Don’t Listen To Them, Kids. Piracy Does Pay.

24Feb09

Yesterday was one of the good days. I went for a roam in one of my Rifters and not only managed to turn a good profit but also got several good fights along the way, too. That’s what small ship piracy is all about.

Before I begin I should try and give you some sort of sense of the amount of money I invest in my ships. Using buy orders in Jita each Rifter costs me just under 5 million ISK and I usually fly with about a thousand rounds of ammo in my hold adding up to approximately 100,000 ISK. If I bought my ships in Rens I could probably save another half million but its logistically easier to buy in Jita and the sales market there is better for offloading my loot. So, to pay for itself each ship needs to bring in about 5 million ISK in either loot or ransoms. The average gank of a young pilot in Verge Vendor (be it a frigate, destroyer, or cruiser) seems to bring in around 1.5 million so I usually need three or four newbie kills to pay for a ship. Of course, fighting a good, well-equipped pilot allows me to turn a profit far quicker. Because I specialise heavily in frigate piloting I usually have pretty good odds in these fights, too.

Back to yesterday… Bfoster had been chatting in our corp channel saying that he loved hunting in Mara and Aurohunen, the old stomping ground of the Python Cartel. He and another former Python had downed a pair of Hurricanes in their frigates (well, Crow and Republic Fleet Firetail). I’d been up to Mara before but I decided it was time to go on a little roam, stopping off at Old Man Star en route to see if I could get any good fights there.

My first encounter was with a Crusader in Heydieles. I tried to bait him at a planet but he warped in at 30 km range, rather than point blank. I quickly warped off and bounced around a couple of planets and safespots before settling down at another planet, this time at 30 km range myself. This time he warped in right on top of me but I wasn’t quick enough to close on him and although I was able to briefly get my stasis webifier on him I was unable to scramble his microwarp drive and he got away. By this point he’d become cautious and I decided to wait out my criminal timer before moving on with my journey. Despite the lack of a kill I’m definitely starting to get the upper hand in my interceptor encounters.

Old Man Star was busy. This isn’t really news. Its always busy. Especially since the proxy war began between the Empires. After a bit of scanning I was able to track down a young Vexor pilot ratting in one of the outer belts. Normally I avoid drone boats like the plague; a flight of light drones can make mincemeat of a frigate pretty quickly. The pilot’s age gave me confidence and I warped in and quickly applied the tackle. My autocannons stripped away his shields but he still hadn’t deployed any drones. Maybe this was going to be easier than I thought. Then all of a sudden I lost lock. What? I checked and there was no jamming being applied. How odd. Before my victim could get away I retargeted him and scrambled his warped drives again. This time he deployed an assortment of drones but with only a couple of low-tech light drones in the mix I wasn’t overly concerned and concentrated my fire on his armour. Again I lost lock but this time I was quick to reapply it. By now I’d realised that he had an ECM burst module fitted to his ship but I decided to stay close and maximise my damage, confident that I could relock him before he was able to get up to warp speed. The pilot had opened a communications channel with me and I offered him a 5 million ISK ransom for his ship. There was no response so, despite losing lock several more times, I pulverised the hull of his Vexor until all that was left was twisted metal. Unhappy that my ransom had been ignored and wary of the risks of lingering in Old Man Star I locked, scrambled, and destroyed the pod without offering any ransom. For such a young pilot the loot was good and I was pleased with my first combat of the day.

With my loot from the Vexor safely stowed in a station I continued to prowl Old Man Star looking for other targets of opportunity. A Myrmidon was baiting in the innermost belt so I warped in at range to investigate the situation. To my surprise a Manticore stealth bomber uncloaked 170 km from me. I quickly fired up my afterburner and began to burn towards him as he cloaked. While my ship closed the distance I scanned around and found a Coercer destroyer towards a planet. Unsure if the Manticore would decloak and allow me to engage I fired up my warp drives only to see the Manticore uncloak 70 km from my position but by then it was too late, I was in warp and the opportunity had escaped me. The Coercer turned out to be docked at a player owned station as well so I didn’t get any fights. After a bit more scanning and a second attempt to find the Manticore I gave up and set my navigation computer for Mara.

The journey was mostly uneventful. I scanned a few systems but found little in the way of targets until Rakapas in the recently opened Black Rise region. Before I lef the system I made a scan from the exit gate and got a hit on a Punisher. I quickly began scanning the celestials when the Punisher dropped out of warp about 20 km from my position. Better still it was piloted by a member of Beyond Divinity Inc (BYDI) and was an outlaw. I could engage on the gate without the risk of sentry guns intervening. I fired up my microwarp drive and prepared my weapon and tackle systems. The BYDI pilot was moving quickly for a Punisher and although I’d instructed my ship to hold a 5 km orbital path our ships were holding at a steady 11 km. He was trying to stop me from closing to within range. Breaking my normal protocol I allowed my stasis webifier to engage before I was in scramble range. This quickly halted his ship and allowed me to close quickly and scramble his warp drive. My Rifter’s speed allowed me to hold a steady orbit at my chosen range and I was surprised to see him web rather than scramble me. Never mind. I had the upper hand now and my Barrage ammunition tore through his shields while I took little or no damage. The fight got interesting when I broke through to his armour. He’d opted to fit his Punisher with tech 1 autocannons so while his damage was fairly anemic it meant he could devote all of his considerable capacitor to his tank. This was going to be a drawn out skirmish and I held off overheating my guns until I needed to apply a coup de grace. The last thing I needed was to burn out my weapons systems. As I slowly chipped away at his armour I began taking damage to my own and carefully managed my afterburner and armour repair systems to make sure I was always able to mitigate the incoming damage. As his armour finally began to crumble and he started to take structure damage I pushed my guns beyond their normal tolerance and instructed my ship to close to point blank range. Under this final ferocious fire his defences finally crumbled and the Punisher was destroyed. Heart-felt ‘good fights’ were exchanged in local. Its not often that you get really satisfying fights but this was definitely one of them. Especially against an older player from a renowned pirate corporation. Looking through the killmail the reason for his immense tank became obvious. He had a deadspace armour repair system fitted that, unfortunately, was destroyed in the explosion denying me a 9 million ISK piece of loot.

Once the loot was safely stored in station I continued on my journey. When I arrived there Mara was disappointingly empty so I continued towards Aurohunen where I had some loot stashed. On the way I passed a Rifter in Passari but didn’t spend much time hunting him because he’d hailed me to express his admiration for my Rifter combat guide and there was a Hawk in system that also seemed to be looking for him. In Aurohunen I found no targets of opportunity but there was a Punisher outside a station that had setup a cynosaural field. My scanner revealed a Crow buzzing around him so I warped to the station only to see the Crow flagged as a criminal and 17 km from me. I quickly began to close on the Crow only to see the station’s sentry guns destroy him. Denied a kill I still had chance to scoop the loot, which is the part I’m interested in anyway, so carried on burning towards the wreck. As I transfered the modules from the interceptor’s debris a Phobos class heavy interdictor undocked and began to engage me but I was able to dock up quickly without taking any damage. I had no killmail but about 5 million ISK worth of loot so I wasn’t complaining.

After a bit of a break I undocked again and set course for Tama, the notorious centre of the war up here in Caldari space. It had been a long day, though, so I docked in Nikkishina for some refreshments and to stretch my legs. When I returned to my ship I noticed that the local channel had a comment from someone who was obviously checking the security status of the system’s residents. He’d noticed that I was a pirate but had remained in system and wasn’t docked in the station with me. Curious, I undocked and quickly scanned down a Caracal in a belt. It was late but I sensed one last kill and quickly warped in and engaged. The Caldari cruiser’s shields were no match for my Republic Fleet EMP ammo and I stripped away his defenses while my small, nimble frigate shrugged off his heavy missiles. As I began to tear into his armour I offered him a 5 million ISK ransom for his ship. After explaining how to pay it my wallet flashed: 4.00 ISK. That wasn’t what I asked for and I resumed fire. Seeing his shields wilt under my renewed onslaught he transferred 4 million into my account. Patiently I explained that I had asked for 5 million and that he wasn’t in a strong negotiating position with half his ship’s structure now destroyed and his hull venting gases and flames as it depressurised. Finally my wallet flashed a third time and he transferred 999,999 ISK into my account. I released him pleased with the 5,000,003 ISK ransom for a ship that I was sure would not have dropped that much loot. Poor soul, I’d have happily taken the 4,000,000 if he hadn’t tried to con me with 4.00 ISK first.

Happy with my day’s work I docked up again and headed to my bunk. Without losing my ship I had made approximately 20 million ISK in loot and bounties, had one brilliant fight, and got myself a couple of killmails. Don’t listen to the naysayers, kid. If you fly cheap and sensibly piracy can most definitely pay. And to think I have another 25 Rifters and fittings in Jita awaiting delivery to Hevrice…

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5 Responses to “Don’t Listen To Them, Kids. Piracy Does Pay.”

  1. Must… resist… the …. urge….

    Damn you and your excellent piracy stories! Ah, it takes me back… 🙂

  2. Words of wisdom, Dread Wensley, and a great writeup of a productive day in New Eden!

  3. Great stuff, as usual! I myself am kind of torn between the Rifter and the Wolf. While the Rifter, being cheap, gives me more freedom with regards to risky engagements and indeed quickly pays for itself, the Wolf allows me to take on juicier targets such as battlecruisers.

  4. I bring the Wolf and Claw out to play sometimes but I just love my Rifters.

  5. Next time anyone comes up to Lonetrek they need to give me a SHOUT!


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