With factions and reputation implemented the time has come to start thinking about how they should affect gameplay. At the moment, faction reputation is a number between -100 and 100 where NPCs will consider anyone with a reputation smaller than -50 an enemy, and anyone with a reputation larger than 50 an ally. Enemies will be attacked on sight by ships and stations.
If a player kills an NPC, his reputation for that faction will drop by 5 points. 1 point will be subtracted from each of the faction's allies reputation, and 1 point will be added to each of the faction's enemies reputation. In short, if you kill a ship, his friends won't like it, and his enemies will.
Currently, NPC kills are the only (non-cheating) way to change your reputation, and that's something I like to change in the future. Doing missions for a faction would obviously affect reputation, but that's for the future.
For now, I want to experiment with trade reputation: buying or selling cargo would influence your reputation with your trade partner. This will basically come down to finding the right balance, e.g. 1 reputation point for 1000 units.
Buying powerful weapons and large ships can also be restricted to players with a friendly reputation or, and this brings us to the next point, players belonging to that faction.
Players could be allowed to actually join a faction, restricting them that faction's equipment,
adding more roleplay to the game. Note that if I do add hardcore roleplay features,
I intend to make them optional. I don't like a too restrictive game myself,
but there might be an audience for it.