Salvaging voluminous battleship loot

30th October 2009 – 5.54 pm

The Crane makes quick work of getting me back to my mission base. I jump pod in to A Matter of Brevity, one of my Drakes. When I catch up with the my two corporation colleagues it looks like we are running level four missions, judging by the number of battleship rats we are encountering. The main man is in a Raven, which certainly helps when engaging the larger ships. I am impressed by the amount of DPS he is producing, the cruisers almost vaporising under a single volley, and the battleships proving little resistance. With a second Drake helping out we have a good team, as well all have good shield tanks, the Raven's active against the passive Drakes. This encourages me to train siege warfare once I have the Damnation, so that I can fit shield warfare links for similar situations.

Rat wrecks litter several deadspace pockets, and I am happy to grab a salvaging Cormorant to tidy up and get some materials for rigs. The Cormorant has always served me well when salvaging, the eight high slots providing plenty of capacity for tractor beams and salvager modules, but when sweeping a deadspace pocket of battleships the lack of cargo hold soon becomes apparent. There is only one low slot for a cargo expander on the Cormorant, but lack of expansion isn't really the problem. Battleships fit large modules, thus those are found in the wrecks, and large modules take up a significant amount of volume. Large capacitor boosters and smart bombs can almost fill the Cormorant's hold in small numbers, so I cannot carry half the loot available. But I don't want to leave all those modules behind, which are recyclable in to minerals for manufacture even if the modules are worth little on the market.

Instead of clearing up everything as I go, sweeping a pocket clean and moving on to the next, I need a new salvaging strategy for level four missions. First I jettison the bigger modules in to a canister and leave it behind, thinking that I will make do without a module or two to take back to the station. But then I realise I have more wrecks to loot, and that the larger modules probably contain more recoverable minerals. It quickly becomes clear what to do. I lock on to the jet-can and dedicate a tractor beam to keeping the can within range of my ship. I drop all looted modules in to the can and keep the salvage, with its negligible volume, in my Cormorant. Once I complete clearing the deadspace pocket I can bookmark the location of the can and return with the Crane to haul the recovered loot back in one trip. I can repeat this method for each pocket to clear, ending up with one bookmark for each that points directly to a big can o' loot.

As luck would have it, the mission running winds down as I am finishing clearing the first pocket, and the other Drake pilot offers to help with salvaging. Rather than bringing a second destroyer to sweep the area she offers to bring a Badger, which means we can haul everything in a single trip each, nice and efficiently.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the method of salvaging battleships. If not all wrecks are within range of the tractor beams, one is permanently needed on the jet-can to keep it close enough to the ship to enable loot to be dropped in to the can, reducing the efficiency of pulling wrecks in to range of the salvagers. And if the wrecks are spread out, moving to them using the MWD is limited, as the drive pushes the ship over 1 km/s, whereas a tractor beam can only pull at half that speed, which will soon put the loot jet-can out of range of the tractor beam, so the MWD needs to be pulsed. But that's okay, it makes salvaging an even more interesting logistical problem to be solved.

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