In a sandbox game with very few hard and fast rules or absolute social constructs how do you define what constitutes a pirate?
The short answer here is that it depends on context; a highsec mission runner or sov nullsec player will have differing ideas based on the experiences they have had in lowsec and may or may not agree with my definition, or yours, or each other’s.
I call myself a pirate and am a director of one of the better known pirate corps (the Tuskers) so this article is a few of my thoughts about why I identify with this description and what it means to me.
My character was made in late 2011 and almost immediately I realised that highsec held little interest, luckily (after a pretty bad start) I found a corp willing to teach a hopeless newb and I disappeared into wormholes for many months emerging back into lowsec still a hopeless newb but having had a lot of fun.
From that point on I have lived exclusively in lowsec and now after nearly 3000 solo and small gang kills I feel I have earned both the right to the title I give myself and to wax lyrical on the subject in prose.
Of course many people will disagree and call me a “pvper”, “ganking bastard”, or worse and their assessment is equally as valid as mine but I call myself a pirate.
Let’s start with the historic reference from which we romantically draw our influences. The so called golden age of piracy was the late 17th Century and saw various colourful characters rampaging around the fringes of the new world preying on the fantastic wealth of the treasure ships returning from the Americas back to the “old” world. These men chose the “merry life and a short one” and were unusually liberal and egalitarian for the time, electing their own captains but living to an established code.
The smaller less regimented pirate vessels could not fight toe to toe with the navies of the powerful empires of the time, there are rare occasions when they did pull off some impressive victories but these are the exception rather than the rule so hit and run was the order of the day. They lived for the short term and the loot rather than an allegiance to a flag and state.
Returning to our fictional space environment the pirates in our corp live like this – we own no territory and take targets of opportunity, our leaders lead by broad consent and in our case we have (for Eve) a highly restrictive code the terms of which are adhered to absolutely. We do this by choice because it makes us what we are.
This is my definition of piracy, a small group of people living to a common set of beliefs and while numerically inferior to the big alliances and incapable (even uninterested) in playing the game of sov with all the hassles and dramas that entails we are pretty damn good pilots and very effective in small numbers.
Yes we focus on the “space bushido” element of the game and strive to be “elite” pvpers but in my case this is secondary to, and in order to satisfy the need to live to the code and fulfil the expectations of the pirate lifestyle.
There are many other definitions, for instance Shadow Cartel, Periphery, and others are pirates but they are much larger and own infrastructure to pay for SRP so have made one step towards the “flag and state”. They are very effective at what they do and I admire many aspects of their models but in choosing to own assets which require structured defence they loose some freedom and must continually maintain manpower to keep them.
Each to his own, our corp number approximately eighty pilots so our model is by definition a minority one but it is the one I have chosen and the one I will always live and die by. You are welcome to challenge our opinion, in space, with an overheated rack of weaponry and we will defend it likewise, may the best man win.