There was a forum post the other day indicating the new NPC belt mining operations are on SISI now. These are part of the new procedural PvE destined for the game.
They empty the belts like players do – so are in competition for that resource. They are apparently fit more for PVP, can be found everywhere but wormholes, and scale based on system security.
I’m not sure why I did not put one and one together – but this first iteration will be made up of standard non-pirate NPC Corporations. (So Caldari, Amarr etc.) Killing them will negatively impact your standings with those Corporations, and influence how they will react to you in future. It would also impact your ability to do missions for them. I’m not sure if it will also reduce your Factional Standings, but it doesn’t read like it will.
There will apparently be more information from CCP Larrikin at EVE Vegas, including information on an incentive to attack them.
On the basis of what I know so far I won’t attack them. It is easy to reduce your standings, but a pain in the backside to improve them.
I’ll have to wait for the suggested Pirate mining operations to make an appearance before I get to interact with this new game feature.
CCP has been alluding to the fact they will be looking at Faction standings at some point in the future. I’ve been waiting a long time for details on that.