As most players already know, Bounty Hunting as it currently exists in the game is a joke. Some players collect large bounties for bragging rights then never undock the high bounty character, others wait until their bounty reaches a certain level then they simply Pod themselves with an alt or have a corp mate do it to collect the money. As it stands now putting a bounty on someone is almost the same as giving them ISK! Achieving a completely opposite effect than is intended.
The new system aims to fix this by linking the bounty payouts to the ISK lost in each kill, making it very unprofitable to kill your self. The problem is that it's not all that profitable for other people to kill you either.
CCP comments in quotes:
The key one is to give people faith that money they put into the bounty system has a fair chance of actually leading to their target crying tears of fear and frustration.
The core of the new bounty system is to pay out only a portion of the bounty at a time, instead of paying the whole pool upon a kill.
The reason it's no longer the same "winning the lottery" type deal is because CCP is only going to payout 20% of the kill value. So if you hunt down a pirate with a 10 Billion ISK bounty on his head and you blow up his HAC worth 200 Million ISK you will only get paid 40 million ISK from his "pool" of bounty.
In effect this makes Bounty Hunting better, but still not profitable enough to focus on as a career. In practice I think it will end up being a nice little bonus that you get unexpectedly while doing your normal PVP.
It's better, but I would like to see a system that would provide enough incentive for players to form "Bounty Hunting Corps" and start hunting people as a fun new in game profession. This just isn't enough ISK to be worth the trouble to hunt down individual pilots.
- The amount paid out from the bounty pool upon a kill is now based on the ISK loss inflicted on the target. This is similar to the system used in FW for calculating LP payout, i.e. finding a Total Loss value based on the value of items lost (plus some insurance calculation finagling). We’re making this system a bit more robust and harder to manipulate, but we’re not telling you how 😉
- The bounty payout is based on a percentage of the Total Loss, so the bounty received will always be considerably less than the actual Total Loss value. The base number we’re going for right now is 20%. This means that if you blow something up worth 100 million, then 20 million is paid out in bounty (or whatever is left in the bounty pool if less than 20 million).
- This also means that the bounty pool of a player will be paid out over time, so a player with a high bounty can be killed numerous times before the pool depletes.
- Currently, bounties are only claimed on podding. We want to extend this to ship destruction as well. This means that if you destroy someone’s ship and then pod him, you get bounty twice (the podding bounty is then based on the value of any implants the target has).
- Bounties are public, same as now. This means anyone can claim a bounty. Claiming a bounty is based on Final Blow. If you’re in a fleet and get bounty, the bounty is shared between the fleet members.
- Bounties can now be placed from anywhere in the game, not just the Bounty Office in stations. Bounties on the same character go into a joint pool, same as now. The minimum ISK amount for placing a bounty is increased from 5k to 100k. Also, bounties can now be placed on anyone, we’re removing the -1 security standing requirement currently in the bounty system.
- You can track bounties you’ve placed on other players, seeing how much has been paid out. You’re also notified if a player you’ve placed a bounty on is killed.
- Bounty pools are eliminated and a portion returned to those that contributed to the pool if the target has been inactive (unsubscribed) for a long time.
- We’ll redo the Most Wanted list to make it cooler and more useful. The characters with the top bounties on them will be ranked, with the rank giving a bonus to the payout percentage for killing them. This means high-rank characters are potentially juicier targets.
- We will add a Bounty Hunter rank list as well. Characters gain rank points on this list for scoring big bounties and hitting characters high on the Most Wanted list. For the time being the Bounty Hunter rank list will be purely for epeen purposes.
- We’re aiming to continue to use the Billboards and CQs to show Most Wanted status.
- Bounties have no effect on who can be attacked legally where.
- Important note: Existing bounties in the old (current) bounty system will be removed when the new system rolls out in December. This means that bounties that have not been claimed by that time will be gone for good.
That's not quite the whole story though...
CCP is also extending the Bounty System to Corps and Alliances. This is exciting because it will DRASTICALLY change the Mercenary Business in EVE. Now instead of hiring Mercs, an employer can anonymously drop a few billion ISK on say TEST and then within 24 hours several Mercenary Corps will War Dec Test AND move into their space.
Our main focus is on getting the individual bounty system to function, but we feel extending bounties to corporations and alliances would be an excellent and exciting addition. So, well, we’re doing that.
The excitement here is that by hunting only those with bounties most PVPers will be able to PVP profitably. Something previously reserved only for Gankers, Gate Campers, and the occasional conservative PRO PVPer (not me, PVP isn't fun for me unless I'm taking crazy risks).
And there's one more cool aspect here...
Note that bounties are paid out for anything that creates a kill report, so you’ll get bounty paid for destroying for instance a POS belonging to a corporation that has a bounty placed on it.
This means the you can hunt POSes of high bounty alliances and on many Large POS doing over 1 billion in damage is not out the question, so a 100-200 million ISK Payoff. That makes the boredom of POS shooting a little more interesting.
Now for the coolest part of Retribution IMO:
Kill Rights will now be transferable and not only can they be sold, but they can be purchased on the spot anywhere and anytime!
So you can fly around looking for these people in high sec, buy the kill rights, gank them and move on the next target...
The second way is in how the kill right is used. This is changing from previous functionality. If you have a kill right against someone, you can activate that kill right to make your target a suspect (i.e. give him a Suspect Flag, as explained in the crimewatch blog). This allows anyone in the vicinity of the suspect to engage him legally.
An additional functionality is that you can allow other players to use your kill right. You can mark any of your kill rights as open and set a price on using it. This price can be any ISK value you want, including 0. There is a new bracket icon for open kill rights, so spotting players with an available kill right on them will be easy.
Kill rights are bought “on the spot” in space, i.e. if you select a player in space and that player has a kill right on him for sale, you can buy & activate (one action) it right then and there. This immediately puts a Suspect Flag on the target, thus allowing you and others in your vicinity to attack the target. If the target player is killed while under a Suspect flag, then the kill right is ‘spent’. If the target manages to escape and the Suspect flag timer (15 minutes) lapses, the kill right is still available to be purchased (activated) later on.
Kill rights will continue to have a lifespan of 30 days.
I have some concerns with how this will play out in practice, because there are some potential ways to abuse this. If you can sell kill rights for ISK, it will become profitable to start collecting kill rights. Meaning some pilots may fly around low sec in cheap ships bait attacks and "gather" kill rights for resale. There are alot of implications that will have for both the collector and the pvper.
Beyond that, what happens to low sec PVP?
If every kill has the potential to turn into a kill right that is executable at any time, then any time you have kill rights, you are in extreme danger in high sec. No Hauling, No Mining, No auto-piloting, nothing. I can already see "Alpha Gangs" sitting in trade hubs running sensor boosted arty Tornadoes and killing every kill rights pilot that passes by.
So there are a lot of questions left unanswered here, but overall I am very exciting about these changes.
Finally, here are some additional comments from CCP about what they are considering to do next in this area:
There are a few additional things we’re looking into as a possible post-Retribution iteration work. Some of that stuff is too early to discuss right now, but here are a few tidbits of what could happen:
- Structure bounties – this is the ability to put a bounty directly on a structure like POS or POCO. While this is indirectly achieved by the ability to place a bounty on the owning corporation, being able to place it on a structure instead allows for a more directed strategic incentive.
- Private/public bounties – the ability to narrow the selection of who can claim your bounty. This would allow people to have more control over who can reap the benefits of the bounty and gives the receiver confidence that he will be rewarded for his efforts.
- More selective kill right selling – this is similar to the one above, only for kill rights instead of bounties. This basically allows the owner of the kill right to select more carefully who can purchase the kill right.
New modules are much less of a focus this time around for team Super Friends, but there are a few things here we’re doing:
- Adjust the ASB to be more reasonable. The ASB is a little on the strong side right now. We want to adjust that while maintaining the overall functionality of the module.
- Micro Jump Drive. The classic ‘blink’ ability, allowing ships to maneuver around the battlefield in a new way (with some hefty limitations of course) . We’ll try to get this out on a test server as soon as we can. It’s still some weeks away, but stay tuned.
- Salvage Drone. As the name implies, this is a drone. That salvages. Need I say more? Ok, a bit. This is a small drone. It’s a bit worse at salvaging than the modules, but has the advantage of course of having longer range while saving precious slot. Again, we’ll get this out on a test server as soon as it is ready.