Thursday 13 May 2010

Help Desk #6: Ransoming 101

Help Desk #6 Ransoming 101
The concept of ransoming would appear simple to a layman never having been ransomed or tried their hand at it themselves before. Ransom situations however can be complicated and are high pressure situations requiring some tough and quick decisions.

Let’s break it down to what I know…

The Passive Ransom
Passive ransoms are rare but do happen. It is a ransom situation where no direct violence is involved but merely the threat of violence.

Many months ago I killed a hauler noob and his pod 3 times in a row, I suspected it to be a macro-hauler but fancied my chances and convo’d the pilot. I offered him safe passage through Evati for the small sum of 10 million isk. He accepted, and paid me whilst we were not even in the same system.

Other examples would be ransoming a pilot running a mission for a sum of money that will allow them to go unharmed from your wrath. This usually comes about after warping into the said pilots’ mission and him getting away. Rather than chasing him or waiting (depending on how juicy his ship is) it can be worth offering to leave the pilot alone for an agreed price and time.

Active Ransoms
Ransoms can only occur at certain places for obvious reasons. If the target is close to a station or gate no ransom request should go out and the warm hug of lead spitting death should be extended.

If however the target was found in a belt, safe spot or mission a ransom should be the first thing on your mind. First of all it is important to evaluate if you could make your threats come true may the need arise. So get yourself in a comfortable ‘win-position’ taking the target to low armour or even structure. Secondly ensure that you yourself can tank whatever he throws at you for at least some time.

Invite the target for a chat, either a private convo or into a corp-ransom channel. The corp-ransom channel is almost always preferred as it gives fellow pilots a chance to see what’s being discussed and to evaluate the outcome but above all to laugh at any tears, may you be so lucky.

The Ransom Chat
In the case of a fleet ransom, make sure someone is appointed ‘Ransomer’ so when the time comes, one person can deal with the talking without multiple people extending invites for a convo or making the chat muddled and unclear.

Ransoming is dangerous business so get to the point and talk later if you wish to. First off all state you purpose of the chat; i.e. ‘Hands up fool, this is a ransom!’. If the target refuses to accept the convo; kill him.

Secondly instruct the target to retract drones and switch off all modules and weapons. If the target fails to comply within reasonable time; kill him.

The target has two options before even talking; option 1 dying due to non-compliance, option 2 is switching off modules and weapons. Please note I say all modules, this includes EWAR mods and reppers.

If at any stage the target uses his modules in any way other than instructed specifically by you (if he still has rat-aggro you may allow him to rep up a little); kill him.

If the target has complied; you start talking business. One option is asking him how much he values his ship and haggling from there, or requesting a sum of money that seems reasonable to you. If he is unreasonable or takes to long to come up with a decent offer; kill him.

Make sure you keep the chat brief and quick, if other ships show up on D-scan or if local spikes; kill him.

If the target gives you grief or abuse; laugh at him, then kill him and his pod.

Remember prices should be negotionable but stay in control of the chat, if it doesn’t go to your liking; kill him.

In the case of a poor pilot only able to afford a very small/insignificant amount of isk; kill him.

Once a price has been agreed tell him who to pay (usually the person that leads the chat), if he takes too long to pay; kill him

Count downs can be provided to indicate impending death.

If at any stage you have been unsuccessful in securing a ransom and have been forced to blow up your opponents’ ship, try again on the pod.

If a ransom has been secured release all points immediately and let the poor bugger be on his way. Always honour a ransom or you destroy the possibility of repeat business.

Some terms to the ransom may be agreed either during the ransom or after. It is fairly common that a target will be given a time limit on his safety before he becomes a valid target for more ransom/destruction. Usually 2 hours if it’s a time limit or sometimes just the mission he is running. Ensure these terms are clearly understood by both parties.

Feel free to chat with the victim after, but be wary that if too much information is shared it is unlikely you will get this chap again in the future. Personally I like talking to my victims after the fight is done; it helps pass the GCC timers.

Whenever possible read over your ransom demands and see if you could have done better or scored a bigger haul. Learn from your mistakes. On some occasions I have EVE-mailed a target and apologised if I feel I came across rude and explained that ransoms are high pressure situations; constantly watching local, D-scan, targets mods being active, your tank, your cap, then the chat itself…

Ransom Demands/Values
The price you can ask for ships can vary greatly as they are all dependant on hull-type, Tech-class and modules used (combat log). Not only that, one should also consider CSPA charges if they had to be paid to invite the target to a convo, loss of drones if the target shot some of them, any damage taken that can only be repaired in station. Finally the age of the pilot matters, generally older pilots will carry implants of higher spec and thus value. You can include this pod safety price with the ship or blow up his ship and try to get the pod. On most occasions I include the price of my opponents’ pods with the ships, for example a standard bill could be;

Nashh Kadavr> 1 mil for the CSPA charge, 3 mil for the drones you killed, 2 mil for damages, 6 mil for the time spent trying to catch you, 40 mil for your Drake and modules, 10 mil to guarantee your pod and thus implants safety; 62 million and you are free to go.

Although this takes some typing and is more suited for a safer ransom situation, the more direct approach would be;

Nashh Kadavr> 60 mil and you are free to go.

Over time and the many pods ransomed it is interesting to note that pods go for an average of 50 million, however on many occasions its worth to let the pod go for 10 million or less. It’s only an egg…right?

To give you a general idea of the prices for Battlecruisers and Battleships;

Cyclone 22 mil
Drake 35 mil
Myrmidon 37 mil
Hurricane 35 mil
Harbinger 35 mil
Brutix 20 mil

Dominix 78 mil
Raven 95 mil
Hyperion 125 mil
Rokh 113 mil
Tempest 55 mil

A guideline is the base-price of the hull plus the fittings and rigs. So indeed the more common and smaller the ship the lower the profit, the bigger or rarer the ship; the more money you can ask for.

Alternative Payments
Alternative payment can be accepted for fun or if the target has no isk to pay the requested ransom. Getting the target to sing a song in return for his safety can be fun however this is rare. These sweet moments should be recorded and cherished for life.
Forcing a pilot to eject to take his vessel in return for not giving him a loss-mail is another option but again rarely happens voluntairy. A small payment towards his ship can be made, for example the value of the insurance paid on the ships hull. In these cases ensure you get the ship first before paying.

Final words
There are many pilots that will flat out refuse to pay ransom out of principle. I say good for them and give me the kill-mail. Us pirates do it as it gives us the buzz we crave and give us some isk for the effort. It is part of our profession and the lives we have chosen in EVE.

We don’t ask for unreasonable amounts and the price is negotionable. The price takes into account that the ship may or may not be insured and the hassle it takes to fly (or pod express) back to wherever you live and reship/fit a new vessel. If you don’t want to pay that’s cool, we are just as happy collecting your frozen corpses from space…

Personally I would pay ransoms and I have done on a previous occasion, not for the ship per se as I have plenty but to save myself from having to post another loss mail.

If you must know I paid 30 million to save my pod…

Now I shall leave you with a funny ransom-chat from a few weeks back;

Nashh Kadavr > hello
Nashh Kadavr > this is a stick up
Nashh Kadavr > care to save your pod?
Tharkon Khan > german
Nashh Kadavr > willen see deine capsule redden?
Nashh Kadavr > 5 mill
Nashh Kadavr > schnell bitte
Nashh Kadavr > ja oder nein?
Nashh Kadavr > 5
Nashh Kadavr > 4
Nashh Kadavr > 3
Nashh Kadavr > 2
Nashh Kadavr > 1
Tharkon Khan > haBE ICH LEIDER NET
Nashh Kadavr > was?
Nashh Kadavr > du hast keine isk?
Tharkon Khan > habe ich leider net
Nashh Kadavr > my german is shit mate
Nashh Kadavr > leider was is das?
Tharkon Khan > no isk
Nashh Kadavr > ah
falcon216 > he said slow internet
falcon216 > and poor lol
Nashh Kadavr > ok
Nashh Kadavr > mmm
falcon216 > pop?
Nashh Kadavr > est tut mir leit
Nashh Kadavr > or whatever
Nashh Kadavr > sorry matey, welcome to eve

More where this came from so watch this space…


  1. Very nice guide, but don't forget about offering poem/singing ransoms to extremely young pilots (their pods of course, the ships need to go!), as well as the rare instance where you pay off someone's insurance + a little extra for them to eject so that you can get a cheap ship and any meta mods they might have (this generally applies to younger ratters as well).

  2. Great post my friend, well crafted. Meh, singing ransoms are only fun if the roaming group is drunk, otherwise isk is King. :)

  3. I haven't been in ransom situations very often, usually I've killed them or they've killed me before it comes up. My rule of thumb has always been to reject convos from people I'm fighting, which means no chance at talking about ransoms. But your post makes me re-think that policy a bit.

    Especially now that I'm getting on in the game, what with clone costs, implants and assorted whatnots, plus just the general aggravation involved.

    I have to think about it, but maybe paying a small ransom is worth missing out on the death mail, and the aggravation.

  4. Good guide - of course for myself I hope I won't be needing it.

    But poor guy in the convo; not only was it German, it was a slight German dialect.

  5. @Arrhi; Thanks will ammend the post later.

    @Kris; Thanks! I havent had the pleasure of a singing ransom just yet tbh...

    @Rixx; It was your comments on Flash's blog that inspired this post =)

    @Druur; Yeah it was strange, i used to speak german and thus i tried to continue the ransom but i soon realised it was going nowhere slowly...

  6. Yet another good post - I think I will sticky this and the previous post as 'ones to read'. Your ransom guide is fine and yes, you have been active though you have a bit to go before you top the all-time number of recorded ransoms (52 - Happy San) and amount (1.5B isk - RoninData), though at your rate I reckon you'll be close in terms of isk by the end of this year. Keep it up; I think you will make a fine pirate tutor to would-be pirates!

  7. Thanks Flash, much appreciated. I shall add in Arhhi's suggestion on alternative payments soon. Work has been hectic so not much time atm.

    new goal set fo this year; beating 1.5Bill in ransoms. =)