Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thoughts on Contraband

Word's been getting around that CCP, the Corrupt Concord PoPo, will be bailing on the War on Drugs. I guess Empire politicians finally managed to pay enough to get rid of the Customs Division.

I've been told that since CCP: Customs Division, is bailing, that it will be incumbent on other pilots to manage the War on Drugs. I find this funny, and indeed a lucrative opportunity, because of all the ways pilots have of avoiding other pilots. Let's move along and list the ways drugs can be smuggled in once Customs Division is de-funded.

As you are well aware, cloaks work beautifully for avoiding targeting systems. This combined with random jump in points after jumping into a system, finding the target to decloak it can be an issue, and if it warps cloaked, well, you are out of luck.

Courier Contracts:
I've not taken many courier contracts, but, as far as I'm aware, a courier contract wraps the contents into a box that can't be peeked into. While the not-so-smart will package only drugs in the courier contracts, the craftier of us are likely to take a look at common sizes for courier contracts and place filler items in them to match common sizes. These common sizes must also be big enough to tell anyone on the lookout for smugglers that no idiot would risk shipping that amount of drugs at one time.

As far as I'm aware, the concept works much like courier contracts in hiding the contents. However, as GSCs are commonly used to hide the identity of expensive items, it will be more dangerous, if still viable, to transport goods in secure containers.

Addendum: I have just learned that the cargo scanners see through GSCs and omit the GSCs themselves on scan. Bollox!

POS production:
While your normal smuggler will cart in already finished product, a crafty POS owner may produce drugs at his tower. To achieve this, it would be necessary to bring in the unrefined production materials. To the plebs, scanning cargo and finding gas and minerals will make the smuggler appear to be just another hi-sec carebear, and a productive citizen to boot. This does have its downside however, as clever anti-druggies will likely stake out POS towers that have the capability of producing drugs.

It's no secret that Wormholes open up randomly, and often times relatively close to a trade hub. This can be the best and worst way of smuggling. W-space dwellers with a hi-sec static will find smuggling absurdly easy, while those living deeper in are likely to face too much danger to bother. Of course, W-space itself does not facilitate the raw materials for drug production, as far as I know only null sec provides that capability, so all drug trade through W-space will be at least as difficult as taking gates through null to low to empire. Still, those with W-space experience will likely find this the best option as it circumvents anti-druggies camping gates, which will surely ALWAYS be the case.

Delayed Sales:
Part of how anti-druggies will be trying to catch smugglers is by watching the sale of drugs. It will be trivial to differentiate providers from sellers, but nevertheless, if the smugglers aren't smart, it will be easy for anti-druggies to figure out that when a certain pilot enters system, drug sales are sure to follow. To circumvent this, sales should be delayed in such a way that the sale of drugs occur at random points. Such points include when the smuggler enters system, days after the smuggler enter, etc. The sale of drugs will be critical in protecting the identity of the providers.

Are the anti-druggies SOL?
But wait, if it's so easy to circumvent the anti-druggies, is there no hope for them? Perhaps, but something tells me that we're about to witness the advent of new scanning technology, tech that will upgrade current cargo scanners to pierce such veils as GSCs and courier contracts. Cloaks will still be an issue, but, as cloaks themselves remove targets to be scanned, without the advent of anti-cloak tech, no solution for that short of tacklers will work.

Without this new tech, new problems arise, such as the still funded CCP at that point wrecking the anti-druggie forces because of GCC rules. Without this tech, either CCP fails to revenge anyone who is tagged (whether the tag rings true or false), or CCP gets a free pass on blowing up every ship that attacks another in empire, whether or not said pilot is really smuggling or not.

Only time will tell, but personally, I look forward to the tears and carnage and free loot if CCP fails to provide the proper equipment. If they do provide the proper equipment, well, the game will be afoot.

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