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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worse than that

    Aggrieved backers are taking to the full Open Play world in E:D and basically blowing up new players in groups, forcing a lot of people to retreat into Solo Mode and play without the real MMO/ PvP elements turned on.

    Until Frontier sorts this out along with many other features half-implemented it's going to damage a very good game.

    1. spaceyjase

      Re: It's worse than that

      Not seen this myself -- surely that's in the spirit of the game? They're playing, signed up and interacting with players. Local security forces, AI hunters and other players will grab bounties and punish those with kill warrants; welcome to Elite.

      (as an aside, this happened during beta where it was essentially a free-for-all around one of the lesser policed stations; docking at Freeport was hit-and-miss for ages, great fun jumping in a strafe-blasting a bunch of a-holes for bounty).

      Tables turned, I don't think anyone is complaining about all the extras Frontier have added since early in development. I didn't sign up for a free ship (etc)!

      Frontier have produced a stunning game that is every bit as good as imagined.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's worse than that

        Ok flip it back...an extreme version....

        Look here are the plans for a lovely 4 bed house, 2 bathrooms, Lounge dining room etc.

        You pay for it, then, when it's built you find it's a 2 bed, with 1 bathroom, but now has an home cinema room.

        They turn round and say, we that was before we decided on the final layout, but stop bitching as you have a home cinema room.

        Feel free to add additional features, but don't fuck around and take away the core components you stated you would deliver.

        1. c3r3al_kill3r

          Re: It's worse than that

          that IS quite extreme comparing a £175k house purchase with a £40 game purchase, talk about clutching at straws. Some people (ok, a lot of people) need to get a life. It looks amazing, I'm a long term Eve player and this looks like a pretty good challenger/compliment, so I might even buy it, just to annoy the fanbois

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: so I might even buy it

            Purchase it now and you are buying it, those who got it from KickStarter were funding it's development in return for a copy of the game. If you can't tell the difference then maybe you shouldn't be on kickstarter.

            1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

              If he's buying it now, he wasn't on Kickstarter.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's worse than that

          If you let someone build you a home for $50 then you can expect things like that to happen. It's not as if people have invested their live savings into this game. Yes, game. Not house or cars. Those comparisons are just plain silly. There are features that have not made it to the final version, but other features (not mentioned in the Kickstarter offer) have been added.

          Besides, the solo mode is almost like an offline mode. You really do not need a broadband connection. You can play the game via your mobile phone 3G connection... And a lot of those complaining about there not being an offline mode have been playing alpha and beta without any connection issues, so I understand Frontier not wanting to give them refunds strictly on the basis of the offline mode not being available.

          *shrugs*

        3. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: It's worse than that

          @Lost all faith Its more like:

          We are a property developer and we would LOVE to build fancy houses, we don't have the money to do this but if enough people pledge money then you MIGHT get what you asked for. We are looking for an investment*

          *you might not get the house, it might be half built, it might be a mansion.

          That's kickstarter for you.

      2. Ben Holmes
        Happy

        Re: It's worse than that

        I concur. Frontier have done an amazing job of delivering Elite. There's so much scope to this game, it's unbelievable.

        I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. Just have to get this whole pesky 'work' thing out the way first....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's worse than that

        The real problem is this:

        People chucked money (lots in some cases) at the game - the offline mode was for *some* a big thing.

        It was promised to be in the final game all through development.

        Backers tested through alpha/beta on the assumption that the final product would have offline.

        Just before launch: "Ha! No offlinez for you - itz a creative decision!!! Lolzzz. Oh, and Hay, you haz played in the test. No refundz Sukaz!!!! ROFL!!!".

        Purchasers (many buying in *after* the kickstarter) become slightly miffed for no apparent reason.

        "Hoi, giz me mai monez back, innit!"

        Frontier are like all " ........... " for weeks.

        Punters are like "Hello? anyone there?"

        Frontier sez (after a month or more) "Hai! You played in alpha, have £50 out of your hunndredz. Cool, yeh?!"

        Punters go thermonuclear.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: It's worse than that

      I do think they should grant refunds to anyone who has not yet played the game, the financial impact would probably be less than the bad press they are getting for not granting them.....

      They have shot themselves in the foot with a PR blunder here... but that is what you get when the people running the company are developers...

      1. BleedinObvious

        Re: It's worse than that

        I believe Frontier have already stated they'll also refund if you backed the game but held off playing it during alpha/beta.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's worse than that

        Ian Bell might've been right about his ex-business partner.

        1. dbp

          Re: It's worse than that

          Ian Bell might've been right about his ex-business partner. .

          he so was. .

    3. BleedinObvious

      Re: It's worse than that

      So aggrieved backers who wanted to play offline are now spending lots of time -online- trolling and camping new players who've bought it in full awareness that it's online only?

      Re: whining over 40 bucks/pounds - presumably the grumpiest kickstarters donated MORE THAN 40 for high tier rewards, probably also shelled out on one of those fancy brightly lit 160-200 hotas joysticks that they'll have no other use for, perhaps upgraded their gaming rig, and failed to realise that Kickstarter is a betting website.

      I'm happily playing knowing that the game I helped Kickstart is the vision of its creator.

    4. Elite Fan

      Re: It's worse than that

      FD couldn't find a way out of a wet paper bag! This mess could have been easily avoided. They had the balls to make this type of decision a month before the release day they should have had the balls to refund anyone who asked for it. There is a price to pay for stupidity!

  2. Jay 2

    Docking is pretty easy in Elite Dangerous, so a docking computer is just taking up valuable space and weight. Besides I'm sure you can hum The Blue Danube Waltz yourself.

    On a slightly more serious note, I can understand the annoyance of all the backers who based their purchases on the single player/offline game. Moreso when it was only a week or so before launch when it was announced that it wouldn't be part of the game.

    The main reason for my backing the game (aside from it being Elite) was the Mac version, which will be released "around 3 months" on from the Windows version. So I'm waiting to see what becomes of that...

    1. MrXavia

      Same here! (although an Android version would be even more convenient, if hard to play)

    2. Irongut

      Clearly you're not an '84. The docking comment at the end is about the original game where a docking computer was pretty much required rather than the remake where docking is much, much easier.

      1. Marcus Aurelius
        Stop

        '84 version

        Once you got the hang of it, docking manually was less risky than using the docking computer, which had a nasty habit of wrecking you every so often.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: '84 version

          I remember once activating the docking computer on the wrong side of the space station (i.e. away from the planet), and it tried to steer me through the gap from that side, i.e. right through the space station's roof.

          Needless to say it was messy.

          Manual docking - yeah, it was hard at first but there was a knack to it. Docking computers were a luxury, and occasionally a dangerous one.

  3. Individual #6/42

    If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

    Just glad that I didn't sign up for any of the extras for a game that I can't play offline. The great thing about algorithm generated content was that it doesn't need to keep phoning home. Love the graphics in Elite Dangerous, but when they began promising in-game advantages for real cash (second ship etc) I realised that they'd lost the essence of what I'd wanted and walked away. It's not the first bait and switch I've fallen victim to and is unlikely to be the last. I just find the rationalisation by Braben etc rather sad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

      Second ships are purchased with in games credits, and in no way can be purchased via real world money...

      1. MrXavia

        Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

        He means the 'mercenary pack' which was a 'buy it early get an advantage' option... gave you a free Eagle...

        "There is a "solo" option, so you don't have to worry about PvP"

        Not sure whether it was implemented, but from what I remember of the proposal, when your wanted your forced to play in Open Mode.. I.E. you can't grief then hide in solo mode...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

          > Not sure whether it was implemented, but from what I remember of the proposal, when your wanted your forced to play in Open Mode.

          See, this is the reason for half the anger. Frontier have royally fucked up the way they have communicated all this. You are not forced to play in the full MMO universe for any reason and being wanted is encouraged anyway as piracy is a perfectly valid career choice in Elite. It would be like punishing Eve players for being Machiavellian bastards.

          The game has, and always has had, a single player mode. What they are doing is requiring a low bandwidth connection to sync your single player universe to the player driven MMO economy for ship and commodity prices.

          Where Frontier screwed up was they chose to announce this by slipping it into a newsletter hoping no-one would notice and then wheeling out Braben who clarified exactly nothing with an insultingly meaningless piece of PR fluff.

          The game is fantastic, it's just the developer's people skills that need work.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

            How hard could it be to bundle an initial set of universe data with the game? Easier than downloading it every time you play.

            Sounds to me like a lame antipiracy measure.

      2. Splodger

        Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

        "Second ships are purchased with in games credits, and in no way can be purchased via real world money..."

        No. In-game credits for real-life money is incoming. It's even in the KS FAQ:

        https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous#project_faq_42659

        "We will probably allow the supplemental purchase of Credits with real money, for those who want to accelerate their progress through the game.

        We do plan to charge for additional updates, to be available sometime after the original release. These will offer additional content, features and gameplay."

        1. dan1980

          Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

          @Splodger

          And you can guarantee that that won't be a plan they'll abandon!

    2. Ashton Black

      Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

      Huh? Multiple ship ownership is intrinsic in the game, no need for RL cash.

      For RL cash, currently anyway, you can get cosmetic changes only.

      There was a poll on the forums, some time ago, about micro transactions, which overwhelmingly went for "cosmetic" only.

      If you could link to your source, I'd be pleased to be shown I'm wrong.

    3. Sampler

      Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

      There is a "solo" option, so you don't have to worry about PvP (ie some asshat ruining your game because they feel like it) - it's how I play, the game connects back to pick up universe information (and apparently utilises less than dial-up to do so - as attested to by my Aussie internet connection, no trouble what so ever) as player interactions affect the universe, such as cargo value at various ports up to the outcome of various galactic battles depending on which sides the players backed.

      You can't spend real life money to buy ships (over the backer perks, such as mercenary edition that comes with an eagle instead of a sidewinder) - much to my dismay actually, I wouldn't mind paying $5 for one of the more fancy higher end ships that cost over 300 million ingame credits (I currently have about 40k so there's a fair bit of saving to be done!)

      1. dan1980

        Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

        @Sampler

        ". . . the game connects back to pick up universe information . . . as player interactions affect the universe, such as cargo value at various ports up to the outcome of various galactic battles depending on which sides the players backed."

        But don't you see - this is exactly what (at least some) people are annoyed about. Whether you play in 'solo' mode or not, you are playing in a shared universe.

        It is irrelevant to the argument whether you or anyone else thinks this is a good thing because this was always in the game so those who wanted it have it and have no place in this discussion - the finished game contains the features they want and allows them to play the way they want to.

        What is relevant is that there are people who do not want this. They want their own universe, isolated from the trades and battles and goings on of every other commander - one that progresses on the same time scale that they play the game, whether it's once a day or once a month.

        These people believed they were getting that feature and would be able to play the game that way but they were misled.

        Yes, misled. deliberately, I feel. Not at first - I believe they really did intend to implement a true offline mode that was faithful to the way the name they are trading on worked.

        But, at some point, the offline mode was de-emphasised as conflicts arose that required preferencing one over the other and they essentially cut offline mode and continued development that took them further away from their representations to backers.

        The fact is that Braben several times hyped the great online sharing of ideas in a passionate community but when it came to actually telling that community what was going on and that a feature listed on the site and in their FAQs was out of favour and may be dropped, he curiously decided not to share that.

        Again, whatever your personal preferences, a persistent, online world is a very different thing to an offline one - neither is better or worse but someone who wants an evolving online, persistent world would not be happy with a static world and someone who wanted a static, offline world would not be happy with a dynamic one.

        If you think it doesn't matter and solo play fixes everything then you clearly haven't even understood the provided reasoning from Braben, which is that they want the story to evolve and change as players interact and, well, at their whim. They are playing a kind of dungeon master role and this is great for people who want it, but you must understand that some - quite a few - people don't.

        I'll give you an example that David himself used in an interview, which was around a particular conflict between rebels and the rulers of a system. The devs noticed that players were 'backing' the rebels by running guns for them, and so they decided to make the rebels a bit more powerful and had them basically ruin a trade run (of some item). As Braben said, this had been a profitable trade for players, but then they found they could trade for more on the black market.

        Sounds great, huh!?

        Well, not for someone who wants to play offline. Taking the freedom of offline to play (really) however you want, maybe a player was using that profitable trade route to save for a new ship. Let us say, further, that this player doesn't play every day and sometimes not even once a week. One day he goes to run the route once again only to find that it doesn't exist or is no longer profitable and this has occurred due to the whims of a developer half way across the world (for you and me) in reaction to a bunch of players he has never met and it all happened while he was interstate for work last week.

        Some people love that but there can be no denying that it is a fundamental difference that simply saying "you can play solo" doesn't quite address.

        And of course the above scenario is just one of any number that can affect a player. Another one is the missions that are offered, which are, again, governed by the whims and 'hey; this will be cool!' opinions of the devs.

        The major thing, however, is that you can't jump back in the story. You can't sign up a year from now and have the same experience as someone who signed up at the start. The missions he played and the developments he saw are lost to you. Whatever plot points or scripted events played out are gone. You have come in partway through a movie and you can't rewind it. You can ask or read a synopsis, but you can't join in.

        Now, one might say that playing offline would entail missing these things altogether and that would be partially correct. The important point missing, however, is the fact that the offline mode would still have needed a story that you could interact with and thus you could explore the different facets of that story in multiple play-throughs. Can you take part in an important story battle on both sides in a persistent, online world? No, because it will never happen again.

        Even at the more base levels, Braben identifies 'cheating' as a major reason for dropping offline mode. Which is very strange indeed - who cares if some cheats in offline mode? It doesn't impact anyone else because it's OFFLINE. The logic appears to be: "we need to force people online because cheating online is a big problem". What?

        This is the kind of thing that people are annoyed about.

        There were loads of people asking for an offline mode, so they agreed and said they would do it. They had a look and said that, yeah, that can be done, but warned backers that it wouldn't be as rich as the online play. They accepted that. So it is a big perplexing when it was announced that offline play was scrapped because it wasn't as rich as online play.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is Elite from 1984, only even more so.

      What they have done is to have a single model for the entire galaxy, so everything you buy or sell changes the supply and demand market very slightly with ripples across the star systems. New space stations or changes in rare goods or the mining state of an asteroid is the same for everyone. The game has to phone home for every transaction made to achieve this. An offline mode was not possible. But a solo mode is supported.

      They have two initial groups one can play in - one that contains all players, and one that is just you - solo mode. You can join other groups, or make your own with friends and only play with those people. You can switch between the groups at any time, keeping all the same credits, ships, equipment etc.

      Each solar system instance is created on the fly when you enter it - unless you are playing with a group of people and one of them is already there, in which case you join their instance. I don't know if there is a limit on the number of real players in a single solar system instance - might be 32.

      Solo mode does everything people wanted, but an offline mode wouldn't work well. People would need to run the galaxy simulation on their own computer and it would get out of sync with the main one so playing with other players would be a problem. Also, you'd get people hacking the offline game to give themselves free ships and credits.

      Maybe, in a few years when the servers get shut down, perhaps that will be the only way to continue playing and I hope Frontier support that, but the galaxy is a pretty lonely place as it is (I'm out on the rim though) - one hardly meets any real people very often and it is the events that Frontier are creating (warzones, blockades, a spike in prices in a certain system) that help to gather people together to meet if they want to. Perhaps they could be randomly generated for an offline player in addition to all the missions for transporting, exploration, assassination & courier.

      As it is, I think they've done a great job with the game.

      1. ilmari

        Re: It is Elite from 1984, only even more so.

        They coukd do like EA/Maxis did offline singleplayer mode (which is apparentky different from online singleplayer), where they basically just freeze comnodity prices and availability, makkng them static.

      2. veti Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: It is Elite from 1984, only even more so.

        The galaxy simulation on your computer might get "out of sync with the main one" - but so what? Why shouldn't I be allowed to play in my own little universe if I want to?

        And solo mode manifestly doesn't do "everything people wanted". If it did, then this thread and this story wouldn't be here. One thing I want to do is play offline. Bandwidth isn't the issue - I have a very flaky internet connection, liable to drop for no discernable reason at random intervals. "Always on" connection requirements are inserting a point of failure that doesn't need to be there.

    5. Steve Gill

      Re: If I'd wanted a connected game I'd play Eve

      I only wanted ED for when I can't connect to play EVE. Luckily for me they announced the lack of offline mode before I committed to buying.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This was going to be my first

    This was going to be my first game purchase in years :-(

    Who will now take my money for a True-to-the-original Elite clone ?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: This was going to be my first

      Go a copy of Oolite, although as it's free and open source you may have trouble giving your money away even then... ;)

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: This was going to be my first

      Who will now take my money for a True-to-the-original Elite clone ?

      No need for money: OOLite. If it's not true enough to the original for you, all you've lost is time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This was going to be my first

        I was just playing OOlite (total coincidence, testing a 144hz monitor) and it's pretty fun. Doesn't crash like the previous installment of Elite did constantly :)

        Tons of expansions/mods available now too, if I ever have a chance to check them out...

    3. JonP

      Re: This was going to be my first

      Apart from the online malarkey (which is getting interwebbed slightly out of proportion) it is pretty true to the original, which (IMO) is the problem. From what I've seen so far it's just frontier elite with better graphics. They've made a great sandbox, but i'm sat with my plastic spade wondering where all the sand is... still, it is a really cool spade.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This was going to be my first

      How about Limit Theory?

    5. ThatFuzzyTiger

      Re: This was going to be my first

      Check out Limit Theory, amazingly, it won't need a persistent online connection. Who knew? ;)

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: This was going to be my first

        Thanks for pointing out Limit Theory

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tPdbLe3zx0

        The procedural generation aspect is pretty cool, but I have my doubts around the game itself, mostly due to wanting my space-sim to be an OR experience first and foremost.

        This game seems to have quite a bit of mouse/keyboard usage, plus the 3rd person/1st person view doesn't feel like you are politing a spaceship. I think I read somewhere that they were going to put in a static cockpit view, but I haven't seen it yet so cannot comment.

        I know the game is, as yet, not optimised - but I am a little concerned about the amount of pop-up that I was seeing in the latest update video (see link above). Nothing would annoy me more than to be taken out of the experience and reminded that it was a game than having objects appear/disappear instantly, rather than a gradual fade in/out with distance.

        Still, early days so it will definitely be one to watch on the game premise alone.

  5. mythicalduck

    PayPal

    I "kickstarted" via PayPal (ie, not actually via Kickstarter), and it says on their site that refunds are permissable up to release date - irrelevant of reasons - I don't know if I just got lucky by doing via PayPal (though I've only got a partial refund, and haven't checked I've got that money back yet).

    But yeah, I'm tempted to have another look at OOLite now

  6. khisanth

    From what I have read they are looking to see if you actually played it online before deciding to refund. If you never went online with it I think they will consider refunding, but if you did go online then they wont. Seeing as you claim not to have wanted online play,but still went and did it or something.

    Kickstarters are about getting a project up and running, but too many people see it as a way to get something on the cheap or only it for the perks.

    I saw one guy complaining that it wasn't the same as the X series and that there was nothing to do in the game !!!

    1. mythicalduck

      "From what I have read they are looking to see if you actually played it online before deciding to refund"

      But then if you've paid down for Alpha/Beta access, would you really wait until the "final release" before trying it?

      I'm sure there still must be something about consumer rights. I find it annoying that you can buy a game CD, but if you buy on Steam etc. you can't return it...

      1. khisanth

        I work for a company that does software licensing technology and we allow for end users to effectively "return" the software if they don't want it or it doesn't do what they want. You revoke the license, they send you an electronic receipt showing its uninstalled and thats it!

        So it certainly is possible to do.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      "I saw one guy complaining that it wasn't the same as the X series and that there was nothing to do in the game !!!"

      I don't think the X-Series supports the OR yet though does it? I heard that they have implemented a cockpit view, so they are half-way there :)

    3. Oninoshiko

      Kickstarter requires a good-faith effort be made on the part of the project to fulfill their promises. Here's what DB had to say about what lead up to dropping offline:

      "So we were looking into different ways of handling that and, to be honest, we pushed back development of the offline mode. We needed to replicate some of the work locally that was being done on the server. It was one of those things where we could do it, but the amount of work involved increased over time. The emptiness would be a real factor as well."

      You tell me, does that sound like a good-faith effort to fulfill your promises or the second half of a bait-and-switch?

      1. Ben Holmes
        Pint

        Re: You tell me,

        Sounds like a sound judgement of development effort required by a guy who knows his product inside and out to me.

        Was it a shitty call to make? Sure, a lot of people will be disappointed by it. But I'd rather this than have FD try to half-arse the development of the offline feature. Better to not have it at all than to have something that proves clunky, difficult to maintain, and inevitably (probably) a bigger PR nightmare than the abandonement of the offline feature itself.

        Keep doing what youre doing Frontier. The game is coming along just fine.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: You tell me,

          Was it a shitty call to make?

          Irrelevant. Once promised, it wasn't their call to make anymore.

          1. Ben Holmes
            Pint

            Re: You tell me,

            Irrelevant. Once promised, it wasn't their call to make anymore.

            Not in the slightest bit irrelevant. If the developer feels that adding a promised feature would ultimately have a net negative impact on their product/project then it's absolutely their call to make. It may have been poorly communicated, but that's what it seems like here.

            If you're a KS backer then maybe - just maybe - you have a right to be upset about that one thing. But if that's all you were looking for in the game you should've saved your money and bought it retail when you knew the launch day feature set.

            You go into KS projects because you hope to see them come to fruition, but that doesn't give you any sort of right to your money back if the scope of the project is changed. Hell, you should expect to never see your money again. And if the project delivers (and Elite Dangerous has delivered in spades) then that's great. You got something for your investment.

            However, Kickstarters are not risk-free enterprises. And the sooner this sinks in, then the better of KS projects will be.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: You tell me,

              " that doesn't give you any sort of right to your money back if the scope of the project is changed"

              I'm aware of the KS philosophy of it being a bit of a gamble and all that, but if you aren't wrong then you should be. After all, where is the line drawn?

              What if he decided to change the scope to make it a platform game instead? Where is the line that says 'you can change the scope this much, but no more'?

              People wanted an updated elite, not a version of Eve online with dogfights, so I can understand why they are a bit miffed. Single player first, multiplayer second (imho) is what I think investors were expecting. I think he got it the wrong way round by focusing on multiplayer first and creating a dynamic universe that needs to be updated from central servers. If the single player was looking empty, then they should have bloody well filled it.

              1. dan1980

                Re: You tell me,

                @Sir Runcible Spoon

                While I am in general agreement, this statement needs addressing:

                "Single player first, multiplayer second (imho) is what I think investors were expecting."

                The campaign was launched as an online game and offline was added after a short while due to overwhelming feedback and requests.

                This is actually a worse state for them (in terms of how it is received), however, as it is kind of how these things can work in everyone's interest. The developer has put forward an idea and asked people to put their money where their mouth is if they want to see it made.

                There was a community and a lot of exchange of ideas and a sizable portion of people asked for offline play. This was investigated and duly added to the features, which prompted more backers to sign on. In other words, they didn't want to back the project as it stood but with the promise of offline play, they did.

                It is like organising a music festival, then, adding an act, which prompts a lot more ticket sales. Then, once the tickets have been sold (no refunds), the added act is removed. That's also legal but it's also sure to enrage affected customers.

                1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                  Re: You tell me,

                  "The campaign was launched as an online game and offline was added after a short while due to overwhelming feedback and requests."

                  Ok, you have a point there.

                  I haven't followed all of the developments intimately, but I have kept my ear to the ground a bit - and what I was hearing was that the offline single player mode had a stronger following than the online ever-changing universe mode did. To me that should have sent a very clear message to Braben.

                  Also, whilst we are on the subject of Braben, why did anyone think it was a good idea to put him in front of a camera to give an interview? He is a PR disaster!

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  "once the tickets have been sold (no refunds), the added act is removed. That's also legal."me,

                  What Braben did was different.

                  The Kickstarter Terms of Use say :

                  "Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill." https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012

                  Compare and contrast David Braben: "Those who have already been playing the game online in the Alpha and/or Beta phases, regardless of whether they backed the project via Kickstarter or purchased access to Alpha and/or Beta through our online store, are not eligible for a refund." http://www.gameplanet.com.au/pc/news/g546e670f68c7d/Elite-Dangerous-offline-mode-dropped-refunds-offered/

                  It is Braben's denial of the terms of his contract with backers and his failure to provide the refunds to which backers are entitled that is the basis for the accusations levelled against him and his company.

                  Though Braben later backed down and said he would review on a "case by case" basis, this has turned out to be simply stalling. As far as I can tell, Frontier have yet to fully refund even one backer.

  7. Lionel Baden

    well

    I just want a cloth to clean the damn inside of my cockpit in the Cobra MKIII The streaks from the dirty shammy are really pissing me off !!!!

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: well

      Yer, I was hoping that doing a full repair on the ship would include a wash and brush up.

      Perhaps they are leaving it until you can go outside and do repairs yourself. I wonder how much a mop and bucket will sell for.

  8. HippyFreetard

    Here's the plan.

    Everybody buy Elite Dangerous. Then, when Braben's a gazilionaire, we all pester him for an offline mode.

    If he doesn't agree, we'll start our own Open Source version. With hookers and blackjack.

  9. Graham Dawson

    I don't like a thing, do I'm going to try and ruin that thing for everyone else! Nobody should be allowed to enjoy a thing I don't enjoy!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll stick to the Classic thank you...

    Still play "Elite - The New Kind" on my Linux box, and still keep the BBC running so I can play on the original running. Though I need to find time over Christmas to replace a bunch of resistors that are looking a bit black and smelling of burning :-(

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: I'll stick to the Classic thank you...

      I recently played Odyssey 3011 on the xbox 360, and although you kind of run out of steam a bit once everything is upgraded and you can galaxy hop to your hearts content it was fun getting there.

      Although once you are full kitted out, it's easier to get around if you are public enemy #1 since the cops only come at you one at a time. It also makes it simpler to make money -just buy as much Narcotics as you can at cheap places (you will never fill the hold). When you run out of money, sell it somewhere expensive and you will suddenly find you have nothing to spend your money on :( It could do with more complex missions etc. but otherwise excellent value and true (in spirit) to the original.

  11. ilmari

    I thought it was pretty clear to everyone now, that kickstarters are high risk investments, a bit like venture capital, with the exception that if things turn out well, you get minimal return on investment (i.e. just a trinket or gizmo, or tshirt), and if it turns out bad, you lose all your money and get nothing.

    (i participated in tge kickstarter, but never downloaded any if the alphas, betas, and didn't download the game. Didn't like where it was gokng, saw no point in downloading it. Not complaining though, it was always a risk frontdev would make a different game)

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Essentially...

      ...so if I just take off with your money for a vacation in Hawaii, without making any attempt to fulfil my promises (hey I'd love to, but it just doesn't gel with my grand vision, dude - tough shit) that's perfectly A-OK with you, yes? Just want to make sure I got this correctly...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You do realize that many people pre-ordered AFTER the Kickstarter?

      People pre-ordered via the UK based webshop (payments marked as, ahem 'donations' by Frontier).

      People ordered with the full expectation of an offline mode.

      Frontier are apparently deeming people who paid for the finished game (supposed to include 'offline'), and had the temerity to test buggy alpha software (and report bugs for free) as having their money's worth, and deny them refunds.

      This is OK now?

  12. Tsung

    Flawed masterpiece?

    Open play is totally flawed at the moment, you can play with other random players but try meeting up with any friends and you find you are on different islands* (so you both can be in the same area of space, looking at the same station but not actually seeing each other). Whilst both of you can see other random players (yeah great, thanks Frontier).

    Open play docking is also flawed, with luck of the draw at busier stations and no queue system in place. If you happen to request docking at the right time, you get in, otherwise you have keep requesting over and over until you get lucky.

    Missions can end up be exercises in futility, go here find this item (black box), bring it back. Involves going there, flying around for 10mins at a time, waiting for an unidentified signal source, locking on, arriving, not finding the black box your looking for, repeat.

    Fines, for anything, everything, fines. Pick up cargo in space, get caught with it, FINE. Go do a mission involving picking up some cargo, get caught with it, FINE. Having a battle, a stray shot hits another ship, fine + wanted status. Get bored trying to do mission with no success, cancel mission, Fine.

    There is a good game here somewhere, but try as I might to like it, I am struggling to enjoy it. The demo at the launch event where one player took on a big ship and called in the help of two friends, this feature does not currently exist, there is no easy way you and friends can play together.

    It's the biggest single player MMO out there at the moment.

    *Even in group play (where you setup a group with friends first, no randoms) does not ensure you and your friends are in the same instance near a space station.

    1. breakfast
      Thumb Up

      Re: Flawed masterpiece?

      I had first play last night with a couple of friends. It was a whole lot of fun but although we had created a private group game and made sure we were all at the same place, we only managed to be able to see each other by constantly logging out and in again. Then we got to fly together for a few minutes until we went into hyperspace and everyone had vanished again. Or sometimes one of us could see the others but were invisible to them.

      So apparently what they have managed to do is create a game where you can't play offline, but you also can't play online, at least not with the people you want to play with.

      To be honest the online play isn't that important to me - this absolutely *is* Elite and I know I'm going to have a whole lot of fun with it. If people are complaining about it on a forum, they're clearly able to go online and it's a little hard to see what they are so angry about. Mild annoyance I can understand, but full-on toys out of the pram tantrums seem a tiny bit excessive.

  13. Crisp Silver badge
    Boffin

    Trickier than docking with a space station without a docking computer?

    If you can't dock your craft manually then you shouldn't be in space!

    1. breakfast

      Re: Trickier than docking with a space station without a docking computer?

      An entertaining part of learning to land in E:D:

      "Why am I not landing? This doesn't work!"

      "Have you put your landing gear down?"

      "$#!#!?!%$"

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Trickier than docking with a space station without a docking computer?

        aye, the wife presses a button on her focus and it parks itself ffs. Just a money spinner I tell you!

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Trickier than docking with a space station without a docking computer?

          If you want to see how easy it is to cock-up a docking procedure in E:D, watch the following review..

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmcHLv7bAjQ

          It's also hilarious :) Someone should give this guy a job.

  14. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I bought an early

    development game

    It being Kerbal space program.

    Does it have the things I wanted in the game such as 're-entry heat', random equipment failures and life support?

    Nope

    The fact its got a s*** ton of other stuff in it.. plus I've got 10 updates for free..... whaaaa still want my money back

    The backers knew what they were signing up for... and when it started there was no idea IF an elite game was actually going to be delivered....

    1. GregC

      Re: I bought an early

      Question for you:

      Did the developer specifically say that those features would be in the product, no question, absolutely - then subsequently pull them anyway? If not, then it's a different scenario to the Elite situation.

      As an aside, a friend recommended Kerbal Space Program to me last week. Just been having a look at the demo and it seems fun, just need to give it some more playtime I think to get the hang of it.

  15. 45RPM Silver badge
    FAIL

    No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

    I was looking forward to this new Elite. I loved the original, and I’ve been getting my fix with Oolite since. But if there’s no offline mode in this game then, sorry chaps, I will not be flinging any of my hard earned in your direction. I don’t game very often but, when I do, I like to play with myself. So to speak. I’m not a sociable gamer, and I don’t see why I should be.

    1. Tsung

      Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

      You have solo online mode for that, which is pretty much what the game is currently.

      On a separate note :-

      I cannot help but feel those who complain about lack of single player offline mode are more interested in being able to "copy" the game rather than buy it. They have the bandwidth to download it (it isn't available in shops) but lack the bandwidth to play it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

        > They have the bandwidth to download it but lack the bandwidth to play it!

        That's flawed logic. I have excellent home bandwidth. I don't have a stable connection everywhere I go. My laptop is far more portable than my home broadband, but that makes me a wannabe pirate?

        1. Alien8n Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

          So when playing "solo mode" which of the below is true? Because for people with a dodgy network there's a big difference between them.

          Is it a) the game is "always online"?

          Or b) the game connects when it needs to for universe and transaction information?

          If it's b then while it's not truly offline, it's as offline as it needs to be short of pulling the ethernet cable out of the wall socket. The danger would be that you may have a wait while it tries to download the new system Information when you jump from one system to the next, but it's not going to suddenly disconnect you mid fragging of pesky vipers chasing you.

          (Disclaimer, I have a pretty good network connection. I'm just waiting for a decent pc as the current build needs an upgrade so I'm not currently playing this game, or anything else that's less than about 3 years old)

          1. Stumpy

            Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

            Given that I was able to play it last night with no issues whilst also pulling down some Linux ISOs from Usenet, and downloading from Steam (so my broadband was pretty maxed) I'd say that it only connects when it needs to update the Galaxy status (ie: when Hyperspacing to a new system or when trading in a station). Rest of the time ... no problems.

      2. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead. @Tsung

        It may be more that fans of a 1984 game are more prone to ask"if this game requires a server, will I still be able to play it in 30 years?"

      3. Cederic

        Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

        In solo online mode can I

        - pause, without missions timing out

        - save and reload, because I messed up, or failed a mission, or want to try something new

        - mod the game, so that my ship is bright pink and has bunny ears and flies four times as fast

        Pretty standard solo game features, so I'm expecting a clear simple, "Yes, of course" in your answer.

      4. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

        @Tsung and others.

        "I cannot help but feel those who complain about lack of single player offline mode are more interested in being able to "copy" the game rather than buy it. They have the bandwidth to download it (it isn't available in shops) but lack the bandwidth to play it!"

        I cannot help but feel that you're full o' shit. One day, maybe in five years, maybe in thirty, Frontier will no longer exist - and nor will its servers. What happens if I want to play the game then? And don't discount that possibility - I like playing old games and why should I piss my money up the wall just because some untrusting scumbag publisher thinks that an always-on connection is required to reduce piracy?

        The thing is, it's not necessary to have an always on connection. Taking one example that I have personal experience of as a software developer, Apple's app store does an excellent job of controlling casual piracy - but only requires the user to be online for the actual download. It doesn't solve the 30 year question entirely, so it's not as good as perhaps it should be, but it's a hell of a sight better than Frontier's kick in the teeth.

        And no, not all offline gamers are pirates. Your attitude makes me want to feed the 30 year old copy of Elite (on a 5.25in disk) that I have in my desk into the shredder. Braben and Bell have lost all my respect this day.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

          To be fair, I get the distinct impression Mr Bell may not be entirely keen on Braben either.

  16. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
    FAIL

    Still waiting for a free trial

    I won't commit to it unless it's playable (my standard of playable) on my barely above minimum spec laptop.

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: Still waiting for a free trial

      I know the problem. My pc seems to like anything that's either over 3 years old or from a small indie publisher (Banished works fine). Anything else (Skyrim, Civ V, etc) and the PC reboots itself as soon as it tries to do anything past the loading screen.

      1. Lionel Baden
        Unhappy

        Re: Still waiting for a free trial

        @alien8n

        CLEAN YOUR COMPUTER OUT!

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: Still waiting for a free trial

          The computer is clean, it's a hardware issue. Installed a new graphics card not that long ago and now any game that is heavy on the CPU/Graphics trips the PSU. I'm just biding my time until my birthday in March when a new PC will magically appear among the birthday presents ("No dear, it wasn't expensive, honest")

    2. RoninRodent

      Re: Still waiting for a free trial

      Go play the free combat tutorials as that is your trial.

      1. kurtheil

        Re: Still waiting for a free trial

        The ones you get after you *buy* the game? :|

  17. RoninRodent

    I still don't understand what all the fuss is about. Admittedly a few backed a primarily online game relying on the offline mode do have something of a point but they still backed an online game.

    The reasoning for the withdrawal is based on how the game has evolved as whilst it started out as a remake it has evolved far beyond that. Not only are the commodity prices, ship and module availability dictated by the server the entire universe is which wasn't the original plan. Frontier can curate the universe and trigger events, inject custom missions and that sort of thing. They could provide an offline version by bodging in some code to control the markets and provide some basic mission templates but it would be a very bland and empty experience which would be totally sub-par compared to the online version. Reviewers would pan the offline version tarnishing the reputation of the online version. The announcement wasn't handled well and the timing was simply down to the fact they kept looking at ways of producing a decent offline mode for as long as they possibly could.

    The solo mode is there for those that don't want multiplayer so you get the curated universe and all of the ongoing events but you will never see another human player and unless you add people to your friends list you will never hear from another player either.

    The chief reason many threw their toys out of their prams was that if Frontier even shut the server down you couldn't play anymore. £40 for a game you can play for free for (hopefully) many years didn't enter into their thinking. It isn't like other games ever shut down. Frontier also said (before they had even released the game) that if they ever shut the servers down they would release an archive of the server back-end for users to roll their own.

    > Love the graphics in Elite Dangerous, but when they began promising in-game advantages for real cash (second ship etc) I realised that they'd lost the essence of what I'd wanted and walked away.

    This is absolutely not the case. You cannot buy anything but cosmetics for real money. I think you are confusing the kickstarter backer rewards as backing to a certain level got you an improved starter ship. If you bought in during beta you got the mercenary edition and a few digital bits thrown in and if you could upgrade a pre-order to the merc pack.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Solo mudflation?

      "Not only are the commodity prices, ship and module availability dictated by the server the entire universe is which wasn't the original plan."

      But is this a good idea? For an MMO, obviously it makes sense. So how will Elite avoid mudflation, gold farming, exploits etc affecting the economy? New player joins, jumps into solo mode, and that profitable trading loop you read about isn't, and the ship you wanted is now 5x the price. Even if they're playing in solo mode. Having a dynamic universe that players can influence is all well and good, assuming that results in a positive influence/experience for players.

      "Frontier can curate the universe and trigger events, inject custom missions and that sort of thing."

      Other games handle that with patches and updates don't they? To me, it's looking like there isn't really a solo mode at all at the moment.

  18. RIBrsiq

    I did not back this, so I personally am not invested in it. I was interested, but they did not explicitly state it was DRM-free -- at least not that I could find -- so I decided to wait and see.

    A good decision, as it turned out.

    Anyway, it seems to me that the developers do indeed have a communication problem, but not in the sense those defending them are trying to imply:

    * Clearly, they promised an offline mode: Else why would they announce that they will not be able to deliver it?

    * Clearly, they knew relatively early on that it will not happen: Tying everything in your game into data that must be retrieved from central servers in real time is not the kind of thing that crops up on you in the last minute nor the kind of thing you might not notice.

    * Clearly, they knew it would not be a popular decision: Else why did they delay announcing it until practically the last second?

    So, fundamentally an evil thing to do.

    Now, I'm not keeping a list or anything, nor would I boycott anyone over this, but I will certainly not believe any promises from any of the principle developers involved, myself: show me the goods, and I'll buy if I like them.

    How you decide to handle it is, of course, entirely up to you.

    1. DarkWalker

      Actually, there was a promise that the offline mode would be DRM-free. It was even part of the rewards; the description of the physical copies clearly state that they are (supposed to be) DRM-free.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The old

    People not understanding what Kickstarter is problem.

    You aren't buying shit, you aren't guaranteed shit, all you have become is an investor with all the risks and none of the pay off - except maybe a mug... or a game... or something. With Kickstarter your investment can ever only go down - sure you may get the shit promised for your pay band but you're far more likely to get far less then that.

    I do kick starters every now and again but live with the fact that most of the time what I get in the end isn't what I was told I might get...

    Much like early access - you're not guaranteed shit.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a shame, it sounds a lot like they have rushed it to get a Christmas release. I suspect that some of the the top people at Frontier Developments have got caught up in the hype surrounding the game. I don't think this was ever about making a franchise with a dozen sequels it was about letting a group of middle aged guys relive part of their childhood. It could turn into the next big thing, there seems to be a lot of interest in space games at the moment, but I don't think it's a sure thing and trying to force it is the wrong thing to do.

    Either way, what is it with all these online only games now? Certain types of game lend them selves well to online play but after a hard days work I just want to kick back fire up a game and be going in a few seconds not waiting around in a lobby for someone to play against who will no doubt dump the game half way thought when they figure they are losing. Oh and get of my lawn you pesky kids.

    1. breakfast

      I think you have a point about nostalgia here. Seems to me a lot of people would only be happy if they could load ED off a 5 1/4" disk on their BBC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @breakfast - Seems to me a lot of people would only be happy if they could load ED off a 5 1/4" disk on their BBC

        Actually, I was rather hoping for a cassette tape version.

  21. Craig 2
    Flame

    Still haven't forgiven Braben for the buggy POS that was Frontier, I think I'll wait until some comprehensive reviews come out. I think Ian Bell was responsible for most of the actual gameplay elements of the original Elite, David Braben is more a of a maths whiz who likes making "universe simulators" rather than good games. If Ian Bell's website has any truth in it, Braben is also a bit of a childish dick.

    Or am I just old and bitter? ;)

    1. Vanir

      re: Just old and bitter

      Both?

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge

      I had no problems with Frontier, you might be confusing it with Frontier: First Encounters, which was, according to Wikipidia, 'released by the financially struggling publisher, Gametek in Easter 1995 and was well reviewed, despite being released before the development team thought it was ready'

    3. DropBear Silver badge

      TFTFY...

      Braben is also a bit of a childish dick.

  22. Solly
    Happy

    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...

    1. Wattsy

      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.

      1. Boothy

        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 :-/

  23. RainbowTrout

    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....

  24. Kaltern 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.

    1. Tsung

      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.

      1. 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...

    2. RoninRodent

      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.

  25. 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.

    1. Boothy

      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.

      1. 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...

  26. Vanir

    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 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-dHqX5cFB0) at work, well I'm screwed.

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

    If I have an internet connection.

  27. 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....

    1. TakeTheSkyRoad

      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.

  28. GregC

    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...)

  29. 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. http://melhadf.itch.io/refund-quest

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

    1. 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... :-)

      1. GregC

        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

  30. 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.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Facepalm

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

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

  31. 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.

  32. Cynicalmark
    Headmaster

    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.

  33. DarkWalker

    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.

    1. 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!

  34. fizz

    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...

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

  38. 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"

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-12-02-molyneux-warns-against-early-kickstarter-campaigns

    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.

    1. 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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