29 Jul 2009

Musings of a pirate; part 9 'Too Much Isk Ruin A Pirate?'

This post was actually just some random scribblings I had and I decided to collect them together and blog about it..just been sitting in the drafts folder for a while. Might as well give it some sunshine.

It was originally put together around May 2009...

While I have been absent from piloting a starship, I have been working with other Bastards recruitment officers in sifting through our applications. We've received a fair number of very good (and not so good) potential recruits. As I have been fielding the various questions from the applicants, I noticed that there were certain strands of conversation that we all followed and this lead to a refresh of our FAQ. My intention is to keep this document as a living document. I do apologise for the (current) horrible formatting on the website. It will be fixed and for a less eye-straining version, check out this post here.

As I was putting together the FAQ, I noticed my wallet was flashing and eagerly I opened it up and was delighted to more isk trickle in. I was now hovering at 650million isk. My loot share from ransoms and kills was paid out, albeit late and my own sales orders (from solo kills and trades) was also selling. So isk wasn't an issue. In fact, I felt quite secure financially, though a capital ship or a marauder was still out of reach. Even though I have the skills to fly them, I don't have the wallet to cover them. I want to though and like most other pirates, I like shiny kit and strive hard to attain the financial means to get them. Or steal it from someone. At gun point if required.

This led me to think if my desire for isk was one of the main reason for my love of piracy and why I am, who I am here in New Eden.

What drives me and others like me to piracy? For me it is partly about isk - I want to earn isk through ransoms and loot drops. Running missions isn't my thing, trading (apart from selling salvaged loot) is a no-no for me. Character trading, R&D, moon mining and exploration is not appealing either, unless it involves a ransom or loot. It is through piracy where I make my money. Most of my skill books and implants, likewise. I have never scammed (because I am too impatient) or stolen from my corp mates. Then there's the challenge of piracy and low-sec space in general.

I am actually quite proud of myself when I look at my bank balance and I believe that this attitude exists with majority of The Bastards and The Hellcats too. Piracy largely works for me and my compatriots despite the fact that it is feast or famine type of scenario.

I tell you one thing: it's hard. Loot drops don't always guarantee a massive pay out nor does a ransom. Most people refuse to pay a ransom either out of principle or from a bad experience where a ransom was accepted, monies paid and they still got podded. Pirates who do this are bad for business and need to be hunted down.

The Bastards and The Hellcats however, have proved that it is possible, indeed likely that over time one can make enough isk to afford better and better ships and other shiny items of kit. We have an innovative loot handling programme that ensures all loot is shared out equitably. See this post for more details. We also ransom as often as we can, with a new shiny ransom board in the cooker and we have a system where pilots and corporations buy 'passes' from us for week long periods.

Now isk is quite hard to come by from pirate work alone and for the casual observer of our kill board, one can see that we fly a lot of the more basic hull types when compared to the age and experience of the pilot, be they Bastard or Hellcat. As an example: I still fly the rifter and rupture class ships on a regular basis. I consider my hurricane and jaguar hulls as my bling ships and use my maelstrom class ship for very specific jobs. I have been a pod pilot since 2004 with maxed out auto canon expertise and support skills.

So yes, we do fly a lot of T1 hulls but also why kill or ransom in your faction-fitted vagabond when your stabber would do fine? T1 hulls are cost effective and keeps in character with us pirates, cutting down the sting of losses and making do with what we have. We're here to make isk through piracy after all and this is a matter of great pride to us: nearly everyone makes most of their isk through piracy and rarely through alts or markets or trading or GTCs. We do have alts but they're there to support the pirate mains. Piracy isn't merely an outlet for us in New Eden, it is the SOLE reason why we play.

It is a matter of great honour and pride for us that we can prove to others that piracy is a viable lifestyle and one can thrive in this environment through team-work, dedication and a bit of luck.

Flying T1 hulls means that individually, we need to fit our ships optimally and have experience in these hulls. If you can kill a T2 fitted inty in your incursus, time and time again (as does one of our best pirates, Coochie) - then you are the right fit for he Bastards.

Flying bling-bling ships has its place, don't get me wrong but it's a syndrome that we have seen in many a player with too much isk. We are sure that too much isk rots a players brain, addles their appetite, dulls their senses and reduces overall excitement. If you have nothing to lose each time you go into a roam, what is the point? We know many a pilot who, having reached cap pilot or multi-multi-billion isk status, does nothing but want to undock a carrier to kill a rifter or some such. Why we ask? It's because they can and they rarely see (or desire) any other action. 'T1 battle ships are SO BORING!' they say. I can't begin to say how depressing it becomes when all a cap pilot wants to do is to undock his ship and 'blow shit up' or screaming for a cyno-sural field.

Cap ships have their place and use and a good example is when an enemy carrier is tackled, you need some serious DPS and fast. Similarly insisting on using a faction fitted vulture to kill a stabber in a belt, when one single competent pilot in a rifter can do it so much more efficiently and in style makes you look like an EBay moron.

This leads me to killboard statistics: we do NOT worship the K/B stats. We have been accused in the past of deliberately using cheaper hulls to minimise the isk loss on our board. Utter bollocks. However, the kb is usually the first view of who we are and how 'good' people think we are. Losing T2/T3 ships left, right and centre needlessly, does us no favours. We've slowly built up a reputation as pirates and part of that is our ability to fight and fight hard and efficiently.

Therefore, am sure one can see that keeping mainly in T1 hulls or their equivalent enables us to maximise our loot gains and gives us a certain identity, verve and style. Most of the more senior pirates are all T2/T3 qualified mind and no pirate will complain when a sleipnir comes out with gang mods and the shield tanking gank hurricane gang go on a rampage! As sometimes, only T2 will do.

However, what happens when a pirate does get enough isk? Not just enough to survive and cover the losses but I mean, a lot more? Say billions more? There are ways to short cut this journey from penury to financial comfort and the easiest method is through the purchase and subsequent trade of GTC or plex-codes. Real life money can be turned into ingame isk, legally and easily. I have already alluded that pirates who just want a 'good fight' are actually gladiators and boxers, wanting pure combat for combat's sake.

So, instead of pirating and ransoming people the length and breadth of metropolis for half a year, one can purchase a 60-day GTC or plex and sell it for anywhere between 600-800million isk and in one transaction, one has enough isk for a yummy faction fitted battle ship or capital ship or even a T3 ship.

However, I have come to the conclusion that too much isk might be bad for you, changing your play style and removing the sense of risk whenever you undock. Controversial? Discuss.