Bounty Hunting: EVE’s Forgotten Profession

Humanis 2017-04-19

There is an incredible amount of stuff to do in Eve Online, and every new capsuleer enters their first ship with dreams of what they want to become in New Eden.

One might dream becoming a well-known Fleet Commander for a huge alliance, while another might dream of becoming one of the feared and mysterious mercenaries. Some people want to be part of the backbone of their alliance and become industrialists or logistics specialists.

Some of them even might be not that much into playing the actual game, but are more into the ‘metagame’ of Eve. These players go on to become diplomats, alliance leaders, and espionage legends. Then there are the curious people who want to discover unknown secrets and want to visit every system in both the known and unknown space.

People want to become one of the above because they feature in the many wonderful stories we hear about Eve every day.

But has anyone ever heard of a legendary outlaw feared by everyone with a bounty on their head? I doubt that most players have ever heard such a story. In my opinion, it is because the bounty hunting system in EVE is not well-designed; it is not worth attempting to make a career out of it for most people.

How Bounties Work

Any player can place a bounty on whoever they want for whatever reason. However, this does not mean the person with the bounty is declared fair game everywhere for everyone. In high security space, a bounty target cannot be shot at without CONCORD taking down the bounty hunter. If a bounty target is killed, the victor receives 20% of what the killmail is worth from the bounty put on the target’s head.

The system in its current state is very straightforward. However, imagine finding someone with a two-billion-ISK bounty. You want to collect it, but this guy is just flying in high security space and his ship is a Rifter worth about 1,000,000 ISK.

In this scenario, you first need to find a legit way for killing this person without CONCORD killing you. You might obtain the kill rights from another player, declare war on your target’s corporation, or you are lucky, your target has such a low security status that he can be shot by everyone. This can be problematic if your target has no kill rights which can be obtained, is only active in high security space, has a high enough security status, and is member if an NPC corporation.

If this is the case, you have to either find a way to lure him into low security space to avoid getting CONCORDed, or you suicide gank him. Given that you will need to kill him ten thousand times to obtain the full bounty, this will do terrible things to your security status.

In its current state, bounty hunting is not worth the time and money investment. It is, at best, a mild bonus that you will stumble upon from time to time. It is more a gimmick rather than a system to be mainly used for enjoying the game.

A few thoughts on fixing Bounty Hunting

The system needs a radical revamp, starting with moving bounties to a contracts system. Accepting a bounty contract should require a positive security status, and grant kill rights, including podding. In exchange for this, bounty contracts should only be released when you turn in the frozen corpse of the target. Lets be real for a moment—when placing a bounty, would you rather pay for a bit of scrap metal, or your target’s head?

To assist in this, a new high-slot module could be introduced. This module would work like a command burst that affects the pods of targets the bounty hunter has killrights for (even when the pod is within a ship), adding mass to them and preventing easy, instantaneous warping away from the bounty hunter. As a way of keeping people from accumulating a massive rolodex of bounty targets, players should need to refresh their bounty contracts on a weekly basis.

Blueprints for the aforementioned module, and other bounty-hunter-themed gear could also be purchased through a loyalty point store, providing more loot and income to those following this profession.

Meanwhile, those players with a bounty on their heads could also visit the bounty office to see just who is aiming at their head in order to prepare their defense—most likely spending their time in a fleet, whether composed of friends, corpmates, or trusted mercenaries.

These thoughts are just a start, but bounty hunting has the potential to be a real career in Eve Online instead of a niche bonus from regular PvP. Whether you are a passer by, a bounty hunter, or simply wish to see the system reformed, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Worlds Smuggest

    Problem with the bounty system is it is too easy to use an alt to kill yourself and farm your own bounty. There is not ever going to be a palatable fix for the bounty system as it stands because of how easily it could be abused in all formats.

    April 19, 2017 at 8:16 am
    • Sami Koivisto Worlds Smuggest

      I get the feeling you didn’t read the article nor understand the bounty system,

      April 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm
  • Pew Pew

    Yeah it will just never work.

    For example in your scenario why can’t I offer a 1 ISK bounty on a freighter pilot so my friend can gank them in Highsec whenever they want?

    The mercenary system is what this system is trying to be. Basically the person placing the bounty needs to trust that the mercs will actually attack the targets and make their lives miserable. This requires trust and there’s not really an automated way of setting this up.

    April 19, 2017 at 8:50 am
  • Jan Koxsos Kopecky

    Or maybe people could gid gud and bounty hunt as a profession through an agreement.
    “Yo I want you kill dis guy and make it hurt, will pay 50% of km losses with you on it”
    Oh wait people already do that? They do set up hunting contracts even on corp wide scale? You can hire mercs to kill someone in this game and pay them for it? (yup bounty hunting is pretty much mercenary work)
    Damn better ignore it so I can make a story about bitching over something people already worked out on their own without their way of playing being babysat through specific mechanic development (thx Council of nullsec managment).
    Not saying the bounty hunting office is purrfect it pretty much simply “is” and what you do with it is up to you, some people market rmt with it, some prefer bitching and some actually hunt bounties.
    Good read 9/11.

    April 19, 2017 at 10:44 am
  • BuckStrider

    How can something that never was be forgotten?

    April 19, 2017 at 2:10 pm
  • Teeborg

    I wish with all my heart that CCP would make the Bounty Hunter profession for real with such or other modifications.

    I would totaly love hunting players with bounty on they head. No doubt it would be one of the most versatile unique interaction with players.

    I don’t know if you guys remember about the trailer about Vic the criminal by CCP who got hunted down by bounty hunters. I loved that trailer and I’m so sad that they are doing nothing to fix up the messed up bounty system.

    I gona write to every CSM who cares about this and all of you guys shall write too if you care about. Let CCP hear out us if you care about the bounty system.

    For Bebop’s Sake!

    April 19, 2017 at 6:55 pm
    • Pew Pew Teeborg

      If it were PVE bounty hunting then it could be done.

      For example you go to an office and take a mission to hunt an NPC. Only you have kill rights for the NPC ship and it roams around highsec. You’d have to follow it’s trail by being given clues or get other players to inform you about where they are.

      Could work. Not too hard to implement. Not sure if it would be fun. I guess it would be fun if the tracking were fun plus if the final battle were interesting (burner AI, for example).

      April 19, 2017 at 10:11 pm
      • Alaric Faelen Pew Pew

        Burner Missions come close to that notion. In fact, I think CCP should have made burners with that concept in mind. And I like the idea of them being mobile and using locator agents to find them- making better use of locator agents and making building standing with them important.

        April 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm
    • Jump Clone Teeborg

      If you want to have CCP get something just stop putting money on their basket. Hungry people are far more responsive

      April 23, 2017 at 5:37 am
  • John Newell

    Hunters should buy the contracts to prevent roladexing.

    April 20, 2017 at 10:32 am
  • Alaric Faelen

    The problem with turning the bounty system into another version of the war dec system is what happens when people get dec’d? They just stop logging in.

    Bounties need to be limited to retribution for criminal acts. Just slapping bounties on people for giggles was the first thing that took the weight out of the bounty system. A pointed, directed mechanic related to player interaction, not just a mechanic to satisfy random lols.

    April 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm
  • Korako Rabbit Kosakami was a try to realize real Bountyhunting as a 3rd Party offer. Never used it, so i can not say if it works. At the moment it is closed because of rework.

    April 21, 2017 at 9:15 am
  • Jump Clone

    it just won’t work for the same reason the current system won’t, ever : the bounty hunter doesn’t need to put itself at risk

    April 23, 2017 at 5:34 am
  • Sy Tarn

    review and tell me what you think.

    July 28, 2017 at 2:00 am