I get it, I really do. When you’re in the habit of ratting and are trying to earn your fortune, every little bit helps. Ratting bounties are nice, and are a good way to make ends meet. Particularly when you’re a part of an alliance that taxes ratting bounties by 10 or 15%, it’s easy to view salvage as a way to augment that revenue. So, you bring some MTUs and drop them in anoms to pick up after yourself. You may bring 5 or so, then pick them all up in a Noctis when you’re done as you salvage. It can earn you some decent additional isk.
Only, the dirty little secret is that in the isk/hr game, salvage and loot isn’t going to help your cause. When it comes right down to it, that MTU is a liability. Recovering that MTU and salvaging represents a cost in time that crowds out your best isk-generating option, killing those rats. Even if you use a second account, you’re better off using a second combat account, and leaving the loot.
But it can also get you killed.
We’re all naturally attached to the space assets we own. It’s what makes us loathe to lose a ship, to defend a POS we don’t really want, or to protect a mobile depot we plopped down. When that MTU represents loot, salvage, and the sunk cost of the MTU, it’s natural to want to recover it before you log off for the day.
But it’s not worth risking your ship to recover it.
I was roaming through Fade this weekend when I stumbled upon an Ishtar on dscan in DK-FXK. I quickly narrowed my range until I had him pegged to 0.1 AU, and quickly lined it up with the right anom. But, the Ishtar was smart, stayed aligned, and warped off just as I arrived, still cloaked.
Now, I typically don’t keep anything except gates, the star, and enemy ships on my overview. So I didn’t immediately recognize the MTU on grid. Only when I saw a strange energy stream heading towards a moving wreck did I recognize what it was.
I starting doing a little investigation about the pilot to try to get a sense of his fit, and idled under cloak about ten km away from the MTU. Then, to my surprise, I saw him enter grid again. Thanks to the new grid sizes, I had plenty of time to check his vector. He was heading back to scoop his MTU. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I immediately decloaked and burned towards the MTU, and managed to catch him just as he was aligning off. When I checked the killmail, I saw that he had managed to scoop the tractor unit.
Yes, rather than aligning off immediately, he risked his 350-mil, deadspace-fit Ishtar to recover his MTU.
Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a phrase in poker called “throwing good money after bad.” It’s when you make a bad call and now find some of your money is in the pot, but instead of cutting your losses, you continue to throw money in, under the false perception that you need to recover your investment. It’s a losing strategy, and one that gets you into a lot of trouble.
Sometimes, that MTU just isn’t worth it. Always remember what you’re flying, and what it’s worth risking it to accomplish.