Anatomy of a Ransom

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Nice
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Good read. Not attempted to ransom in a long time, love the killmails so much more.
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Hint don't trust anyone's word who's connected with goonswarm in ransoming.
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Hint don't trust anyone who's ransoming at all.Fixed that for you.
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"If they agreed to your terms, paid correctly and are now expecting to be released, you always have the option of blowing them up anyway."See, when you kill someone after ransoming them, you screw over EVERYONE who tries to ransom, because the next guy who tries to ransom him wont get anything becaues the victim is already paranoid of getting blown up anyway.Be a good pirate and help us all out, honor ransoms ;)
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Good article, but your patch fu is weak:"Also be aware that the ship scanner will occasionally throw random results, or put out double readings for fitted modules."NEIN, NEIN, NEIN!"Ship scanners have been upgraded to no longer show higher quantities of fitted items. They still have a chance of missing items in their scan."
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When I used to play the lowsec game, I was ransoming a pod - he wouldn't give up the ransom so I kept him pointed for almost half an hour (he didn't think to self destruct). Eventually he paid up (and then I popped him anyway).
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You're asking the victim to basically pay the entire value of his potential loss, and not to factor in *any* risk that you'll dishonour the ransom. If all you want to do is basically troll someone you're going to kill anyway, then go right ahead. If you actually want to extract some ISK from your targets, you need to make it worth their while to gamble that you'll keep your word. As it is, it's basically stupid for anyone to accept a ransom on your terms, unless they do have those officer mods fitted, in which case they're only going to give themselves away by accepting and motivate you to dishonhour, so it's still stupid anyway.
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don't trust anyone in goonswarm for anything if you're not at least +5 to them ;)
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Don't trust Goonswarm even if your +5 with them, there Goonswarm and don't believe in "e-honor" >.<
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It's a game theory question, sure everyone looses out a little bit, but I gain a lot right now. Best thing to do is say in public you always honour your ransoms and pod everyone anyway.
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“Eject and I won’t pod you. You’ll keep those precious implants and prevent a humiliating loss onthe kill board. I’ll get your entire boat instead of merely what the Loot Gods happen to drop.”Crimewatch 2.0’s brave new world makes this a robust option in Hi-Sec. Pre 2.0 you had to convince thevictim you could pod them if they didn’t comply; now it’s a spooky threat requiring less mystical hand waving to support.
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One hole in that theory. If you ransom someone and honour the deal, you either be faintly negatively remembered as that "pirate" or faintly positively remembered as that "honourable pirate". Pod someone dishonourably and they will most likely be seriously pissed off with you. Pissed off enough to do something radical, like hound you on forums,persuade there corp that your pirate group need to be taught a "lesson" or just put a insane bounty on you.God help you if there someone's alt with alot of power in game. >.< IMHO you want to avoid causing anyone going in ragemode at you in EVE. Ragemode people can do very OTT stuff.
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I am not a Pirate and normally would not ransom anyone. But about a month back a friend and I got jumped while running sleeper sites in a wormhole and salvaging as we went. A Helios which warped in and pointed me while I was busy focused on a something else. (Hey when you got to go....)I was stationary when he warped in and I figured he may think I was AFK. (which I had been until just before he warped in) The Noctis pilot with me had already bugged out (as instructed) so I just sat there and checked D-Scan to see what else might be on the way. Turns out that he had 3 friend in route to back him up and I was not totally sure of the odds. (I was running low on cap charges and ammo) So I popped the Helios and warped away.Well just then my Noctis flying friend reported to me that the wormhole we had entered in by collapsed upon his exit. Not to worry I since I had a probe launcher and lots of probes. But a moment later in local the would be attackers requested help to get out of the wormhole. Apparently the Helios was their only probe ship and they had entered in through the same wormhole we had.The irony was just too much and so I offered them an option. 1 billion ISK for a High Sec Exit. Their return offer was 200 million to which my response was that much would only get them a Null Sec exit. They took the Null Sec exit option.I honestly was not going to charge them, feeling rather generous at the time and already having quite a bit of loot escape with the Noctis, so I showed them the Null Sec exit prior to a transfer of funds. (That was the only one I had scanned down at the time) They ended up paying 200 million ISK though with a final comment that "A deal's a deal".Rather happy with the results I scanned down another exit and jumped out, joking in chat about how you should never lead a wormhole attack with your only probe ship. That's when I noticed......I was 34 jumps from home.Suddenly that 200 million did not seem like enough.
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This is awesome, well played.
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I must have missed that tidbit! I haven't had the occasion to ship scan something since, but this is good to know.
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The rage is actually primary reason I've seen people go back on their ransoms. Sure the isk up front is nice, but some people's thirst for tears is truly unending. My favorite part is when hisec players think making killrights or bounties on a -10 pirate is scary.
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Wouldn't the new bounty mechanics make some kind of an impact on a pirate's career?
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As a whole, Retribution has been a godsend for lowsec PVP and pirates. I have yet to get a truly serious bounty on my head, and the normal kind of ships I catch and destroy tend to be on the inexpensive side of the spectrum. Couple this with splitting it between fleets, and unless you kill something truly spectacular, the bounty payments will be a nice bonus but not serious income. Of course for a lone or very small gang of bounty hunters, it can indeed prove worth pursuing. More people to come and try and kill me, for example.
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Yet another misinformative article.Create a channel. Name the channel something like "Ransom or Die". Invite your pirate friends or fleet to the chan so everyone can see the negotiated ransom price and assure the target that they won't be killed. In the MOTD, put your opening message (in a few different languages) that explains the situation to the target. Never ransom in local. Never use a private convo if more than a single pirate is involved.When you encounter a potential target, you have a choice. Ransom the ship for money, force an ejection, kill the ship and ransom the pod. Forcing ejections is typically preferred, though you may not have a pilot available for the particular ship type (can anyone fly a kronos?!?). Ransoming the ship is what is discussed in the article, and I won't split hairs over the pricing methodology. Ransoming the pod works well if high-sec is a jump or two away, and the price can be determined by looking at their recent pod losses on battleclinic.Once the ransom is paid (or not), kick the target from the public chan. Split the payout with participants.
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No, as you are able to place a bounty on anyone (not just pirates). As it is, a huge percent of players now have a bounty, making it impossible (at a glance) to determine who is, or is not, a pirate.
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My understanding is that, since the bounties accumulate over time, pirates will eventually have huge bounties. In the last week, I've received several "100,000isk" bounties from targets, and one "60m" bounty from some random pod that landed in the side of my bubble while processing a target. Pods-kills tend to place more bounties as they're left sitting in a station with a nice bounty-office button prominently displayed.Overall, time will tell. In the mean time, train an empire alt to handle your logistics. It will be useful when you have a 1b bounty and cannot go to Jita.
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Ransom channels are one of many different ways to do it. They typically aren't worth the trouble - when I was in Tuskers ours was used only on occasions when we thought the conversation may be hilarious, or by a dedicated few.Another reminder that your way is not the only way, nor even the best way, in this grand universe of ours.
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Not the only way, though it has proven to be the most successful, profitable, and avoids the potential for payout shenanigans. If you wish to continue being bad at ransoming or wish to rip-off your associates, so be it, but please don't misinform those newer players with the desire to make a career of piracy.
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Re: RagemodeBeing deeply concerned about what is going to enrage another player in a cutthroat game like Eve strikes me a little odd. In the game itself our criminal pirate is just as likely to enjoy the pain the enraged player attempts to deliver. If the concern is about rage migrating outside the game . . . imagine if we played chess that way. “My opponent appears to be a rather pious fellow and I see he just left his bishop hanging. I better not take it for fear he’ll leap from his chair screaming about what kind of God hating murderer I am.”
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Which is why when someone asks me 'Should I pay ransoms" I tell them, no, never. Even if they group in question has a good reputation for honoring them. JUST DON"T DO IT.Why? Because it only takes one guy not honoring it for you to end up losing out in the long run, so why pay it and die only to feel like a loser afterwards. Better to acknowledge your mistakes, and die, and learn. And sell the kill right...
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good thing i'm +10 with them, then. and that they actually value their allies, unlike some other entities in this beautifully broken internet spaceship game we all play
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I assume this feature is purely theoretical, because I am quite shocked, shocked! I tell you, people actually pay ransoms. Really? Hit self-destruct, and put a time limit on the "negotiations". Pay ransom and get blown up, or don't pay ransom and get blown up. Wow, tough choice there.
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No killrights for ships in lowsec anymore :)
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Ragemode people usually do very stupid things, which at least deliver some tears, and at best get the pirate more profit. If in doubt always piss people off (ingame of course).
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Podding a successful ransom is a telltale sign of a douchebag who shouldn't be ransoming in the first place. Be a pirate. Honor the code and all that. Parlay allows for another successful ransom. Especially if you keep at it and word gets around that if "X Pilot honors ransom" you'll most likely get paid faster, and with less fuss. I'd rather walk through ransoms all day with little effort, then start worrying about 7 different small gang revenge groups chasing me around. Tends to make my wallet smaller not larger.
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in Our lowsec roams we ransom for less the ship/module cost to derail the aspect of self destructing. If you fly 230mil of ship at the time and get ransomed for 80m, chances are you'll take the 80m and try to get out asap. If I was flying 230m and got ransomed for 300m, I'd consider self destruct. Interesting point nonetheless.I've noticed that the amount never really matters, it's the psychology of it; less is safer. As this game is cutthroat, if you treat it to the extreme, you'll burn yourself unless you're looking for a 1 time payday. If you want to make money at it, you want repeat customers. Especially if in an area you frequent.Say for instance there's a drake clearing a complex in low, a simple put into structure, clear out 50m and move on. No muss no fuss and go get the next target. Spending 45 seconds letting him charge his shields trying to get 150m out of him is silly. Why spend the time? You know it's a mission runner, you know he will do complexs again. It's what the ship does. Collect a small fee, set him free, then find him again later.
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To ransom: Just like masturbating in front of a nude willing chick.
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Always pod. Fuck everyone else.
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How dare you suggest we value any pubbies? ;)
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sounds like you were in MOA l0l

One of the most emergent situations a pirate can find him or herself in is the opportunity for a ransom. While the opportunity itself is rare, and a successful execution even more so, ransoms can save you time, ammunition, and even your life in a few circumstances. Much like normal (solo) roaming, there are a few tricks you can use and some guidelines to follow to make the chances of a ransom larger. Hopefully this guide can help some of my fellow pirates to get some additional cashflow, and meet some interesting folks.

The Target

Choosing a target to try and ransom is a little different from choosing a target to fight 1v1. For example, if you are in a frigate, another frigate is not generally a good choice. Most frigate fights are over so quickly that you may not get the chance to make an offer, one way or another. That can work out a different way, too - they could fly the white flag and then try to catch you with your guard down. Regardless, people view frigates as largely disposable, and will so will fight to the death while laughing at the notion. In my experience, the best ransom targets tend to be ships at least two sizes larger than you, at least as far as frigates are concerned.

Your ideal target should be something that you could destroy without sustaining a great deal of damage. An enemy is much more likely to agree to pay if they feel they have zero chance of a comeback kill. Be sure to factor in any active tanks. Especially with an ASB tank, the rapid regeneration can be very tempting for the pilot to overheat and fully recover shields. Regardless of shield or armor, you will need to be able to break their tank, or last long enough for them to run out of cap booster charges and then defeat the weakened sustained defense. If you have backup of your own, this become largely irrelevant, but be sure that your wingmen are all on the same page as far as your plans. Next, their ability to deal damage should be as low as possible. Whether drones, guns, webs or neutralizers, anything that can kill you is obviously bad. If I could choose between a Zealot and a Hurricane, the Zealot is the obvious choice. It has no drone bay, it's potential weapon systems both have relatively poor tracking, there are no utility high slots for pesky neuts, and of course, it's more expensive than your normal Hurricane. Finally, the last factor to consider is the value of the killmail. No one likes to have a buffer tanked battleship get soloed by a frigate, so they are much more likely to pay you to go away. Unfortunately, this is a kill any frigate pilot dreams about, so you have to decide whether to ransom or not, and then whether or not the killmail is worth betraying your space-honor and potentially losing ransom revenue down the road.

Regardless of the enemy, try to have a ballpark figure in mind for your initial ransom offer. My rule of thumb is that I ask for a the nearest 10 million above what a T2 fit plus the hull should cost. While many will scoff and say that it would be cheaper to die, get insurance and refit, enemies that are faction or deadspace fit will tend to agree to higher prices to try and preserve their shiny modules. If this happens, feel free to revoke your offer of ransom and play the Loot Roulette. If there is any comedy or embarrassment value to the potential killmail, inflate the prices accordingly.

 

The Fight

Begin the fight as you would any other, but with one minor difference. Worry more about conserving your own health than destroying theirs. This helps make your position of power more clear when it comes time for ransom, and if they call in friends, it gives you a better chance to escape. If your target has drones, especially if they are ECM drones, try and destroy them. If your target has a huge drone bay, however, you may be better off trying to burn the ship down instead. Generally, I remain silent until I'm reasonably sure that I can hold them down without dying, and have made sure I can break their active tank, if any. As always, continue to watch local and d-scan to see if enemy reinforcements are coming. However, don't assume every ship in system is out to get you. Enemy corpmates, alliance members, or any other locals that you should hopefully be familiar with are red flags. If local swells with probable backup, try to burn your opponent down, but be ready to disengage if you want to live.

Assuming local remains at the same number as when you started, and d-scan reveals no threats, get ready to call ransom. If you can time it right, calling for ransom at the same moment that the shield or armor alarms go off can give your threat some extra weight, even if it took you a few minutes to drop them those last few percents.

Calling Ransom

You only get one chance at a first impression, and especially and gunpoint, it's important that you don't get off on the wrong foot. Your first choice here is how to address them. If you and your target are alone in local, or you're somewhere that random interlopers would struggle to get to, call ransom in local. Most good pilots will have local as its own window, so it should be quicker to get noticed. If not, attempt to start a conversation. If you have your own channel for ransoming (covered in next section), use that, if not, a normal private chat will suffice. I usually keep it short and sweet. "Ransom?" is my go-to line, although you can always use the classic "Your money or your life!", or even "Stand and deliver" if you're feeling particularly old-timey. However, the stranger your line, the more likely the target is to think you're just trolling and keep shooting.

If they decline either the invite or the offer in local, try melting them a little bit more. A shield ship in deep armor, or any ship with flames coming from the hull is a nice visual reminder. Beware of leaving Gallente ships with full structure however. Gallente ships tend to have fairly beefy hulls, and coupled with a damage control will often be stronger than their shields if armor tanked. At this point I usually will try "Last call" or "You sure about that?" If they still refuse, oblige their death wish and if possible, send them home aboard the Pod Express. Better luck next time, but don't forget to scoop your loot, call "gf" (or taunts) in local, and get safe.

Aggressive Negotiations

Congratulations, they are now firmly in your grasp and you can almost taste the payday. However, keep your focus until your wallet blinks, and even then, keep your wits about you. Your first message can be a short greeting, or just cut straight to the chase. First things first, they need to cease all offensive actions. This means drones pulled, guns off, webs, scrams, points and any other Ewar should likewise turn off. Your best bet is to tell them to just untarget you. This gives a visual indicator when they do, and a warning if they try to reagress. Be careful if you are ransoming on gate, time is now of the essence, as they will only have to last one minute before they can jump, and since you're holding them pointed, aggression timers will prevent you from pursuing. Next up, any defensive modules should go. Pay close attention to their ship for the tell-tale sparkles or pulses of repairers or hardeners of any kind. If you decided to make your own ransoming channel, state the above two steps clearly, probably using a large font, in the MOTD.

If you have an ally or alt with a ship scanner, now is the time to use it. Adjust your price accordingly, or if faction/deadspace mods are revealed, reevaluate if you want to ransom or not. A word of warning: just because there is a little blue or green triangle doesn't mean the module is worth millions. Modules that only boost one resist are fairly cheap. Multi-resists, on the other hand, are worth a pretty penny, as are blinged out midslots. Also be aware that the ship scanner will occasionally throw random results, or put out double readings for fitted modules.

Now is the time to state your first offer, along with a reminder to be hasty. 30 seconds is usually a good starting point, as it gives you some room to build tension by counting down, but doesn't immediately drive them to panic and do something stupid. Keep your eye on local and d-scan as always. Beware of any stall tactics, as they are probably frantically calling for backup. If you haven't heard from them in a few seconds, shoot them a little more. If your ship has a drone bay, letting your drones chew on them while negotiating is a fantastic way to apply pressure. Just be sure you can quickly recall them.

If they accept your offer, double check your wallet and make sure they sent the right amount, and not just 0.01 ISK to make your wallet flash. Take your time here, count the zeros. Most of the time, they will try to haggle. This gets easier with practice, but depending on the situation, you can (literally) stick to your guns, or give them a bit of wiggle room. If they are very new, they very well might not have enough ISK. Use your best judgement. Personally, I borrowed the custom of ransoming new players for a good joke, but your mileage may vary.

If they continue to try and barter, remind them who is boss, but politely. Say that you have places to be, and give them a final offer, possibly accompanied by another salvo from your guns. Be aware, if you continue haggling after your (now failed) ultimatum, they will start to gain some confidence back, and the odds of enemy backup arriving are getting higher. If they still refuse or lowball you, finish them off.

 

Payday (and more?)

Now you are either a few million ISK richer, died to his reinforcements, or are scooping the loot from a fresh kill. Congratulations. If possible try to grab the pod for a shot at another ransom. Catching the pod can yield some interesting offers. One time, my friends and I caught a guy trying to steal from a wormhole corporation. His hatred for his former corp was so strong that he promised to give us the password (and remaining ships) in exchange for his pod. After verifying the password with a scout, we let him go and began ferrying out our new ships.

 

Decision time

If they agreed to your terms, paid correctly and are now expecting to be released, you always have the option of blowing them up anyway. Personally, I frown on this sort of thing, as it’s bad for business in the long run, but nothing gets the tears like a good old fashioned backstab. Weigh the pros and cons if you’re economically inclined, otherwise blap away. Just be aware that most people really hate being lied to, and might go shitpost you on the forums, or bring some pals to hunt you down. Again, if you care, probably keep your word.

Complications

Of course, not everything goes according to plan. Here are some possible snags you may encounter while trying to separate a fool from his ISK. Burning out your guns is the classic example of this. Depending on the shield and armor levels of your prey, you may be able to successfully bluff your way through this. Should this happen to you, ungroup your weapons, chances are one of them may still be working. Another thing I’ve had to deal with are corpmates or wingmen who are hellbent on killing the target no matter what your intentions. Depending on your corp, and the pilot, you can order them to stand down, threaten/cajole, or throw ECM drones on them if you must. Finally, you might encounter the guy who threatens to self-destruct. I generally will sit around and wait just to call his bluff, but beware, as this could be one last desperate stall for backup.

Happy Hunting!

I hope you all enjoyed my little guide! Please feel free to comment with your own cool ransom stories or spectacular failures, and I might take my favorites and ask you for a full interview if you’re interested.

 

Pirate, frigate enthusiast, wanderer, and general scallywag. In-game name is Twyndyllng, strike up a conversation anytime, but be warned, I tend to shoot first and then ask a ton of questions later.