Elite: Dangerous Ditches Offline Singleplayer Plans

Nyoom.

When Frontier took to Kickstarter to fund Elite: Dangerous in 2012, netting £1,578,316, they said folks would be able to play an offline singleplayer mode. They weren’t entirely sure how it’d work, given that many of their space sim plans involved an online and interconnected galaxy, but they said it’d be in there. With Elite’s official launch less than a month away, Frontier have now said that won’t happen. It’ll have an online singleplayer mode, as always planned, but no offline support.

“A fully offline experience would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering,” creator David Braben said in last Friday’s Elite newsletter. Naturally, players wanted to know what exactly that meant, so executive producer Michael Brookes took to the forums to answer loads of questions.

Offline singleplayer will “probably not” ever get added, Brookes said. “We have put considerable time and effort to try and make this happen, but we’ve had to make this decision to make the game we set out to do. We would happily support offline play if it were possible for us to do so.”

An offline mode “is impractical rather than impossible, but circumstances mean that it cannot be done,” he explained. They can’t simply release a separate version without universe syncing, he explained, as so much of the game is server-side. “To make that happen we’d essentially have to create two games. The servers handle more than just the data, they handle all the key processes for interaction in the game, so trading, mission generation and background simulation to name a few.” And they don’t want to release server code to folks “as it contains the secrets of the galaxy.”

As for why Frontier have let people believe for so long that offline was coming, Brookes said “Because we wanted to be certain before announcing.” Reading his responses and Braben’s statement, though, it seems they’ve been fairly clear for a while about the game they’ve wanted to make – which, as they say, doesn’t really allow for offline singleplayer.

If you’re unhappy with this, Brookes pointed out that they offer refunds. They don’t have a firm policy in place for backer refunds, as everything is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. They should probably be a bit more proactive about that.

557 Comments

  1. Dilapinated says:

    I’ve been really anticipating E:D, but this makes me kinda.. Wary? No offline singleplayer and only centralized servers seems.. Very limiting to both gameplay and potential community stuff (compare multiplayer games with community servers vs ones with entirely-centralized ones), as well as making the game’s playability rest entirely on the stability of the developers servers.

    I remember SimCity using similar arguments for similar decisions and the outcome of that comparison doesn’t fill me with confidence; But maybe that’s apples and oranges. Regardless, my enthusiasm has been nipped a little.

    • Trotar says:

      SimCity was different because it didn’t really need to be online.
      In Elite’s case, almost everything happens on the servers.
      Translating that to offline code would have been a lot harder then they initially assumed it would be.
      It’s an honest mistake they made, so far they had a very reliable development with a steady increase in the alpha and beta updates.
      Surely they don’t need to be burned for 1 dropped feature.

      • tur1n says:

        Depends on the feature I think. No custom paint jobs for my ship – I could live with that. But no offline play…

        • Trotar says:

          Why? Is your internet connection that bad?

          • trjp says:

            Plenty of reasons people don’t like a game which demands an online connection when it doesn’t really need one (from their PoV if not from the developer’s)

            Some people have slow connections or connections prone to dropping which will ruin a game

            Some people travel, relying on hotel/mobile internet which is about as slow/prone to drop

            Some people move house and have to wait for their Internet to be connected

            Some people just don’t like the idea that a single player game requires an Internet connection because it makes NO SENSE

            If you promise a feature and then remove it – expect people to piss on your chips – basically.

          • Premium User Badge

            phuzz says:

            My folks live less than half an hour’s drive from a large city in the UK, and yet they can only get 1MB ADSL, which tends to drop out at least a couple of times a day, especially if anybody else tries to use it. So yeah, a good internet connection is not something to take for granted.
            And do I need to point out that everyone who’s commented so far already has at least some internet access? Those without haven’t been able to comment yet.

          • Siannah says:

            I can still play my old Elite game nowaday – who can guarantee I can with Elite: Dangerous in 5 years?

          • Premium User Badge

            Wisq says:

            Some people also like to play singleplayer because they can do whatever they want to any other “player” in the game and not worry about making someone else’s life unpleasant.

            Or maybe they want to mess around with cheats, or modding. Maybe to explore the universe, or maybe just to watch crazy things happen.

            Or even just for “that was bullshit, I got killed by a bug / glitch / (subjectively) unfair feature and lost all my stuff, I’m going to load my last save” events, where you might otherwise have to wait for compensation that might never come.

            There’s any number of reasons to want offline singleplayer, and not all of them even revolve around connectivity.

            (Also, beyond just singleplayer: private, self-hosted, possibly-offline servers are awesome for things like LAN parties. Depending on bandwidth requirements and the effects of latency, it can really suck to try to play Massively Multiplayer games, or games with rented servers only.)

          • fluffy_thedestroyer says:

            Thats a great way of saying “Hey Customer, since you’re going to hack our game, we found out a great way to prevent that. Most of the data you need will be on our servers so you need a permanent connection with us. you should trust us entirely without any hesitation. Trust us that our servers will work 100% of the time, no downtime, no maintenance, you won’t feel like its on a server. But you’ll always need an Internet connection so if you want to play at a friends house or on the road with no internet connection. Well that’s not our problem because we’re not customers…so fuck you you cheap asshole.”

            Why would I trust a company again ? Diablo 3 or SImcity rings any bells. Online mode only ? Its a DRM function hidden in a game mechanic which no one needed. Its to make sure that the company gets every dime it can get without stealing. I could argue they are right on that but they need to remove it and make it offline after a certain time. They need to be transparent and stop taking us for idiots.

            If they want to do online mode only for know to make sure no one pirates they’re games then they should come out with it. People would better respect that.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        For this particular feature? Yea, I think they do.

        It’s the reason I bought the game and I know a lot of people backed the game because of it.

        • jrodman says:

          The lack of the implementation and people discussing how it turned out is why I haven’t yet given them any money, and apparently why I will never do so in the future.

          • Ulaxes says:

            Then you’ll be missing out one of the greatest spacesims of all time. I think the always online requirement is a small price to pay for a living and curated universe.

          • gwathdring says:

            @Ulaxes A number 2 pencil is a small price to pay for a hot meal but if I don’t have one on me or don’t want to give it up, the relative smallness of the price in terms of generally accepted market values is irrelevant.

            More to the point, for a lot of people, it isn’t one of the greatest space-sims of all time if they can’t play it offline. It doesn’t matter if you think otherwise; a lot of customers Elite: Dangerous was marketed toward feel let down or even deceived. How good the game is doesn’t really come into that.

          • jrodman says:

            I’m not really going to be missing out on anything.

            It’s great that this game looks like one that will please you greatly, Ulaxes, but always-online games are not something that I have have any interest in. That was true before this particular game came along, and will be true after it as well.

          • Ulaxes says:

            Maybe it’s just me, but all the gamers (and most other people) I know are connected all the time anyway. I can see how a missing offline mode might be annoying while travelling or during an internet outage, but besides that is it really that much of a issue in 2014?

          • Archonsod says:

            The other issue of course being that if I knew I was going to be stuck with always online, I’d have went for Star Citizen instead.

          • Ulaxes says:

            Why not both? :)
            They are quite different games in terms of gameplay, atmosphere and purpose.

          • PsychoWedge says:

            @ Ulaxes
            I don’t know if you live in a city but people in cities often do not understand that a good online gaming ready internet connection is not as widespread available everywhere as are streets or windows. I live in Berlin and I can get a 100 mbit connection for 20 bucks a month but my brother lived somewhere outside of Trier on a hill in the woods and he had to wait for 3 months to get a shitty DSL 6000 connection (there were no free slots or whatever) and that thing was unstable as hell. He also had really, really bad mobile reception (talking with him was like talking in the 90s xD) and no cable TV.

            So you know, sometimes always online really is a no-go for practical reasons rather than the perceived antiquated opinions.

          • gwathdring says:

            I live in the US and it can be very hard to get a reliable Internet connection here for a reasonable price. All of our companies have openly permitted yet explicitly illegal arrangements whereby they don’t compete with each other but instead divvy up territory. Most of our companies use monthly data caps even on their premium speed services. All of theme throttle speeds flagrantly and obscenely.

            I don’t know if things are better in Europe or if some of you are wearing rose-tinted contacts, but outside of places with business accounts and/or private lines, connections can be unreliable and at the very least are heavily capped and never even remotely as good as advertised. As an example, when I was in University I got 10 mb/s Steam downloads late at night; where I’m at now I’m closer to the nearest hub server for Valve and I’m supposed to get 6 mb/s but I’m lucky if I break 1. I personally have a fairly reliable connection, but people who live just down the street from me have no choice other than Comcast and Comcast in this area (and most, as best I can tell) leaves a lot to be desired.

          • edlefou says:

            @gwathdring

            About the network: You can play the “online solo” with a little and slow connection. The game exchange small datas with server, with the server like some stock market prices, and missions scenarios. When you do PvE combats, the NPCs are animated on your local computer. One the other hand, if you want to do PvP in “online play” mode, you will need a low ping like any other online game.

            About the interaction with the world: The stock prices I mentionned earlier are updated when players move goods from place to place (by offer/demand classicly), of course the impact of players is a bit amplified and there is a bit of inertia. When you find a profitable trade route, you can exploit it until the price change. There are others kind of interactions planned, like changing a war outcome, but these are not in the beta and I couldn’t test them.

            About the potential “never see another human”: That may very well be the case, but the choice is yours. There will be high activity system (probably near the center of the galaxy), where players enroll in wars and do PvP. But you can also go exploring a far away system, or do long range trading and be on your own.

          • gwathdring says:

            @edlefou

            But if you do that, you’re not experience the game as per their vision, but rather experiencing something that could have just as easily been made as an offline singleplayer game. Simulating a vast universe with dynamic markets is not beyond current technology. It’s not even beyond past technology.

            So why are they including such a supidly massive universe that mitigates the strength of their vision if their vision is of this game that really demands online implementations and intensive player-system-player triangular interaction? How robust is their triangular system really going to be? Why not focus more on that and less on creating this worthlessly massive universe?

            There’s an inherent conflict in their design.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        SimCity’s excuse was far sillier, it was supposed to sell their simulation engine as something too complex for a home computer, rather than admitting what was due.

        This is a very different scenario, as a random example they want the economy system to be influenced by the players, or the ability to inject random surprises and events depending on how they feel the players are responding to the sandbox or if particular trends are developing, especially in how and where you explore. This sort of stuff.

        You can never hop out of this system, but you can still play solo whenever you want, which is something that is displeasing a lot of vocal fans. Ultimately a middleground had to be found, and i personally think that this one is decent enough as it allows for less fragmentation.

        • Sirius1 says:

          “they want the economy system to be influenced by the players”

          *They* want? I keep seeing this. *They* want us to experience the game the way *they* envisioned. What about what *I* want?

          • Ulaxes says:

            Well I backed this (and some other early access or kickstarter projects) to give the developers the possibility to realize their vision of a great game.

          • Muttley says:

            Feel free to raise a few million quid, form a studio and make the game “you” want.

          • Ulaxes says:

            Exactly :)

          • Trotar says:

            It’s impossible to make a game that everyone wants.
            Having a clear vision as a developer is important.
            And it’s not like they haven’t listened to their backers at all, but it’s up to them to decide what kind of game they want to make.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            When you make a game feel free to put what “you want” in it. FDev have always said they were making a game to their standards and not one designed by committee.

          • Emeraude says:

            They’re free to do what they want for the game, they’re free to follow their vision, the issue is when they promised something and bait and switch at the latest minute.

            See, the issue isn’t that Sirius1 isn’t getting what s/he wants, it’s that s/he’s not getting what s/he wants that was promised in exchange for money.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Ladies and gentlemen: The problem.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            This is just extremely dry satire, right?

          • trjp says:

            To be clear – no-one cares what you want and never will

            If you want to make the thing you want – make it yourself, otherwise get used to playing things people want to make.

            Kickstarter is not subscription entitlement service

          • FriendlyFire says:

            You’re all missing the point: the Kickstarter pitch is supposed to be what they want, and I’m supposed to determine if what they want aligns with what I want. That’s how you decide whether you back them or not.

            Now they’re telling us that what they told us they wanted, they no longer want. They went back on their word, and extremely late at that.

          • Premium User Badge

            Rublore says:

            What *I* want is a game that will work well into the future. If the servers go down, I will not be able to play. Nor will you. Or anyone. Yes, you can argue that by that time we’ll all have gotten our money’s worth out of it, but some of us like to go back to our old games from time to time. Always online means planned obsolescence.

          • yurusei says:

            FriendlyFire has hit the nail on the coffin, but allow me another strike.

            Sure, we backed their initial vision, which was to create a living, breathing, player-influenced world that HAD AN OFFLINE MODE.

            We backed the hell out of that vision, and how they’ve decided to pull the mat from under us.

            That’s like putting a down payment on a SUV and getting a scooter instead because the dealership “decided you’re better off riding a scooter”.

        • Love Albatross says:

          “This is a very different scenario, as a random example they want the economy system to be influenced by the players, or the ability to inject random surprises and events depending on how they feel the players are responding to the sandbox or if particular trends are developing, especially in how and where you explore. This sort of stuff.”

          Nobody expected these features in the offline mode. Whenever it had come up before now it was made clear that offline would not give players the same experience.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            I’m not trying to defend their choice and i’m actually of one those with midly unreliable connection, i’m just saying i can see whey they might want to disallow people to opt for the incomplete experience, let alone the fact that it might mean less players for the “good” one. The way i see it, as you grow attached to your product you might end up wanting people to share your vision and see what you see.

            Sometimes it’s a pipe dream, like colorists grading movies with 8k euro OLED screens, external LUT boxes and 10bit processors, if they’re not just striving for results reliability but actually hoping people will experience the same.

            Absurd comparisons aside, while your point is incredibly strong, i’d argue that not everyone is honest ( with himself ) about that. If that full offline mode would ever exist, i’d be fully expecting a lot of user reviews complaining about “limited scope”, “hollow game” and so on, independently of their previous claims of knowing what they’d miss in advance.

            I’m not putting you in this group, the RPS community afterall is way above most internet garbage, but i can see why they might be scared about this given that they are on the verge of actually turning a decent profit for their company.

          • Optimaximal says:

            I guess they also ran into issues like having accounts move between online and offline – people rarely want to maintain two separate profiles ‘just for offline play’. That’s always Blizzards reasoning, because having a local profile introduces the ability to hack them apart.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Why the FUCK should offline play demand a profile, again?

            Was there some great mindwipe after the ’90s ended or something?

        • gwathdring says:

          I don’t understand how players will be able to meaningfully influence the game’s economy unless their touted galaxy size is literally a billion times smaller than they say it will be. Which is a somewhat substantial markdown.

          How am I even supposed to run into other players? How much of their massive Galaxy is just worthless crap? How can anything other than automated, procedural stuff have any meaningful affect on my game if there is even the tiniest fraction of that massive promise that is fulfilled?

          That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. They really don’t have good answers to … a lot of their promises, really. And with release scheduled for around the corner …

          • Ulaxes says:

            Well actually all of this works already.

          • gwathdring says:

            Which part? The part where you can go to any of 400 billion star systems and have a functioning, dynamic economy in all of them? Because I don’t think that IS working …

            I mean … I wouldn’t expect it to. But I don’t know what you think you mean by “all of this works already.”

            Care to clarify “all of this” and “works?”

          • Ulaxes says:

            You can already fly to a vast number of star systems. Yes, currently it’s not 400 biilion, but it’s continually expanded (I think about 40:000 at the moment). You have a functioning economy and missions which are generated out the needs of the particular star systems. There are curated events which change the political landscape and therefore effect the economy and the resulting missions. The flightmodell and combat are top notch and great fun. Small gameplay elements like docking, scooping cargo or the interdiction of super cruise are implemented seamlessly in a way that they would even work as a small minigame, but actually are contributing to the variety without taking anything away of the continuity of play. The atmosphere and sounds are fantastic and add to the feeling of really being in space.

            It’s already a great game and might shape up to be one of my alltime favorites.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            You’ve not answered his question though. Already in 40,000 systems, assuming your number is correct, players will have negligible influence on the economy. Any dynamic behavior will come from events and simulations done by Frontier to represent the NPC population.

            That simulation could entirely be done on the client. More work? Of course. But that’s part of the burden of saying an offline mode would be coming.

          • gwathdring says:

            Exactly. You can’t have a system that big in which players have a) a meaningful impact and b) are substantially thick throughout the explorable region that you’re going to be getting into ship-vs-ship standoffs/fights/whatevers with them terribly often if you explore far afield. Since the game is heavily advertised as “Go explore our giant universe” and not “Hang out in the middle of our giant universe and maybe explore the tiniest fraction of it’s expanse when you have nothing else to do” that makes it seem kinda odd that they would design the game with online multiplayer as their vision of the primary game mode.

            The design isn’t syncing up with their claims as to their vision. It doesn’t make sense.

          • sswam says:

            “I don’t understand how players will be able to meaningfully influence the game’s economy”

            As I understand, they amplify the effect of player actions, implying that many unseen NPCs perform similar actions.

            “How am I even supposed to run into other players?”

            I agree this would be a problem, if travelling around at random. I guess we can go to popular locations, or sites of major events such as wars, gold rushes, etc.

          • gwathdring says:

            @sswarm

            To me, then, it seems like they gain absolutely nothing from the scale of the game! If they end up having hot-spots of interest and effectively leverage the player base as a model for a not-exactly-AI economy … then the net result isn’t any different than in a much smaller galaxy except that it has a lot of empty space just for the sake of having it there.

            The only way to really leverage that kind of stupidly huge scale and make it work properly is to have an incredibly robust procedural generation that really makes different sectors of space trade, regulate, war, and otherwise interact differently with interlopers, wanderers, and neighboring sectors. So why make 400 billion star systems if they can’t do that?

            Further, can players control the economy in a meaningful way? I mean, we’re not talking about a legitimately player-run economy as best I can tell. They don’t sound like they’re trying to make EVE, here. As such, what benefit does having players influence the economy as opposed to an AI or procedural generation or both?

      • Cinek says:

        “SimCity was different because it didn’t really need to be online.” – look! That’s EXACTLY like Elite.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          Yes. Cos calculating the exchange of a few services across 8 concurrent players is EXACTLY the same as calculating and recording the exchange of dozens of goods, thousands of missions, Millions of NPC, in across hundreds of thousands of players across 400 billion systems.

          • Cinek says:

            Tell that to the X-series.
            Besides – what you speak of isn’t anything that wasn’t known since this project begun. If you are right, and that is in deed impossible – than they straight on LIED everyone for months. That’s totally inexcusable.

          • Tacroy says:

            That’s not a good enough reason to require a persistent Internet connection though; your computer could download a packet with a summary of all that information once a day (or even week) and it’d still improve the simulation.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Wait, you think they’re actually simulating millions of NPCs? They simulate stuff around you, that’s it. Everything else is approximated through statistical models.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Have you forgotten that Elite faked up a universe on a 2 MHz 6502?

            I’m sure thirty years of progress can fake up one to modern standards.

      • aepervius says:

        Why the heck would an elite type game ever need to be online ?

      • studenteternal says:

        Eh, I don’t really buy that, transactions happen on the server and your client gets missions, prices, etc from the server so they can reflect a dynamic economy, but its not really doing any of the heavy lifting. I am more upset at the timing, if they had talked about having to drop such a core feature that they were very explicit on the inclusion of, they should of let the community know much sooner, not, what 3 weeks before release?

    • gnodab says:

      wow, all of a sudden i am unbelievably glad i didn’t back the game on kickstarter!
      here i was asking around which joystick to buy and contemplating whether it would be worth it to get the game before the occulus comes out, but with one fell swoop all these decisions became meaningless.
      no singleplayer. no sale.

      i feel very sorry for all the backers.

      • Yetas says:

        There will still be a single player mode as well as the private group mode. It’s just that both will happen in the same online galaxy as the full multiplayer world. The downside, obviously, is that you’ll always need to be connected to the internet. The upside is that your single player game will happen in a dynamic galaxy which is influenced by other players as well as the simulation.

        Playing solo won’t need as much bandwidth as playing full multiplayer (as you won’t be receiving all the other player data) and the only problem you’ll get with a slower internet connection is a slightly longer delay when accessing markets and arriving from hyperspace etc.

        • Emeraude says:

          The upside is that your single player game will happen in a dynamic galaxy which is influenced by other players as well as the simulation.

          It’s been something I’ve been pondering all day, but what’s so desirable about this ? I mean, you already clearly want to play single player. I think it kinda hints at you not wanting that other players’ influence on the game in the first place.

      • yurusei says:

        I know how you feel man. I was already ready to set aside funds for a proper HOTAS system – now all I’m gonna bother with is just a normal joystick.

        Getting refunds is going to be a load of trouble, might as well enjoy and get as much money’s worth from the game I paid for.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      In both cases this is all just a very thinly veiled attempt at disguising their way of saying “We want to have a form of DRM and we want to protect our intellectual property. Also our worries about piracy impact now that we actually have something to sell are greater than our promises to the community that made us possible in the first place, so fuck each and every one of you, go and give us more money now, kthxbai.”

  2. padger says:

    Hmm. Rubbish.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Biscuitry says:

    Compromises are, and always have been, a large and necessary part of game design. (I remain unconvinced by Star Citizen’s “let’s do everything” approach; that has never turned out well in the past.) They’re handling this one rather better than other developers have of late (cf. SimCity), but always-online requirements have always been controversial at best.

    It’ll be interesting to see how well the community takes it. My money would be on “not well.”

    • Shadowcat says:

      The discussion thread is five thousand posts long.

      • edlefou says:

        Yep, and it was filled in only two days, by people having a ‘bad internet connection’.
        For people wanting an offline mode, them seem very well connected to me…

        • instantcoffe says:

          Because playing a game online and commenting on a forum requires the same stable, always on, low latency connection…

          • badirontree says:

            If they make it just for DRM reasons It will bite them in the ass like SimCity…
            Pirates they will never buy it anyway and most like it they will ignore it completely with always online DRM

          • pantbash says:

            If you read the DEV responses, then the Solo online part should not require a low latency connection.
            It will just exchange transaction data at certain points, not up to date player positions etc.

            So hopefully those with lower bandwidth should still be able to play.
            (Remains to be seen if this is the case in practice.)

          • edlefou says:

            Solo online mode do not require a low latency connection.
            Sync with the universe is one thing, dogfight with a player is another thing.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            They’ll obviously be playing Elite Dangerous on their smart phones or work computers.

            Seriously, in the past year I have spent many months without an internet connection. I frequently play when there is no internet connection. Many blocks of flats, like the one I lived in last year, will only have access to broadband which can often be very poor indeed. Even in major population centres. Out in the country, there are plenty of places where there is just simply no high speed internet available. In fact, even where I live now there’s only one provider.

            It’s a legitimate complaint, when a static offline mode was specifically promised.

            My biggest problem with this, however, is just how underhanded it does feel. It’s not as if they would have just realised offline mode would be impractical. They designed it this way from the ground up, which very much indicates that there wasn’t really any serious intention to have an offline mode. Or they forgot about it until it was too late

          • Holysheep says:

            I repeat: your computer doesn’t have the power to track billions of NPCs in billions of systems. If EVE runs on a super calculator, it’s for a reason. Besides, if the serverside code is released to the public in order to make people able to run their universe, it WILL affect the online experience, and hacks will appear, as people could pick holes in the code that they would now locally have.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Holysheep, I don’t know if you replied to this thread by mistake – as your comment has no bearing on the point made above (or by myself if it is a direct response to me)

            However, I believe your understanding of programming may be flawed. If they had designed an offline component then it would not need to load and monitor every entity in the game at once – only (as with loading assets) those entities which are relevant. There are many techniques that have been employed in programming for decades to simulate and model complex systems in more efficient ways. Pretty much every game you play uses them. I’m only an amateur so perhaps someone with more experience can explain those for you.

            However, that is really besides the point. The point here is that an offline mode was a part of the original design concept and was a promised feature. The removal of the feature is certainly problematic for some (perhaps for more people that others might imagine) and in addition, because the online connectivity is so integral to the design of the game, Frontier must have not only been aware that offline would be impractical for some time but also have designed it this way either on purpose or by mistake – both explanations being a problem in terms of trust, quite frankly.

            Now personally, this isn’t a deal breaker for me because I didn’t pre-order it and had always intended to see how it turned out on or near release. And whilst I have experience of internet connectivity issues in the recent past and I am sure that may continue to be an issue in the future – I do currently have a pretty good connection and enjoy utilising it for my gaming. I don’t necessarily mind the uncertain future so much as long as I get a decent time with it on the whole. After all, I have enjoyed my time with many other online games.

            Having said that, I would have much preferred the option of an offline mode as I do take my gaming offline from time to time even today.

          • Holysheep says:

            Sanguine, no, it is not flawed.

            You can uncompile anything thing you locally own on your hard drive. That is how cracks are made: people uncompile and translate assembly code with parsers, identify the bits of code that interest them, change some things to their likings and recompile the file.

            In a multiplayer game, should you have an access to the “universe’s” code, an experienced programmer would be able to find one of the many kludges every programmer uses just because of a lack of time/whatever ( read this link to stilldrinking.org ) and play with it.

            Like I said, I am also concerned by devs not keeping their promises. I don’t care about offline mode, so this isn’t my problem, but people who can’t live without it just have to get a refund.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            My apologies, I should have been clearer – I was addressing your assertion that no one would be able to run a game like Elite on their own computer because it would need to monitor billions of NPC in billions of systems.

            However, that is still besides the point. I’m pleased to see that you recognise the problem, thank you for that. I apologise if you said that in your previous post – I did not spot it but it’s nice we’re in partial agreement there. Personally, it’s not necessarily a problem for me either, as I explained. But I can absolutely sympathise with those for whom it is a deal breaker.

            There’s some uncertainty over the likelihood of successful refunds for those who have participated in any alpha or beta testing though as there is a clause in the EULA to the effect that such people would not be entitled to any refund.

            Moreover, I am sure that had they truly wanted to they could have built the game in such a way that an offline mode was possible. It would have required forethought and planning but is unlikely to have been impossible.

            I guess I could summarise my view by saying I’m not angry, just disappointed.

          • Holysheep says:

            No apologies have to be made, I never took any offense.

            On that side… IDK what to say, but that is indeed what the critique should be about. About that, I don’t know much, I can just wait and see.

        • Sirius1 says:

          Having a stable internet connection is only one of several possible objections to this. But many of them boil down to being able to play a game that you own when you want, where you want, and how you want.

          • aepervius says:

            No. I refuse and reject online connection because I am a sociopath and do not want to be disturbed by the antics of the other players. L’enfer, ce sont les autres. I am only half joking here, there has been, to date in my view, practically no single player game which was enhanced by “online” interraction.

            Frankly they could even ship the server code translated on a windows plateform, and have the server run on localhost, and the game connect to the “single player” locally. This solve all profiles problem and this solve that you do not need multiple server or client code. In fact this was used in the past in some game.

            And what happens if the server are too expansive => you got a nice piece of coaster (well digital coaster….).

            *shrug* good for those which like the decision, I have simply written elite “off”.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          When it’s SimCity, online only is an outrage and EA/Maxis should be executed for their offense.

          When it’s Elite, online only is an unfortunate side-effect, a small price to pay. Some even question whether the people complaining about it actually have a bad internet connection.

          Double standards much?

  4. Humppakummitus says:

    Hmm, although the change itself isn’t a big deal for me, I really don’t like it when Kickstarter projects drop promises like that. Especially when it’s clear the game was designed to be online only, while they were promising an offline mode.
    Also, this means we’ll get a sad “Elite servers turned off” news post in the future and there won’t be a free download of Elite Dangerous 30 years from now. :(

    • Premium User Badge

      Biscuitry says:

      This is always the problem with anything online-only. It arguably makes the game more alive in its time, but it definitely means the game will die some day, and moreover will be outlived by its players.

    • jnik says:

      I looked long at hard at this KS and decided not to back it because it didn’t seem like the commitment to full offline, DRM-free play was there. (Also, a little tiny bit of being “Team Ian Bell.”) Sad that it turns out I was right. I haven’t jumped in to Star Citizen for the same reason; hopefully will be wrong there.

    • drewski says:

      Yeah, this. I get why but I still think they’re breaking a promise, and I totally get if people are mad.

      • Caiman says:

        Indeed, it seems crazy. They originally suggested single player would be online, got a bunch of shit for it, amended their FAQ to say there would in fact be a completely offline mode even if it lacked the bells and whistles of the online universe, and hence drew in a bunch of pledges. To renege on that now, at this late stage, is deserving of scorn. I expect them to honour all the refunds that will be coming their way.

    • LaKriz says:

      Being dependant on a server makes this game uninteresting for me. As you already said: The servers will shut down someday. So: No thank you Mr. Braben, I’ll keep my money.

    • Jp1138 says:

      I hope in time they will follow the lead of EA with Simcity (ha!) and make an offline mode available. I would be a pity not being able to play this game 10 years from now :(

    • Matter says:

      I didn’t back this for other reasons, but the reasoning seems kind of hollow to me. It sounds like they came to a conclusion based on design decisions that they themselves made, and if they were serious about building offline single player they wouldn’t have designed those critical systems in an online-only manner from the beginning. I’ll probably still buy it at some point, as offline isn’t a huge deal breaker, but I also don’t live at my parents anymore with their horrible internet connection where it would have been.

  5. seroto9 says:

    Nice choice of accompanying picture!

  6. Artiforg says:

    I was, initially, rather regretting not backing this as the videos started to come out showing how good it looked but I’ve been hanging on waiting for it to be released because I’m only interested in offline single player and wanted to see how it panned out. Glad I waited. Now I can scratch it off my list.

    • karthink says:

      This. I was looking forward to it, and I appreciate what they’re doing with it. But I do not have the time or energy to play what amounts to a more hands-on and smaller scale EVE online, or the will to stay beholden to centralized servers after paying $60.

    • Trotar says:

      The only reason to scratch it of your list is if your internet connection is very very bad.
      For people that want to play solo, there is still the ‘solo online’ option.

      • Llewyn says:

        I’m happy for you that you think so. It’s scratched off my list too.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        And the fact that the game is only alive as long as Braben feels like it. Just like EA. And at this point I trust him about as mush as EA.

        Microtransactions and always online.

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          Don’t forget in-game targeted advertising. The EULA contains a few clauses about in-game advertising.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Pull the other one, it’s got…

            You weren’t shitting me.

          • melnificent says:

            Yeah right and the other one has…..
            Oh clause 8.
            But it does have an opt out “Where a Game incorporates dynamic advertising technology, the technology which serves the provision of dynamic in-game advertising is integrated within the Game. This means that if you do not want to receive dynamic advertising, you should only play the game when you are not connected to the Internet. ”
            So to play without adverts you need to be offline, which disables the game… which is it frontier?

            They also have third party in-app purchases in the EULA too

          • Premium User Badge

            JiminyJickers says:

            @Stellar Duck

            Haha, yeah, I had the same reaction when I first heard of it.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Melnificint – nice catch that. Does that mean they’re breaching their own EULA?

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Considering that all of these EULAs allow the owners to change them basically at will, I doubt they will be for long.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          There’s another point that’s not mentioned much: this kills mods. Mods are one of the best things about PC. Online-only is the bane of mods.

          This is easily the largest reason this decision is heavily disappointing me.

          • Emeraude says:

            Someone mentioned Freespace 2 in the thread, and that’s what I thought immediately.

            I guess the induced built-in obsolescence is a plus for developers. Prevents being in competition with themselves at a later date and having to do better then.

      • aepervius says:

        Some of us DO NOT want online interaction or online influence from other players. Nowadays I refuse to play any single player game relying on any mechanic which has an influence from other player online interraction.

        Maybe you find that strange, maybe you find that stupid, but this is how I play my games.

        If i want a social interraction I organize with my friends & players groups another nice face to face AD&D (3.5 only please) or some table top games.

        But in single player game ? GTFO of my game.

    • Muttley says:

      That’s rather short sighted. Do you play many MMOs that give the ability to play completely offline? I’m not aware of any.

      • drewski says:

        No, but I’ve also never played an MMO that advertised itself as a fully self contained offline game, either.

        • Muttley says:

          Where did they advertise that?

          • schlusenbach says:

            On their kickstarter page:

            Quote:
            “Update! The above is the intended single player experience. However it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server. You won’t get the features of the evolving galaxy (although we will investigate minimising those differences) and you probably won’t be able to sync between server and non-server (again we’ll investigate).
            Last updated: Tue, Dec 11 2012 10:56 AM CET”

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Also in a Reddit AMA, and in various press for the game along the way, I believe. (I’d go try to dig links up from the angrythread on the forums, but it is past 300 pages long now…)

      • gwathdring says:

        MMOs tend not to try and sell me on countless procedurally generated star systems that would necessarily be almost entirely empty of fellow players even if the game had more players than WoW.

        Now maybe they’re full of crap about that too, but well in that case surely you see a problem emerging here, either way.

      • Artiforg says:

        To answer your question, I don’t play any MMO’s at all. So the fact that there’s no offline mode for MMO’s doesn’t worry me about them. I choose not to play MMO’s because they are online multiplayer whereas I am primarily interested in offline single player.

    • Laurentius says:

      Same here, I like options, if I want to play Elite as on-line MMO I should be able to creat character for this type of play and if I want SP expereince without worring about my Interent connection I should be able to do that just as well. ( like Freelancer did). Anyway I’m scratching this game, even though I’ve bought flightstick manly for EliteIV, well…

  7. nothingfaced says:

    Looking forward to the server overload/’unable to log in’ posts on the first days of launch.

    • Bone says:

      Oh I wouldn’t hold my breath, the servers have been pretty stable all the time.
      I’m more worried about missing functionality for teaming up ingame, the friendlist and such…

      • Lanessar says:

        Yeah…. no.

        Beta 2 wasn’t as bad, but Beta 3 had me off of the servers for almost 14 days due to a bug which disconnected me and several others immediately after login.

        Additionally, a large number of players are playing in Solo online mode because of performance reasons connecting to Open play, or lag during open play.

        Don’t get me wrong, FD work tirelessly to correct the issues, but come launch day, I am pretty sure there will be major issues with connectivity.

        Here’s a post that got nearly +80 rep about the matter: link to forums.frontier.co.uk

  8. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    I pre-ordered just the week before this newsletter came out. I am now waiting for a refund, I hope they will honour the request, so far they have only pointed people at the terms and conditions if unhappy. They haven’t said that they will give a refund, but I’m sure they will. I only pre-ordered and didn’t get any beta access so I think my chances are good.

    I’m so disappointed in this decision. I pre-ordered because I trusted that Frontier would honour their promise of offline. But I was very much mistaken.

    I will wait for longer for someone to make a sequel to Elite.

    • emperor_nero says:

      Have you checked out Limit Theory?

      • FriendlyFire says:

        This.

        I sorta wish Limit Theory had an online mode because it’s looking absolutely amazing (stellar, even), but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an instant buy for me on launch anyway. It’s the real Freelancer spiritual successor.

      • Premium User Badge

        JiminyJickers says:

        Yeah, I’m definitely grabbing that when it comes out. However, I want one that has more sim-like flying. Elite was going to offer that for me. Sadly no longer.

  9. drinniol says:

    Huh. I wonder how long it will take to crack? It smacks of the bullshit that Maxis/EA spun about the server-side calculations being impossible to run, which as we all know was bunk and amounted to just DRM in a pretty wrapping.

    • Humppakummitus says:

      I’m sure someone can hack together an offline mode, but I think it’s not going to go as well as with Simcity. Elite is doing actual processing on the server based on player activity. Players determine the commodity prices and availability, for example, keeping a sort of natural balance on the market.

    • Holysheep says:

      It will never be cracked, as it’s serverside content. MMOs don’t get cracked.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        There are private Wow servers as far as I know.

        • Holysheep says:

          WoW has leaked. Many MMOs did not, and remain unhacked. In IT, you can apply proper secure solutions no matter what ammount of money you have. As such, Frontier’ servers can be as/more secure as Blizzard’s, while not interesting hackers as much.

          Although you are right, I meant to say “most MMOs” it indeed happened to some.

        • Muttley says:

          WoW also doesn’t do anything fancy at the backend, most of the world apart from the auction houses is entirely static.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            So far Elite does very little with the connection aside from disconnected and hang in hyperspace, when buying a ship, when cruising, when trading or when trying to sign on.

            Frankly, X3 seems more dynamic than that. And it doesn’t disconnect me.

          • Holysheep says:

            X3:TC is one of my favorite games, with over 900 hours on it. I can assure you one thing, it’s much more static than Elite. Elite has 400/500 Billion solar systems, which can be explored. At the start, only a handful are known, and players can explore, as factions and player factions will expand.

            Elite’s economy goes farther than X3’s, and the NPC system, when fully integrated, will also make a great difference (In Elite, major NPCs – understand faction leaders, emperors, etc – can be killed… and minor NPCs can become secondary NPCs, and secondary NPCs can become major NPCs.)

      • FriendlyFire says:

        A packet sniffer and a bit of time. If there’s actually a desire for this, it’d definitely be possible to see custom servers pop up.

        People have done it for Star Wars: Galaxies, which did not leak and is an awful lot more complicated in terms of infrastructure than ED ever will.

      • P.Funk says:

        Actually Star Wars Galaxies has two separate reverse engineered player run communities out there.

        Its not impossible, its just prohibitively difficult.

  10. Baltech says:

    If they manage to get a persistant universe with constant fluctuations working across the board, I rather believe them that offline would not “work as intended”. That universe would be rather static and as the current beta shows, E:D with a static universe is a very dull E:D. And that would lead to just as much moaning everywhere. So I think going always online is the better of two not so good deals.

    I for one have no qualms with it. To me, E:D always seemed like an MMO in spirit and I was wondering all along how they’d manage to pull of an offline Version of this. SimCity and D3 didn’t really give a benefit for being always online but it sounds like E:D will.

    Now, only the servers will have to manage the load.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      They always said that the offline version would be static. Most people who wanted offline had no problem with that. Now we won’t even get the choice.

      They should have made the offline mode dynamic, but they didn’t want to. I was okay with that.

      Hopefully someone else would pick up the slack. Maybe Ian Bell can step up to the plate, haha.

    • Grendael says:

      Yeah. This is pretty much what i wanted to say. I think it would be prohibitively expensive to make offline feel as ‘alive’ as online. And i suspect (no actual stats here) that a very very small percentage will really care. Sure there are a lot who notionally care but when push comes to shove they will play on day 1. Its just not a big deal for most now (online only) and if you constantly cater for those who can’t or won’t modernise then you stagnate.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Absolutely agree with your first point – people really are basically insisting that frontier should develop two separate games, and that’s simply not fair. At the same time, I think you’re way off saying that not many people will care. There does seem to be a lot of backlash already and I suspect it will get worse. And yknow, while I’m fine with the game not having a full-offline mode personally, I can understand that backlash. A lot of people already payed for something that ultimately is not going to be in the game. You or I might not agree with their complaints, but they are still valid complaints.

        • aepervius says:

          You do not need to develop two games. You only need to make sure the server code can work in a windows environment, or worst case scenario in a linux shell booted in a VM in a windows environment. The have the single player offline connect to localhost.

      • SuicideKing says:

        I think people are more upset about the U-turn and the risk of servers shutting down.

  11. rustybroomhandle says:

    Braben has always been quite vocal about piracy, and is even heavily against second-hand game sales.

    So not entirely surprising that this would be built from the ground up with the biggest frakking Lenslok modern technology can provide.

  12. Holysheep says:

    lol @ all the video game withe knights already swarming this thread with hate.

    Let’s remind you some very simple things.

    Elite had a single player mode. It was connected to the internet. It needed to: Elite IS a MMO. You do not give people the serverside content of a MMO. Why? Because people who are the first to whine for everything, as shown here, would be also the first to also whine about hackers – if your code is reachable, it will get exploited. you cannot release Elite fully single player, else people could access important parts of the code, and make hacks for the actual online mode. That’s how it works. /thread.

    The single player mode was an useless “you play online, just, on your own” mode. There are no reasons to play it, as playing with NPCs is basically the same as playing with players in Elite except that they’re less skilled. Big deal. Besides you will still suffer from disconnections. In the end, with all the sync problems, all this would lead to, is more devellopment time for something most people don’t care about (check the polls, check the online stats) yet everybody wants to go all “my freedum” over for absolutely no reason.

    • Llewyn says:

      Thank you for demonstrating why so many of us prefer single-player games.

      • Holysheep says:

        Oh yes, “because there are people who argue over things on news websites” ?

        • Llewyn says:

          No, keep guessing.

          • Holysheep says:

            you realize that while you try to attack me with these kind of reasons, there is a single player mode… only connected to the internet?

          • Llewyn says:

            I do indeed. However you were the one who dismissed the value of a single-player mode in a post written in archetypal internet asshat style.

            The reasons for people wanting a single-player mode and the reasons for wanting a single-player mode to be offline are, unsurprisingly, different.

          • Holysheep says:

            Asshat or not, the reasons remain: your computer, as powerful as it is, cannot be powerful enough to track billions of NPCs in billions of systems, and releasing the code would make let a very few hackers fuck up the experience of a ton of non asshat online players.

            Have you played elite online? People are respectful, even when they’re doing PVP. There is a report button, and on Elite forums, any kind of swearing (a simple fuck or shit is enough) will get you a warning. It is a very tame online experience, with non shitty people.

          • vlonk says:

            I hope you do realize, that it is very well possible for a modern PC to simulate those things. It then becomes a matter of algorithms, proceduraly generated events and a focus on exact data where it is needed, where it is visible to the player.
            Variation can be limited to an initial seeding process (long time calculation once, deliver the game with 5 precalculated seeds) and further randomizitation if the player permits it (you press the button, time of intense calculactions goes by, some changes happen in your universe). If you never press that button again every change in your system will be smoke and mirrors and minor variations of existing data. Yes it is shallow, but the player knows where the button for deeper changes is…
            This also means there will be no hacking of the online game, because there the initial seed will remain secret, hence no solo-hacked exploration voyage will influence the online experience.

          • Holysheep says:

            I hope you realize that our computers are far from being so powerful.

            Half of the progress made in the IT field is software progress.
            When it comes to 3D graphics, it’s all about kuldges, because if your computer had to play with physics rules as a raw input, you wouldn’t get a single frame for the 10 next centuries.

            There are two problems with what you suggest:
            1 – It breaks the true sandbox aspect, and the simulation aspect. In a proper simulation, people adapt to real tactics and such because the provided environment makes them work. The more weleave these tricks behind us, the closer we get to real, proper gaming experience.

            2 – It is uneeded devlopment time. A minority is interested in single player, and a minority in this minority would see a real benefit to play it offline. On the other hand, there are billions of requested features that are being made, for the majority.

            As for the randomization, you pretty much know that nothing is, and that functions that generate random numbers are generally used with the local time. Now, you give any good hacker the server files, he will be able to uncompile them, see how their random generation work, and apply some nice reverse engineering.

          • vlonk says:

            Go get dwarf fortress, press the button and tell me again it is not possible on todays machines to handle a torrent of variables to create a unique seed of a highly complex world with thousands of years of history. You press that button once. It will calculate for some time, sometimes a few hours. What that gets you though is an endless sea of possibilities. in Elite there will only ever be one universe and no way to alter the universe but through approved actions. That is a severe limiting factor to an open world game. It will not be an Elder Scrolls or GTA in space because somebody left the handbrake on and decided for me what shall be the limit of my freedom.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            You severely overestimate the complexity in the computations required to make the game feel alive. I can promise you they’re not dedicating a supercomputer cluster to running this game.

          • dsch says:

            There are very informative posts on the forum about how little computation it would take, and the dev says you only need the servers when you make a trade or need to do other things that depend on server information. The rest is all procedural. They’ve come out with a whole range of excuses (“mission generation is server-side,” “galaxy secrets!”), none of which convincing, especially not a month before the release date (which they set themselves). It’s a bullshit excuse like it was for SimCity.

      • tumbleworld says:

        Hear, hear.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Snark aside, you can still play singleplayer, don’t worry. All the server needs to do is update the economy, you will find no griefers. On th eother hand, i haven’t found any myself, in open play. Most of my encounters with pirates have been awesome.

        “Drop your cargo, don’t try anything!” then a small dogfight and an jump to safety, with a cracked hull… good times. I thought arma was the only good pseudo roleplaying game left.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Your entire opinion was invalidated at the phrase “video game white knights”.

    • It's not me it's you says:

      Online single player is still in, actually. It’s offline single player that’s scoped out now.

      • Holysheep says:

        Really? Well then my point is stronger: people going mad about it are actually just asking for the code to be released, while serverside code, if accessed by the public, will lead to the destruction of the gaming experience of most, as, again, most Elite Dangerous players are online players, and releasing serverside code makes hacks happen.

        The only reason most MMOs are hackers free is because of the serverside content.

        • Bone says:

          Also as it stands now, playing against the AI gets dull rather quickly.
          IMO Multiplayer is the only thing that this game can do right, that no other game of this scope has (yet).

          Still, they should have released a statement about the scrapped KS promise a few months earlier.

          • Holysheep says:

            Pretty much my point of view as well, I don’t understand that… The only thing they have on their side, really, is the fact that Frontier promised it.

          • HadToLogin says:

            Wait, so what’s your problem with Ubisoft or EA? They only PROMISED working game…

          • GiantPotato says:

            The AI is dull because the AI is unsophisticated. The AI is unsophisticated because Frontier decided to put their resources into a persistent online universe instead of an AI-driven offline universe. This is not a wrong decision per se, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow if you were looking for a single-player game.

            In other words, I fully agree that Elite: Dangerous shouldn’t launch with an offline mode in its current state. I just had no idea that it was in such a state. I was really looking forward to this game before I understood what it wanted to be.

    • airmikee says:

      “Elite had a single player mode. It was connected to the internet.”

      Wut?

      Elite was released in 1984, MAYBE you were one of the lucky few with access to the actual internet back then, I was only using my 1200 baud modem to connect to local BBS’s, I didn’t get the internet until ’91. The sequel, Frontier:Elite II, was released in ’93, a year before the World Wide Web was open to the public. The second sequel, Frontier:First Encounters, was released in ’95, a year after WWW, but the game still did not require an internet connection in order to play. Still gonna stick to your story that Elite was connected to the internet, even though it, and the first two sequels, were released before widespread internet availability?

      The third sequel, this one, Elite:Dangerous, was promised to include offline play. That promise has been broken. Somehow I doubt if you were counting on a promise to be kept that you’d attack yourself for being upset that the promise was broken, some thing tells me you’re just like every other human, you don’t like it when others break promises made to you. ESPECIALLY if the promise involved the forking over of your cash.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      I read your comment to the point where you misspelled “white knight” and realized that I didn’t need to read any further, because anyone who is going to invoke “white knighting” as an insult against the people who are justifiably upset about this is someone whose opinion I can safely ignore.

  13. Stellar Duck says:

    Yea, I’m looking for a refund for my preorder.

    Just shows how fucking dumb I was for preordering and breaking my rule.

    • LexxieJ says:

      For daft people like me, can you please explain exactly why you’re trying to get a refund on your pre-order?

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Because there is no offline mode and they said there were at the time of purchase. It was one of the reasons I bought it. Now the reason is gone.

        I don’t buy always online games. I want to be able to play after Braben shuts the server in a few years when the cash shop exploitation dries up.

        • LexxieJ says:

          So a “few years” of play isn’t enough for you when you purchase a one-off, non-subscription game?

          Ohhkayy.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            I dunno about anyone else, but probably around half of my game collection is at least a decade old. I for one don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to play a game you’ve bought many years after you bought it.
            Having said that, I may still buy Elite, there is room for different ways of delivering and playing games, if the games are fun. I’m still undecided, personally.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            I’m pretty sure that is okay. As a consumer he has a right to make that purchasing decision using the factors that matter to him. Also, you make that expectation of longevity sound like a ludicrous idea when there are plenty of examples of products being expected to provide a lifetime of use. I purchase a book for a much smaller one off cost of this game but I would expect to be able to come back and read that 50 years from now if I want, for example. .

            There is plenty of precedence within this very industry for games being playable for decades after release.

            The game is no longer as advertised at the time he purchased it, it’s not a ludicrous complaint.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Um, no?

            Why would it be?

            That’s incredibly daft and and very consumer hostile thing to say.

            Should I stop playing X-com now? Or Master of Orion 2? Or TIE Fighter? Or indeed Elite 2?

            Why would I want to be in a situation where someone like Braben who clearly isn’t a man of his word can decide how long I get to play? And why would I ever trust any number he gives on the server life?

          • LexxieJ says:

            Ok, hands up, I was being slightly mischievous and playing devil’s advocate here a little. I can fully understand why someone with a flaky internet connection or some other issue would immediately ask for a refund.

            What I do struggle a bit to understand is why you’d immediately want to cancel a game- which I presume you did actually want to play- on the off-chance that you might not be able to play it in some unspecified time in the future, assuming you didn’t exhaust everything it had to offer right now of course while the servers are up.

            It just seems a bit of a knee-jerk definitive action on something that- let’s be honest- isn’t really likely to be of that much real concern to you if/when it happens in the future. I’m sure there are plenty of old games that you’d like to play now but can’t, yet that didn’t stop you buying them at the time.

            It’s a bit like a console owner refusing to buy any games because their console might stop working in the future & they couldn’t get it repaired or replaced because the manufacturers have stopped making them.

            Why deprive yourself of a game that you definitely CAN play now, because it might not be available in the future? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

            Unless of course it’s just about ‘the principle of the thing’, in which case I can’t argue with that.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Principles, really.

            I have no intention of rewarding such shitty behaviour in developers so I don’t buy games that require online to function.

            I do want to play Elite but not at the price of it being always online. So, I’ll see about a refund and move back to X3 or whatever.

          • SuicideKing says:

            I’ve been playing FreeSpace 2 since 1999.

          • aepervius says:

            Look at the compilation of what people consider the greatest games. “a few year” old does not cut it. There is a reason many games are even released remastered on steam. Or look at valkyria chronicle.

            I get the feeling that you do not realize that some of us look beyond “a few years”.

            Planned obsolescence if maybe right in your view. But we can have a different opinion and see this as extremely negative. Maybe because we games since the 80ies and see how much would be lost to history with planned obsolescence, and “online only”.

            My favorite game to play from time to time is still planescape torment.

      • LexxieJ says:

        Fair enough then.

      • edlefou says:

        You can find the who ? why ? and what happen then ? here :
        link to drewwagar.com

      • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

        So, based on your subsequent replies, you were not only being daft, but also disingenuous. Ohhkayy.

    • badirontree says:

      My Best friend is on a Cargo Ship for months so Internet is BADDD… He was looking for it because he started gaming with Elite in Amstrad… Now its not posible for him… :/

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        Playing Elite while working on a cargo ship sounds like the ultimate Busman’s Holiday

  14. melnificent says:

    Refund requested… Lets see if they honour it.

  15. zat0ichi says:

    No offline play is the ultimate DRM – fairplay to them but I really hope the server side stuff is not simcity bullshit.

    The amount of games I would not have played at all because free wasn’t an option is pretty large but in my defence I do have a large Steam library and few Origin ones as well as Uplay.

    “If I like games I buy them”

    • Holysheep says:

      “I really hope the server side stuff is not simcity bullshit.”

      It is not: ED was designed with multiplayer in mind, and the singleplayer mode is using databases.

      Your inventory, your ship, your stats, your credits, and so on are actually stored in databases. Hence, when the servers had sync problems, you would have to wait to actually see the content of your cargo. Because players had problems accessing the database.

    • oohshiny says:

      Because Steam, Origin and Uplay all function perfectly well without an internet connection?

      • SuicideKing says:

        Well, yes? At least Steam does, and the last I remember, Origin did too.

        The discussion is about the game anyway, not the client.

  16. Humppakummitus says:

    I’m a bit worried about the current beta, by the way. There’s a month to go before release and I feel like challenging gameplay is missing.
    For example, landing can be pretty tricky, but if I hit something, I lose nothing. If I buy a new ship, there’s not much to compare. The more expensive one is generally better in all ways. Mining could be tricky, but since collisions don’t do anything, you only need to check that there isn’t any other ships close by, and NPCs thoughtfully announce that they’re going to rob you anyway. And so on. As far as I know, the interdiction minigame is one of the few cases where the outcome isn’t clear before starting.
    At the moment it feels a bit like Minecraft. You’ll have to set your own limitations to get a challenge out of it.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      I haven’t played too much of the current beta but I have played since alpha and whenever I happen into an object, my ship gets damaged and will ultimately explode.

      • Krazen says:

        The newer betas have not been like those early ones. While they’ve added new features they aren’t complete or completely lack polish. In many ways the game has got worse / more unstable in recent builds. Sure given time that can all be fixed but not in the timescales they are talking about for release.

    • pantbash says:

      I recommend many pints and a boost button in a place that is easly to brush by mistake.
      That should sort out your lack of collision exploding.

      Or you could just go maximum trade and bin your shields for cargo space, that also makes it a bit more kaboomy.

    • Bone says:

      I strongly disagree about expensive ships being clear upgrades. I prefer a Viper to a Cobra for the better maneuverability, speed and how the weapons are aligned on the ship. I tend to skip the Hauler because with the upgrades I can upgrade my cargo to 10 and still fly a decent fighter (Sidewinder) etc.

  17. Yachmenev says:

    I hope RPS does more with this issue, and press Frontier harder for more explanations as to why they deliver the message this late, and why a promised feature never actually anything more then something they would see later on if it was possible.

    Considering all that RPS has written about the online only modes for Sim City and Diablo 3, I don’t see why Frontier should be let of easy, especially considering it’s a crowdfunded game.

    • tumbleworld says:

      I agree. I probably wouldn’t have backed without a single-player offline mode, and I’m very disappointed in Braben going the DRM-grab route. The idea that single-player offline would be hideously dull suggests that the single-player online is going to be a pointless husk, too. Fluctuating commodity prices do not make a bad single-player game better.

      If I wanted to be stuck in a virtual space-hall full of “L0L N00b D13 D13” assholes, I’d play Eve.

      • pantbash says:

        Assuming that the online connectivity is not actually a problem for you playing.

        Then Solo (and/or group) mode would completely bypass any problem with “Eve assholes”

      • Holysheep says:

        Except the single player online is still available.

        • spacedyemeerkat says:

          Way too much of pitchfork mentality for some people to make an attempt at understanding the actual facts.

          • wyrm4701 says:

            Uh, not really. It sounds like offline singleplayer was a key selling point for many buyers, and it’s been removed. It’s not a “grab-the-pitchforks” thing, it’s a “product-not-as-advertised” thing. Or, if you like, a “they-lied-to-customers” thing, since there’s a strong implication that the selling feature was never really possible, and the devs have known this for some time.

        • Skhalt says:

          How about you try reading what he actually wrote?

          • Holysheep says:

            There is no DRM. The game needs to access a database because it was built with multiplayer in mind and you can’t release serverside content else it will be hacked. How hard is it for people to understand how basic computing works, really…

            Besides, X was limited on the sandbox side because your computer, disregard how many CPUs and GPUs it has, isn’t able to track billions of NPCs in billions of different systems.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Look, I agree with some of your point – that the game just isn’t going to work offline, and there’s nothing they can do about it. And that’s fine. But
            A- Connectivity is still an issue for a great many people. You don’t have that problem? Good for you. Many people do. They are making a legitimate complaint.

            B- Frontier stated outright when they were taking people’s money that there would be an offline mode. There is not. Whether you or I are okay with the lack of offline mode does not make that go away. People are upset because they feel they’ve been lied to or cheated out of their money and I’d say they’re quite entitled to feel that way.

            C- If you cannot play your game on whatever computer you please whenever you please without having to access their servers, then yes, there is DRM. That may not be its primary or intended purpose, but it is functionally DRM. I, again, have no problem with that myself, but again many people do, and to outright state that the game is DRM-free when it is not is just silly. Don’t be silly, internet person.

          • Holysheep says:

            1 – Hardware limitations of some people shouldn’t ruin the experience of everybody. If I have a GTX780, why should developpers make games that should run on intel chipsets? It works the same for connectivity.
            Besides, limited connectivity works fine in single player offline. it just takes a bit more time to update. The disconnections that occured, are the same that occured with people who have proper internet: for now the servers are acting up, and the netcode isn’t optimal. This isn’t gonna always be the case, and most connectivity issues have been fixed, since the Alpha, from my experience.

            2 – This is a problem alright. But it cannot counter the rest. They are offering a refund… people, if they feel betrayed, should ask for one. I pretty much don’t care about playing offline, I’ll keep the game.

            3 – Nothing states that they won’t release it when servers close. A lot of studios, while it’s not the majority, make their stuff opensource and free after some time… Frontier did it with their first game. It’s 30 years old alright, but it’s still the idea.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            A- I concede that you shouldn’t compromise on your design because not everyone will be able to run it, absolutely. (I think I’ve said as much elsewhere in these comments? I’m losing track…) However, some of the people who backed or pre-ordered this game did so in the belief that they would be able to play it offline, and presumably some of those people are unable to play it online. Which brings me to…

            B- It is a problem. It’s true that Frontier are offering refunds, but on several forums I’ve seen people pointing out that those are case-by-case, and I’ve also heard that if you’ve played the alpha or beta at all, that effectively means you don’t get a refund. I can’t back that up, but again, you can surely understand why people are upset. Especially the people who payed for a game they now effectively can’t play.

            C- So “It’s DRM but only ’til it isn’t”?

            I get that it doesn’t bother you, alright? I’ll probably still buy it too – the game looks amazing fun. Fact is, a lot of people are upset, Frontier could almost certainly have handled things better up ’til now, and how they handle it from here is going to be something I for one will watch closely.

          • Holysheep says:

            It’s not DRM because a DRM is intended to fight piracy using questionnable methods. Here, what we face is a restriction, the game cannot play without a server because it cannot, not because they want to force online play in order to avoid having their game cracked.

            As for the refunds… I suppose it’s normal that alpha and beta backers get refunded before as they invested more, IDK? It’s kind of too early to tell, they have been announcing that fairly recently, everybody can’t get instant refunding.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            Wait, so if you say it’s not questionable, it’s not DRM?

          • jrodman says:

            @Harlander: And holysheep has let us know that we aren’t allowed to question it. Q.E.D.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            And that’s just FYI

          • Holysheep says:

            Harlander, disregard jrodman, he got angry after I called stupid on someone who was on his side and consider that the why I write things allow him to invalidate my points.

            DRMs are not necessarly questionnable, I think steam does a great job at countering the usual flaws of DRMs with actual advantages, for instance.

            But here it’s like calling out nature for not giving you wings and saying it’s a DRM. It is not: it is a hardware limitation that could be avoided with, well, better hardware.

          • jrodman says:

            Disregard holysheep, I merely pointed out that his comments made no sense. (Strangely this pattern repeats here.)

          • Lanessar says:

            DRM, as in having to be logged in and always online, is DRM. Saying there is no DRM is really a fallacy here, as lenient as I am about DRM (it doesn’t bother me, personally).

          • Holysheep says:

            Jrodman,

            I have been providing arguements based on programming and gaming experience all along, all you have been able to say is “no u lol”.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Oh what? You were “calling stupid” on me? Well, my good internet person, I simply will not stand for this! If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be storming off in a huff now, thankyouverymuch!

            Seriously though, I already said this – Might not be DRM by design, still functions as DRM, yadda yadda.

          • Holysheep says:

            No.

            “rustybroomhandle says:
            Your entire opinion was invalidated at the phrase “video game white knights”.”

            I was refering to this, not to you, Kaeoschassis.

          • pantognost says:

            Holysheep I have read all your responses up to now. They revolve on two axes:
            1) the game is too complex to be ran locally
            2) the game is better with always online because it becomes more dynamic.
            Bringing these together you insist that players are illogical to want the less dynamic game and that they are somehow spoiled to criticize a decision that makes the game better.
            1) the game logic for a huge galaxy was not complex enough in 1984 and 1993 so it is not now. “Procedural” was a key selling point of Elite Dangerous. I hope that you know what it means, since if you do it invalidates your whole point 1. Simulation is ran abstract and then results are detailed in the part of the world you are in. Player impact in a world of even only thousands of star systems is a joke unless you lie about either the scale or the players.

            2) The game is not “better” or “worse”. The game is either to your liking or not. It appears that you like it. So much, in fact, that you consider other people’s preferences to be illogical. Even though they are that. Preferences. Supported by previous advertising and cancelled qt the last minute. No amount of slang (white knighting etc) can obfuscate the fact that a developer promised something and then backed out of their promise for reasons other than the stated (check argument 1 for reasoning on that) . This makes them unreliable business partners and while it does not force them to comply with anything, it also justifies anyone to call on their misbehaviour.

            In short, feel free to try and damage control this as much as you wish, but the fact of the matter is that there is no hiding that this is another Sim City move with predictable outcomes. What is curious is RPS’s difference in the treatment of the issue here. I hope that it is just a wait and see initial attitude..

      • spacejumbo says:

        Have you really backed this but not followed it closely enough to know there is an online-solo mode?

        This issue ONLY affects people without reliable internet connections, not people who want the single player experience. Yet somehow, it’ll be people who live on internet forums that whine most about it.

        • tumbleworld says:

          Quoting directly from my earlier post:

          “The idea that single-player offline would be hideously dull suggests that the single-player online is going to be a pointless husk, too. “

          • spacejumbo says:

            Not true. Single player offline and single player online would both only have NPCs to fight, but single player online would still retain all other dynamic server content – e.g. prices fluctuating due to trades happening.

          • Asurmen says:

            I thought the point was single player online can do all the things full online can, without other humans. Therefore it doesn’t suggest what your quote does at all.

      • Dilapinated says:

        It seems like 75% of comments to this article have become “You know single-player online is a thing right?”, often in response to people who quite clearly do know that, or unrelated to what they’re saying in the first place.

        Tumbleworld already knows that online-SP is a thing, they expressed concern that it might turn out naff.

        • Holysheep says:

          Except me and other people pretty much covered the “DRM” invalid arguement already.

          • Emeraude says:

            Actually, no, you didn’t, you’re using what Schopenhauer would have called “Claim Victory Despite Defeat”.

            But as long as you’re the one shouting the louder,it’s ok. If there’s one thing 20th century marketing taught us it’s that being right doesn’t matter in the long run: being able to hammer the same point again and again is what wins you mindshare.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            No, you haven’t. You’re simply coming up with as many tired excuses as possible to defend the Elite devs from taking any of the deserved blame in this mess.

            Gotta say though, you’re exhibiting a lot of balls by accusing others of white-knighting when you’re doing exactly the same thing :)

          • slerbal says:

            Holysheep why do you feel the need to try and personally respond to everyone’s legitimate concerns? Are you pare of the development team or just so Internet Angry Man that you need to personally lay into everyone? Reading through this thread you have posted many, many times in an attempt to drown people out. Give it a rest. It’s not working. It’s ironic you used the term white knoght, above as you appear to be some kind of squire for Frontier.

            As an outsider who has watched this all very carefully let me explain this to you simply: Offline single player was promised in the kickstarter and in subsequent posts on Reddit etc.That is has now been pulled is legitimately being classed as a bait-and-switch and certainly falls foul of EU consumer protection. That alone is reason enough for people to be upset.

            But just in case it wasn’t clear many people are also upset that sooner or later the servers will be switched off and the game will be gone for good. That is a shame and makes the whole experience more ephemeral.

            Thirdly, no singleplayer offline support means no mods and that is sad – though this is very much a lesser concern to most.

        • spacejumbo says:

          He said “If I wanted to be stuck in a virtual space-hall full of “L0L N00b D13 D13″ assholes, I’d play Eve.”, that doesn’t sound like someone that knows about online-solo play, or if they do know, then they’re making a pretty misleading argument.

          If this sounds bad because you want the SP experience, then you misunderstand. If this sounds bad because you have flaky internet or some anti-DRM stance, then fair enough, it’s then down to you to not buy it or to ask for a refund.

  18. Kefren says:

    I was interested in a new game of Elite – I played the Amiga version a lot. I was not interested in an MMO, or having other humans in my universe, or having a game that will disappear at some point (look at how many MMO/server-based games have disappeared completely in the last decade). This refusal to sell me a game I can continue to play even if the company folds has killed all the excitement I had.

    • Muttley says:

      You can still play Solo online and not encounter any other humans.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        It’s online. Surely that can’t be hard to comprehend?

      • Asurmen says:

        However, that does not deal with the whole game disappearing in x years if/when servers are switched off aspect, which I suspect is peoples’ biggest issue here.

        Doesn’t bother me mind because I’ll be getting it.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          In ten years we can still play the 40 years old Elite but E:D will probably be exclusive to the gaming history books.

          • Asurmen says:

            Exactly. Would I prefer to be able to play my purchase until such time as it is not longer supported by software (which even then industrious individual may be able to keep it working)? Yes.

            Is a potential future event re servers being switched off going to stop the expense now from being worth it? No. I’ll still get my monies worth during that time, but I can fully understand why it would bother some people enough to not purchase it at all.

      • cederic says:

        Can I pause the game?
        Can I reload a previous save because I cocked up the mission, bought the wrong ship, hired the wrong crewman?
        Can I apply an ‘infinite money’ mod and a ’10x speed mod’ so that I get to career around the galaxy exploring new systems without worrying about finances or fighting?
        Can I email my game save to a friend so that he can try out my new ship too?

        These are pretty basic standard features in a single player game. I’m used to them. I had some of them in the original Elite, and the others in Elite 2.

        Is it too much to ask that I can retain them now? Please?

    • LaKriz says:

      Amen.

  19. Krazen says:

    Ever since they announce the release date E:D seems to have come off the rails for many if the Frontier forums and my friends who also own the game reactions are anything to go by. Each Beta until that point were small incremental additions used to iron out the bugs in those new features and test various gameplay changes. But now they seem to be in a crazy rush to get the game release before XMas this year with many of the backers still complaining it’s not even close to stable. The networking especially is still very flaky for lots of people, especially in the busy central stars. Also there are lots of complaints there just isn’t enough content yet and it’ll get boring fast. Now they stripped out the offline mode, again because from the looks of it because they can’t get it to work without a lot more time & resources, so it’s no wonder a lot of the backers are not happy at present.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Just to provide a little balance, solo online has been perfectly stable for me.

  20. big boy barry says:

    Im not too fussed really. I think itl be easy to keep away from other players amongst 400billion systems, I will be fussed if they do introduce it to the console children and integrate the servers however.

  21. JazHaz says:

    One big consequence of this decision is that when the servers are shutdown, the game goes down with them. Unlike all the other games in the series where you can still play them today, ED going online only means that there is a limited life.

    This game’s galaxy is so big (400 billion stars) that it will take many years to explore. It will take a long time to reach the galaxy centre for example. I was looking for this to be the game I would play for the next 20 years. Looks like thats shot down in flames.

    The main issue I have with Frontier Developments is their serious lack of communication and disrespect to us, the backers. I put down £300 for this game, to gain access to the Design Decision Forum, the forum that has been distinctly lacking in use for several months.

  22. airmikee says:

    I think I’m going to continue playing X and Evochron until Star Citizen comes out, unless they decide to break their promises of offline play as well.

    • Holysheep says:

      You realize that the online single player mode is still available, while SC is, at this very moment, forcing an online single player for content that is not serverside?

      • drewski says:

        You seem awfully invested in telling everyone else that they’re not allowed to want to play the game *entirely offline*.

        What content is on the servers is irrelevant. Whether or not other players are there is irrelevant. Whether or not it’s DRM is irrelevant.

        People. Want. To. Play. Off. Line.

      • Asurmen says:

        Whether it’s still available or not is irrelevant.

      • Holysheep says:

        People would want to play offline. Kids would like if Santa existed, and I personally would love to be able to fly without a plane.

        THIS is irrelevant, There are hardware limitations and security limitations that make it impossible for the FEW people who want to play offline… else, that would endanger the experience of the MAJORITY. Check polls and stats.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          You know, I buy that they can’t do the offline mode due to the way they’ve made their system.

          That doesn’t change the fact that they advertised the fully-offline mode as a feature when panhandling for funds.

          • Holysheep says:

            Now this is a relevant concern and I advice anyone who has a problem with that to consider a refund.

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          Hardware limitations, don’t think so. DRM limitations, seems more likely.

          • Holysheep says:

            Then you have no idea how anything works. There are been many examples of it.

            The only similar experience is EVE. EVE runs on a supercalculator. No, your computer cannot calculate the rotation, of billions planets in 400-500 billions systems at the same time, and track billions of NPCs in it. The servers already struggle with it, so yes, your computer definitively would.

            Have you even played the game and have an experience in networking? I do. And I could VERY easily identify, in the BETA, what was serverside and what was not.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            I really don’t think Elite is going to have the same processing demands as EVE. EVE’s high level of demand comes from players being spread around the game universe, demanding detailed information regularly.

            A single-player game only needs to simulate the area surrounding the player in detail, and the rest can be left to abstraction. That’s a feasible goal, but not one that can be achieved from the state Elite has ended up in, apparently.

          • Crane says:

            @Holysheep: “No, your computer cannot calculate the rotation, of billions planets in 400-500 billions systems at the same time, and track billions of NPCs in it.

            IT. DOES NOT. HAVE TO.
            People keep pointing this out to you, and you keep ignoring it.

            Your computer DOES NOT NEED to be calculating the exact positions of the planets in Cygma-IV, half the galaxy away from you. All it needs to do is:

            A: Have a set of FIXED equations which describe the motion of the planets, which would occupy a few bytes of storage. STORAGE, mind you, not processing power.

            B: Track the time within the game. (Ooh! HARD PROCESSING WORK THERE!)

            C: When you enter Cygma-IV, feed the time into the equation and derive the current position of the planets.

          • Holysheep says:

            Harlander, it’s actually worse. there’s an awful load of physics to calculate in Elite, unlike in EVE, and … players affect the network only, while Elite has NPCs that warp, transport cargo, etc. Believe me or not, AIs are HELL, it’s extremely CPU and RAM intensive. I know this from experience, AIs are all about optimization, and algorythms to make then actual human level (making the perfect AI is the easiest thing ever.) … emulating human behaviour is a HUGE pain.

            Chame, I answered your comment, said by another guy, on another post. Please continue there, I’m getting annoyed of saying the same things everywhere.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            Even with that being the case, claiming that simulating the small number of NPCs within a single system is beyond consumer computers strains credulity somewhat.

          • Lanessar says:

            Holysheep apparently missed the memo about procedural generation and why you use a seed value to create a galaxy, universe, or a large number of NPCs. Hint: It’s not a lot of storage space.

          • Holysheep says:

            And you probably missed the part about the AI. Elite isn’t just a bunch of planets and systems, it’s a game that contains actual NPCs, stations and factions that evolve in real time in these sectors.

          • Lanessar says:

            All of which are handled by proc gen and core stored procedures. It’s not really all that much data. The main thing which consumes storage space will be the value change which occurs with player interactions with that environment.

            …And not a problem in a single-player, offline game. Only one variable (the player) is creating changes to these stored values, and the sprocs wouldn’t have to work anywhere near as hard to keep track of those changes. Even if you played for 50+ years, you’re talking possibly 50GB in saved values, ints and string values. That could be stored in a savegame.

            The point is a moot discussion, honestly, since it wasn’t designed to support this interaction pretty early on.

          • SuicideKing says:

            @Holysheep: Limit Theory.

          • Cinek says:

            @Holysheep: WHOLE FLIPPIN X FRANCHISE!!!!

          • FriendlyFire says:

            I see this everywhere, people think Elite is some sort of fantastical construct where everything is simulated at the atom level. That every single NPC in the galaxy is fully simulated, down to when the pilot stops for picking his nose. That every planet’s interaction with everything else is carefully measured to be 100% accurate.

            Hint: it’s not. Statistics are a thing. Procedural generation doesn’t work that way.

        • Asurmen says:

          Way to miss the point. Single player online still existing is irrelevant to those who didn’t want to deal with anything that can fluctuate due to the online nature.

          • Holysheep says:

            You obviously didn’t read the comments where I adressed that.

          • Asurmen says:

            You haven’t addressed it at all. You’ve provided an opinion on why offline single player won’t happen, but considering that isn’t what I was replying about, I’m still waiting on your supposed addressing of the point.

        • trjp says:

          If you’d been born to a mother and father who could both fly but you could not, you would be considered ‘disabled’ – however as your parents can’t fly either, you’re just entitled ;0

          I’m willing to bet all the money I didn’t spend on this game that the ‘reasons’ are DRM-related first-and-foremost tho.

          Requiring a connection/account decimates initial piracy and boosts sales quite a bit (assuming it’s not easily disabled as Sim City’s was) – later on, you can “patch it out” if you wish…

        • cederic says:

          Hardware limitations?

          Shit, I can easily supply as much compute power as the ED servers. Better yet, mine don’t need to cope with the input from hundreds of thousands of players – just me.

          Billions of stars and NPCs? Tell you what, just do the few hundred nearest to me and I’ll take a rough approximation for the rest.

          Offline space games with massive galaxies have existed since.. well, Elite. It’s easily achievable. It’s not unreasonable to expect. It is something I want.

          I don’t want to fly to a new system and find out that holysheepfucker has already been there, mined the decent asteroids, ruined the economy. I want to go there and discover it for myself.

          Computer gaming is escapism. I want to be a god in my own universe, not an also-ran in yours.

  23. jonnychimpo says:

    I’m not overly concerned by this, albeit it’s disappointing that i probably won’t be able to play this game in 10 years time.

    However, as you say in the article, they MUST have known that they couldn’t do this for ages.

    “To make that happen we’d essentially have to create two games.”

    Exactly, and your telling me that with just over a month to go, they were still milling it over as to whether to do it or not? Absolute horseshit.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      That’s the thing, right there. Of course, when they initially launched their kickstarter, I can absolutely believe that they still thought they could deliver an offline mode. But nobody can convince me that they’ve only just now realized they can’t. They’ve known for awhile.
      I do feel a little sorry for them – it doesn’t matter when they delivered this news, there was going to be a riot. But I do feel they left it far too long.

  24. Cockie says:

    Come to the Limit Theory side! Single player, dynamic universe, offline and completely moddable.

    • Laurentius says:

      The thing is Limit Theory is ages from release, while EliteIV is just one month, nevertheless that’s what I wil do then.

      • Cockie says:

        Which is mainly because Josh refuses to release LT before it’s done whereas ED will release with large parts of the features envisioned in the design archive forums not implemented.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Limit Theory seems great for the universe and I will definitely pick it up when it releases. But I would like to more sci-fi flight-sim-like that Elite seems to offer.

      I want to fly in the cockpit and use headtracking and have to learn how to fly properly with a joystick and all that. I haven’t seen any other new games coming out that offers that offline at the moment.

      • Cockie says:

        True. Maybe mods, but that remains to be seen.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        LT seems to be shaping up to be absolutely ludicrously moddable, so provided joysticks are supported (and I’m pretty sure Josh mentioned them), you should be able to reproduce the Elite feel with a mod.

        That game’s just brimming with possibilities.

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          I doubt mods will fill that craving for me. But don’t get me wrong, I am aching to play Limit Theory. I cannot wait for it to be released in a playable state, I will jump in as soon as I can.

    • mukuste says:

      The last update seems to be from July, is this even still alive?

      • Cockie says:

        The last update was only a month ago, the new one is expected very soon and Josh still posts a daily devlog in the forums. So yes.

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        Very much still alive! The thing is Josh rarely gets around to updating the blog, if you want to stay abreast of it, you’re better off following a couple of threads on the forum:

        The dev logs thread:
        link to forums.ltheory.com
        [Daily progress reports, organised into weekly threads]

        The announcements thread:
        link to forums.ltheory.com
        [Monthly video dev updates are posted here]

        For a single developer (albeit one who seems to be pretty remarkably good as what he does), he manages to keep his forumites very well informed.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Exactly what i was thinking. And Josh is beyond excellent.

  25. BEKTOP3 says:

    I want to ask all of the offended peeps here – was there any instance when you demanded some huge change in the game from any developers (and in this case it means at least a third part from the whole game budget) and they delivered a good product? You all know the answer – never. There is an option to just quietly take back your money and no harm done, but you seem to have the need to press them as much as possible and and if in the end they will yield to this attack – no one will get anything good for their money. Not you – who would receive a crappy, boring offline snippet of a game it could be. Not us – the majority of backers who love the game, it’s online nature and developers vision for it’s future. Because devs wouldn’t have the resources to complete both.
    Have you played the Beta version of Elite Dangerous? Did you also find that it’s flight model is the best in the history of space sims? I know I did.
    Baseline: Leave the devs be – let them realize their vision for this game, because those bits that they already allowed us to touch are simply mind blowing. Don’t ruin the game for everyone else.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      They can make their game. I’d just like my money back.

      • BEKTOP3 says:

        It’s ok, but do you need to ruin the game for me and many others by cornering devs, by posting your demands everywhere on iternets? Just follow the link in the bottom of this article and ask for it directly. I’ll reinstate that by ranting everywhere you are ruining good time for hundreds of thousands of people.

        • drewski says:

          Do you *really* have your experience ruined by people you don’t know talking about something on the internet and saying things you disagree with?

          Just go enjoy your game. You don’t need to care what anyone else thinks about this decision.

        • Love Albatross says:

          FYI you sound like a whiny bitch. If you can’t handle people saying negative things about a thing you like, you should not be using the internet.

        • jrodman says:

          You’re objecting to someone stating something that you invited them to state.

          Was that a deliberately planned bait-and-switch, or are you just lacking in memory faculties?

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          And Frontier Development is ruining good time for a lot of people too by removing offline.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          You make the devs seem awfully thin skinned.

          And are you really having the game ruined by me not agreeing with the way its shaping up? For real?

          • Llewyn says:

            “Approved by Stellar Duck” was a major selling point. By removing that, of course you’re ruining the game for him.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Oh, shit.

            At this point it seems the game is ruined for everyone. :( I suppose I should retract all criticism so the rest of the people can enjoy the game.

    • pantbash says:

      I agree with you, I think the game is amazing as it is.
      I think “the annoyed” are that way because offline-play was listed in the kickstarter.

      However…
      Caveat emptor
      They really should not be the kind of people buying into a concept that was not yet fully released with defined features.
      At the end of the day they have no one to blame but themselves, hence the lashing out.

      • drewski says:

        “Caveat emptor” or “misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce”.

        Fine line. They advertised a feature they couldn’t deliver, and left the impression around that they could and would deliver it long after they realised they couldn’t. People feel like Braben lied, not that this is their fault.

        • pantbash says:

          Which is an entirely justified comment to make “if” they had bought a released product with a specific set of features.

          Any kickstarter backing seems to me like an investment with an associated risk that you won’t get exactly what you thought.

          Just my opinion on the matter, no idea where it stands in the eyes of the law.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            And the people who pre-ordered it post-kickstarter?

          • gwathdring says:

            When you take people’s money, you have an obligation to give them what they paid for. There’s a little fuzz to it; you’re not responsible for people being idiots and misunderstanding you. But if it’s clear you told them they were paying you for something … it doesn’t matter if that thing exists yet or not.

            If I say “I’m collecting investments; I’ll throw in a copy of the game for free but understand that if it doesn’t work out, we won’t be offering any refunds.” or something like that? Cool. I made it clear. If I say “We’re going to make this game. It’s going to have these features. We hope it will also have these features” and you fail to deliver features from the first list?

            That’s a problem. I don’t care if it’s a verbal contract, written contract, physical product, investment–whatever it is, there was a transaction. It was honored or it wasn’t.

          • The First Door says:

            While I absolutely agree with you that people should go in wary on Kickstarter as the product might change, those same people have every right to complain when a dev breaks their promise and tell everybody they want that the dev, in their eyes, can’t be trusted. Heck, I didn’t back Elite, but I still think it’s shady of them.

            It’s word of mouth after all, and that can be both positive and negative for companies.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Then you would be happy if they released a kitten simulator tomorrow?
        As if the Kickstarter had no guarantees, why should you expect one either?

        I’m sure we would both agree that a reasonable product of some form is preferred, over a bait and switch?

    • Seafort says:

      I’ve played Elite since the very first one and it’s always been an offline single player game till now.

      I haven’t preordered and will never buy Elite Dangerous now. It’s as simple as that.

      I didn’t trust their kickstarter pitch either. It was so poorly done with little to no communication from the developers that I didn’t back the project.

      I’m glad I didn’t. Good luck Frontier and David Braben you’re gonna need it :)

      • Asurmen says:

        How are they going to need the luck? They seem to be doing just fine.

        Also the initial pitch was bad, but there’s been tons of communication since.

    • iainl says:

      “Have you played the Beta version of Elite Dangerous? Did you also find that it’s flight model is the best in the history of space sims? I know I did.”

      I don’t think it’s excessively going out on a limb to say, no, the people complaining largely haven’t. Because the Beta is online-only, and lack of a reliable, fast internet connection on their gaming PC is exactly why they’re upset about Frontier Developments deciding to renege on their previous explicit claims of offline functionality.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Pretty much my thoughts. The amount of bile is really uncalled for. We have maybe two of these games with this scope, and internet is already shitting on one of them. People are ugly, ugly, ugly.

      • pepperfez says:

        Pretty sure heated complaints about dropped features don’t even crack the top 100 of video game ugliness this month.

        • Synesthesia says:

          The moblike mentality still rings a lot of bells. Still ugly.

  26. Themadcow says:

    Inconsequential for most, disappointing for many, gamebreaking for a few.

    As long as the few get refunded then it’s OK in my books. Despite the game feeling a little sparse at the moment in terms of gameplay (hey devs – that doesn’t mean adding ship / station interiors btw) it’s very, very good in most things it does. I think it’ll take best part of another year to really flourish but Elite Dangerous with online Singleplayer is still a million miles (or MM, AU, or LY or whatever they’re using now) better than just having no option other than MMO.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    No problem, no problem at all. :)

  28. aleander says:

    Bah. I actually believe they should have went full MMO from beginning (not because I like that option all that much, but because that’s the only way they’ll get the resources to finish what they’re planning), but backing off like that on the feature is crap — though I do believe that private servers (that’s what offline sp pretty much would be) could become a huge drag on the development, they really should have made that clear long ago.

    Personally I’ll stay, but I won’t blame the haters.

  29. melnificent says:

    After having it pointed out above that Frontier has in-game advertising in the EULA I decided to see what else there was…

    3rd party in-app purchases.
    Collecting of data from/about your machine and passing it to 3rd parties.
    Giving up all IP rights to anything you put near Elite/Frontier…. but it’s okay the next clause says they respect your IP rights.

    Oh and the refund thing that he promised was available to those that wanted it. Well you’d better not have played the Alpha/Beta while waiting for offline to be implemented as they say that is delivering everything and no refunds.

  30. BadCatWillum says:

    The main reason they can’t just package the server software to run locally in single player is not that the server side of the game design is inherently too complex to run on your PC, but their implementation of it is built to reliably support hundreds of thousands of players interacting with each other and the background simulation. This multi-tiered network of database servers, game engines and frontend APIs cannot trivially be made to run locally. Imagine if you wanted to self-host an email server for your own needs, and took a large corporation’s Exchange or Lotus infrastructure and tried to install all it on your own PC. All you actually require would be qpopper.

    Yes, they could provide a separate implementation of the game engine without using enterprise software and only supporting a single player character with the rest of the interactions simulated at lower fidelity, but that’s writing a whole different game.

    Frontier decided that to resource this would result in unacceptable compromises to the vision they have for the online game.

    • Holysheep says:

      This is false. Elite is full of hardware limitations, the only real reference is EVE… EVE needs a supercalculator to run.

      Besides, you cannot give the code to everybody, as the online mode could then be understood and hacked.

      • mukuste says:

        You are just bullshitting. You keep talking about these “hardware limitations”, but you have no idea how the game works internally. Also, Eve is not a single-player game.

        • Holysheep says:

          YOU are bullshitting, and have no idea how a videogame works. I pretty much knows how it does, since I’m actually in the IT domain and considering a carreer in the videogame industry, though the more I learn about it, the less interested I become.

          I have highlighted these hardware limitations many times already. If you can’t keep track of my arguement to oppose actual material, then your comment here has no reason to exist.

          Ontop of that, you have no idea how Elite works.

          • mukuste says:

            “in the IT domain”? That could as well be a support hotline job. I’m actually developing software, and have developed games.

          • fish99 says:

            IT lol.

          • shinali says:

            IT work in a non-game industry field and a desire to break into said industry does not make an informed analysis of how the game works.

          • pantognost says:

            Holysheep, you know, beyond all credentials real, imaginary, or trollish there is such a thing as logic.
            There are no hardware limitations for E:D on the simulation level because it does not run any large scale simulation. Since you wish to break into the game industry start by looking up in wikipedia the term procedural content creation. If you are not a trolling fanboi you will admit by then that your argument about hardware limits is invalid. Heck there was a full fledged galaxy in Elite Frontiers and I was playing that in the mid 90s.

            Also commenting on the right of people’s comments to exist or not is a telltale signal of trolling so If that is not your purpose then please refrain from acting like a forum bully. You come out as entitled and petty. I hope that this is not your purpose.

      • foop says:

        Holysheep, you seem adamant that it’s impossible to make an offline single player space game.

        It may well be true that it is now impossible to make the current version of Elite: Dangerous playable offline. That is, by and large, irrelevant.

        That doesn’t make it true that it’s impossible to make something very like it offline. I played the original Elite on a BBC model B before I’d even seen a 300 baud modem. Somewhere on the game-space continuum between that and the current E:D must exist a sufficiently rewarding game that can be played offline. What the people who want an offline mode are requesting is something like that.

        It could have been made, and their argument is that – given the original promise of an offline mode – it should have been made.

        I’m not too fussed myself, because I have so little time to play games these days that I can’t fit enough of the ones I want to play in. But I absolutely understand the frustration of those who bought the game on the promise of offline play.

      • iainl says:

        You’ve written this many, many times in the thread. Is this because you’re a particularly foulmouthed Frontier employee who has a curiously bizarre idea of how to interact with your customers, or because you know nothing of what you write and are just making up excuses in the strange belief that you’re doing your heroes some good?

      • SuicideKing says:

        What the fuck are you on about?

    • aleander says:

      but their implementation of it is built to reliably support hundreds of thousands of players interacting with each other and the background simulation

      Nope, just handshaking on the transactions, pulling up lists of contracts and such stuff. I *really* won’t be surprised if people manage to spoof FDEV servers, but also, I really expect that E:D development — at the currently planned scope — won’t be *economically* sustainable without always-online.

      • BadCatWillum says:

        As you (and TechnicalBen, somewhat later) say, the individual client-server interactions are relatively infrequent and the simulation is for one player not that complex. Player state persistence, dynamic commodity economy, dynamic missions affected by markets, political crises triggered by economic extremes, NPC persistence triggered by player interaction, NPC inclusion in missions caused by their simulation, ship and equipment availability affected by commodities and political events, player reputation and bounty with each major and minor (system-local, ie PG) faction affected by missions, trading, exploration data sales, criminal actions and combat with faction NPCs, querying the galaxy map for both PG and 150000 hard coded real galaxy stars, resource depletion by mining, mapping progress of the PG and static map, galnet and local news feeds.

        My point was if you architect a system to reliably and concurrently supply these services to hundreds of thousands of players, with some amount of cause and effect between each other, it will look very different to a design to serve the single offline player, and would be a big job to scale down, reimplement, cut back simulation fidelity in some areas, increase fidelity in others to compensate for no other players, port to non-enterprise infrastructure, make resilient to the faults that typically affect players’ PCs, QA and maintain. This what FD are not willing to compromise the online game by resourcing.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      10 Set “market price” to $5
      20 rnd “market price”
      30 send “market price” to [what previously was the internet port]
      40 go to 10

      There, fixed the server side code for them! Plus, no “hackable” code, as it has no relation to the real server. Plus it’s dynamic, plus it’s really simple and low power to compute.

      The “problem” is not hard. The decision to move away from DRM certainty and to put resources (money/cost/wages/time) into developing a second server/client is the hard bit.

  31. fw190a8 says:

    I can’t really understand why this is causing such a brouhaha, and it seems a bit like a storm in a teacup. I have an Internet connection, so I can play, either solo or with others.

    As far as I can see it would only be severely disadvantageous if you have absolutely no Internet connection, or possibly a very very slow Internet connection. If you have a very very slow Internet connection you’d have to download the game somehow as it’s not being shipped physically, and then you’d have to get a bunch of patches as new things were added and other things were fixed, so it’s not practical to even possess the game.

    If you have no Internet connection at all, then you wouldn’t be able to come on here and moan about it!

    I don’t see that the Galactic updates and market fluctuations would be any reason to ruin a single-player experience. Those would have been in the offline experience, albeit randomised or something instead of based on player actions, in any case. I don’t see how anyone could “maliciously” play the game in a way that would seriously affect your solo play experience or why they would bother. Oh no, someone’s bought all the ore in a system so I can’t have any! Oh wait, there’s 4 billion other systems I could try.

    I do slightly understand the concerns about being unable to play the game once the servers are switched off, but this depends on the developers having enough sales and therefore income to provide them for years to come! If everybody just cancels their order or uses some kind of “EU bait and switch legislation” because they are convinced the game will be terrible for this change, then it’s not really helping that situation. If you look at current form, many online games continue to work after official support ends, because fans are given the tools they need to run their own servers. I don’t see why this would be any different.

    In short, I don’t see anything here that concerns me except a lot of people getting upset over something so minor that it’s almost irrelevant to the vast majority of people with Internet access.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      It’s almost as if all those people getting upset don’t agree with you about how minor and irrelevant it is.

      Whatever next?

      • Premium User Badge

        JiminyJickers says:

        Haha exactly. I am amazed at how people in the forums at Frontier have no sympathy for people who this was a major feature they wanted.

        If another feature is removed that they depended on, and I didn’t mind, I at least would sympathise with them. But, its humanity, what did I expect, haha.

        • iainl says:

          The number of possible customers for the game who live in areas with poor internet vastly, to orders of magnitude, outnumber those who have a VR headset of any kind. Maybe they should just suddenly drop Rift support and use the dev time on this instead? What’s that, you say, those who have got one would be outraged?

  32. eggy toast says:

    Certainly the headline should read “scuttled”

    • jrodman says:

      Does the verb scuttled ever remind you of cuttlefish? It certainly does for me, and then I’m frightened, because those things are seriously weird.

  33. Alien says:

    Someone has to say it for the 30+ guys:

    Guys the “offline-era” is a thing of the past, even your fridge will soon be permanently online.

    I know it’s hard when the world around you changes, and I know that [*Fill in some nostalgic and heart-warming stories from the golden age of the Commodore 64*], but you have to accept it! The pros outweigh the cons.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Do they, though?

      (It’s a nice change of pace for discussion about Elite to be condescending to old people instead of young people, I must say)

    • jrodman says:

      OH! I remember this claim. I heard it in the 1990s.

      • Cinek says:

        Along with PC is dying and Linux will take over desktop computers.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Oh yeah, and PC gaming is dying. Haha, the uproar shows you that the offline era is definitely not over.

    • Seafort says:

      Games are online for one reason and one reason only. To have complete control over their game to make more money from DLCs.

      We used to be able to create maps packs for FPS games for free. That’s gone now as they don’t have any editors. We get £10-15 map packs now from the developers instead.

      It will probably be impossible to create any mods for E:D due to the online component but I guess that’s how Frontier will fund their game after it’s launched with DLC and microtransactions.

      I’m actually glad I waited to preorder so now I don’t need to buy it. Saves me some money. End of an era for Elite series which doesn’t include E:D.

    • Kabukiman74 says:

      You do acknowledge though, that there are still areas with wonky internet (I’m a victim myself getting “only” 2 GB bandwith at most and that’s not the worst there is in my area (Western Germany, not even 3rd world, where you even might require an expensive satellite uplink).

      Currently I’m stuck in hospital for a few weeks where internet is a precious luxury as well (No, they don’t have WLAN). Luckily there are quite a few games which don’t force me to be connected 24/7 and still enable me to pass the time with my favourite hobby.

      So, yes, on my gaming pc with a decent ISP and rate I don’t mind being permanently online, however there are lots of conditions where being able to “go offline”, as Steam would call it, isn’t simply a bonus but a necessity.

    • Themadcow says:

      The difference between your fridge and other networked devices and gaming is that pretty much every other device can get by without being impacted by network downtime, or severely restricted services due to your infrastructures capability to handle this kind of activity plus other intensive uses like HD video streaming.

      Again, it won’t be a problem for the majority but it most certainly will be a major issue for a few.

    • Emeraude says:

      Call me when the fridge not being connected will mean losing access to your food.

      • Cockie says:

        “Your subscription to UFridge has ended. Please renew your subscription to access your food.
        You might also be interested in pre-ordering our new Parmesan Dlc, releasing next week!”

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Always-online, “the cloud”, streaming and closed central servers are not your friends.
      It’s the old decoder wheel technology repackaged, just incredibly huge and spun by algorithms.
      Take it from a 30.4 guy. I’ve seen shit you young ones wouldn’t believe (I even had to look up words among hundreds of pages of Civilization manual to keep playing. It still runs even though the central Amiga 500 server shut down ages ago).

    • Bull0 says:

      Bullshit, plenty of modern offline games. If these people were complaining about the game being announced as online only, I’d probably be right there saying sure, it sucks that it doesn’t have it, but that’s kind of the way the wind is blowing, sorry. Braben fucking *told them* it would be there, took their money, so regardless of how legitimate that offline dream is, Braben endorsed it and took money for it, then announced a month before release that it was a lie. Very very different story. If you’re down with that, what else are you down with? Shudder to think, really.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      To the 30- era… I feel really sorry for you when I see the world your entering and the one your building.

  34. Scurra says:

    Wow, that was an understated announcement. I hadn’t even realised what it meant in the newsletter where it’s a single line buried in the middle of a whole lot of hyperbole about how great the game is. It’s not mentioned at the start of the newsletter (which, instead, boasts about adding five new ships to the game) and it’s not amplified in any fashion in Braben’s piece.
    I guess I’ll have to brave the forums (I haven’t been to them because I’m not a beta player so reading about other people’s experiences is a bit frustrating) to find out why they thought that something as big as this wasn’t actually worth more comment…

    So that’s two KS projects that I backed two years ago that still haven’t delivered that have both quietly decided to drop their original commitment to offline single player (although I guess I’m the only person here still playing Godus?!) I don’t think I’d mind so much except that in both cases it must have been abundantly clear fairly early on that the offline option wasn’t going to work, so I don’t understand why they waited so long to actually admit it, and admit it in such a low-key fashion. I can only assume it was for financial reasons, but it doesn’t reflect well on them at all really.

  35. schlusenbach says:

    I really dislike Frontier for this. I don’t have a problem to play “online solo”-mode now, but I simply don’t like the idea of not owning the game. In 5 years from now, they might shut down the servers, because it’s financially not feasible to run the game. Or they might want monthly fees for the same reason. Or they might shove some in-game ads into my universe, simply because they can (the EULA mentions that).

    I hate that this kind of promising features and not keeping them has become a standard. Why should I believe Frontier that they will add all the features they promised after the release?

    Two weeks ago I wanted to buy ED together with a HOTAS X and a new graphics card and explore the galaxy over christmas. That’s not gonna happen now. Perhaps I will buy it next year (because I really _want_ to play a new Elite), but that depends on how they support the title after release.

    Still, this is very disappointing.

  36. Arithon says:

    I have sympathy for those people who wanted a game they could play offline because they don’t often have a good connection.
    But there are a lot of people flaming for the fun of it, making personal remarks at people who dare to disagree with their viewpoint.
    The game’s solo play mode uses as much network traffic as open play, so it hardly came as a shock that offline play was going to be too difficult to implement – certainly in time for release.

    We have always said the way to play the game is online – indeed it says so in the quote of me being circulated. The choice was develop the game in the way we wanted, or not. Trying to make it offline would have made both experiences worse than we were willing to tolerate. We had to make the decision and have done so. I would say that an offline rewrite of the game is unlikely for the future. Michael

    • horus_lupercal says:

      Furthermore there’s many on here acting like the Developers have known for ages that there wouldn’t be an offline mode whereas the executive producer has stated “Because we wanted to be certain before announcing. This isn’t the choice we wanted to make, but one we had to.”. (source – link to forums.frontier.co.uk)

      I share your sympathy for those upset at this decision and I hope they can get a refund of the game, i.e. £35 – £40, I don’t think they should get a refund for Beta access cost when they’ll have likely played for many hours.However I have no sympathy for claims that Frontier knowingly lied about the situation, instead it seems that they tried to implement it and realsied that it would take so much work that it’d derail the implementation of other features to the detriment of the game. As usual there’s a lot of internet vitriol and heightened outrage being thrown around, along with the expected threats of legal or governmental action, making those who are outraged at this decision appear as the majority.

      Hopefully they can work on implementing offline mode once the other promsied features have been created and put in the game but, based on various statements from developers that could be exteremely difficult however seeing as they are going down the always online route they need to make sure that the servers can handle the load, I’ve experienced several freezes as my computer synch up with the servers. That needs to be sorted prior to launch.

    • Emeraude says:

      They have always, except in the FAQ of their Kickstarter page, during the Kickstarter:

      Update! The above is the intended single player experience. However it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server. You won’t get the features of the evolving galaxy (although we will investigate minimising those differences) and you probably won’t be able to sync between server and non-server (again we’ll investigate).

      Last updated: Tue, Dec 11 2012 10:56 AM CET

      Pure bait-and-switch.

      • horus_lupercal says:

        “Pure bait-and-switch.”

        How is it “Pure bait-and-switch”?

        They tried to implement but realised it would take so much effort that it would detract from implementing other features so they decided to focus on the toher features. Explain how that’s fraud, bearing in mind that KS pitches are not legally binding in anyway and KS make this very clear.

        • Emeraude says:

          The intention of the bait-and-switch is to encourage purchases of substituted goods, making consumers satisfied with the available stock offered, as an alternative to a disappointment or inconvenience of acquiring no goods (or bait) at all

          That’s a bait and switch, by definition. If you’re treating KS as a pre-order that is. I’ll grant you that.

          Any other question ?

          • horus_lupercal says:

            I note how you didn’t touch on how it was fraud, which is what bait and switch is. Bait and switch is normally applied to hypothetically available products NOT a pitch. You’re also missing intent, fraud generally needs an intention to be dishonest on the part of those committing the fraud, something I think is definitely lacking here unless you ahve proof that not providing an offline component was always their intention and they just lied to get the cash.

            Additionally by your rationale nearly every game ever made is guilty of fraud seeing as the developers always talk about all the features they’re going to include but as they work on the project they realise that they can’t implement the feature, heck KickStarter has a section specifically about this. Not fulfilling every single thing mentioned in a pitch is not fraud, it’s not bait and switch, it’s simple reality. yes it sucks and I feel for those who bought the game believing they’d be able to play it offline and I hope they can get a refund but to start accusing Frontier of fraud shows A) a lack of perspective and b) a tendency to engage in hyperbole.

          • Emeraude says:

            You’re also missing intent, fraud generally needs an intention to be dishonest on the part of those committing the fraud, something I think is definitely lacking here unless you have proof that not providing an offline component was always their intention and they just lied to get the cash.

            No the thing is that, they’ve been treating offline as superfluous feature to be shoehorned in if possible instead of a definitive feature that had to be there. But then they advertised it as a definitive feature. Note that KS FAQ didn’t say the offline mode could be there. It said that it *would*, but that the experience would be different from the online one – which was fair and expected.
            Given how development works, that tells me they didn’t build for it from the start, which means their intention of honoring their engagement was secondary by design.

            That’s intent enough for me.

            Additionally by your rationale nearly every game ever made is guilty of fraud seeing as the developers always talk about all the features they’re going to include but as they work on the project they realize that they can’t implement the feature

            Unless I missed something, not every game ever made was *sold* before completion on the strength of promised features that were then cut off. And if they had been, yes, there would be reason for outrage.
            That’s the nuance. As I specified: “IF you’re treating KS as a pre-order”. Which developers do as long as it fits them – then they switch back to the KS as donation model.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          It is a bait and switch. If you promise many things and people give you money to make that a reality.. and later you decide not do follow up on some of those promises then that is a bait and switch.

          I also suspect they purposely witheld the knowledge that they wouldn’t develop an offline version. Because they’re quite far along and they should have known for quite some time by now. But that’s just my suspicion.

          • horus_lupercal says:

            “It is a bait and switch. If you promise many things and people give you money to make that a reality.. and later you decide not do follow up on some of those promises then that is a bait and switch.”

            Bait and switch, as it applies to crowdfunded projects, is a very murky area. As with msot areas of fraud intent to mislead needs to be proven, so far there’s no proof on intent beyond –

            “I also suspect they purposely witheld the knowledge that they wouldn’t develop an offline version. Because they’re quite far along and they should have known for quite some time by now. But that’s just my suspicion.”

            According to the executive producer they were trying to fit in an offline mode but decided recently that it would take so much effort that it would take time away from other more pressing, in their opinion, features which would likely have also resulted in screams of fraud, legal action, etc. if they decided to ditch that so they could focus on rewriting swathes of the game to provide on offline option.

            As I’ve already said I have sympathy for those who feel betrayed by this and I hope they get a refund however people need to realise that you’re not going to get everything you want with KS projects. The developers will make compromises, they will ditch functions they wanted to include but realised they couldn’t without detrimentally affecting the rest of the game, they’lla dd features as the development goes on etc. I wish this didn’t happen and that every game was exactly what we were initially promised but unfortuantely that’s not how these things work.

          • fish99 says:

            horus_lupercal, remember a lot of people purchased the game through the website as a regular pre-order long after the kickstarter ended.

    • Archonsod says:

      Their explanation would be fine; if we hadn’t already had three Elite games working perfectly well without an online component. For a lot of fans of the first three that’s where the problem is. We didn’t want or ask for most of the crap they’re adding, just good old Elite.
      I mean, if I really wanted a dynamic economy and scripted missions which affect the universe I’d go back to playing the X series, which has both. Oh, and manages to do it without needing to go online in the slightest to boot.

  37. Silva Shadow says:

    The new trend now is to promise everything, get everyone’s money, and then make it difficult to get a refund after you retract features almost silently.

    There was never going to be an offline single player game, these folks know what they’re doing, it was calculated most likely and not an issue to create an offline version of the game. This always online bullshit is there to stop people from pirating the game, and guess what? Everyone who wants the game already paid for it in the kickstarter or has it preordered and they’re the ones being shafted.

  38. Janichsan says:

    I’m not sure if I have missed that somebody in this discussion already stated this, but from the latest newsletter it seems that you can play offline, but just not all the time. Here’s the specific quote (my emphasis):

    Galaxy, story, missions, have to match, and 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. A fully offline experience would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering.

    So there’s apparently no requirement to be constantly online.

    The question is what they mean by “from time to time”. Does it have to synced every hour? Every day? Once per week? Once per month?

    • aleander says:

      Every time you do trade. Every time you accept/complete a mission, Every time you change systems…

      …every breath you take…

      • Janichsan says:

        Great. F*ck. That’s worse than expected… and I was so much looking forward to that game.

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          Yeah, Michael Brookes confirmed that a consistent internet connection is required for Solo-Online.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s not just every time you trade. What you’re getting, apparently, is the current Solo Online mode where you’ll be booted to the main menu if you disconnect for 5 seconds.

      Especially in combat, because this now inevitably ties into the MMO requirements to limit people using log-offs or yanking the Ethernet cable as an exploit, if something goes badly in combat. If you have the Beta version of the game, try going into Solo Online, then kill your Internet connection and watch what happens.

      • Janichsan says:

        I know. I am in the current beta. And since their servers already seem to have problems coping with the players in the beta, I’m not very optimistic that the game will be playable for anyone when it’s fully released, unless Frontier has some bad-ass superserver hidden somewhere.

  39. MadMinstrel says:

    Well allrighty then. The game just went from the “Possible buy if stable after launch” category to the “do not want” category. Suit yourselves, developers.

  40. FireStorm1010 says:

    Hmm disppointng but i might live with it, i still plan to preorder soon. Question that came to my mind:

    If i want to play single player mode, i understand nobody can pvp combat with me. But how does it work in relation to other real players, do i sttill see them in space, even if they cant attack me? Will they still affect the evironement/trading in my world? Because PVP combat is one thing , but there is also the problem of hardcore players with tons of time exploiting all nearby best missions/trading options/minerals/exloring before someone playing once-two times a week can even sneeze…

    • LexxieJ says:

      It’s a strange hybrid. You won’t see any other players, but the galaxy will evolve depending on what other players do, so for example, supply & demand could be affected for certain commodities in certain systems. Exploration however, will revolve around you and what you’ve found, so even if other players have visited a system, if you go there for the first time and scan it, you’ll still get the reward as if you were the first there.

      Hope that makes sense!

      As for mining/missions/trading being affected adversely, apart from in the core systems this shouldn’t really be an issue- the galaxy is so huge and the number of players relatively small that any impact is likely to be minimal to systems a little further out.

      • FireStorm1010 says:

        Yea thanks:).

        Its disspointing for me as an customer, but as a programmer i can tottaly understand the nightmare that would create developing and supporting 2 versions of the game, because it would come down to this. Yes abstractly one can imagine making a layer of interfaces for “server content generation” where one could plug in the super server side MP code or the much simpler static part (so you would get the shared big part of the game + the different distinct smaller server side parts), but it would still undoubtedly generate tons of problems.

  41. Horg says:

    In this decade, the greatest advancements in PC games development will be made by publishers seeking new euphemisms for DRM. The only limit to our collective disappointment is their imagination.

  42. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    You know what.. that is not okay. It may still be a fine game, but not what I signed up for. I may even get it later (and cheaper cause of kickstarter gubbins), but if I do, it’ll be at a discount or not at all.

    Also, doing this so close to release? How long have they been developing the game for now? This is only marginally better than not telling customers at all.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I think it’s pretty crappy that they are so strict on refunding. They are the ones who broke promises made. I’m hoping my request will go through, and I certainly think I’m entitled to a refund (IANAL), but whether they will actually give me one is doubtful.

  43. Premium User Badge

    TightByte says:

    In 1984, Ian Bell and David Braben released Elite for the BBC Micro. The program code of the finished game, containing ships and planets and all, weighed in at only 22 kilobytes!

    Impressive indeed.

    Today, 30 years later, Braben is unable to deliver an offline game due to its code apparently being both so vast and bulky (not to mention so secret) that it’s too much for any one player to handle.

    How the mighty have fallen.

    • Asurmen says:

      The scale and features of the two games are not even comparable. Apples and oranges.

      • pepperfez says:

        “Apples and significantly larger apples” seems more accurate.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        It is not the features. Mathematically all the game and content concepts are “solved”.

        It is the decisions on control and financing. Either DRM or DLC. Either preventing Piracy or allowing future purchases.

        If there is no online, they cannot advertise DLC. If there is no online, they cannot require “validity checks”. If there is offline, they have to use funds/time in developing a second server/offline client (see SimCity).

        All the counter arguments (dynamic universe, emergent, billions of systems and NPCS) have been solved in other games and on LESS powerful hardware. Often by gamers just wishing to play after the servers closed down.

        It’s pure foolishness to think it’s related to a requirement on a server, and not a decision to bind it to the server.

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          And if there is no offline, people cannot mod skins into their own game without having to buy the Frontier Development Skins DLC packs that are already being sold.

        • Asurmen says:

          Not my point in terms of technical details, just the flawed argument that it should be possible because Elite had it, when in fact it didn’t. Can’t compare them.

  44. Cinek says:

    “A fully offline experience would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering,” – loooool. Guy just doesn’t get it, does he? People that want offline single player are totally uninterested in the dynamics of multiplayer gaming.

    • Asurmen says:

      No, he gets it, they’re just not interested in making a non dynamic game, or diverting resources into making it happen.

  45. LexxieJ says:

    Why are so many people seemingly convinced this is a conspiracy; that the devs somehow planned this in advance, just to take your money? Are we all so cynical? Can we not, even for second, even vaguely entertain the notion that this decision was made because they had no other choice? That they either didn’t have enough time, money or even technical expertise to fully realise what they wanted to do? Is that REALLY so hard to believe?

    • schlusenbach says:

      It is hard to believe, yes. And it’s impossible to believe that they decided to get rid of offline singleplayer one month before release. They must have made this decision several months ago, no question about it.

      And another thing: they definitely could have supported singleplayer mode. There is no black magic to it. Of course it would have been different from online play, but that doesn’t matter. They simply decided that it’s too costly to develop a parallel singleplayer mode. So they gave up on that promise that made a lot of people support the game in the first place.

      • Cinek says:

        “And it’s impossible to believe that they decided to get rid of offline singleplayer one month before release.” – this. 1000 times this.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I think anyone with half a brain understands why it was necessary to make this change. That’s not what has people livid, and lighting torches. It’s the fact that they released the news a week before the release candidate goes online, and a month before the final game goes live, while at the same time heavily promoting sales of pre-orders. And without a word to the community that an offline version would be killed.

      There is a big question still out there, about when they made this decision, and if they delayed the news to make a few more pre-release sales.

      The salt in the wound, for those who wanted this feature, was the amateur-hour way the announcement was handled in last Friday’s newsletter, and the fact that they haven’t been (as mentioned above in the RPS article) more “proactive” in handling the situation.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Thank god, somebody who hasn’t got tar in his heart. I’ll repeat myself. This is not a faceless corp. This are the guys we sent pizzas during the last beta release. Show some humanity, for fucks sake.

  46. mr.earbrass says:

    Well I lost all my goodwill for Elite Dangerous.I only hope that Limit Theory doesn’t turn out to be a disapointment.

    • Cockie says:

      Well, Josh recently said this on the topic: link to forums.ltheory.com

      • Premium User Badge

        JiminyJickers says:

        Josh is a good sort. He is not even taking any more donations or taking pre-orders, because he believes that he needs to deliver what he has promised with the fund he asked for.

        Now that is a developer that is worth taking note of.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        I guess the good and bad news for all those waiting for LT is…I’m not releasing before all features promised in the KS are done. Seeing the backlash against FD’s decision, I actually went back and re-read the whole LT KS just to make sure I haven’t forgotten any of the promises :)

        …Josh for President? Sorry, make that World President?

  47. Tim Ward says:

    So, what are they *actually doing* on the servers that supposedly can’t be done offline? Setting prices and availability for trade commodities based on player actions? That does not seem like much of a big deal.

    • BlackAlpha says:

      You can’t calculate billions of systems with billions of NPCs, most of which you will never come across…

      • Cinek says:

        You don’t need to. Calculate only points of interest, put everything else into abstraction layer.
        Or if not – allow people to run the game in a LAN party setup – one PC (or more, needed be) for computing the galaxy, another PC for playing the game.

        • Asurmen says:

          They’ve said they won’t do the second one because they would involve releasing servers files.

      • Premium User Badge

        JiminyJickers says:

        The servers are not tracking billions of systems and NPC’s either. They are just keeping track of what the players are doing.

        If there was only one player connected, it would only track what is happening around that player. Just like what your computer is capable of doing for your actions and actions around where you are in the galaxy if you were playing in offline mode.

    • Krazen says:

      It’s not just the “dynamic galaxy” the server controls. In the multiplayer online part at least, almost all parts of the game including any station menu interaction, buying ship upgrades, frame shifts, jumping and so on all require messages from the server to work. I’m not sure how much of that is true in online single player mode but I suspect its the same, you just notice it less as it doesn’t have to synchronize all those action with other players at the same time.

      The way I’ve read the situation Frontier don’t want to release a version of the server that runs on the players local machine because they’ve realised it’s far too hard. The server software is probably complicated, requires some kind of database to run etc. Sounds like a complete lack of forward planning to me.

      • BlackAlpha says:

        “Sounds like a complete lack of forward planning to me.”

        Exactly. It sounds like another Sim City, to be honest.

        • Krazen says:

          It’s very different. In the case of Sim City they planned from the start to have no offline mode even though it was pretty straight forward to implement.

          • BlackAlpha says:

            Well, everything is straightforward to implement, assuming you plan for it ahead of time.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s probably a combination of things. One of the big ones would be how they would sync up player exploration of the Galaxy. In the Solo Online and All Online modes, players can discover and explore new star systems and sell map data that opens up new routes. That data is constantly updated for players in either mode, because they share the same Galaxy state (even if players in Solo Online never see another player). There will be things to find sprinkled through the Galaxy like alien artifacts (maybe), and one day the first Thargoid aliens will show up.

      How does that sync up with a player in a fully Offline version? If offline Player A discovers a new star system, the online players won’t know about it, and vice-versa. There are other things like interaction with the economy and injected events, but exploration of the Galaxy in all the different modes might have been the deal-breaker.

      • cederic says:

        I don’t need it to sync up with an offline player. Let people in a shared universe share exploration discoveries. Let me explore my own universe. Please?

    • Arithon says:

      A lot of the game functions are server side. If they could just designate a PC the server and run that way, why didn’t they do this for themselves at EGX and other places? Instead they compiled a new build with everything removed but the tutorials to demonstrate the game.
      If creating a LAN server for the game was dead easy, or they had the means to use even multiple PC’s for a server setup, surely they’d have done it in order to sell the game?
      Frontier could not help but know that their announcement would get a bad reaction, but they went ahead and made it before the game release. Bad PR, but honest.

  48. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This is nothing short of a con. Disgusting behaviour.

    Frontier know fine well that there is nothing dangerous about shipping server binaries, they’re choosing not to because they think the consumers interests should come second. esp. the interests of the consumers they already deliberately tricked.

    If they were honest about the U turn I’d have more respect, but expecting the public which includes people who know what they’re talking about it to buy this nonsense is too much.

  49. Martel says:

    Will the online singleplayer have the ability to pause? That alone is what drives me more towards offline games than anything else.

    • Premium User Badge

      TightByte says:

      There’s no pausing in the “Solo” play mode (which is what I guess we are calling online singleplayer) even though you would nominally be the only one impacted by pausing.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Like the others said, no Pause. However, in practice this applies mainly to being engaged in combat, or if you’re running a bulletin board mission on a timer, where the clock keeps ticking in the game world.

      Any time you’re not actually in combat or running one of those missions, it’s easy enough to just log off the game in deep space, or when docked at a station where you’re not in immediate danger.

      It doesn’t solve the “answering the doorbell” problem in every case, and it does mean I have to think more carefully about when I can have an EliteD gaming session instead of playing something else. Frankly, it limits the time I spend in the game, compared to other non-MMO or multiplayer games where I can pause at any time. But it’s worth it to play this particular game, so far.

  50. derbefrier says:

    Hmmm if they are offering refunds I may try to get in on that.

    • Cinek says:

      That’s the only good thing in this whole scandal. At least they offer refunds, so you can’t tell them that they’re worse than EA

      • Asurmen says:

        EA offer refunds. Nice try.

        • pepperfez says:

          You saw it here first, folks: “FD: Officially worse than EA.”

          • Asurmen says:

            I lol’d. I wonder if that means FD are in the running for Worst Company of 2014?

        • JonClaw says:

          EA offered refunds to Origin customers only. If you bought third party (Gamersgate, I’m looking at you), you were SOL.

          • Asurmen says:

            I know, but that doesn’t stop the statement being true. EA don’t control other companies and how they work.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Do they though?

        I’ve seen conflicting statements on the boards.

        They’ve been very shitty at communication about this.

        I’ve requested my money back in any case so we’ll see what happens. But at least they’re not as easy to talk to as EA is.

        • Joote says:

          My request for refund is also in. This is so unacceptable. I backed the game purely because of the promised offline single play, and to have this feature exchanged for sad excuses as to why they can’t do it makes me sick.

          Of course they can do it. They are just to lazy or are worried about piracy, neither of which appease me in the slightest..

        • derbefrier says:

          I put a ticket in we will see how it goes. I am honestly not expecting much. They have some shit in their return policy saying they won’t do it if you have downloaded thew files or something so unless they are making special exceptions in light of this announcement alpha and beta backers may be shit out of luck.

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          I put my refund request for my pre-order in on Friday as soon as Michael Brookes confirmed that there is no plans for an offline mode in the future. I haven’t received a reply to my ticket yet, hopefully soon.

        • Asurmen says:

          They’ve said it will be on a case by case basis, but they’d be pretty dumb not to allow all the refund requests.