There is one good thing about the Hauler, which I’d recommend to anyone, as I think it’s a great ship, is it is ridiculously cheap to outfit. It would seem you can have a fully outfitted Hauler for about 200K. Since any ship beyond that is looking at a price tag into the millions to fully outfit, this is one of the vessels major advantages. If you’re into trading, get a Hauler, jump out to a rare goods route and hit it hard. I’ve been doing that and funnelling the money into outfitting the Cobra which has been sat at a high technology station being outfitted.
This seems to be a good way to go, as the ship you buy is not often the ship you want until it has some upgraded gear. The goal with the Cobra was to get it to 36+ tonnes of cargo space and a laden jump distance of 20+ light years. As far as I cant tell this meant a 1.6m frame shift drive and a 1.6m power plant. That’s without a few other sundry upgrades.
The outfitting work is complete and yesterday I moved the Cobra to being my main vessel. Really liking it.
I’m not sure about my next ship. I start getting into 1m+ ships at this point, so my expenses go up in terms of outfitting and repair. There was substantial increase in outfitting the Cobra with its Grade 4 equipment and the next vessels have Grade 4 or higher options.
The logical step is to start down the Lakon Spaceways route investing in their trading vessels in order of cost: Type 6, Type 7 and the Type 9. The trouble with this is it keeps the focus of the game on moving between planets and buying and selling cargo. It would probably represent a shift from long distance rare trading, to shorter distance mass commodities, but it would still be trading. These vessels have ever increasing, massive amounts of cargo space. The trouble with that is I’m finding it hard to get excited about that at the moment.
This leaves combat or exploration.
I wasn’t too fussed about combat, as I was equating it with PvP. In truth I can enter combat with NPC vessels which is substantially easier and will hopefully allow an interesting route in. It will allow me to start hunting down bounties, entering combat zones, etc. This may raise my comfort level and allow me to start investigating elements of Powerplay down the line. It’s helpful that I like the sound of the Diamondback Scout, which comes in at about 0.5M. I may get one of those as a ‘combat experiment’ sort of ship. I’m hoping the combat allows for me to have an experience similar to the X-Wing and TIE Fighter games of old from Lucasfilm. Great times.
The other option, which has me intrigued at the moment, is the exploration route. This would mean investing in a Diamondback Explorer or an Asp Explorer. It’s intrigued me because I like the idea of being well out of discovered space and potentially getting my name on some systems. One of the things the game does well is the impression of deep space, I’m feeling the need to branch out at least once way beyond the red line and see how it works (the galaxy is massive). I’m also finding myself liking the look of those ships more. At first it was the Asp that intrigued me with its vast, open cockpit but that would have probably demanded a trade vessel upgrade to get to the 6M+ initial outlay and then the upgrade costs. Now we have the Diamondback Explorer which comes in at under 2M. It also looks like a Raptor off of Battlestar Galactica, which is an aesthetic boost.
So, the next ship is almost certainly going to be one of the Diamondback vessels, it just comes down to whether it will be the Scout or the Explorer. I guess the sensible route would be the Scout first as it is cheaper and opens up another way of making money and adds some variation into the game.
We shall see.