Life as a pirate is one of the most typical ways of making a living in EVE. Acting as a pirate means to systematically attack ships in order to destroy them and to pillage what is left over after the kill. Without producing themselves, pirates live off whatever their victims produce and transport, and thus are an empirical example of what Buchanan (1975/2000) and Hirshleifer (1995) had in mind when describing the most basic choice there is in anarchy: to produce or to depredate. Consisting of making money by robbing somebody else, piracy is an example of an egoistic action. Like in the real world, there are regions in the virtual world where piracy is particularly predominant: especially trade routes and regions in which the governmental enforcement of law is imperfect. In EVE, ‘Lowsec is pirate land’ (Kjarval, 2011). In lowsec the virtual police do not interfere when ships of innocent characters are attacked. The only formal punishment is a loss of security status for the pirate. This may have consequences for his travel opportunities as he may not be allowed to enter systems of a higher security rating without being attacked. Once the security status drops below -5.0, he is considered an ‘outlaw’ — and may be killed on sight by anybody and anywhere without any repercussions for the attacker. What makes lowsec also a good region for pirates is the fact that it is not as sparsely populated as nullsec (Guðmundsson, 2011, p. 9) — meaning more potential victims — and that often less experienced players stray into lowsec (compared to nullsec where the most powerful players live) — meaning weaker victims.
KeywordsSocial Conflict Security Status Moral Rule Bargaining Game Experienced Player
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