It's a grey area.
There is no formal rules that do not allow attacking a player, shooting and running. Because they are based on initial core design elements built around instanced battles.
But these core design elements cause such frustrations and problems that are not good for the long term of the game.
Before the release the decision must be made about those core systems and here are the options.
Current ruleset is based on these ideologies
I want to attack someone and people far away must not enter = "i must be able to sink you solo if i want to"
I want to be able to sink a 1st rate in a cutter (old heated topic).
I want to be able to run away if i want to (because my ship is fast)
I do not want a player from far to join my battle, because its mine.
If the goals is to increase pvp these ideologies can be rethought or abandoned as they dont increase an amount of pvp.
Problem 1 - inability to help your own.
The common message from rookies in national chats are well known - "I got attacked near XXX port - please help if you can" or "I see enemy ships - lets tag them - come help"…
Usual answer in chat - silence and "tough luck" - as you CANT. I think its time to accept the fact that distance based ROE is bad and is reducing pvp and only helps solo hunters (which based on data are a huge minority).
This is a problem because we know that pvp assists has 100% of correlation with retention. If you dont participate in group activities you drop from the game 10x faster.
Problem 1.1 part of lack of group pvp
There is actually not enough ganking (hold on and bear with me). For accounts created in December: Only 5% of players have pvp assists and only 1% of players have more than 10 pvp assists.
Again the problem because assist increase retention
Problem 2 Speed
Fast ship controls the OW pvp, and heavy battle ready ships do not have anything to counter against the gank even if they outnumber enemies in guns.
Problem 3 combat ready ship balance - described by OP in the post.
When line ship is fighting 3 fast frigates to win the lineship must not make a single mistake
When 3 fast frigates fight the lineship they can always run away if they make a mistake
So why dont we just rework those ideologies from scratch and focus them on the main goal - increase pvp and group pvp per hour for all (not only solo hunter in a speed fitted frigate).
Examples of clear solutions solving the problems and increasing meaningful pvp on the WAR server
This is a war server. Why escape options? Whats the point? If you attacked - fight!
Patrol rules for the whole world. Circle of death.
If you are ready to attack someone - be ready to die and fight to the end.
Sure some will cry about it - tough luck like they say in national chats - but it will keep only meaningful pvp.
Battle is always open for the weaker side
This is a war server - this is a pvp game with the goal to increase amount of pvp for all. There is no point to close the battle for the weaker side. Let them escalate. This becomes the goal.
Then you can come to help your own, and know someone will come to help.
Then you can build more friendships and get assists
Then you will stumble to more battles and will have more pvp kills per hour.
When improving ROE - Remove all features from ROE that reduce pvp per hour. Add features that grow the pvp per hour.
Ignore the cries like "but tumbado is 3000km away".
Check only one parameter when determining the outcome of changes - number of PVP battles per hour and number of assists.
Ignore the rest.
This will also solve the problem described in the post (with the move to weight systems because with proper broadside weight - prince will die in 1 min).
Current number for War server for accounts created in December
1 pvp kill every 8 hours in game per pvp engaged player.
1 pvp kill every 24 hours in game total for the server