back to article Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

Elite: Dangerous, the re-boot of the hit eighties space combat and trading game Elite, launched last week, but the biggest buzz in the wake of its arrival is from disgruntled fans who want a refund. Players want their cash back because, as we reported last month, developer Frontier Development made a late decision not to offer …


I don't want a refund

Mind you, flying about in a spacecraft using a hands on throttle and stick with an Oculus Rift DK2 is the single greatest gaming experience I've ever had, nothing comes close...


Re: I don't want a refund

I use the same setup for the game as well. I don't think I have ever been so involved with a game since starting SWG or LOTRO a long time back.

Just starting the game up and sitting in my ship makes me smile. It has its problems but the whole experience with the DK2 and stick blows them into insignificance.

I just need to finish work for the year and then I am off flying.

Silver badge

Re: I don't want a refund

E:D + DK2 user here too.

Have to say, this is by far the best looking space game so far that I've ever seen, especially with the DK2 on, just stunning.

It's a shame that all the effort and dedication from both Frontier and the alpha and beta testers, to bring out such an excellent experience, and the first real attempt for years to kick-start (pun intended) the space trading and combat sim genre, is being dissed by a tiny sub 1%, but very vocal minority :-/


I backed it (primarily out of a feeling of nostalgia), did not pay for early access, have not downloaded it (nothing new enough to play it on yet) but am also not going to run crying to Mummy for a refund....

Silver badge

As much depth as TOWIE.

It wouldn't be so bad if the game has some sort of content.

I bought the early Beta access edition, and I'm not playing it any more.

I LOVED the original Elite, I lived in Frontier, but this... this is just boring. Hell I get 100% more enjoyment out of Euro Truck than this, and that literally is going from one place to another.

I think one of the main issues is the idea that players should have to manually do EVERYTHING. I mean, sure docking is fine, it's old school and you have the option of a docking computer.

But no autopilot when going from one station to another? Why? It's not as if you can click 'A' and then go make a coffee, cos you could be interdicted at any moment, but it sure as hell beats having to make sure you leave SuperCruise at precisely the right moment. It's a manual mechanic that wasn't even going to be IN the final game (it was added after alpha design discussions), so I don't know what was going to be in it's place.

Combat is clunky and slow, the deliberate crippling of yaw movement sounded like a good idea at first, but in practice, it's a forced mechanic that just doesn't make the slightest bit of sense in space. Even with it's many many issues, SC's combat is so much better.

Even the landing procedure is just odd... Ok, I get the reasoning behind there being no keybind for 'Request Docking Permission' - it will make macro-trading a lot more difficult - but it's not hard to overcome, and in the end is just an awkward way of yet again making manual control more prominent.

Mining is pointless.

This game is literally a timesink of the worst kind. If there was a bit more automation for travelling, then it might not be quite so bad. The laughable idea that your ship's navigation computer has absolutely no data on any other system except your starting one, and a couple of others (which I don't understand how or why), unless you purchase them from the map screen (not from Cartography, like you USED to be able to - another convoluted design change), makes no sense to me.

And WHY you get money for 'discovering' stars and planets is beyond me, considering that data for this already exists to buy! Naturally, if you visit a truly unexplored system (which mathematically, you will, if you travel far enough), you SHOULD get paid oodles of credits, and would make exploring worthwhile - but exploring a system WHEN THERE ARE PLAYER SHIPS IN THE SAME AREA is utterly stupid.

Elite is like an egg without a yolk, a sandwich without filling, beer without alcohol.

And it's boring as hell.


Re: As much depth as TOWIE.

I had a go at mining, after a lot of trial and error with the cargo scoops (mainly due to the aiming cross hair not allowing for the ship getting in the way) I managed to scoop 4 tonnes of "stuff". Took it back to station, worth the sum of sweet fa.

I like the fact your computer doesn't know the system name unless you explore it, and yet you had to select the system "by name" before you made the jump. Illogical really!

Take these complaints to the ED Forums and you will get shot down. Complaining about travel time, and you get "space is big" returned at you. Or you're a newbie who wants it too easy.

Trouble is "time" (as in real time) is precious; and I just don't have to patience to sit 10 minutes waiting for the star-field screensaver to end whilst traveling.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: As much depth as TOWIE.

"Trouble is "time" (as in real time) is precious; and I just don't have to patience to sit 10 minutes waiting for the star-field screensaver to end whilst traveling."

Then you chose the wrong game...


Re: As much depth as TOWIE.

> Combat is clunky and slow, the deliberate crippling of yaw movement sounded like a good idea at first, but in practice, it's a forced mechanic that just doesn't make the slightest bit of sense in space.

If yaw was faster then combat would be 2 ships at a dead stop swivelling around (turreting) which is why they gimped it.

Horses for courses. You don't like that game and you are entitled to your opinion. I personally love it and many others do too. It may have it's faults in the current state (and I am not so blind I don't see them) but it has a long way to go yet.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Why I didn't invest

Hi Register, I'm an addict.

My problem started when I was 4 years old and my Dad got a BBC Computer with Elite. I have never stopped playing it since.

When Elite: Dangerous was announced I was excited but I withheld investing for a few key reasons:

a) I *HATE* re-makes, take Red Dawn, Robocop, Total Recall, Judge Dredd, remakes by and large are terrible. I realise that's a sweeping statement and fully expect to get down arrows for that, but such is life.So I decided to wait and see.

b) DRM - I saw no statement from the Developers that the game would be DRM free, So I decided to wait and see.

c) MMO - Apart from posting anonymously on The Register, I have as close to a 0% online footprint as possible. I don't Facebook, I don't Tweet, I don't <insert social media of your choice>. Call me what you will, but I like being private. If I have something to share with people, I email them, or phone them, or text message them. Whilst I've always liked the <i>idea</i> of being able to talk to other pilots/hire merchants/bodyguards etc, I always kinda imagined it would be either:

1) over a LAN not a WAN - with a .people I know/like/trust

2) with an AI

d) Record of Delivery - does anyone else shudder at the memory of Frontier and Frontier: Encounters? I didn't hold out much hope that a game could be delivered that met my expectations for a successor to Elite. So I decided to wait and see

e) Feature creep - one thing I've found with modern games is that they are always pushing the envelope, meaning that each new game seems to need me to upgrade my CPU/GPU/RAM/<insert component of your choice> - sadly I don't have the money to do that so I decided to wait and see how the game developed and what the end system requirements were.

Offline mode sounds like it could/would have been perfect for me, so in it's absence I guess I'll just stick to the original Elite.

Silver badge

Re: Why I didn't invest

@ A:C

Solo mode would work fine for you, assuming you have full time broadband access. That's where I spend most of my time.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Why I didn't invest

and assuming that the servers are still running in 30 years time so you can carry on playing it like you do the original...


A key point

One thing that bothers me with this game is that you need an internet connection to play.

Ok, say you buy the game and then you lose the ability to pay for an internet connection thus lose access to one. Can you play the game? That you paid for?

I am a backer for this game (from the start) and I have to admit to be annoyed and disappointed that there will no sandboxed offline version. I have always played the single player versions of games, not the online multiplayer ones; I just prefer it this way. Play when/ where I want whether I have a connection or not.

I will play solo in this game. Going against another 'real' player does not hold that much of an attraction for me, especially since I've never played it yet except to try and undock a ship. And seeing the likes of

Isinona ( at work, well I'm screwed.

But the again, I'll give it a try.

If I have an internet connection.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Bunch of bleeding whingers...

They all seem to forget the fact (or are perhaps to stupid to realise) that they never paid for a game in the first place, they paid for access to a beta program to test it. They certainly never paid for any promises.

They paid to get into a beta and try out the game early. They got exactly that, access to the game early and, as a bonus for being part of the beta, get a copy of the game for their troubles. If that game doesn't have some of the features they were expecting.. TOUGH.

Stop whinging and learn what a beta testing program is....


I paid the 50 quid through their sales site for Beta access. Partly due to nostalgia from playing Elite on the Amiga years ago and partly to try out Oculus Rift support.

Generally I'm pretty cynical at Beta testing and frankly £50 was way beyond what I would normally pay but I made an exception in this case. My main objection is that I'm paying a premium for a acknowledged half finished and buggy game leveraged solely on my enthusiasm as a customer. In return the developer gets to save a fortune avoiding having to pay for actual PAID professional testers. I'm sure there was a phase once where Beta testers got free access but those days are long gone.

Yes this kind of funding can make games a reality that traditional funding will not allow but the issue is that those kickstarters and Beta testers that are paying a PREMIUM well in advance of any finished product are your most fanatical fans. Alienate your core fan base and risk the wrath of the net.

Personally I tried Eve Online when it was first released hoping for an Elite experience and was disappointed, the X series nearly deliver but the universe is very limited.

This was supposed to be Elite for the modern area but a MMORG is not the old Elite so I feel mid-sold. As with other commentators I want to live in MY universe and I don't want to share with griefers, raiders, pvp gamers etc.

Still, it looks pretty through the Rift but then so do 1001 Rift demos.


A couple of points for the hard of understanding

- during the Kickstarter period, a number of questions were raised about offline play. In response, Frontier stated, without equivocation, that it would be possible to play completely offline. No ifs, buts or maybes. They also said it would be compromised compared to online.

I backed the KS based on those promises. If they had not been there, I would not have backed it. As far as I am concerned they have gone back on that promise, and I do want my money back.

- with regard to all the comments about 'ooh, look at all these people complaining online about an offline mode'

It's not, for me anyway, about having an internet connection. It's about being an infrequent player, and not wanting my game to be influenced in any way by goings on in the online universe. When I save the game, I need to know that when I load it up 2 weeks later it will be as I left it. I need to be able to pause the game when the phone rings, and know that when I unpause it things are unchanged. Basically, all things you would expect from a single player game, and of course not from an MMO.

And before anyone jumps in again saying 'you signed up for an online game/MMO' - no I didn't. When I signed up, offline was a promised feature. It was taken out, in a nasty sneaky non-announcement in one sentence in a newsletter.

I just want my £60 back (which also incidentally included a 'DRM free boxed edition' - I don't personally consider always-online to be DRM free...)

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

There is also a game about getting a refund

There is a game about trying to get a refund for offline mode too.

Unlike real life though it's possible to get a refund in the game.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: There is also a game about getting a refund

Oh the irony of an online "game" to get a refund about a game not having an "offline" mode... :-)


Re: There is also a game about getting a refund

Oh the irony of an online "game" to get a refund about a game not having an "offline" mode... :-)

And someone else misses the point entirely

Mark Fenton

I don't understand the problem...

...ok so not everyone has high speed broadband all the time...but I've just spent a happy few hours playing it using my phone as a 3G hotspot - in the middle of nowhere in Wales where phone reception is poor. The solo mode uses very little bandwidth.

Sir Runcible Spoon
Silver badge

Re: I don't understand the problem...

I think you've missed the point by several AU's my friend.

Adam 52
Silver badge

I backed on Kickstarter. I still haven't played it because the online activation doesn't work. There's been a support ticket in sice November which Frontier can't be bothered to answer.

On offline mode - I played Elite as a kid. Then I had enough time to make it to Elite. I'm now grown up. I've got a job, a commute and a family. I'm lucky to get a spare hour to play. I don't want dynamic pricing, I don't want to load up with cargo and come back a week later to find it's worthless.

This sort of realism is why Braben's other Elite projects failed. When I backed the kickstarter I'd hope he'd learnt.


Why are they moaning?

ffs I backed it and am glad it came to fruition. It gives us what the original couldn't in so many ways. So what if there are teething troubles. Stop whining and appreciate the physics and fantastic views of probably the best sim for a long time of the space genre.


A bait and switch scam

Well, they got my money. Not being from the UK, and having backed during KS, there is no way for me to force a full refund.

But I'm now making sure anyone I know that shows even a passing interest in the game is made aware of the bait and switch scam Frontier pulled. They might have gotten some of my money, but I will make sure they lose more in lost sales than they got out of scamming me.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: A bait and switch scam

@ DarkWalker

So because you took a gamble, and lost, for an option that is needed by at most maybe 0.1% of players or less. With everyone else being quite happy to use Solo mode for a single player experience, you are now trying to deny other peoples potential enjoyment, of what is probably the best space sim game to come out in over a decade!

Glad I don't have friends like you!


I love the fan crowd...

.. how they seems to be unable to grasp why somebody could be inconvenienced by online only.

We go on repeating the reasons:

- unreliable connection = impossibility to play

- impossible to pause the game to go to bathrooms, answer kids/wife/dog/other

- impossible having multiple saves and characters

- if you do not play for a while, you find all your missions expired while you were away and your cargo possibly worthless

- impossible to have mods

- constant top-down "re-balancing" and gameplay compromises to nerf exploiters, even if you play solo

- server troubles = difficult play

- they have kept the rights to do direct advertising to online users (ironically they said it was avoidable only by playing offline... now they amended their EULA to take that away, obviously).

But they seems to blithely ignore this and say "Oh, but it does not require a big bandwith" or "Oh, but you can play solo". Swearwords come to mind...

And to those that encourage us to take it behind silently, I remember that if we do not make noise when corporations are behaving badly, we only encourage them to behave in this way more often than they already do.

This time it may be a matter that do not influence that many people, and mostly old geezers, but it will come the time the now adoring fan legions will be asked to bend...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

"developer Frontier Development made a late decision not to offer an offline mode in the game"

"Late"?? If there was any evidence of that, players would be less angry.

Because it appears that Frontier's decision not to offer an offline mode was made a long time before the news broke.Records show Frontier went silent on offline mode about the time it discovered David Braben didn't own the Elite rights he'd claimed, and had to pay a few million pounds to obtain them. This information is buried in the company 2014 accounts.

A lot of the anger is about the fact that Braben didn't confess until a couple of weeks before the launch. In the meantime, he'd taken the money of few thousand more pre-ordering customers under false pretences.

It is clear there there's a lot more to this fiasco than meets the eye. Including the real reason why Braben does not simply refund people's money rather than give further ammunition to those calling him a crook.

Elite Fan

FD is not going to get any $$$ from me.

Very simple put; They lied.

They claimed offline was part of the project in 2012 and took a lot of money in on the back of that. Now they're going back to the original plan after raking in all that money. They should at least be offering refunds to those they conned, but their refund statement is 32 days old and leads nowhere.

This outfit will not make anywhere near month they need to sustain their product. Therefore the online only requirement means this project will disable all copies of the game when they shut up shop in a few months.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

That's some old news to report on. Just about everyone who cares about the game already moved on.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

If they hadn't offered offline during the KS, they probably wouldn't have achieved their goal.

They put this in to attract a lot of people on the fence. I think it should be called "doing a Molyneux"

Maybe they did plan to do it at the start, but they probably dropped it very early in development and decided to stay quiet. Such a major feature would be something you need to code around from early on in the process, rather than tack on later. It's evident from Frontier forum postings that each in game transaction is authenticated when a user buys / sells goods in order to track whats happening.

Most likely Frontier will never approach crowdfunding again; presumably they have enough funds now to sustain further game development and expansion (or new separate projects).

A lot of this would have blown over very quickly if the refund requests were processed in a more amicable way for those that requested them. None of these stories would have appeared online, everyone would have indeed moved on.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

"Most likely Frontier will never approach crowdfunding again"

"Most likely Frontier will never approach crowdfunding again"

Most likely crowdfunding will never approach Frontier again.

"presumably they have enough funds now to sustain further game development"

Frontier's last accounts shows a loss of £1.7m. And that's not counting the refunds that they've just started issuing to backers threatening to sue the company.


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