The bounty system has been a massive joke in EVE Online, being largely ineffective. As a major change for Retribution, CCP plans to re-invent the bounty system and attempt to introduce a real method of bounty hunting to the game. CCP has released two dev blogs regarding this topic, one detailing the overall basics of the system and the most recent one, getting a little more specific into how the system will work.
Bounty hunting hasn’t really taken off the way it could have in EVE given the proper mechanics, and that might change with the new mechanics set in place. Bounties are significantly changing, allowing the ability to place bounties on individuals, corporations, and alliances. Although you cannot place bounties on NPC corporations or agents, you can place bounties on players in NPC corporations, meaning all players can be affected by a bounty under the new system.
The payout for bounties has also changed significantly. Bounties are no longer tied specifically to pod kills, but to ships being blown up and their worth (hull + modules). You receive 20% of the payout of the loss value, or as CCP puts in an example: “If you have a 150 million bounty on you and the loss value of the kill report is 100 million, then 20 million will be paid out, leaving your remaining bounty at 130 million. If the bounty pool had been 15 million instead, then the entire 15 million would have been paid out on the kill.”
It’s worth mentioning that bounties are not kill rights: simply having one doesn’t allow players to randomly aggress you free of consequences in high-security space. It does, however, provide interesting incentive to do so should the aggressor succeed. Kill rights are a separate issue addressed in the Crimewatch changes as well as some of the changes coming in Retribution.
CCP is taking Kill Rights further, allowing individuals with kill rights to make those rights available to other players, by character, corporation, alliance, or flat-out everyone. Once kill rights are made available to you, you can activate the kill right at any time (preferably when you’re ready to attack them) and they will be switched to a suspect in the Crimewatch system, allowing you or anyone else “in the vicinity” to attack them at that time.
There is a couple of small changes to the war system (aggressors can now retract wars and the cost multiplier for the number of wars a corporation or alliance is in is now removed), as well as addition of a couple of modules and changes to modules.
You can read more about these changes in the dev blog, as well as some other changes in another article.