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The latest alpha build of Star Citizen, Alpha 3.6, hones in on the ‘citizen’ part of the title. This latest build introduces law and order to the game’s persistent world, and that has a host of knock-on effects.
Alpha 3.6 is a pretty substantial update, and the new law and order system headlines the list of changes. Players who break the law will encounter NPC security forces and police, and these will track down, fine, or even kill criminals. This isn’t a particularly new idea in a space sim, but Star Citizen is making things a bit more interesting than just robot cops coming after rules-breakers.
First, the universe is broken down into ‘jurisdictions,’ and these will have their own particular approaches to laws. Some actions that are legal in certain areas are considered crimes in others, so it’s important to pay attention to where you are and what the local ordinances are.
More interesting still is the fact that criminalizing certain substances in certain areas creates grey and black markets for those items, and that’s the economic driver behind everyone’s favorite space activity since Han Solo first showed up on movie screens: smuggling.