Pirates are a problem for many players, and to some they just flat ruin the game. For those who want to go about the game without PVP oriented combat, this guide is for you.
What is a pirate?
A pirate is defined as a player who attacks other players. A pirate gains fame, money, items and game notority from doing this at your expense. Sometimes, players who do this may be privateers (orange name) who will not attack people of their own country. Other players may be pirates (red name) who will attack anyone, even their own nation.
But, for purposes of this guide to avoiding PVP and/or pirates, we will simply call everyone who attacks a player a pirate as 'pirate' is also a term used as a general blanket term of all players who prey on others.
How do I tell who's a pirate?
Put simply, pirates are distinguished by the colors of their names. A pirate will have an orange or a red name anywhere you see it. You can view these people at sea (not a good idea) or in a town.
The safest way to find a pirate, however, is to go to press Z (or go to Community->Search) and click "Begin Search" (don't edit any of the parameters). As shown on the right, the search will give a list of names. In this town, there were no pirates, but names would appear in orange and red if they are hostile to new players. Another option is going into the search screen (hitting Z or community>Search), and on the left side under Add Search Criteria select the box for Set Status. At the bottom of the list under there select Bounty. That will show only pirates for any area search you do. To find regular players again you must uncheck the Set Status box.
When am I not in danger of being pirated?
There are many situations where a pirate cannot attack you, such as:
- If you are below level 30 in one class, and not a total combined level of 50.
- If you are in safe waters (does not apply for npc pirates).
- When storm/blizzard appears, that also interrupts sea battles. This gains protection from all attacks in the current sea area and after it ends you're still 1 minute protected. Note: when leaving the sea area where the storm/blizzard took place, then your protection will be gone.
- If the pirate is deemed "defeated" (signified by a skull with a red line through it)
- If the pirate has killed his maximum-at-a-time total of victims. (signified by a skull with two purpleish flags crossed behind it) The pirate can only kill 5 players at a time before he must either wait till the server resets, or he resets at a pirate port. A pirate killing other pirates does not count towards this total.
- If you have been attacked by that particular pirate within the last 24 hours and you also have not logged out for 30 minutes. You can still be attacked by other pirates though, just not that specific one that attacked you previously.
- After handing a fine tribute goods to a pirate (including half of your ducats you brought along with your fleet). This will protect you for 5 minutes against any PVP hostility.
- If you have a "blue flag" (using Secret no-war pact epistle).
- While not full proof--if there are no oranges or reds in the Search window, your odds of safety are greater as pirates cannot 'hide' on 'radar' by going into Private Status like a white-named player could.
If you don't fall into any of these safe categories, it is best that you read below before you continue on your long journey.
Why attack me? Why not attack another player?
The fact that you own a ship signifies to any pirate that you may be full of money and goods to plunder. This is merely one way among many of how pirates make their money. Just being one of hundreds of people within the game does not make you safe because pirates key on specific mistakes that new and old players make, which includes not knowing where you are in the most danger. The following cities, in my personal experience (which is not based on gathered data from other players, etc), are the most dangerous from most to least dangerous:
- Cape Town, (Southern Africa
- Las Palmas/Cabo Verde, (West Africa)
- Between Calicut and Jakarta (SE Asia)
- Near Nassau (Caribbean)
- South of Taiwan (East Asia)
- Black Sea enterance
- The small stretch of sea between The Island Of Newfoundland and North America
- The Azores ( Mid Atlantic)
- The Enterance to the Persian Gulf (India)
- The Yellow River/Amazon River
PIRATE TECHNIQUES USED TO HUNT PLAYERS
The purpose of this next section is to name some pirate tactics. Other traders/adventurers/pirates/maritimers, feel free to edit this:
|Port Camping||Waiting just outside of a port pretending to be AFK only to pursue you after you leave port. Pirates do this as a form of defense, quickly attacking then returning to safety as to avoid being bountied.|
|Stalking||Camping a particular spot and waiting for a ship to pass by your vision. This is usually done around a cape, bend, or when islands can be used to abscure vision. Alternatively at a port as well, a pirate sails just out of eyesight range from you sitting at the port, waiting until you think he's 'gone' so you sail out unknowingly. When you leave, the pirate will pursue once you are too far enough away to sail to safety.|
|Chat monitoring||Chat monitoring means watching the world chat and trying to determine your location and what goods you have in order to find you. This can be used together as a scam where the pirate claims to want to help you only to take you for what you're worth. This isn't often seen, but it happens and is why players are strongly discouraged from giving their locations or locations of other players in a port over chat as it is deemed unethical. It is best to first learn who the pirates are in the game as they often don't mind revealing themselves in chat, and others will tell you who the most well-known pirates are. That way you can check if the pirate is currently online or afk or watching the chat silently.|
|Choke Points||Areas where a sea region comes into confined spaces with a land mass either on one side, or on both sides, etc is where a pirate can camp out waiting for traders to slip the gap. There are a few major choke points in the world.
How do I avoid being attacked by pirates?
This is obviously why you are here, but it's important to know what you are dealing first. Of course, the easiest thing to say is to put yourself in the pirate's shoes and ask "What do I have that the pirate wants?" This will help you assess the measures you need to go to. Even though UWO has heavily limited piracy in the last year, there is always a calculated risk if you are venturing far outside of Europe to perform higher level tasks. Also to note a pirate can no longer 'farm' a victim. Once he hits you, if he hits you, you cannot be hit by him or a fleet member of his for 24 hours or unless you log off for 30 minutes which resets you to the server. A word to note on this also is that if you escape the ring, that also counts as the pirate's one and only attempt for that day to hit you. So of course try to run! Assess how badly you need to accomplish something and weigh the following evasion methods carefully.
PVP PIRATE EVASION TECHNIQUES
|Secret no-war pact epistle|
|The #1 full-proof safe way to avoid combat of any kind, PVP or otherwise, is to simply go to the NC shop and buy this item. With this item, you will be immune to being attacked by NPCs or players for 24 hours. The drawback is obvious from the price of 1900NC ($1.90 USD). Taken over a month, this can run you $57/mo. It's expensive, but it's fool-proof, works, and supports the developers. The other drawback is that you cannot enter any combat with NPCs or players while this is on. Use this if you want to eliminate virtually all combat from your gaming experience and are willing to pay the price for it|
|Stay home||The easiest thing to do is to stay in Europe. This may sound like giving up the game and a grueling grind, but, if you have a lot of ducats you can get by with this. Instead of going to India to buy spices, buy them at the local company shops! Go to Seville for the greatest selection and find the cheapest spices, buy them up, and sell them to merchants. Because you are not buying from NPCs, you can level up your trade incredibly quickly doing this. Of course the downside to this is that, unless you have a very heavy stash of cash, you're going to go broke very quickly. But, to some with money and assets, you need not be in danger!
As I have no experience as a higher level adventurer, I welcome someone to add tips and tricks on how to level one's adventure up in Europe when above level 30.
|Logout/Port immediately when sensing danger||This method is 95% full-proof, and there are two ways of spotting danger. When sailing, go to Community->Search (explained above) every 30 seconds and see if any oranges or reds have entered your waters. If you detect one, evaluate where you are going and where you are. If there are pirates right outside of your port, you might strongly want to consider remaining in port until they leave or log out, or you find some sort of protection. If you are heading to a heavily populated port like Calicut, your best bet is to immediately log out for a while. If you are simply leaving a port, then look at the UWO world map and see how close you are to the next sea, as you might be close enough to make it which would prevent you from having to port or log out.|
|Be friendly in chat||Sometimes, it helps to simply have a lot of friends. Friends can lead to you being part of a corporation or just have some buddies to fleet up with. The last thing a pirate wants is a confrontation with his prey, so being with buddies, even if none are combat oriented, can be enough to detour pirate action sometimes. Befriending the pirates themselves will also gain you immunity from their wrath, especially from the famous ones (Ezio, Nellemus, etc...). This isn't going to provide any guarantees, but allies within this game is a powerful thing to have, and that includes going against pirates. Sometimes something as simple as making them laugh or having a conversation with them might prevent them from wanting to kill you as they've "befriended their food". If you are attacked and plundered, if you sometimes just ask nicely the pirate will return the stolen goods, not often will they return the money they stole, but your cargo or items they might if you're nice and don't cuss them out. They're just playing a part of the game like you are, so be nice! :) Laugh it off, say a funny joke, or ask for help if you maybe need rescuing from your shipwreck flag they might oblige.|
|Go on 'Private' Mode!||Going up to Community > Set Status you can select either "Private - Allow Friends" or "Private - Block All". Doing either of these things if you are white-named will prevent you from showing up on the search radar, and thus a pirate's eyes. If a pirate does not know you're in the region when he enters it, he has a harder time running into you. You can still see him however on radar search, but you cannot be heard if you try talking to him since you're on private mode.
Be warned, if a pirate is truly after you specifically, if you are fleeted up, tell your fleet-mates to go on private or he can see how many people your friends are fleeted with, and thus by deduction where you are as well. If a pirate wants to kill you, says he's out to get you specifically because of some grudge, he might employ trickery to get your fleet-mates to reveal your location, he might use your company against you, he might even use world chat people. If you go on Private -Block All, even your company cannot find you or speak to you. Long story short: don't give a pirate a reason to want to hate you and hunt you. ;)
|Open Sea Sailing||You can't just open sea sail in all hostile waters where you may be trading or adventuring, but you can get around the most dangerous areas with it. Open sea sailing comes in two flavors: Offshore sailing and corner cutting.
Offshore sailing just means to stay so far away from any coast that no pirate would have any frame of reference to look for other ships. For example, when leaving Europe, head to the border of the North Atlantic and sail south. Pirates are normally looking for people sailing close to the coast or who are heading into Palmas/Verde, so sailing west of these two sets of islands and going around them is a great tactic. The downside to this is that it can greatly add to your sailing time, especially going from Europe to India, where winds prevail to the east in the North Atlantic. But, you make no sacrifices doing this other than time. These routes may seem like a pain but whats better scratch free sailing? or losing all your cargo and money?
Another method that can be used in combination is, instead of sailing around the coast always being close to ports, to cut corners. This is particularly true around Africa where you can sail from Sierra Leone and go straight to Cape Town, and go from Cape Town and skip straight to India, avoiding going up East Africa. Of course, the obvious problem with this is the fact that you will need a lot of extra food and water to make these gigantic leaps, so procurement, provisions, and fishing are virtual musts when doing this. If you have the Ascension farm this can be a handy stop-over port on this path. Be warned though the pirate -Ezio_Auditore- has tracked and marked this particular short-cut as a high-value route and will often patrol this exact route for food. Sailing straight south from Sierra Leone until you hit the South Atlantic Ocean and then heading Southeast towards Cape Town is the wiser move if you must cut a corner as he dislikes sailing out that far to look for food. Sailing too close to Ascension without your eyes moving every which way for him and other pirates, might run you straight into him. So be on the lookout! All in all, Cutting corners is a very dangerous option, but still doable if done right. Pirates love to pick off the 'lazy traders' that cut corners with huge cargo and lots of money who are trying to save time on their long journey. And Remember Be wary of all ships Even trade ships as some pirates roam around in clippers for huge amounts of speed then pounce dishing out 200+ attack in melee with 40 crew.
|Damage Mitigation||Of course, you cannot guarantee that you'll have the necessary tools to fend off pirates 100% of the time. For those situations, you can lessen the blow of a pirate attack in many ways.
The first method is to have and level storage/fishing. By converting your fish into useable trade goods, you provide yourself with a small income, food for your sailors to eat, and more importantly, a means to level up storage, which will make it so fewer goods are taken from your ship. In addition, with many types of fish in your cargo, it is highly likely that the pirate will steal some of your sardines instead of your diamonds!
Which leads into the next thing you can do, and that is to keep worthless stuff in your cargo, having 1 of many kinds of worthless items for someone to plunder instead of valuables. Sand, Brine and Seaweed are easy to come by and often a funny loot for pirates to come across.
There are other smaller things you can do as well. If you have First Aid, surgery, and good swordplay ranks, you can mitigate the amount of sailors you lose in melee exchanges, having steering will allow you to out maneuver lower level pirates as well. If you are engaged in a melee battle, having Withdrawal Bells and using them when you're grabbed will make you retreat from battle. This doesn't always work 100% but will greatly increase your attempt at running away. Do NOT use the 'Retreat' button at the bottom of the melee screen. If you fail the retreat you actually lose more sailors to a pirate/enemy's Assault skill than if you used withdrawal bells.
Another option is simply asking the pirate if he accepts monetary tribute, if you're pinned down in a port. Sometimes most pirates will accept this instead of preferring to killing you, but be warned, the going price for your head varies from pirate to pirate. Some value you to be about 1m, others might demand 10m or higher. And even if you pay him or her off, you still run the risk of them turning on their word and attacking you anyway. It's not the most highly suggested option due to the risks involved but it sometimes might be your only shot.
|Use your Battle Ring time Wisely!||An option is carrying Fine Tribute Goods (Large ships), Fine Tribute Goods (Mid-size ships), Fine Tribute Goods (Small ships)! You get the one according to the size your ship is, Heavy, Standard or Light. It's a bit of a task to make this item, but when a pirate attacks you, you can use this before he closes in on you, and he gets Spoils in exchange for your freedom. Half of your pocket money goes with the spoils, but if you're only carrying 50k-200k this might be more preferable to lose than your cargo which might be netting you a few millions back at home. Some pirates absolutely love getting Spoils as they can turn 10 of them in at a time to the Bootlegger in pirate ports for a Bloodstained Chest, which when used gives them a pirate-type item: clothes, crests, etc. Warning: Fine Tribute Goods cannot be used in Lawless waters and by player pirates.
One option that's tentatively suggested is right before the pirate grabs you in melee, use the Escape skill. It makes you auto-run from battle and gives you a very high chance of squirming away. The extreme downside to this skill is if the pirate shoots you, which typically they do to slow you down, break your rudder with their bow cannons and stop you in place, is every shot while the Escape skill is activated becomes a Critical Hit. Which in turn stops you dead in your tracks. If a pirate sees that you used the Escape skill he may or may not fire on you depending on how much damage he is doing. A pirate wants to get you in melee to rob you, as that's the only way he can steal things. If he shoots you to death he will only gain Notoriety, not any of your goods. As the saying goes, "It's better to die by cannonfire rather than melee." You also might be lucky enough to be the player a pirate 'kills for noto'. He might be interested in just shooting you to death instead of plundering you so he can gained notoriety, not likely but it's occured. So be sure you have the Rescue skill!
Drop mines! Rank up your mine laying skill and drop them if you see a pirate on your tail chasing you in the ring! He'll run into the mine and slow down which can buy you precious seconds to reaching the ring line.
Carry and equip a Stern cannon! Nothing better than shooting a charging pirate in the face right? It might not kill him or even hurt him much, but if a pirate is being lazy and not attacking you defensively (haha) he might blunder nose-first into your stern shot, which will crit him in the face and slow him down. Alternatively if a pirate attacks you from the side you can try unloading a broadside shot on his face but if he's attacking your perpendicularly chances are you cannot reach the ring fast enough.
If you have it, use the Emergency Acceleration skill! It's a ship skill that can be built on your ship, providing it's the correct type of ship to support the skill, and you need Navigation rank 8 to use. Using this in the battle ring is akin to using the Escape skill without the risk for critical hits. Only word of warning using this skill in the ring (and even out of the ring) is do not turn while it is activated. If you try to turn you stop dead in your tracks. So first orient yourself and then hit the nitro to try and get free from that pirate!
To the right is a slightly older map compiled by -Ezio_Auditore- the Venetian Privateer of his GVO Navigational charts on his piracy runs. They're a bit messy due to travelling around a bit but overall they're a general understanding of where pirates, or at least this pirate roams. Also included in red are the choke points previously mentioned above in the guide.
- Information gathered and compiled by: Granite and -Ezio_Auditore-
- Extra/editing information are done by: Huseyin-Gazi