I actually forked out £50 for the beta on Friday, same day as this news broke but earlier. Even though I've had a lot of fun over the weekend playing this excellent game, I must admit I feel a bit shafted, because one of the main reasons I wanted to get this game is that I travel a whole lot, and I love playing this type of game e.g. on intercontinental flights, and in hotels where there is no or bad broadband (happens more than you'd think).
Anyway, I have to say, I love the game so far, all the detractors of the beta in general I think are shooting way over the target, this can still get great reviews if a few minor bugs are fixed, BUT BUT BUT....
IT CAN'T BE THAT HARD TO DO AN OFFLINE MODE WITH A STATIC GALAXY.
It just can't, period. It doesn't need to be in sync with the server version.
My feeling/fear here is that this is all more about DRM and ensuring that nobody can play without an online verified account, and that nobody can make clone servers based on the code in the offline client.
Well, Surprise Surprise, that's still gonna happen. But the legit players are going to suffer from this.
I sincerely hope that this decision is reversed, and that a fully offline mode is added in an upcoming patch.