Suggestions for Shipping Contract Changes

As many of us have been made very aware in recent times, the way that shipping contracts breach is heavily not in favor of the person posting the contract. There is very little safety or recourse once a player has picked up your contract, and expecting delivery or return of your goods depends entirely on the honor system. There are no game mechanics in place to help protect your cargo or ensure it’s safety.

I have been thinking about possible solutions for this problem, and would like to suggest an alternative implementation for the current shipping system and how breaches are handled. My solution for managing breached contracts is to have the cargo unpacked and transferred to the party that fulfilled the most conditions in the contract. I will go through some potential scenarios below on the assumption that the person who accepted the contract is the one who breached it.

  • If the cargo is still on the same planet that it was picked up from, then the cargo would be returned to the original owner’s inventory where it was originally taken from.
  • If the cargo is on another planet that you have sufficient inventory space on, it would be unpacked to that inventory - checking base, then warehouse, then ships
  • If the cargo is on a planet that you don’t have sufficient inventory space, a contract from the nearest governing entity (i.e. Insitor Cooperative, etc.) would be spawned to pick up your goods. This would behave exactly like the CX contracts that are created when you buy something from the CX and don’t have space for it.
  • If the cargo is on a ship, then the cargo would be unpacked and returned to the owner at the earliest opportunity that the ship lands on a planet

This still leaves one scenario where a ship could end up stranded in space and you would lose your cargo permanently, but this also results in the player losing their ship permanently as well.

This system would require an additional contract step for picking up and unpacking the delivery after it has been delivered, that is dependent on the payment step. During this phase the materials would appear as blocked materials (similar to sell contracts) in the contract owners inventory. In the event that the shipper delivers, but doesn’t get paid, the cargo will unpack for the shipper who accepted the contract instead of the creator of the contract.

I think these changes run contrary to the environment the devs have suggested exists around these types of contracts. There are no police or other law enforcement functions anywhere, except for perhaps three things:

  1. The CX
  2. Fees collected by the ADM
  3. The universal implementation of the rating system

They have long said that LM contracts are intended to be unsecured agreements strictly between the two parties.

So when you say there is very little safety or recourse, you are absolutely right. That is the intended design of these transactions.

I like the solution of Eve (many years ago, when i was playing actively):
Provide the package at pickup location.
Set the price.
Set the price of “insurance” (idk how to express that in english), usually 2 times the cargo value
The shipper has to pay the “insurace” in advance.
On successful delivery the shipper get payed for the job and get back payed for the “insurance”.

Contra: bad for new players because now they have to invest into fuel AND “insurance”.