back to article Elite: Dangerous 'billionaire' gamers are being 'antisocial', moan players

A set of disgruntled owners of Elite: Dangerous have formed a Customer Action Group in order to pressure Frontier Developments over bugs, broken promises and a decision to allow players to retain unfairly acquired in-game gold. Elite: Dangerous' woes started last year when it cancelled a promised offline mode, angering some …

  1. SnowCrash

    Still reporting the vocal minority then. Love the way the article reads, finding out how I feel about the game from ElReg is very refreshing....

    1. dogged

      Would you prefer articles like this?

      MOST ELITE:DANGEROUS PLAYERS OKAY WITH EVERYTHING

      Nothing to see here, move along.

      ....

      Seriously, go away. ®

      Probably not much in the way of revenue on that one.

      *EDIT - FFS guys, turn off the automated carriage return linefeed thingy. Formatting is all but impossible.

      1. Dave W

        No of course not.

        But other IT rags published this story far more objectively, for example PC Gamer: http://www.pcgamer.com/frontier-investigating-elite-dangerous-exploiters/

        Simon Sharwood's repeated negative (and in several cases factually incorrect) coverage of Elite Dangerous over the last sixteen days shows a journalistic standard unbecoming of the otherwise mighty fine Register and shows a level of bias and one-sided opinionistic crusading that I'd come to expect from the likes of the Daily Mail.

        Sorry Simon, I would just much rather see you speak to Frontier directly and get more information straight from the horses mouth than post links to forum trolls below a picture of Scrooge McDuck.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. veti Silver badge

          Oh please. Do you come to El Reg for objective, balanced, purely factual reporting?

          The sky on your planet must be a very interesting shade indeed.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      FAIL

      Still reporting the vocal minority then

      You're obviously severely confused on which "minority" is the vocal one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The old "But it works for me so I don't see the problem" well thousands of other people do have problems, I'm pretty sure very few other areas can get away with the number of defective products software companies can without being faced with an embarrassing recall and compensation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But it works for me so I don't see the problem

        Mind you, I haven't played E:D yet, but I truly believe that having an opinion is more important than having experience.

        1. GeneralDisaster

          Re: But it works for me so I don't see the problem

          That's the spirit! Somebody who actually gets how the internet works.

      2. NumptyScrub

        The old "But it works for me so I don't see the problem" well thousands of other people do have problems, I'm pretty sure very few other areas can get away with the number of defective products software companies can without being faced with an embarrassing recall and compensation.

        a) if 2 thousand people have problems, and 200 thousand people have no problems, is the product defective, or is the player-provided environment defective (this is running on customer computers over customer connections, and in my experience not everyone maintains their PC to the same standard that I do)? Exactly how many people are having connectivity issues, versus exactly how many people are not having connectivity issues? I'm not seeing verifiable figures on either side of this argument; nobody has concrete numbers and thus everyone is using weasel words to exaggerate their position (for instance, saying "thousands of other people" without providing one shred of supporting evidence that there is more than 999 people with current issues, or people like me stating that "all of my friends" are working fine so the percentage of issues must also be small)

        b) you only need to recall physical goods that have a physical defect, software can be fixed or even completely replaced via download. I completely agree that everyone releases unfinished software these days, every single game I have bought recently had day one patches (6 pre-ordered XBox One games, 6 day one patches of over 200MB each). Taking one company to task for something that everyone does is disingenuous though; nothing short of a consumer boycott is going to convince EA or Activision to change working practise, and you try convincing people not to pre-order CoD: The Next One or FIFA <one every year> as soon as it gets announced.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          It is not so much that software is released unfinished (though that sometimes happens), but rather that software is released without being adequately tested. Which is in fact perfectly acceptable for software that is not going to harm anyone physically or financially if it misbehaves. To test every aspect of complex PC software under all possible situations and on all the possible hardware/software combinations it will be used on would take years and cost millions. The consumer would then get bug-free software but it would be extremely expensive and grossly out of date - and so few people are likely to buy and nobody gains. Using the initial wave of customers to effectively test the product and find the bugs is therefore the most sensible thing to do.

    4. aleeivel

      Will I've still never been able to logon and have not had a single reply to any email or msg on the forum

      As far as I'm concerned they were only interested in getting my cash a year ago and now don't give a flying !"£$!"£ about me being able to actually play the game I helped pay to be developed!!!

  2. Ali on the Reg

    Just like real life then?

    In general you don't get to become rich by being nice, you have to be unscrupulous.

    Once you are rich then the legal system works in your favour and those fines become laughable.

    So, just like real life.

    1. SpeakerToAliens
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Just like real life then?

      Once you are rich... you can hire assassins to make you're problem go away.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Just like real life then?

        Good, I'll hire one to kill an errant apostrophe.

        I wonder if he'll eat, shoot and leave?

        1. stucs201

          Re: Just like real life then?

          Fineable stuff would be relatively easy to deal with - fines as a percentage of wealth is easier to implement in a game than real life.

          I'd be more concerned about non-finable stuff. For example is there anything to stop a disproportionatly wealthy player single-handedly unbalencing trade routes? Not the sort of nonsense I'd want screwing me over if I was playing the suposedly single-player solo mode.

          1. Jediben

            Re: Just like real life then?

            Time. You can only fly one route at a time. You can only haul one full cargo bay at a time. You could never manipulate the system alone, as even the most feverish work could be undone by 4 players carrying a quarter load in the opposite direction.

            1. stucs201

              Re: Thanks Jediben

              Ah, that helps. I must admit I've not investigated what is and isn't possible in detail. As long as they can't turn up with a fleet of Anacondas and buy an entire planet's stock of it's main export then things perhaps won't be so bad.

              I have to say that the possibility of the in-game economy being affected by other people's actions in solo mode is one of the main things putting me off buying it - I don't want to have a rubbish time getting started because the starter trade routes are already milked dry.

              I know Diablo 3 improved massively once they killed the auction house and made getting loot for yourself realistic. Trying to keep up with inflated auction prices driven by people with more time to play than me was no fun at all.

              That lack of time to play is why I worry about the influence of other players on the solo game. I don't want to feel like I'm standing still or even going backwards just because I have other stuff I need to do. Which is unfortunate, because as a teenager playing Elite for the first time (PC, CGA version) I always thought that an online version with enough players could be the best game ever. In a way I still do, it's just I don't have time for it anymore and would therefore prefer something that pauses when I have to deal with the real world instead.

              1. ollieclark

                Re: Thanks Jediben

                I play for around an hour a night. I'm nowhere near an Anaconda yet but I'm having great fun just bounty hunting, trading rare goods and exploring. I'm friendly with the controlling faction in Lave and I've got involved in a couple of conflicts. You don't need to put hours a night in to have fun - owning the 'best' ship with the best weapons is a goal but it's just one of many.

          2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Just like real life then?

            single-handedly unbalencing trade routes

            What, like imposing sanctions against nominal partners when you feel like it and things like Merry Kerry visiting Saudi Brutalia just before the oil price drops?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just like real life then?

          I wonder if he'll eat, shoot and leave?

          If he's Bill Gates he'll eat shit and leave.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just like real life then?

            Eat shit and heave more like.

    2. John Sanders
      Devil

      Re: Just like real life then?

      Just like what they did with the Kickstarter and the single player mode!

      Note: They sold the Kickstarter on having the offline mode in the game, and then yanked it at the last minute, and got away with it.

  3. returnmyjedi

    I've not played the game myself, but it's popular amongst my group of friends and they're playing it without issue and find all of the negative press orbiting the game puzzling (my inability to get onto PSN over Xmas caused them much amusement).

    My lack of involvement is due to the lack of offline mode, but that notwithstanding it seems to this observer to be one of the most cleverly crafted MMOGs since the days of Ultima.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are still support tickets outstanding from November. It looks like for some Frontier won't manage to respond within 2 months. 2 days is and always will be a pipedream for them

  5. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    I'm considering a similar complaint against RockStar games after I noticed a bit of misbehaviour going on in Grand Theft Auto.

  6. Marcus Aurelius
    Pirate

    Aarrr!

    Isn't Elite meant to be the game where you indulge in smuggling, piracy and other illegal space acts to get loot?

    It's not meant to be fair - its a dog eat dog universe.

    1. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Aarrr!

      "It's not meant to be fair - its a dog eat dog universe."

      If that's what you are looking for then play EVE Online. E:D was touted as being different from EVE.

      Oh and by the way CCP, the developers of EVE, come down like a ton of bricks on anything regarded as an exploit, which the snafu on E:D most decidedly was. It doesn't matter whose fault it is, anyone taking advantage gets hammered.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Aarrr!

        nematoad,

        I agree. I much prefer CCP's response to exploits. You knew it was an exploit when you did it. Sure you might not the first time, but after you've rinsed+repeated for the 100th time to make you that billion you certainly did. So tough luck, you lose the lot. That is the fairest response. And the system ought to have logs that can allow them to check up on this sort of stuff - so there's no excuse. All you're effectively doing is database work.

        If on the other hand you do something nasty through sneakiness and duplicity... Well it's a tough old universe out there. Well done you!

        EVE could be frustrating at times. But I had lots of fun, spoke to some really nice people - and there's no other game where I've had such an adrenaline rush during a battle that I was sitting at my computer with my hand shaking for a couple of minutes afterwards. You'd analyse a battle with your mates, and so much had happened it seemed to have lasted half an hour, then look at the logs to see it was only 90 seconds. Great game, but could be an absolute time-sink, if you wanted to be any good.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Aarrr!

          Oh the adrenalin rush of Eve. I remember my 4 man corp being war-decced over our POS. We managed to get the POS down and take out two of their battleships with no losses on our side. None of us got any sleep that night, just shaking too much. We'd never fought a war before either.

          Great times.

        2. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: Aarrr!

          Spartacus,

          "If on the other hand you do something nasty through sneakiness and duplicity... Well it's a tough old universe out there. Well done you!"

          I agree, I probably should have expanded my argument to point out that in EVE at least, you are supposed to be competing against the other players and not the game. A sandbox is how EVE is usually described and to me that's pretty near the mark.

          What the players in E:D seem to have done is game the system and been rewarded for it. No wonder there is a bit of a stink.

        3. Vanir
          Big Brother

          Re: Aarrr!

          Let's just get the HMRC involved as an entity in the game! All this undeclared income; my, that'll make the naughty players sweat!

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Aarrr!

            But does HMRC pursuit ships able to do the Kessel Run in less than 20 parsecs?

      2. BaitAndSwitch

        Re: Aarrr!

        Yeah... Elite was also touted as having offline capability... that didn't seem to pan out did it?

    2. dan1980

      Re: Aarrr!

      @Marcus Aurelius

      "It's not meant to be fair . . ."

      Fairness is not about there being no crime, it's about there being a level playing field. And, Frontier are very much going against themselves on this one. Take this from Braben on one of the reasons for making the game online-only:

      "We were also looking at how people could cheat and those sorts of things. It’s a problem for a lot of games—for instance with exploration—the cheating spoils it for everybody. If someone does a blanket discovery of everything, that spoils things."

      Right, so either gaining an unfair advantage "spoils it for everyone" or it doesn't.

      As @I ain't Spartacus said, above:

      "So tough luck, you lose the lot. That is the fairest response. And the system ought to have logs that can allow them to check up on this sort of stuff - so there's no excuse. All you're effectively doing is database work."

      Couldn't agree more and this is also one of the reasons why an online single-player mode is just not the same as an offline mode. Cheating in an offline mode harms no one, except possibly yourself. If you want to exploit a bug so you can buy a powerful ship earlier and skip straight to destroying things rather than having to tediously earn the money then you should be able to. Offline.

      Online, you have to clamp down to keep it fair for people but offline players get the freedom to play however they want, even if that involves 'cheating'. I sometimes play Civ3 with a mod that removes the nearly-crippling corruption and waste your cities experience when you have too many of them - something that makes larger maps a bit annoying. But that's my choice.

      Tangent - sorry!

    3. JJSmith1950

      Re: Aarrr!

      Dogs don't eat other dogs.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Aarrr!

        You don't see them f$#king each other over for a goddamn percentage?

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Well done !

          I know where you got that quote from ):D

  7. Grimster

    Tickets

    Since early December still not addressed. Support system is either horribly overwhelmed or very lacking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tickets

      Frontier's Support system shows 20,000 tickets since the game was launched only a few weeks ago.

      That's a lot when you consider that Frontier haven't even delivered the game yet to many customers.

      When Frontier actually gets around to sending the game to the 25,000 Kickstarter backers, things are going to get really tough.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tickets

        What about when they finally get on steam.

      2. SpeakerToAliens
        Unhappy

        Re: Tickets

        > When Frontier actually gets around to sending the game to the 25,000 Kickstarter

        > backers, things are going to get really tough.

        They have, I was a Kickstarter backer. I'm also unable to play the game I've downloaded (v1.03). Once I get out of the menus all I get is blank screen.

        I raised a ticket (numbered in the eleven thousands) more than 2 weeks ago. I wasn't expecting an instant reply, or even one within 2 days - it being Christmas and so on - but waiting 2 weeks and hearing nothing makes me wonder how far along the now 20,000+ tickets they've gone.

        They could always give some statistics (# raised, # duplicate issues, # fixed in next release, # fixed by changing Users PC config), but I suspect that would just be giving us a stick to beat them with.

      3. Russ Pitcher
        WTF?

        Re: Tickets

        I'm not sure where you got your number from, but in the pre-release Gamma stage there were over 170,000 players and a lot more have joined since. The game has been delivered to everyone who has paid for it. Apart from a few glitch cases, as far as I can tell the vast majority of players are happy.

        I've backed the game on day 2 of the Kickstarter and have been testing and playing since Alpha 1. Yes, there are issues, just like any other major online release, but I feel that they are getting slated a little too much. I've gone to LaveCon and the launch party and spoken at great length to a number of the developers. The impression I have formed of the devs I spoke to and the company in general is that they genuinely care about making the very best game they can. Of course money is an issue but it's far from the only driving force.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tickets

          " but in the pre-release Gamma stage there were over 170,000 players "

          Source?

  8. sabroni Silver badge
    Happy

    It's for kids!

    Grow up!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: It's for kids!

      It's probably more accurate to say it's targeted at those who were kids 30 years ago when the original Elite came out.

      I remember getting a copy for Xmas when I was 11 or so, and it had a very steep learning curve, that almost made it too hard to get a start in at the time. E:D has a steeper curve.

      Besides which, most games are played by adults, and the gaming industry is one of the largest industries on the planet (larger than the film industry, for instance).

      So in response;

      1) No it isn't (for several reasons).

      2) I did.

    2. Vanir

      Re: It's for kids!

      So?

      No!

    3. NumptyScrub

      Re: It's for kids!

      Grow up!

      You are seriously out of touch with the interactive entertainment market if you think computer games "are for kids", or that computer games are created with kids in mind. :P

      A quick look at the shelves of any game retailer will show you what proportion of games are 18 rated, and I'd estimate it'll be approaching half (if you include 16 rated games it'll easily be the majority). The majority of new games are squarely aimed at the adult market and that is unlikely to change, because adults have more money to spend ;)

    4. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's for kids!

      Well one of you can spot a joke. To the rest, thanks for your informative posts and many downvotes! I'm here all week. Try the fish!

      1. NumptyScrub

        Re: It's for kids!

        Well one of you can spot a joke. To the rest, thanks for your informative posts and many downvotes! I'm here all week. Try the fish!

        Hey, I wouldn't downvote a comment like yours that could just as easily be parody rather than serious, but I can't resist also providing a rebuke, for the edification of those people who agree with what you said, rather than what you meant ;)

        That's why you need smileys in forum posts (and especially in sarcasm), because you lose so much of the contextual nuance when you can't see the wry smile or cheeky grin over the internet.

        You got waaaaay too many downvotes on that one though. I've upvoted you to try and even the balance a little ^^;

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: It's for kids!

        Well one of you can spot a joke.

        "Verily, my retardation was all an act!"

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's for kids!

      Umm, yep, of course it is.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: It's for kids!

        I think someone forgot to attach an icon...

  9. MrPSB

    El Reg hack finds rich vein of bullshit to mine to make article quota for the week.

    "But you're just reporting the wild speculation and opinions of a noisy minority of forum whiners with no basis in fact"

    "But look at the reader engagement I'm driving!"

    "Oh my, carry on"

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      >> "But you're just reporting the wild speculation and opinions of a noisy minority of forum whiners with no basis in fact"<<

      I like the way you backed up your comment with all those references and facts! Or is it just wild speculation and opinion?

      1. MrPSB

        OK, fine. Have it your way. Let's have a look at the article:

        "Those who scored ill-gotten loot can keep it"

        Not true, those who have obviously deliberately exploited the bug are having the credits removed (SOURCE: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=92233&p=1437939&viewfull=1#post1437939). Those who received the credits due to Frontier's error, of which there are less than 50 (SOURCE: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=92883&p=1448005#post1448005), have been given the option of keeping the credits or having them removed. Frontier have taken the not unreasonable view that because it was their mistake, they should give the affected players the choice, as they haven't done anything wrong.

        There are a horde of idiots who weren't given billions of credits by accident stomping around the forum making up theories about how those who got the credits actually did exploit so should have it taken away (SOURCE: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=93404) or just coming straight out and saying what they actually want, which is "Waah I want Frontier to give me free money accidentally too" (SOURCE: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=93930)

        "But some of the players aren't happy with this arrangement, and have been in touch with The Reg to report billionaire player behaving antisocially in-game, safe in the knowledge that their bank balances can handle a few million credits of virtual fines. Others say the billionaire players are giving back their credit balances, but after doing so can retain assets they acquired with ill-gotten loot."

        Given the tiny number of players affected, and the massive number of systems in the game (even if you just count the few thousand or so of inhabited ones), it is extremely unlikely you will ever bump into one. It appears to have been decided among the moaners that the only thing anyone could possibly do with 5bn credits is buy a big ship, upgrade everything and go and pirate other players. In the event anyone does, there will be no way whatsoever to tell if their ship is more powerful due to them fitting it out using proceeds from the bug or due to them just playing an awful lot.

        There were players legitimately running round in the biggest ships and kicking in new players for their own amusement way before the bug hit, Even if all of the players affected chose to keep the credits and spend the rest of their time in the game griefing others, it's a TINY drop in the ocean. Can you maybe see where Frontier are coming from now?

        OK, you got me, I'm still speculating, but the point is, SO IS EVERYONE ELSE. I just think mine might be a little more thought through. Maybe you agree, maybe not.

        The problem with the credit situation overall is the perception that Elite: Dangerous is somehow a competitive multiplayer game. The only competitive element is the Race to Elite competition, which Frontier have already addressed. Realistically, the actions taken by Frontier on other peoples' accounts are actually nobody's business except Frontier's and the account holder's.

        If you wanted to do something to actually help people stuck waiting for tickets to be answered, why not write a nice investigative piece about the actual root of the problem that is leading to the forum being stunk up with the same posts by the same posters every five minutes. Frontier haven't communicated very well (although throughout this issue it has been massively improved to compared to during Beta/Gamma), and they don't have enough support staff. Maybe see if someone from Frontier is willing to do an interview about it, talk through the issues they're facing and tell everyone what they're planning to do to fix it?

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Happy

          Yeah, like I'm going to read all that.

          I preferred the wild speculation and opinion tbh.

        2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Precisely this, MrPSB. I think Sabroni should graciously accept your well researched points.

    2. dan1980

      @MrPSB

      So reader engagement is a good or bad thing?

  10. SnowCrash
    Happy

    as a side note, I do love the engagement you get here. Loving the thumbs downs as much as the thumbs up :D

  11. deMangler

    I have been quite heavily involved in the forums. There is a very vocal minority of complainers. Not saying that some complaints aren't legitimate, I am in no position to judge, but anybody viewing the situation will clearly be able to see that most of the negativity comes from unjustified unrealistic expectations and just wishing things had been done the way they want. Conversely there are plenty of people who are happy with the way things are and are looking forward to continued development, coming up with constructive criticism etc.

    It is a fun game. Largely a good community.

    Myself I backed on the promise of an off-line mode. I can only play solo and then rarely due to internet, but the game I do play is amazing.

    As for unresolved tickets, I think Frontier were just unprepared for the sheer volume of non-bug tickets over the holidays. I imagine they thought the product was solid enough to be playable and relatively bug free. On the latter they were right but the amount of tickets due to other disgruntlement are clearly huge. Backlog.

    One thing is for sure, Frontier are responding to lots of threads on the forums but they must be swamped. Sometimes a thread disappears off the front page in less than a couple of minutes there are so many posts. The signal to noise from posters is terrible.

    I expect it will calm down.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Forums are always a problem like that. Although you have to remmeber that not all players go on the forums. I used to be a Mod for a game with a million users globally. There were 15,000 in the UK. And yet the forums for the UK only had about 200 regular posters, and maybe a couple of hundred more might make one or two posts to ask questions. Probably less than 10-20% of the userbase ever even read the forums, much harder to count the lurkers.

      So even if only 5% of the forum posters are complaining about a problem, that doesn't necessarily mean that there's a only a few hundred loudmouths with problems, it could be that there's thousands (tens of thousands) having the same problems, but only a few of them are posting.

    2. BigAndos

      I'm enjoying the game as well. The only major issue I had was that it crashed to desktop when I opened the system map but that was fixed with a patch within literally hours of release.

      The forums are a real bear pit, any thread on the most innocuous topic gets besieged with both rabidly pro and anti Fronter posters within seconds! As you say I'm sure it will calm down, those who don't like the game will stop playing and Frontier will gradually fix any remaining bugs and add promised new features over time.

    3. BaitAndSwitch

      "but anybody viewing the situation will clearly be able to see that most of the negativity comes from unjustified unrealistic expectations and just wishing things had been done the way they want"

      By this you mean... having FD deliver on what they clearly stated they would deliver in the kickstarter..

      OR at least have communicated that they were looking to cut out offline mode earlier

      OR AT THE VERY LEAST having been responsive, ethical, and actually given refunds to those of us who asked for one nearly TWO months ago?

    4. Will Stephenson

      I think they are starting to get on top of the backlog. Two tickets I opened on Dec 14 for minor bugs (wrong icon in-game, mission typoes) went to Under Investigation at the start of this week. If they have any sense they are handling those after game-breaking issues and account problems.

  12. JDX Gold badge

    'billionaire' gamers are being 'antisocial'

    billionaire player behaving antisocially in-game, safe in the knowledge that their bank balances can handle a few million credits of virtual fines

    If the purpose of an MMO is to model people behaving as people in a virtual world, then this seems spot on. People are gits, rich people get away with it!

  13. i.a.m

    Question for Simon Sharwood

    Did you, or someone close to you, request a refund as a result of the offline mode removal?

  14. Czrly

    Freedom to Cheat!

    I can't help but think that all the problems this game has suffered are not really problems, they're inherent attributes of online-only multiplayer games. Offline games suffer from neither griefers nor server failures. Offline games also grant you the freedom to cheat!

    I do not cheat, as a rule, because it removes all sense of satisfaction from anything you might achieve but I do value the freedom to cheat and I value it highly. Being able to cheat or profit from an exploit, such as the one reported in this article, protects me as a player in two important ways.

    The first is the least important: it means that I get to experience the content in the game even if I lose patience with the grind required to achieve it or run out of time to play it, as is often the case. I can choose to cheat and go gallivanting about the game-world with the best equipment, having cathartic fun, even if I don't have years to invest.

    The second is the crux: being free to cheat removes the developers option to charge me real-world money for in-game items in a game I have already purchased and this, in turn, means that the game is far more likely to be balanced such that those things are achievable by occasional players, not only by the dedicated few or those with no qualms about micro-transactions in games.

    I am really surprised that the developers let the newly minted Elite Oligarchs keep their ill-gotten gains because that seems contrary to their desire to earn real money from in-game items. Perhaps there weren't enough of them to pose a threat to their planned revenue stream.

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: Freedom to Cheat!

      I am really surprised that the developers let the newly minted Elite Oligarchs keep their ill-gotten gains because that seems contrary to their desire to earn real money from in-game items. Perhaps there weren't enough of them to pose a threat to their planned revenue stream.

      Elite: Dangerous store

      I have only ever seen in-game cosmetic items (literally, replacement ship skins and decals) in the real money store. Have a poke around and let me know if you find any in-game items that could give me a tangible benefit in playing the game (no, the utterly hideous Gold Viper skin doesn't count, even if it might induce apoplectic rage in some players when they see it) :)

    2. ollieclark

      Re: Freedom to Cheat!

      a) FD have decided to take away the wrongly credited credits.

      b) You can't buy any useful in game items with real money anyway. The only thing you can buy are paint jobs for the ships. They did actually say a long time ago that they were going to let you buy in game credits with real money but I haven't heard anything about that for ages. I think they might have decided not to.

  15. BaitAndSwitch

    Wait.

    So those of us who ponied up the cash 2 years ago to help fund a DRM-free, offline capable game are still getting rooked by FD because of those dirty evil players trying to 'exploit the system'

    http://kotaku.com/despite-player-outcry-elite-dangerous-will-remain-alw-1668541301

    but actively exploit the system from within the game and get a free ride?!?

  16. Dangermouse 1
    Meh

    Sploiting and duping in a MMOG - I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you.

  17. Desk Jockey
    Happy

    General griefing

    I doubt very much that even the few billionaires can cause a huge problem in such a big system. But to be honest how are you going to distinguish them from the run of the mill early access griefers who have far more time to grind away and so have massively upgraded their ships and are picking on the new players with inferior ships?

    The one thing about this game above most of the others that have similar issues is that you can run away if you know what you are doing. When a griefer tried to drag me out of hyperspace in my pants Sidewinder, I just kept the thing aimed at the escape vector. After about two minutes, they gave up the chase. That's the great thing about those teenage griefers, they have limited patience and I am quite happy to wait them out and leave them knashing their teeth in frustration!

    I can't wait until Frontier get the multiplayer side of things sorted. At that point, people can properly form groups and call in their mates to give the griefer a good group kicking! You see the same thing in games like DayZ and it is funny to watch.

    1. Desk Jockey
      Black Helicopters

      Re: General griefing

      Although thinking about it, Frontier could make the system 'self correcting'. If a very rich griefer gains enough notoriety/bounties issued, the system authorities should issue a general bounty for their capture and send capital ships to get them. The griefer then gets the epic fight they are looking for! Once captured, the griefer can be brought to trial and a large chunk of their assets/cash confiscated. Just like in the real world. Now where should Frontier look for examples of such practice..? Oh hello Mr Putin, an ED fan are you?! :-D

      1. ollieclark

        Re: General griefing

        That pretty much happens now. If they get a big enough bounty by killing innocent ships (player or AI) every security ship and many players and NPCs will shoot on sight and they'll have a hard time going anywhere except anarchies. And even in Anarchies, there are bounty hunters.

        Having said that, I've been playing since Alpha and I'm still waiting for another player to attack me outside a combat zone at all, let alone "grief" me.

  18. Flyberius

    It really is a vocal minority

    The game has been working as well as any MMO "works" during its early release. They have delivered on their promises (bar the offline mode) and they have chosen not to ban/punish some people who abused a system to gain money.

    For people who are scared of the big bad space bullies there are two very easy solutions. Play in a solo or group session, or travel to one of the 400 billion other star systems and avoid them that way.

    Simple really.

    And as for the "kickstarters who haven't received the game". What? being a kickstarter myself I can tell you I've been playing this game long before it got released. If you want to see a group of short changed kickstarters just go look at that poor Star Citizen crowd. Where's their game?

    1. Vanir

      Re: It really is a vocal minority

      Yeah, the silent majorities are ruled and abused by the vocal minorities in this world.

      That's The First Law of Civilisation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It really is a vocal minority

      "They have delivered on their promises (bar the offline mode)"

      This is far from the truth.

      The majority of the Kickstarter funding for this game came from the 6,000 top-pledging backers who paid for the BOXED EDITION of the game. None of those that I know ever received it. That's £1,000,000 that Frontier have taken apparently without delivering the goods. How about any one of the people here who say that Frontier "delivered on their promises" would show here a photo of their boxed edition?

      Also, even with the download edition that did come out put out a few weeks ago, Frontier failed to ship many of the extras paid for by Kickstarter backers. These backers have been asking about this for WEEKS on the Support forum and in tickersm and getting no answer from Frontier. The message below is an example. Frontier's only response on this thread was to CLOSE THE THREAD and hide it from the forum search.

      This is despite the fact Frontier claimed to the stock market weeks ago that it has shipped the (long overdue) full release. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/12187009.html .

      https://archive.today/daqei

      Where's the mercenary edition content?

      Since the scam-company that is Frontier never responded to my refund request from weeks ago I might as well put some time into this game and get a little out of the money I put in.

      Where's the promised content that was to come with my Beta purchase?

      ----------------

      Beta Now includes a lifetime 25% discount on ship insurance PLUS free access to one of 5 new ship designs post game release.

      On the game's full release you also get the Elite: Dangerous Mercenary Edition, loaded with digital extras:

      • A digital download of Elite: Dangerous for PC (and Mac from Spring 2015)

      • Your very own Eagle fighter ship docked in a secondary location in-game

      • Exclusive pack of ship paint jobs

      • A ‘day one’ ship decal

      • A digital players guide

      • A digital concept art book

      • Plus loads more digital goodies to be announced over the coming weeks.

      • Plus an automatic permit to visit Sol or anywhere in the Solar system without having to first earn a reputation with The Federation.

      ----------------

      I found the Eagle and the decal (whoo! decal!).

      Where's the rest? The art book, the players guide and the "loads more digital goodies"?

      Did that go the same way as the offline single player game?

      1. Jediben

        Re: It really is a vocal minority

        You've got the download (duh) and paintjobs - it's the green/white/black 'Mercenary' skin for the Cobra. Guess you will have to save up to use it if you didn't get the Explorer starter kit though! I also think there were some other skins for the Viper. The digital player guide could be the manual which was released last week (hey, no one said it was exclusive), so only the art book is a wash. I'll agree that you didn't get any extras added since then, but what on earth did you expect it to be - a custom bobblehead?.

        1. NumptyScrub

          Re: It really is a vocal minority

          Where's the mercenary edition content?

          Since the scam-company that is Frontier never responded to my refund request from weeks ago I might as well put some time into this game and get a little out of the money I put in.

          Where's the promised content that was to come with my Beta purchase?

          So are you saying that you paid for beta access and have been playing (and potentially enjoying) the beta builds in online-only mode for a few months? If so it is possible you may be one of those people that FDEV decided were not eligible for a full refund, as you would have already used the (time limited, perishable) beta access part of your purchase. Possibly you may be able to convince them to refund up to the retail price from your purchase because there is no offline mode, but the beta part was never offline, and it's usefulness expired when they moved to gamma.

          Deciding you don't like the main course and want a refund is one thing, but demanding you also get refunded for the starter and the beers (which were exactly as advertised) is a bit rich, don't you think?

          You've got the download (duh) and paintjobs - it's the green/white/black 'Mercenary' skin for the Cobra. Guess you will have to save up to use it if you didn't get the Explorer starter kit though!

          The skin is actually for the Sidewinder, unless there is also a mercenary skin for the Cobra (or maybe even other ships?). My starting Sidey got painted up and the skull decal thingy applied as soon as they became available ^^;

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            FDEV decided were not eligible

            "If so it is possible you may be one of those people that FDEV decided were not eligible for a full refund, as you would have already used the (time limited, perishable) beta access part of your purchase."

            Frontier's claim that a beta backer is ineligible to a refund due to having played the beta is false.

            https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012

            "Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."

            See that bit "all rewards" "ALL REWARDS". The cut-down download game that Frontier has put out is a long way short of ALL REWARDS.

      2. ollieclark

        Re: It really is a vocal minority

        They're sending out the physical goodies soon. I've just had an email asking me to confirm my address is correct.

        I'm one of the high tier backers, much higher than the premium boxed edition. I'm very happy with what they've delivered so far. It looks like they're going to deliver the physical goods less than a year late, the game was released only 9 months from the original KS schedule, the servers worked on release day. That's pretty damn good for a software project of this size.

        I'm a little sad they're not doing an offline mode but it was just an afterthought, not one of the originally promised features at the start of the Kickstarter.

        Two of the other Kickstarters I've backed have delivered literally nothing. They've just taken my money and spent it on drink, drugs and strippers.

    3. dogged

      Re: It really is a vocal minority

      > If you want to see a group of short changed kickstarters just go look at that poor Star Citizen crowd. Where's their game?

      It'll turn up when it's ready. Or it won't. If it doesn't then I'll be mildly irritated but not really surprised (eh, kickstarter...). If it does and it doesn't have stuff they contracted to do as stretch goals (that were met and surpassed) like an offline campaign, I may even go so far as to frown a bit.

      We already have a playable dogfight game that I haven't bothered with and there's other stuff that I also don't really care about so it's not like it vanished without trace, which is hopeful.

      SC will definitely disappoint some people because some people have insanely unrealistic expectations. It won't disappoint me because I have almost no expectations - I'm just interested to see what Chris Roberts will come up with. He's always done interesting work before.

      The difference between this and the Elite:Dangerous experience is that my life is much more mellow and relaxed than an apparently arguable minority/majority (delete depending on your confirmation bias) because I knew in advance that Dave Braben was a massive arse of Piers Morgan proportions and refused to pay him any money.

      So I feel a bit sorry for you Flyberius, but don't spare me any concern. I'm absolutely fine.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    baity baity baity

    Yawn

  20. Spleen

    It's actually kind of heartwarming to know they're being sufficiently true to Elite's history to include a new version of the Frontier bug where you try to sell your ship while you have passengers in the cabins, which would result in a message saying you couldn't - but credit you with the money for the ship anyway. All you had to do was keep clicking the sell button for infinite free money.

    Heartwarming, but this is why there's no chance of me buying it if there isn't an offline mode. Even if they've fixed one, there will be others. In a single-player game this kind of bug isn't that important, you can choose to exploit it or not. In an online game, being blown up by players who are cheating is a pain in the arse, and the frustration and paranoia it causes is evident from the forums. I just can't be bothered with that sort of thing anymore.

    1. NumptyScrub

      In an online game, being blown up by players who are cheating is a pain in the arse, and the frustration and paranoia it causes is evident from the forums. I just can't be bothered with that sort of thing anymore.

      To use a reply that I haven't already seen many times ("use solo mode" gets old after such a short time); a shitty player in a massive, heavy, slow ship has no guaranteed victory over a good player in a small, cheap, nimble ship. You can destroy Pythons (costs 57 million) in an Eagle (44k credits, and many players including myself received a free one for early backing or buying the Mercenary Edition), I have seen it done. Apparently my IRL friend who took out an AI piloted one while I was there, subsequently managed to kill a poorly piloted player Python who interdicted him a few days later (and who apparently didn't try and run even when his hull was down below 10%). For realsies.

      If you've got the skills, you can get the kills, and the people desperate to cheat because they don't have the skills aren't actually going to get the edge they think they will by just buying the most expensive ship and assuming it is intrinsically "better". The Eagle is designed as the most agile and maneuverable ship bar none, and is the cheapest ship you can get (bar the starting Sidewinder). If you can stay in someone's blind spot and get their shields down to start doing hull damage, it is amusing how many people in more expensive ships will immediately try to run ;)

      Hell, even the starting (aka free to replace as many times as you want) Sidewinder is usable in combat, the only problem is "weak guns syndrome" because you get the least damaging weapons in your free package. Flown well it'll take on anything up to an Adder, but the default lasers are slow enough to kill that a Viper or larger will have plenty of time to see their hull slowly going down and be able to run away if they want. I've embarrassed a few (badly piloted) Cobras into running away myself, and it is pretty satisfying even if you do fail to get the kill.

      1. Spleen

        In that case, reintroduce the passenger cabins infinite money bug and just let everyone who wants to cheat cheat. Think of all the satisfaction it'll give the really good players in their legitimately-earned Eagles blowing up all the rubbish players' ill-gotten Pythons ;-)

        While they're at it, bring back the wormhole bug and make the autopilot crash your ships on docking 9 times out of 10 unless you turn on fast forward. This whole thing is basically a nostaliga trip anyway so why not have all the old bugs?

        1. NumptyScrub

          Docking is a piece of piss if you have a half-decent stick with a hat switch bound to lateral thrusters. I would consider the docking computer a waste of 4500Cr and an internal bay, although I understand that other people may not feel the same way.

          I'm one of those retards that bought in early (for a comedy sum) and then spent even more money getting a better HOTaS (my old Logitech Force3D was getting a bit wobbly) and then recently pissed away a ridiculous amount getting an Oculus Rift. Anyone pissed off at Frontier Developments (for whatever reason) could immediately assume that I'm just experiencing Post-Purchase Rationalisation and thus any statement I make regarding how much fun I am having is immediately suspect.

          I would counter with the assertion that I don't spend 3 figures on kit if I'm not enjoying myself. I played the alpha at a mates (on his X52 Pro) before I bought in to the beta and got myself a HOTaS. I tried out the DK2 at the same friends before I got my own. When you can see what you're going to get before you pay up, you don't have to try and rationalise the spending decision after the fact ;)

          I'm still waiting for a mate to get a Star Citizen login so I can try that out before I buy, although it would be nice to see more than just the dogfight module (the E:D alpha had 6 systems to fly in so you could see the basics of travel and gameplay, rather than just test the combat flight model). If it looks good enough I'll probably get the Cutlass edition ^^;

  21. Ben Hodson

    As the link to frontier above implied it is only about 50 players that will be allowed to keep the loot.

    That is 50 rich people in an entire universe - it will make not one drop of difference to the game.

    There are already players like me who are flying around in legitimately earnt pythons with big guns with cash in the bank. There is no practical difference between me and the 50 'lottery winners'

    The stamping and shouting is all down to players all wanting free money. Not even worth listening to them.

  22. stringyfloppy

    Who the hell cares? It's a video game.

  23. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I think the real issue here is whether or not the contingency experienced (undiscovered flaw in your software screws up economic foundation of game You sold to people) was planned for, because Gosh, it's not like this exact same issue hasn't happened to others before, is it?

    As for the anger of Kickstarters, that is understandable and par for the course. Kickstarting product producers will always wildly overestimate their ability to handle some factor involved in bringing their product to the masses. People kicking in need to understand that there is always going to be some uckfup that throws the entire project off the rails for a bit. Every single kickstarted project I've been involved with or have been monitoring has suffered this. It is unrealistic for people to bleat about it when they suffer the fallout.

    That said, asking for public funding for your great idea requires a level of diligence above and beyond whatever the standard you've been getting by on up until now. Failing to deliver the enticements you used to pull in punters because you don't have enough hands or eyes is completely unacceptable. Failing to deliver the basic features you said were going to be printed on the side of the box is unacceptable. If all your backers do is complain loudly in public at every opportunity, count yourself lucky and do better.

    It is a modern truism that you make people happiest with your product when you make it a better option than anyone else's. If people think you're not doing it right, chances are you aren't, even if you have an excuse. The cure is not in having better excuses, or making people feel bad for complaining, it is in removing the cause for complaint as quickly as possible. These people gave you money up front. You are now obligated to honor the agreement by which you got them to do that.

    1. Dave Gomm

      Re: Bah!

      there has been a new announcement from Frontier, in response to feedback from the community all of the credit fortunes gained from the recent server issues will be reversed so the billionaires will all soon be gone :

      https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=94161

  24. M W

    The Billionaires are no more.........

    See https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=94161

    [QUOTE]

    The “Billionaires”

    Firstly, I just want to clarify who I mean by the “Billionaires”. These are the very few commanders who received large amounts of credits due to a bug in our credit refund process following our brief database hiccup. These credits were not given by a bug in our server – more in the tools and processes we use to rectify commanders and their saves if something goes awry. This was of course fixed, should we need to use the tools again.

    Secondly... we hear you! After initially deciding we would offer the choice to these affected commanders about whether to keep their credits or reset themselves to their pre-credit-refund state; commanders in the community questioned whether this would affect the integrity of the game and the wider galaxy. In light of this (and after much deliberation) we have decided to remove all credits, assets and gains from these commanders to balance the playing field. We shall be contacting the affected commanders directly to reflect this change in our decision. Which leads us nicely into...

    [/QUOTE]

  25. Gazman
    Joke

    When is the Mac version coming out...

    so I can join in with all the whinging?

  26. hesbod

    Decision reversed now

    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=94161

    Frontier will be removing the billions

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Kickstarting product producers will always wildly overestimate their ability..."

    "Kickstarting product producers will always wildly overestimate their ability to handle some factor involved in bringing their product to the masses. "

    There's a good reason for this. Kickstarter is the last funding resort for developers that are lacking the ability that will get them funded by a publisher. Frontier was unable to get any publisher to touch Elite Dangerous, after its previous space game Elite First Encounters was a calamity, losing a load of money for its publisher.

    Frontier ran its Kickstarter campaign riding off the reputation of the successful original Elite, falsely claiming the original Elite was a game by Frontier. Nowhere did Frontier's campaign pitch mention the only space sim game it had actually produced was the calamitous First Encounters. Plenty of people remember Braben's track record, and this is one of the reasons the KS funding only just scraped by the target. That left Braben having to sell shares on the stock market to raise the extra money need to deliver his overpromises.

    Sadly even with an extra £6m, putting Elite Dangerous five times over budget, Braben was still unable to deliver the promised game. This is what has lead to the complete mess of the unfinished, bugged and server-crash-prone state of Elite Dangerous right now. It will be interesting to see where Braben manages to get the money needed to dig this game out of its hole.

  28. Dan Wilkie

    Eugh

    Seriously considering giving up on E:D - not due to ANY issues with the game or Frontier Developments, more due to the fact I'm worried that Frontier will worry about the tiny number of people that certain media outlets I usually regard as exemplars of journalism are turning into a supposed torrent and actually start doing the things they ask.

    I know over 100 players, none of whom, myself included, have any of the serious issues reported. I have no issue with people having loads of ingame credits and causing bedlam (seriously, have you played any other MMO's? It's no different there. SHOCK - in some of them you can actually BUY limitless in game currency with real money. OH NOES!).

    Sometimes I have a bad day, and find every hollow scanner icon I can find and blow them up. I have pretty much zero credits and significant bounties I'll probably never be able to pay off. I was considering wiping my save and playing properly, and now I am.

    But not to play properly.

    I'm going to dedicate my gaming time to doing exactly what I'm doing but even more so, and finding like minded people to assist me. Because.

    The thing that annoys me most of all about this is that the functionality is there IN THE MANUAL to avoid this. It's called your ignore list. If people are upsetting you so much that you can't deal with virtual hoolgans invading your internet spaceships, add the contact to your ignore list and you'll probably never see them again. Or switch to solo mode.

    But don't turn to Eve Online. That would hurt your sensibilities even more.

    Jesus wept. A fucking consumer action group because your internet spaceships only works the way most people want rather than your way. My children play better with other kids than half of these people and they are not even 4...

  29. Wombling_Free

    my cobra makes a whining noise

    Oh, wait. I just left the Elite:Dangerous forum window open.

    I've never heard such a pack of over entitled whining brats as the E:D forums; but then again its the first MMO forum I've been a member of.

    Frontier have done a wonderful job, and took a well publicized break over xmas - they did launch on the 16/12/14 after all.

    It is a shame to see the Reg reporting only the forum trolls; those of us in the alpha/beta phase diligently reported bugs; hey it still has some, what doesn't? The can't connect failures are likely due to their apps on their PCs, not ED. ED lime any network app is sensitive to the actions of other apps - for instance I found that ED and the Citrix receiver don't get along very well. Close Citrix and my issues vanished.

    I also suspect most of the glitches are peoples attempts to cheat / hack / crack ED for their own gain, then cry like babies when they corrupt their profile.

    Disclaimer - Alpha supporter. Missed kick starter. Mature adult who has spent too much time over xmas break having hours of trouble free, glitch free fun in my Cobra MK3.

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: my cobra makes a whining noise

      Well damn! Citrix receiver and E:D don't get on?! That explains a few issues I've been facing! :P

      Ta!!

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Jesus wept. A fucking consumer action group because your internet spaceships ..."

    "Jesus wept. A fucking consumer action group because your internet spaceships only works the way most people want rather than your way."

    You are really confused.

    The Frontier Customers Action Group https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=91561 was set up because Frontier are not delivering goods that customers have paid for. People have paid for offline game, DRM-free game, boxed game, art books, novella, in-game extras and lots of other items which Frontier have failed to deliver. This is last resort after Frontier support has collapsed under thousands of complaint tickets and even their sales record-keeping is messed-up. Frontier are telling customers their accounts cannot be found, that they didn't pay for what they said they'd paid for, and mainly Frontier are just ignoring peoples tickets for months.

    The last straw is Frontier changing to a different support system and announcing it is going to ignore all tickets under the existing system. https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=93710&page=5&p=1469606&viewfull=1#post1469606

    So you should be able to see this is not about "internet spaceships only works the way you want."

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