Question from Tsume Eiranus: When you say an attack or raid is "legal" as long as no one else witnesses it and thus informs local authorities, it makes sense regarding NPCs. Kill or capture them, take the haul, make sure no one cat rat you out. How would that work with a PC? Even if I kill them, would they not e able to report the attack after being revived?
Answer (from Rob Irving): So, I think we can see how this person is leaning from the way the question is worded. It's like "It's not illegal if no one saw it!" *laughter*. No, you're still breaking the law, but what we're doing with that is that you need proof is sort of the idea. If you kill somebody in space that has more patrolled, that is toward the center of the UEE, then are probably going to be little pigeon satellites there to convey the data back and forth and your ship is saying "Oh gosh this guy's attacking me!" (It probably doesn't say gosh) and starts broadcasting that out and that information is immediately transmitted. If you're killed somewhere that is not available or someone is jamming those or whatever the case, then what happens is sure you can come back and go "Hey, so and so killed me!", but they're probably not going to believe you. So, there might be possible mission play there where you send a friend out or you go out to try and recover your transponder from your ship to prove who done you wrong.
For those that are surprised, this is answer isn't wholly new. Rob and others have mentioned the "no see, no tell" policy on crime for a while. What is new is the addition mechanics around it. Let's break down the implications:
- There are "pigeon" satellites for conveying distress signals. UEE space has lots of these and frontier / lawless space has fewer / none.
- These satellites likely convey any transmissions, so this may have implications for communications beyond just the distress signal.
- The satellites can be jammed. They may even be able to be destroyed. At this point, I wonder if jamming (or repeated destroying) of satellites for long periods would draw unwanted attention by itself. My guess is that either will need to be used sparingly.
- Regardless, this means that there are direct gameplay mechanics for PvP (or piracy in general) within the UEE. My guess is that the requirements around jamming, time, etc. will force this to be a group effort (e.g. a specialized jamming ship, enough firepower to get the booty before the cops investigate the jam, etc.)
- Even if you block and attack successfully, there is the 'transponder' / black box to worry about. The focus of the question was the additional gameplay for the victim, but there is more here for pirates? How do we insure the incriminating evidence is destroyed? Do we need higher end scanners to pick up the box? Do we need to keep as much of the ship intact as possible to more easily locate it? Or, perhaps, it is more of a time tradeoff. Spend that extra 5 minutes scanning for the box or take your chances that the victim isn't coming back.
- Both the box and the pigeons encourage the piracy be pushed toward the frontier, especially for smaller pirate groups or solo players. The harder it is to get back to the box from friendly space, the less likely the victim will spend the time to go on the revenge (or justice , depending on your point of view) mission. If someone is attacked in an area you haunt, there are chances for repeated attacks of people trying to get their box back.
- Lastly, what would happen if you could find and hack the black box? Could you blame someone else for your crime?
Interesting times ahead.