I wish, calling them deathcubes is somewhat misleading and misrepresenting the issue. Is there a better term out there?
The terms will likely arise naturally from exactly what
is being optimized. Certain properties tend to have mutually exclusive optimal geometries, e.g. heat dissipation (if such a mechanic is employed) favors a high SA/V ratio whereas shield efficiency favors a low SA/V ratio. Different shapes also lend themselves to hardpoints with wider firing arcs, or smaller sensor profile, or complementary thruster placement. I consider this a good thing, as it helps to prevent one single "best" design from emerging - there should
be some tradeoffs to consider.
The example of "deathcube" implies a weapons-heavy (even that can be broken down further: alpha strike, or DPS?) cube shape; that is only one kind of optimization, and it may need to sacrifice survivability in order to excel in its feared role. Until the specific game mechanics are known we actually don't know which of those optimizations will be represented (and secondarily, what forms will actually be most efficient for some of those optimizations). Any generic term to describe all classes of optimized ships would probably be so broad as to be uninformative despite no longer being misleading. "Mathships" is the only thing I can think of that is not longer than the term "optimized ships" itself.
Setting up reputation that tracks that kind of thing and then using it to initiate the privateers/bounty hunters/space horrors, curved to the power of the vessel *AND* the amount rep the player has, would curtail high-powered-but-docile players being targeted.
I disagree with using ship characteristics (strength, efficiency, whatever) to determine any kind of player reputation. While a discussion of the details of a player reputation system deserves its own thread (this
being the most relevant existing one I could conjure), the properties of one's specific "tools" should not change one's personal rating. A dangerous player in a weak ship is still more of a threat than a meek player in a strong ship, so what's the point - especially since players are expected to be able to change ships
? At most, tack on a qualifier like "armed and dangerous" or "known to use efficient designs," but those are still tendencies/expectations of the player rather than their individual ships.