hi! I also responded in the other thread but currently there is only one fairly small zone to explore and everyone on the server should be able to see who else is online via the "diplomacy" button and chat with them via the "chat" button. If two players are on the same race/faction they should not be able to turn hurt each other. There isn't a much to do yet other than blow each other up and fight for control of the capture stations, but I've got all kind of fun stuff in the works.
I do have a question about how you(and others) think matchmaking should work as the game grows to include more zones. I'm implementing a larger over-world map which has zones or sectors in it. Each sector is actually a different server (though the servers can run on the same machine). The idea is that location updates will only go to people in the same zone/server which will help increase scalability and also allow for a decentralized server architecture where you could run your own server and your friends could physically travel to it, perhaps via some "transponder" code you could give them or by opening a wormhole to your location once.
Another idea is that certain types of communication(like direct chat) could only be conducted face-to-face or in the same zone, with longer distance communication being more like email. Am open to suggestions.