Hello Commanders!

For an inaugural post we’ve got something to discuss that we’ve been mulling over for a little while now, and we hope you’ll find it interesting.

We’re considering a significant change to how crime works and we want your feedback!

First, full disclosure time. We like the concept of how crime works in Elite Dangerous. It’s a thorough system that allows for interesting depth and choice.

However, such complexity has not been without its challenges, primarily with the idea of consequence for crime. Specifically, how and when the criminal is brought to justice.

First, let’s take a very quick recap of the current system at its basic level:

Current Crime Rules
  • Bounties and fines are assigned to Commanders
  • Fines mature into bounties if not paid within a time limit
  • Bounties mature into legacy fines if not claimed within a time limit
  • Bounties and fines are linked to a factional jurisdiction
  • Bounties and fines can be discovered, causing the Commander to be wanted in associated jurisdictions
  • Commanders killed once a bounty has been discovered bestow the reward upon the Commander that destroyed their ship
  • Bestowed bounties become legacy fines, payable only upon respawning within an associated jurisdiction

With the amazing benefit of hindsight and feedback, we have two areas that we think could be improved:

Appropriate consequences for criminal activity.
When a criminal loses their ship and respawns there is a high chance the penalty is deferred, potentially indefinitely, whether it is a fine or bounty. This is why we introduced the ship rebuy penalty, to avoid manipulation of death and respawning in order to not pay appropriate ship costs. Whilst this ostensibly works as a concept, it’s a little clunky, especially when dealing with infractions against other human Commanders.

A more legible crime system.
An overall streamlining of how crimes work, reducing the number of stages that crimes pass through, making the system more legible as well as more robust. Crime in Elite: Dangerous was always meant to be complex, but we want to avoid it being too complicated.

A little while back, we saw a relatively innocuous post in the forums. It suggested that crimes should be applied to vessels rather than Commanders. The more we thought about this idea, the better it seemed to get.

Which has lead us to the following suggestion. We’ve worked through it reasonable thoroughly and really like the result. But we want to put it out for examination to you folk, to see what you make of it.

The first part of the overall is the basic concept of how bounties and fines are applied:

New Rules For Bounties and Fines

  • Bounties and fines are applied to ships, making the ship “hot”
  • Bounties and fines never expire or mature
  • Hot ships have restricted services at starports
  • Hot ships have limitations to ship transfer, module transfer and sale
  • Fines can be paid off at the security office, bounties can be cleared using Interstellar Factors at an exorbitant mark up

The second part of the overhaul deals with another big philosophical change. Currently, when your ship is destroyed you always go back to the last starport you docked at.

The change we are looking at here is pretty big:

New Rules For Respawning

  • You respawn at a location dependent on the circumstances of your ship’s destruction, in a hierarchy:
    • If you were detected as wanted or hostile you respawn at the nearest appropriate detention facility
    • If you were not hostile or not detected as wanted you respawn at the nearest non-hostile starport in the system
    • If there are no suitable starports in the system you respawn where you last docked.

First, a word on detention facilities. These would likely be megaships, hand placed, few in number. They would be aligned with one of the super powers, with one set being effectively a private correctional facility used by all independent factions.

Respawning at such a location would ensure that any legal costs would have to be paid, with no way to avoid them.

Hopefully, you can see how this structure makes avoiding paying your dues much more difficult to do. When you factor in a pumped up authority response (internally we are calling them ATR, advanced tactical responders, and oh my, they are serious guys), we think the system is more robust, whilst retaining the principles of the current crime system.

However, there’s no denying this is a big change! Fundamentally:

  • Your ship accumulates crimes, not you as a Commander
  • When your ship is boiled with detected crimes you are forced to respawn at a location where you will have to pay the legal costs
  • You will have limited access to services in jurisdictions where your ship is wanted.

It’s worth adding a little bit of detail at this point. The proposed system is both potentially harsher and softer: it’s harder to avoid paying for crimes in a hot ship, but easier to avoid consequences if you’re prepared to shelve the wanted ship.

In addition, we’d change the rules a little when it comes to issued bounties, probably by increasing the damage that it takes to suffer one, and adding a lower, fine-based penalty for smaller amounts of friendly fire.

OK, this is where you lot come in!

You will see a few more threads along with this one:

To keep things sane (as can be), we want you to post specific issues that you think of in the issues thread and suggestions in the suggestions and support thread (well, duh!). This is also the place to comment if you feel the feature is in general, an improvement.

If you can think of specific details that are not described but that you think are important, pop these requests in the detail requests thread!

We’ll let this topic stew here for a while, at least a week, but it will very much depend on the feedback.

Remember, these threads are not for discussion – it’s fine to read what others have put, but try to ensure your posts are directed at us rather than your fellow posters – you can debate the details in non-sticky threads to your heart’s content!

This is very much an experiment, so be aware we might make changes as we go to fine tune this sub-forum concept. We hope you will take a few steps along this little odyssey behind the curtain with us.