still use an Asp Explorer. This is the build I use. Use whatever ship and build you’re comfortable with. I didn’t post mine to say it’s the best, I posted it because people have asked me to. I think she’s perfectly suited to the task.
Quick explanation on some of my choices:
The best Power Plant, Thrusters, Frame Shift Drive, and Power Distributer you can afford You’re a smuggler. When you get interdicted by Security, you need to get out. NOW. 4 Pips to ENG, 2 pips to SYS, and you’re boosting as hard and fast as you can go. The components give you your maximum range, thrust, recharge, and speed. You’re going to be making a lot of money smuggling, invest some of it into your ship so she can do her job.
64 Tons of Cargo. This is enough for me. I’m usually selective with my missions, and fill my hold. If I fill my hold with missions which pay over 1 Million credits/ton (which you can get even at “mostly penniless” rank) that’s over 64 Million in income, for one, single run. Even missions that pay a half million per ton (which is the lowest I go) give you over 32 Million credits for that one run. The more missions you take, the longer they will take to collect, the more NPC’s you’ll have chasing you, and the longer it’ll take you to complete them and get back for more.
Extra Fuel tanks. I prefer to use the other slots for fuel tanks. I want to get from Robigo back to my first delivery FAST. For me that means no scooping. Stars are massive gravity wells and I don’t want to be sitting there with 18 “Please for the love of the Emperor, don’t scan me!” delivery contracts on board with lots of NPCs trying to interdict me. (and, there will be lots).
I refuel at my first stop for the rest of the missions.
Fuel Scoop. For these runs, I never need to scoop due to my fuel. But, this was my exploration Asp, and we’re still traveling long distances. It’s still good to have a scoop just in case. You may choose to leave it off, but, I wouldn’t. If you pick up a hold full of cargo at Robigo, I have not yet had a run where at least ONE of my drop offs could not be reached on the tanks of fuel I have. I then refuel at that first drop off, and then do the rest.
TIP: IF you choose to have more cargo, and scoop on your way, scoop with your back turned to the star. You’ll probably scoop slower, but any NPC trying to interdict you will have to get behind you to do so, which will force him into the star, and out of super cruise.
Advanced Discovery Scanner. I’ve spent more than 6 months in the black, just exploring, so I already had one installed when I retrofitted my Asp for smuggling. However, you’ll be passing through lots of systems you don’t have mapped. Some of these will be ones you’ll be delivering to on future missions. By scanning them you’ll have access to the system map for that system, and be able to later target the station directly when plotting your route.
TIP: Don’t turn in that discovery data until the next exploration community goal. Free space money!
Weapons. You may choose to run without them. I enjoy a fight now and again, so when I get interdicted by a pirate, I’ll teach them not to do that again.
TIP: Deploying weapons with a Security Ship targeted, will cause it to cease it’s scan and deploy it’s own hard points.
Shield Boosters. I carry downgraded Shields, so that I can fit in bigger fuel tanks. I use shield boosters to help make sure I stay alive long enough to boost / frame shift away for the times when I’m interdicted by wings, or Anacondas.
Chaff Launcher. Contrary to what a lot of people think, these do nothing to stop scans. I carry them for what they’re made for, which is keeping enemy systems from getting a lock on me when I’m boosting / charging FSD, to get away, again from pirate interdictions.
Heat Sink Launcher. I don’t carry one. You’re welcome to if you want. Now that they’re able to be used in Super Cruise, I suppose they’re more useful. I personally spent more than 6 months in the black, exploring for more than 8 hours a day, and never carried any heat sink launchers, shields, or repair units (which didn’t even exist when I left). So, I’m comfortable flying without them. I just don’t need them, and they do nothing to help you avoid scans.
Docking Computer. I actually don’t suggest you carry one. They can slow you down. But if you do use one, don’t engage it until you’re right over your landing pad. I’m an Elite Veteran, who played the hell out of the Original Elite. “Back in my day” getting a Docking Computer was an accomplishment. I carry one for Role play and Nostalgia reasons. In fact Nostalgia, and getting the original game again to play on an emulator is how I found out about Elite: Dangerous to begin with.
TIP: Go into your right hand panel, to the FUNCTIONS tab, and turn off “REPORT CRIMES AGAINST ME”. You don’t want crimes auto-reported because if you get interdicted by a pirate, the last thing you want is for security ships to show up to ‘help’ you.
Often times, they show up anyway, but this is because they’re coming for YOU, not for the Pirate.
How I do it:
I didn’t start smuggling until after Horizons launched. Less than a week later, when the servers came back up on 21 December after the patch, I made Elite Trader thanks to these missions. I love these missions. The rewards are great, and the risks make it really fun. As Veltriben stated in one of the comments to this post – “Smuggling is the perfect blend between the money-making of trading and excitement of combat!”
Before you leave Robigo
Open the galaxy map to plot your trip. If you have system information for the system you’re going to, open the system map for your destination system and plot to the station you’re delivering to. When you arrive, plot your next one.
Uh oh, there’s a security ship after me.
If you’re filled with illegal cargo as I usually am, almost every system is going to spawn a bunch of NPC’s. You’re going to be turning away from the star toward your next way point. Your Frame Shift Drive is going to be cooling down. Very likely some of those spawned NPC’s will be System Security.
Use your “Select Nearest Target” key to toggle through the targets. Mine is set to a hat switch on my joystick. Find the Security ship, and then fly towards it. Keep it in front of you. It can’t interdict you while it’s in front of you. It will maneuver to try to get behind you, but, don’t let it.
When your Frame Shift Drive is cooled down, engage it and get ready for your next jump. While it’s spinning up, keep that security ship in front of you (or at least, NOT behind you).
When you get your countdown and you are ready to jump, align with the next destination and you’re out of there. Don’t even let them behind you and it will minimize the interdictions to begin with.
HELP! I’m being interdicted!
Power down. Submit to the dark side. Interdictions are a pain in the ass. You can try to fight it if you like (and I often do, and win) but, to be honest, sometimes fighting the mini game takes longer than just submitting, earning your quick FSD cooldown, and continuing on.
If you were interdicted by a pirate, kill him or boost away and jump as you please. If you let yourself get interdicted by security, you’re likely at this stage:
When you come out of the interdiction into normal space:
Emperor help me, I’m being scanned!
First thing, relax. Don’t panic. It’s much scarier than it sounds and the first time is the hardest. Once you realize these aren’t really a threat either, these will just be part of the process.
Immediately follow these steps:
Target the Security ship or pirate that is scanning you. (use your “target nearest” key).
4 pips to ENG, 2 pips to SYS,
Boost like mad to until your FSD is cooled down.
Jump out of there.
The first two steps alone will stop the security scan that no doubt will start. When you target your friendly neighborhood law enforcement officer, and then deploy hard points, he will spill his Starbucks coffee all over himself while jumping to the controls to deploy his own hard points. This will stop the scan and you’ll see he has deployed hard points. He’ll sometimes even make some comment over COMS. It doesn’t matter, you’re now boosting away at nearly 400 M/s and quickly on your way.
For evading scans, you use SPEED. That’s it. Speed. Nothing else. If you get interdicted, you boost away. You run. 4 pips to ENG, 2 to SYS, and you don’t stop boosting.
I can’t dock without getting scanned!
If you’re approaching your Station to dock, and there’s a Security ship following you nearby, he WILL appear when you come out of super cruise at the station. He will probably also try to scan you and will likely succeed unless you’re boosting away.
If I have security around me (or following me) as I approach my drop off in super cruise, I just target the next system, and jump away. You can always come back for the delivery, and I have lots of deliveries to make. I don’t want one scan screwing them all up.
Jizzlobber42 below also noted:
It is not necessary to jump to another system if you are being closely followed by the fuzz; I just drop out of SC when I’m less then 1.0 ls away from destination, cool down and re-engage. If literally anybody is around an outpost I’m trying to deliver to, I just turn tail, enter SC, make a quick loop and approach again. 9 times out of 10 this works, even if a scan is initiated. Just boost boost boost. As far as mail-slot stations go, I’ve never had issues so long as I make the proper approach during SC.
HOW TO COME OUT OF SUPER CRUISE SO YOU CAN SEE THE MAIL SLOT
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I thought everyone knew this. Comments in this thread and previous threads, as well as the abundance of new players, shows that this may very well be the best info you’ll gain from reading this post.
When you are approaching a large station in super cruise (not an outpost, but one with with a “mail slot”) you want to approach from a specific direction.
You want to come out of super cruise with the station way point directly in front of you, and the planet that it’s orbiting, directly at your rear thrusters. You want to come in BETWEEN the planet, and the way point. I always level myself off so I’m exactly between the planet and the way point.
I come out of super cruise with the mail slot in view, ALWAYS. It’s probably been a year since I’ve even seen the back of a space station.
Boost toward the mail slot. Request docking at 7.5, and get in as fast as you feel safe to do so. Don’t take too long. You should always be able to get inside before the security ships get close enough to initiate a scan. I can’t even remember the last time I got a “scan detected” on a big station.
I don’t think I’ve ever been scanned around an outpost, either, actually. UNLESS you come out of super cruise with security ships that were following you, at which point, you could be trying to land and have one get you then. If security ships show up while I’m approaching an outpost to land, I tend to boost away, jump to another system and come back later for it.
Since I’ve been smuggling I only EVER got scanned once, and it was one of my first runs. I had accepted 11 missions, and had already turned in 9 of them. I was sitting on the pad at an outpost, just landed, when the scan came. Not much I could do, really (was trying to get into the hanger). So I lost two missions there, but since I started “avoiding” the landing if there are security anywhere near, I’ve had zero problems.
In summary, I guess I’d have to say, for ME these are some of the most fun I’ve had in Elite. If they’re not FUN for YOU, if they make you rage, or you just don’t enjoy them, or you can’t avoid being scanned, then don’t grab them. There are still the long haul trade missions that pay pretty well and again, if you’re selective with your missions you can still make good money without the scan worries.
It’s taken me a long time to write the original post and even longer to re-write it, so I really hope it helps some Commanders become successful smugglers and enjoy what is to me, the funnest activity in E:D at the moment!
GOOD LUCK COMMANDERS!
Silent running is NOT cloaking. This is why I don’t use heat sinks. Please, understand one thing: If an NPC interdicts you, he has spotted you already. If he is close enough to scan you, it’s already too late to hide. Despite all of the extra button pushing and “I want to believe” mentality of people, heat sinks and chaff are not doing anything to prevent you from being scanned. They won’t stop the scan. I’m sorry to the people who still want to believe the placebo effect of “run fast and silent”, because, what’s working, is the “Run fast” (the silent has nothing to do with it). If he’s close enough to scan you, he’s close enough to see you. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting there cooking yourself when he can physically SEE you.
ONE person in this thread has stated that targeting the ship and deploying hard points doesn’t work for him. If that’s the case for you, I promise you that if you fire on them, it will force the Security Ship to stop it’s scan and deploy it’s weapons. Smuggling has made me rich. It’s taken me from a nobody, to a Billionaire, Elite-ranked nobody. I have only fired on a security ship ONCE and then I realized I get a fine for doing that. I have never done it since, and I’ve done countless smuggling runs. I’ve had “Scan Detected” Dozens of times by now, and I’m always gone before it completes. Target the ship, deploy hard points, and be boosting away, and you should be fine.
People who have not yet made enough money to get an Asp have asked what other ships you can use. Honestly, you could do these runs in any ship, to work your way up to any other ship you want. You want to probably put your priorities in speed, range, cargo space. (That would be my order). Even smuggling in a Sidewinder or a Cobra would earn you enough money fast enough to afford an Asp in just one trip or so.
Assistant Angeli Imperial Custodian (Wangal)
Qui Desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum. | Quis custodiet Ipsos custodes.
Nascentes morimur. | Quando Omni Flunkis Moritati