This is going to be a strange review.
Zorgon Peterson's Hauler is one of only a few ships that I have never used "correctly." Not once have I ever used the Hauler for what it was designed for. I've never carried freight, never tried to bubble hop, never pushed this little beast for every LY of range I could. No, I used the Hauler as a combat vessel, to prove a point.
The point? In the right hands, any ship can be deadly. And the Hauler is no exception.
Obviously that was a bit dramatic, but what can I say? Someone made a bet of 50 million credits that I couldn't get a single kill in a hauler. So I outfitted one, and nailed 2 Cobra IIIs. Needless to say, I won that bet. In any case, aside from my combat ventures, this is one of the only times where I will deliberately refer to
As always, this is purely an opinion thread, and anyone is welcome to and able to add on or provide their own arguments in the comments. In the meantime, I hope you get a small kick out of my story, and without further ado, let's begin.
TL;DR: I find the Hauler to be a somewhat underappreciated ship, and while some of this is very well deserved, some of its reputation as a bad combat vessel is unnecessary – but only some. At least from my way of looking at things, the Hauler is definitely a very situational vessel, even in its specialty, but that didn't stop me from having a nice time flying it, and destroying a few pirates. It may not be for everyone, but for the daredevils among us, the Hauler has something to offer.
My adventures in Hauler combat first sparked about 4 months ago, once again among my squadmates. As I mentioned above, I claimed that if you gave me a ship, I could kill something in it. So someone posted a picture of the Hauler, and said "Do it."
So I did.
Why was this shuttle-shaped freighter giving me so much joy? It was, at least on paper, one of the worst combat vessels in the game – and maybe that's why I was enjoying it so much. I had fun proving my friends wrong.
With this relatively sentimental story out of the way, let's dive into the issues I have with the Hauler.
While the Hauler is a significant step up from the Sidewinder, it still caps out at 26 tons of cargo – a relatively unimpressive number, but still admirable for a ship of its price tier. Even so, this is surpassed by the Adder – a ship only ~20k credits more expensive. In fact, that may be the Hauler's biggest flaw: the Adder superannuates it. All chances the Hauler has to shine are squandered by the more impressive cousin, the Adder.
Even with that in mind, however, I wanted to give the Hauler a chance to stand on its own merits. While it may not be able to carry as much as an Adder, keep in mind that the Hauler is one of the earliest freighting ships available from the word go. It still hauls 10t more than a Sidewinder – and that's no laughing number! If you make 10K profit per tonne, 10 more tons nets you 100K more credits… and that's on the small scale!
At least on paper, the Hauler can get some impressive jump numbers – with a LOT of effort. An ultra-lightweight build I made complete with an FSD booster and no other implements had an impressive maximum jump range of over 60 LY – but there's a problem with this. The Hauler is a tiny vessel, and its small size works against it in this situation: adding a single ton of mass will drastically drag down the range of the ship. One must take great care while engineering, and keeping all modules lightweight is a must. In other words, to get good jump range in a Hauler, you more-or-less need to do the exact same thing you would with an Anaconda – and that takes time.
Alright alright, I'll stop stalling… let's talk about the only thing I've ever used a Hauler for.
The Hauler has 1 hardpoint. One small hardpoint. This is obviously terrible for DPS, but there's a silver lining here: it's very, very easy to power. You can fit literally any weapon you'd like in the hardpoint, and never encounter power issues. Take the railgun, for instance: AFAIK, it's the most power-consuming small hardpoint, bar none. And yet, because of how easily you can fit it to your ship, I never had to worry about power.
I did have to worry about heat. The Hauler is a compact little toaster, and it shows. Overusing any weapon will overheat the Hauler pretty easily, but as long as you hit your shots, and keep an eye on your heat, it's not too difficult.
Of the 6 cheapest ships – the other's being the Sidey, Eagle, Imp Eagle, Adder, and Viper III – the Hauler has the highest base armor rating. Additionally, it also has the lowest armor hardness, tied with the Sidewinder. That said, it makes it comparatively easy to get to some impressive armor numbers, for a ship with only 6 internal compartments. Which segways very nicely into my next bit:
The shields are awful for a class 3. On top of that, you only have a Class 1 distributor, which can make keeping your shields online very tricky if you run Bi-Weaves. Shield Cells are inadvisable, due to your aforementioned terrible shield strength, but you also fit 2 utility mounts, meaning you can fit a heatsink and a kill-warrant scanner with ease. Even so, I would not advise any shields that aren't Bi-Weave, and I would strongly recommend a Class 2, or even a Class 1 if you want to be ballsy. It can be really, really difficult to power a Class 3 shield, even with careful engineering.
Your base and top speed are unimpressive, but unlike many other ships, you can comfortably power enhanced performance thrusters – putting you on par with even the faster medium ships. My boost speed even reached 699 m/s before hull reinforcements! Keep in mind, however, that enhanced performance engines sacrifice maneuvering power for raw speed, so you may find that it turns a bit more stiffly.
All in all, the Hauler isn't (as) helpless as people claim it to be. It wouldn't last a day in a Conflict Zone, but as a bounty hunter – or even a Xeno hunter, according to a couple videos I saw – you can make a solid case for it. As a final footnote for the combat hauler, all of this comes in a very low rebuy package of less than 200k, even for the most expensive builds. Needless to say: that's dirt cheap.
But let's go back to the most immediate flaw of the Hauler, where I mentioned that the Adder eclipses it. It's true: the Adder has 2 more hardpoints, better core internals by a mile, an extra class 2 internal module, better speed, comparable armor and better shields. Why did I like the Hauler more than the Adder? Well, perhaps it stems from my love of the weird, ambitious, and unnecessary implements that some ships attempt. Put simply, the Hauler doesn't need to exist at all, and yet it does. Because it does, I plan to use it. The Adder might be the more "meta" of the two ships, but the Hauler hauls itself into my heart. (badum-tshhhhh)
Where I stand is this: the Hauler could use a little love. It's one of the most underused ships I've seen. It's not necessarily good, it's not even necessarily decent, but it's a fun little experiment, and a nice timewaster for those with far too many credits lining their fleet carriers. To all commanders reading this, I beseech thee: give it a try. Who knows? You might even enjoy it. Even if a ship isn't practical, that doesn't mean you can't have fun flying it. Mayhaps someday you too can join me in the ranks of the 1st Hauler Brigade of the Federation!
…I'm being dramatic again. In any case, thank you for reading, and I look forward to seeing you all next time once again. On another note, we are exactly halfway through my little review series: I've flown 18 ships altogether, and we've just covered the 9th. Kind of wild, isn't it? I never expected to be here, still writing, still flying. This is the longest I've ever continued a thread – and I don't plan to stop.
Next time, I'll be flying a ship I knew I'd like, but came to appreciate a whole lot more than I knew I would: the Krait Mk II.
Stay Safe, and Fly Dangerous. o7