With the discussions of "powerpirating" and the like going on... a lot of traders and miners seem to have gained some strange sense of entitlement / righteousness. The fact is: If you decide to trade, mine, or even in some circumstances, simply travel in certain sectors, you will inevitably be pirated. In preparation for this, it's important to remember who you are as a trader, and what to expect.
The responsible (and pirate-resistant) trader will, then, understand and heed the following:
Know your cargo
Your cargo, be it rocks, goods, or even people, is politically charged. A good trader will understand the background and implications of his/her cargo. Put simply, there's a reason the AFA will be all over you if you bring Synth Paste into Kusari, and there's a reason Lane Hackers will swarm you if you haul gate/lane parts. Knowing why is a big part of being safe, and it brings me to my next point:
Know your route
Let's say you fire up FL companion, or maybe you just hear a good route passed along by a friend. It takes Military Vehicles from Ontario to New Hampshire for huge money. Little do some realize that a key leg of the route runs straight through Hamburg. This is a real route, and you'd be shocked at how many traders whine and complain about being shot down the minute they enter Rheinland. A responsible trader must know the house lines, the embargo rules (many of the rules can be found on the Commodities page), and must possess a gut instinct as to where you are and who is around you.
Another example that gets a lot of traders in trouble is taking non-refugee cargo from Bretonia to Kusari and vice-versa. Relying upon FL companion generated routes is not enough, and is just asking for trouble. Do it long enough, and you'll wander into a guard system and soon be crying about how the Navy just killed you even though you're "friendly".
Know your role(play)
You're a trader. You're lawful (probably), and you're looking to make your slice of the pie. But you must never forget that you are not entitled to trade any more than the pirates are entitled to pirate. Safety isn't a give-in here, and if it was, nobody would play. I hate to harp on this since it's always brought up, but this is a roleplaying game! If you get mad, RP it! If you are scared, RP it! Have a story in mind and be ready to talk it out with the pirate.
- Why are you hauling boron?
- Who do you work for?
- Are you pocketing your money 100%?
These are all great questions to think about before you get stopped by a pirate. 50 to 1, a pirate that is confronted with a genuinely RP'ed situation will respond in kind, and you'll both be better off for it.
Addition c/o ProwlerPC ---> Make sure you read the scanning info on all bases and planets you intend to deal with. (New players, this is found by targeting the base/planet and clicking the ( i ) button in your HUD.)
Besides being relevant and having real RP implications, they're just plain interesting. The developers spent a lot of time writing in a lot of back story and new information -- all players would do well to scan and read everything they can. Same goes for on-base rumors and news reports. Every house and political wing has their own take on the events in Sirius. Read everything.
Know your strategic limitations
By all means, don't look at this as a wuss' approach to trading. If you're going to fight for your haul, don't be stupid about it. Roleplay the aggression, and only attack/run when it becomes relevant to do so. Still, you need to remember that you're likely going to lose unless you have a wingman or backup on the way, and don't take it //oorp if you lose to complain. Your job as a defeated trader is to dust yourself off, take a break, and rethink your route if you need to. Join a trading corporation if you'd like safety in numbers. Take the long way around if you're solo. The choice is yours, but to an extent, being shot down and losing your stuff is a bit of a rite of passage. Take it as such, and never play the game angry.
If "how to be pirated successfully" is a set of tips from the pirate's perspective, this is the other half of that from the trader's perspective. I hold that there's no defending "powerpirating," and while it is less intrusive on others, the same goes for powertrading. You're not playing to make virtual money, you're playing to have fun. Make your cash, but do it with a good complete story and knowledge of your actions and where you are, and you'll make it much more enjoyably.