June 29, 2014

Bounty Hunter: Part Three - Optional Compnents

A while back, I wrote two posts on Bounty Hunting. The first was about what I saw wrong with CCP's vision of what a bounty hunter was, and the second was my basic idea about how to improve bounty hunting. Unfortunately, I never could find enough willing parties to interview, which was my original plan. Instead, I'm going to semi-finish this series off (but maybe not!) by writing a little a bit about what I mentioned before: optional additional components that can be added to the basic bounty hunting system. I firmly believe that bounty hunting should be a fairly simple mechanical concept so that new players can understand it fully and easily. But, it's also important to allow for players to grow (in the form of higher tier licenses, as I mentioned in my second post).

While the story line of the game may be about capsuleers moving away from empires as they grow stronger and stronger, there are undoubtedly players who don't want to separate themselves from the empires. There will still be those people who are in faction warfare, flying the flag of their respective empires. A general bounty hunter is someone who has been approved by CONCORD to operate in all areas of space. But what about the empires?

A player who wanted to be a bounty hunter and work for a specific empire doesn't have an official option in what I've described so far. To fix this, it's not complex; you simply buy your license from the empire! The licenses are even a bit less expensive to buy, and here's the best part: they offer rewards in the form of ISK and loyalty points, with a mix that gives slightly higher rewards than general bounty hunting. Why are they less expensive and offer higher pay outs? Well, because you're limiting your hunting grounds. And empire bounty hunter can only hunt in the specific areas of that empire. You can only have one license from any one empire at a time, so when you choose this route, you're aligning yourself with a specific faction, at least temporarily.

One of the reasons I like this idea is that it can be implemented after the rest of the changes, after the balancing and tweaking phases. Or, it doesn't have to be added at all and the rest of the system isn't hindered. But by adding it, there is a good deal of depth that is instantly created for those who wish to explore it, including roleplayers - and yes, I think it's very important to foster this group of people.

Who knows, maybe one day soon we'll be seeing bounty hunters as an actual play style instead of a joke.


  1. Not entirely sure I understand your bounty licence at a first read.

    I think the idea is to allow registered pilot the ability to claim any bounty on an individual / corp / alliance without the need to inform the other party. I kind of feel its a little clunky.

    a) As you mentioned there is an overlap with war decs, setting an artificial market boundary on targets I feel isn't the way to go in an open market. Players should make the choice under which conditions / justifications to engage.

    b) The intended victims / targets are un-aware of being stalked until frankly wtf on the undock / gate. Perhaps could be abused by setting a 500 mill bounty on a JF down the pipe.

    Just off the top of my head.
    - What if all BH have to be registered with CONCORD via being a member of 1 of their departments or joining their corp / alliance to a CONCORD BH faction? i.e identifiable.

    - Anyone associated with CONCORD BH, (or some other factional department) can engage anyone with an active personal bounty, perhaps with a time restriction to avoid farming kills.

    - Anyone associated with CONCORD BH faction is considered a Suspect all the time. Live by the sword / die by the sword? Too hard maybe?

  2. What you've suggested is basically what I've written. Every bounty hunter must register by buying a license. This license gives them the ability to hunt anyone with an active bounty (a 24 hour old bounty that's over 500M ISK), and makes them "suspect" to other bounty hunters. Making them suspect to everyone wouldn't work, but making it so that other registered bounty hunters could fight each other would keep pilots from loitering around.

    You make a great point about artificial market boundaries, but when trying to avoid abuse, some liberties must be taken on a completely free environment. I may not have mentioned it, but the pilot who has a bounty placed would definitely be alerted to the fact. Plus, a bounty that puts a pilot over the 500M mark wouldn't be activated until 24 hours later to avoid people placing quick bounties on juicy targets and immediately firing upon them.