Edit - sorry, this is in reply to J
Ya, it is. I find the combat in general really enjoyable.
But 2 things;
1. Sitting at a nav beacon waiting for a "wanted" ship to pop is kind of boring once you realize these wanted guys are just spawned NPCs. It's not like your contributing to fighting a pirate menace across the system, or presenting a blockade to a trade route or ANYTHING. Just killed a spawned NPC and in a few minutes there will be another. And another. It's like you're sitting at a game within a game. The nav beacon is just a fine tune your combat game, but don't actually expect it to have an influence on anything.
2. As a noob, I think "Okay, getting a little tired of running a trade route (why don't any of the demand/supply numbers change btw?!!), so I'll try to help out this little system I've been hanging out in by doing some pirate/wanted hunting. Once again, you could kill a hundred ships at the nav beacon, USS', RES... and a hundred more will respawn with no effect on the system as a whole. You're not helping/hurting anything. You're just looking at the pretty lights.
Here's one I'm not sure I'm right on but I considering the rest of the game I have a sneaking suspicion... bounty hunting in a anarchy system, find a python with a bounty, start to kill him, he warps to a neighboring system to save himself, I scan his trail and follow him to the system but he's not there. There are no other warp trails (FSD for those of us in game), he's not in the system. Just nothing. So now I'm assuming once an NPC warps out, he just de-spawns. Not able to track him down and get the kill. Is this how it works or am I just missing something on this one? If it is, it's just such a frustrating mechanic. I know you can track fellow players but NPCs just disappear?