Belt Piracy is the act of going to a low sec system and blowing up miners and ratters. Do this if you like to see the pretty ships explode, but don't do this if this is your only source of income. You may get T2 modules or other high cost items, but chances are you'll get crappy T1 stuff. Sounds easy enough but you have to find them first.
Can you pirate in a belt
- Before we begin, you have to be familiar and competent with the following: Scanning and Tackling, along with a bunch of other things like how to fit a ship. You should also have a good understanding of the Aggression Timer.
- You WILL lose ships, so fly something you can afford to lose.
- Be familiar with ships of all types; you should know what a Caracal or Vexor is, and whether or not your ship can take it on.
- Your Security Status shouldn't be low (-2.1 means you can't enter 1.0 space) because every time you're the first shooter in lowsec, you'll take a security hit. If you have a high security status (above 1.0) most of your prey will magically be complacent.
- Make sure your warnings and stuff are turned off.
- Be familiar with module prices, you don't want to reprocess that local hull worth 25mil.
Choosing a system
Any system with a sec rating of 0.4 or lower will do. You can check the killboards to find good places to shoot people. You can also check the map and find systems with lots of people in low sec space. If you don't want competition, check the number of ships destroyed in the past hour and past 24 hours. Keep in mind even if people lose a shuttle to rats it'll show up so 10 ships destroyed doesn't mean they were all from belt piracy.
Systems that are adjacent to hisec empire systems are good, as are systems with level 3 or 4 agents.
Choosing your ship
There are better ships for this and not so good ships for this. You can conduct this in a frigate like a Rifter or a Merlin. A Kestrel will be difficult since your cap drains really fast with a warp disruptor.
A cruiser would probably be the best bang for your ISK. A Caracal kind of sucks against other cruisers at close range. A well fitted Maller can take on most cruisers, some battlecruisers, and every once in awhile, a HAC.
Battlecruisers and larger ships are possible for belt piracy, but you need sensor boosters or the low slot equivalent. Otherwise your prey will simply warp out; you won't be able to get a lock and therefore a scramble on them in time.
Fitting your ship
See ship fittings. You will need a Warp Scrambler (T1 version is 7.5km range, +2 strength) or a Warp Disruptor (T1 version is 20km, +1 strength). A Webber is also very helpful and Nos (Energy Vampires). Afterburners for speed, Microwarpdrives are ideal if you have the room to fit it, it can get you out of a lot of tough situations (can't use it in deadspace though). Then you'll need guns and a tank.
- From Jack Fool
Empire players are at a tactical disadvantage because of ship fittings. I had played a year and change before joining GF and the whole of that time in Empire Space, and the ship fittings we use were completely alien to me. Warp jammers and webbers are useless for mission rats, and what good is a Dominix when it can't fit as many guns as other battleships?
In 0.0 space, even the rats can hurt you, so you learn to dial up your tank before offensive considerations. Defense beats offense in ship to ship combat, and in deep space that fact is right there in front of you.
In more secure space the rats aren't as dangerous, so there's no environmental pressure for people to tank their ships. It's their natural bent to optimize for kill efficiency, so they pile on guns.
When they PVP, they are often fighting each other, a ship with heavy guns vs. another ship with heavy guns.
Then Nester shows up with a real tank and the true nature of the game becomes clear, but not to his victims. What do they think? What's their response? "You're a great PVPer" or "You have lots of skills" or "That's a great ship."
In Goonfleet you have the advantage of others' wisdom via the wiki. Look at the ship fittings of PVPers like Michael Nester: they start with a ton of shield or armor boost mods, resistance mods, and a good repairer. Look at the Vampire Dominix, which doesn't even use offensive weapons, it's all defense, all tank.
This is why you are encouraged to train the fittings skills for a tank before going straight to Large Railgun Specialization. This game is not like other PVP games where snipers rule every battle. The tank will keep you alive, and it's critical that you think in terms of defense first.
Once in system
Once you have everything its time to begin. Check local and check their bio, corp history, etc. If they're allies, don't shoot them (duh). If they have a bounty or low security status then you have competition, up to you if you want to engage them, just be careful because they could come in just as you're shooting someone else and shoot you. You can also jump in and rescue someone by shooting them then shooting their victim.
First right click and check the asteroid belts. If there are a bunch of asteroid belts around a planet (asteroid VII belt 1 is near planet VII), either warp to the planet or ideally make a safespot near it. Remember that if there are any pirates in your system, they probably know these tricks and may be at or near your preferred planet. If the belts are scattered all over the system, then this is probably not a good system to pirate (unless the ratter/miner knows about this in which case they may feel safer/complacent).
Now open the scanner and either using directional or range scanning to find your ships (more on that later). Check overview settings if you don't want every single piece of crap out there showing up. There is a chance that you'll see a bunch of ships with a bunch of shuttles, that is probably a POS or an idiot pilot who left their ships there.
You can vary the angle with directional scanning, first a 360 degree scan (checking if anyone is nearby) then a 90 degree scan towards asteroid icons on your main screen (narrowing down which belt the target is in).
This involves some numbers. 150,000,000km = 1AU. Belt distance on overview/main screen is given in AU and scanner range is in km.
You probably should use a combination of both, first directional, then if theres a bunch of belts, use range to narrow down even further.
If you're lazy to use the directional scanning, you can do what this:
1. Go to a planet, add asteroid belts to your overview.
2. Set scan range to the distance of the asteroid belt which is the furthest away.
3. If there is a target, start reducing your scan range to the second furthest belt, so on and so forth, you're trying to eliminate belts which he isn't in. And take note of which belt you're setting the new distance to so you can know where to warp to immediately.
4. If your target disappears with a belt, chances are hes at that belt, target found :D
Now warp to their belt. If the miner is far off, ie. 25km away, quickly make a bookmark on a rock near them and warp out. You want to make it look like you're a harmless ratter. If the ratter is far off, you can either make the bookmark or just head towards them but DO NOT lock on them until you're in range (<18km if you're using a warp disruptor) otherwise you'll tip them off.
Once you have them warp jammed, blast away and be careful of your cap, no cap means your tanking is gone and warp jammer is off.
NOTE TO INTERCEPTOR PILOTS
Try not to use orbit target at a specific distance if you're in an area with a large number of asteroids, if you bump into one your transverse and velocity go down a lot (10m/s) and that makes you a nice easy target for large guns/drones/whatever.
Anything larger then medium guns probably won't be able to touch you, small guns and rockets have a small chance and scout drones can hurt you, this is where you either take the damage or MWD it out of there.
In the context of belt piracy, ransoming is the act of crippling an enemy ship and offering to let them go free in exchange for a nice sum of money. Though ransoming was once prohibited under OSS law, GoonSwarm allows it wholeheartedly. It's a great way to make money out of belt piracy, and if you let their ship go you'll take much less of a sec hit.
To ransom an enemy, break their tank by getting them partly into structure. At this point they are at your mercy, and they probably know this. Cease firing and pull in your combat drones, but keep them scrambled/jammed/webbed/nossed so they can't get away or do anything. Ransoming in local will let everyone know that you're pirating, so don't tip your hand. Open a private conversation with the pilot and relay your demands.
Heroic Goon Swashbuckler: Hello. Turn off all modules on your ship, recall your drones, and cut your engines immediately or I will continue firing.
Pubbie: oh god how did you get through my shields, i mounted two small shield boosters on this vexor!
Pubbie: ok ok i've stopped what do you want
Heroic Goon Swashbuckler: I will let you go for 4 million isk. You have 20 seconds to transfer the money.
Pubbie: ok here just don't kill me pls!
Heroic Goon Swashbuckler: Thank you. In the future, you may want to consider tanking armor rather than shields.
The amount you ask for is up to you, but try to take into account how much money the player probably has and what modules are likely to be on the ship. At this point you fucking let them go. Unless the guy has been a complete ass to you in the past, don't blow him up after he pays you. It reflects badly on belt pirates in general, goons in particular, and especially you. Plus pubbies will be less likely to pay up in the future if they don't think it will get them anything. Of course, if they reject the conversation or refuse to pay, feel free to blow them out of the sky for their insolence.
A few caveats. Be careful trying to ransom someone ratting in a belt when they have a rat spawn aggroed on them. While this can certainly help to break your victim's tank, if you're not careful the rats might pop his ship soon after you get him into structure and as he's trying to pay you. Not only will you not get to ransom him, you won't even get a killmail out of the deal. Similarly, if you notice that a bunch of his corpmates are in local, don't give him too long or he might just call in the gank. In both of these situations you might want to open that convo before the guy is into structure - say once he's at half armor for a shield tank, or 1/4 armor for an armor tank. The sooner you start asking for money, the more likely he'll be to survive the rat spawns, and the sooner you'll get out of there before eight more shield-tanking Vexors warp in.
Alternately, you can blow up their ship, web or otherwise immobilize their pod and demand a ransom from them. Many empire carebears fly around with millions of implants, and will pay large sums to not have those implants destroyed. If they're flying a Covetor, they can probably mine 15+ million isk in ore an hour, so feel free to gouge the fuck out of that weasel. However, ransoming pods can be a bit of an empty threat (see below).
After Blowing Them Up
Don't pod in lowsec, you'll take a massive security hit. Steal their can for glory and profit. They may either convo you, evemail you, or say in local wtf you're doing. I like to be a helpful smartass but try not to belittle or smack talk them, you just blew them up, who cares what they say.
Don't warp to any gates or stations unless you like holes in your ship or you can tank the sentries. You will now also blink red in overview for 15 minutes. Be advised that you can dock without being hit by the sentry guns in cases when you have killed the only person in local. However when leaving before 15 minutes have expired you may flag for the stations corporation. This does nothing to you if you avoid that corporations sentry guns. If you flag for Ishukone Corp guns when undocking you can fly by Amarr Navy (gate sentry guns) unaffected.
ADVANCED PIRACY-LIVING OUT OF A GIANT SECURE CONTAINER
This section is a bit redundant now that secure containers can be probed out, but CCP may change that again in future so it's not worth deleting. That said:
Some highly dedicated and awesome individuals like to take life by the balls and take Piracy up a couple notches. These are the Career Pirates. Career Pirates live in systems completely hostile to them, surrounded by enemies at all times. For the Career Pirate to even be seen in a station would provoke the locals to camp the station for hours just to have a chance to kill Career Pirate even once.
How do I become universally feared and hated by mine enemies?
Step One - Become intimately familiar with every aspect of belt piracy.
Step Two - Find a system full of faggots and make some safespots. The most important one is going to be the one you keep your stash at. Keep your trips to this spot at a minimum and NEVER use it as a safespot, since if you're probed out here, you'll likely lose it. You also need multiple safespots for each belt, and each station.
Step Three - You'll need a hauler. Get one and put a Giant Secure Container in it with enough ammo to keep you going for a while. Drop the container at your home safespot, exchange your hauler for your pirate ship. Don't leave ships around, especially at your stash! People will probe them out and steal/kill them.
Step Four - Raise Hell. Blitz into belts to kill miners and ratters, take anything worth selling. Ransom peoples pods. Sit at your safespot AFK for hours, just to fuck with them. Snipe them from 100km away in front of their home station. And just for kicks, be super nice, just to piss them off more.
Step Five - Profit. This is where it gets a little tricky. You have to get your booty to a station to sell it. Hey, why not sell their own gear back to them? Fantastic idea, just make sure you do this when noone is around, or you could get trapped in the station.
These are the steps to becoming a Career Pirate. Follow these and be hated and feared by your enemies. Yar matey.
Non-NPC 0.0 Belt Piracy
As you may be aware, non-NPC 0.0 is a bit different from low sec or 0.0 NPCc. The main thing is no stations to dock (more later, placeholder at the moment)