Friday, December 2, 2011

Bounty Hunting

If you have read some of my previous posts, I would understand if you think I view pirates as the scum of Eve and they should all go die in that fire people talk about.  But this is not true!  I do want them dead, but by the hands of other players!  I have spent some time thinking about the mechanics of sec status and piracy, and I have a proposal. Tweak the boundaries of legal pvp in eve.  Here is a brief, chart based explanation:

System Security Status Legal Target Sec Status*
High Sec 1 <0.0
0.9 -0.5
0.8 -1.0
0.7 -2.0
0.6 -3.0
0.5 -4.0
Low Sec 0.4 to 0.1 -5.0
Null Sec Null/WH All

Of course there are caveats.

  • Any pilot with a negative sec status is a legal target according to the chart above.
  • Only players who have participated in an illegal action can be given a bounty.
  • Legal actions are any hostilities under the auspice of a war dec, taken after another player initiated hostilities in sec of 0.1 or greater, or anything occurring in low sec.
  • Non-sanctioned bounties (i.e. pirate bounties ) can be placed as contracts in null sec.
  • If a player has a legal bounty, he is a legal target in all sec statuses until podded.  Once this occurs, his legal status reverts to the chart above.
  • Causing initial aggression (legally or illegally) invalidates insurance if a ship is lost during the ensuing aggression timer.
  • If a player has a bounty active, insurance does not pay out on losses.

The whole point of this is to increase the motive for players to actively hunt pirates, and to help make the sec from 1.0 to 0.5 more of a slope.  Right now the incentive is mostly pride and possibly loot drops.  This system tries to change the rules of engagement a little, and provide more of a career for Bounty Hunters.  If you wanted to really push the system, you could add a map option that gave time delayed heat maps of systems with bounty targets.  I mean, the gates know who is going where, right?

Observers might also notice that this system does make it theoretically harder for Pirates to get to higher sec systems.  This would maybe require some tweaking of system sec status, belt deposits and agent distribution, I have no idea.  The point would be that along with risk/reward for carebears, pirates would also have a risk reward for coming after high sec targets.

There are definitely some holes in this, but I would love to see anti-piracy become a viable career in Eve.  If a valid implementation could be found for the bounty system, it could also lead to new stations, factions, ships and mechanics.  Most importantly it would incentivize some high-sec residents to both place bounties and hunt for them (possibly leaving high sec!), creating more player-driven content in Eve.


  1. Thats a good start. I'd really like to see missions that promote PVP fits, shifting aggro, bounty hunting missions with player targets.

  2. The first problem is the bounty system. As it stands, adding a bounty to another player simply means that 99% of the time they get an alt/friend to pod them and collect the cash themselves. Your system wouldn't change that - instead it would just increase incentive to 'pod yourself' and collect the bounty. I'm all for a bounty system revamp, but this wouldn't do it.

    Second, EVE is extremely risk adverse as it is - removing insurance coverage would only reduce conflict further. Tripling their isk loss for losing a ship certainly wouldn't get carebears out hunting PvPers. What it would do is push PvPers into T2 or faction ships, since the cost incentives that keep most of us in T1 would be gone. That wouldn't do 'anti-pirates' any favours either.

    Largely, low-sec right now is populated with pirates and pvpers who spend their time hunting each other. Sure, there's the occasional carebear who wanders in to do some PVE or take a short cut and gets ganked but it's certainly the minority. Pirating, as in making your living hunting PVE ships, haulers, etc. is very nearly extinct in EVE.

    The reason for that is low-sec is worthless. There is considerably more risk than null-sec and considerably less isk to be made than even in high-sec. You're also almost guaranteed to go red if you spend any time there and do PVP, even if you're a 'good guy' - that's just how the mechanics work.

    If the goal is to get carebears into low-sec, then give some financial incentives for corps to move out there and add mechanics so they can defend themselves and their space without going red.

    If the goal is to make bounty hunting viable then you've got to fix the real problem with the bounty system - collecting your own bounty.

  3. @Raelyf: The self-bounty is a bit of a problem. Perhaps make it so only pilots who are at 0.0 or higher can collect? Probably still solves nothing, just make an alt and pop yourself. Talking to myself is fun!

    It just bothers me that there seems to be no mechanism to go after pirates that makes any sense. Also, I think the lack of insurance would not force people to T2 - it's still a crap-ton (tm) more expensive to lose a T2 ship than a T1 ship, insurance be damned. A Dramiel is still easily 10x the cost of any fit T1 frigate before you even fit the thing.

  4. The only way I can think to revamp the current bounty system is to pay bounties out as a fraction of the pirates loss. For example, if I kill a pirate in a 100mil ship I collect up to 50mil from his bounty. Or if I kill a pirate's pod and he's got 200mil of implants in his head, I collect 100mil of his bounty.

    As for having 'no mechanism to go after pirates that makes any sense', I'm really not sure what you want. Pirating is already one of the most dangerous, most inconvenient (no highsec) and least rewarding (no isk) life styles in EVE. If you go after pirates, you always get to do it on your terms or the pirates take a significant disadvantage from gate/sentry guns.

    As for insurance, you're right that you wouldn't see t1 frigs or cruisers going to t2. But what you would see is t1 battlecruisers (BCs being pretty much the low-sec standard) and battleships moving to HACs, Command Ships and Faction BS. Right now, a BC is about 80mil and a BS is about 200m - but I get about half of that back upon explosion. Remove that, and 150mil HACs and 250mil Command Ship isn't that big of a leap anymore.