Surviving Pirate Encounters

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So by now you have noticed the amount of pirates on the server. Also you have noticed, that even the best turrets you can mount on your trader will not stop that nova torpedo heading your way. This tutorial will show you how to evade pirates or, if you do get caught, how to minimize the damage done to your piggy bank. Remember, that trading might be tedious and a grind, however, the Roleplay encounters you may experience are rewards in themselves.


Now, many might say, that these people aren't much use as currently the time needed to down a pirate bomber is not enough to save the trader. But, in truth, shooting off pirates is not what the escorts are meant to do. If you see low ranked players trying to earn their money, you might want to hire them as your escorts. So how would a rhino or a starflyer help you? Easy. You can pay them a million for the trip, so they would take the lane before you do and scout for pirates. This way you may loose a whole million, but you will not need to pay a million to the next 17 pirates you will encounter on your trip.

Remember, as the low ranked civilian is a part of your roleplay and an escort, tell them to get a Freelancer ID or Mercenary ID.

Lane Jumping

This one is simple. You take a lane and notice a small lag as you pass a certain point. That is your PC loading the pirate ships, camping the lane. Press escape and run back. If you are lucky, as soon as you came on scanner, the pirates shot their lane and will not be able to take it to catch you. If not then...oh well, better luck next time.

The Pirating Encounter

There are several approaches to a close encounter with a pirate. Which one you use should really be determined by your characters Roleplay.

The Cooperative Approach

  • As soon as you are knocked out of the lane, stay in that place. Make no attempt to move closer to the ring, you might think that you will pay and take that ring, but in the pirates eyes, you are trying to position your ship to take the ring as soon as it comes online. Even better, try roleplaying something along the lines of "This is the captain of the ... Our engines are shut down, please do not open fire!"
  • Greet the pirate and attempt to interact with them . If the pirate is good, they will rather roleplay back, not demand the money right away. This also will keep the pirates off the thought, that you are trying to contact the navy for backup.
  • Do not contact for backup. If the navy come the pirates may very well simply kill you and fly away.
  • Always remember not to try to barter with that pirate. It can end up with you loosing some plating or/and your fee upped by a few million.
  • Try offering the pirate an offer they cannot refuse. Like escorting your gold ore carrying miner to it's destination and fend off other pirates. Some might do so, just offer them the right sum.
  • Always remember to tip your hat, when the pirate lets you go.

The Resistant Approach

Some tips and tricks for surviving a pirate encounter by fleeing the the nearest friendly base.

  • Always fly with a mounted Armor Upgrade. The cargo loss is negligible. If you don't want to be pirate food every time, get yourself some armor.
  • Always identify the locations of friendly/neutral bases in the systems that you are traveling in.

You get knocked out of the lane or cruise disrupted by a pirate

  • Keep moving at 79 m/s (normal engines) or 139 m/s (normal+thrust) towards a friendly base until the pirate explicitly tells you to stop. The extra distance traveled could mean the difference between safety and death. Stop before he starts to get impatient and angry.
  • Start talking to the pirate. Try to keep it light and friendly. As the pirate is chit-chatting you should do the following:

- Use some personal messages to call for assistance from local lawfuls, bounty hunters, or mercenaries.

- Negotiate for a lower fee if you can.

- Consider your options if you even CAN escape: your ship, the pirate's ship, distance to a friendly base, number of pirates.

- Here's my fleeing distance rule-of-thumb for single pirate encounters, these are based on Transports with ~4k-5k cargo and armor of 2.5X or better:

      ~ {VHF Pirate}: You can reasonably flee about 50k before they can kill you, sometimes longer. This is almost always plenty of space to escape.
      ~ Bomber Pirate: Depends on their skill. 15k if you know they are good. Up to 25k if you are feelin' lucky.
      ~ Gunship Pirate: You can make it about 20k-25k before dying.
      ~ Gunboat Pirate: You can make it about 15k-20k before dying.
      ~ Properly outfitted Pirate Transport: You can make it about 20k-25k before dying.
      Depending on how the confrontation plays out, you can sometimes do better than these.

- If you think you might have to try and flee, turn your ship towards the nearest friendly or neutral base. Transports turn slowly, not having to do this while under fire helps greatly.

- Set a Waypoint at the nearest friendly/neutral base. This can help you keep your bearings when the mayhem starts and it's an easy Go-To in 2 clicks. The pirate lets you go after some friendly chit chat...

  • You're free. Get moving!

The pirate only charges a small fee...

  • If your conversation is successful and the pirate only charges a small fee, then pay the fee. As traders, we want to encourage pirates to charge small fees instead of big ones. So don't be a jerk to pirates who only ask for a little.

The pirate demands a huge fee, acts rude, tries to rush you, or just wants to feel like a big man and blow up a transport...

That is what this guide is really about.

  • Once it's clear that this stupid pirate isn't going to budge on his outrageous demand, activate cruise engines and try to catch him sleeping and get away by cruising. Strafe and toss out a bunch of countermeasures as you go and maybe you'll get lucky.

The pirate hits you with a CD before you can cruise away. Now he's pissed!...

Ok now the fun starts. Does your ship have an armor upgrade? It better, because this is going to be a bumpy ride.

  • Click the Waypoint you set up earlier to the nearest base. Click Go-To. Your cruise engines will charge and the pirate will probably CD you again. That's ok. Just keep moving in that direction.
  • Go into turret mode and then hold down your thruster the whole time. When the thruster gets to 0%, let it recharge to 50% or so and keep thrusting. Having an Enhanced Thruster is ideal for traders.
  • Strafe as erratically as you can. Your goal when strafing is to have the enemy bomber or gunboat miss one of their torpedoes or heavier guns, saving your precious life.

So at this point, you are thrusting towards a neutral or friendly base, the pirate is blasting your rear-end unmercifully...

  • Unleash holy hell on the pirate with your transport turrets! Your goal is not necessarily to kill the pirate, but to distract him and make him move around a lot, giving him less time to shoot you consistently and accurately. This helps greatly with bombers, since they can't just follow you and absorb your hits. They will have to spend time dodging. Transport Turret Type I's will drain your enemy's ship power. These can be very useful against bombers and pirate transports by nullifying their attacks.
  • Keep an eye on your nanobots and shield batteries. Use them as needed. You don't want to die without having spent all your bots/batts.
  • As you get within about 3k of the base you are going to (at the Waypoint), go back to normal view mode, stop shooting at the pirate, and concentrate on your quick-dock.
  • Do a quick-dock on the base to land safely. If the pirate tries to ram you, stay focused and do that quick-dock.

You are now safely docked on the friendly base. Good work!...

  • Repair your ship and buy shield batteries and nanobots.
  • Taunt the pirate from the safety of the inside of the base as necessary after the encounter. The pirate has lost, and he needs to hear about it. Perhaps the shame will drive him into a more lawful employment.
  • According to the rules for traders, you can un-dock in a few minutes and keep going on your route. No need to log off for 4 hours.

The Hostile Approach


Trading is just another form of roleplay. It might need a little less management than, say, roleplaying a battleship, however it doesn't mean you cannot turn it into your main character. Trade for the fun of it, not for the money, make convoys, hire escorts, roleplay in local or group chat and have a good time. Flying a non-combat ship is a nice change from your fighters sometimes and it is a great way to meet new friends without shooting them first.