Does anybody who has played X3:TC know if it ever works to tell ships to surrender when you are in a dog fight with them?
I've spent a few dozen hours with it and I've yet to see any ship surrender. I've been told by a friend who's played a lot more than I that you have to have overwhelming firepower and a strong reputation before they'll even consider it. In short, I wouldn't waste your time until you've made it into the middle or late game.
It's based off three things:
1) You firepower (most important. Fast ROF, low damage weapons are nice for this so you don't blow something up as they eject. PRGs, IFEs etc.)
2) Enemy ship class (you'll see more M3/4 pilots ejecting than M1 ones, for example)
3) Your military reputation. It only takes a little bit of combat and this jumps RIGHT up.
4) Pilot race. As already stated, you won't see many split or paranid ejecting unless you REALLY pile on the hurt. Teladi and Boron eject a lot more, as do pirates. (did an escort freighter mission and they were doing the hokey-pokey by the exit gate, while more Yaki kept coming. With my two M4s I ended up snagging about 5-8 ships, mostly Fujin variants and a few Raijin variants. That's firing 4 PACs to drop the shields, then 2 PACs and 2 IFEs to attack the hull so they don't die to fast and they have a chance to eject.
Best things to do are grab a second combat ship to match your own (preferably a vanguard or sentinel so your AI buddy has a good amount of shields) and make sure his weapons are a balanced mix-- otherwise he'll probably run out of energy and be useless. Also give him a nice load of missiles and put their missile fire probability up to like 10-20%. You'll need to keep them resupplied, but it's nice to see in combat.
Then do station defence missions. I just did one at the plankton plant in Kingdom's End (a very hard one for 200k listed reward) with my Buster Vanguard and AI wingman in a buster raider (less shields, but the speed is nice for chasing down anything that I can't catch.) That's two M4s.
I nearly shit myself as the enemies came in through the jumpgate. A whole load of pirate M5s, a few M4s, an M3 and an M8 (bomber.) They trickled forward slowly, spreading out. Cue destroying every ship one by one until I reach the bomber-- Two M4s firing a mix of PACs and the cheap IFEs (4 PACs and 2 IFEs each, set up right it's a nice balance of firepower and power drain on an M4) chopped it right up-- AND THEN IT BAILED. About five hours in, barely anything to my name and CHACHING, a bomber pilot ejects. I repaired it back to full and dear lord it sold for over 3mil.
I'm gonna use those two Argon busters as wingmen for my nova, whenever the hell I can afford one.
When I'm looking for force others to bail I usually go with a Boron M3 that's heavy on the ION and has some additional hull type firepower. Shredding the shields makes the ROF factor spike for the calculator. I tried just ION but the success rate dropped considerably. Either there is a hull damage factor as well or the hull damage keeps the calculation high enough, long enough to about double the surrender rate.