Pirate, or common criminal?

In yesterday's comments, someone I respect had this to say about Stay Frosty:

"I don't consider you guys to be pirates -- just criminals. You're after tears, killmails and bounties. Pirates are after profit."
- Paritybit

I once wrote a really good post about what it takes to be a Pirate in Eve, you should go read it.

That is just one of dozens and hundreds of posts over the past three years on this blog that deal with the concept of Piracy in Eve. All the way back in 2011, when I first started flirting with Low Sec, I wrote an entire series of moral arguments about this "Criminal vs PvP vs Pirate" debate, which culminated in this great post about Moral Bankruptcy in Eve. A series that many bloggers participated in, including the above quoted Mr. Paritybit.

So what new can I add to the pile?

It is obvious that within the framework of Eve the line between criminal and pirate is rather fuzzy and blurred. The Empires all consider us criminals, hence our horrid security status - which entirely derives from their perspective and those of their henchmen in CONCORD. So the Police think of us as criminals. If you take the stand of the civilized citizen, then I suppose that is an easy box to slap us into.

But out here in the dark where we live, the lines are much broader than that. Within the culture and society of Low Sec there exists an amazingly wide spectrum of "criminal" types. We are not all cut of the same cloth. And judging by local chat and public channels, even we can't agree on what is and isn't 'true' piracy in Eve.

My personal opinion is rather clear. A Pirate is:
• Someone who keeps a -10 sec status.
• Someone who profits from his activities.
• Someone who lives within the confines of a Code.

Piracy is a play-style, not a hobby. If you dip your toe into low sec from time-to-time to find good fights, you are engaging in criminal activity. A Pirate chooses to live in the dark all the time. Not just on the weekends. We are committed.

When possible we loot, pillage, ransom and otherwise try to steal the assets honestly gained by someone else's hard work. This activity can take many, many forms. But profit is the key, a little profit, or a lot of profit, doesn't really matter. Personally I think Pirates should be close to bankrupt at all times, but that's more of a personal thing with me than a rule.

And finally the true defining line between criminal and pirate - the Code. Whatever that code might be, it must be adhered to without question. Real world Pirates invented things like unions, health care, minimum wages, and other work related benefits because they took care of their fellow pirates. They knew this was the key to a successful pirate career. They also implemented various and sundry "Codes" by which they lived and fought. They also knew the fine line between criminality and piracy, which in the real world often sprang from some serious issues and inequalities.

In Stay Frosty we have a code of conduct. Breaking the code is cause for immediate expulsion from the Corp. Our code consists of two very easy things to remember, we honor all 1v1s and Ransoms. My own personal code of conduct extends a bit beyond that in regards to how I play the game, but that is a personal decision I've made and I wouldn't impose it on others.

We take care of our Brothers and Sisters in our Corp as much as we can. We share the loots we earn with each other to fund programs that help younger players and those with less isk. The other day I derped a group of us into a stupid fight that we should have avoided and I personally paid for everyone's loss. "Criminals" don't do that.

So yes, all Pirates are indeed criminals, but not all criminals are Pirates.

In the end, call us whatever you want. Whatever makes you feel better. The only thing that we really care about is that you keep bringing your ships into Low Sec. Especially around Verge Vendor/Essence, more towards the area around Hevrice.

Such a fun place, with easy access to hi-sec, missions, faction warfare plexes, clone rat loot stuffs, beautiful and HUGE rocks full of gold, and the most beautiful women in all of New Eden.



  1. I really do not care how I am classified. Pirate, Criminal, Jerk, "The Person Who Has Garnered Dislike" or A-hole. I have fun making explosions, I have fun making people interent mad, I even have fun being a nice guy, helping out and making the game less cumbersome for the people I fly with. If I was to classify myself as one or the other fitting in to the narrow confines of Pirate.... I cannot live on loots because I am pretty terrible at spaceships. I am however notably good at making people internet mad. :)


    1. Goodness knows I couldn't survive entirely on "pirating" as an income stream either. I'm honestly not sure that anyone could. Plus I just generally loathe labels of any kind.

  2. I'm still quite shocked anytime I see someone get upset about being attacked in low sec. Where does the expectation that you're secure in any way in low sec come from?

    1. That is a mystery. You even get a warning about it I think. Do they still have that warning? lol

  3. Okay, I take it back. I agree with your assessment of what makes a pirate; apparently I was uninformed about Stay Frosty.

    Many times in the past I have seen you write about tears (specifically enjoying them) and killmails. And in my mind these pursuits are the hallmark of a criminal and not a pirate. But I did not author the definition of a pirate and cannot claim that I am any more right than anybody else.

    1. Well it isn't about being "right or wrong" my friend. There are shades of gray everywhere in Eve, especially in low sec.

      I imagine the Pirates of old having a hearty laugh at some old fools expense when they had seized his gold and left him for dead on some deserted island, to me that is the same as enjoying tears. After all, we are laughing at ourselves and the human condition, are we not?

    2. Of course, agreed. I take no issue with enjoying the tears -- it is pursuit of the tears that I find disturbing. Similarly, I take no issue with killmails, I take issue with pursuit of killmails above profit. If I were to happen upon an inefficient ship I would gladly ransom it rather than destroying it. At one time soon after the Gnosis became available, a corp-mate and I "reposessed" a Gnosis by convincing the pilot that it was better to eject with a promise of safe passage than to lose the ship and chance a clean escape.

      But I suppose that you could look at my kill history and, seeing a string of cyno kills, assume that I am merely after a killmail. The assumption would be wrong; I make a decent sum of money selling the dropped cynos (and sometimes other modules) from these defenseless targets. Further, I have a particular hatred for cynos that drives me to extremes when facing pilots who use them which is very un-pirate-like.

    3. LOL. Yeah I'm no fan of Cyno ships either. But I always sell the mods. I'd like to steal more ships from their pilots, but sadly I rarely find one in a situation where that would work out. It used to happen more often, but we see a lot less mission runners than we used to.

  4. I live from the loot that I get. Many times it's hard due the heavy losses I have when solo playing. I also admit that I try to find easy targets to kill. If I didn't I wouldn't have enough isk for my next ship. I'm not saying I don't like good fight because I do. But I also need to be cautious or else I wouldn't have enough money for my next ship.

    I guess that makes me a pirate. It's just my style of playing and having fun in eve. It's pretty to get an alt to pay for my losses but it wouldn't feel the same way.

  5. When someone tries to defining who or what I am in a game I just laugh and shake my head. It's a game. Who cares if you (we) meet a "criteria" to be whatever it is we are supposed to be to others.

    Also, I thought true pirates sailed the waves (space lanes in our game) for profit, pillaging, and plunder? Never knew them to sit about and camp a port (station) all night long.