From: The Big Nowhere
Jim, the example I gave, had me not paying them once in that game, yet they grew to immense strengths due to being the only pirate faction and the AI (I presume) paying them lots of money
Remember, pirates are taking out the AI empires also, so normally you're only paying a fraction of what they're earning (unless you've really pissed them off, in which case they'll want more from you I'm guessing)
ORIGINAL: Constantine XI
I think there is a high degree of variance here. I have yet to encounter a mega pirate faction with hundreds of ships, or even a pirate faction that maintained aggression to the point where I couldn't get my own empire up and running. Maybe I have just gotten lucky.
Run very few pirates in a pre-warp game on hard or very hard difficulty, more often than not, a super-pirate faction will indeed merge
It kinda of funny in a weird way, that it would be logical that less pirates = easier time, but the game actually has it the other way round, part of me thinks it brilliant, another part of me thinks it might need altering lol
I've played with pirates set to very many, nearby and on extreme difficulty...they are a major PITA in that set up, but you can do it. Also keep in mind that every time you offer a contract to smuggle, defend, or attack you are financing their war machine. So you have to weigh every action you take.
One key thing guys is to make sure you have adequate troops on your colonies. I keep a minimum of 5 on each planet, which really reduces the pirates chances of successfully raiding your planets and stealing money or resources.
Distant Worlds Fan
'When in doubt...attack!'