The current bounty system is nonsense, and we all know it. And the Killright system is practically irrelevant, and is often used as another way of scamming people.
With the current bounty system, when you kill a player who has a bounty on them, you get about 20% of the financial damage inflicted. This means that if you kill a player in a ship worth 100 million ISK, you’ll get about 20 million ISK from their total bounty. There are people running around with bounties in the tens or even hundreds of billions, which they wear like a badge of honor because they essentially mean absolutely nothing, aside from how many people you’ve managed to annoy or piss off.
Bounties in Eve mean nothing, currently. The only time a player is actually flying a ship worth any kind of payout worth writing home about is usually during a large fleet engagement, where the actual payout is split between dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other players.
Meanwhile, the Killright system is basically a reverse bounty, where the person who owns the killright gets paid by the person activating it. This is stupid. Not only does it simply not make any damned sense, but it is being used to scam people, more often than not.
OK OK, Get to the Point!
Scrap both the Current Bounty System and Killright system and implement a Bounty System that combines the most sensible aspects of both and makes the whole thing more straight-forward. When you place a bounty on somebody, it marks them with a Killright that is visible to everyone. If an opportunistic Capsuleer/Bounty Hunter spots a Fugitive flying through a given system, activates the Killright with the intent to cash in on the bounty, and successfully kills the fugitive ship, they earn the bounty for that player. Straight. Forward.
However, people are crafty shitlords and, as with all things in Eve Online, players will try to game the system. So all parties involved need to have some skin in the game. A person with a 5bil Bounty on their head could undock in an Ibis, have his buddy kill him, and split the bounty reward. This really isn’t much different than what currently happens with the Killright system, where a guy and his buddy will work together to gain a killright, put it up for anyone and everyone for an exorbitant amount, and try to trick people into paying to activate the killright, then the collaborators split the reward. You’ll usually see this done with Haulers, but I’ve also seen it done with T1 ships that they name after the Faction Variant (this is one reason why I no longer show ship names in space).
So how do we ensure that all three parties (The Bounter, The Fugitive, & the Bounty Hunter) have some skin in the game?
Well, the person placing the bounty (the Bounter) obviously has the skin of their wallet in the game, so it’s really the Bounty Hunter(s) and the Fugitive that matter most, in this regard.
I’ve tried thinking of various ways to accomplish this that don’t make the whole thing needlessly complicated. Tying the bounty payout to the value of the Ship (including fit) is probably the best way to do it, but in a more all-or-nothing manner than the current setup. No more of this “Percentage of the value” BS. Say you are a Fugitive with a 5bil isk Bounty on your head, so you undock in an Ibis and have your buddy shoot you. Cool. Y’all get nothing. Undock in a 500mil Vigilant? You now are worth a 500mil isk payout. Undock a Frigate worth 5bil? You’re now worth the full 5bil Isk payout.
Making the Value of the Payout equivalent to the Value of the Fugitive’s ship is, as far as I can figure, the best way to prevent exploitation of the system, in this regard, to the best extent possible. Any way you slice it, the Fugitive is out something and doesn’t gain anything.
But what about the Bounty Hunter? Couldn’t the Fugitive fit up a ship worth the max payout of the bounty, then have an alt shoot them, then transfer the reward money to the Fugitive, and end up at a net zero? Of course.
So, perhaps the best way to address this is for CONCORD to take a cut off the top. Say… 20%? 30%? 50%? (Idc, pick a number.) This would mean that, with a 20% CONCORD cut off the top, no matter what the Fugitive is out something. If 10mil is on the line, and they try to scam the system by killing themself with an Alt, they’ll still be out 2mil isk. That’s not that big of a deal, but start scaling it up. 100mil? They’re still out 20mil. That’s still chump change for many players, but keep scaling. 1bil? They’re out 200mil. 10bil? They’re out 2bil. 100bil? You get the picture. The Fugitive will never end up at a net-zero and will always end up losing something, if they are killed.
Obviously, in scenarios where there are multiple people on the Fugitive’s killmail, the bounty payout will be split between them. You could make it so that the Top Damage Dealer and/or the Final Blow gain the reward, but that could open up the door to people whoring and sniping bounties.
In the end, I’m of the mind that a Bounty System is a fun and interesting aspect of the game, just not in its current iteration, and I’d rather not see Bounties removed from the game, entirely. This is the best alternative that I could personally come up with in the midst of my groggy, coffee-fueled morning routine, so I’m happy to discuss any variables that I may have missed due to caffeine and/or stupidity.
Thanks for your time and I look forward to reading your comments.