The Pirate Underworld

This is the latest "commercial" from CCP promoting Eve Online and features our good friend Jayne Fillon. Jayne is an awesome guy and I have nothing negative to say about him or this video, it is great to see CCP finally exploiting the resources we have as a community to help promote the game we all love. As a marketer I could debate the merits of the campaign (at least as revealed in the two spots released so far) but what would be the point? As I've said to many, many clients over the years - doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing.

Today I thought I'd address the idea of a Pirate Underworld and what exactly it means to be a Pirate in Eve. This is a topic that has been debated many times over the years here on Eveoganda. Especially back in the early days when Rixx transitioned from Null Sec soldier into the awesome Yarrr Lord that he is today. You don't become Pirate Lord of Low Sec without learning a thing or two about Piracy.

So let me be clear. Jayne is not a Pirate in the video story. Jayne engaged in an Act of Piracy. An Act of Piracy does not make you a Pirate. Much like robbing a convenience store doesn't make you a master thief. Or pulling a quarter from your nephew's ear doesn't make you David Blane. Like I said above, the story is fine for what it is. And yes, robbing Industrialist is something a Pirate would do. It is an Act of Piracy. A rather scummy one to be honest, but one all the same.

So what is a Pirate in the context of Eve?

A Pirate in the context of Eve MUST be -10 to start with. They can be on their way to -10 as well, but -10 must be the end goal. For semantics sake this has to be the gold standard because -10 is criminal status with all four Empires and with Concord. You can't be considered a true Pirate without being a true criminal. Rixx has been -10 for over five years straight now. That means he cannot enter High Security space in anything larger than a Shuttle or a Frigate, and to do so he must haul ass so as not to get caught by the cops! You can't be a Pirate if the authorities aren't chasing you.

Now there are tons of players in Pirate Corporations that operate in Low Sec that are not -10. We have plenty of them in Stay Frosty. And Stay Frosty is a Pirate Corporation. There is nothing wrong with this, everyone has the right to choose the way they want to play the game. If anything, Pirates understand this better than anyone. While these players are not technically "Pirates" they are engaging in the Pirate play-style. Nothing wrong with that either. But essentially they are PvPers and not real Pirates. Being a real Pirate is freaking hard. It is beyond doubt the hardest way to play Eve. It isn't for everyone.

A Pirate's main source of income comes from stolen loot salvaged from wrecks, either those they create themselves or stolen from those others have created. Thievery and Ransom are other attributes of a Pirate. As in the story above. That's it. And it can be done if you are smart, crafty and good at what you do.

Pirates usually have alt characters that help them navigate the restrictions places on them by their criminal status. Haulers, mission runners, whatever they need to survive. For example, Rixx has a positive standing hauler alt that takes care of going to Empire for goodies and whatnots for him. This is just part of playing the game.

The other part of being a Pirate is an esoteric one that I feel is just as important as any other, and is what makes Pirates more romantic than mere criminals. It is the Pirate Code. Without the Code we'd just be criminals. And believe me, Eve is full of criminals. The Pirate Code can vary from individual to individual, but in Stay Frosty it is relatively simple. A Stay Frosty pilot honors their word, and honors all 1v1s. I personally don't believe in pre-staged combat unless I know the other person extremely well. But if I give my word on something I keep it. Secondly a Stay Frosty pilot does not steal from or cause harm to come to his friends. (Blues) We don't have blues other than those in our own Corp and Alliance, so breaking this one means hurting people in your own Corp/Alliance. Break these rules and you get kicked. Immediately. The Code is critical to maintain and there can be no exceptions. Without it we have only chaos.

This is what I believe constitutes being a Pirate in New Eden. -10 or on your way there. Making a living primarily from Piracy. And living by a set of honorable rules often known as a Pirate Code.



  1. I agree with the majority of your post. However, I would suggest that the focus on the -10 is unnecessary. Anyone who is an actual pirate, and lives the pirate lifestyle (including following the code) will reach -10 without batting an eye. It ends up being entirely incidental to the actual focus of living as a pirate, as it becomes an inevitability.

    In fact, I'd guess that there are likely to be a number of folks who've reached -10 who probably wouldn't be counted as pirates, but as some other part of the EVE ecosystem. I'm sure a few suggestions will spring to mind.

    But perhaps that could be a good topic for a blog banter (if it hasn't been done before). What defines a "true pirate" vs a wannabe, or an accidental? Indeed, what is the dividing line between pirate and generic criminal? Is it merely a little gameplay and the number on your security status? Or is it the reasons you play, and the mindset you use, and the way you portray yourself?

    1. Being -10 doesn't make you a Pirate, but you can't be a Pirate without being -10. I'd suggest that there are very few players who live with the -10 mark who are not pirates, but there are always exceptions. So it is essential. The rest is about how you conduct yourself and what your actions are. These are the things that define you as a Pirate.

  2. It's very strange, I've been -10 and lived in lowsec for years, and still don't consider myself a pirate.


  3. Best thing about the ad is the guy's laughter at the end. I wonder though how many people will be attracted to Eve by it?


Post a Comment