A pirate is a non-player character ship designed to provide a combat challenge for players. They are commonly known as rats which is derived from the alternate spelling pie rat, and also due to the dislike players have for them causing an association with vermin.
There are five main pirate factions in the game:
- Angel Cartel - Minmatar-based
- Blood Raiders - Amarr-based
- Guristas - Caldari-based
- Serpentis Corporation - Gallente-based
- Sansha's Nation
Ships from these respective groups can be found all over empire and 0.0 space, in varying numbers and severity, and are all marked with a CONCORD bounty, and flagged on the HUD with red crosses. Restrictions regarding rules of engagement do not apply to them, and the may be shot at and destroyed anywhere on sight. The destruction of these ships, both in missions and at static spawns can provide a healthy income and is the primary source of named modules.
Needless to say, these AI-controlled pirates are signficantly easier to outwit than most player pirates. L1 and L2 pirates rarely use auxiliary modules; in L3 they tend to use target painters, webbers or anti-sensor modules; in L4 (I believe) they use a broad range of modules, as well as guns. They have a tendency to carry "heavier" guns than PC equivalents, and for some reason many of them carry miner I modules in their holds, although they rarely if ever mine, preferring to "protect" dedicated mining units such as the Angel Harvester.
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