back to article Elite:Dangerous goes TITSUP

Eight-bit classic space trading game revival Elite:Dangerous, has hit further strife after its servers experienced total inability to support usual performance over the holiday period. Elite:Dangerous has proven controversial since its makers decided not to offer an offline mode, as was promised in the Kickstarter campaign …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems el reg has decided it's editorial stance on e:d.

    1. Barticus

      Yeah, forum surfed journalism from the community's squeaky-wheels.

      I (and plenty of others) have had no problems at all...doesn't make very sensationalist copy that though.

      The game is OBVIOUSLY broken beyond repair. NOT!

      1. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

        I think this outage is a bit more than squeaky wheelers. The thing went down. In prime gaming time. Acceptable?

        1. Barticus

          More than just squeaky-wheelers? Hardly. I take it you've only read the 'Woe-is-me', 'game-is-gonna-fail', 'everything-is-broken' threads on the forums, conveniently ignoring all the 'Wow, awesome', 'best-game-ever', 'no-problems-here' threads. Let alone the fact that the people who aren't having problems are probably playing rather than posting.

          I'm not saying there aren't any problems or things that need looking at, but the game is the most stable release I've seen for a very long time. <Cough> Sim City <Cough> Assassins Creed <Cough>...and they're from AAA companies with mountains of cash behind them, not a crowd-funded independent.

          Get some perspective Simon.

        2. Martin Rogers

          " total inability to support usual performance"

          "the thing went down"

          Do you have any background with large multi-server backend systems? If you lose one server, a fraction of your users get a crappy experience (to an extent depending on server stickiness and resilience) but the rest sail on unawares. That's not an total outage, or "titsup" as you put it. If you base the big picture on those users' irate postings on Twitter, you might conclude that it was. If you didn't know better that is.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Server errors seem to be par for the course with the release of many online games these days. I'm not saying that this is acceptable or not, but only that many players almost expect a hiccup or two in the weeks following a launch. Frustrating probabaly, shocking no.

    2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Er ... no. No decision. Are you having a better experience?

      1. David Neil

        Can't speak for the others but I've been fine, if anything the missions where I had issues in Gamma test are now working as expected

      2. i.a.m

        Yes, I and lots of others that I speak to are having a good experience. I played with no issues during the supposed down time as did others I was speaking to, it depended on the server you were on. There are always going to be problems with software, but compared to other mmo's they are relatively minor.

        Regurgitating the forums is not balanced reporting. People are going to shout loudest when they're unhappy with something, doesn't mean it's representative of the experience for most.

        Here's an idea, how about actually contacting FD? Gets some figures on numbers affected vs the userbase? Same for offline. Speaking of which how about listening to this for a more balanced perspective that el reg's reporting so far.

        http://laveradio.com/2014/12/episode-42-offline-no-more/

        1. Steve Gill

          more balanced perspective, from a dedicated fan site - wrong!

          1. i.a.m

            Try listening to it. Yes they're a fansite but they're a lot more balanced than El Reg. They don't sidestep the negatives, unlike El Reg which seems incapable of talking about the positives.

            1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

              If you honestly believe that reporting an outage constitutes a "bias", then you probably should get all your *cough* news *cough* from a fan site. Wow.

              1. i.a.m

                No I don't and I didn't say that, but please point me at the article talking about the games positives?

                There have been 4 articles recently headlining or mentioning offline and refunds:

                Number of people requesting refunds = 100s

                Number of people playing and, for most part, enjoying the game = 100,000+

                There's your bias, where's your perspective?

                1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                  Let me put this in simple terms.

                  If you don't like it, don't read it.

                  If you think we're somehow biased for reporting what's going on in the world, feel free to set up your own news website and tell the world how wonderful everything is.

                  1. Reue

                    What a childish response from a business representative on their own website. I suspect that had FD posted similar replies of "Dont like it, dont play our game" on their website.. El Reg would have been all over it.

                  2. Sheep!

                    "If you don't like it, don't read it."

                    Can we expect that to be replacing the "Biting the hand that feeds IT" splash any time soon? Also, how can we know we don't like/agree with an article until we've read it, or are you suggesting to your readership that if they find one article they disagree with they should just stop reading the Reg altogether? Dangerous statement to make that.

                  3. i.a.m

                    Now that's a lazy answer.

                    You're not reporting what's going on, you're reporting what you choose to focus on from a particular perspective. Normally I find that entertaining and informative, the ED articles are just misleading. You're not even taking the piss.

                    I've read El Reg for years and I've come to expect better.

                2. James O'Shea Silver badge

                  "Number of people requesting refunds = 100s

                  Number of people playing and, for most part, enjoying the game = 100,000+"

                  If those numbers are anywhere nearly correct, then WHY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH DON'T THE DEVS REFUND THE MONEY TO THOSE WHO REQUEST IT? Seriously, if the number requesting a refund is, as implied, at the 0.1% level, then why not just hand 'em back their money and make the problem go away? It's what, 30-50 pounds each? Why not just kick back the money and restore peace to your network?

                  1. i.a.m

                    I wish they would.

                    People who never, or barely, played online seem to be getting their money back. Those who played online quite happily before release aren't (for the most part.) FD's perspective seems to be that if you played online before you still can now, even if it's in solo, so you don't get a refund despite the forum anger and publicity it's generating.

                  2. Elite Fan

                    FD wishes it was only 100 refund requests

                    Because we known that request for refunds are in the thousands and not in the hundreds like FD would like us to believe. For example; if all the Kickstarter backers who paid for Physical DR-Free Collector's Premiym Boxed Edition of "Elite Dangerous" who have gotten FRACK all up to now asked for their money back. The sum FD would have to pay back would be upwards of £120,510 or $183,533 U.S dollars. People forget that the only reason F.D made it on Kickstart was because of the offline/drm free additions to their Kickstarter platform. In the last week of their campaign after offline & drm-free was announced they made approximately £750,000. This very quickly adds up to a lot of cash if large percentage or all of those people are asking for refunds.

              2. nanchatte

                What?

                You didn't just report an outage. The formula for typical clickbait is this: Does an article get released after reporting mainly on anecdotal or lopsided opinions before confirming the full story?

                And the major litmus test is this: Does an article link to inflammatory posts which are of no/little/tangential relevance to the current issue.

                In this case, you linked to a number of negative pages about E:D... without once stating that the outage seems to affect only subset of users and that, on the whole, the E:D beta program and release was one of the smoother (apart from a short patch around Beta 2) releases.

                THAT is what people are calling biased, not your "server down... some users cry" bit.

                But still, look on the bright side, your article has whipped up a tonne and a half of feedback... Keep up the good work...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: What?

                  " the E:D ... release was one of the smoother ... releases."

                  This release that

                  * omitted the manual, novella, box, physical media, many game add-ons such as extra ships, backer extras such T-shirts

                  * lacking promised features such as offline more and DRM-free

                  * was over none months late.

                  You call that smooth?

      3. Anon the mouse

        You would have thought people would've realised what the support was going to be like after the refund problems. Though writing refund quest was very cathartic.

        Frontier, seem very, very overwhelmed as usual. But then release a game and announce a two week holiday for a week later was always going to be a clusterf*ck.

      4. Stuart Elliott

        My experience

        Yes, I'm having a much better experience, playing about 6-7 hours daily since release, there have only been 2 hours on NYD when there have been any issues, lost about 300,000 credits, worked find later on.

      5. Dave Gomm

        yes, am having a much better experience and have been in since beta, in fact very few people on the 2,000 person independant Facebook group (Elite Dangerous Community) seem to be having issues at the moment so this does look like it affected a small part of the userbase.

      6. Will Stephenson

        The game has worked fine for me since release, with the exception of a couple of hours late on the evening of New Year's Day. I called it a night and it worked fine the next morning. I've been playing since May, and stability really improved during the 3 week gamma phase leading up to release. I understand that a small number of people had database problems with their accounts preventing play since the server fix on 1 Jan, and a smaller number have had account problems preventing play since release, but judging by the overall forum traffic most people are talking about their playing the game, not not being able to get on at all. My experience has been that the game is very stable.

        1. veti Silver badge

          The reason there's a certain level of - let's call it 'spite' - detectable in this reporting is because Frontier made this rod for their own backs. If there'd been an offline mode, then (a) a whole bunch of people would have been happier with the game at launch, and (b) another, presumably partly overlapping, bunch of people affected by a server outage would have been able to enjoy playing anyway.

          "Server outages are normal", "all MMOs do this" - yes, but this didn't have to be an MMO. That was Frontier's decision, it was controversial, and it's not surprising to see people who disagreed with it - taking the opportunity to gloat a little.

    3. JustinYoung

      This is the third or forth anti-E:D post I've seen on The Register in the last couple of weeks. I think a bit of balance is in order, there are a lot of very happy E:D customers out there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Do you understand journalism ?

        "there are a lot of very happy E:D customers out there."

        Yes, and there are a lot of Seventies BBC presenters who aren't pedophiles.

      2. Sarev

        And the wait for a review goes on...

        El Reg still too busy bemoaning the issues, which all online games have, might I add...

      3. Roj Blake Silver badge

        I'm very happy so far and played it extensively over Christmas and the New Year without problems.

    4. A. Lewis

      Agreed

      I really don't think it's as bad as this article makes out. I've been playing since launch, and haven't had any of the problems mentioned here. OK, the game has its issues, but as others have said, that's not uncommon in recent history. The article paints the picture of a community up in arms over a broken game. In my experience it's a happy and enthusiastic community enjoying an excellent game at an early point in its life.

    5. darkbaron

      A very poor article

      This is typical of the Reg these days. This article is just trying to sensationalize a mundane server outage and create a story out of nothing.

      I and many others I know have been playing without issue right across Christmas and the new year. I've logged over 50 hours of gameplay in the last 2 weeks and not suffered a single issue.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: A very poor article

        >>"This is typical of the Reg these days. This article is just trying to sensationalize a mundane server outage and create a story out of nothing."

        I think it's highlighted in the case of ED because so many people were so unhappy that offline mode was removed after being offered (and had signed on because of that) and such complainants were continually met with a barrage of people telling them to quit whining and it wasn't a real problem.

      2. nanchatte

        Re: A very poor article

        A very poor article? What are you on about?... It's garnered 150 comments (as of writing at nothing -even the dodgy weekend edition articles comes close...) more than the expense of El Reg's reputation. It'd say its a winner. It's like "reading" a fucking buzzfeed.

    6. Max Normal
      Alert

      Man the barricades!

      Wow!

      I see the drooling fans have been whipped up and launched en-masse toward El Reg Towers.

      Shit, some are carrying pointy sticks and flaming torches!

      Quick everybody - pile the furniture up against the door!

  2. returnmyjedi

    If only there was an offline mode.

    1. Sixtysix
      FAIL

      Disappointed in the extreme...

      I was an early kickstarter.

      Missed the Launch completely, but what the hey.

      Downloaded (and then really downloaded, slowly, oh so slowly) the game. B*******D DOWNLOAD TOOK THREE DAYS. REALLY? THAT'S ACCEPTABLE?

      (Steam managed to aquire two similarly sized AAA titles in less than an evening...)

      THEN found I needed to sign onto Internet to start the damn game or do anything! NOT HAPPENING.

      Never even launched my ship.

      1. HumptyDumpty

        Re: Disappointed in the extreme...

        I used to have download issues. These were fixed by switching off "Automatically detect settings" in my Internet Options. Might be worth a try if it applies to you.

    2. Avatar of They Silver badge
      Happy

      I think you hit the nail on the head.

      Also a good reason this article is perhaps laden with bias.

      A game that has a huge outcry because they are not doing what they said for offline play and making everything online, then loses all of its online play.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...this one's got a way to run"

    And so have the management team at Frontier. So much disappointment from what should have been a glorious experience - neither the game nor the support infrastructure seem to be mature anough for full-blown release.

    1. David Neil

      Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

      Probably why they are hiring support staff and ramping up

      http://www.frontier.co.uk/jobs

      Hope they iron things out, quite enjoying the game so far

    2. NumptyScrub

      Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

      In other news, multi-billion dollar companies Microsoft and Sony fail to keep their servers available on Christmas Day, impacting gamers being able to play over 100 titles (many freshly unwrapped, no doubt). Would you concur that both the consoles and the support infrastructure for either company are also not mature enough for a full-blown release, if a bunch of disgruntled script kiddies can take the network down for millions of players?

      Full disclosure: I've been playing Elite fine and had no connectivity or trading issues whenever I've logged on. I could not however play Dragon Age: Inquisition on my XBox One during the aforementioned unexpected downtime. In my single case, Frontier have been more reliable than companies valued a thousand times higher, and I would find it hard to believe that I am unique in that respect.

      I'll not even mention how much more reliable E:D is to, say, X: Rebirth regarding game-breaking bugs on release...

      1. Anon the mouse

        Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

        You are comparing a DDoS of servers to mismanaged servers. Completely different

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

          I had no problems with my PS but was annoyed that I couldn't play ED. The offline issue aside it does seem to have the makings of a good game, it can just be a bit flakey if you need support. It also goes through a phase where it gets very repetitive but perhaps that'll pass.

          Anyway, yes I agree it's always difficult to know how many people are really effected when these problems are reported. You get both sides, those who love to complain, those who won't accept any criticism of their object of desire.... and the generally quieter group who see it for what it is don't get a lot of air time.

        2. NumptyScrub

          Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

          You are comparing a DDoS of servers to mismanaged servers. Completely different

          I am comparing people not being able to play the game (because servers), to people not being able to play the game (because servers). You tell me how many consumers are going to carefully examine root causes before they decide whether to be outraged or not?

          Also, it took X: Rebirth around 20 patches (a couple of months) to finally kill an AI queueing issue that could cause some story missions to be uncompletable without manually editing your savegame. Star Citizen has managed to deploy about as much as the E:D alpha (Hangar and Arena modules) with no dates on any of the actual universe content (Squadron 42 / persistent universe wotsit). E:D is looking fairly good when compared to that company, and those are the 2 I would rate as the closest current matches (if you can think of others let me know, I love a good space combat flight sim).

        3. MrPSB

          Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

          Of course as you've now been refunded and have no access to the game, you're by far the best placed person to comment on the server management and reliability.

          It's almost like you're lovely chums with Simon, seeing as he's also the only person who gave any news coverage at all to your refund game as well (although well done for completing a game at last, 1022 Studios can only rise in stature from here), and has been as keen on giving Elite Dangerous a kicking as much as you have been since Offline mode was canned.

          1. Anon the mouse

            Re: "...this one's got a way to run"

            Ah yes, my reading comprehension and ability to understand how a server works must have evaporated when my refund came through. I still have an interest in the game, at the moment it seems to be more morbid curiosity as problems pile up. But I still hope that one day it'll come good for those that DO enjoy it.

            In this case the database problem was one of those things you find out in the live version, however not leaving any support staff to help customers for 2 weeks just after release. That was poor planning from Frontier, Leaving no updates or anything for customers tends to spiral things out of control, again look at the refund situation that is still ongoing for most two months later.

  4. BongoJoe Silver badge

    Another One...

    This was supposed to be the MMO which was going to knock Eve Online off its perch,

    It's going to have to really pick its socks up now.

    1. Lionel Baden

      Re: Another One...

      I don't think Elite was ever designed as a competitor to Eve in any way.

      just because they are both in space, does not mean they compete. Elite was designed to be a follow-on of Elite.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another One...

        "Elite was designed to be a follow-on of Elite."

        And due to no offline mode, it failed to be that.

    2. Irongut

      Re: Another One...

      Yeah Frontier really need to improve if they are going to beat deleting boot.ini and bricking customer's PCs. (EVE actually did this.)

      1. BongoJoe Silver badge

        Re: Another One...

        Oh, wow. That was a good one!

        Never heard of that one and, you're right, they've then some way to catch up. I am somewhat surprised that it was allowed to get anywhere near to boot.ini in the first place.

      2. Ian Cumbers
        Linux

        Re: Another One...

        <quote>Yeah Frontier really need to improve if they are going to beat deleting boot.ini and bricking customer's PCs. (EVE actually did this.)</quote>.

        That sounded interesting and so I Googled it and found this: http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/about-the-boot.ini-issue/

        Bad mistake, but so refreshing to see such a full and candid response from a software company.

        And to follow on from other similiar comments - I had long periods of not being able to play BattleField3 (EA Games) due to their server problems, but my sons played Elite D. without a problem.

    3. localzuk

      Re: Another One...

      Eve and Elite are about as different as chalk and cheese. I don't think I ever saw any proper commentator say the 2 were actually in competition with each other, and indeed many people play both.

      One is a flight sim, in space, with dog fighting. Full immersion style. The other is a finance management game really, with some fighting thrown in.

      I love both games.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Another One...

        "Eve and Elite are about as different as chalk and cheese."

        People who say things like that have clearly never tasted KwikSave cheddar

    4. nanchatte

      Opinion?

      "supposed" to be? Says who? You?

      Formal link please.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    I appear to have missed all the shenanigans

    Due to things like, you know, working... something Frontier should have thought about before letting the entire staff pack up and go for Christmas.

    Inexcusable really... and as a player I favour the nuclear option of a reset to zero, at the very least a reset to Christmas Eve, the last time I played, and it appeared to be stable enough then*.

    Think you all need to dock in Winchester starport and wait for this all to blow over...

    *YMMV - I know people have had problems with downloading and support, but I've helped out as a fan on Facebook in the absence of any official replies from Frontier.

  6. Katie Saucey
    Meh

    I've been thinking about playing....

    ...but all other problems aside, I would just like to know how many credits a frigg'n docking computer costs. I could have filled a warehouse with the number of joysticks I smashed for my C64 after failed docking attempts.

    1. LaeMing
      Happy

      Re: I've been thinking about playing....

      I, on the other hand, discovered there was such a thing as a disk editor. And my slide into evil began!

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: I've been thinking about playing....

        >I, on the other hand, discovered there was such a thing as a disk editor. And my slide into evil began!

        So true!

        But a docking computer? I'm pretty sure military lasers were my first, er, "piratical" acquisition.

        I always thought it was odd that the most difficult part of the game was the first bit.

        1. Vanir

          Re: I've been thinking about playing.... @P.Lee

          Military lasers! Yeah man, two squirts of the coherent light stuff from those babies and enemy ships turned into chaff! Ok, neutral and friendly ships too.

          What company made them?

          1. Wilseus

            Re: I've been thinking about playing.... @P.Lee

            What company made them?

            "Do your mother in law a favour, buy a Lance and Ferman military laser!"

    2. Ashton Black

      Re: I've been thinking about playing....

      4,500 Cr. But honestly, docking in E:D is an order of magnitude easier than the original. Ahh the joy of lateral thrusters!

      1. NumptyScrub

        Re: I've been thinking about playing....

        4,500 Cr. But honestly, docking in E:D is an order of magnitude easier than the original. Ahh the joy of lateral thrusters!

        The starting Sidewinder, as well as a couple of the other ships (Eagle, Hauler), are small enough to go through the letterbox sideways*. If you line up dead centre you literally cannot be the wrong orientation to get through. Hopefully by the time someone has earned enough to get a ship that is big enough to require proper orientation to fit through, they'd have also become a lot more comfortable flying ;)

        *I've used this before to get past AI numbskulls in Type 9s taking up the whole slot, there is enough space either side to get a sideways Sidewinder past, as long as you have the guts to try it (and put 4 pips to System for the shields) :D

        1. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

          Re: I've been thinking about playing....

          Yes I bounced off a Type 9 NPC who decided to just stop dead in the middle of the letterbox with no warning. Luckily the shields took it. In fact are Type9 pilots the worst of them all? ;) they always seem to be doing it, or flying head on at you.

    3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: I've been thinking about playing....

      I can't speak for E:D because I never play online games, however the experience should be vastly better with an analogue joystick. I'd recommend the Thrustmaster T16000M (thirty to forty quid) as it has accurate hall effect sensors.

      Playing oolite (free, Elite like game) with an analogue joystick to dock is so much easier than the keyboard it's a pleasure - you can match rotation speed with the station precisely and guide your ship gracefully in.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: I've been thinking about playing.... @Blinky

        My favourite on the BBC version with analogue joysticks (or even a Bitstick, which was even better) was to move onto the axis of rotation, match the rotation rate, and accelerate at maximum. Provided that you were aligned correctly, it did not appear to matter what speed you were travelling at. Was a lot faster that waiting for the docking computer to faff around, which often gave you an opportunity to go and make a cup of tea in the time it took to dock.

        And it wasn't perfect! When I did use the docking computer, I still had the occasional crash. Was most distressing to come back from making tea to find a game over message.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I've been thinking about playing.... @Blinky

          What was hard about docking in Elite?

          You flew with the station to your left (or right) and the planet to your right (or left).

          Open up the left (or right) view and waited until the space station was in the middle of your screen. Stop, turn to face station, engage full thrust and perform the rotate bungee manouvre and all is good.

          Seriously, anyone who couldn't do that shouldn't be flying a spaceship in the first place!

          1. Justicesays

            Re: I've been thinking about playing.... @Blinky

            Maybe some people need to RTFM when playing games?

            The c64 and spectrum versions (at least) of original elite had a key that disabled "roll dampening".

            This allows you to match the rotation speed of the station docking bay so you can just slowly fly straight in, no "full power when its lined up" or "frantically tapping the roll key" needed.

            Also the case with every version of elite since then

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: I've been thinking about playing.... @Blinky

              @Justicesays: I had no idea about that until you mentioned it. I've just looked it up and it appears that quite a few of the keyboard controls (including the one you are referring to) involves freezing the game first.

              I think I would rather plough into the side of a space station than constantly take myself out of the game to make it 0.1% easier :)

              Also, it isn't compulsory (once lined up properly) to go in at full speed to make that method work - that's just how I roll baby!

              1. Dave Gomm

                Re: I've been thinking about playing.... @Blinky

                you can't freeze the game as its a persistent universe, you can leave it at any time by disconnecting but there's no keyboard controls that freeze the game or require it to be frozen

    4. RoninRodent

      Re: I've been thinking about playing....

      They are very cheap but docking is far easier now. Manually docking is far faster too.

    5. Ripperroo

      Re: I've been thinking about playing....

      docking computers cost 4,500 credits

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: I've been thinking about playing....

        But they also take up a valuable slot that could otherwise be used to hold a money-generating cargo bay.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've been thinking about playing....

      4500credits, very cheap, but landing is much easier now so its a waste of a slot.

  7. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    mmm.. Schadenfreude

    I thought I'd moved on, downloaded some other space sims and RPGs and decided I had better things to do than worry about offline mode being dropped from E:D

    well, hello, schadenfreude! Looks like I'm not willing to forgive Braben for his shitty last minute behaviour, yet. I should feel more sorry for the players than I do, but currently I'm laughing at Frontier's past statements that an offline game lets you cheat, but an online one does not..

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did this also affect...

    ...solo play?

    It's one of the reasons I didn't buy the game - the having to rely upon someone else's hardware/network/database just to play a game that I own.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Did this also affect...

      Yes. Solo play is really not a substitute for offline. It's basically just a flag that makes you and other PC ships invisible to each other. You're still affected by their actions (such changing trade prices, taking missions) and in all other ways is the same as "online" play.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did this also affect...

      Hmm, it's an online game that shares all the background workings between the multi-player and solo-player so it's kind of hard to avoid the online requirement.

      Perhaps something like Limit Theory will be more aimed at offline play?

    3. Dave Gomm

      Re: Did this also affect...

      I guess you don't play many games then - Battlefield, Destiny, GTA, Need for Speed, Titanfall as well as the MMOs all require you to authenticate and run on their server infrastructure in one form or another

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: Did this also affect...

        I have a list of games a long as my arm, those are not among them. Titanfall looked interesting, but it's a bit overpriced for a game which only offers MOBA play. Destiny, by all accounts (even the supportive ones) is grindy. I've never liked GTA or Battlefield. Frankly, racing games are a dime a dozen. All of these have one thing going for them that ED didn't, they where honest and TOLD the buyer that being online would be a requirement.

        David Braben said ED wouldn't be, but David lied. It puts real perspective on Ian Bell's comment that the one thing he would do differently is not trust David.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good lord... name an MMO that hasn't had teething problems, then consider they are usually in development for 5+ years, being bankrolled by a much larger budget and worked on by a much larger team compared to Elite's 2 year development / smallish budget / 80 man team.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this any worse than, say, EA?

    The amount of issues that occur with EA on Battlefield 4 on the PS4 for multiplayer is horrendous. And they are far, far more resourced.

    This isn't even including the PSN issues.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Is this any worse than, say, EA?

      Not a good measure though considering EA's rep.

  11. M W

    Funny all the people that had trouble, I for one had no issues throughout the entire Christmas holiday. I was able to play (and did frequently) at any point with no problems.

    It seems the forums where full of a few people who were whining (as usual in these circumstances) - you only every really get the negativity, since the positivity is usually being eaten up by people actually playing the game, only those that can't have the time to bitch about it.

    Offline mode, did it really matter, hasn't the majority of the world moved online now? - Did I not read somewhere that Xbox and PSnet where under attack and down on Christmas day? Does that not warrant more headline space ?

    1. Mark Fenton

      Agree with this

      Played over the Christmas period - as guests and children and dogs would allow. Didn't notice any issues.

      Having a great time with it.

      Re the solo mode - it requires such low bandwidth that you can play it with your mobile phone (3G) as a WiFi hotspot on a train...

      I think most of the +tive players will be just playing, and all the -tive ones will be whining about it.

  12. The Librarian
    Happy

    Oook.

    Got hit. Lost 1,402,800 credits (112 tonnes of palladium @ 14,155 credits per tonne, magically transmuted into 112 empty cargo slots, hey-ho). Got over it (went out hunting for a bit in my Viper, great stress reliever).

    Still the best game I have played for a long time.

    Rough, smooth, one without the other has no meaning.

    1. Rob

      Re: Oook.

      I got the reverse, I sold a basic scanner for 2 cargo space and if I wanted to buyback the scanner I would have made a 4 billion profit on the cargo space. At that point I thought something has definitely gone wrong.

      Now if only something like that could happen in real life, I would definitely abuse it without a second thought.

      1. Dave Gomm

        Re: Oook.

        and based upon statements made earlier this week, both those issues should be resolved/rolled back

        most players affected are taking this in their stride as a couple of weeks after a major launch you expect something weird to happen but issues aside it is still the greatest space game to have come out, ever

        1. The Librarian

          Re: Oook.

          My account balance was not re-credited, but after 90 minutes of grind trading, back to the old balance without too much hassle (nothing that a bunch of missiles dropped onto the odd ill-advised pirate couldn't handle).

          And yes, I do use missiles, as my trading vessel (a Lakon-6) is about as useful in a proper fire-fight as a plastic sword, and as I have stripped the ship of shields to give over space for more cargo (£$profit$£), a quick kill is preferable. Missiles tend to end most engagements quite rapidly in my experience. Only one ship lost in combat to date, due to collision rather than direct fire. All other losses down to pilot error (space-dock walls are quite unforgiving). Late-night beer might also have been a factor.....

    2. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

      Re: Oook.

      Thankfully I am still small fry. I arrived at a space station to unload 12t of coffee from my hauler only to find I didnt have any cargo. Confused me a bit I just assumed I had forgotten to buy any, although now I think perhaps it just vanished. Was getting kicked off a few times that day too whenever jumping.

      It's a good game, but will be better when proper grouping comes in and the economy tools are a bit more useful. I am looking forward to gropuing most of all, its lacking in the social at the moment. May be realistic in that respect but still would like to pootle about with some friends.

  13. P. Lee Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    What they need is....

    Viagra

    (with those initials, I can't believe no-one has mentioned this before)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What they need is....

      Heh, best thing about getting your ED fix is you'll probably avoid heading to Star Citizen's VD store :D

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: What they need is....

        Yeah, "Voyager Direct" is an awful name. I can't believe no one noticed that abbreviation before it went to users...

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: What they need is....

      " What they need is....

      Viagra"

      I thought that only gave you an uptime of a few hours?

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: What they need is....

        >I thought that only gave you an uptime of a few hours?

        Every little helps...

      2. LaeMing

        Re: What they need is....

        If uptime exceeds 7 hours, seek sysadmin advice.

  14. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    Oculus, LeapMotion & VoiceAttack on E:D

    I've been in gaming since the very earliest of days and I've never experienced a game so immersive in all that time.

    Yeah, its got teething issues but this is the stuff that I dreamt of in my childhood and now I get to do it. No complaints if it has a little hiccup or two.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      I'd heard about Voiceattack (and OR obviously) but I had never heard of the Leapmotion thingymabob - +10 upvotes for that if I could.

  15. aleeivel

    Elite has so far never worked for me

    Has been a complete waste of time and money so far. Missed the whole NY mess as have never got past an error on logging on!!!

    Posted on the forum and mailed, never had a reply from them. Useless con artists.

    1. RoninRodent

      Re: Elite has so far never worked for me

      Support are absolutely flooded in the wake of offlinegate + launch + holidays. Something like 18k tickets have been logged in 3 weeks and by the time they realised they had a problem it was too close to the holidays to recruit new support staff. Many of us think the offlinegate lot are intentionally flooding support to try and ruin the game. They are certainly griefing new players.

      If you have posted in the support forums several players (myself included) are doing their best to help but obviously there are some things we can't fix.

      1. Max Normal
        Gimp

        Re: Elite has so far never worked for me

        Paranoia factor 9 captain?

        Support are probably flooded because hundreds/thousands of genuinely aggrieved players are, you know, submitting problems.

        That, and it was only the janitor manning the phone post launch.

    2. Fading Silver badge

      Re: Elite has so far never worked for me

      If that's the error from the launcher have you tried adding a rule to your firewall to allow the launcher .exe through?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not standing up for the game but

    "Elite:Dangerous has proven controversial since its makers decided not to offer a single-player mode, "

    This is not true. The, not offering single player mode, not controversy.

    There is clearly a single player mode - it is called "Solo" what there is not is an always offline single player mode.

    Now the reasons they give are bullshit - it is always on drm and the excuse is the same shitty excuse we heard from EA about Simcity, and no doubt 2 years down the line it will suddenly become possible to get all the universe updates without the always on drm.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Re: not standing up for the game but

      Well, quite, but ISTM that Simon Sharwood had his nose put out of joint by the removal of the Offline mode and have gone Full Hate. Not even an article on here saying the game had been released, just articles about how awful it all is and how unhappy everyone is. When the reality is that about 100 whiny manbabies are filling the forum with complaints about the lack of offline mode - no doubt Mr Sharwood was one of them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: not standing up for the game but

        Well, if FD actually refunded the people after the offline bait and switch and not try every trick in the book to stall/refuse/partially settle then there would be less unhappy people complaining.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: not standing up for the game but

      >>"There is clearly a single player mode - it is called "Solo" what there is not is an always offline single player mode."

      It's only named "Solo" though, in fact the differences between it and actual single-player are quite long and surprising. You're still affected by other player's actions, you just can't see those players. So they take missions you might take, they affect prices, the unknown systems around you suddenly become known because other players have explored them... and more significantly there are a lot of design decisions based around it being online that are different with true single-player - there's no true pause, missions expire in real time making it very difficult for many to play that aspect of the game, you're locked to a single commander so no trying out different ways of playing with different characters, you can never really restart a game because you can never get back to the starting conditions of the galaxy, never save a position and go back to it. Six months from now it's going to be a very different galaxy with much more explored - and exploration is one part of the game (you gather and sell map data). The impact is actually pretty big and "Solo" really isn't the same as actual single-player.

    3. RoninRodent

      Re: not standing up for the game but

      You are badly misinformed. The removal of offline has nothing to do with DRM. Everything in the game is controlled by the servers right down to the market prices and availability. Without the server nothing works. They could have bodged some code in for commodities, ship and module availability but it would be very static and bland compared to the online version.

      They have said that if they ever have to shut the servers down they would release the server-end daemons and databases so you aren't cut off from the game. They announced this before release and I can only think of one other game company that did that (and that was well after they shut down).

      If you are going to spread information at least fact-check it first eh?

      1. Bod

        Re: not standing up for the game but

        "They have said that if they ever have to shut the servers down they would release the server-end daemons and databases so you aren't cut off from the game. They announced this before release and I can only think of one other game company that did that (and that was well after they shut down)."

        If there's no DRM aspect involved, then why not offer a local server download option now so people can run the game privately, solo and/or just with their own friends?

        The very fact you cannot play it without the server active, under Braben's control, makes it by definition DRM. Anyway I'm sure there's a licence check involved in communicating to the server.

        "They could have bodged some code in for commodities, ship and module availability but it would be very static and bland compared to the online version."

        No bodge, just code AI for computer generated players that does the same job instead of real players. Playing solo you don't see the players anyway so it makes crap all difference who's generating the "dynamic" data.

        Besides that, the original Elite was static and bland, but didn't stop it becoming a massive success and highly fun to play. That said though, kids today who know nothing about the original Elite or the satisfaction of the effort you had to put in to play it, demand games more suited for their short attention spans so that style of game is of no interest to them. The backers though wearing rose tinted glasses expected Elite in the style than Bell & Braben. What they've got is another solo Braben mess. Albeit nice looking.

        1. RoninRodent

          Re: not standing up for the game but

          > If there's no DRM aspect involved, then why not offer a local server download option now so people can run the game privately, solo and/or just with their own friends?

          Because they would like you to keep playing their version as the more players on their servers the more these players influence the ongoing story. As there is no subscription model they want you buying paint jobs and other such fluff to help keep the lights on.

          > No bodge, just code AI for computer generated players that does the same job instead of real players. Playing solo you don't see the players anyway so it makes crap all difference who's generating the "dynamic" data.

          They would have to do it for a lot more than just commodities but it would be possible with some work. That leaves you with fairly static trading, combat against AI only and a fairly bland selection of pre-baked missions. There would be no story and nothing in the universe would ever change. I admit that the universe is a little empty right now since things are just beginning but the offline mode would have been much emptier.

          > The backers though wearing rose tinted glasses expected Elite in the style than Bell & Braben. What they've got is another solo Braben mess.

          What many of the naysayers seem to want is the same exact game they had 30 years ago with some flashy new graphics. There are other games that have delivered that style of experience many times over the years and adding another one to the pile wouldn't really be an achievement. What backers wanted was an evolution of Elite taking it to the next level and most of the players feel they have mostly done that. Almost all of the reviews I have read are positive too (though they all admit there are issues that need working on).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: not standing up for the game but

        @RoninRodent

        "The removal of offline has nothing to do with DRM. Everything in the game is controlled by the servers right down to the market prices and availability. Without the server nothing works. They could have bodged some code in for commodities, ship and module availability but it would be very static and bland compared to the online version."

        I've heard that one before. What was it called Simcity? Oh yes - apparently that needed all the simulations done on the corporate servers too...

        There's little that couldn't of been done with one off xml downloads of the information - no need for always on drm.

        1. RoninRodent

          Re: not standing up for the game but

          Have you actually played the game? I have been playing since beta and I have seen them manipulate the universe right down to commodity prices in realtime with my own eyes so yes it is run on the server. At one point an exploit was found with a specific mission type and that mission type vanished from the bulletin boards within the hour. There is a very good reason why it is always online and part of that reason is security/anti-hacking.

          XML downloads? Well, I guess it could be done but what happens when 1 client doesn't get that download and becomes out of sync with the rest of the universe? No way that could go wrong.

          1. Paul Shirley

            Re: not standing up for the game but

            "There is a very good reason why it is always online and part of that reason is security/anti-hacking."

            A genuine solo game doesn't need that security or anti-hacking protection. That justification doesn't fly.

            1. P. Lee Silver badge

              Re: not standing up for the game but

              My guess would be that they don't want to code a special "server" for stand-alone use and neither do they want other people hosting multi-player ED clouds and fragmenting a small community.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: not standing up for the game but

        Oh yeah. "They will release the server code if they ever go down". With their credibility and way of handing refunds I don't see them doing this. If, hypothetically, they were going under they would most likely keep the code as it would be one of the main assets.

    4. MrDamage

      Re: not standing up for the game but

      I only have one question.

      How can a universe, which is vastly affected by the online activities of thousands, if not millions of other players, be called "Single Player Mode"?

      Thats right, it can't. If other players are affecting your gameplay, you arent playing by yourself.

  17. TheProf
    Meh

    I'm not a programmer.

    I watched a video on YouTube of a real human player in a life-or-death tussle with another real human player. It was interesting to the point of me almost signing up for the game. It's just the £40 price tag. I've never paid that much for a game. I'm the wait 6 months and get it for a tenner type. Yep, a cheapskate.

    As I said I don't programme but how difficult could it be to 'snapshot' the initial starting conditions and let players fly around in their own private universe? They managed to squeeze the original game into a BBC micro so I can't understand the reluctance of Frontier to offer an 'arcade' version.

    1. Jim 59

      Re: I'm not a programmer.

      It's just the £40 price tag. I've never paid that much for a game.

      Think I paid more than that for Pac-man on the Atari 2600, adjusting for inflation.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: I'm not a programmer.

      >>"As I said I don't programme but how difficult could it be to 'snapshot' the initial starting conditions and let players fly around in their own private universe? They managed to squeeze the original game into a BBC micro so I can't understand the reluctance of Frontier to offer an 'arcade' version."

      Potentially pretty difficult. If they've coded it with a lot of server side stuff then whilst it would be easier than starting from scratch to put that code in the client-side code, it could still be difficult. Suppose they had everything based on SQL Server or Postgres at the back-end. Now you need to either re-write it or the customer needs to install and run this database on their PC. Possible but problematic with Postgres, difficult with SQL server due to licences (though there's a free version, so maybe). But you see the problem. Something like this really needs to be decided on in the design phase. (That's what has angered many - because they must have decided to abandon single-player quite a while ago but tried to sneak the announcement out quietly late in the process).

      However, it could be possible. You'd probably have fairly high hardware requirements because realistically, to port this to single player with a "snapshot" as you say, would mean changing as little code as possible and getting the client PC to be the "server" as well and keep the PC talking to itself the same way it would talk to the server. Playing both halves of the conversation if you will. And I suspect that means running a full database on the client PC amongst other things.

      Talking from a position of not knowing how they implemented this, the best one can say is that it might be possible to do this within an acceptable amount of work, but it would not be trivial and would likely put some significant demands on the client's PC both hardware and software-wise (imagine if you had to enable IIS on the customer's PC to run the game! That's actually possible but would you want the security nightmare you'd be inflicting on customers who didn't know anything about administering IIS?).

      TL;DR: Possible - probably. Small amount of work - probably not. Could have unexpected restrictions that make this very difficult: might do.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: I'm not a programmer.

        Really? You can get quite fancy open source implementations of SQLite these days. It's much harder to do the graphics, at least from my point of view.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: I'm not a programmer.

          >>"Really? You can get quite fancy open source implementations of SQLite these days. It's much harder to do the graphics, at least from my point of view."

          SQLite is great. At what it does. However, we're talking not just a simple database here (conceivably it could handle what was necessary for ED's universe, *just* possibly), but a lot of code built on it and around it. How would you port all the stored procedures and advanced features that were being made use of. Swapping a back-end from something like Postgres or SQL Server (I don't know what they actually use or how they do it) to SQLite isn't going to work.

          The graphics is actually the least problematic part of moving ED to being a complete client-side game because the graphics are already generated on the client side (unless they're doing some lightmaps server side which is possible but I think highly unlikely with them). The server isn't sending a picture of a ship down the wire to client which would both be unusably slow and send bandwidth requirements through the roof. It instead sends a small bit of data saying "draw ship X here at angle Y" and the client loads the appropriate textures et al. which it already has from the game install, and draws as instructed. Graphics is actually the easy part of porting it.

          1. localzuk

            Re: I'm not a programmer.

            Its quite funny that some of you think its easy to have a database containing 400,000,000,000 star systems and their associated celestial bodies on a home PC. If each system contains 10Kb of data, that's potentially 372.5TB of data. Yeah, SQLite can handle that. Add in market data etc... and your game database is gonna be pretty huge!

            1. Bod

              Re: I'm not a programmer.

              "Its quite funny that some of you think its easy to have a database containing 400,000,000,000 star systems and their associated celestial bodies on a home PC. If each system contains 10Kb of data, that's potentially 372.5TB of data. Yeah, SQLite can handle that. Add in market data etc... and your game database is gonna be pretty huge!"

              Bell & Braben got the BBC Micro version procedurally generating a huge (for the time) universe and crammed it into 32K with a fun space trading arcade style game. Braben went his own way with the sequels and tried to create a space simulator and slap the name Elite on it. The results weren't great. Now he's done the same and wants to simulate the entire universe rather than make a fun game. The backers want to play an updated Elite like they remembered as kids. A copy of the real universe is nice, but it's nothing to do with Elite. Had he continued to do a wholly procedural generated universe he could have 400,000,000,000 star systems and their associated celestial bodies on a home PC in very little space. They just wouldn't map to real stars in the universe, but the game would still be fun to play.

              1. localzuk

                Re: I'm not a programmer.

                Ah, so you are dictating how the game should be created too then? There's many of us who love that it is a realistic implementation of the universe. Are our views not important too, or do you get to dictate the entire game - limiting it down to what the old Elite was. In fact, why bother with a new game, everything was done in the original, let's just use that...

                Its a new game. It has new things in it - one of those things is the expansive universe, another is the server based architecture to allow continual updates and changes to be made. A sequel is not just a like for like copy with new graphics. This isn't COD.

              2. h4rm0ny

                Re: I'm not a programmer.

                "Its quite funny that some of you think its easy to have a database containing 400,000,000,000 star systems and their associated celestial bodies on a home PC. If each system contains 10Kb of data, that's potentially 372.5TB of data. Yeah, SQLite can handle that. Add in market data etc... and your game database is gonna be pretty huge!"

                I guarantee you that ED is not using a 370TB+ database for its backend. Both financial cost of storage and searches on such a monstrosity would be prohibitive. I think you go wrong right at the start with plucking a figure per system from nowhere and using it to extrapolate. Whatever they are doing, the conclusion to the argument is unrealistic so there must be a flaw in it somewhere.

                Now if I were implementing such a thing client-side, which is what we're discussing the feasibility of, I would generate the systems procedurally as needed and only store those that had been discovered as and when the player reached them. Unless the player is going to explore all 400,000,000 systems, I'll be fine.

                Note, because there is an argument going on here and it's easy to read my post as being on one side of this, I think it would actually be quite a lot of work to port it to run on a PC. But for reasons other than what you give above, which I posted earlier. What would be feasible would be to allow people to set up their own smaller groups. Maybe forty people club together and get a small server on Azure or whatever and install the Elite package - now that would be a lot more realistic at this late stage in the development process.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I'm not a programmer.

                  I too do not see any problem in holding the 4E11 star systems local to the client. Given that we know virtually nothing about any of the star systems in this galaxy, it would be quite safe to generate them procedurally in the client as needed (that is, in a single-player mode).

                  I wonder if the real reason for requiring a server connection is that their idea of a constantly changing galaxy requires some quite sophisticated AI that they just do not have yet (or is not amenable to being supported on a single client machine)? In this early phase of the game they are then forced to rely on real human intelligences tweaking things behind the scenes.

                  Maybe there's an old ex-government bunker in the south of England which is now home to a server, a live galactic feed and a band of Elite Gnomes toiling away to provide intelligent changes to the galactic environment.

                  1. P. Lee Silver badge

                    Re: I'm not a programmer.

                    >I too do not see any problem in holding the 4E11 star systems local to the client.

                    Apart from the fact that everyone would be playing alone?

                    I used to play MMPORPG and the world was large but not that large. However, the designers created "choke-points" of desirable places to force people to interact. Otherwise everyone would just wonder off and do their own thing.

                    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
                      WTF?

                      Re: I'm not a programmer.

                      Well that was what we were talking about wasn't it, the feasibility of setting up a backend on the client so the game could connect to it instead of Frontier's servers and that way people could have the option of running a truly offline solo mode so they would be playing alone?

                2. Vanir

                  Re: I'm not a programmer. @h4rm0ny

                  >Unless the player is going to explore all 400,000,000 systems, I'll be fine

                  I'm going to give it a go! I'm checking me tyres and oil right now.

                  Say, I remember reports of gamers dying at their keyboards. Well, got to go someway and somewhere.

                  See ya!

            2. mythicalduck

              Re: I'm not a programmer. @localzuk

              "Its quite funny that some of you think its easy to have a database containing 400,000,000,000 star systems"

              I agree with what you said here... however... Would a single player really visit 400 billion systems? Doubtful. So what you could always do is create a universe with something like 250,000 systems. In my entire time of playing Elite 2: Frontier, I don't think I ever visited more than a couple of hundred systems, so you'd save a tonne of space, and still get more systems than you'd probably actually visit

            3. Spoonpoodle

              Re: I'm not a programmer.

              Procedural generation.

            4. Vic

              Re: I'm not a programmer.

              Its quite funny that some of you think its easy to have a database containing 400,000,000,000 star systems and their associated celestial bodies on a home PC.

              Why on earth[1] would you want that much data for a single-player game?

              Cutting it down by 6 or 7 orders of magnitude would be just fine. And that leaVes you - according to your calculations - with a database of a few tens or hundreds of MB. And I don't believe your calculations[2].

              Viuc.

              [1] Or anywhere else, for that matter...

              [2] Are you really trying to claim that they've generated nearly 400TB of data, and have it sat in a server farm? That's remarkably unlikely.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: I'm not a programmer.

            I imagine that Fronter's server is probably REST based and it's not beyond the wit of man to provide the same API on a daemon running on the client PC answering localhost connections. Stored procedures are moved into the daemon itself, the SQLite engine provides SQL services and nobody, not even Frontier at the moment, is running a backend with 400 billion star systems and 375 TB of data.

            Remember they thought they could do offline mode until they decided to make it online only and more fancy. Nobody is going to explore the entire galaxy, just a small part of it.

    3. Dave W

      Re: I'm not a programmer.

      The "snapshot" idea is initially feasible, but would require some dev time that I (personally) would argue is better spent elsewhere.

      The biggest issue with doing this however is in ongoing maintenence and expansion. ED is at present merely a foundation upon which Frontier are planning to grow (think how Eve Online has evolved over the past 10 years). Having to then back-port all of these changes into everybody's own unique offline version and check for potential issues/conflicts would slow development far too much.

      I'm impatient for the multiplayer code improvements and the ability to walk around my ship (Eve:Incarna anyone?), so I'm against anything that gets in the way of this dev timeline.

    4. TheProf
      Meh

      Re: I'm not a programmer.

      Thanks for the comments. I think I have a better understanding of the 'game' now. Big universe, big graphics and real-time interactions.

      As I said it was the up-front cost that stopped me buying in. That said wasn't the BBC game £14.99 in the late 80's. That's about £44 now and the game looks so much better.

      Another point: why did I get down votes on my original post?

      1. RoninRodent

        Re: I'm not a programmer.

        This is El Reg. You can get downvotes for just turning up!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm not a programmer.

        "Thanks for the comments. I think I have a better understanding of the 'game' now. Big universe, big graphics and real-time interactions.

        As I said it was the up-front cost that stopped me buying in. That said wasn't the BBC game £14.99 in the late 80's. That's about £44 now and the game looks so much better.

        Another point: why did I get down votes on my original post?"

        'Cos the crazies have come-a-knocking, and you is teh heritcssss! Die!!!!!

  18. ChrisCabbage

    The only problem I've had (along with a fair few others), is an inability to get the game to launch. It locks up at a black screen.

    I've been using the beta for several months and this has only been an issue since the gamma and release version.

    I have eventually found a work-around, but considering I'm relatively tech-savvy, it must be extremely frustrating for many a would-be player.

    Release just before the Christmas break might not have been the best plan.

    1. Lionel Baden

      Mate of mine has this issue, what was your workaround ?

      1. RoninRodent

        If it is the one I think it is you have to use process explorer to capture the launch string and put it in a batch file. Not looked into it too far as I have never had issues but it is posted in the support forums.

      2. ChrisCabbage

        I used the nVidia app to set the graphics mode to "windowed".

        I then pull it to fore-ground and push it to background a few times and it starts.

        You get a blank white window bar at the top, with the window-close icon on it, but at least it plays.

        I tried all the other known work-arounds, but none of them worked.

    2. aleeivel

      don't even get as far as a blank screen :-( just comes up with an error message

  19. localzuk

    Only had a single problem myself...

    In the 50 hours+ I've played it so far, I've had a single issue - I got stuck in hyper-space for 5 minutes randomly. That's it. Other than that, its worked perfectly.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Only had a single problem myself...

      and you weren't attacked by Thargoids? Were they off-line at the time or something?

  20. Graham Triggs

    I wonder why I - and many others - were so peeved about there not being an offline mode?

    What they are doing online adds *nothing* to the game as far as I'm concerned. In fact, many reviews have pointed out problems with trading which are likely linked to the online nature, so even when it works, it is - unless you actively want to participate with others - detrimental. And then there is the fact that it just doesn't work when their servers - so very, very unsurprisingly - go tits up.

    How about you start working on that offline mode now Braben, you arrogant tit?

    1. Barticus

      'arrogant tit'...hey Mr Pot, this is Mr Kettle, you're looking a little dirty.

    2. RoninRodent

      The reason is because FD can continually tweak the game by seeding events and storylines whenever they want to as well as adding new story/mission types over time that can involve many players at once. Without that everybody is in their own hermetically sealed bubble of pre-made events and the only combat you would ever get is against AI. Personally I think online was the right way to go as dogfighting other players is infinitely better than dogfighting AI.

      If you want that bubble there are other games that give you an Elite-style experience but FD are trying to evolve the game not just regurgitate a HD remake of the original.

    3. aleeivel

      I probably wouldn't have joined the kickstarter if it hadn't said there would be an offline version.

      as it is I've never got past an error at start up!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If you haven't been able to play, get your money back while you still can.

  21. SnowCrash

    Not had any problems at all. Of the crowd I play with (roughly 50 players) one had a problem that they ticketed. Not really the crash and burn that the article implies but definitely get the feeling that ElReg is basing these articles on the vocal minority.

    I backed at KS level (understanding that backing something at that level gave no guarantee of what I might or might not get to play), played through the various pre-release versions, ticketed bugs and am thoroughly enjoying the game.

    I guess it's my fault for not being more vocal in my support of the game but then I'd just be labelled a fanboi.

  22. Mark8539

    I've played Elite: Dangerous throughout the Christmas and New Year period, including this particular period, and didn't encounter any problems at all - this article needs a bit of balance!

  23. Simon Harris Silver badge

    "the point of the game is to buy and sell cosmic tat"

    "Open the pod ebay doors, HAL".

  24. jrc14

    Lazy journalism

    Just gotta mention that I have been playing the game regularly through the Christmas/New Year period, and I have not experienced any of these issues. I know some players have been having troubles, and of course that needs fixing. But the impression (from the complaints on the forum, and from this rather lazy piece of journalism) would be that the game is unplayable. And that just ain't so.

    1. Martin Rogers

      Re: Lazy journalism

      Echo this. Do your research please, the vast majority of people were unaware there even was an issue. I have had a couple of issues since go-live (eg stuck in hyperspace and had to kill the process) but lost no progress whatsoever. I've been playing this through the Beta (and even on release day) and can honestly say I haven't enjoyed a game so much since the original Elite. The "offlinegate" nonsense is, I suspect, only a genuine issue for handful of players (who should get a refund) but a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon for some reason.

      I feel sorry for those people who haven't been able to launch the game, but clearly that's an issue somewhere in their particular setup given that it's working for thousands of others. Where I would agree with the criticism of FD is that some of those tickets haven't moved for a month, apparently.

  25. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Strange

    I've been playing over Christmas and only had one bump when the server refused to let me log on,(then it did 30 secs later, Just happily blasting around the core systems in a piddly sidewinder

    Compare that to grief steam give us all when trying for an 8 man game the other night when steam went tits up, and dropped 1 guy and we had a to start a whole new game because steam would'nt let him join ours... even though we had an open slot for him.

    Personalle E:D is worth about 30 quid so far.. not had the 'wowser' moment yet to make it worth 40

  26. dazza1980

    As with every new game there are problems, especially when it's predominantly an online game. That said I've been playing pretty much every day for the last couple of weeks and had no issues whatsoever.

    Absolutely love this game so far!

  27. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
    Trollface

    Amazing thing the English language...

    “spotted the issue and reacted to it immediately.”

    Does this mean: 1) They leapt into action and repaired the problem as quick as possible,

    or 2) They said stuff it, we'll reboot it after new year and went to the pub?.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    No mention in Eurogamer ...

    funny that ? prob because it's a non event.

    Suggest El Reg avoids forum reporting, it's full of self-entitled loons moaning at the moment about how it's the games fault when they crash and have no credits for insurance buy-back, etc.

  29. Stretch

    As i predicted to much down voting!

  30. Atonnis

    I love the Backer and Alpha forums...

    I didn't have any trouble during the entire holiday period.

    Plus if you spend some time in the backer and alpha forums that have been reinstated (for those of us awesome enough to get into them) it's mostly nice and peaceful, with people talking pleasantly to each other. It's like the anti-forum of forums.

  31. tony
    Happy

    Frontier: First Encounters

    Somehow reminds me of the last Elite release...

    Working in retail at the time there were a few boxes of patch discs shipped to the stores to give to customers.

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: Frontier: First Encounters

      I remember it well, but I still enjoyed F:FE a lot once I got hold of the patch(es). However:

      Diablo 3 on XBox One: 250MB patch on day one (required to play online)

      CoD: Advanced Warfare: 200MB patch on day one (also required to play online)

      Destiny: 250MB patch on day one (ditto)

      Dragon Age: Inquisition: 280MB patch on day one (ditto)

      Nobody is apparently capable of releasing a game these days that does not need a day one patch. Blizzard, Activision and EA are continuing the grand tradition spawned by Frontier :)

      Games developers release unfinished code, and have been for several years now. It has apparently become standard industry practise now that consumers can get day one patches via the wonder of the interwebs. I don't see this changing any time soon, unless people all decide not to buy games on release in protest of devs releasing unfinished code (this is highly unlikely to happen).

  32. Desk Jockey

    There is single player

    El Reg really need to stop confusing the difference between an offline and a single player mode. I get some of the complaints about no offline mode, but I have to say I understand why they have done it. The game really is more dynamic for it. Means you can't just find a single high return trade route and keep running it over and over to generate cash as over time that route shuts down and you have to use your wits (and some cool 3rd party price comparison tools) to find a new one. It does make a difference as otherwise you really do just do the same thing over and over.

    The only legitimate whinge for me is by those who can't stay online to play it. Anything else is silly in this day and age where Steam and EA et al keep you online for their games. But then if you don't have a reliable internet connection, an MMO game generally is probably one you would avoid.

    And yes there is a big difference between the online and solo mode. When you play online, piracy (the proper old fashioned kind) is rife and so trying to trade can be difficult especially in the starter ships. For those who want to get some experience and/or do some people trading before getting into the spirit of fighting all the time, the solo mode is great. I am using it to generate enough credits to buy and then modify a decent ship that I am willing to take to a gunfight! Taking the sidewinder in online mode without upgrades would be a very frustrating experience!

    1. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: There is single player

      As I understand it, a lot of the screaming is due not just to there not being an offline mode, but that, apparently, it was understood by a large fraction of those who stumped up cash that there would be an offline mode. And there isn't. And the devs aren't giving back the cash. I could be wrong, but it appears to this disinterested bystander that if the devs had simply made it clear from the beginning, or at least from early on, that there wasn't going to be an offline mode, or if they would refund the cash, the problem would evaporate. If the devs had said that it's unlikely that there would be an offline mode, and people stumped up anyway, then the punters couldn't complain if there wasn't an offline mode. (Well, they could complain, but I'd not pay any attention.) If, however, the punters got the impression that there would be an offline mode, and if some of them kicked in cash precisely because they had that impression, then they really should get a refund now that there isn't and never will be an offline mode. And single player mode does not appear to be offline. YMMV

      As for the apparent fact that the basic ship isn't good enough to play a meaningful online game... perhaps the devs should crank up the minimums for the basic ship so that it _is_ good enough. Hmm. I further understand that in-app purchases are required to improve a basic ship. Hmm. (If I'm incorrect about this, please correct me.)

      No, I've never played the game. And, given the way that the devs have treated some of their supporters, I doubt that I ever will. Well-reasoned replies as to why I should change my mind are invited. Flames and downvotes will be ignored.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is single player

        In app purchases are made in credits that you earn by trading or completing missions and are upgrades to components (drives, weapons, cargo space etc).

        There are no in-app purchases based on real money, though you can buy a snazzy paint job in the online store for real money if you really want one - but that is purely cosmetic and not needed to progress.

        I started in the piddly sidewinder and it is a great ship to get the hang of the game, it forces you to deal with the basics around fight, flight and trading. You have to pick your fights - or just get good at running away :-)

        If you trade rares and do a few missions you can pick-up an upgrade within a few hours of flying.

        As for the offline mode, I'm not interested. I like playing online, I like playing with real people, I like ganging up on large ships (or annoying grieffers) and dealing justice :-)

        As you said YMMV, but for me, I've only seen 2 issues since starting playing in the alpha. The player communities I belong to saw little to no disruption over christmas and the new year. One of those (EDC on Facebook with 2,066 members) reported the odd glitch, but nothing as earth shaking as this article makes it sound.

        So in the end, come in and join the fun! It is a lot of hard work at the beginning (just like the original elite) but in the end it is worth the effort!

      2. Martin Rogers

        Re: There is single player

        @James O'Shea "Well-reasoned replies as to why I should change my mind are invited"

        Ok here's an attempt then, your judgement on whether it's well-reasoned :)

        On your first point, there are no doubt a small but significant number of people who fall into that category, by which I mean people who pre-ordered the game but didn't participate in the testing stages AND had assumed there would be an offline mode. For those people, I agree they should get a full refund. However most of the thud and blunder on the forums seemed to be from people who'd been actively participating on those forums (and playing the game), ONLINE, for months. There I'd support the Frontier position that if you've been racking up hours already, then clearly the lack of an offline mode can't be a deal breaker. FYI the game has been pretty much playable, if buggy, for months now in my experience.

        On your second point - disagree, having played it. Working your way up from a basic ship was always part of the point of Elite, certainly for me. The starter ship is 'good enough' to try out the major roles available - bounty hunting, trading etc, while working your way up to a better one (which you can do in a few hours of play). But I suspect your reservation is about immediately getting splattered by hordes of griefing players in high-end ships a la Eve Online once upon a time. Well, there were, it appears, instances of that right after release, and there is thread after thread of "griefers vs carebears" dispute on the game forums. But the game gives you a mechanic to avoid that. By playing in "Solo mode" - for as long as you like - you can avoid all player contact. By joining a specific PVE group and playing with them, you can avoid all hostile player contact. There is no restriction on swapping between these, so you can build up and then join 'Open' mode later. However, there is another option which is to simply avoid the more heavily-used systems. I've been in Open mode since release and encountered only a couple of other players so far. Caveat - you can still - and are likely to be - intercepted and scragged by NPCs at any point. With a bit of offline combat practice - provided via in-game tutorials - you can win or avoid those too.

        Final point - the game is stunning visually and aurally, the flight model is excellent and personally I find it a worthy successor to the original. Have a look at some Youtube videos with no risk, search for the username "Isinona" (not me I hasten to add - I can't fly like that...)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is single player

        Thanks for your comment. Is it entirely based on speculation and hearsay just like most of the comments?

        I've actually bought the game and love it. None of my recent game purchases (big titles from Steam, etc) have an "offline" mode. They all need the Internet (Steam, Origin, etc, needs it for starters). Elite has a huge database which reacts to all the gameplay that's going on - but you can play solo mode and avoid the interaction if you want. If you want the game on floppy discs then I think they still sell that version at a great price for the luddites.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "no offline mode, but I have to say I understand why they have done it."

      "Means you can't just find a single high return trade route and keep running it over and over to generate cash as over time that route shuts down"

      I think you don't understand the way modern games work. There's nothing about an offline mode that prevents a trade route from adapting. Many other space games that are offline have dynamic adaptive tradings.

      David Braben's excuses for no offline mode are baloney. This article's comments give a good analysis http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/12/15/elite-dangerous-has-no-offline-mode-for-story-reasons/ .

      David Braben switched the game to online-only when the company was hit by a massive bill to buy the Elite rights last summer. http://www.iii.co.uk/investment/detail?code=cotn:FDEV.L&display=discussion

      He switched the game to online in a desperate last-minute move for the sake of monetisation. There are serious doubts amongst many players as to whether Frontier will be able to keep the game alive without charging a subscription to play. https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=91494

      The mess the game is now is is due to Frontier pushing offline players to play online when its server system cannot handle the job and its support department cannot handle the deluge of complaints.

  33. MrPSB

    My favourite bit was the snark in the middle about people being on holiday from the writer posting a news story four days after the event because... I'm sure there was a great reason.

  34. Brandon 2

    slow news cycle?

    The servers had a bit of a hiccup for a couple hours during a holiday. I experienced it first hand. I lost 3 hours worth of work when my cargo disappeared. I logged off, submitted a ticket, and before they could respond, I logged on a couple hours later, and all was restored and right with the milky way. I'd hardly say this is news worthy, especially when you consider the horrible launches of almost every other online game.

  35. Wattsy

    I too have been playing all over the Christmas period and have not experienced one single problem with the game. Happily flying around killing in solo mode for over 30 hours all in all. I have given up on the forums unless I really need an answer as they have turned into a boiling mess of hatred due to a very small contingent nobs that like the sound of their own keyboard.

    I don't think I have been this involved in a game before. Playing with a full HOTUS setup and the Oculus Rift is just mind blowing. I can't think of any game that has made me sit back and just look around and enjoy the views in a long time. It is the Elite I wanted as a kid and I am a very happy backer.

  36. Justin Ert

    Not so bad

    Bought the game on the 17Dec... Thrashed it from 26th until last night...

    Read about the server problems, and suffered from disconnections and connections over this weekend about half a dozen times. I did panic about whether my connect/disconnects would result in the scare stories I heard on the forums, but fortunately, they were just that - scare stories. Not like Reg to take the climate-doomsday cult position ;) Unsure why they have taken this alarmist angle really. Did wonder whether there were wow or other mmorpgs stooges trolling the release for commercial disincentives.

  37. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    Come play WOW through a release.

    Sounds like these guys have it together compared to Blizz.

  38. Mattyboy

    Personally Im having a lot of fun and have only had a few crashes and kickouts. However after travelling for 230 ly across empty space I did discover a planet controlled entirely by a group calling itself the ed offline refund group... population was only 9 apparently it had once been a thriving community but the people were just too hacked off to bother breeding.

  39. DaddyHoggy

    I backed the Kickstarter of Elite: Dangerous - I did so because of the offline mode - for me the MMO part was a "nice to have" - when it got canned with a few weeks to go before actual release... I was really, very upset.

    The way I wanted, indeed needed, to play the game was completely based on offline.

    But I waited. On Dec. 16th I downloaded the launcher - it downloaded the game (took about 40 minutes on my 60Mbit/s connection). It installed. I fired it up. It worked.

    I climbed into my Cobra Mk3 and haven't looked back.

    I've only ventured into "Open" mode a few times and play mostly "Solo" - as suspected not having the offline mode has dented when I can play, but when I have played, connection and the game has been faultless.

    I don't know if I'm in a minority or it's just the vocal minority who are having issues that make me feel like I'm somehow in a uniquely privileged position.

    I'm mostly avoiding the official forums because there's a lot of anger from what appears to be a relatively small number of 'players'.

    Not quite sure why El Reg has taken such a seemingly negative view of the game/Frontier - I don't know anything about the reporter in question - perhaps his E:D offline dreams were crushed (like mine) but decided to channel his energies in a different way?

    E:D isn't yet the game I'd like it to be (offline mode aside!) but it clearly has the potential to be exactly that and so far it seems to be growing at about the same rate in which I can play it and learn to do new stuff inside its mindboggingly huge sandbox.

    (BTW, one of the things that really appeals to me (as a Physicist) is that Frontier say they will continue to add real astronomical data into the game as more stars, pulsars, supernova, nebula, and exoplanets are discovered - I find that pretty cool.)

  40. Jay Zelos

    I think there is a lot of misinformation in some of these posts. Currently in Elite there are only a few thousand, maybe tens/hundreds of thousand systems. My understanding (which could be wrong) is that others are only created when a pilot gets closer to them. So in a sense by exploring the universe, one becomes god.

    The Online only mode is related to the way the market operates, even playing solo other players transactions effect your the prices in your world. Also the news is drawn from a central source.

    My problem with the game is that's is just not a lot of fun to play, its easy but a real grind. Its basically Elite First Encounters with prettier graphics and harder controls (unless you own a flight stick). I am waiting to see what they do with it though as the potential is there.

  41. SirChris

    Don't listen to hearsay. Try it.

    I started playing Elite Dangerous on the day of release. I did play the tutorial the day before, but that was no comparison to the size and scale of the full game. I've only ever played the full online mode.

    I wasn't online during the alleged downtime, but have played a lot. I've really enjoyed the game and have abandoned Titan Fall and CoD:Advanced Warfare (which suddenly are not calling to me). Those premium titles suffered with lots of problems and I often spent hours waiting for their servers to sort things out. I've had about 2 minutes of 'problems' with E:D and whilst it's a tad frustrating at the time, it hasn't deterred or disappointed me at all.

    People are stating they "know" how many people have complained and asked for refunds. No citations are given. Are they Daily Mail journalists who just quote from hearsay which is derived from a feeling?

    I'm not here to defend Frontier and E:D - but my own, personal opinion is that the game is worth every penny (cheaper than CoD:AW) and has been the source of many hours of endless gameplay since release. I guess all the people who are enjoying the game are too busy playing to moan about the handful of teething problems (most of which are just hearsay as far as I'm concerned)

  42. BlueToo

    Where have you been for the last decade ? Compared with most other MMO releases, this has been a pretty smooth ride.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Probably why they are hiring support staff and ramping up http://www.frontier.co.uk/jobs"

    "Probably why they are hiring support staff and ramping up http://www.frontier.co.uk/jobs"

    That doesn't say they are hiring support staff. It says they are trying to hire support staff. Which is no surprise at all, since actually succeeded in finding good staff who want a job supporting this pile of *** can't be easy at all.

  44. CMDR Talynne Star

    Really?

    Is this all they're gonna focus on? Every game has issues in the beginning. I used to play World of Warcraft so I am used to the usual "oops, something happened/servers crashed/glitch/whathaveyou". Bottom line is, IT HAPPENS. Just because there's hiccups in the system doesn't mean the game is going under. There's no way. I am part of a community of over 2000 amazing members and I've not heard one horrible thing about this game, nor have I experienced something so horrible that made me want to quit. Every day I see people posting about the amazing experiences they have, which in my opinion, far outweighs the technical issues. Technical issues CAN AND WILL get fixed. It may take time, but they get fixed. Those screaming over the issues need to take a chill pill and relax for a bit. Contrary to popular belief, the world (or galaxy in this case) DOESN'T END because of a malfunction in ED.

    I, for one, am an extremely happy camper for the 60 bucks I paid for this game. I have no regrets. I plan to buy flight controllers and other accessories for this game. The ability to see the galaxy as it is in a virtual stance far outweighs the technical problems that will inevitably happen.

    -CMDR Talynne Star

  45. Spoonpoodle

    I've had no problems with this game, it's brilliant and runs well, even on my rubbish internet connection. So far there's been one minor server issue on a bank holiday that stopped me playing for two hours (out of 200hrs + of gameplay). Very good game that'll likely continue to improve for years to come.

  46. Robinson

    OK but

    Yea the game is "great" in a genre of 1. But it's really, really, really boring. People on the forums will tell you to use your imagination. I mean they actually tell you to do that. They say, "if you think Elite Dangerous is boring, switch off your computer, go and lie down on the sofa, close your eyes and imagine you're flying a space ship and getting into lots of really exciting adventures. Games like this don't spoon feed you adventures, you have to imagine them totally by yourself and you don't need a computer for that, duh."

    I have a hole in my forehead from smacking it with my hand reading some of the BS people write about this, frankly dull and empty game.

    1. Martin Rogers

      Re: OK but

      I've posted some positive comments here but that's not to say there are not valid complaints, and I can see this is one for a lot of people. And I won't repeat the "when I were a lad" response to your criticism - but personally, I am definitely not bored. Not yet anyway, but I am anticipating more content and dev-created story line soon - not least the major war that's about to kick off.

      Genuine multiplayer interaction definitely isn't there yet, I agree. That is what I'm most looking forward to - taking a "Wing" of fighters into action to shoot up those damn commies in Eranin :)

      The way I see it is that the base functionality is all there, is stable and very impressive. The vision is to build on that over 2015. If you're in the group of disillusioned "offline mode" players then you won't trust FD to deliver that, but right now I see no good reason not to. I actually wish there was a subscription model though, because that would give a solid revenue stream to fund it all.

      1. Robinson

        Re: OK but

        I don't give a flying cluck about "offline mode". I'm just telling you that whatever this game does was done far better in games of the genre from 10 years ago. Freelancer was much more fun to play as was (is) X2. Elite Dangerous was good to play for about 2 weeks whilst I got the "wow" factor of the Oculus Rift out of my system. Now it's just a daily grind.

        And who cares about the war? I don't. None of any other blocs have done anything to make me sympathetic with them to care who owns what. That's the problem with broad, sweeping narratives. They mean nothing to an individual player and don't make a story that he feels the need to be involved in. The player in a game is the centre of the universe, not an outside observer.

        Frontier have been making Kinectimals for so long they forgot how to tell a story, if they ever knew in the first place and given how The Outsider was an utter failure, I think Elite Dangerous is just a cash grab to fend off bankruptcy in any case.

        1. Martin Rogers

          Re: OK but

          Well, I haven't played anything that came out in the last 10 or even 20 years, and I suspect that there are a lot of people in that position. I wouldn't have come back to this genre for anything other than Elite (or possibly Star Citizen, having played WC back in the 90s). So maybe the 'wow' factor is partly because of that delay - I'm seeing 20+ years of advances in one shot. As for gameplay though, my own expectations were based on the original; I was expecting a sandbox, with any narrative or multiplayer being 'nice to have'. Clearly we have very different views on that. I am not planning to play this thing for 10 hours a day, so when I dip into it I expect to see content added periodically and hope that will keep it interesting. Hopefully with a few more additions you'll come back to the game - because the more players online the better for its long term viability.

        2. NumptyScrub

          Re: OK but

          I don't give a flying cluck about "offline mode". I'm just telling you that whatever this game does was done far better in games of the genre from 10 years ago. Freelancer was much more fun to play as was (is) X2. Elite Dangerous was good to play for about 2 weeks whilst I got the "wow" factor of the Oculus Rift out of my system. Now it's just a daily grind.

          What are you grinding for? I'm assuming you feel the need to buy shiny upgrades for your ship, or a shiny new ship? Then you need to earn the scratch for it, just like life. I've been playing since premium beta (maybe 9 months?) and my current state is a little over 20k credits since the gamma wipe, and I'm flying the freebie Sidewinder (no upgrades).

          I did the trading grind when the beta was all about trading, and got to a Type 9. I did the mission grind when the beta was all about missions, and to be honest while it's nice to have a Cobra or Asp, for pissing about looking at stuff and exploring, the Sidey is the literal cheapest option; it costs 0Cr to replace it if you blow it up, and fuel is dirt cheap (even without a fuel scoop). I'm just flying around doing some space tourism, the odd courier mission, and escaping interdictions. I'll worry about grinding for money when I have a specific goal in mind (like getting an Imperial Courier) ;)

          I've played Elite, Frontier, Frontier: First Encounters, StarLancer, FreeLancer, the whole X series (including all the X3s and X: Rebirth), EVE, Conflict: Freespace and the sequel, all the Wing Commanders, and almost every X-Wing game ever released. E:D is by far the biggest sandbox of the lot; FreeLancer and X3: Albion Prelude are tiny in comparison (a hundred or so locations versus ~400 billion systems). E:D is combat flight sim focused; no matter how many people will assume it's all about the trading and play it like EVE, the flight model is deliberately tuned to promote atmosphere type dogfighting (like StarLancer, Wing Commander, X-Wing, Freespace, and the X series) rather than MMO style "click buttons and wait for damage to resolve", or the Allegiance or F:FE style Newtonian jousting model. E:D has no artificial limits on range or equipment availability until story milestones have passed; one thing that bugged me about FreeLancer was areas with the better kit being locked until you had finished story mission <whatever>, then suddenly you had loads of upgrades available to purchase. That's more of a railroad than a sandbox.

          So, compared to all the space combat flight sims, space trading sims etc. that I have played, E:D is looking pretty good. The combat flight sim part is shooty and lets you take a pop at players as well as AI. The grindy trading part has a large player-affected market that requires some forethought and a pinch of luck. The space explorey part makes you work to find those exoplanets that aren't gifted to you on the target list (this is where supercruising with a Rift helps you spot those parallax movements that turn out to be previously unknown celestial bodies), and overall it does everything it purports to do well enough that I am perfectly happy with it as is.

          What it does not do is hold the player's hand at the start; if they choose not to fly the training scenarios then you are dumped unceremoniously into a cockpit docked at a station, and left to figure it out yourself. Note that one of the training missions specifically covers undocking, flying to a new system and docking again, so the info is there if people choose to PTFTM (play the training missions). I cannot stress enough that new players should play the training missions :)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Robinson - Re: OK but

          I'm keeping out of the argument, but +1 for this :

          The player in a game is the centre of the universe, not an outside observer.

          Nice.

          1. NumptyScrub

            Re: @Robinson - OK but

            I'm keeping out of the argument, but +1 for this :

            The player in a game is the centre of the universe, not an outside observer.

            Nice.

            The player in certain genres of games is the center of the universe, most RPGs and the single player elements of FPSs make you a true protagonist, whom the story revolves around. The player in Sim City, however? You're making all the decisions, but you aren't the centre of a complex narrative web, you're just the town planner. The player in Planetside, or the multiplayer component of any CoD? Just some grunt helping your team of grunts reach an objective. The player in DoTA is part of a team attempting to destroy the enemy base, but again there is no complex narrative and you just repeat the same scenario over and over again.

            Many extremely successful games (CoD, DoTA, Minecraft) provide a gameplay experience that is weak or even mostly devoid of a rich predetermined narrative experience where the player(s) follow, and are the centre of, a developer created storyline. That does not stop them having a rich narrative experience, many Minecraft or DoTA players will happily regale you with stories of "that time when..." and proceed to go into great detail of how their player interactions, with either other players or the environment, provided them with a thrilling experience.

            Dragon Age: Inquisition is spoon feeding me a rich, prewritten script (which I can affect, but only in predetermined ways) that I am finding compelling and enjoyable. I am the centre of the DA:I universe.

            Minecraft, CoD:AW multiplayer matches, and Elite: Dangerous provide me with an environment in which to play. It is my actions which define the experience; our last ditch rush to cap points in Domination to squeeze in a win, that time we mistakenly built our vast Minecraft castle right over a creeper spawner (and then had to hunt the damn thing down so we could destroy it), the attempt to use a fuel scoop to refuel where I got interdicted 8 times in a row (and chased off or destroyed several larger and better equipped ships, much to my satisfaction). In E: D a friend of mine destroyed a Python (a giant, ponderous multirole vessel that costs many millions of credits) with his Eagle (a tiny, nimble fighter that costs a few thousand credits), a real David and Goliath moment. Funnily enough, he couldn't wait to tell people about it.

            If you want to take the analogy to an extreme, people enjoy playing chess and draughts (aka checkers), and they have literally no built-in narrative. 100% of the experience is in how you play the game, and how you interact with other players, and none of it is provided by the "developers". Is E: D as boring as chess? Yes, in the sense that you will only get out what you put in (disclaimer: I have had exciting and tense chess matches). E: D has more lasers and explosions than chess, but to be fair it also has little predetermined narrative beyond reading bulletin board notices and inferring what you can from them; "War in Eranin!" would mean nothing to someone the other side of the galaxy, however someone 2 systems over could infer that there are lucrative smuggling prospects for several goods that will be in short supply (like personal weapons, an illegal item that will be in high demand), or decide to offer their services as a mercenary pilot to either side in the conflict. Or they could decide that war sounds like dangerous business, and just choose to relocate somewhere less volatile; to be fair, some games would not give you the choice to not participate in a local conflict ;)

            1. Robinson

              Re: @Robinson - OK but

              "If you want to take the analogy to an extreme, people enjoy playing chess and draughts (aka checkers), and they have literally no built-in narrative."

              OK so I will conceded the point about narrative in chess and perhaps I'm not the first-person centre of the universe in God games like Sim City (though I am God so I could argue that point if I had the time). What I'm arguing is that these other genres of game do whatever they do a lot better than Elite Dangerous does what it does.

              Let me give you some examples. Freelancer had a single player campaign that really engaged the player. That was its "thing" (combat was fun too). X2 had a unique economic model and the ability for the player to run little scripts and remote control his assets. That was its "thing". Eve Online puts the massive into massively multiplayer and has a totally player run economy (some things still get seeded by NPCs of course). That's its "thing". Having a "thing" maintains the player's interest. So, what is Elite Dangerous's "thing"?

              As far as I can see it doesn't have one. Perhaps it will in 2 or 5 years. But it doesn't today. Today it's a dreary galaxy simulator. So in 2 or 5 years time we can comment under reviews of expansion packs and we will no doubt say different things. But right now I'm calling it as the empty experience it is.

              1. NumptyScrub

                Re: @Robinson - OK but

                Let me give you some examples. Freelancer had a single player campaign that really engaged the player. That was its "thing" (combat was fun too). X2 had a unique economic model and the ability for the player to run little scripts and remote control his assets. That was its "thing". Eve Online puts the massive into massively multiplayer and has a totally player run economy (some things still get seeded by NPCs of course). That's its "thing". Having a "thing" maintains the player's interest. So, what is Elite Dangerous's "thing"?

                Freelancer also had a campaign that artificially restricted what the player could purchase (ships or equipment) until specific story milestones were passed. That works in the context of a defined narrative, but grates if the game is supposed to be a "sandbox" type.

                X2 (and the X3s) let you buy what you like and build what you like right from the start, if you have the money, so it's a much better sandbox. It only has a hundred or so locations though, and each location is only tens of kms across. I also ran into unforseen issues where one story mission causes a sector to get totaled; I had 3 thriving factories in there with a decent amount of combat ships for defense, and lost the lot thanks to it being a scripted battle. Not a lot I could do about that except cry :'(

                EVE is the definitive "space sandbox", to the point that CCP intended piracy and griefing to be part of the game experience. Scammers in Jita (and corporate moles in general) are there because scamming a player out of in-game goods, or working your way into a position of trust and then cleaning out the corporate hangar and account just after downtime, are considered fair game; only phishing for account details, or exploiting game mechanics to make money are considered verboten. CCP have to sell PLEX somehow ^^;

                Elite's "thing" probably depends on who you talk to. IMO the "thing" for E:D is that it is larger in scope than existing sandbox games, and provides 1st person combat for those that prefer that to the stats-driven MMO style combat. I love combat flight sims and I like sandbox space games, so that's why it works for me.

  47. Plonko

    No problems for me. I assume from yet another negative article that The Register didn't get a free copy.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      You assume right. We are all about the free copy.

      1. Oninoshiko

        I thought you guys payed the writers for copy, or do you keep them locked up in the dungeon?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll wait a couple of months

    to give them time to fix the issue and I will buy a copy. I had the original game in the 80s on Electron.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ""They have said that if they ever have to shut the servers down they would release the server-end daemons and databases so you aren't cut off from the game. They announced this before release"

    I challenge all the people claiming that Frontier have said they will release the server code if they have to shut down the servers. Show us where Frontier announced that.

    I think you can't. Because Frontier have never said that.

    1. The Librarian

      From dev newsletter #50:-

      What is Frontier's plan for when the servers shut down?

      We do not plan to shut the servers down, but understand it is a reasonable question. We are at the beginning of the game not the end and are focused on creating a game that we hope will be played for many years in the future. We do plan to take regular archives of the game and the servers, to preserve the game for the future.

      Could the server code be released publicly some day when the servers are shut down?

      Yes. This is something we would do if for whatever reason we cannot keep the game going.

      Soooo, not posted to the wider web, but very much on record.

  50. Tarnish

    Balanced journalism?

    Well that article was clearly written in a subjective frame of mind. What was described there in no way matches my experience of the game. Thus far I have found E:D has fully captured the feel of the original game while even in these early days giving so much more too. The future holds much to look forward to with more ships, a first person element and planetary landings. I have experienced some network issues but certainly far less than some games I've played.

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