Crime & Punishment
When breaking the law, there are three kinds of consequence; Fines, Bounties, and Notoriety. Fines are issued for minor infractions, bounties for larger ones, and Notoriety is gained for killing innocents, System Authority Vessels, or 'clean' bounty hunters.
Fines and bounties never expire, unlike previous implementations of crime systems in the game.
Fines are earned for minor infractions such as high-speed collisions in a starport's no-fire zone, abandoning transport missions, and being caught with stolen goods.
When you have a Fine, you'll be forced to use Anonymous Access and so won't be able to use all Starport Services until the fine is cleared. Fortunately, Fines can be cleared at the station's security contact - just pay the fine and you're good to go. Unlike bounties, having a Fine won't draw aggressive attention from the system's police/security forces, and it isn't legal for Bounty Hunters to destroy a ship just for having a Fine; you can safely dock at a station without having to resort to the same kind of covert docking techniques as favoured by smugglers or pirates. You won't be deported to a Detention Centre for paying fines either.
Bounties (not to be mistaken for Bounty Vouchers) are earned for damaging a "Clean" player or NPC, committing certain crimes (e.g. trespassing), destroying property (e.g. Generators), and so on. Whilst there is a little leeway before earning a bounty, it seems to scale with whether or not the victim was actively targeted, the amount of damage inflicted, and the target's resilience to that damage; a small ship will be less likely to receive a bounty from hitting a larger ship, whereas a large ship is far more likely to get in trouble for damaging a smaller ship.
Small bounties are limited to a Local jurisdiction; wherever that ship happened to commit a particular crime. However, if the bounty reaches a certain threshold (around 10,000cr) it is upgraded into an Interstellar bounty. That means if you manage to build up 10,000cr worth of minor bounties with a specific Federation-aligned faction, it'll be upgraded to a Federation bounty; you're fair game anywhere in Federation space. Note that having active bounties on your ship puts you at risk of random System Authority and Bounty Hunter interdiction whilst travelling in systems where you are Wanted.
Ships with a valid bounty in the current jurisdiction on them are marked as WANTED when targeted. Bounties for other jurisdictions can be revealed with a Kill Warrant Scanner; ships with bounties that are only valid in other jurisdictions will be marked as WARRANT. Destroying a WANTED ship awards Bounty Vouchers which can be redeemed at a relevant security contact or Interstellar Factor - but note that destroying a ship that has no valid bounties in the current jurisdiction is still considered a crime, even if they possess bounties valid in other jurisdictions.
Bounties are attached to the specific ship they were earned in, and so can be managed somewhat; having spare ships to move around in whilst only committing crimes in specific ships is a potential option. A side-effect of this is that ship with active bounties will be "Hot", and the resale value of its parts are significantly reduced as a result.
Bounties can be cleared one of two ways, assuming you have zero Notoriety;
- Turn yourself in. This requires docking at a station aligned with the faction you're Wanted by, which can be risky in the first place - most larger stations have groups of patrolling security forces that will open fire if they detect an active Bounty. Once docked, however, you can speak to a local Security Contact and turn yourself in to pay off the bounty. You'll be deported to a nearby Detention Centre, but will otherwise be unharmed.
- Find an Interstellar Factors contact and pay off the bounty there. This is the safer and easier option; simply track down one of these contacts using the Galaxy Map or other tools, dock at the station they're at, and pay it off. No deportation, no having to fly back to where your ship was.
Remember, though, that both options require that you have no Notoriety accumulated. It's also important to remember that the old tactic of clearing bounties with a sacrificial Sidewinder no longer works, as you'll still have to pay off the bounties when you respawn at the nearest Detention Centre.
Notoriety is earned specifically for destroying "Clean" player or NPC ships; one point per ship destroyed, up to a maximum of ten points. Acquired Notoriety fades at a rate of one point per two hours of active game time; the timer pauses whilst logged out or offline. It decays even whilst docked
Unlike a bounty, Notoriety is attached to you, specifically, not your ships. It follows you everywhere no matter what you do.
A high notoriety score has three main effects;
- Elite Advanced Tactical Response units will be deployed in place of regular system security forces when a crime is committed.
- Switching to a cheaper ship in order to reduce Rebuy costs when destroyed by System Authority or Bounty Hunters will not work; a modifier is applied to your Rebuy costs.
- Destroying another player whilst you have high Notoriety will reduce their Rebuy costs.
- See Official FAQ on Crime & Punishment at the Helpdesk: https://support.frontier.co.uk/kb/faq.php?id=423