There are no benefits to hunting pirates in this game. Bounty hunting is dead. It's too easy being a pirate!
A disgruntled Empire 'CareBear' had the the above and the following to say on the GalNet forums, I had to change some poor grammer and spelling but the argument is as follows:
There is no benefit to hunting pirates in this game.
Why? The bounty system is borked, factions don't seem to care if a pilot has -10 security rating or not. In New Eden it says you can be a bounty hunter, but due to current rules and mechanics its unworkable and unprofitable to be one. Maybe bounty hunters should get a bonus to +standings and access to a great ship, make good pod pilots be able to be seconded officers in concord or factions. A special skill or ability to call concord backup once a day or something. Not uber of course. There must be many more incentives that I have not thought of to make New Eden more balanced between pirates and defenders of the Empire and law and order. Being a pirate is too easy. Being a bounty hunter is too hard.
I decided to try and address this but in parts:
Piracy is a robbery committed in space, at sea or sometimes on the shore of a sea, without a commission from a recognised sovereign nation or entity. Robbery, with a sovereign commission is known as 'privateering', and distinct from piracy.
1. Who is a pirate?
In New Eden, a pirate is someone like me. A pod pilot who chose to live a certain way.
Pirates like me almost always exclusively kill other Pod Captains (or PCs), we rob 'em and ransom them and generally cause havoc and try to get rich in the process through the endeavours of these PCs. We ask no sovereign entity of either of the four empires or null-sec alliances for their permission to do what we do. We tend to avoid the Non Pod Captains (or NPCs) as the monies isn't worth it and there is little excitment.
Some pod pilots become pirates due to boredom, others see it as the only way to live yet others see it as an easy way to kill people and piss them off. There are as many pirates as there are reasons for becoming one.
There isn't a defined career path as such; one doesn't roll some dice and choose a pirate profession based on some clone template grown in a vat. You become a pirate through choice. You become a pirate through your actions. You live it.
I have been asked by many how to become a Pirate and what is a good pirate ship and what skills you need. All in an effort for a pod pilot to knock up a cheap clone, a fascimile of a pirate, so they can attempt to step into this dark and dangerous world.
Some young pilots, fresh from academies come and ask, before they undergo their advanced training and augmentation, what should they concentrate their training on? Perception? Memory? Intelligence? Specialise in Minmater ships? Avoid Caldari ships? Go for auto canon specialisms?
I tell them that they're all missing the point.
Being a pod pilot in New Eden, there isn't a certain level of intellience or memory or charisma that automatically makes you a pirate, just like there isn't a template that suddenly means that you are CONCORD material or a hauler or a researcher or a trader. A pod pilot in New Eden is a free to choose what ever path they want. He or she is the embodiment of ultimate expression of freedom in an increasingly controlled and regulated world.
Similiarily, this goes for bounty hunting and the bounty hunter. If you exclusively chase outlaws with a bounty on their heads, then in definition you are a bounty hunter. Certain skills and ships will make this role easier, but there isn't a template clone being grown somewhere in a vat that is geared for the bounty hunting role, at least, I hope not.
I see so many PC pilots want to become a pirate, to tread this dark path but are waiting for the right ship or the right clone or the right amount of isk. Well, brothers and sisters, it's a fast fall to criminality and noteriety and all you have to do is to fly in your ship, go to low security space, find another PC in his ship and try and ransom or destroy it. If you're in high-security Empire space, CONCORD will render your ship to scrap within seconds. So avoid this. Go to low-sec.
2. So pirates are criminals?
Absolutely inasmuch that we break most of the established empire rules. Most pirates should have negative security rating as viewed by Concord though there are honourable exceptions such as Nexa Necis who through careful play, forces his opponents to fight him. He also war-decs Empire corps, thus legalising wars.
3. Is it easy being a pirate?
I find it easy and other's find it hard. Piracy is not a well-defined career in New Eden, there isn't really a school for it, a job plan and description and certainly no pension at the end of it. Certainly, it's easy to break the rules and drop in security status by being careless.
A pirate, and one classed as an 'outlaw' (flashing red) has a number of issues to contend with:
1. No access to high-sec space except in a pod.
2. Kill On Sight by anyone in Empire, Low-Sec or Null Sec.
3. No protection from sentry guns.
4. No protection from station guns.
5. Non-outlaws can not help you unless they accept a security status penalty.
4. Bounty Hunting and their tools
With all this against a pirate, should it get easier for the intrepid bounty hunter? The bounty system in New Eden is borked, I am not defending it. Due to the unique capabilities of pod pilots, we are effectively immortal in that death is merely an inconvenience. A bounty is placed on the corpse but if one can reclone after the death of the body, is there a need for a bounty? What does it really mean? There are plenty of pilots out there with huge bounties on them. I don't see that many podding themselves via an friend to collect the monies but still - it doesn't seem effective to me.
For bounty hunters though - a bounty is still a bounty. One can use a locator agent and find these pirates and have a go. Track us down, patiently. Find Us. Trap Us. Kill our ships. Pray you can catch our pods. I am not saying the system is perfect.. Some possible improvements for those intrepid bounty hunters include:
1. Would be for an outlaw with a bounty on their heads not being able to stay perma-docked in certain systems, based on the size of their bounty or if someone has taken up the bounty on them (see point 2 below). Means we will need to keep moving as there are no safe havens except in 0.0 stations or 0.1 space or a POS. Just an idea. Don't flame me - just a half-formed ideas.
2. Anyone can 'take a contract' out on an outlaw with an existing bounty. A bit like agreeing to a mission from an agent but the BH needs to ante up some isk (collateral). Not sure what this contract might confer but a possible location of the bounty and limited kill rights?