Monday, March 31, 2008

So frustrated!

I am so frustrated right now!

First, once I was authorized to access my new alliance official communication media, I was shocked to see a rule forbidding asking for ransoms in lowsec. I brought the issue up with a corp diplomat; he suggested this may be meant to apply only to the little corner of lowsec the alliance watches over as her own private mining claim and ratting grounds. He'll seek clarification and report back.

Second, two of my corp mates were killed today. One dropped out of warp in his interceptor at a jump gate--just as a Hyperion pulsed it's bank of smartbombs. The other grew too complacent at a "safe" spot in space--but apparently his location was probed out, as first a Rapier, then a Falcon, and finally a Myrmidon appeared on the scene, pinning him down and destroying his Deimos-class heavy assault cruiser.

Normally when such things happen, there's not much we can do. We are often few in our corp in the same area, and rarely fly ships that can take on such a gang. Our Deimos pilot was quite right in not calling his buddy over in a Drake--no sense losing more than we have to.

You can imagine how heartening it was for me, then, to see that our new allies overheard our attackers talking smack in local, and began gathering intel. The gang that ganked my corp mate was bragging at having taken down someone from our mighty alliance--an in-our-face challenge, particularly as there were over 20 in local in our alliance, and only three of them. Many questions were being asked as to the gang's makeup, and I quickly checked the alliance killboard, puzzled to find that neither loss had been posted yet--the killmails would have given details as to the members of the gang, the ships they flew, their primary weapons, etc.

I believe that if one is going to post one's kill, and receive a measure of glory for one's combat prowess, one should "man up" to one's losses as well. I expressed my embarrassment about the unposted killmails on our corp's private communication channel; the only response I got back was how few losses were posted from anyone--and speculation that it was not customary to post losses. I admit to you now that I was ashamed that these two losses (and one or two others from earlier in this week) remain unreported to our alliance as of the time of this writing.

Just as my emotions were in turmoil over this issue, I noticed that one of the enemy gang had undocked. I quickly undocked in my interceptor (all I had in the system), scanned for the enemy's ship--and located it! He was in a Myrmidon, just sitting at one of the gates. Furthermore, he was flashing red, indicating his status as an outlaw--the sentry guns would not interfere in whatever action we might take! I passed on this intelligence and ducked into the next system real quick, just to make sure there were no surprises sitting on the other side of the gate.

And then...and then the communication channels grew strangely quiet. Where minutes before, people had been sending in position reports and other intelligence, now there was nothing. A couple of miners carried on a quiet conversation about asteroid belts in the intelligence channel. I checked the intelligence channel display...over 20 alliance members knew an enemy who had just attacked one of our own, then bragged about it and beat his chest in public view, was sitting at a gate with nothing to prevent us attacking a low-tech battlecruiser. Almost 20 of my alliance mates were physically present in the system, and we could all see that at most the pilot had one gang mate present; he had been reported as docked at a station a minute or two earlier.

I switched over to my corp channel, asking who wanted to wreak vengeance. Silence. More than a dozen pilots actually in the region. . . . When somebody did speak up, it was to inquire about getting set up on a voice frequency--completely irrelevant to what was for me the issue of the moment. Heavy-hearted, I slunk into a space station, shut down my command console, and curled up in a ball on my rack.

My name is Ka Jolo. I am a pirate. I am a member of a corporation that avows but one purpose: combat! We are part of an alliance that claims a corner of lowsec space for her own and that fights alongside the most-feared fleets in all of New Eden, jumping capital ships and fleets deep into nullsec space.

But will anyone be there for me in my hour of need?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

No moss here

My corp of rascally characters has moved. Again.

After our last move--our alliance then may have lasted a week--and a couple of near moves, mergers, or alliances, the directors took their time with this, talked things over with the corp members, and made a thoughtful decision in line with our corp values. I have some reservations about the move, I confess.

In my wrath at the Caldari authorities, I am filled with a spirit of anarchy. I want to highlight the corruption and ineffectiveness of the State, by increasing the lawlessness and disorder in society. Piracy seems an ideal vehicle for the effect I want to achieve. It seems my corp mates, on the other hand, generally are motivated more by bloodlust than such a noble cause as mine. They crave combat, and have allied us all with a family of corporations engaged in fighting organized at a level high enough to be surpassed only by the mighty empires of New Eden. While piracy--or is it privateering--may be tolerated (indeed, to a certain extent encouraged), I must be ready to answer the call to arms from fleet commanders, wing leaders, and squad captains. Am I turning into the very thing I oppose? I wonder.

In spite of my misgivings--which I've expressed openly to my comrades--I'm going along with my mates and will give it my best. I've fought alongside these pilots at gate and in belt, and shared drinks and laughs at many a cold bar at some rusting backwater space station. Such men deserve an open mind and a willing spirit. May the blood of innocents cry out in yet another region!

Monday, March 24, 2008

A master baiter

Part One

I'm in my element. Cruising at a pre-determined point in space invisible from military-grade computer tactical overview systems installed on any ship at a known celestial object (though still showing up on their onboard scanners), I'm hunting down a Rupture-class cruiser. My prey is canny, moving around constantly and not staying at any one location long enough for me to warp to his position. Once again I warp in to an asteroid belt, only to see my target warping away. This time, however, my intelligence officer is able to give me a heading, and that way lays just one known item of interest: another asteroid belt. Just moments after our quarry warps out, we're in warp to that belt, hot on his heels--unless he's taking refuge at an unmarked point in space.

I've got him! My target is locked, my warp disruptor is active, my drones deployed. The cruiser's shields buckle under the pounding of my small-but-mighty Taranis, and I watch as my drones and guns bite into his armor...and then stop biting. My Taranis hasn't taken much damage; her small signature is difficult for larger guns to track, and that factor is working in my favor today. I had hoped against hope the Rupture's armor wouldn't be too formidable; although "Ruppies" are known for their sturdy tank, I'd been able to overwhelm such ships in the past, and my netwar officer had reported the pilot of this vessel was inexperienced. Yet as I watch the target's damage indicator on my computer display hold steady at 80% armor, even in the face of two high-tech drones and three high-tech small blasters, I consider the possibility that I might not be able to break his tank before my meager defenses are at last overcome.

But what's this? A Hurricane-class battlecruiser suddenly appears on my tactical overview. A trap! I hastily give the order to warp out, and nevermind the drones. Too late--our warp drive is jammed! Recalling the drones just in case, I engage our microwarpdrive and head in a straight line toward a nearby planet. If I can just get out of jamming range in time, I might still be able to warp out. The microwarpdrive lights my Taranis up like a Christmas tree, and guns which had struggled to lock on to us before now find us with ease. Shields--down. Armor--pfft. Structure taking damage. Just a little farther...just a little farther...still can't warp? Dang.

When the vapor of vented gases clears, I am relieved to find that my ejected capsule picked up the last-issued warp orders and got away before the enemy could lock her. I salute my foes in an open channel; their trap was well-executed and sucked me right in. Even more gallant than I, the enemy commander informed me that he had transferred 10 million ISK to my account to assuage the pain of my loss--as if money could ever make up for the brave crew of the Taranis Qilobite. Still, I keep the ISK; kredits are always welcome in my line of work.

Posting my loss on the corporation killboard, I note, "Rupture was bait."

Ten minutes later, a corp mate posted the loss of his own Taranis to the same pair of villains. Seeing my loss just minutes too late, he added a note of his own to his report: "Rupture was bait."

Part Two

That Rupture and Hurricane are showing up on my onboard scanner still, a day later. Just how predictable are they? I make contact with my corp mates, and propose we try to turn the trap. One of our grizzled veterans is willing to fly his Malediction-class interceptor over to take the bait, and starts heading my way. As he jumps from system to system, first one corp member then another reports his readiness to take part in the engagement. We gather on the jumpgates leading to our target system.

Finally our Malediction pilot arrives and jumps into the system. He confirms the presence there still of the Rupture and Hurricane. After some time, he manages to narrow the Rupture's location down to a single asteroid belt. By this time six of us are waiting for the call to jump in and assist: another Malediction, a Crow, a Blackbird, a Vexor, and a couple of us in Taranises. The Rupture is identified as our primary target, but a couple of pilots are assigned the task of locking down the Hurricane. The first Malediction warps to the belt...we wait for it...he locks the Rupture and activates one point of warp jamming...the order is given: "Jump in and warp to my position."

"Point." "Point." "Point." Pilots in our squad begin reporting they have added warp jamming strength against the target. The Hurricane hasn't shown up yet. I am astounded at the Rupture's tank; even with a Vexor, two blaster-fit Taranises, three other interceptors, and a Blackbird, his tank is holding. No Hurricane. Finally the Rupture's tank wavers, then collapses as the damage we're inflicting overwhelms his defenses and damage control measures. The Rupture lurches in reaction to a massive outventing of precious air, and drifts dead in space. I don't think the Hurricane is coming. The Rupture pilot tries to escape in his capsule, but one or another of us locks him down, and he was lucky if he had time enough to make his peace with his god before breathing his last.

We jumped the gun, it would seem, tipping our hand to the Hurricane pilot who wisely decided to leave his mate to his own devices. On the losing end of an engagement, our opponents are not quite as gallant as yesterday; I lower the volume of my comms until the worst of the name-calling and cursing passes. In recognition of their courtesy to me yesterday, I turn over to his wingman whatever loot we managed to recover from the Rupture's wreckage in one of the nearby space stations, and welcome the Hurricane pilot's insistence that being wealthy he has no need of any ISK.

I am delighted to find that I got in the lucky final blow against the Rupture. As I post the kill, I smile and add this note: "Rupture was bait."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Getting started in lowsec piracy

Just a short while ago, I received a message on my Taranis' computer console from a young pilot seeking advice on getting started in piracy. I get asked this quite a lot, typically from readers of this log or from my victims. New pilots just don't know what to do--they're often literally without a clue. More experienced pilots, however, very often have actual misconceptions, and sometimes would be even worse off than a new pilot in starting a criminal career.

Minimum skills. Prospective pirates want to know what skills are needed to be effective in piracy, and genuinely have a hard time believing that just two are really necessary. (1) High Speed Maneuvering 1 is required, as it lets one use a microwarpdrive (MWD). This module affords a pilot a better chance of being able to dictate range--to fight at a range that is advantageous to him, or perhaps to escape a disadvantageous engagement altogether. (2) Propulsion Jamming 1 allows pilots to fit stasis webifiers (which slow the sub-warp speed of an enemy ship) and warp disrupters and warp scramblers (AKA "warp jammers," these modules prevent the target ship from engaging his warp drive). A webber and jammer are essential tackling gear, preventing the quarry from escaping. The webber also makes it easer for turrets to track their target.

Other skills may serve to enhance a pilot's effectiveness, but they are not required for piracy. Pirates are effective because of their mindset, because they are mentally prepared, because they have a plan, more than because of their skillset or fittings. Having said that, it is certainly recommended that a pirate gain a high level of skill in all subjects that affect the operation of his ship and its modules. Some pirates refuse to fly or fit anything with which they do not have a skill level of at least 4. And indeed, on the minority of occasions when you're facing an equally PvP-capable pilot, you'll be glad for higher skill levels.

What ship? Experienced pirates can do a lot of mischief in just about any known ship, but the "conventional wisdom" recognizes three T1 frigates as superior pirate vessels: the Minmatar Rifter, the Gallente Incursus, and the Amarr Punisher. The Rifter is probably the most feared PvP T1 frigate; the Incursus gets the job done; and while the Punisher suffers in fitting the mid-slots, it can tank like the dickens.

More experienced pilots with no experience in PvP frequently make the mistake of wanting to start their pirate career in a bigger ship. I'd advise against it. Cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, command ships, recon ships, interceptors, whatever--they're best employed after one has a solid foundational knowledge of lowsec PvP, not before. I guarantee that whatever ship you choose, you'll lose it within a matter of hours. Better to do your initial learning in cheap, disposable ships. If you fly something bigger, the lowsec cutthroats will use their encounters with you to preen themselves on their corp killboards and stroke their e-peens.

Now, start your education. Gather a stable of cheap T1 frigates in lowsec, with all the trimmings. Fit them and insure them. Then go out and hunt. Ignore industrial ships--the haulers tend to jump directly from gate to gate or station; considering the sentry guns, you won't be ganking haulers in your frigate. Focus your search on asteroid belts; if a potential target is not at an asteroid belt, chances are it's at a safespot or doing a mission where you can't find it, or at a POS protected by sentry guns. It's possible your elusive target is at a planet or moon--in which case you should expect a more PvP-savvy opponent. What will you be learning as you engage in lowsec belt piracy?
  • Respect for sentry guns. Wait out your criminal timer in space.
  • How to use your ship's onboard scanner.
  • Which ships you may engage with confidence.
  • Which ships you should be wary of, and why.
  • Which systems are target-rich.
  • Which systems to avoid.
  • Tactics and strategy.
Don't believe everything you hear about PvP or piracy; many pilots with hundreds of kills under their belts only have fleet experience, and don't know the first thing about hunting solo; others only know gate camping or nano ganging or some other form of PvP. Try things out. Win or lose, spend part of your timer "debriefing" yourself: what should you try next time? Why did you win/lose? What worked? What didn't work? As you hunt, take notes as to what pilots are flying, what their security status is, who's in what corp, what corps are in what alliance, etc.

Now that you're engaged in a self-guided educational program, it will probably be helpful to learn from the experiences of others. One particularly helpful resource is the Crime and Punishment section of the EVE-online forums; be sure to check out the stickied post at the top with links to pirate guides and resources. Another helpful site is

It's possible that in just a couple of weeks, and with less than 4 million skillpoints, you could be a superior PvP pilot--at least in your area of expertise, small-ship belt piracy. Don't join a pirate corp right now; wait until you have at least 5-10 solo kills (document them by posting your killmails at BattleClinic) to demonstrate that you're not a total noob. It may surprise you to know that the majority of pilots in PvP and pirate corporations only get 0-5 kills a week; by developing a learning mindset, being willing to lose cheap ships, and gaining actual solo experience, you'll be on the road to a successful outlaw career.

Friday, March 14, 2008

It's about time!

Finally--I got a bit of ransom. I don't recall getting any ransom for months, ever since I got 5 million from a Russian pilot in a Retriever (that was blown up so soon afterwards by another pirate gang I still showed up on the killmail). Most of my targets have preferred to die rather than show support for my noble profession; in many cases, I've had to kill fast or be killed, with no time for more civilized discourse.

My corp leaders having abruptly severed our ties with our PvP alliance (it seems we were supplying the PvP, they were supplying drama and politics), I was in my Crow, darting back up into lowsec from 0.0 where I'd recently been part of a grand coalition fleet. At every gate, my former fleet mates were hunting me. With a sigh of relief, I finally passed the first set of sentry guns on a gate; on my next jump, a Vexor showed up on scan; I noted just a single pilot in the system other than myself.

Without taking the time pinpoint his location, I warped directly to the sole asteroid belt in the vicinity; he wasn't there. I noticed there was also an ice field nearby, and quickly headed that direction; no luck. I set my course 100km off the only planet in the area so I could do a more thorough scan--and came out of warp less than 10km from my target! Within moments, I had him scrammed and was launching missiles from a fast orbit.

His shields went down fast; he started taking damage to his armor at a much slower rate, however, and I questioned my ability to break his tank. At this point, seeing a long fight ahead, I opened a ransom channel with my target and began popping his T1 drones. My quarry recalled his surviving drones to his drone bay and transferred 5M ISK to my account. In reply, I merely pointed out that the ransom demand had been for 10M within 30 seconds. To my gratification, an additional 5M soon showed in my account. I disengaged my weapons systems and warp scrammer, thanked my customer, informed him he had a 15 minute pass, and warped to a safespot.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A moving experience

Recently, my corporation joined a PvP alliance and moved to a new home region. I was not enthusiastic about the move. I have the idea that with pirate corps, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence; they always think some other area is better hunting grounds, with vast mining corps spreading solo T2-fit Hulks across the belts, inexperienced pilots trying out battleships for the first time, and mission runners that like to park their faction-fitted vessels near the sun to enjoy the view. Certainly during the short time I was in each of my last two corps, we moved at least once--and generally not to any better spot. In fact, sometimes the moves were to go back to some nostalgic hunting grounds of yore, when the loot flowed like water and pirates were Men. As for me, I was doing well right where we were. But the very reason I joined my corp was to learn, and I recognized the value of learning more with allied corps, bigger fleets, and convenient 0.0 space. I'm going along, with my mind open to new horizons.

In any region of New Eden, there are things useful for a combat pilot to have or to know. Safespots need to be established and undock spots for getting away from stations quickly need to be set up. To scan for targets most efficiently, I like to establish "scan points" in a system that (1) make it harder for someone gunning for me to find me, (2) allow me to see more asteroid belts from fewer vantage points, and (3) allow me to distinguish one belt from another, rather than seeing several all aligned at one point. This lets me safely and quickly find a target's exact location, or at least rule out the presence of any targets on the belts. In a typical star system, I might have 2-3 safespots, 2-5 scan points, and 1-2 undocks. If it's a good system for gate camping, I might also have 2-4 scan points for the gate as well. If it's in 0.0 space, I may establish another 2-3 points that allow me to get around typical bubble locations at gates. I had found such points and bookmarked them in 18 star systems around my old stomping grounds. As of now, I have scouted out just the one system where our new home space station is--so I'm hunting "blind" in the neighboring systems, or hunting very slowly as I gradually build a database of key points in space.

Pilots tend to leave space ships floating in space. They may drop a cheap shuttle to use as a bookmark (pilots who are not computer-literate in regards to current technology don't realize they can bookmark a point in space without an object being required), or they may have a stable of ships snugly inside a forcefield and surrounded by sentry guns at a POS near a moon. For the pirate on the hunt, this means ships show up on the scanner that are either inaccessible without scan probes or well-protected by POS defenses. The first time I enter a system--and probably at least a few times after that--I don't know this, and I waste time hunting those ships down. In my old system, whenever I scanned an area I recognized such ships immediately and ignored them, fixing my eyes instead on a viable target. Now, in our new area, I might let a good target slip away while I establish that the Vexor on my scanner is actually at a POS.

Every pocket of space has its regulars: regular pirates, regular miners, regular ratters, regular haulers, regular mission runners, etc. As a frigate pirate, I'm particularly interested in other pirates (whether as targets to be hunted or as threats to be avoided), miners, and ratters. Haulers and mission runners tend to scurry from sentry gun to sentry gun, and thus rarely present themselves to me as viable targets (in an organized gate camp, of course, everyone is a viable target--but I rarely participate in gate camps). Back in my old home, I recognized at a glance the regular haulers and mission runners, and perked up when I saw an unfamiliar pilot or a known ratter or miner. There may have been 20 pilots in local, but if I saw they were all mission runners, I wouldn't even bother scanning the belts. Back there, if I saw some very familiar miner pilots, I could even sometimes make a good guess as to exactly how far from which belt or ice field they would be mining, and had bookmarks set up to warp directly there. Here in my new home, I spend time checking out each and every pilot, with no idea of what they're up to, or where.

Back in my old home, I had four sweet spots, systems where inexperienced pilots regularly ventured into lowsec for the first time; I got most of my kills in those four systems. In one of them I could scan and distinguish all asteroid belts from a single vantage point! There were other systems in my regular roaming route, however, where I never got a kill. When hunting, I would focus on my sweet spots. Here in my new home area, I have no idea which systems are going to end up being sweet spots for me, and which will be barren. There's no feeling of anticipation as I jump into certain systems, no routine lets-just-get-through-here feeling as I jump into others.

Based on my experience and familiarity with the region, back home I had frigates, interceptors, cruisers of various types, a battlecruiser, and a battleship strategically placed in this system or that, so that if certain anticipated opportunities presented themselves and I was not in a suitable vessel, there would be one parked in the local space station. I was able to quickly take advantage of changing scenarios. I had ammo caches prepared, waiting for the times when I would run low far from my home depot. Now, here in my new guessed it: all my ships, modules, and ammo have been hauled dumped in a single station. As long as it took me to ferry all those ships to their departure point in the old area, it will take me even longer to familiarize myself with this new territory and allocate my assets appropriately.

For the time being, I'm trusting in my corp leadership. They spent several weeks checking out potential sites for relocation, and believe they've found someplace better than the last. I'm sure that, within a week or two, I'll have settled in here and will again feel in my element. And right now I can enjoy the fact that, whereas in my old hunting grounds I was a known outlaw, causing miners and ratters to run for safety the moment I jumped into a system, here I'm an unfamiliar name for most pilots, and may have some extra time to hunt before my prey has read his computer report on my past activities....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How do I savage you? Let me count the ways...(lowsec)

It wasn't long before my security status meant my highsec piracy days were behind me (and I found that out at the end of a sentry gun). Aside from the sentry guns at gates and space stations, in lowsec there are no authorities to punish acts of aggression. Interestingly, this means that as dangerous as lowsec may be, like highsec it remains most dangerous to the pirates themselves--the outlaws who can suffer sentry fire but are not defended by it.

Belt piracy is my meat-and-potatoes. Pirates scan celestial objects (mostly asteroid belts, but also planets, moons, and anything else they can get a fix on) for targets, warp to the target, and attack it. No CONCORD shows up, no faction police; it is tooth and claw, survival of the fittest.

There is a nasty food chain in belt piracy, with clueless pilots interested in mining and ratting at the bottom. However, pirates themselves are at risk at the belts, whether from anti-pirates or other pirates higher on the food chain. Hunters set out harmless-seeming mining vessels as bait; predators appear from under cloaks; reinforcements are called in...anything goes.

Hey you potential miners and ratters--I want to warn you just how at-risk you are in lowsec. Watch the local communications channel; it tells you when people enter the star system, and who they are. It can take just seconds for a pirate to scan you down to a specific belt, and then he's in warp; have warp core stabilizers (WCS or "stabs") so you can defeat their warp scramblers, or be fully aligned to warp out (aimed at your destination, engines engaged and ship moving), and warp out at the first sign of a pirate in the vicinity. A good pirate starts scanning while he's still cloaked from the jump gate, and has bookmarks already set up to scan as many points of interest as fast as possible (fast indeed--most pirates do little else but scan, hour after hour). And don't rely on your battleship to save you; that pirate in a T1 frigate just has to hold you down long enough for his mates to arrive from the other side of the gate.

Some corps set up well-organized mining ops in lowsec, with dedicated security vessels, scouts, and experienced PvP pilots. In such cases, things simply come down to who, from minute to minute, has the biggest blob--the miners or the pirates.

Gate camping. Although there are sentry guns at gates, their DPS is limited and many pirates shrug it off. This means they can sit there at the gate and kill anything that passes through. Pirates in certain cruisers or assault frigates can tank sentry guns long enough to pop a typical industrial ship, scoop up the loot, and get out; other pirates in battlecruisers and battleships can tank sentry guns all day, and just sit there waiting for prey to jump in. Well-organized gate camps have a network of cloaked scouts, so they know exactly who is coming through the gate, and when; they know what's in your cargo (even if it's in a container); they'll have a tackler that can lock most ships faster than they can enter warp; they'll have containers of cap boosters at hand, so their tank never fails; and they'll have ships in reserve or on the other side of the gate if you try to escape.

If you're in a fast ship, like a frigate (and especially interceptors), you can often escape gate camps simply by warping away to a point in front of you. Your small signature radius and quick acceleration don't give the big boys much time to lock you. If you're in a well-tanked ship, you can often escape small gate camps by simply returning to the jump-gate and jumping back through; anyone from the camp who's aggressed you has to wait out a short timer before they are allowed to jump through after you. Ships that can sustain plenty of damage can also load up their low slots with warp core stabilizers; they'll be locked, webbed, and damaged, but eventually they should be able to warp out.

Flying in a fast frigate can help you make it through most gate camps; but don't assume you won't be attacked just because you're in a lowly frigate or shuttle. Many pilots try to be inconspicuous when hauling expensive, low-volume loot such as BPO's--and gate campers know this.

By the way, pirates and anti-pirates are also adept at "turning" gate camps. They'll send an attractive target ahead, one that has a good tank, and perhaps several webbers and warp scramblers; then, about the time the gate campers start engaging the bait, they hear scouts reporting a blob of menacing warships approaching the other side of the gate. One or two of the gate campers often find themselves tackled, then destroyed.

Gate-camping tactics also apply at space stations, where this strategy is called, unsurprisingly, "station-camping."

Scanning down mission runners and breaking safe spots are also well-known lowsec practices, albeit ones that require a bit more skill than belt piracy or gate-camping. Some skilled pirates will use scan probes of various types to locate pilots running missions for agents, or perhaps other pirates who are taking refuge at a safe spot. Once they've got a fix on your location, they'll con an appropriate combat ship, call for reinforcements if desired, and head your way. In highsec, CONCORD would be there with immediate consequences--but not here in lowsec.

Some pirates are so good at what they do, and so familiar with the missions assigned in their star system, that they'll wait for you to kill off most or all of the rats, so that they can scoop up the officer loot and salvage your wrecks, just to sweeten the pot.

War-deccing is used in lowsec just as it is in highsec, by pirates who want to minimize their security hit or remove the threat of sentry fire.

Lowsec is fun--I recommend it. There is no reason to avoid it until you're flying some big mean battleship; in fact, the local pirates are probably more interested in killing battleships than T1 frigates. Come on in while the ships you lose are cheap--it just means the tuition you pay for learning PvP will be that much lower.