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Thread: Hot Ships and Bounties

  1. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #1
    Lead Designer- Elite: Dangerous Frontier Employee

    Hot Ships and Bounties

    Hello Commanders!

    Overall we’re pleased with the changes to Elite’s crime system. However, we’ve got a few remaining issues that we’re interested to get your feedback on.

    Specifically, we want to take a look at how hot ships and hot modules work with ports and outfitting and how to deal with the harshness of minor infractions.

    We’ll take a look at each of these separately.

    Hot Ships and Hot Modules:
    Currently, hot ships cannot access outfitting. This is going to be reverted so that the following rules will be in place:

    • Hot ships can access outfitting as long as the port is not controlled by a faction that has issued a fine or bounty against it.
    • Modules can be taken from a hot ship and placed in storage, effectively becoming hot modules.
      • Hot modules can be freely fitted to any hot ship.
      • Hot modules cannot be fitted to clean ships.
      • Hot modules can be cleaned for a cost (5% of the module’s cost).
    • Any module fitted to a hot ship will instantly become hot.

    Whilst this system works in the main, it suffers from two issues:

    1. The new player trap: it is possible to end up paying much more than you need to, because the cost of cleaning modules can quickly end up being more than the bounty or fine on the ship.
    2. By taking modules from a hot ship (with a very high bounty or fine) and placing them in a ship (with a very small bounty or fine) you can effectively launder the modules’ penalty cost. At the higher tiers, this can amount to significant value as the modules end up being an enormous portion of the ship value, to the point where it becomes cheaper to ditch the hull.

    Whilst neither of these issues are game breaking, we feel that there might be a better, simpler compromise:

    • Ships can access outfitting anywhere except ports controlled by a faction that has issued a bounty or fine against them.
    • Modules can be taken from a hot ship into storage, but a cleaning fee (5% of the module’s value) must be paid up front.
    • Modules can be fitted to a hot ship but they will immediately become hot modules.

    We think that this addresses the new player trap; the cost of cleaning is right up in their grill, leaving no room for misunderstanding. If you have a 2000CR bounty on a hot ship and you’re asked for 10,000CR to clean the first module that you try to place in storage it’s pretty clear that you might want to reconsider.

    At the other end of the scale, you can’t clean modules without paying an amount commensurate with the module’s value.
    Importantly, you are not overly punished in terms of outfitting access and options. As long as the port you are in doesn’t care about the legal status of your ship, you can access outfitting and make changes to your criminal vessel. Sure, it’s gonna’ cost, but that’s simply part of the consequences for being a criminal.

    Bounty Threshold

    The other issue that we’d like to address is related and revolves around the perception that punitive measures in the legal system are too harsh at the lower end of criminal activity.

    The way that crimes work in Elite is that they are classified as either a minor infraction that causes a fine to be issued against the ship, or a serious infraction, which causes a bounty to be issued.

    In general, fines are working OK, because they only affect access to port services and are relatively straightforward to clear at the port. They still increase risk when in space; should your ship be destroyed in a jurisdiction controlled by a faction that has issued a fine against it, you will be processed as a criminal and sent to a detention centre. However, because they do not allow other ships to attack you, it is a manageable risk.

    Bounties at the higher value amounts also work: if you become a valid target in jurisdiction controlled by the faction that issued it, authorities may be summoned to take you down if you are detected. You must visit the shady Interstellar Factors to clear your ship, which they will only do once your Notoriety has faded.

    The issue that has been raised is that at the lower end of the scale, say accidental friendly fire that results in a bounty, or trespass, the measures are too harsh. Being attacked immediately is probably reasonable, but the feedback we’re getting is that the rigmarole of using Interstellar Factors is too much.

    Arguments can be made for and against this stance. Whilst the current system does technically work, we’re considering the following amendment, which we see as a potential improvement:

    1. Bounties that do not include the crime of murder can always be paid off at security contacts.
    2. Bounties that include the crime of murder can only be cleared using Interstellar Factors.

    For this to work, we would mark up bounties that included murder so that they could be visually identified, probably with a skull icon or something similar. We don’t feel they need a different naming convention, as the only difference is how you clear them.

    Again, the idea here is that crime has consequences, but that those consequences are as commensurate as possible. We’re very interested in what you think of this proposal. Elite Dangerous is a complex game, and we know that you folk are best placed to tell us where the holes and issues are, so have at it!

  2. #2

    The hot-ships and hot-modules proposals are fine with me, but this point concerns me:

    1. Bounties that do not include the crime of murder can always be paid off at security contacts.

    With this proposal, I would be able to hatchbreak potentially valuable cargo from a mission runnner and cause them to fail their mission and take a REP hit.

    The consequence for me would be an Assault bounty (~400cr) which I could easily pay off at the security contact in that system.

    As an outlaw player who wants a bit of challenge, thought and planning involved in my gameplay, this seems very soft. I'm sure my poor mission-running victim would agree!

    Please consider this carefully.

  3. #3
    You simply should not be able to pay off a Bounty in a system that you are wanted in; Bounties are a Kill Warrant and in a land where loitoring results in destruction diluting that negates the whole crime and punishment.

    An example of why this is a terrible idea is take piracy; I could sit, interdict and steal loads of high value cargo from NPCs and Players, maybe even disabling their shields, thrusters, life support etc then return to the station, sneak in PAY my bounties and then I'm free to sell my goods and start over.

    We do not need another Focused Feedback thread - we had about 4 weeks of discussion already.

    All that needs to happen is restore Outfitting in non-wanted jurisdictions and have the cleaning bill upfront. Job done. No need for anything else.

    I do like the idea of having a visible indicator that could perhaps be a visual clue that a player is a murderer though.

  4. #4
    This seems like a good and reasonable simplification. It gives more granularity to hoe crimes are treated, and I guess you could build on this in the future with three levels of crime now.
    Minor felony
    Major felony

    This is fully supported.

    I assume that bounties gained by killing skimmers and trespassing are included in the set that is payable at the security contact.

    Edit: Maybe one thing to consider is for Minor felony bounties to only be payable in Anarchies. (Security is more lax and prone to "corruption")
    Disregard, not going to work.
    But making it slightly more difficult than just paying off a fine should be considered.

  5. #5
    Despite the much whinged about downsides there was a lot to be said for the version of the cleaning ship/modules mechanic that required you to visit an Anarchy so how about a compromise where the system works as above but in an Anarchy the costs are lower say 4% in an Anarchy and 6% outside.
    However the module fees are unrelated to the level of your criminality perhaps the percentage cost of cleaning could be varied by the size of your current bounties by adding 1% of the bounty price to the cost of cleaning.

    The two stage bounty system looks promising.

  6. #6
    Hot ships / modules suggestion is reasonable.

    Bounties... Proposal effectively turns minor bounties into fines. If you want to go down that route, fine, but then just call them fines and be done with it. If you're going to treat them as bounties, make them processable as bounties and requiring IF to clear them. Paying off the faction Security Contact to do that feels a bit like roleplaying bribery...

    I spend a lot of time flying with minor bounties on my head, mostly Trespass infractions from planetary scan jobs. The simple way of dealing with these is to make sure that, when I take the jobs, I know where my nearest IF is and include a stop past them every so often to clear the decks. This has, so far, been enough to keep me out of lasting trouble with the authorities; and it shouldn't be considered too much like hard work for a CMDR to keep themselves up-to-date on where certain essential facilities are located. Especially if they're taking missions that will almost certainly incur bounties.

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    By taking modules from a hot ship (with a very high bounty or fine) and placing them in a ship (with a very small bounty or fine) you can effectively launder the modules’ penalty cost. At the higher tiers, this can amount to significant value as the modules end up being an enormous portion of the ship value, to the point where it becomes cheaper to ditch the hull.
    The cheap and nasty workaround would be to copy bounties from the ship to any modules taken from it and then apply them to ships the modules are fitted to (but in a way that does not magically duplicate bounties when repeatedly removing and re-installing modules from and to the same ship). That would kill the laundering routine dead and instead make people potentially have to suffer issues more than once if they decide to play with infectious material. It would of course require very unambiguous messaging what kind of baggage any given module is afflicted with.

  8. #8
    I think this is a good start... Something to consider when a bounty is applied.. For example. Say I was in a mining ship and just doing my regular mining and I have a NPC mining the same rock beside me. Pirates comes along and wants cargo from the NPC ship While another pirate attacks me for my cargo. In prep to defend myself I accidentally bump the NPC miner causing a little bit of damage. NPC ship gets destroyed by the pirate causing my ship to get a murder bounty. Notoriety now 1 and a bounty on my head which means I cannot land at my mining port... I can see that the #1 argument (
    1. Bounties that do not include the crime of murder can always be paid off at security contacts.) would fall under this category. However, it is not the case.

    So the real question is I guess about ramming and what kind of threshold should be created for this to stem from getting murder bounties by accident vs intentional ramming for killing a npc or player...

  9. #9
    I support the idea of only the destruction of a ship results in a bounty. Anything else results in a fine. This is also very simple to understand.

  10. #10
    Am I the only one who reads about "hot modules" and is completely turned off by the prospects of a criminal career? I understand why it exists in the current context of things, but it feels like a patch to a larger problem and not a feature that makes crime in this game feel natural and cool.

  11. #11
    Just sort out the outfitting issues and you'll be good to go.

    Promote smart rounds for those who can't seem to shoot and not hit a friendly ship.

    Put fuel scoops or fuel tanks at a reduced rate at prison facilities so people don't get trapped.

    Job done. This doesn't need much work. The new system is good.

  12. #12
    Rather than modules be based off 5% wouldn't it make more sense to do 5% or bounty, which ever is lower you pay?

    It removes the "new player" tax.. I have another name for it but moving on...

    It also allows players like me to have designated hot modules. Some I clean, as I transfer them, others remain dirty. As they are going back on the ship for travel. Constantly cleaning modules is expensive after a while. No one has brought me to justice. I'm merely paying because I have to. Not entirely fun or engaging.. If security scanned me and had seen the bounties from other systems I could understand. Otherwise its just forcing people to play a certain way. If I had modules stored at the station where I commited the crimes. I can see why those would be expensive to get back.

    Being able to outfit in areas where you are clean makes sense. It was made clear what happens in one jurisdiction is not the worry of anothers. Considering we get massacre missions this makes sense. They don't care why you're wanted unless it's in their area.
    So I'm completely on board with this.

    I prefer flying with my wanted tag and hot modules. I don't want to simply fly in and pay them off. I want someone to take it the proper way. Gank me like you mean it!

  13. #13
    Something else that I think needs consideration is that with some (murder?) bounties, you're effectively locked out of all station services. Which is fine but can we just have "Docking Denied - You're a Bad CMDR!" message (or something) rather than only realising once we've gone through the whole docking rigmarole.

  14. #14
    Seriously, there has been talks about giving anarchy systems a reason, keep pirates and criminals in them. Give them a reason and allow paying off bounties and outfitting in Anarchy/lawless systems regardless the bounty, leave high security systems as restricted areas and hard (not impossible) for criminals camp in. Find a way to fix the other problem but don't break this gameplay, and start balancing the possibilities.

  15. #15
    FDev are at serious risk of undermining their hard work on C&P if these changes make it through unchanged. It'll basically go back ti being no punishment and just a tiny, minor inconvenience.

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