Pirate Attack

The causes of the Pirate Attack state are still mysterious, but there are some patterns in when and where it appears which suggest it might not be completely random.

This graph shows the number of pirate attack states recorded in each system in the Colonia region since the start of 2019, as well as average system traffic and distance from Colonia. The size of the circle corresponds to the number of pirate attacks. Very low traffic systems may be slightly undercounted due to missing data for those ticks.


The graph shows some correlation between the two, with a closer correlation with the system traffic than the distance from Colonia. There is a definite trend for pirate attacks to be most common for controlling factions, as well.
(The small circle just over 10LY from Colonia is Deriso, where Outbreaks are very common, and are likely to be blocking pirate attacks)

Pirate Attacks are also much more common for controlling factions than non-controlling factions. For some factions, they appear like clockwork - in the Colonia system, Jaques and Colonia Council are affected by Pirate Attacks at exact 28-day intervals (though with an offset) and People of Colonia is affected on a similar cycle (but with a gap in March, and the most recent one a day "late")

Similar patterns appear for the controlling faction of almost all high-traffic systems. In lower traffic systems, this does not occur - Lux Caeli has had only two pirate attacks (3 days each as usual) for the controlling faction, separated by much more than 28 days

In Trakath, where pirate attacks are very common including for non-controlling factions [1], a gap of 28 days or slightly longer can be seen on many of the factions.
The controlling faction of Trakath changed to Mobius Colonial Republic Navy (MCRN) from Colonia Mining Enterprise on 31 May, but there have been no pirate attacks since then anyway. Interestingly, despite MCRN supporters working the system to get that election, there have been no pirate attacks on MCRN since its arrival in mid-April, even since it took over the system.

  • Pirate Attack has a 3 day active and 25 day recovery+pending period consisting of 10 days recovery and 15 days invisibly pending (this seems to have been regularised - the active length was more varied in January and earlier)
  • Outbreaks prevent Pirate Attack (and vice versa)
  • Pirate Attack's trigger is some unknown form of player activity. In higher-traffic systems this trigger is always reached for the controlling faction, and therefore they have Pirate Attacks as often as possible. In lower-traffic systems and for non-controlling factions this trigger is reached less often
  • The earlier theories that Investment or Civil Liberty cause Pirate Attacks are false: they can appear in any state, especially on non-controlling factions. However, as high player activity will usually also tend to cause positive economic and security states, there is a correlation without causation. Good for miners :)
  • The trigger does not require station ownership, but may be easier to achieve with it.
Wild guess at the actual mechanism:
  • Any transaction of any type for a faction in a system either has a small random chance to trigger Pirate Attack or fills up a traditional-style state bucket for it.
  • The hidden Pending period is intentionally long to decouple cause from effect and make it appear more random in low-traffic systems
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Jane Turner

Volunteer Moderator
We got the impression that it was almost an inevitable result of a concentrated BGS activity for any faction, but as you suggested not straight away
Colonia is good for certain sorts of BGS analysis
- lots of very similar systems
- almost all the stations are single-economy so easier analysis there
- small region, so getting a consistent sample of data doesn't take too long and fewer options for expansions
- lots of unusual ethos factions for splitting out ethos and government effects

On the other hand, there's basically no such thing as a no-traffic system, so trying to deduce the effects of BGS actions is very difficult.
Update: looking over local news, Pirate Attack has 10 days recovery, so the hidden pending period is 15 days - more than long enough to make it really tricky to tell what specifically causes it.
A few weeks ago I headed toward a "Weapons Fire" signal source in a system with Pirate Attack, and when I got close to the signal it resolved (in my HUD) to Pirate Activity.
Never heard of that sort of behaviour from any USS before... you able to try to replicate it? (I'm not really in a position to atm...)
That system's probably due for another Pirate Attack soon. I'll try again when that happens.

EDIT: and yes, it surprised me when I saw it.
Related question - my pmf is an anarchy faction, and one of my controlled systems has just had 'pirate attack' state. Is this a bad thing? Or a good time to go vopalling?
Cheers. O7
Related question - my pmf is an anarchy faction, and one of my controlled systems has just had 'pirate attack' state. Is this a bad thing? Or a good time to go vopalling?
Cheers. O7
It's better if you've got Pirate Attack, Investment and Civil Liberty, but PA will at least provide some bonus.
Ok, thanks.
Can I ask what the benefits are? Is there pirate uss's or something?
How can I use them to benefit my faction? Does the controlling faction give out the bounties?
Ok, thanks.
Can I ask what the benefits are? Is there pirate uss's or something?
How can I use them to benefit my faction? Does the controlling faction give out the bounties?
The only thing I've seen reliably occur in Pirate Attack is the price of core-mined minerals go up.

The most intuitive thing you'd expect, which is for "Pirate Activity" POIs to spawn in Pirate Attack state[1], doesn't happen... that occurs under Civil Unrest.

Others have claimed an increase in Weapons Fire USS, or an increase in Pirate Lord/Pirate Massacre missions, but I find those claims fairly anecdotal; I never have any problem finding them in abundance elsewhere outside of the Pirate Attack state

[1] notwithstanding Retropolitan's claim above, which I've not assessed in detail yet.
Um... have fun assessing the claim! I'd mention the chipmunk I saw today, but then I guess you'd have to assess that, too.

Sorry if somethings been misunderstood.. was just trying to delineate what i've experienced/ know versus things I've heard of anecdotally but not tested myself, so they might be a thing, i just can't validate them first-hand.

"Assess" is far less verbose though :)

For reference:
for my own sanity, i group information about the bgs into different buckets in my head, aside from anything said on the forums . These groups are:
  • provably wrong
  • provably correct, without personal verification
  • commonly assumed
  • anecdotally reported
... with each having it's own status about whether or not I've tried to verify the behavior.

Anecdotal stuff which I've not tried to verify is the most interesting to me to, well, try and verify... haven't heard anyone talking about uss resolving to different things when getting closer to them, so might be a new mechanic :)
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Been running Robigo Passenger missions from Mines to the Sirius Atmospherics site in Sothis and back, my observatons before i started as i have never done passenger missions before in Robigo: No missions available for either faction under pirate attack, just donation missions for the controlling faction in Boom.
  1. Sirius Corp - Independant Controlling faction around 71% at start and Boom status - Was already allied (Sirius corp stayed in Boom before and after my efforts with lowered security) - Illegal Passengers - Corporate Government
  2. CDE Corp - Empire minor faction 14.6% - Pirate Attack - Neutral relationship - Legal Passengers - Anarchy Government
  3. Robigo Cartel - Independant minor Faction 14.3% - Pirate Attack - Neutral Relationship - Legal Passengers - Anarchy Government
After: becoming allied to both CDE and Robigo Cartel, by running passenger sightseeing missions within the 1hr, i noticed the security levels of both minor factions increasing but not influence and the pirate attack state had dissapeared and replaced with none. But perhaps it was time for the state to change anyway...

I wonder if passenger missions was responsible for the change, but i don't know how that would be related?🤷‍♂️

If any of this means anything...
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