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Pirating Convoys In High-Sec Space

Searching the EVE-Online forums for information on attacking convoys yields


almost no real useful info. Most of it is either out of date, guessing/heresay,
copy-paste or just plain obsolete/incorrect.

So, it’s about time to create an article on how to successfully attack convoys,
and dispel a couple rumors that are going around the forums (for a long
time ...).

Lets begin with the basics.

Convoys are NPC haulers usually in groups occasionally as low as 2 rarely as


large as 6, and most often number between 3 and 5.

They have various names depending on which faction the convoy is being sent
from, so before you start blasting every hauler you see, you’ll need to do a li’l bit
of homework first.

Here are the facts:

1. You DO take standing hits for the corps the convoys belong to.

2. You DO NOT take sec status hits or racial standing hits towards factions.

3. You DO NOT get WTFPWND by CONCORD even in high sec space UNLESS
the convoy belongs to CONCORD (explained later on) or belongs to
Customs Officials.

4. “Convoying” is essentially high-sec NPC piracy.

5. ONLY attack convoys that are INCOMING from ANOTHER corp’s station.

6. Convoys NEVER leave the system. They travel from station to station only.

7. You’ll have the most luck in either 0.5, 0.6 or 0.7 sec space, less stations
owned by the same corp in the same systems the lower the system’s
security.

Attacking convoys is profitable if done right, ISK for your time it is not the best
bang for your buck, however the materials dropped are often expensive in large
quantities. Reports, synthetic oil, hydrogen, oxygen, robotics, and several other
POS/Tech2/R&D resources are common drops.

Sometimes more Quafe Cola than you could ever drink yourself drops. Try avoid
blowing up Quafe Cola haulers. Unless you’re running out of Quafe, that is.

The basic premise is knowing which NPC corp’s convoys you’re dealing with, this
is not as easy as it first sounds; however it can be done to avoid needless
confusion/complication.

You want to attack only incoming convoys to stations from other NPC corps. You
have to be sure that the convoy you are attacking isn’t coming from another
station owned by the same corp as the station it’s on it’s way to. It MUST be
owned by another corp. This is essential to your success.
Which brings me to the point of how convoy's assemble, so you can better
decide where your involuntary donations come from.

Please read this carefully.

Convoys begin by one NPC hauler spawning at a station. It flys out from the
station into the middle of no-where. 1-2 mins later another will spawn. The first
hauler that left will turn right around coming back to the same station and meet
up with the hauler that spawned and then continue going into 'no-where' again.
This process repeats over and over until the 'max' number that the convoy is
supposed to be is filled. DO NOT mistake these returning convoys for inbound
convoys! If you shoot them, the station will open up a can of WTFJUSTHAPPENED
on you.

So if they're flying towards the dock; it DOES NOT guarantee they are inbound
convoys.

Having said that; after the convoy forms up and the max number has been
reached it will travel out into space, in the general direction of another station
within the same system. They will travel approx. 150-170km's from the dock at
this point then vanish, presumably warping. Though there’s no warp out
graphic, they just disappear. DO NOT shoot them on their way out, you will
anger the station guns.

About 10-20 seconds later they will appear at the dock they are going to. All
docks form up their convoys at the exact same time, though, oddly, some take
up to 20 minutes longer to actually get to their destination than others (?!).

Convoys DO NOT leave the system they spawn in. They will ALWAYS warp to
another station in your system.

Following these convoys from when they 'warp' out they will vaguely line up with
another station (no where near exact).So, select the 'lead' hauler, click on look
at; shift your view around behind them and see what the closest station they are
travelling towards on their course, if they're travelling into the 'void' the convoy
most likely hasn't filled yet and will be doing another 180° turn to pick up
another hauler to add to the convoy. Which means another hauler for you to
blow up.

Under no circumstances do you want to attack any convoys inbound or


outbound that belong to CONCORD. Or Customs Officials. If you do, they’ll open
up a can of whupass on you.

Generally avoid systems with any CONCORD stations in them for this very
reason.

That leaves you with systems between 0.5 and 0.7, with no CONCORD stations in
them, and where there is no more than one station owned per corporation. If you
find a system like this, it is ideal, as you’re pretty much guaranteed that a
confirmed inbound hauler spawn can be melted without consequence.

After following the convoy which has left a station headed towards another, find
which station it is warping to. And if it belongs to a different corp than the
station the convoy left (a convoy leaving from Federation Navy is a Fed. navy
convoy) warp to that station, depending on system loads it takes approx. 10-20
seconds for them to appear.

At this point if:

1. The convoy doesn't belong to the station they are arriving at.

2. It doesn't belong to CONCORD, you can open up on them regardless of


where the turrets are as they will not engage.

I would suggest especially if your just starting to use either a well equipped
frigate or cruiser as they’re cheap and disposable, should you attack the wrong
convoy at the wrong time. A well armed frigate, or small cruiser without much
tank will easily be able to kill the haulers. I would suggest a micro-warp drive as
you will be required to close the distance between you and the haulers quickly.

A tip I've used to further simplify this process is to get yourself into a gang,
either with another player, or use an alt or two. I would suggest bringing a
hauler alt anyway as the sheer volume of goods is a little much for any non
industrial ship to carry. (note: contraband drops often, which is nice if you’re
into drugs manufacturing.)

Some convoys are more apparent than others. Joint harvesting & Chemal Tech
for example use Iterons as haulers (and occasionally badgers??). Whereas
Minmatar corps use Hoarders and Mammoths. But you should get the idea.

You will ALWAYS get a warning with a YES/NO dialogue when engaging one of
the haulers (unless you’ve turned it off ...). It’s okay to accept the consequences
of opening fire on one of the haulers, as long as you’re ultra-positive that it
doesn’t belong to the station you’re a sitting duck in front of.

Whether you get aggro'd by station turrets or not, as soon as you aggro one of
the haulers in the convoy they will all lock you and start firing (while continuing
towards the station). They're very lightly armed and will be no match for a
cruiser, even in large groups.

The station guns, however, will PWN you like your ship was made of papier
maché.

This may sound like a cakewalk, however multiple convoys will be travelling to
different places at the same time, so it can be hard to ensure that the convoy
that you’re tracking and intending to melt down is from another corp other than
the station you’re outside.

As a general rule, if you don't know which corp it belongs to, your taking a risk.
And while risks are fun, that’s not the point

In practice, keep it simple.


As an example, say you have 4 stations in your system:

A, B, C and D.

Station A and B belong to Joint Harvesting, station C belongs to Fed. Navy, and
station D belongs to CONCORD.

If station C sends a convoy to station D, you can attack it while it is arriving at D,


the CONCORD station, and not even CONCORD will intervene.

If station D, again the CONCORD station, sends it's convoy to station A, you can't
attack it PERIOD. It's CONCORD owned, and you will get melted.

If station A sends a convoy to station B, you cannot attack it either. This is


because the stations, and consequently the hauler spawns, are owned by the
same corp. The turrets will turn your ship into free salvage if you fire on the
convoy as it is arriving.

Lastly, and again, and again, and again: Don't use any ship your not willing to
lose. If it’s worth anything at all to you, just don’t undock it. Ever. Spin it around
in station like everyone else.

Everyone occasionally messes up and attacks the right ships at the wrong time;
or wrong ships at the right time.

Use cheap mods you can afford to lose.

Use cheap ships you can afford to lose.

Always insure. The type of insurance used depends on the person, I’ll always
take the cheapest, as it might not cover the entire cost of the ship, but it’ll cost
you the least, and has the greatest margin of payback.

This is a long read, but honestly, if you haven’t the mind to read this far, then
you probably haven’t the patience to go hauler pirating in high security space.

Thanks for your time; and happy hunting!