"…To ransom….or not to ransom…that is the question…."

This happens to me every now and again.  I begin to comment on a fellow blogger’s post, then comment on a comment and suddenly I have well over a page and a slew of ideas to talk about.  Rather than make a huge comment storm on someone’s blog,  I end up writing a post on my own.

Godlesswanderer over at Articulated Sky engaged in a little research project on pirates and ransoming in his wonderful blog post, Do You Honor Ransoms (http://articulatedsky.com/2009/02/26/forum-poll-do-you-honour-ransoms)?  I suggest that you read his post and the comments that are already there as well as really look at the research he conducted.

His poll suggests that only 50 percent of pirates that offer ransoms actually honor them.  I have to say I agree with Mynxee and her comment, the results are most likely skewed by forum trolls.  The EVE forums are many times a cesspool, it’s hard to get good information from players.  The other issue would be that many people who have not been ransomed are just looking to put up false information as they don’t like us.  Many people hate pirates because we are simply pirates.  We plunder, we pillage and we steal that which you have worked hard to obtain.  We are scum in the eyes of many people so of course, a chance to poke them in the eye without any repercussions is simply to hard to pass up.

Preying on targets is what a pirate does.  Letting utterly weak targets go on their way with a simple ransom for a joke is what an honorable pirate does.  Killing everything that comes through a gate camp is not a testiment to your PvP ability nor to your skills as a pirate, it’s a sad commentary on how weak and pathetic you truly have become.  Put simply, ganking is not piracy.

Yes, I know that this will anger some of you and to be honest, if you can’t look at yourself and understand that you are not a pirate but simply a ‘ganker’, then I feel sorry for you.  You are missing out on a great profession in the game as piracy has many rewards, least of which is a high kill count on a kill board.   Just remember this bit of ‘Druidic’ knowledge:

If you cut down all the trees, including the saplings, you will find yourself in an empty field.  Let the young ones grow up to become bigger, stronger trees.  Then you will find the rewards for eternity.

Don’t kill everything.  Don’t kill those defenseless newer players, let them grow in time and in value and when they have more isk in their wallet, that’s when you nail them. Piracy is an art form where patience is one of your most important tools.  It’s not simple a matter of preying on targets that you know you can overtake or sitting on a gate camp and killing everything.  It’s an exercise for your mind as well as your weapons on your ship.

‘…to have a challenge, not just sit there and prey on innocent noobs, that’s not what a real man does…’

-Nathan Richardson, CCP Panel Presentation, EVE Fanfest 2008

Real pirates, men and women alike, ransom.  Why?  Because a target that lives not only has become a source of income, they testify to your character, to your honor even if they never speak of your encounter to another living soul.  Offering a ransom and honoring that agreement is what a real pirate does.  If you are always killing everything, then people will never pay the ransoms and you have failed at being a pirate.

Ransoming is not the simple act of catching a target, telling them to pay you an amount of money, receiving the money and then letting them go or killing them after you have decided to not honor the agreement.  You have to use your mind and you have to have patience as ransoms require you to be able to argue your point that they should pay you to keep what they have.

People hate loosing their stuff.  Most people work hard for their stuff and they are going to be attached to said stuff, especially when someone is trying to take their stuff away from them.   So, when you open that convo and they tell you to ‘Frak Off’, understand that they are angry at the situation, not you personally and killing them right away is not what you should be doing.   True, you helped to create the situaton, but they allowed themselves to be caught by making a simply mistake of not using the tools to protect themselves.  They didn’t look at the starmap with it’s various useful tools, they didn’t use a scout (alt or corp mate) or they opted for the quick route through space and not the safe one.

Let them be angry and vent a bit.  The sheer entertainment from the colorful language can be enough to break the doldrums of having sat on a camp for a long time.  Be civil in your responses as ultimately you are in control of the situation and your responses will dictate how things will proceed.

Granted, there are those lost causes who will be ‘disinclined to acquiece to your request’, but that’s no reason to be uncivilized.  Sometimes people decided to simply deny that they have been caught and will react that way.  Don’t allow them to fill you with ’emo rage’, simply be civil as it will frustrat them, you will seem to be a ‘cold hearted pirate’.   Be happy with that bit of revenge, it’s one of the rewards of being a pirate.  Knowing that you were smarter than them and did not descend into a ‘frackess of stupidity’.

Role play it a bit, have some fun and keep the ransom reasonable.  Demaining 100 million isk froma 3 day old player is unreasonable, 100 isk or a joke works better.

“Yarr!!!  This be a ransom!  We be willin’ to let ye go about ye way, but we need a bit’o’shine in our hands, some swag to put in our pockets to help us see fit to let ye go.  How about sending 500,000 isk from ye wallet to mine, eh?  Do that and we will let ye go free and without any dents upon your hull, well, additional marks upon ye as we have injured ye a bit.  What say you, arrrr?”

If they are not keen to roleplaying or they don’t understand you, be sure to speak clearly and make sure that the terms are VERY clear.  Many people claim that a ransom was not honored mainly due to miscommunication by BOTH parties.  If you demand 1 million isk and they can travel through the gate, be sure to end the convo with something to let them know that it’s a one time deal.  If they come that way again, they must ‘pay the toll’.  If you happen to catch them, be sure to remind them that their last ransom was a one time deal.  Many people assume things, make sure that they understand.  Repeating the terms clearly can help.  Be consistent in all your ransoms, have what you want to say in the in game notepad, simply copy and past the intro to the convo.  That way, you save time in typing and there is never a question on the terms.

Now, there is a strong arm tactic that I simply do not like and this one usually results in a dishonored ransom claim, mainly because the ‘pirate’ claims that they did not understand the communication in the convo.  It’s called the ‘leveraged ransom’ and the convo usually goes something like this:

  1. pirate > This is a ransom, 400 mil or you die, pay now.
  2. Victim > I don’t have 400 mil, let me go.
  3. pirate > Pay now or die.
  4. Victim > I have 200 mil, i pay you 200 mil.
  5. pirate > ok
  6. Victim > Did you get the 200 mil?
  7. pirate> Yes.
  8. Victim > I paid you, let me go!
  9. pirate > The ransom was 400 mil, you paid 200 mil, you need to pay the rest.
  10. Victim > I said I had 200 mil and I would pay you 200 mil and you said ok.
  11. pirate > yes, that’s 200 of the 400 mil ransom, that was ok.
  12. Victim > You agreed to the 200 mil, let me go!!
  13. pirate > The ransom is 400 mil.
  14. Victim > No!!  I said 200 mil and you said ok.  That means that you agreed to a ransom of 200 mil.  I paid, that means you have to let me go.  You did not honor the ransom!!
  15. pirate > The ransom was 400 mil, I said ok to 200 mil, which means you still have 200 mil to pay.
  17. pirate > That’s it, you refused to pay the 400 mil, you die.

Look at lines 4 through 7.  The victim counters the ransom demand with an offer and the pirate simple says ‘ok’.  In the mind of the victim, they have assumed that you have agreed to the counter offer mainly because you DID agree to that offer,  Simply saying okay is an agreement.

Now, many people who use this tactic and claim that the ransom was not dishonored will say that the victim was not clear on what they were paying for, that they should have used this language:

  • Victim> I pay you 200 mil and you let me go free unharmed, correct?
  • pirate >ok
  • Victim> ok to what?
  • priate> Ok to you pay 200 mil and we let you go free.

It this a dishonored ransom?  Some would say yes and some would say no.  I tend to be on from the ‘yes, it was dishonored camp’ and I will tell you why.  Look again at lines 4 through 7.  A counter offer was made and the pirate agreed to that offer.   The leveraged ransom is simply a shady tactic or more accurately a “scam” and a failure scam at that. It’s truly dishonorable and if you use it in our corp, we will not only kick you from our ranks, we will hunt you down and kill you for your dishonor.

Piracy is not an easy profession.  It requires you to use your brain and to be a patient person and if you are not willing to do that then you should look for something else to do.  You have to be able to adapt and overcome challenges as well as be willing to have fun heart.  You are out to ‘take what you can and give nothing back’.  People will hate that you do that, it’s no reason to become hateful yourself.  It’s just not ‘good business’.


~ by J. Riley Castine on February 28, 2009.

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