example. Now, I looked back over my suggestion for Exploration slots; the list of modules varies every time I write it, and on this occasion I noticed that I've left off AFMUs from that list; these are a pretty standard option for explorers, but also have good utility for fighters for either field repairing modules out of combat, or repairing MRPs /Canopy on-the-fly.

So your C5's left being something like an FSD booster, and the class 1/2's you can add an AFMU on, so instead of a multiclass ship employed as a fighter which is pretty average compared to other dedicated fighters, you get a long-range[1] fighter, or even a long range miner with some other changes.

Just like today, military slots don't necessitate that a ship is a fighter; they just afford slots which are only useful for defence. They can still be employed in other roles. If the allocation of bespoke slots are crippling fits like how the "cabin only" slots did on the Saud Kruger lines, then they're not done right.

[1] Although ship transfers trashed that function a long time ago... it's still got some utility.
 
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I think the passenger slots on the saud kruger ships were a good example of "Slots done wrong"... as you say, the same principle could work in a softer manner. Also, Luxury Cabins are basically trash at the moment, due to terrible implementation of Luxury-class passenger missions (and the fact they're, for all intents, relatively indistinguishable from Economy passengers when you trade off advantages/disadvantages)... I have a beluga which i fitted out with nothing but luxury cabins, fuel scoop, FSD Booster, 4t of cargo and cursory shields. It does nothing but collect dust. But I digress.

The configuration of "Cabin only" slots messed with the dedicated passenger ships configurability something shocking, meaning for something like the beluga, you could only have two of three of the following: Good Fuel Scooping, Good Shields, Good FSD Booster. You couldn't do all three at the sacrifice of some cabin space, which I think is an entirely reasonable option.

You could integrate the cabin slots into one of the Combat/Exploration/Industrial suggestions I made before, or have dedicated "Liner" slots, but not just restricted to Cabins; rather, they'd include a few other modules such as cargo racks, fsd boosters and fuel tanks.... but frankly, they look a lot like an industrial or exploration slot then. There could be a balance, but I'm not being paid to design FD's game here :)

While I wholeheartedly like your suggestion of things like "25% more tonnage than normal"... you're going to hit three snags here.
1. The anti-EVE crowd, since that's pretty much exactly how EVE's ship configurations work
2. The Space Legs crowd. The class of a module refers to it's physical size... doubling as each class goes up. The baseline comparison is Cargo Racks, C1 = 2t, C2 = 4t, C3 = 8t etc.. They decry "magical bonuses" because there's no way they could be physically represented (to suit a non-existent feature).
3. The purist crowd, who think no ship should have a dedicated role, and you should instead "blaze your own trail" <rolleyes>

That is, a Class 7 Shield Generator takes up the same amount of space as a Class 7 Cargo Rack (128t)... if a ship allowed 25% extra tonnage, how would that look when a Class 7 Shield Generator would take up the same amount of space, and Cargo Cans are a uniform size. It's a stupid argument imo, but it's one people have tried to make about this sort of thing.
I'm a space legs nut and I think it's a sound idea. We've never seen the cargo racks, we don't know what they look like. If the ships are fully explorable in space legs (big if, I suspect only sections will be explorable), they could just make non-specialised slots be cubes that X module fits into, including a cargo module which has various cargo moving components, straps, padding etc on the walls. Basically the walls have certain thickness of cargo accoutrements. For the hauler ships, the hull itself has those accoutrements and "cargo racks" are just a designation. You can still fit a module of the same physical size as the old cargo rack, it'll just be suspended to hardpoints amongst the cargo accoutrements. But if you choose to use that space for cargo, you're saving a lot of space (25% of space) by not having to deal with any module walls or anything like that. Same with any other module amplification. Makes perfect sense to me. Don't think there's any reason to blame people who want space legs before you've even heard what they have to say ;)
 
I'm a space legs nut and I think it's a sound idea. We've never seen the cargo racks, we don't know what they look like. If the ships are fully explorable in space legs (big if, I suspect only sections will be explorable), they could just make non-specialised slots be cubes that X module fits into, including a cargo module which has various cargo moving components, straps, padding etc on the walls. Basically the walls have certain thickness of cargo accoutrements. For the hauler ships, the hull itself has those accoutrements and "cargo racks" are just a designation. You can still fit a module of the same physical size as the old cargo rack, it'll just be suspended to hardpoints amongst the cargo accoutrements. But if you choose to use that space for cargo, you're saving a lot of space (25% of space) by not having to deal with any module walls or anything like that. Same with any other module amplification. Makes perfect sense to me. Don't think there's any reason to blame people who want space legs before you've even heard what they have to say ;)
In fairness, you're the first person who wants space legs who's ever said this was a good idea, from the times i've said it in the past :)
 
In fairness, you're the first person who wants space legs who's ever said this was a good idea, from the times i've said it in the past :)
Huh, okay. Well I'm sorry you've run into opposition to your idea on what seems to me to be a silly basis :p I don't think space legs needs to interfere with something like this. There's always solutions to stuff like that, often solutions from the real world. I try and read about how people solve efficiency bottlenecks in factories, transportation etc because it interests and the solutions are often stuff like that, making certain parts do double duty, making structural parts perform another function etc.
 
While this may be true, it's mostly irrelevant. If you were to build a comparable Python to a T7, this is what it would look like:

Python Basic Trader: $244 mil
272T hauling
267m/s straight line with 348m/s boost
13LY laden jump
32 degree/s pitch rate with pips in engines
Medium ship; can land anywhere

T7 Basic Trader: $81 mil
276T hauling
197m/s straight line with 329m/s boost
15LY laden jump
22 degree/s pitch rate with pips in engines
Large ship; cannot land on outposts


So the price difference between these two is about 200mil, right? Except a Cobra MkIII's small 16T hauling capacity would bring 25mil per run deep core mining, so in 10 runs (about 5 hours) you'd have the Python.

At that point, why would you fly the T7? You can't land on outposts, you have a much worse pitch rate for when you get interdicted, much worse straight line speeds and you only gain 2 LY jump range. Armor and shields are comparable between the two.

The moment you get past your first month in the game, the T7 becomes pointless. It's just a stepping stone on your way to the real ship, the Python or (if you are determined to remain in the large ships) the Big 3. My suggestion is to actual give these ships a valid lifespan beyond just the first month of the game. If the T7 was actually able to haul a sizeable amount more than the Python, being able to run 334T compared to the pythons 272T, it might actually be worth buying for someone who isn't having to penny pinch early on.
Why would anyone grind deep core mining, just to get another ship, so they can continue to grind deep core mining?

The only reason why this post is relevant is because people do grind. But for people like me who don't, the price is a serious consideration.
 
So are we gonna enforce the passenger slots back for the cetaceans?
Making them exclusive for passenger cabins like they used to be would be a bad idea. Since passenger missions count for exploration rank, it'd be better if they were exploration slots, offering more flexibility to their previous iterations. Wouldn't hurt to give them an extra one or two in the process either, so they can at least outperform comparable multiroles in the role they're designed specifically for.

Or , yknow, make luxury class missions actually worth something.
 
I think the passenger slots on the saud kruger ships were a good example of "Slots done wrong"... as you say, the same principle could work in a softer manner. Also, Luxury Cabins are basically trash at the moment, due to terrible implementation of Luxury-class passenger missions (and the fact they're, for all intents, relatively indistinguishable from Economy passengers when you trade off advantages/disadvantages)... I have a beluga which i fitted out with nothing but luxury cabins, fuel scoop, FSD Booster, 4t of cargo and cursory shields. It does nothing but collect dust. But I digress.

The configuration of "Cabin only" slots messed with the dedicated passenger ships configurability something shocking, meaning for something like the beluga, you could only have two of three of the following: Good Fuel Scooping, Good Shields, Good FSD Booster. You couldn't do all three at the sacrifice of some cabin space, which I think is an entirely reasonable option.

You could integrate the cabin slots into one of the Combat/Exploration/Industrial suggestions I made before, or have dedicated "Liner" slots, but not just restricted to Cabins; rather, they'd include a few other modules such as cargo racks, fsd boosters and fuel tanks.... but frankly, they look a lot like an industrial or exploration slot then. There could be a balance, but I'm not being paid to design FD's game here :)

While I wholeheartedly like your suggestion of things like "25% more tonnage than normal"... you're going to hit three snags here.
1. The anti-EVE crowd, since that's pretty much exactly how EVE's ship configurations work
2. The Space Legs crowd. The class of a module refers to it's physical size... doubling as each class goes up. The baseline comparison is Cargo Racks, C1 = 2t, C2 = 4t, C3 = 8t etc.. They decry "magical bonuses" because there's no way they could be physically represented (to suit a non-existent feature).
3. The purist crowd, who think no ship should have a dedicated role, and you should instead "blaze your own trail" <rolleyes>

That is, a Class 7 Shield Generator takes up the same amount of space as a Class 7 Cargo Rack (128t)... if a ship allowed 25% extra tonnage, how would that look when a Class 7 Shield Generator would take up the same amount of space, and Cargo Cans are a uniform size. It's a stupid argument imo, but it's one people have tried to make about this sort of thing.
I don't think the space legs crowd has anything against dedicated cargo and passenger space. But I think that should have been done right at the beginning of the game. In fact I think the way modules are done is a bit crazy.

I also would have had shields in a none optional slot. What insurance company would insure your ships if you don't fit shields.

I'm hopeful that the next era completely changes how modules are done.

Why do bulkheads (bulkheads are internal) increase your external armour, when HRPs which are fitted internally add to your external armour. None of it makes any real sense.
 
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