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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bubble Wrap

So, let’s pretend a pilot travels to Jita and decides to buy a medium Domination tower.  Let’s further assume that this pilot spent the last, oh… three years in null-sec, very rarely traveling through high-sec.  When he did, let’s assume he always traveled in PvP ships, and carrier-jumped the majority of the way through empire space.

So, this enterprising – and entirely fictional pilot – decided he wanted to move a tower and a few of the nicer POS modules to the HS static for his wormhole.  Of course, to do it all, he had to use a fully expanded Iteron Mark V…

You see where this is going, don’t you?

And in a stunning twist, this pilot wasn’t as fictional as you may have believed.  Oh, no… and now I’m down a 570 mil tower because of it.

I was smart enough to use a neutral alt – we’ve got a war dec after all – but I didn’t even think about gankers hitting my hauler.  I’m sure I was passively scanned the moment I left the Jita station, and they caught up to me two jumps later.  Boom.  The worst part was that the Domination tower dropped.  By the time I came back in another Itty I bought in system, it was already gone.

It’s been quite a while since I had such a dismal failure, and I’d be a fool if I didn’t learn a valuable lesson from it.

That lesson?  Bubble wrap.

Bubble wrap is the term for a mechanic that lets you conceal the contents of your cargohold by making use of the contract system.  All you need to do is contract the goods in a courier contract to your alt.  The goods will disappear from your hangar, and appear in your alt’s hangar in a bubble-wrapped box.

But we’re not done yet.  If you click on this box, you can see everything contained within it, though.  That means a cargo scanner can see it to.  To conceal it completely, you’ll need to contract that bubble-wrapped box back to your original character for yet another courier contract.  By double-wrapping it, you guarantee that cargo scanners will see only a box inside a box.  No one will know what you’re carrying.

But they’ll still know you have something you feel is valuable enough to double-wrap.  And that will likely make you a target nonetheless.

So, the best option is to find another way to travel.  A cloaky ship like a Viator works well, provided you don’t need more than about 10,000 m3 of goods moved.  Or, you can use Red Frog, a freight service whose prices are extremely reasonable for high-sec routes.  The downside to using Red Frog, of course, is time.  If you’re, say, trying to make your way through a WH, it may very well close by the time Red Frog finishes.

The simple lesson here is this: gankers are very good at what they do.  They scan every noteworthy ship in Jita, and can track them very well, particularly after the interceptor warp changes and the slow align time of haulers.  If you have something over 300 mil or so and you can’t move it in a PvP ship, I’d recommend using a cloaky or contracting it to a freight service, for extra security.  They will know where you’re going and they will catch you.

And while you may be able to afford a 570-mil loss, wouldn’t you rather lose 5-6 PVP ships taking down a few hundred enemies instead?


  1. Double wrap is not a good idea. You might get away with it in the Blockade Runner if you use insta-undocks or insta-docking bookmarks, but it is a risk. Double wrapping isn't safe anymore (the guys ganking ships will assume its something valuable if you do it). You can either break up a >1B isk load into <1B loads and Red Frog it (or haul it yourself), or Blue Frog it. Black Frog, which you mentioned in your article is for low-sec/NPC null-sec delivery. If it is something worth more than a few million, you should really be hauling it in an orca or freighter, so a lone tornado can't gank you.

  2. Blockkade runners are immune to cargo scanners last I checked.