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Monday, October 15, 2012

No Quarter

"Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you." -Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, before his final battle.

My post last Friday discussed the life of real pirates, or more precisely, the end of their lives. Four of five real pirates I highlighted met early violent ends and only Anne Bonny escaped her death sentence. That was what it was to be a pirate. To live fast and die hard, but do so on your own terms.

It was the life they choose with full knowledge of the consequences. They cared not that it led to a hangman's noose. As the entirety of Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts motto statement explained,
"In an honest service there is thin commons, low wages, and hard labor; in this, plenty and satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power; and who would not balance creditor on this side, when all the hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sour look or two at choking. No, a merry life and a short one, shall be my motto."
So as I read through the responses to my Friday post, I smiled to see the first comment was from someone who truly groks the pirate mentality. "If say somebody placed an excessively high bounty on my head and it meant I was hunted like a dog, then I'd be extremely happy," was how Miura Bull put it. That is a true pirate right there. Those that complain the new system favors carebears, et al, are not real pirates. They don't really understand the pirate's creed.

But because there is great concern over the possibility of grief play (like most high-sec ganking isn't grief play *rolls eyes*,) we need to know if those concerns have merit. I believe the heart of everyone's angst isn't actually the Bounty System per say, but the transfer of kill rights. Does the transfer of kill rights allow a 30-day grief window? The new Crime Watch system is the system that assigns kill rights, not the Bounty System, so it is there we must start to look for the answer.

When are transferable kill rights obtained? We need to refer to the charts in CCP Masterplan's original CW2 post for when this scenario happens. In his own words,
"Performing an action against another player that gets you a Criminal flag will also award a kill-right to that person." 
I have gone through the original chart and highlighted when kill rights get assigned - red for high-sec and orange for low-sec.
So, the first thing I will point out is the ONLY way to give someone kill rights in low-sec is to shoot at their pod. Sure, a suspect flag gives everyone permission to shoot at you for 15 minutes but that's hardly new. So piracy is alive and well in low-sec and no one need worry about grief play as it is easily avoided. Just don't shoot at pods.

That leaves only high-sec, where kill rights get awarded on the first shot against an illegal target. How do you get around this? Declare war against the target's corporation is the easy way. Is that so much to ask? Or does the fact you show up as red to them at all times somehow cripple your l33t pyrat skilz?

That aside, let's say you do shoot an illegal target in high-sec. Then what? Well, the target puts a bounty on your head (or doesn't? The blogs are not clear on that.) and then places her kill right on the market block. Someone sees you and buys the right. How does that play out exactly? Maybe something like this.

You approach the Uedama gate in the Sivala system. There is a frigate orbiting the gate but you are safe in your PvP battlecruiser. You jump on landing. What you don't know is, as you jumped, the frigate pilot bought the kill rights against you. As you materialize on the Uedama side of the gate, his half dozen friends are waiting for you because he also let them know via Teamspeak you were coming through. Your ship vaporizes around you. If you are lucky, you can get your pod out. You aren't lucky. You wake up in a clone vat far away.

Damn, that sounds exactly like the last time I saw a freighter ganked in Uedama. The only difference is "the buddies" on the other side weren't all CONCORDOKKENED for it. Welcome to Eve Online Mister Bad-dude.

Oh, and that's it. The kill right is expended. Read CCP SoniClover's blog on the new Bounty system carefully.
"Kill rights are bought “on the spot” in space, i.e. if you select a player in space and that player has a kill right on him for sale, you can buy & activate (one action) it right then and there. This immediately puts a Suspect Flag on the target, thus allowing you and others in your vicinity to attack the target. If the target player is killed while under a Suspect flag, then the kill right is ‘spent’. If the target manages to escape and the Suspect flag timer (15 minutes) lapses, the kill right is still available to be purchased (activated) later on. 
Kill rights will continue to have a lifespan of 30 days."
If the kill right is converted to a suspect flag and the suspect is killed, it is over. If no one manages to kill you in 30 days, it is also over. The kill right expires. There is no rinse, lather and repeat for 30 days. One condition or the other - not both. That is the most sensible interpretation of that section. You may still have a bounty on your head, but someone will have to take that bounty and then they have to find you. Surely your skills are enough that you can avoid being found. And if you are found, your fighting prowess will certainly make any attack against you a dicey proposition. Right? You do like PvP don't you?

"Ah, but what's to keep Bounty Hunters from forming fleets to come get me?" you ask. Not commenting on the sheer ego it takes to think you're that special, there is nothing to stop them from doing that. However, let me ask you this. What's to stop you from doing the same thing? And why do you think it's unfair to be hunted by a gang of would be assassins?  Dude, I live in a WH. That happens every damn day. I've also seen it happen many times in Uedama. That's the nature of Eve Online. That's what it's all about; HTFU already. (Damn I love saying that to non-carebears.)

So, having a kill right against you isn't all that bad actually. It certainly isn't the catastrophe that some have portrayed it to be. And I'd like to reassure NoseyGamer. Don't worry about them griefing you out of low-sec. They can put bounties on you, but that doesn't mean you are in any more danger. To quote the post again,
" Bounties have no effect on who can be attacked legally where." 
How is that not like low-sec today? You are already hunted. You are in no more danger just because someone decides to pay good ISK for something that you already face. So what if it makes people actively look for you? Those Bounty Hunters are in just as much danger from real pirates as you are. They die in gate camps as easily as the rest of us. Just keep playing as you are. It'll be no different and other's will soon tire of paying good ISK for something real pirates will do for free.

And lastly, I am very pleased with how CCP has handled the new Bounty Hunting system. I love that players are finally going to have the power to shape our own futures. I love that I will be told every time someone is killed using a kill right I sold. Rather than carebear victims or carebears forced to become what they didn't want to be in the first place, we can fight back with means more amenable to our disposition. In other words, you shoot at me and I'll fight back with the best means at my disposal: ISK. To those who have wronged me, beware. I've never been given quarter by you, you'll not have any from me.

Fly Careful


  1. It also flags someone for warp scrambling a pod for ransom. That has very much been a traditional part of piracy in Eve up till now.

    1. Agreed. I think it should only give you a C flag for actually killing someone's pod. Or at most, activating a mod that directly kills the pod. Points/webs/newts/whatever shouldn't give you a C.

    2. That particular item for low sec situations has lots of wiggle room I suspect. I would not be surprised in the final release to see the flag mechanism changed to 'S' for scramming pods and 'C' for shooting them. In high-sec, it makes no difference. You got the 'C' flag when you shot the ship. So don't be alarmed yet. However, just to make sure your view is read, head over to the official forum and make your case. I know CCP is listening.

  2. The piece that you're missing here is the partitioning that's going to take place. Take Ripard. Very occasionally, I like to take him into high-sec. He normally lives in null-sec, but he fights in low-sec two or three times a week. That means lots of people will have kill rights on Ripard. That means that by setting a stupid-low bounty (100k ISK), those people will have the ability to turn Ripard's Suspect flag on by remote control repeatedly until Ripard's ship dies.

    And that's regardless of what I killed them in. I can kill their frigate... and they have the right to kill my battleship by remote control, turning the Suspect flag on over and over again until it dies.

    As a result, I am no longer motivated to go to high-sec... ever. Hell, to save myself from this inconvenience, I might decide just to avoid low-sec from now on and stick to null. Either way... partition. Players in play-style X are going to have to commit to that play-style and ignore all others because they will not be available while you're playing X.

    1. Actually, scratch that. I'm rereading the Bounty dev-blog and it looks like killing a ship in low-sec will no longer give kill-rights, only podding someone in low-sec.

      Isn't THAT interesting.

    2. Roger that! And, as I told Stabs and Zenver, I'm almost willing to bet ISK that CCP will modify the pod flags in low-sec to allow ransoms. That would fairly much keep things as is now but allow high-seccers to retaliate in a meaningful way. I can see where bounties will become the default war-dec of the carebear - one that has a conditional rather than a timed or negotiated end. THAT is interesting too.


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