Piracy and Thievery

Joined
Aug 11, 2019
Messages
12
#1
There are many questions that I have on the topic of piracy. These questions are important because they affect the safety of the law abiding populace and behavior of criminals.
  • Will there be pilot seat locks of any sort?
Whether it be faction locked, locked to a specific player, or locked to a whitelist of specified players, a pilot seat lock would be great for safety, and would give any pilot peace of mind about their ship. However, I cannot see this being used unless implemented properly.

If a ship is locked to a specific pilot via the seat itself, when a ship is captured, simply bolt down a new pilot seat, reconnect the wiring, and your on your way.

Ship locks based on blueprint or the ship in its entirety would entirely end piracy of whole ships. As a consequence, this would make repairing wrecked ships for personal use impossible unless the designs were copied to a new vessel. This system is not viable for that reason alone.

A system that would foreseeably work quite well is YOLOL regulated pilot seats. Add a chip specifically designed to create a "fly list" by username. The chip could be hidden within the ship to prevent unwanted people from flying, but any pilot familiar with their ship would be able to add people to the fly list quite easily. Pirates would either have to locate and add themselves to this chip, or start chopping wires until they can fly. Either way, it would make theft harder but still make it possible to steal ships for big profit. These chips should also have selective access (only accessible by those on the fly list) in safe zones to prevent any theft from an area deemed safe, while still allowing new pilots to be added during building, editing, or sale of the ship.
  • Will there be a ship ownership/tagging system?
Considering ships will primarily be built upon a blueprint system, being able to add an ownership tag to ships would be useful for many reasons. One, large fleets will be able to distinguish between each members' copy of the same ship. Two, if a ship is stolen, an observant police officer or citizen would be able to realize the ship does not belong to the pilot. Three, if ships are tagged, salvaging companies can contact and resell the wreckage back to pilots. On the criminal side, chop shops can be created where ships are scrapped down for their valuable parts then disposed of. These tags will require a transfer feature for sales and the ability to link to a faction to be made useful.
  • Will AI traders exist?
The ability to trade with an AI makes selling stolen goods much easier. No one would ask questions, and the goods will integrate into the market as a regularly acquired item. AI makes selling goods much easier as you don't have to find a willing player to buy them, but it makes selling stolen items way too easy. Lowering sales price will deter the sale of stolen goods, but it will also discourage the average producer from selling.
  • Considering there is no established law enforcement, or law in general, how will pirates and thieves be held accountable for their actions?
In theory, pirates will become known, resulting in people refusing service to them and destroying their ships when possible. But in the void of space will any of this occur? Hiring pirates to combat other factions will probably be an effective combat method. Not just pirates but hiring spies or saboteurs too. These third parties that make a fortune doing the criminal dirty work are likely going to have no accountability outside of another persons honor code. Much like in the real world, established wealth will prevail over the law and we must only hope people behave well.

Imagine this scenario. You lead Faction A and actively combat faction B. Faction B pays a thief to steal a large combat ship from Faction A. The thief works his way into Faction A as a repairman and actively services ships for a short amount of time. Suddenly, you watch as an unknown pilot takes off in a large warship. Maybe a battle is going on? Maybe flight tests? Maybe I should send some men to reclaim it... oh wait... that's a warship, it wont be easy. The thief can simply break the transmitters on the ship and deliver it with a bow to Faction B. Unless you have some uncanny detective skills or watched the entire thing take place, which is highly unlikely, no one would know for sure how the ship was stolen. The thief receives a massive payout, adds a job to his resume, and sinks back into the shadows.

Sure that would be a perfect situation, but in a faction with hundreds of members, who knows, big things can fall through the cracks. For all we know members of the Cobrastan Cult has members in every faction they deem threatening. For all we know the rivals of the Cobrastan Cult have members inside of it. It really wouldn't take much to do at this state of the game.

  • In Conclusion
Although it may be annoying at times, piracy adds a certain flavor to the game that I would much enjoy. The constant threat, the need to properly defend each and every vessel, and best of all, the creation of an underground crime ring. Staying anonymous while perpetrating large factions in an online game is next to impossible, but with high risk comes high reward. I hope that stealing is entirely possible, but that it poses enough of a challenge that only some will take on the profession. The selling of blueprints, YOLOL code, and faction information could create a hidden world beneath the stars, one that you can only find if you know exactly where to look, and have the reputation to back up your existence there.

  • Side Note
I find it comical that factions are calling themselves out as pirate factions. Sure, members will join, but when committing a crime, you need a crew you trust and anonymity. Posting your pirate faction on the SFF provides you with a crew of random players and labels you as someone who is not to be trusted. Put a target on your back all you want, when something important gets stolen by a real pirate, everyone will be coming for you first.
 
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Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
8
#2
Maybe a hidden kill switch could be possible? (Press a hidden button at the opposite end of the ship and it refuses to turn on until the button is pressed once more.)

What do you think?
 

LauriFB

Administrator
Moderator
Frozenbyte
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
203
#3
Will there be pilot seat locks of any sort?
The only 100% safety is safe zones and despawning ships at safe zone stations (note that dynamic safe zones can be lost, so it's important to despawn at a well secured station if you store your ship for longer time). However, despawning is available usually at any trading hub or any station who wishes to have any visitors, so that should be plenty. Player-established trade hubs most likely will offer full protection similar to dev faction stations.

Outside safe zones you can wire your ship as you wish, and maybe some robot-id-tech will also come available, but nothing is 100% proof as very skilled pirates can bypass measurements, given enough time. It's also worth noting that you can pilot ships without sitting in the chair, or even without the chair at all. The chair just enables the quickbinds for the piloting, which is much more convenient than manually turning levers.

The despawn/spawn system supports ownership/pilot lists, but once ship is spawned and flown outside safe zone it can be stolen. Note that initial safe zone will be rather large and includes all basic trading/mining. Initial safe zone is also expanding, but expansion rate is based on how many players participate in the expansion jobs (ie. participate building new stations at the borders of the safe zone, thus expanding the zone). Most likely expansion direction is inside the asteroid field.

If your ship gets stolen you usually get insurance out of it.


Will there be a ship ownership/tagging system?

There will be a ownership registry where the legal owner of the ship is listed. There is also (optional) ship ID broadcasting system coming, which broadcasts ID attached to the device (and to a certain ship). Ships who broadcast their ID can be checked from registry, most likely anywhere. Players can opt to not have ID broadcaster or opt to turn it off, but most law enforcement armies will most likely take that as a sign of illegal ship.


Will AI traders exist?

There will be stations operating in the grey zone, and some of them will definitely also accept stolen goods. Whether or not they are player-built or some dev faction black ops thing, I don't know yet :unsure:

I think stolen ships sell for a fraction of their list value as their use is limited, but for some players stolen ships are perfect way to get a ship cheap and fast. Especially if you are a pirate there's a lot of good uses for very cheap illegal ships, albeit a legal ship can be used as a disguise better. (but pirates should note that if your legal ID gets reported for piracy it might be flagged as pirate ID anyways, and there goes the legal status).

Many "illegal" ship ID's will most likely be simply "Owned by insurance company", so it's not straight out always "Stolen ship", thus someone might just think it's a ship someone found and is now returning it to it's legal owner.


Considering there is no established law enforcement, or law in general, how will pirates and thieves be held accountable for their actions?
Imperial army will act as a law enforcement, and my plan is to establish that first thing in the pre-alpha. However the numbers will be limited and a lot of resources are tied up fighting terrorist kingdom, so Empire can only secure most vital trade routes and hubs, and even those with a schedule (like armed convoy leaving every two hours or so).
 
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DrunkRussianBear

Chancellor of the Argentavian Federation
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
313
#5
The only 100% safety is safe zones and despawning ships at safe zone stations (note that dynamic safe zones can be lost, so it's important to despawn at a well secured station if you store your ship for longer time). However, despawning is available usually at any trading hub or any station who wishes to have any visitors, so that should be plenty. Player-established trade hubs most likely will offer full protection similar to dev faction stations.

Outside safe zones you can wire your ship as you wish, and maybe some robot-id-tech will also come available, but nothing is 100% proof as very skilled pirates can bypass measurements, given enough time. It's also worth noting that you can pilot ships without sitting in the chair, or even without the chair at all. The chair just enables the quickbinds for the piloting, which is much more convenient than manually turning levers.

The despawn/spawn system supports ownership/pilot lists, but once ship is spawned and flown outside safe zone it can be stolen. Note that initial safe zone will be rather large and includes all basic trading/mining. Initial safe zone is also expanding, but expansion rate is based on how many players participate in the expansion jobs (ie. participate building new stations at the borders of the safe zone, thus expanding the zone). Most likely expansion direction is inside the asteroid field.

If your ship gets stolen you usually get insurance out of it.



There will be a ownership registry where the legal owner of the ship is listed. There is also (optional) ship ID broadcasting system coming, which broadcasts ID attached to the device (and to a certain ship). Ships who broadcast their ID can be checked from registry, most likely anywhere. Players can opt to not have ID broadcaster or opt to turn it off, but most law enforcement armies will most likely take that as a sign of illegal ship.



There will be stations operating in the grey zone, and some of them will definitely also accept stolen goods. Whether or not they are player-built or some dev faction black ops thing, I don't know yet :unsure:

I think stolen ships sell for a fraction of their list value as their use is limited, but for some players stolen ships are perfect way to get a ship cheap and fast. Especially if you are a pirate there's a lot of good uses for very cheap illegal ships, albeit a legal ship can be used as a disguise better. (but pirates should note that if your legal ID gets reported for piracy it might be flagged as pirate ID anyways, and there goes the legal status).

Many "illegal" ship ID's will most likely be simply "Owned by insurance company", so it's not straight out always "Stolen ship", thus someone might just think it's a ship someone found and is now returning it to it's legal owner.



Imperial army will act as a law enforcement, and my plan is to establish that first thing in the pre-alpha. However the numbers will be limited and a lot of resources are tied up fighting terrorist kingdom, so Empire can only secure most vital trade routes and hubs, and even those with a schedule (like armed convoy leaving every two hours or so).
This is great stuff! Thanks for the information.
 

Atreties

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
110
#6
The only 100% safety is safe zones and despawning ships at safe zone stations (note that dynamic safe zones can be lost, so it's important to despawn at a well secured station
How does one gain or lose a dynamic safe zone? You mentioned players being able to create trade hub safe zones.

If your ship gets stolen you usually get insurance out of it.
Have you given thought to how you will deal with insurance fraud? I can easily see people "Stealing" ships from themselves by splitting their factions, trading ships, and getting free insurance credit for them.
 
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Atreties

Veteran endo
Joined
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Messages
110
#7
I find it comical that factions are calling themselves out as pirate factions. Sure, members will join, but when committing a crime, you need a crew you trust and anonymity. Posting your pirate faction on the SFF provides you with a crew of random players and labels you as someone who is not to be trusted. Put a target on your back all you want, when something important gets stolen by a real pirate, everyone will be coming for you first.
And i find your reaction, and other similar reactions to be comical.

You drastically underestimate the amount of effective "piracy" that will be going on.

A large majority of players outside of the safe zones will effectively be pirates. Most will likely not roleplay as such, but if you fly in range of them, you will be disabled, looted, and your ship will be stolen. This will be the norm outside of the starting safezones and dev faction areas.

Stolen ships will not matter. The 'legality' of goods will not matter.

Having a "target on your back" is completely irrelevant, and is already a given. Peace will be an exception. Peace will likely happen some between neighboring stations, but aside from that, war IS the game.

The sooner people realize this reality, the better. Do not expect ownership or any other legality to protect you outside of safezones.
 
Joined
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Messages
11
#8
Stealing a ship will not matter, if you lose a ship you stole, you've lost someone else's work. The amount you can steal or the damage you can cause with that stolen ship will highly outweigh any type of punishment you can attach to it, especially if there is going to be no AI security force like you have in high-sec EVE (even then people take their chances). Atreties is right, people will steal and there will be a black market for those goods, especially with two opposing factions, steal from one sell to the other.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2019
Messages
18
#9
I feel there should be high-sec areas like in EVE. If its all unguarded space aside from the small safe zones then griefing and anarchy will run wild, while that sounds tantalizing for some people it does not bode well for player growth and retention.
 

Vexus

Veteran endo
Joined
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#10
The starter safe zones will be very large, and encompass a big chunk of the asteroid belt. The security will come from players in the form of the dev factions among other things. Not sure how that will work out. I think if they can just maintain a large enough safe zone (which they will) the incentive of larger profit in going out of the safe zone will be good enough to see combat. It should be a fairly optional risk/reward system where if there's not much "action" for piracy around the safe zones, players resort to picking on the dev-factions more, which is reasonable considering they will be sizable and natural fighters due to fighting their opposing faction, and will have all sorts of logistics going on to make pirating those ships more frequent and lucrative, and no one can complain because that's just part of war and what they signed up for :)
 

DrunkRussianBear

Chancellor of the Argentavian Federation
Joined
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Messages
313
#11
The starter safe zones will be very large, and encompass a big chunk of the asteroid belt. The security will come from players in the form of the dev factions among other things. Not sure how that will work out. I think if they can just maintain a large enough safe zone (which they will) the incentive of larger profit in going out of the safe zone will be good enough to see combat. It should be a fairly optional risk/reward system where if there's not much "action" for piracy around the safe zones, players resort to picking on the dev-factions more, which is reasonable considering they will be sizable and natural fighters due to fighting their opposing faction, and will have all sorts of logistics going on to make pirating those ships more frequent and lucrative, and no one can complain because that's just part of war and what they signed up for :)
This explains it pretty well.
 

LauriFB

Administrator
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Frozenbyte
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#12
How does one gain or lose a dynamic safe zone? You mentioned players being able to create trade hub safe zones.
The idea revolves around military presence contributing to both safety and loss of it (own side contributes to safety, opponents to loss). Which side wins is solved by shooting at each other.

You can also get safety provided by others thru alliances.

Details of the design, and majority of the implementation are still under work.


Have you given thought to how you will deal with insurance fraud? I can easily see people "Stealing" ships from themselves by splitting their factions, trading ships, and getting free insurance credit for them.
I think both insurance fraud and inspecting it will be part of the gameplay. But we'll see how that turns out.
 
Joined
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#13
I feel there should be high-sec areas like in EVE. If its all unguarded space aside from the small safe zones then griefing and anarchy will run wild, while that sounds tantalizing for some people it does not bode well for player growth and retention.
Im afraid you are in for a rude awakening if you think getting pirated or destroyed, even for no other reason than "we can," is "griefing." (Whatever that even means.) Embrace the anarchy and prepare to defend yourself. The anarchy and ruthlessness is one of the most compelling parts to these types of games.
 

DrunkRussianBear

Chancellor of the Argentavian Federation
Joined
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#14
Im afraid you are in for a rude awakening if you think getting pirated or destroyed, even for no other reason than "we can," is "griefing." (Whatever that even means.) Embrace the anarchy and prepare to defend yourself. The anarchy and ruthlessness is one of the most compelling parts to these types of games.
It tends to be a part of the game that can't be avoided.
 
Joined
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#15
Im afraid you are in for a rude awakening if you think getting pirated or destroyed, even for no other reason than "we can," is "griefing." (Whatever that even means.) Embrace the anarchy and prepare to defend yourself. The anarchy and ruthlessness is one of the most compelling parts to these types of games.
That is literally the definition of griefing and you damn well know it. And I'm not in for any type of awakening, I fully know players like you just see games like this as an excuse to be general @sshats to anyone that isn't part of your circle. But as a game and business model the developers have to find a right balance between a balanced player experience that has some things for all types and just complete anarchy.
 

Venixer

Well-known endo
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#16
Funny thing about Pirate piloted vessels.

They seem to be made of remarkably magnetic materials, that attract every missile, torpedo, shell and bullet fired. They even attract laser and plasma blasts.
 
Joined
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15
#17
That is literally the definition of griefing and you damn well know it. And I'm not in for any type of awakening, I fully know players like you just see games like this as an excuse to be general @sshats to anyone that isn't part of your circle. But as a game and business model the developers have to find a right balance between a balanced player experience that has some things for all types and just complete anarchy.
A griefer or bad faith player is a player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game, using aspects of the game in unintended ways. -Wikipedia

Unintended ways. PVP is definitely an intended aspect of this game so no, Piracy and Destruction are not the definition of griefing.
 

Morrgard

Master endo
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Aug 9, 2019
Messages
374
#18
I think Pirates will be a really interesting part to everyone's existence in Starbase, it will add the notion that space is not a friendly place and that you have to prepare that not everyone will be likeminded peaceful as you, even in terms of peace times. There is always that threat to watch out for, that something you either prepare for or hope to avoid.

It gives space some more life, I don't think I want piracy to be rare as I think the element they provide is really nice. It's just the way you counter it that matters if you run, fight or somehow manage to negotiate with the pirates.
 

NoName

Learned-to-turn-off-magboots endo
Joined
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Messages
49
#19
A griefer or bad faith player is a player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game, using aspects of the game in unintended ways. -Wikipedia

Unintended ways. PVP is definitely an intended aspect of this game so no, Piracy and Destruction are not the definition of griefing.
Very well written and very true as well. It will be exciting to see how PvP and PvE elements coexist in the game world and what balance may be struck between them (piracy included).
 

Atreties

Veteran endo
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Messages
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#20
That is literally the definition of griefing and you damn well know it. And I'm not in for any type of awakening, I fully know players like you just see games like this as an excuse to be general @sshats to anyone that isn't part of your circle. But as a game and business model the developers have to find a right balance between a balanced player experience that has some things for all types and just complete anarchy.
No. It's not.

Griefing is shutting someone out of the ability to play the game for no other reason than to cause the other player grief. If you kill someone to take their stuff, or to defend your territory, or because youre trying to prevent them from taking finite resource in the area, that is not griefing in any way. That's normal, completely intended gameplay.

Usually griefing is done via some sort of unintended game mechanic or exploit. An example in SB would be going to a starter safezone, making a ship that has a cavity on the bottom, and landing on people, trapping them inside it with 0 way to get out or play the game.
 
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