In my previous post there were some interesting comments which I would like to address.
One of the arguments in favor of the current flimsy state of industrial ships is the following:
"Just fly with combat pilots running defense".
Let's sit back and look at the stupidity of this statement, shall we? Think about it, if concord can't stop destroyers from suicide killing an industrial in a 1.0 system, how the hell does anyone expect a normal player to defend the things? You can defend a POS (they last long enough to get a response fleet together and if the timing is off you know when it comes out of re-enforced). unless you're willing to loose the ships to something much cheaper they can't realistically be used as bait ships either. Case in point, recently one of my newbie pilots tried to get a war target to engage by using an escorted mining ship. Sure they got the frigate, but the barge died before the frigate did. As I would have predicted prior to the rather idiotic attempt (ok it did get him out play).
That pretty much establishes the parameters of defensibility of the industrial ship class (T1 haulers and barge/exhumers). The only real "defense" is advanced warning and evasion. This happens in the defense channels of 0.0 alliances and in the wormhole space quite well. True NBSI policy helps in this regard. The problem is that high sec is too crowded and the gankers rely on anonymity and lack of any true ability to retaliate on the side of the carebears as a defensive shield to continue their griefing.
The biggest problem is that all industrial ships are too easy to kill. They don't last long enough against a single ship let alone a small squadron to be able to be defended directly at all. It's only in 0.0 space that the tools to actually defend the space around the industrial ships allow their operations proceed in defensive environment. Early warning and switch to combat ships being the letter of the day.
As for "employing" the combat pilots to help in defense. The real problem here is a question of income. The truth is that mining and hauling are not great isk per hour. It's effectively on par with mission running. The problem here is you're asking a combat pilot to stop making isk to defend you and even if you split your proceeds with him he's much better off simply running missions. It would only be if it was possible to earn 3-4 times as much mining as running missions would it be worth while employing combat pilots to help defend a mining op. And THAT is only IF the combat pilots could conceivable "defend" the op. The truth is they can't really "defend" anything in high sec. They can "avenge" but not "defend". In 0.0 the combat pilots are defending their space, and it doesn't matter if the source of income is rats or sleepers or rocks. Every one helps the defense and everyone works on their preferred source of income.
It still remains though that as currently implemented, industrial ship defenses are so minimal that the only true defense is an area defense which you can't establish in high sec or in low sec.
So far only the T2 haulers and the Orca - although killable - are defensible and or slippery enough to actually be worth escorting. The rest are "well you need to risk getting blown away to move x cubic meters of stuff in any convenient fashion". We do it because there are few other options, but like it? Nope can't say I like it at all. Getting killed in a ship that can fight back? not so bad. Getting killed in a ship that's intentionally defenseless? Not so fun.
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