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Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player 473

Robotron23 writes: The developers behind the sequel to legendary video game Elite have, to the anger and dismay of fans, dropped the offline single-player mode originally promised. The game is due for full release in under a month. With the title having raised about $1.5 million from Kickstarter, and millions more in subsequent campaigns that advertised the feature, gamers are livid. A complaints thread on the official Elite forums has swelled to 450+ pages in only three days, while refunds are being lodged in the thousands. It is down to the discretion of Frontier, the game's developer, whether to process refund requests of original backers.
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Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

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  • To be expected (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @03:29AM (#48408899)

    Disappointing but not at all surprising.
    Their focus on the online multiplayer has been pretty obvious for awhile.
    They sell different colored ships and stuff - can't have people running their own multiplayer servers or cheating and give stuff like that away, not if they're trying to run a business.

    • Re:To be expected (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @11:41AM (#48410951)
      Minecraft allows people to run their own servers, for free, and is doing awfully well.

      Online-membership-only is killing gaming for me. I'm not paying $120/year, forever, to link up my XBox 360s to play with my son sitting across the room. (I scrounge for games that support system link, but there are hardly any.) Nor am I going to watch a bunch of commercials before every game (mobile gaming). The deal is, I pay money for a game, which I can then play as much as I like. Take it or leave it. They're leaving it.

  • Buyer Beware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @03:29AM (#48408901) Journal

    This Kickstarter stuff isn't very well regulated...

    • Re:Buyer Beware (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @03:35AM (#48408913)

      You could say that (and in a way it's true), but technically there is no "buyer" since it's NOT a purchase, it's financial backing of a project.

      Not much different from venture capital, except by giving $50 instead of $50M you don't get a board seat and massive returns if successful, you just get a possibly sketchy promise of a "reward" for your investment.

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:16AM (#48409047)

        You could say that (and in a way it's true), but technically there is no "buyer" since it's NOT a purchase, it's financial backing of a project.

        Right, but when grown-ups accept investment in their company/fund/whatever, they normally publish various information about their strategy so investors know what they are backing. If the officers/fund manager/whoever then deviate significantly from that strategy, investors typically have some redress in law and regulatory action may be involved.

        It's a simple analogy to look at backing a Kickstarter campaign that states certain things about their project goals in the same way. Whatever the legal position, in practice a deliberate and unnecessary deviation from what backers were explicitly told they were supporting seems likely to end only one of three ways:

        1. The project team relent to save their reputation/project and issue refunds to those who feel it's not a project they would have backed under the new conditions.

        2. Kickstarter themselves step in to protect their own reputation, somehow forcing the project to issue refunds. This issue could be an existential threat for the crowd-sourcing business model, after all.

        3. Kickstarter and/or the project admins argue that a bait and switch is OK under Kickstarter rules and say something weaselly about legal terms and the deal not being what everyone thought it was. If too many backers take a different view and pursue this with their card providers claiming fraud, good luck doing any further business after the resulting chargebacks.

        It's not clear to me how significant and widespread the objections to this actually are, but if it's a real problem, I don't really see any way it ends well for either the project or Kickstarter if they don't proactively do something to make things right with backers who thought they were being ripped off.

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @05:18AM (#48409305) Homepage

          Or, perhaps the best option of all:

          4. The project team reinstates offline single-player mode.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @10:30AM (#48410367)

            4. The project team reinstates offline single-player mode.

            Game creators seem to hate single player anymore. I guess it is because they have to make an actual game with a plot, and goals, and an actual AI to fight against you. It is so much easier nowadays to take an engine (licensed and written by someone else) and create a bunch of pretty graphics for it. Then setup a server and charge monthly fees, no pesky AI or plot to worry about.

            • by jythie ( 914043 )
              I think it is less a factor of not wanting to make AI/content and more a new generation of developers and what they grew up playing with their friends. Unfortunately often the people who go into development are not representative of the wider population and in the case of the multiplayer-centric teams they have a pretty strong self reinforcing tunnel vision linked to their social group. They do not even see single players people among their peers since multiplayer is such a big part of how they build comm
            • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @01:28PM (#48411865)

              Game creators seem to hate single player anymore. I guess it is because they have to make an actual game with a plot, and goals, and an actual AI to fight against you.

              I fear there is a much simpler explanation: on-line games are far less susceptible to piracy and generate more reliable financial returns.

              Next time some pirate posts about how copyright isn't theft because the developer didn't lose anything, they wouldn't have bought the game anyway, and DRM is pointless, consider that the modern games industry is the logical result. Copyright infringement is economic damage and the big game publishers have routed around it.

              Unfortunately, in doing so, they have almost killed off entire chunks of the industry, such as single player games with any serious depth, or games with novel gameplay and new ideas. Why bother with little things like creativity and making fun new games when Call of EVE: Advanced WarCraft 2017 is a safe bet to make a fortune?

              Most of the innovation in the industry these days is done by the little guys. On very rare occasions, those little guys make it big, but mostly you just don't get the same kind of epic scale and production values at that end of the market.

        • The last one is pretty much what happened to Mighty Number 9, they lost a lot of money to chargebacks.

      • Re:Buyer Beware (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:17AM (#48409055) Journal

        you just get a possibly sketchy promise of a "reward" for your investment.

        Kickstarter is NOT an investment. An investment is when you put in a small amount of capital with the expectation that you will get some slightly larger amount of capital back after a period of time. You do not "own" anything when you give money to a Kickstarter project. You are not a stakeholder. You are not entitled to or owed anything.

        Kickstarter is best described as a donation. Being more generous, Kickstarter is an advanced purchase, but since there is no guarantee to delivery it's not really that either.
        =Smidge=

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          Good point. Kickstarter is billed as a micro-investment, but in reality it IS a donation. The reward is basically like getting a coffee mug for giving to PBS, but it's delayed by a year and if PBS goes bankrupt in the meantime you can kiss your mug goodbye.

          • by gnupun ( 752725 )

            Good point. Kickstarter is billed as a micro-investment, but in reality it IS a donation.

            If you're getting something in return, it's NOT a donation. In this case, it is prepayment for early access to a product. Of course, when you get nothing, or something below your expectations, it's more like a ripoff.

            • Re:Buyer Beware (Score:4, Insightful)

              by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @05:13AM (#48409287) Homepage

              If you're getting something in return, it's NOT a donation. In this case, it is prepayment for early access to a product. Of course, when you get nothing, or something below your expectations, it's more like a ripoff.

              It's a crowdfunding platform. Perpetuating the falsehood that it is more than that just encourages more people to put money into the platform expecting more than they should.

              • Re:Buyer Beware (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @07:05AM (#48409621)

                Kickstarter was originally designed to comply with US law. There are laws in the US that cover investments, and Kickstarter is not an investment. These laws were created because of the sort-of-legal scams that would see travelling conmen roll up into a small town and offer to put them on the map by setting up a company or making a film. The locals only had to invest the money to get the film made, and then they'd all be rich. Well, the film would get made, and the film crew would get paid. But the film would never be released, because it was rubbish. The scam was all in the wages -- the conmen were the production staff and crew. So it's not an investment.

                Is it a donation? I don't think it is legal to donate to a for-profit entity. Kickstarter doesn't seem to think so either, which is why projects offer at least some sort of token for their lowest levels.

                As I understand it, Kickstarter funding is VATtable -- translation, en_US: subject to sales tax. This means there is a clear relationship between the project as a commercial entity and a customer.

                There's not a lot of case law to go by, but there's strong legal opinion that the rewards are good or services for sale or hire. If the reward level includes "the game", a lot of people consider that a preorder. The fuzzy bit here is how important the description of the game is. I'd say this is not what was advertised, and I don't see how they can justify dropping it without offering refunds. I'd be surprised if they didn't have enough cash to do it, or at least enough projected sales to be able to promise it later.

        • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:58AM (#48409215) Journal

          Kickstarter is best described as a donation.

          Even donations come with obligations though. If I donate to a charity to support science education in country A and they use the money instead to purchase needles for drug addicts in country B then you could sue them to get you money back since they are using it for a significantly different purpose even though both might be considered good causes.

          Whether the a single player game is sufficiently different from the delivered MMO game is something for the courts to decide if it ever gets that far. However what is very shabby about this whole thing is that the announcement has come only 1 month before the release. Given their description of how essential the online servers are to the game it seems highly likely than they have known about this for a very long time and have only just come clean.

          It's also a real shame. Part of the beauty of the previous games was that they made such a detailed, massive open sandbox which you could explore and admire the intelligence that went into crafting the procedural generation. Now you are going to be sharing the galaxy with immature, adolescent school kids and any unusual features you will ascribe to a human moderator putting them there. It's going to have more similarity to Eve Online than Elite.

          • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

            Now you are going to be sharing the galaxy with immature, adolescent school kids and any unusual features you will ascribe to a human moderator putting them there. It's going to have more similarity to Eve Online than Elite.

            Why do you say that? They clearly state that they will have single- and multi-player. And they say that single-player requires an online connection so it gets a gradually evolving galaxy. That sounds more like automatically-downloaded DLC, entirely different from "sharing the galaxy".

          • Sure, you could conceivably sue a charity but only if there is a blatant misuse of funds. Benefit of the doubt, most Kickstarter campaigns I feel do at least have honest intentions and use the money the collect in a manner consistent with those intentions... they just completely botch it. (Of course, there are some "genuine" frauds as well...)

            Back on topic; How about offline play with an option to update at each launch? Seems like a good compromise; You don't *need* an internet connection to play, but you c

            • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @07:43AM (#48409725) Homepage Journal

              Back on topic; How about offline play with an option to update at each launch? Seems like a good compromise; You don't *need* an internet connection to play, but you can still keep in synch with updates.

              You won't be able to do that with this game, because the game requires the server, and instead of giving the server to the backers so that they can run their own single-player games like they would do if they gave one fuck about the players, they are keeping it for themselves so that they can profit from it. They are keeping half of what they promised to deliver to the backers. That is bait and switch, and therefore fraud, because they are able to provide single-player: simply deliver the server component to the player.

              I predict that if they have free servers that they will be shit, and that you will have to pay a monthly fee for access to a server that doesn't lag you into oblivion. As my internet connection is crap, an online-only game is simply not an option for me at all, so I would be livid if I had backed this kickstarter.

              I've backed two kickstarters so far. The first one was the new space quest game, which the discerning reader will note is years overdue. YEARS. That is to say, it's still not there. The other was the infrablue photography kit which was actually delivered. Until I get the rewards from my first Kickstarter, though, I'm not even going to look at their site. I am not even considering contributing to any more projects.

              Kickstarter is a Bad Deal if you don't have money to throw away.

      • Re:Buyer Beware (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @05:50AM (#48409399)

        You could say that (and in a way it's true), but technically there is no "buyer" since it's NOT a purchase, it's financial backing of a project.

        I don't think it's possible to apply a blanket label to Kickstarter, which is the first mistake people seem to make with comments on Kickstarter stories.

        In my mind there are three distinct types of Kickstarter campaigns.

        1. The Distribution Campaign - This is for a tangle good generally, and it's an item the maker already has planned and maybe prototyped as well. The reason for these campaigns is lots of times "we can't get this mass produced unless we order at least x units". So they take the minimum number of units and multiply by the price they want to charge and that becomes the funding goal. These are very straight-forward and the goals are, too. You will get one of the (widgets) in (color) for this backer level. There's little way you wont know what you're getting or for the maker to "rip you off". It's clearly defined what you get. These Kickstarters also have fairly short turnaround times between funding ending and backers getting rewards, because it's a pre-sale drive for the most part.

        2. The Charity Campaign - This is a campaign that oftentimes is for a visual art, theater, or dance companies. The money is used to fund a tour for a play to be performed by a company, or a series of exhibits, and another popular example as of late is small independent movie chains being caught with their pants down with the end of film-reel distribution of movies (forced upgrade to digital projection). The rewards are often times simple thank-you's, shout-outs on official websites or Facebook. You name on a "wall of fame" at the business. The higher dollar rewards for these might be admission to a show, or if you're a real high funder, actual face-time (dinners or private Skype discussions) with important individuals about the project. Most backers don't really get any "thing" so there's little to dispute about (unless someone embezzles the money and runs off).

        3. The Production Campaign - This is the one that causes the most issues, generally because the goals are not very concrete. Lots of times it's "we want to make a video game and we have these ideas and here's some characters sketches and maybe even some initial computer graphics work, but we can't really focus on this because we have to maintain our day jobs. Please give us monies so we can stop taking all these freelance gigs to pay the rent." Lots of times the backer rewards are copies of said game when it gets released. But the exact form of the game is something that can change during production, which can be delayed, too. This is also the type of Kickstarter that generally can take years to get rewards to its' backers because it requires the people who started it to actually spend time creating something from scratch something afterwards. Another example of this is musicians pre-selling an EP or new full-length studio album they haven't recorded yet. They might have a song or two to demo to you, but the Kickstarter is to front the money needed for studio time, engineering, and disc production of the album.

        The problem is lots of people get involved in Kickstarter and don't recognize campaigns for the type they are, and adjust their expectations accordingly. They back one campaign and expect every campaign to be as clear cut or easy as the last, completely ignoring what Kickstarter is -- a showroom for completely unrelated groups of people to reach a geographically diverse audience to seek financial support. They each have their own unique work ethic, and definition of meeting expectations.

        I personally avoid Production-type Kickstarters because of the long turn-around times and lack of clear-cut goals. I fund some Donation-types, but mostly focus on Distribution-type campaigns and I generally am very satisfied with what I get in all of them.

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @03:32AM (#48408903)

    Sure, it sucks when projects don't meet their exact launch goals, but I don't have too much sympathy for the "backers" on Kickstarter in general.

    The whole thing is clearly labeled as "crowdfunding", not "preorder". If you want to preorder a game, go to Gamestop. If you want to be a backer, i.e. basically micro funding of a startup project, go ahead and use Kickstarter, but in that case you really aren't *guaranteed* anything. There will be poorly managed Kickstarter projects that fail miserably and blow through their investment without ANY decent return/reward. And since you basically agreed to be an investor in the venture (that's why you get a "reward", not a "purchase"), do you know what you can do about that in most cases? Jack and shit.

    • by Idimmu Xul ( 204345 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @03:40AM (#48408935) Homepage Journal

      If you helped crowd fund my shoe, then I deliver you a hat, I think you'd be a little disappointed. Even if it was an awesome hat.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:08AM (#48409027)

      They lied. They claimed offline was part of the project in 2012 and took a lot of money in on the back of that. Now they're going back to the original plan after raking in all that money. They should at least be offering refunds to those they conned, but their refund statement is almost two years out of date and leads nowhere.

      This outfit will not make anywhere near month they need to sustain their product. Therefore the online only requirement means this project will disable all copies of the game when they shut up shop in a few months.

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        No, a lie is when you say something you know isn't true. Changing your mind (or in this case, adapting the product to reality of schedules and finance) is NOT A LIE. And it happens every freaking day in development.

        • OK, but a contract can't allow unilateral rewriting (change of mind) for one party but not the other.
          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            But is this a contract?

            This is not a "We promise to deliver X if you pay us money" situation, this is a "We'd like to make X but don't have enough money. If you give us money we'll do our best to give you something in return".

    • by Xelios ( 822510 )
      I agree with you about Kickstarter but for the past few months Frontier has been selling preorders for the game on their website, clearly labeled as "preorders". For the people who bought those dumping the offline play could be cause for a refund.
    • I was one of the original Kickstarter funders.

      I threw my money into the pot because I got so much fun and game play out of the original Elite. Basically I thought David Braben and his team had already earned it. Am I disappointed that there's no single player offline? Yes, I am. My home internet connection has a long ping time (it's via satellite) so multiplayer combat was never going to work for me. It may be, for that reason, the game won't work at all - FOR ME. But I'm not making a fuss.

      Basically if you

    • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @05:43AM (#48409383) Journal

      You're right that "backers" need to realise that Kickstarter is not a pre-order mechanism. But developers also need to realise that turning to crowdfunding means, by necessity, a different kind of development model to a "traditional" game.

      If this game was - as is more usual - being funded by a big publisher and Frontier decided that the offline mode wasn't working out, then that would be the cue for them to begin a negotiation with the publisher. The publisher might be fine with the change. It might not be. The publisher might want to change its funding committment. It might even want to walk away and leave the project looking for a new publisher. But at the end of the day, it's a commercial negotiation.

      Now generally, when a game Kickstarter goes horribly wrong, the root cause is that the developer was a "two men and a dog" team with little to no experience of games development. That's not the case here; Frontier are an established studio with a long track record of delivering games (even if most of those games for the last decade-and-a-bit have been low-profile franchise tie-ins). But they're attempting to behave here as though the absence of a traditional publisher means that they have licence to do what they want without the usual accountability to backers. There's no possible world in which that is reasonable.

      So it's no wonder backers are upset.

  • I do understand the complaints made. Sometimes it feels limiting that a constant connection is required.

    However, I'm just happy they are finishing the project. I have many happy memories of playing Elite in my youth. In this day and age, creating a video game is a massive and complicated project, and they seem to have succeeded. I pitched in a hundred pounds, and they're also going to release it on the Mac, which is currently my most-used platform.

    • by Aziour ( 3916553 )
      Yes, I think it's a bit unfair that they got so much negative attention about this one thing while the solid steady development of their amazing game has struggled to get serious attention at all. I guess people love to have something to complain about, but for a fan of this amazing piece of technology, it can be very frustrating.
  • by BBF_BBF ( 812493 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @03:51AM (#48408977)
    It's definitely for the backers' own good that the experience be the same for all players... so just one month before release we tell them that we didn't bother to implement the single player offline component.
    /s

    It took a while for me to decode all that marketing speak to figure out that they were canning single player. It was a deliberate design decision they must have made months ago, and just conveniently "forgot" to tell the backers.
    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      It took a while for me to decode all that marketing speak to figure out that they were canning single player.

      How did you get that? What I understood was that single-player still exists, but it requires an internet connection and is in a galaxy that steadily evolves. Here's what they actually said:

      it does mean the single player has to connect to the server from time to time, but this has the added advantage that everyone can participate in the activities that can happen in the galaxy

      So: their statement is that single player exists, and it's in an evolving galaxy, sort of like implicit/automatic DLC.

  • "Just pay extra..." (Score:5, Informative)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @03:57AM (#48408995) Homepage

    Elite Dangerous is a shower.

    I'm one of the backers of the Kickstarter. I am absolutely TIRED of being asked for more money for every damn thing they do.

    The number of paid Alpha's, premium content, several Beta's (Beta Premium!) is unbelievable and they seem to want to make me wait until the very day of release before I get anything out of my backing unless I pay more money.

    Sure, I get a "reserved Commander name" and a couple of bits of digital content but I have seen nothing of the actual game in all that time except for the occasional screenshot. They have probably made more from the Beta's than they have from the Kickstarter, and every damn newsletter is "just another $15 will get you this...".

    I've totally lost any interest and regret backing but, unlike some, I'm true to my word so have written off the money I've given them so far. I've truly not expected to see the game because every preview/screenshot/update still without any access by myself but with begging all the way through it just disappoints me further. If they are milking it that early, what the hell is going to happen in-game when they want to form the economies?

    I'm honestly fatigued by the requests for money, which they are still putting in every newsletter. It makes me worry that any final game is going to die from budgetary shortages the second it's release because the begging is so intense.

    Meanwhile, all I have to show for backing it is a cart with one item "bought" that I can't touch for another month or so and that's all I ever had.

    Honestly? I'm sick of it already. And I haven't even got to play it. Given that it was one of the largest and most successful Kickstarter projects there was, I'm a bit disgusted by how much more they seem to want in order to let me see how it plays, even in a tiny demo.

    It's gonna be an over-hyped flop, isn't it? Or crash and burn in the first few months when the servers can't be kept running due to lack of budgeting. And to leave it until NOW to tell people about the lack of single-player, while you're still pasting in 4K screenshots and plugs for various books written in the Elite:Dangerous universe (that doesn't exist yet as far as I'm concerned)? I just don't care any more.

    The one Kickstarter project that I really regret backing.

    • by gaspyy ( 514539 )

      Of all the things you could complain about Elite:Dangerous, you complain about money? The extra 15 pounds is for those who preordered the game, if they want to get early access.

      Compared to the Star Citizen money grab, what the Elite devs are doing is just great. There are people who spent over $10,000 (real money!) in Star Citizen to buy ships and a "business hangar". Money spent on a game that doesn't even exist yet (there is just a hangar and an in-game simulator and the controls are a pain).

      • by ledow ( 319597 )

        Just because another project may be worse (or attract more stupid people), doesn't mean this one isn't bad.

        It costs them nothing to put out a limited demo server, while still preserving full early access for those who want it.

        • by gaspyy ( 514539 )

          I agree that dropping offline support at the last moment wasn't wise, but how would a demo server have helped?

          I backed both Star Citizen and E:D. My fear with Elite is the lack of variation and depth. Everything seems repetitive. If they can add more varied missions, interesting space sightings and inject some life into the universe, it'll be a fun game.

      • Job title: playtester
        Employer: Frontier Developments Ltd
        £15

        Potential applicant: "Is that £15 per hour? For playtesting? Sign me up!"

        Recruiter: "No, it's a one-off payment."

        Potential applicant: "You're only going to pay me £15 to playtest a near limitless galaxy sim?"

        Recruiter: "No, you're going to pay us.

    • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:23AM (#48409069) Homepage

      I'm disgusted that you're disgusted that you didn't receive more than what you paid for.

      I paid the price to include the beta access, and I've had a lot of fun with the game, it's actually a lot of fun. I combined it with voice attack and astra and it's quite immersive. Especially playing with friends, its amazing.

      You're really missing out over your bitterness that you didn't pay for early access. Personally I'm fine with no single player component, there are plenty of excellent single player space games like the X series (X-2, x3 etc). It's about time we got a quality game like this, that was online and that was their primary focus.

      Imagine if you just ignored all the emails, and waiting for the game to come out. Would you be satisfied? Probably. Your real issue, is a bunch of us paid more and are having fun, and you feel you deserve what we got as an extra for you because you're some special cupcake. Suck it up, spend the extra, good game development costs money, and I've seen enough shitty games just trying to make a dime I'm happy to seriously invest money (on a game purchase anyway) for a quality game.

      • by Sibko ( 1036168 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @01:31PM (#48411893)

        I have also paid for beta access.
        The game is NOT fun. It's a fucking disaster.

        First of all, what's good: The visuals, audio, UI, graphics, etc. Everything related to how the game looks and feels is top-notch. It suckers you in that way.
        What's bad: The gameplay.

        Oh lord the gameplay. In one word: Shallow. It's like a pile of disjointed minigames. Everything is "there" in the sense of a checkmark on a list, but it is not there in the sense of "I actually want to play this."

        And the game is monetized out the ass.

        For the longwinded bits, read below:

        More detail:
        Combat: Like your typical "spacesim", AI is easy to kill, and between players - whoever has the biggest most expensive ship is the winner. Skill doesn't enter the picture because ships are not sidegrades, they are direct upgrades. The incompetent player with 1 million credits will always beat the skilled noob in his sidewinder, no exception. The combat brings nothing new to the genre and lacks serious complexity. (They have a good idea with their stealth system, but it's tacked on rather than a core concept in dogfighting like it needs to be) In spite of all these problems, the combat is probably the best/most fleshed out portion of gameplay and the one that can be legitimately fun for awhile.

        Mining: In every game I have ever played, mining has been an exercise in tedium. This game is no different. You shoot an asteroid with a laser until it pops out a rock that you scoop up. Repeat ad nauseum.

        Money: Get this out of the way quickly, everything you do - mining, combat, missions, trading - earns you next to nothing. To put it into perspective, the most expensive ship in the game was the Anaconda at 150 million credits (after every stage of beta they increased its price, who knows what it'll be post-launch). Your average mission earns you 15,000cr and takes about 5-30 minutes to complete. If you are extremely dedicated you could probably earn ~100,000cr/hr (more is possible with a good traderoute and a lot of cargospace, but this is hard to find now). It'll take a good year of playing multiple hours per day, to afford the most expensive ship. Then the upgrades to that ship will double or triple its cost, at the least. There were comments by Braben [reddit.com] (co-creator) [archive link [archive.today] in case reddit deletes the post as they are known to do with touchy subjects] that the game is going to come with a cash shop. Considering the grind and the comment about the cash shop for credits, I can understand why they wanted to get rid of the offline singleplayer: They don't want people modding the game to get what they paid for.

        Trading: It's really just hauling goods, and it's rather boring. There is a 15 minute video here [youtube.com] which shows almost the entirety of trading gameplay. (Not including hours spent trying to find a decent traderoute) You fly back and forth, earn a few thousand credits for the trouble and that's that. There used to be a trading calculator available on the forums - you downloaded it, it would check the trade good prices wherever you docked and give you a centralized database from everyone else's information which allowed you to pick the best trade routes. People were using it to make boatloads of cash and Frontier, failing to think of a way to counter this tool by making trade interesting, instead banned it.

        Exploration: You literally jump into a system and hold down a button for 5 seconds. Your ship "pings" everything nearby and if its newly discovered, it gets added to the exploration catalog and earns you 1,000-10,000cr (depending on number of planets/stars you found and only after returning to a space station). You can also fly close to the stellar object to do a detailed scan - but it takes a long time to fly around a system and the reward is peanuts. Maybe 500cr per planet. It's faster

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Honestly, your complaints seem totally ridiculous.

      I'm in the same boat as you. I paid an initial kickstarter fee. I enjoy seeing screenshots and videos. And when the game comes out then I'll get a copy of it at no extra cost. That's what kickstarter is.

      If you're "fatigued" by their requests for more backing? If you're upset that you don't get access to the beta without paying for more money? First world problems, a.k.a. "whining".

    • [...] and they seem to want to make me wait until the very day of release before I get anything out of my backing unless I pay more money.

      I dont know how much you gave them, but it seems it was less than the amount required to get you into one of the betas. And I dont remember there being a tier for "I want to get a pre-release demo"

      So, you did not get what you did not pay for.

      But maybe I just didnt read your whining thoroughly enough.
      So, what is your *real* problem again? Them saying "hey you could still be a beta tester for $$" ?

  • Shattered (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:07AM (#48409025)

    Another disappointed backer from the kickstarter in late 2012.

    I have wasted over $500 on this game with the PROMISE that it will be offline.

    Now a few days before its official launch, they drop this bombshell, and are not even responding to refund requests.

    Absoulutely shattered.

    Frontier, hang your heads in shame. I will NEVER purchase anything from you again.

    • by Kuroji ( 990107 )

      Frontier is going to fold, and you know it.

      What you need to do is pay attention to who is in charge of this, and find ways to boycott any products they have anything to do with in the future. Especially the bastards who were involved in the marketing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jareth-0205 ( 525594 )

        Frontier is going to fold, and you know it.

        What you need to do is pay attention to who is in charge of this, and find ways to boycott any products they have anything to do with in the future. Especially the bastards who were involved in the marketing.

        Yeah! Let's make sure we punish people for the rest of their lives! Damn them for not providing me with my exact requirements!

        The internet has turned into somewhere we can destroy people. It's ugly.

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Gosh, $500 is a lot. What kind of things did you keep paying for?

  • Beware of Gamers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:17AM (#48409051)

    Beware of gamers developing games. Too often you find them preferring their own game play style, ramping up difficulty, no bones thrown to casual players, and so forth. Then it gets defended as "by real games for real gamers" or something like that.

    I get a sneaky suspicion this might fall into that category. They've got a "vision" of what they want, and damn the paying customers who say differently.

    I mean isn't this part of the whole reason kickstarter games are popular, because they're supposed to listen to customers which is the opposite of what the big name game publishers do?

    • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:34AM (#48409121) Homepage

      The game isn't difficult, oh wait I know what your problem is. In eve, you would be called a care bear.

      Someone who if they lose even once gets extremely upset, even more so if it's because of a player. People need to look at it like a first person shooter, you die sometimes, and that's okay.

      This doesn't mean it's not for casual gamers. Casual doesn't mean 'Super easy I never die so I'm the best and feeds ego'

      If that's not what you mean I apologize but it's what it sounds like.

      • People need to look at it like a first person shooter, you die sometimes, and that's okay.

        The problem is that you have to work it like a job in order to advance. People get pretty cross when what they've worked for hours to attain is lost in a matter of seconds, especially when it's just because someone is feeling like being an asshole.

        This doesn't mean it's not for casual gamers. Casual doesn't mean 'Super easy I never die so I'm the best and feeds ego

        No, it means "I don't have to spend hours and hours and hours grinding only to lose all my progress in seconds". Casual gamers don't want to grind.

  • Is that the game that I can buy for 60 EUR and then have the privilege of paying another 12.50 EUR to get a "cutting-edge" freighter ship, and another 12.50 to get a 'viper chrome'? Why would I do that??

  • by Pallando-zi ( 630704 ) <douglasr@NospAm.chiark.greenend.org.uk> on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:30AM (#48409105)

    There's already a single player mode, for days when you don't feel like interacting with other players, and a 'friends only' mode where you only interact with people on your friends list.

    Your ships and money are shared between modes. If they added an off-line mode too, then they'd face complaints like "I've just spent 60 hours in off-line mode working my way up to an Asp, and now you're telling me that I can't use it when I play with my friends??!? W.T.H. You guys suck!"

  • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:32AM (#48409113) Homepage

    Hello /.

    I've purchased the game plus it's early access, and I've had a lot of fun with it. I've played games like X3 and earlier so I know what a decent single player game consists of.

    Frankly, I think it's about time we received a game that was even of better quality that was just online, we have great single player space games, we really do. However, I always wished they were online, that those ships out there were other players I could comm with or do things with my friends. Elite dangerous, has brought me that. Eve online is a fantastic game, but I always wanted a first person cockpit, full docking procedures, aiming, the whole I'm a spaceship in space experience, not the mmo style.

    Elite brought it. They also added new features, and patched them quickly to make the game stable, playable, look fantastic, fun, and immersive. Sitting in the cockpit with voice attack, astra, engaging in combat yelling divert power to weapons! Full impulse! and shooting down npcs or players is great fun.

    If they focused on a single player offline mode, I think the game would really suffer, we need that open ended focus where players get the drive the story and history of the game by their actions, not by a predefined script.

    I want to see alliances of mercenaries that you know to avoid or that will steal cargo from you. You'll eventually see player factions I'm sure that you recognize as pirate. You get the joy of someone pulling you out of hyper drive, and fighting to stay in it. If they pull you out, you see what it is, oh crap it's system authority, do I fight or run? I kick my engines to full speed as I have a bounty on me and as soon as they scan me, they'll open fire.

    I'm trying to get away and spin up my hyper drive engines, and I hear the dreaded 'Ship scan detected' Next thing I know, shots are wizzing past me, I'm under attack. Fortunately my quick reflexes allowed me to get away this time.

    It's not always like that though, I've had players pull me out and open fire right away. I was in a slow cargo ship, their proximately slowed the spin up of my hyper drive, I couldn't get away, they destroyed me.

    Other times, I was in a small attack ship, the eagle, and I inderdicted other players. Some got away, had enough distance to spool up and run before I could get them, others, not so lucky.

    Plus all the docking is fantastic, it's actual ports, you go in the actual station, there is no state change to dock, and land in a landing port. Also even when you're waiting after you landed, and told the platform to pull you in, which it literally does and hides your ship in the station, if you want to go to the outfitting and it 's not done yet, your interface says 'please wait'. That is, your ships interface. You have several consoles, can still look around and muck with them still.

    So it's quite well done to make you feel like you're in that ship and things are happening as they should with no loading trickery.

    The only state changes are entering hypercruise, which with a bit of network lag you can tell it's a state change, but once in it, it feels natural, and if it's instant exiting and entering feels like it's not a state change. Also hyper jumping to other systems can tell it's a bit of a state change, but you never see a 'loading' screen.

    Let this small detail go. It's one of the few games that will really benefit from online play.

    • by qeveren ( 318805 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @04:46AM (#48409167)

      This 'small detail', unfortunately, leaves a number of backers who were depending on an offline mode - that they understood all this time they were going to get - basically shit-out-of-luck. That's kind of hard to let go.

      Anyway, the real reason single-player offline got ditched is because the game is going to include technology to upload real-life advertising into the game world. It's right there in the EULA.

      • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 )

        Ironically I don't have a problem with it if it doesn't interfere with gaming and is like a backdrop, a billboard passing by or something, I think it would add to the immersion.

        I think if we ever entered the space age to the point we were flying around publicly to stations, we would see advertising go there.

        It's probably a better solution for continued development than a subscription model.

      • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 )

        P.S Eve has in game advertisements but they are theme fit and for eve companies, not real world ads, they felt natural. It wouldn't bother me if it was the same but about a real product. I would ignore it just the same.

        Maybe they can add an adblock component to your ship for a subscription :P

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @05:21AM (#48409315)

    You got all excited about this new funding opportunity. The ability to get funded directly by your customers rather then going through the big scary publishers.

    And it could have worked except you crapped all over your customers the instant it became possible. You told them what they wanted to hear until the checks cleared... and then you betrayed them.

    Again and again.

    All these crowd funding systems need to have some sort of refund clause built into them.

    We're very happy to fund you guys... but if you intentionally fuck us over then you deserve to have the money pulled.

    Obviously you can't afford that happening. You already spent it. I get that. That is in fact the fucking point. You make your commitments and you damn well follow through. Alternatively, just bail on the whole project and never get funded again. Either way, this sort of behavior needs to be a third rail. It needs to mean financial ruin or career suicide.

    The first rule of crowd funding is DO NOT fuck over your sponsors.

    The second rule of crowd funding is DO NOT fuck over your sponsors.

  • by sTERNKERN ( 1290626 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @05:25AM (#48409325)
    I do not want to synchronize anything with any server which might or might not make it for some years until it is shut down. This is DRM nothing more. I bought this game to play on my own not bothered by any other player... Kickstarter should be able to penalize companies which are not willing to fulfill their promises.
    • You can still play single player, offline is gone, so we'd better hope the game is a success and if they ever decide to shut down we had better hope they get a chance to put the code back in the client so that it can be played offline.
  • ... people funding AAA kickstarters know nothing about AAA development costs. I knew Planetary annihilation was taking everyone for a ride because to make a real RTS you need 10 million minimum (thats whta supreme commander cost). Trying to do a full fledged RTS on 2.5 million isn't going to cut it. Same can be said for elite dangerous. Braben is taking his fans for a ride because he wants to ride the money into an MMO to make $. He damn well knows a AAA game costs a huge amount to create.

    The problem

  • If you are one of the 17% that posted you want a refund because Frontier tried and failed to make their online game work offline, then good luck. The guy who put ã5,000 in the KickStarter (Liqua) says while disappointed, he's NOT going to ask for a refund, and "The game is awesome - a good solid foundation. FD just need some PR lessons (and I in some self control)" if you didn't already have the game (as most complainers are saying) then you backed to the tune of less than ÃÂ
    • Frontier have been honest.

      No, no they have not.

      They could just have easily waited until after December 16th to not hurt sales,

      They could just have easily told us about this decision months ago when they made it, and went to a full client-server model, and then subsequently decided not to provide the server to the players so that they could run their own? Remember when games came with the server? Those days are gone now, and this game is part of that.

      but they put their hand up and said "we just cannot do it".

      And that is a lie. They are liars. Restrict the server to one login, deliver it to the player, done and done. They are choosing instead to control the server compo

  • A story about offline single-playing in "Elite: Dangerous Dumps"? No, wait.
    Dangerous dumps have offlined a single player in "Elite" (wherever that is)? That can't be right.
    It is elite to dump dangerous offline play--argglgalwhatever?

    That's some serious headlineze going on here.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard

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