Piracy against NPCs is generally an easy way to gain loot, and quite fun on its own, but once you become a pirate to real people, its a whole new deal. You need to be prepared for long waits, long searches, repetitive, arduous fights against your victim's brother's cousin, and of course, LOTS of abuse in private channel ...
Getting into Character
If you're going to be a Pirate, you've got to keep the image and presence of a pirate, otherwise nobody will take you seriously and nobody will pay up either. You might also think about whether you want to be totally alone or have people on your side. It is possible to be a pirate to some while being friendly to others, as long as you make the case of playing a role, and as long as none of your victims have a brother in an Eagle.
As a pirate, you will be ruining the efforts that people like yourself have made to gain profit and get ahead in the game. This can result in serious grudges. The trick is to make your victim aware that piracy is a part of the game, and you are playing that role just as they would play the role of a trader or a mercenary. After all, if you aren't allowed to play the role of a pirate you might as well go back to trading Niobium and blowing up Weapons Platforms, right?
If you find yourself being all "ooh i don't know if i should, i mean i don't like it when i get robbed" then don't bother being a pirate and instead go hunt them because you're probably more suited to being a good guy.
Finding and keeping Victims
Obviously, check the Chat (Y) screen as often as possible to see what systems players are in. Also, it's important to find a crunch point where players are most likely to travel through, such as a junction where two or more trade lanes meet, such as the main planet of a system.
Pirate's Key Points
- Scan your victim's Cargo, they can jettison anything that isn't bolted down, including unequipped weapons.
- Ask only for enough to fill your bay, be fair and they're more likely to give you the loot.
- If they deny you the first time, forcibly reduce their hull integrity and ask again.
- If they would rather die than pay up, illustrate to them that you are equally stubborn.
- Remind your victim that they are better off paying up than sacrificing their whole cargo each time you meet.
- Combine a protection racket with highway robbery by offering protection to co-operative victims ...
So, if you get into the role, you can pull it off. Make sure you commit to your decisions and stick to your word, especially when you are trying to butter up a victim or gain a wingman. If nobody trusts you, you're in for a very lonely and unrewarding experience, unless you genuinely enjoy being an ass, in which case game on!
Being a pirate in the single player is pretty easy, there is no real skill to it. But when your faced with a server full of real people, that are probably pretty decent pilots, you need to be a real pirate, not just someone who can hack off a few junkers!
The Mind of a Pirate
The very first thing that you need to do, is decide whether you will be acting alone, or allied with someone, and then you need to stick to it! This is extremely important as you need to have people fear you, if nobody is scared of you, then you have no chance. You need to act like a pirate, don't chat about last nights TV across the system channels! Infact, its best not to talk at all unless you are hurling abuse and threats as individuals (remember its just a game though!)
Finding Your Victims
An honourable pirate or not? Its up to you whether you pick a fight with someone in a Startracker or a Titan but when you choose your victim you need to get them too pay up. Scan their hold for cargo or unmounted weapons (if they don't have any - then you have nothing to gain). Decide what you want from the player. If they have a hold full of cardamine and are in a Rhino, then you may well choose to ask for it all, however if they are in a heavily armoured Humpback, you may ask for 2/3rds of their cargo. Most people would gladly hand over half of their cargo and stay alive, they have you shoot them to pieces meaning they loose all of their commodity! (if you can only hold 70 units, only ask them for 70, this will seem much more reasonable and they may well give in to your demands easier!)
Tracking & Attacking
When you come to find a player, the first step is to intimidate them. Wait near trade lane exits and when you have a target, enter formation with them. This way you cannot loose them! While you are in formation make threats to them across the private channel, tell them what you want and how you are willing to get it. If they do not stop for you, they you need to ready your cruise disruptor (you can handle yourself without a torpedo). Stop your victim and hold them hostage for a few seconds, if they do not pay up, wipe out their shields and take their hull down half way, if they do not pay up now, you may blow them away completely and take the entire cargo.
Hacking Trade Lanes
The best way to ambush small time traders is to take up a trade lane somewhere safe. (believe it or not Fort Bush > Planet Pittsburgh is one of the best as New London has too many police) Shoot directly at the trade lane ring from close range until it goes off-line, keep shooting at it so that it stays off-line. All of the traffic entering the lane will become stuck at your location with the element of surprise on your side! This is the best way to take out small freighters and trains without being detected by the police or loosing rep with factions. But watch out, every now and again police convoys will pass through the lane and bigger trains from Samura Or Cryer may well have escorts!
Know Your Limitations
The people that you make in to victims will soon be spreading the word that you are a pirate and this will inspire fear across the server. However players may seek revenge, be aware of any clans or large group of players moving to your location. Then run! It is much better to sneak out of the system the back way, than give them the satisfaction of killing you even once. You are the pirate, you are the criminal - don't let them get you back!
Live like a Pirate
Hide out at rouge bases - People are far less likely to be able to chase you or even get near you if you manage to ally with Hessians, Outcasts, Xenos or Junkers. Enjoy the money that you earn, get the best possible prices for your loot (view out trade prices) and invest the money in getting yourself the best ships and weapons that you can. Soon you will be making as much money as traders!