back to article Frontier wipes credit of Elite: Dangerous 'billionaire' badboys

Players of the game Elite: Dangerous who were made overnight "billionaires" due to a credit refund glitch will get their "winnings" wiped, the game's maker, Frontier Developments, has said. Initially the company offered the affected "commanders" a choice over whether they kept their loot or had their credit reset in order to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds fair - at least it gives those people an idea of what they can achieve if they earn that money the proper way...

  2. Alpha Tony

    Mostly Penniless.

    I seem to remember there was a bug in the BBC B version of Elite that you could use to farm credits. From memory, I think it was something to do with selling your beam lasers, where it gave you the cash but did not remove them.. or something like that - My memory is a little hazy as it was a long time ago!

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      I remember that bug - I also remember not being able to get it to reproduce under all circumstances.

      Do they have the 2 shot kill mining lasers in E:D? They were great for the rear mount when running away after overheating your military lasers.

    2. msknight Silver badge

      Re: Mostly Penniless.

      The commander file on the original Elite was easy to alter with a hex editor. I might still have the breakdown somewhere. No need for bugs.

      1. JonP

        Re: Mostly Penniless.

        The commander file on the original Elite was easy to alter with a hex editor...

        It was easy to edit, it was even easier to bork it if you didn't modify a few check-sum values too... er, so I'm told. Ahem.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mostly Penniless.

        That's how we used to do it. Save the file, then load it, then sell something, then save, then compare the before and after; quick addition of a few strategic FFs and trebles all round.

    3. Peter 26

      Re: Mostly Penniless.

      I remember a bug in the Amiga Frontier Elite II where if you tried to warp to a coordinate greater than than max int 32 you got warped to somewhere random in the game.

      I actually bought that game, and there was so many bugs I ended up downloading a dodgy version from a BBS which was more up to date and didn't require me to open up the manual to find the letter it was looking for every hour or whatever it was.

      Not much changes, pirates have always got it better.

      1. WraithCadmus
        Go

        Re: Mostly Penniless.

        I remember a bug in the Amiga Frontier Elite II where if you tried to warp to a coordinate greater than than max int 32 you got warped to somewhere random in the game.

        The bug (at least in my version) was if you picked a system around 655.35LY (2^16/100) away it counted as distance zero, so there was a calculation to find a system that distance from both your origin and destination, thus allowing you go anywhere in two jumps.

        1. Peter 26

          Re: Mostly Penniless.

          Yep that was the one. It was quite a while ago, your memory is doing well for the old age!

          1. Alpha Tony

            Re: Mostly Penniless.

            'your memory is doing well for the old age'

            It's just annoyingly selective. I can remember a bug from a computer game I played when I was 11 years old perfectly, but have no idea where I put my car keys!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Mostly Penniless.

              "I can remember a bug from a computer game I played when I was 11 years old perfectly, but have no idea where I put my car keys!"

              Have you checked under the seat of your Cobra Mk III ?

      2. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: Mostly Penniless.

        The PC version also had random jump failures that would strand you in the middle of nowhere, and they happened far too often for my liking.

        1. Simon Westerby 1

          Re: Mostly Bugless (as if).

          The Amstrad CPC version had a bug where you could fill your cargo hold with Thargons... eject, and your shiny new replacement came with 2x the cargo space AND the original cargo...

          Farming Thargons was painful tho... so it wasn't THAT easy ... I gave up after 3 times... (140 ton bay iirc)

      3. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Up

        Re: Mostly Penniless.

        There was also a system in Amiga Frontier Elite where Gemstones were illegal and people would *pay* you to take them off your hands!

        All you needed to do was buy a Viper and install a Class III Military Hyperdrive and you could stock up on Gems, Hyperspace to a system which would pay top dollar for them, rinse and repeat until you were stinkingly rich and could afford any ship or equipment you wanted.

        Right on, Commander!

        1. WraithCadmus
          Trollface

          Re: Mostly Penniless.

          There was also a system in Amiga Frontier Elite where Gemstones were illegal and people would *pay* you to take them off your hands!

          Seeing as I'm remembering all sorts nonsense, it was Cemiess (-2, -2). Precious Metals and Gemstones were indeed illegal and people would pay you to take them away.

          Bonus points as both systems were fairly unstable, so you got into loads of combat too.

          1. Graham Marsden
            Thumb Up

            @WraithCadmus - Re: Mostly Penniless.

            Ah yes, I remembered the co-ordinates were (-2, -2) but I couldn't remember the name :-)

      4. kurtheil

        Re: Mostly Penniless.

        Yup. Piracy is not a money problem, it's a service problem

    4. WraithCadmus
      Mushroom

      Re: Mostly Penniless.

      [...]where it gave you the cash but did not remove them[...]

      Frontier (at least the Amiga version) had a similar bug whereby you could dump cargo you didn't have by clicking below the lowest button (fence-post error?) thus making your hold larger every time you clicked.

      Now in command of a TARDIS you could fit plasma accelerators and class 7 drives to the starter ship, and keep TY-198's nippy acceleration.

      Icon: The green missiles

    5. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Mostly Penniless.

      The Spectrum version of the original Elite had a really simple bug. Launch the game, then immediately save the commander. The result was a much improved commander. But then again hacking the save file was easy enough. I remember that you could give yourself 25.5 light-years of fuel ;)

      1. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: Mostly Penniless.

        There was a competition for players who reached Elite status, but all the Spectrum owners were disqualified because of that bug. I remember getting a letter of apology from Firebird, along with a couple of badges.

    6. Enverex

      Re: Mostly Penniless.

      The bug in Frontier Elite 2 was trying to sell your ship with a crew member aboard. It would give you the part-ex value of your ship but then complain that you can't sell your ship with crew on-board and you'd keep your ship plus the part-ex value as well.

  3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    A correct decision at the end

    I appreciate they are probably flat out bug fixing and issue handling at the moment but it probably would make sense to look at some of the policies from the other games out there such as EVE - even to the point of nicking it whole where it concerns general conduct.

    Poor guys are under so much stress at the moment that they aren't making great decisions.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: A correct decision at the end

      CCP's mods might not be the best choice. Their process for deciding to ban players is both opaque, and inconsistent, with no appeals process or ability to get a clarification on decisions. Some things that they have deemed exploits have landed long bans for some players, whilst being completely ignored for others. You need only to use google to find some examples of this.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: A correct decision at the end

        CCP's mods might not be the best choice. Their process for deciding to ban players is both opaque, and inconsistent,

        It also deliberately tough. Eve has always prided itself on being vicious or to be nice about it they expect players to take responsibility for their own actions. If you fly a Bestower (cheap and cheerful freighter) around with a hold full of Zydrine (usually the most expensive mineral) and get ganked at a gate don't bother crying to the mods. They'll tell you it's your own damn fault for not using any of various alternative game mechanics to transport valuable cargo.

        You have to really push the boundaries before the mods will crack down on you. Even camping at a gate and ganking anyone and everyone that comes through is considered acceptable game play. If you complain about it they'll just tell you to find a better route or organise a group of players to take down the gankers.

        Mind you toward the end of my time in Eve I used to seek out gankers and fly my Nighthawk back and forth through the gate. A well defended Nighthawk can (could back then) survive almost any practical gate camp and give them a bloody nose while sailing happily toward the gate. I couldn't destroy them but I could waste their ammo and irritate them :D

  4. andy gibson

    Video

    Not related to Elite. but the picture you used in the article.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqqfGXrX__8

  5. msknight Silver badge

    Ebay

    News from a gamer sat next to me was that some of the people with large chunks of money were trying to sell their accounts on ebay which prompted some form of action. No idea if that's true. Probably against ToS and all the rest of it.

  6. Eric Olson

    We get it...

    Someone at The Reg is upset that the offline mode was canned for the original release. The same paragraph appears in every article about Elite: Dangerous, regardless of its relevancy to the story. I would be too if that's the sole reason I supported the game, but when I started following the progress, it always seemed incredibly difficult to juggle the needs of the multiplayer experience with a stand-alone single player version that did all the same things. The fact that they kept trying up until last month shows that they really wanted to honor that commitment, despite its deleterious impacts to the main game

    And let's be honest, Kickstarting anything is always going to be a dicey proposition, and the express terms of Kickstarter are that backers are nothing more than source of funding, with no rights to the profits, the revenue, or much anything else than what a developer, publisher, or individual outlined in the rewards. Heck, even successful and acclaimed projects like Wasteland 2 were a year late with things things that didn't meet some backers expectations.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
      Coat

      Re: We get it...

      "And let's be honest"

      What a novel idea. Any particular reason why it was necessary to suggest it halfway through your post?

      /mine is with the copy of "The Nitpicker's Guide to the Internet" in the pocket, thank you very much/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We get it...

      " it always seemed incredibly difficult to juggle the needs of the multiplayer experience with a stand-alone single player version that did all the same things."

      The single player version was never promised or expected to do the same things as the multiple version.

      "The fact that they kept trying up until last month shows that they really wanted to honor that commitment"

      Where is the evidence that they tried up to the last month?

      David Braben went quiet on the offline version around the time the company had to stump up £5m to buy Elite rights that he'd previous falsely claimed to own, and then switched the entire project to a post-purchase monetisable online-only version. This was six months before Braben actually confessed he'd dropped the offline version canning -- in passing in a newsletter in November.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We get it...

        Elite will live or die by how well it can manage it's market. Not the ingame one, which it has some control over, but this one:-

        http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/summary/company-summary.html?fourWayKey=GB00BBT32N39GBGBXASQ1

        Which it does not. It announced the 'full' public release of Elite:Dangerous and the public seems to disagree about how complete this full release is. Which will no doubt affect future sales, as well as previous sales if any significant number of early backers get refunds. Along with funding additional support heads, server wranglers and developing the 'story' and features that people seem to be expecting. The Sol system market doesn't seem to have responded postively to the launch though.

        1. Matt 70

          Re: We get it...

          Indeed..responded so well on Thursday that Frontier lost 12.5% of its share value. Or around £8million...Guess they got ganked on a rare run in open.

        2. Eric Olson

          Re: We get it...

          The valuation of a single company over a short period of time is meaningless. Especially when evaluated in a vacuum without including the overall market fundamentals and movements in context with other, similar companies. The stock is still up 40% over the last 12 months, even with the pullback in the last 6 weeks.

          What you need to remember is that with small cap stocks in general, they are volatile. They have low trade volumes and a small number of shareholders, so a single person or investment company deciding to offload shares can have a large impact on the closing price. It could be simple profit-taking, year-end re-balancing, diversification, or even the actual officers of the company deciding to cash in on a share price that looked to be at an all-time high. Tesla suffered the same pull back after massive gains over the last 18 months, and even with a flurry of bad press, they seem to be doing okay.

      2. Eric Olson

        Re: We get it...

        You mean the Kotaku interview where he says they didn't plan for it when stumping for cash on Kickstarter, but then when the idea was floated on the forums, they thought it could be done, though a bit empty-ish? I hadn't read that one before, but that to me means that those people upset about its removal doesn't have much of a leg to stand on if they supported the Kickstarter, and I don't recall it being advertised when I was deciding if I should buy into the beta, though it could have been part of the alpha push.

        And that interview does still show that they were agonizing over how to include it right up until the point they axed it. Could they have made it clear sooner that it would have been a problem with the way the rest of development was going? Sure. Would it have changed anything? Probably not. And it probably did suck up valuable development resources that could have been used to focus on the online mode.

        As far as the need to purchase the rights to Elite, I haven't been able to find anything about that other than forum posts and hearsay from jilted gamers. That's not to say it wouldn't be truth, but I would like to see a researched or validated source, not some anonymous post on a Reg or gaming forum. If you have that, please share it so I can take a look.

  7. MrPSB

    Funny how much more balanced this article is than previous efforts, almost like it's been written by a different person!

  8. Custard Fridge

    Warp whilst docking

    The one I used to great effect was warping to an anarchy system whilst docking at a more friendly one. You'd emerge docked at the anarchy station. Lovely. Was that on the BBC or the Spectrum? Can't remember...

    1. RainbowTrout

      Re: Warp whilst docking

      I remember that "feature" on the Spectrum.

  9. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I recall an exploit on the Amstrad version of the original Elite, where if you were killed, you could go straight to the 'New Commander' option (IIRC) and find yourself docked in the station in the system you were killed in, with all your credits and cargo intact. If nothing else, it removed the need to buy a docking computer.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    good article

    Much better E:D article by this author than Sharwood. Less vitriol for a start, more objective.

    Keep it up El Reg.

  11. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    Stop

    Dear Vulture...

    I was gonna post but have changed my mind....

  12. FlatSpot
    Trollface

    Last year Frontier cancelled a promised offline mode

    Really? Thanks El Reg, I hadn't heard

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The true spiritual successor to Elite...

    The Reg did a lot of promotion work for ED and even hosted a Q&A session with DB. So I don't feel they're being unduly harsh here. Where I feel the damage is done, is that ED was hyped beyond belief, almost at the noise level of Call of Duty / Far Cry / GTA releases, and that's a tall order to fill.

    As a big fan of the older Elites's (still have Frontier & original Elite), I'm looking forward to 'No Man's Sky' as I feel its the true spiritual successor to Elite, not ED!

    1. kurtheil

      Re: The true spiritual successor to Elite...

      I didn't know about this one, There is also "Limit Theory" also looks pretty good :)

  14. Cpt_Yukka

    The Good Old Days

    Well there was a "feature" on the Amiga in Frontier where if you had a passenger on your ship and tried to sell it for a smaller ship (some sort of shuttle was the smallest IIRC) then you would get the credit back for the difference between your ships value and the shuttle but, due to you having a passenger on board, you kept your original ship......as you could do the sale by pressing one key on the keyboard and holding it down would repeatedly try to process it (increasing your balance over, and over again in the process) some people taped a dice onto the key and went out for a few hours.....allegedly.....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See, a positive news story about E:D and tbe way Frontiers handles something.

    No longer can the fanbois complain of all one-sided news here :)

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Not Simon Sharwood.

      It's no co-incidence that the author of this article is a different person. Sharwood doesn't even ask FD for a comment, he's no journalist.

  16. Andrew 73

    Politics

    We should try this hack for the global economy... Reset EVERY bank account so we all start with 100 bitcoins and see where we get with a TRUE meritocracy. No?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK ... but what really happened??

    So Frontier have finally sorted out the chaos, 8 days after. Better late than never.

    But what I want to know is what caused this collapse? Frontier have said only "database corruption" but I don't recall any other game going haywire on a database corruption. At best, the game stalls.

  18. Stretch

    See this is why i don't play it until they make it offline. I'm not interested in all this nonsense.

  19. The_Idiot

    Days of future...

    ... past :-).

    Not in any way intended as a criticism, more as a homage - but I think it's a mark of the original Elite's impact and flat-out 'wow' factor for the time that a thread like this fills up half or more with fond memories of 'those days' :-). To paraphrase the good Mr T -

    .

    Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though

    Elite might not be now that which in old days

    Moved earth and heaven; that which it is, it is;

    Our hot Mil Lasers and our Cobra'd hearts,

    Though far in time time and date, yet linger still

    We are Elite - undock and fly, and never yield.

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