Pirates are an independent faction present in every match unless specified otherwise in the map creator. Pirates can be used to attack an opposing player via the bounty page, though credits used on the page cannot be reclaimed once added to the bounty. The other players can do this as well. Placing bounties is completely anonymous.
Piracy is a constant problem in the galaxy with raids taking place on a regular basis by the unscrupulous. Those who take part in piracy don‘t care who they attack as they have no political views on the subject. They go where the money is, which is determined in part by Bounty.
Bounty is essentially an anonymous way for empires to attack one another. By placing Bounty against another empire, you‘re placing a reward for any ship, structure or world which is destroyed by either the Pirates or another empire. Bounty is collected in this way until it is exhausted. This is a key method of getting others to do your dirty work for you, or to secretly wipe out allies.
Shows the current estimate of the size of the next pirate attack in the galaxy based on the total bounty, the number of lucrative raid targets and otherfactors. In general, when there is more profit to be made, there are more pirates to be had. Pirate fleets will grow stronger the more bounty that they acquire from raiding.
Players can anonymously place bounties on other empires and see what the current bounty is on each faction. Players that are currently being raided are indicated by a pirate sword beside their bounty. Whoever has the highest bounty becomes the target for the pirate. Other players can aquire bounty by attacking the player with the bounty on their head.
A window will show the current target for the next pirate raid and the bounty against them. Should the bounty against every faction be zero (as is common at the start of a game), the Pirates will attack a random target.
Is a timer, which countdowns to the next pirate raid. When the timer expires, the red skull will start to flash indicating that there is a brief amount of time before the pirates launch. This gives each empire a last second opportunity to outbid their neighbors to determine the pirates’ target.
Pirate missions work the same away as any other, except that an empire can instead guarantee cooperation by hiring out to those with no diplomatic ties to worry about. However, unlike dealing with legitimate governments, the Pirates will only work for those able to meet their price - and accept only credits for payment.
To offer the Pirates a mission, click the Offer Mission button at the bottom of the Pirates screen. From the mission generator, you can specify the type of attack you need, the target faction, and the planet to be assaulted. Pirates will always accept and carry out your mission if you can meet their price, but the number of ships they send cannot exceed the current raid strength level.
Note: Pirates will accept a mission to attack the TEC Rebel faction. However, if the enemy TEC rebel faction has researched the tech that grants alliance between them and the pirates, the pirates will only travel there and not attack them.
Pirates have three big weaknesses. They lack shields (meaning no Shield Mitigation), they don't have any support cruisers or carrier cruisers, and they just charge straight at the enemy like the militia do. You can use these to your advantage to beat the pirates much more easily.
- Using repair bays to keep turrets, capital ships, or starbases alive, you can defeat vastly larger pirate forces with only taking low casualties.
- Mines are a great way to kill pirates. They can easily be lured through minefields over and over again. A couple scouts (to act as bait) and a minelayer can defeat large pirate forces.
- If you have two Novalith Cannons as TEC, you can destroy the pirate base from a distance, ending the pirate threat once and for all.
- The pirates lack long-range units and strike craft. Using the Advent Iconus Guardian and its Repulsion ability, you can keep the pirates out of weapon range while still being able to shoot them with long-range units of your own (such as the Illuminator Vessel).
- Since pirates lack their own strike craft, you can switch all fighter craft to bomber craft without worrying about hostile bombers. Pirate bases however have Hangar Defenses and Repair Platforms.
- Pirate units are easily distracted by scouts. You can often send pirates on a long wild goose chase while you do something underhanded, like lay mines or build a starbase or attack them with carriers (or all three at once!).
- The pirate base is unaffected by culture as they have no population. You cannot use culture or Deliverance Engines to turn them neutral, the same as with neutral colonies in custom games.
- Researching the Truce Amongst Rogues upgrade in the Diplomacy menu as a TEC Rebel will end the Pirate threat as it will turn them into permanent allies.