Hmm ... I think 10% of the capacity is about right. That's 2 containers for a Cobra III, or 3 for one with a LCB. I think if we define "small trader" as anything where 10% is 1 or lower, they have a minimum demand of 1. 1 is better than 0, and it's all profit, as far as the pirate is concerned. At this level it's like a protection racket, really. It's not in the long-term interest of the pirates to destroy too many ships, as it cuts down on their supply of free stuff. Allowing people to survive, too, encourages them to give up cargo without a fight.cim wrote:Things I am happy with:
- they won't ask for more than the listed cargo capacity of the ship they're robbing (for convenience, they'll have to magically know whether the player has an LCB)
- they won't ask for more cargo than they can fit in their remaining holds
- they'll make bigger demands in less patrolled systems
However, the exact demand range is tricky. If you blow up a ship, then regardless of size, you'll get no more than 15 surviving canisters, and within that rule you'll usually get about 10% of the cargo surviving.
So (assuming they have hold space left) asking for 10% or 15 canisters, whichever is less, seems about right for robbing a freighter, as an average. Less in safe systems because if you ask for too much the cops are bound to show up before you can collect it all ; maybe a little more in dangerous systems because you're very unlikely to be interrupted, and if you can intimidate a trader into dumping cargo without (much of) a fight, they should be willing to give you more than you could have salvaged from the remains of their ship.
The problem is that those numbers don't work so well for the smaller traders. 10% of a Cobra I is one container. So - what should they settle for there? Should most pirates just leave the lighter trade ships alone as not worth the risk of losing a ship? Or should they have a minimum demand - maybe 5 containers?
Thinking further: there are likely to be different types of pirate, on a sliding scale from pragmatic to psychotic. The pragmatic ones see it as a business. It's all about risk and reward, profit and loss. There's no sense risking damage or destruction to a very expensive ship for the sake of a couple of canisters in a Cobra I (or maybe even a Cobra III). A smallish pack of pragmatic pirates should maybe be prepared to let something up to a Cobra III pass without attacking, especially in a more heavily patrolled system. They're fishing for tuna, not for sprats. That's a bit of variety, right there: pirates who don't automatically attack you. They *might* make a threat, and demand a pod or two, but if you just leg it they probably won't follow. At the other end, there are the loop-de-loop mental ones, who enjoy killing, take no prisoners, and revel in the slaughter. It's likely that pirate packs will share the same mentality (no use being a pragmatic pirate if one of your wingmen is several sandwiches short of a very bloody picnic ...).
So there would be some factors to plug into an equation: where the pirate(s) fall on the Pragmatic-Psychotic scale (the so-called "Schmigmund Rating", with low being pragmatic and high being psychotic); the strength of the pirate(s) versus the target(s); how much cargo the pirate(s) has/have (hungrier pirates are more aggressive); and perhaps how well-patrolled the system is (although it might be less likely to find psycho-pirates in better-patrolled systems; probably they would spend their time fighting all and sundry in the Anarchy systems, and would lack the planning capabilities to launch regular out-of-system raids).
So something like (Schmigmund Rating) * (Hunger) / (Pirate strength - target strength) might produce a probability? I should stress though that my grasp of numbers is, on a good day, slightly better than the average brush, so ...
It's true that the player and the NPCs don't enjoy the same capabilities here - but that's always been true. Players have never been able to be dedicated pirates, though, because of the dependence on the main station as a trade and save point. But I still think this is worth developing, as it could be a move towards greater player/NPC interaction in future.Smivs wrote:I'm liking the way this is going, but it would not be easy to translate into a player function
What I'm thinking is that the player cannot communicate with NPCs, so a player acting as Pirate has no way of demanding anything from the NPC, other than opening fire and hoping the trader dumps some cargo. I know it's been mentioned before (and I appreciate the difficulty in making this work) but I'm just saying, you know...