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Bounty Pool Pull

"You should just set your ISK on fire and toss it out of the station undock."
-Sugar Kyle

Such was my comment to Naoru after he placed a 20 million ISK bounty on me after we discussed that he kept wasting his ISK on placing bounties on randoms. Not that the ISK has not brought him tears. It has. In fact, as of today his bucket is overflowing enough that hopefully he will produce a blog post about it over at Flak Bait at some point soon. Maybe he can consider my eye rolling to be tears as well.

I rarely pay attention to bounties, my own or anyone else's. Occasionally I have one slapped on me by someone I know. I find the entire event a waste of good ISK. In doing so I did disregard the placement of bounties for other reasons, such as tears. I'm not much into tear extraction and it is rarely a motivation for me.

It made me think. What is the motivation for placing a bounty on someone these days? It makes you feel good? You feel as if you struck back? What particular application do they really have to motivating others to go kill for you?

The difference in the before was that some people... people who did not mind sitting on gates for hours... could make ISK out of popping flashy red pods for their bounties. With the previous mechanics tied to the security status of the player, a bounty was most likely going to sit upon someone with negative security status. Mix that in with the lack of CONCORD action upon outlaw pods in high security space and it had the potential to have plentiful ISK pay offs. People with outlaw security status very often venture all over the map. It enrages many high sec dwellers that NPCs do not pop pods anymore. A reddit thread pointed out when that mechanic was changed in 2003. When bounties were related to pods they were hard to collect outside of wormholes and null sec.

Now, bounty can be placed on anyone. Lots of people have bounties. Many people are still very angry about their bounties and feel that they are unjustified. I am neutral on the entire thing because I refuse to spend ISK putting bounties on people. Yet, bounties have become a subculture and to say, "I think it is silly to do," is how I wind up with my corpmates putting bounties on me.

I understand why it is amusing for someone who is angry about it. Naoru keeps getting eve mails from one person and it has become a back and forth bounty placement that has me shaking my head. But, from his giggles he is having a good time for his ISK. That alone is wroth it.

Yet, is that why most people place bounties?

The placement if bounties is to encourage and reward the killing of other players by players for players. He is the bounties I have acquired in the last month in the course of my PvP efforts.
2013.07.15 02:31:33 Bounty Prize 7,692.31 ISK 2013.07.15 00:35:01 Bounty Prize 12,500.00 ISK 2013.07.15 00:30:02 Bounty Prize 1,496,427.17 ISK
2013.07.14 00:32:56 Bounty Prize 460,000.00 ISK
2013.07.13 02:56:28 Bounty Prize 275,000.00 ISK
2013.07.13 01:18:23 Bounty Prize 58,185.37
2013.07.13 01:12:15 Bounty Prize 0.10 ISK 2013.07.12 02:22:29 Bounty Prize 8,577,269.61 ISK
2013.07.12 01:39:43 Bounty Prize 2,362,169.25 ISK
2013.06.30 21:02:40 Bounty Prize 266,095.93 ISK
2013.06.30 20:57:41 Bounty Prize 600,201.80 ISK 2013.06.30 19:23:35 Bounty Prize 1,628,194.89 ISK
2013.06.30 19:18:33 Bounty Prize 261,918.58 ISK
2013.06.30 18:32:40 Bounty Prize 700,482.72 ISK
2013.06.30 18:27:41 Bounty Prize 194,784.06 ISK
2013.06.28 02:16:14 Bounty Prize 895,072.18 ISK
2013.06.18 15:35:17 Bounty Prize 33,333.33 ISK 2013.06.17 04:12:31 Bounty Prize 27,406.30 ISK 2013.06.17 03:11:56 Bounty Prize 25,000.00 ISK 2013.06.16 19:05:36 Bounty Prize 0.03 ISK 2013.06.16 19:00:37 Bounty Prize 154.80 ISK 2013.06.16 06:22:46 Bounty Prize 1,437,607.33 ISK 2013.06.11 22:34:13 Bounty Prize 1.06 ISK
2013.06.11 17:47:18 Bounty Prize 200,000.00 ISK 2013.06.11 03:55:46 Bounty Prize 0.09 ISK
I still do not see the ISK motivation. But, I know that people feel that others are motivated to kill people for the bounties. They send you little notes when they place bounties on you. I'm not talking about the people who like to be spammed with bounty notification of payout eve-mails. I'm speaking of the people who truly believe that the bounty system motivates players to attack other players as part of the greater meta game.

My current bounty is 35 million ISK. I'll lose most of it the next time I lose something that is not a Jaguar. My average Jaguar loss is about 40 million ISK. I doubt that the 35 million ISK on my head is motivating people to chase me down and kill me. But people will continue to put bounties on people and tell them that now people will hunt them down.

In general the Dev's seem to be happy with the bounty system. A lot of ISK goes in and a lot of ISK goes out. It is functioning and people find it worth while to use for whatever reasons they are finding it worth while to use. Such as tears or their own belief that it makes a PvPer more likely to get killed.

But as a motivator? I still don't see it.


  1. I agree...for most of those that were already participating in PVP in a regular basis, bounties do not really motivate at all...but I do think it's really cool that there is some ISK trickling in for the PVP I would have been doing anyway.
    And it's entirely possible that there are plenty of people that weren't already PVPing frequently could actually fund some cheap PVP frigate replacements off of even infrequent successes while learning to PVP.

  2. Sugar, another well written piece. There's a couple of things you may not have seen. Probably because you are focusing on personal bounties. Alliance bounties on the other hand can be very effective. One example, which is well known, was the placing of large bounties on the Honey Badger Coalition (alliance: TEST's renter alliance), which highly sweetened an already sweet pot. It went from hunt carebears who don't pay attention to intel and also fly shiny things, to all of the above plus instant payout. If you blap someone with a bounty in a valuable enough ship (theirs) you can make ISK even if you don't get out with your ship and their loot (assuming yours is cheap enough). A second is when a friend of mine placed a bounty on a group that I blogged about ( For that week while the 200M bounty lasted, their efficiency dropped precipitously, thus giving my friend the feeling that he had inflicted 1B ISK in losses on them without even undocking. So yeah 5:1 ration on losses inflicted to bounties you place, I'll take that.

  3. I would also like to add why the second example was effective. The formula was bounty + intel (blog post) + publicity (blog post and tweets) = turkey shoot (or home run derby, whichever you prefer). If you just toss a bounty on a random person, no one is going to come hunting for them.

  4. Quite a while back, an ex-Tusker put a 10 bil bounty on our corporation. Last I checked, we're down to somewhere around 4 bil. It's great though, because it gives people a little more incentive to fight us. It makes getting fights that much easier.

    Then there's those people who get so upset over having a bounty. I don't care about tears. But I've been in a situation where I was in a frigate next to another frigate on a gate or station in low-sec. Neither of us were red. I wanted to fight (without sentry guns blapping me), so I sent a duel invitation. Rejected. Sent again. Rejected. Convo him. Place a bounty on him. Tell him about it. Send another duel invite. Accepted! It turned out to be a decent fight.

    My favorite bounty story happened just last night. A guy jumps into Hevrice (our home system). A corp mate reports him on intel as having deliberately lost a Brutix nearby worth 750 mil ( ) not too long ago simply to clear his bounty. This time he had an 80 mil bounty and came in an Abaddon: Once his ship and pod popped, we all got on our alts and placed small bounties (10-20 mil) on him. Hopefully we'll get another loot piƱata soon. He reciprocated by placing equal bounties back on each of our alts. I think it's just hilarious.

  5. Bounties are pointless except as a way of generating tears from hisec industrialists who think they actually mean something. They are also good for laughing at hisec industrialists when the put a bounty on you after some shenanigans. My gank alt has 80mil in bounty and I couldn't care less.

    In hisec you can't purposefully collect a bounty from someone (i.e. bounty hunting) unless you're willing to gank the person, because CONCORD doesn't care that the guy had a bounty. Your gank ship is probably cheaper than his, but his won't generate enough bounty to even cover your loss. Insurance won't help, because ships lost to CONCORD do not get insurance payouts. If the guy is -5 or lower, you can shoot him regardless of the bounty and you will shoot him if you can, because why not.

    In lowsec, people will hunt you and shoot you with our without a bounty, because why not thats why. Same goes for nullsec and wormholes.

    Getting a bounty for killing someone is a nice bonus, but you would have killed them anyway if you could.

  6. There is an alternative view of personal bounty which I am fond of. Bounty increases when you win (make other people explode), it decreases when you lose. You see, bounty is nothing but another name for High Score.

  7. I placed bounties on Ashley Kovacs & Iam Widdershins after he killed my pve ships.

    The reason was to see how long it would take him to lose the bounties and to see his fits when he did get killed. Other as that I haven't used the bounty system.


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