Friday, December 26, 2008

Ransom

I'm sitting deep in space in my Cheetah. The scan is nearly complete, and back up is poised and ready to strike. Our tackle pilots are revving their engines and running final checks on their warp scrambling devices. The big guns are loading ammo into their guns, and their trigger fingers are itching for some action.

The scan finishes, and I give a quick blast out on the comms, "got a hit, warping in now, tackle get ready."

I warp in, and let the boys know I'm in range. The fleet warps in, scrams the target battleship, and damage is poured on. His tank broken in seconds, communications are opened with the pilot of the target ship, and a request for ransom is issued to him.

My ship scanner built into my Cheetah comes back with a report of modules fitted to his ship, and a quick check against the market data flooding into pod, gave me a quick assessment of how much his ship was worth.

The conversation between myself and the target pilot goes something along the lines of this:
me: 60 million and we let your Drake go. You will be free to finish your mission as well.
him: HA! this ship isn't worth that much you noob! and my insurance pays more than the ship costs, learn how to add dumb ass pirates! hahaha
me: I'm sorry you feel that way.

At this point, the conversation ends, and the damage is again put on, destroying the targets ship. Our Interceptor pilot is quick on his toes, and catches the pod before it can warp out. Conversation starts back up with the pilot.
me: 10 million and we'll let your pod go.
him: hahahaha noobs!
me: goodbye.

This time the pilot is removed from our comms channel, and is swiftly podded back to the clone vat bay.

Right now, you might be asking, "why did you ask 60 million for the Drake?"
The ship scanner shows everything you have fitted... including rigs.

This Drake was fitted with approximately 45 million worth of Rigs, as well as a full rack of T2 Heavy Missile Launchers, a full T2 shield tank, and full T2 modules in the lows. The modules and rigs fitted onto his ship alone were worth around 75 million at the time. The ship cost roughly 33 million. Insurance cost was roughly 13 million.

This pilot paid about 115 million or so, to get his ship set up. His insurance paid out somewhere in the ballpark of 35 million. Of course, at first glance, you say, "his ship only cost 33 million, and he got 35 million back for insurance, he made 2 million off of it" which, must have been what he was thinking.

Basic math, however, shows that insurance does not pay for the ship, what it does, is lessens the blow on the wallet. This pilot lost a total of 11 million on the hull of the ship alone. Not to mention the 75 million of fittings he now has to replace.

There still seems to be a lot of violence in the reactions we seem to get when asking for a ransom instead of just blowing up the target instantly. Why we still see responses like "only dumbasses pay ransoms" or "i'll never pay a ransom to pirate scum like you!" confounds me.
I will admit, that there are pirate corps out there, that dishonor ransoms, and this hurts the general pirate public. At the same time, there are many many many pirate corps that honor ransoms.

When you find yourself on the losing end of an engagement with a respectable pirate corp, they aren't going to be asking for a ransom only to blow you up after. This is bad business. If I don't honor a ransom, that person tells their friends, and eventually, word gets around that I don't honor ransoms. So soon, I'll ask for a ransom, and the guy on the other end of the warp scrambler will say "ha! fat chance! you'll just blow me up anyway!" and thus, I'll never see another ransom again.
Now if I always honor ransoms, hopefully someday, everyone will know if they pay a ransom, they will be free to go.

As far as the price goes, it's along the same lines. If I ask for too much, the target wont pay. So it's a business that requires quick math, knowledge of the market above and beyond the average carebear, and people skills. Afterall, I'm sure if I was being ransomed, I would be much more receptive if the guy asking me to pay up wasn't a jerk.

So the next time you find yourself being ransomed, take all things into consideration. Maybe the pirate has scanned your ship and knows exactly what you have fitted, and exactly how much it would cost to replace everything. Then ask yourself again, exactly how much does that insurance pay out actually pay out?

3 comments:

Mynxee said...

Must be a lot of pirates who don't honor ransoms, for people to be so twitchy about paying them. I'm always amused at the debate about this in the C&P forum. As you say, it's simply good business to honor them if you pirate for profit, as we do.

Carv said...

I'd like to see some pirate code enforcement out there too, to crack down the ransom seekers who pod anyway

Shirrath said...

Using a ransom amount that approaches the value of the ship/pod is counterproductive for the pirate. Let's look a the possible outcomes from the victim's perspective:

1) Ship/pod lost
2) Money lost
3) Ship/pod and money lost

The victim can choose #1, or let the pirate choose between #2 and #3. If the ransom amount approaches the value of the ship/pod, a reasonable victim is more and more likely to choose 1 to minimize his losses, because raising the cost of #2 also raises the cost of #3, making that choice as a whole a lot more undesirable. And unreasonable victims would choose #1 just to spite the pirate. Most people dislike having no control, and choosing #1 is the final act of rebellion.

Also, remember that most victims have no intention of becoming "regular customers", so the trustworthiness of the pirate has no value to them. Even if they understand the concept of honoring ransoms to be beneficial to the pirate, they never expect to encounter you ever again.

And those that do plan on becoming regulars.. they can just pay the protection money to the racketeer to avoid the hassle of ransoming altogether.

To recap, use small ransoms and ransom often.