Friday, 27 February 2015

Elite Dangerous profiteering - Life after the Type-7

Hey Space Cadets! What is going on?
I’m Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to Life after the Type-7.  

In the New Beginnings article we talked about the road from a little ZP-Hauler all the way up to a T7 Transport. And then I covered a bit more detail about what the entry level T7 looks like in my Road to the Type-7 article and recommended the minimum credit balance it'll take to get you into that cockpit in any sensible manner. Today we'll be picking up where that left off and talking about life after the Type-7

I’m assuming here that being a Type-7 owner isn’t your goal - its a means to an end. If your target was to be a space trucker then look no further than the Type-7. The middle child from Lakon Spaceways its not as nimble as our beloved Sixer and not as weighty as the Fat9 but its got a lot to offer any credit-concious pilot as you transition from medium to large ships.

Opening Gambit
Lets talk about the T7 a little - first off the bat you are going to want to get a few upgrades, you are going to max the cargo around the 200 or 216T point and fitting shields, or shields and an extra bank, its kinda up to you.

I’m not going to outfit a T7 for you here, but be aware that you’ll have a couple of upgrades at 5.1M or 1.7M each, and another pair at 1.6M or 0.5M each too.  While your entry-level T7 is going to take around 25M Credits, your workhorse is going to weigh-in on the high side of 30M once you are starting to get really happy with it.

But here I want to talk about upgrade options! From the spacious cockpit of a T7 there are three ships you’ll be looking at next. The Imperial Clipper, the Federal Dropship or the mighty Python.

Imperial Clipper
The first ship after the T7 is the Imperial Clipper. It has about the same capacity, but Two large and Two medium hardpoints so you can join the fight should the worst happen.  One of the first things you notice moving up from an Asp to a T7 is the lack of hardpoints and turning circle, and these are addressed in the Clipper.
To put it in outfitters terms, the “Clipper is to the T7, what the Asp was to the Sixer.”  

An empty Clipper costs 31M with a 5A Frame Shift drive, so not too much higher than the budgets we are talking about in a T7 although there are more upgrades than that you will want.

Once you have a T7 with 12M in the bank, then the Clipper starts to feel realistic, however you need to find one for sale and need an imperial rank of “Baron” or higher, which is going to take hours of Imperial missions to achieve.
I’d only recommend going for the Clipper if you are a dedicated Imperial Pilot, and working up the ranks is something you are already interested in. Its this Imperial affiliation that puts me off, and despite it being a very nice looking ship, the Clipper isn’t for everybody..

Federal Dropship
The Federal Dropship sits at the next price point, at 40-50M Cr.  It has four Medium Hardpoints and one Large, but doesn’t have the capacity of the Clipper.

Its a good buy if you want something with good capacity that hits hard in a fight, but its not the earner that the T7 or Clipper are.  With as standard load of 116 or 132T based on Shield Bank choice the Federal Dropship maxes out at only 164T with no shields - but I’m never going to recommend running a dropship with anything less that double-A shields.

Like the clipper, you’ll need a federal rank to buy one, and its street price of 37M credits might seem low but its packed with Size-5 and Size-6 components, which cost up to 16M credits each. You can fly one for 50MCr, but it won’t be fully outfitted until you’ve spent around the 80M mark.

On the plus side, its huge 6A Power Plant and power anything and even a 5A has enough juice for four Plasma Accelerators. To this end, the Federal Dropship reads like a super-Asp.  Its an all rounder that doesn’t excel, but if you can stand the heat - and it’ll get hot - then Quad 2C Plasma Accelerators is a lot of diplomacy.

The Python
With two medium and Three Large hardpoints, The Python is a heavy hitter and maintains the 200+ T Capacity that you are used to in your Type-7.  Its range-limited compared to the Type-7, which isn’t something you hear every day, and you won’t get a lot out of it fully laden even with a Class-A FSD but the gains in safety features really compensate for the shorter jump range and while your profit runs might be slower the wastage due to piracy will diminish.
Its also much easier to find wingmen in a Python.  As a T7 pilot, you ask Asps or Viper jocks to accompany you on an trade route and they might not want to play nursemaid.  But as an Asp Pilot, I would have queued up to fly on a mighty pythons wing.  When Two asps and a Python get interdicted, the pirates will soon change colours and turn tails.

The Python is available without the need for Federal or Imperial ranks and is going to cost a little more because of it, however for non-aligned pilots the iconic Python is the next big thing since the T7.

A Shop-Floor Python costs 55M Credits, which is a pretty penny by itself and represents some 25M more than the aspiring T7 pilot will have.  After a Class-D refit and maxing the Cargo at 228T you are in the 60.5M range, with a truncated nine light year jump.  The Class-A FSD takes you to 65M and 16.42 Light Years with its big 228T capacity which is the starting point for the ship.

Power Management
With its big 7D Power Plant the mighty python is ready to equip anything, however we’re going to be swapping that out to a Class-A of a smaller size for the better heat efficiency. I don’t know which yet, but the 5A costs a cool 5M Credits and the 6A is going to set us back 16M. You don’t want to contemplate the 7A right now.
I’m going to switch to the 5B plant. Its not quite as heat efficient as the 5A, but will run a lot cooler than the 7D and costs about the same.
Safety features
For the initial purchase, I’m keeping the 6D shields that I fitted in the Class-D refit. They are massive compared to the shields we’ve seen in smaller ships and although it won’t survive a sustained assault or coordinated attack its a lot more protection than any freighter has seen. This will help keep the cost down and give me a minimum purchase value for the Python.

Those big 3C Beams cost 2M credits each, so I’m putting them out of budget for an initial python purchase.  Since the stock python earns the same as a T7 but has shields and guns, even cheaper 2D Beams will be a vast improvement and I can get five of those for 2.5M credits. Its a lot of money, but its enough firepower to see off the riff raff and doesn’t make a dent in the power capacity of the 7D plant.

So our entry-level Python is a 16.4Ly jumper with a 228T capacity. It weighs in at 67M Credits, but is bristling with five 2D Gimbal Beams which only represents a fraction of its fully armed firepower.
The insurance is going to come in at about 3.5M, and I’d recommend having enough to pay for it twice on a ship like this and a further 2M to cover cargo costs.

So… The Entry level Python requires 76M of assets, subtracting the 30M you already own as a T7 pilot, is still a massive 46M Credits of earning in a T7 before you can upgrade to this space monster.
At 2MCr/H thats 23 Hours of trading… A long days work by any measurement. The road to the Python is a long one, and at 1MCr/Hour to get into the T7 to start with it looks like Lakons Type-7 transport is the half-way mark in being a the proud owner of a Python.

However the Python will earn a fraction faster than a T7, and will be able to upgrade those internal compartments and hardpoints one by one, earning as it goes along, and if you have a spare 76M lying around you'd be a fool not to pick up a python at your local dealership. Its worth stressing that 76M is the minimum spend to buy a python - you'll easily add thirty or fourty million credits to that and still have room for more upgrades.

I’ll have a full T7 Outfitters article for you soon.

Until then, fly casual.