Saturday, 17 January 2015

Elite Dangerous Ship Focus - Zorgon Peterson Hauler

Zorgon Peterson Hauler

The Zorgon Peterson Hauler is a good small ship with some surprising talents. Its shop-floor specs aren't much to write home about but it can be upgraded for a couple of different roles we'll discuss here. The amazing light weight means its reasonably nippy and can be fitted with size-2 upgrades rather than size-3, so the whole thing can be had for a rock bottom price.

Shop Floor Hauler

The shop floor hauler has Class-E components across the board. It has that small-ship feel even with its default Class-E thrusters. It doesn't have a great top speed but can get from 0-100 quickly and has a short stopping distance, making it easy to park.
Capacity: 8T
Range: 8Ly
Price: 52,720 Credits
I won't lie - its not an exciting ship when it flies of the forecourt, but there is so much potential for use that the ZP Hauler deserves a second and third look.

Slimline Hauler

Giving the stock hauler an all over Class-D refit raises its specs to a more attractive level and keeps the cost still well within the "small ship" range. In this build I've doubled the cargo capacity up to 16T which makes it a strong contender as a cheap trader.  I've kept the lasers, shields and retained the Basic Discovery scanner to maintain its all round capabilities.
Capacity: 16T
Range: 9.6Ly
Price: 85,500 Credits
I found the Slimline hauler a little akward to fly. It doesn't have the pull of a performance ship and although it doesn't manoeuvre like a combat vessel it is very nippy.  Like the stock Hauler a slimline refit has good pickup and short stopping distances for starport traffic. Overall its a good enough starting point and represents value for money, but its flying characteristics and low jump range turned me off doing more than simple cargo runs.

Budget Hauler

This budget hauler has been equipped - as much as it can - for carrying freight. I've stripped it to bare metal following an all over Class-D refit by removing the lasers, shields and discovery scanner. The cargo has been maximised and a Budget Class-C Frame Shift Drive increases its range.
Capacity: 22T
Range: 11.2 - 21.6 Ly
Price: 92,400 Credits
The budget hauler is a single-purpose ship for carrying goods on local runs.  You could add a Wake scanner to help it stay with a convoy, which would help protect its fragile unshielded hull, but you may struggle to find convoys that care to protect a Hauler. A combat cobra might carry more tonnage and bring guns and shields to the expedition. A hauler might consider adding missiles to those hardpoints, so it can help out in a fight but again, the fighter escort of a convoy can't go shepherding a stray interdicted Hauler.
Other upgrade options include the Thrusters and Power Coupling so you can increase your boosting for faster launches or to get out of trouble, which honestly make more sense and improve the flight feel of the ship.
I found that the budget refit was a no-brainer upgrade from the slimline loadout of a newly purchased hauler and it felt a lot more personal.  Maxing out the cargo felt like I was pushing the ship a little harder and levering more out of my investment.

Rare Hauler

Lastly the ZP Hauler makes an interesting proposition for running rares. Its lightwight hull gives it a huge range advantage when partially filled and I've reduced its hold to 16T so that it can still make those extra long range jumps.
Following the bare metal refit of the budget hauler above, this galaxy hopping rare runner has a Class-A FSD upgrade and its size 1 internal compartment fitted with a 1C fuel scoop.
Capacity: 16T
Range: 19.4 - 32.4 Ly
Price: 239,000 Credits.

The space hopper build with its maximum range of 32.4 Ly makes the ZP Hauler so attractive for this role, and I'd expect to get around 24Ly per jump with it half loaded with cargo.  Being able to carry 16T means you should never be capacity limited on these long trips.
For a cheaper buy, you could fit a Class-B FSD. It knocks the range down to 14.7 but you should still get 18.8 while carrying cargo and a full 23.6Ly jump when empty.  Running on fumes will get you another couple of light years range too, depending on how heavy the hold is.

A recommended alternative is the 2A fuel scoop to really cut your travel time and maximise the hourly credit income. You can still do this with 16 or 18T of space, and it's literally twice the scooping rate of the 1A.
If scooping really bores you - and time is money - you can refit your internal compartments to a reduced 14T of cargo space and a 3A fuel scoop. This beast will require only a few seconds of scooping each jump to keep your tank topped up.  A word of warning though, running on fumes will increase your jump range but a couple of light years and may reduce the number of jumps in your route. The premium 3A model may end up over-scooping and weigh you down, although you may be able to mitigate that buy buying a half size (2T) Fuel tank, or just a little practice on your scooping.

The 2A-FSD and 3A-Fuel Scoop is a killer combo that keeps this space hopper moving on long distance runs with ease.

In this article I really show of the earning potential of this build on a short 127Ly route.
Running Rares in a Zorgon Peterson Hauler

Conclusions

The active lifecycle of the Hauler didn't feel very long - it soon paid for its own upgrades and was able to beat the half-million per hour mark easily, however once that money came in I was itching to get into a larger ship even if it meant sacrificing the amazing jump range.
Despite this, the Zorgon Peterson Hauler is a ship I feel comfortable returning to time and again when I want to cross the galaxy quickly. The ZP Hauler simply cannot be beaten on price for its range, and the Size-2 Upgrades are cheaply available at outfitters across the galaxy.