Offline This – Elite Dangerous Refund Plans Detailed

Little bleak out here.

When Frontier Developments announced a week ago that they’d scrapped Elite: Dangerous‘s promised offline singleplayer mode, they were a little hazy on what would happen for folks who wanted a refund. It was a feature Frontier had listed on the Kickstarter that raised over £1.5 million, after all, and one they still teased as Elite went through its expensive paid alpha and beta stretches. Well, Frontier now have some vague policy on refunds, and it’s questionable: if you’re played at all, you can’t have one.

Creator David Braben explained in this week’s Elite newsletter that they’ve started going through refund requests and chiefly follow two simple rules. If you simply pre-ordered the game from Frontier, you can have a refund. If you’ve played in the alpha or beta phases, regardless of whether you backed the Kickstarter or bought access later, can’t get a refund. If you don’t fit into either category – perhaps you’re just a plain old regular backer who wants a refund – Frontier are still working on that. Braben says:

We want to make sure we treat each person’s situation with the thoroughness it deserves, and have contacted each of them to ask that they bear with us over the next few working days if their circumstances do not fit either criteria above as we look into individual requests.

Honestly, I think they should be a lot more forthcoming with refunds and set out a very clear refund policy. Yes, folks may have played the alpha or beta for a while but those were perks – expensive perks. In the end, the finished game isn’t what they were sold. This might not be a dealbreaker for everyone, but it is for some. Even folks who intended to play primarily offline might still have gone online to check out progress on the game they’d paid a lot for, as that was the only option. And Kickstarter backers who haven’t played it should definitely have the option of a refund.

Braben concedes that they were wrong to not mention their uncertainty about offline support earlier. “In retrospect we should have shared the fact that we were struggling with this aspect with the community, but we were still trying to find a solution,” he says. He reiterates that they focused on an online connected world all along, designing the game and building their tech around the online multiplayer and online singleplayer modes. Hacking bits out for an offline singleplayer version would be both a game they don’t want to make and a huge amount of work. He also said that should they shut the servers down, they’d release code for people to run their own.

But, ultimately, they sold a game saying it’d do something, and it doesn’t. Yes, Kickstarting is technically about financially funding a project that could go in any direction, not pre-ordering a product, but the ‘rewards’ are not as advertised either. If Frontier think cutting offline singleplayer isn’t such a big deal for players, they should be more lenient with refunds.

I’m increasingly hesitant to put up money for anything that isn’t a game I’d be happy with in its current state. If it’s an interesting project or a developer whose work I like, I’ll put a few pounds towards seeing something interesting happen with no particular expectations or demands. But I think I’m about done with forking out loads of cash for a spec of a game, the promise of a feature list.

387 Comments

  1. Hypnotron says:

    am so full of not surprise.

    • Asurmen says:

      Surprise for what?

    • dreamscape says:

      Offline mode was a request from some backers (more like blackmail) at the time (especially from a high tier backer).
      It was not an original goal. It was only put in the FAQ afterwards.

      • Distec says:

        Could you elaborate on the “blackmail” bit?

        • dreamscape says:

          During Kickstarter, certain people (especially a high tier one that didn’t need offline) were removing their pledges to force Frontier to offer an offline mode.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            Evil backers threatened to not give Frontier their money!
            They *had* to lie via omission for months and months and then offer an exploitative refund policy or the bad guys would have won!

          • cthulhie says:

            Wait, are you saying that their purchase was contingent on the presence of a certain feature set? That their decision and indeed the extent of their support would be influenced by the content or design of the product?

            Those bastards.

          • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

            Could you elaborate on the “blackmail” bit?

      • airmikee says:

        Those evil, disgusting, wretched crowds! How dare they try and assert their will onto a company before giving that company any cash, right? Frontier should be allowed to take peoples money and do whatever they want with it, there should be no expectation of honesty and fair faith dealings. If those customers wanted to give input on the game before and while it was being made, they should have waited until it was released retail and purchased the game in a store. How silly and stupid of them to expect to be able to give their feedback during a crowdfunded project!

        Am i rite?

        • Hypnotron says:

          And where do they get off asking for OFFLINE mode. It’s not like any of the previous games in the series had an offline mode… oh wait…

      • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

        You say that because it was not an “original goal” that it’s apparently okay for FD to renege on it now. Well, what about all the other Kickstarter projects out there that add “stretch goals” to their projects? Are you also okay with them reneging on those stretch goals a month or so before release of their games? The stretch goals weren’t “original goals” after all, so it should be okay, right?

  2. Yachmenev says:

    It’s absolutely ridiculous if they refuse to refund backers who have payed more then normal, like £90 collectors edition, that was promised to be DRM free, just because they played the beta. There must be some kind of compensation for those (that want a refund).

    I can accept failure, and I can accept compromises. Software development is hard. But I’m not going to be a paying customer for those devs who feel that promises of DRM free versions can dealt with through a simple “oh, right. That one. No we’re not going to do that”.

    It was similiar with the Broken Sword 5 kickstarter, where Revolution was very suprised that people didn’t like that theirs (including mine) expensive collectors edition wasn’t DRM free. They did fix it, but only because of the shitstorm it caused, not because they had any plans to do it from the beginning.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      I suppose it depends. I know someone who put over 50 hours into the beta and is now asking for a refund. Should he get one? Should all Early access games be allowed to have a refund right up until the game games out?

      I dont think so.

      Like with DS9, when you buy an early access game, or when you back a project on Kickstarter you’re taking a risk. In fact, you’re sharing the risk of the developers, to an extent. If you’re not prepared to have that risk turn out to be true, then you shouldn’t be backing these projects. Wait for the game to come out and buy it then, once the reviews have come out.

      • Llewyn says:

        In this case Frontier specifically modified their KS pitch to address the concerns of potential buyers who wanted to play offline, in order to encourage them to back the project. That, to me, separates offline mode from the general vagaries of KS pitches.

        It would be interesting to see some UK backers test this with the county court small claims process.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          He would have to demonstrate that the offline issue is severe enough to warrant a refund. And playing for 50 hours online, IMHO, demonstrates the complete opposite.

          • Aninhumer says:

            Whether someone enjoys a product and whether it’s what they paid for are completely separate questions.
            If someone orders a full game and you give them a demo in the meantime, you can’t just turn around and say “Oh you seem to like that demo, I guess we won’t bother making the rest”.

          • sicemma says:

            “How can you possibly claim that our Kickstarter Waterproof Watch absolutely essentially needs to be waterproof when you’re clearly posting this from dry land?! The very nerve!”

          • BobbyDylan says:

            Except the game was always sold as an MMO, with offline mode as a feature.

            You’re waterproof watch analogy would only work if Elite was sold as an Offline game at it’s core. It wasn’t.

          • sicemma says:

            I guess this could technically be further up in the thread, thanks.

            No.

            link to forums.frontier.co.uk

            No.

            link to reddit.com

            No.

            link to forums.frontier.co.uk

            No.

            link to onedrive.live.com

            They absolutely promised offline, in many cases by being asked by single prospective customers whether they should buy it at all, with no possible way to play it online as an MMO, and in absolutely no uncertain terms said yes, there is, there will be an offline mode. Not maybe.

          • dsch says:

            It’s an untenable argument, trying to tell people whether a game is online or offline “at its core”.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            A waterproof clock that is not waterproof still tells the time.
            An online and offline game with only the online element left still lets you play.

            However, both are different from the “sold” product. So do both require a refund? At least with software, it’s easier to absorb some of the costs, delivery (download + banking costs) is the only one after the development costs. With a watch, you have a physical object that wears out and looses value if returned later. Software, you just generate a new CD key these days.

      • Yachmenev says:

        If he has paid for something that will not be delivered (DRM free was explicitly promised), and isn’t satisfied then he should request one, and if Frontier believes he has gotten the actual game, they should enter a discussion about compensation for the things he hasn’t got and that will not be delivered.

        As high as the risk of abuse is, it’s Frontier who has put themselves in this situation by promising things and taking payment for them before they were sure that they could deliver it. The most likely scenario if they hadn’t promised DRM free versions is that the kickstarter hadn’t been funded and we would have had a Elite game coming now. Which would be a shame considering how impressive it looks. But that doesn’t excuse them from consequences now.

        If I had backed the game for £90, I would have requested to get £70 back from them, the difference between the lowest tier to get the game, and the expensive DRM free collectors edition.

        • PoulWrist says:

          Requiring an online connection is not DRM.

          And you’re not actually buying something on kickstarter.

          • mlaskus says:

            It explicitly is. Requiring a connection to the company’s server to play at all is fulfilling the only purpose of DRM. To control the use of the product after it’s sale.

          • Artist says:

            Oh this smart remarks. This guy must have studied.

          • Yachmenev says:

            It is. They’re implementing a system that controls your access to the game, their ability to control the game experience and your ability to mod the game. How can a game with a system like that be considered to be DRM free?

            Just twisting the words about it doesn’t change the practical consequences of it.

          • Cinek says:

            “Requiring an online connection is not DRM.” – yes, it is. See: link to en.wikipedia.org

          • wraithgr says:

            I bought the extra super expensive elite pre-order and will not be asking for a refund. (Getting the full disclosure out the way)
            So far I have been playing fairly irregularly so this may only be related to patches, but every time I move from desktop to laptop I am asked for an activation code AFTER I put in my username and password. If that isn’t drm I don’t know what is…

          • iucounu says:

            I agree that requiring online to play is not necessarily DRM. DRM is digital rights management – it’s a system designed to enforce and protect the intellectual and economic rights of the owner (which rarely works, but hey.) It’s about intention as much as structure. On the other hand, requiring a connection may simply be because the service you’re connecting to lives largely online and wouldn’t work without it.

            The question is which is the case here? SimCity, infamously, tried to disguise their DRM scheme as a technical requirement (the calculations being done in the cloud). There was a secondary justification in that hey, SimCity is now social, don’t you want to be sociable, why aren’t you interacting with your neighbours, etc etc. And as it turns out people really didn’t like their nice soothing single-player experience being turned into an MMO or a Facebook game.

            What I find weird about this is that Elite has literally always been a single player experience, and even accepting the fact that it had b/w wireframe graphics, it fit into the 32kb of RAM on my Acorn Electron. An online MMO mode as the bulk of the game sounds excellent, frankly, but I’m a bit baffled as to why it couldn’t also have a cut-down offline mode in which things are treated more like the previous versions; and it seems like a decision that would have given me pause as a KS backer even leaving aside all mention of DRM.

          • Holysheep says:

            Calling Elite Dangerous’ REQUIREMENTS a DRM is as stupid as doing the same for any other MMO.

            Read the damn sources instead of dorking around.
            link to us2.campaign-archive.com

          • Emeraude says:

            Calling Elite Dangerous’ REQUIREMENTS a DRM is as stupid as doing the same for any other MMO.

            It would be, had the game not been advertised to have a single player offline mode from inception.

          • iainl says:

            Insulting everyone who doesn’t lap up the always-online DRM: The game that never gets old for Holysheep.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Certain free online games have zero DRM. They however then have no way to verify the client (in most cases, I guess there are actual solutions to this, similar to BTorrent/Bitcoin) and thus also have no login requirement.

            Elite will require login to the servers before allowing you to play. That is DRM. The “offline” version could technically be “DRM free” as after delivery and first time authentication, the game no longer needs to check online for either validity or updates. (We can forgive first time activation, as it’s part and parcel with delivery these days, no different than signing for a DVD delivery at the door, as long as it’s one time only).

            So again, they could be rather far from the truth if not delivering a DRM free version.

        • Emeraude says:

          It’s about intention as much as structure.

          Actually, no, it’s about end effect.

      • Keiggo says:

        The difference (as I see it) is that when you sign up for early access, you’re explicitly signing up for the process of a game in development that may never be finished.

        In the case of the Elite Dangerous Kickstarter, people are being provided with one of the backer rewards (the beta) but not the other (the DRM free, offline game). In the case of Elite Dangerous the product purchased from their site, you’re being provided with part of what you paid for (the beta) but not all of it (the DRM free offline game).

        I’m pretty sure the UK has laws pertaining to products that alter their functionality within 2 years of purchase. It’s how people were getting refunds from Amazon after the OtherOS was patched out of the PS3.

        • Baines says:

          If you sign up for early access to a first person shooter, and a year later the devs say “Yeah, that FPS part wasn’t working out. So we are turning the game into an overhead educational Bible game,” would you have the right to ask for a refund?

          For something a bit less hyperbolic, what if the devs promised Occulus Rift support from the beginning, but halfway through say “Yeah, we never really figured that feature would work. We were never serious about it and it never fit our vision, so we are pulling it. You all can get refunds, but only if you’ve never played the game.”

          Sadly, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue if Frontier Developments had admitted earlier that offline wasn’t likely. Instead they kept silent as it became decreasingly likely that offline would see release, instead letting buyers continue to believe that offline would be supported.

      • Cinek says:

        OF COURSE HE SHOULD GET A REFUND.
        Devs blandly lied for the whole development of a game that it’ll have an offline mode and suddenly popped month before the release with a news that it won’t have one of the major features (one could say: It’ll be missing half of a game – the DRM-free single player part). That DEFINITELY qualifies for a refund, full stop.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          So a person who spend 50 hours enjoying a product online should get a refund for the scrapping off a feature he’s never used?

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            How’re you supposed to use a feature that hasn’t been implemented?

          • Emeraude says:

            It’s maddening that it’s not only now considered perfectly fair to pay for the privilege of doing beta-testing, it’s considered perfectly fair to abandon consumer protection for doing it.

          • C.J.Geringer says:

            @BobbyDylan

            In general:
            If he paid for it as pre-order, than yes he should get refund for the feature he paid for and did not use. It matters not if he used it or not, what matters is that he PAID for it.

            More specific to the case at hand, keep in mind that the player who played online for 50 hours may have played online because there was no offline available and was using online merely as a substitute until offline mode arrived.

          • sicemma says:

            As far as I can tell from the refund experiences thread so far, people who bought alpha and beta access are being denied refunds even if they say they didn’t ever play the game. And people who bought the game or expansions through the ED storefront are getting support tickets back where they’re denied refunds on the grounds that kickstarter backers get no refunds.

            I guess it is easier to make sure the discussion revolves entirely around the demands of some mythic ingrate who strangely always played no more and no less than 50 hours though.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            So if I buy Arma 3 early access, and play it to death, till I move on to new things. Then I see that they’re not launching with flyable jets, I can use that as an excuse to get my money back and get a new game?

            Doesn’t seem right to me. I’m not advocating what FD did is right I’m saying that expecting a refund are enjoying “fair use” strikes me as opportunistic.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            The middle ground would be a partial refund, really. Refund the price of the full game from the price of the game + beta. If the person only played in alpha, refund game + beta from game + beta + alpha. And so on.

            Also, your comparison is flawed because offline mode is a game-breaking omission for some. Plus, I doubt Bohemia made flyable jets part of their FAQ.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            If it’s groundbreaking enough that they’ve never played the game, then they can get the refund, it says so on the FAQ. If it’s not that groundbreaking that they did play the game, then they don’t get one.

          • Foglet says:

            “No, I’m afraid we cannot take that iron back.
            No, It’s not a defect that it only heats up to 120 degrees instead of the 180 stated on the packaging. Whoever wears cotton these days anyway? Who are you, some king of bum?
            No, since you took it out of the box we are not even considering taking it back. Haven’t you read the store policy? Have you got no idea AT ALL how store policies work?”

          • Reefpirate says:

            I think all this talk about refunds is missing an important point: It’s totally possible that they can’t afford it.

            Development includes a lot of ongoing expenses. I’d be willing to bet that they’ve already spent most of the money, or at the very least would be unable to continue operations while also refunding the amount that consumers are demanding.

          • cederic says:

            Sorry, the person that generously spent fifty hours of their time testing an incomplete and buggy game even though it didn’t yet support the offline mode for which they’d bought it is not due a refund?

            This is going to be an interesting court case.

      • mike2R says:

        It does seem like a bit of an odd decision. I’ve got no dog in this fight, have not backed it, don’t care about offline single player, and frankly thought the wails of anguish when they announced the change were massively over the top – its not like there wasn’t going to be a single player after all, just that the clearly inferior of the two single player modes was dropped.

        But why not offer a generous refund policy? – I mean the people who are putting hours into the beta are by far the least likely to cancel. You’d get a few, sure, but the majority simply aren’t going to care about offline single player. This looked like a relatively cheap opportunity to publicly do the right thing – announce a full refund to anyone who wants it for a limited time period, then draw a line under the incident and move on. A nice bit of widely covered good PR for their game, and a chance to talk about how good the online single player is going to be.

        Instead they seem to have sat down and tried to work out what would cause the biggest internet shitstorm. Then done that.

        • Sgt_Big_Bubbaloola says:

          @Mike2R

          Fully agree with you there. Either Frontier are walking a financial tightrope here and cannot afford to give refunds at all or they’ve fallen into the classic PR trap that devs fall into (as in practically no PR training and wonder why they get such a bad reaction when they say something).

          • TechnicalBen says:

            They are releasing in a month. “It will continue to develop” instead of “we are really happy with what it’s at and ready to release” mixed with all the other “wait, releasing NEXT month?” type comments suggests one specific internal financial situation… :/

        • Reapy says:

          I was following elite only to the extent that I would think about getting it if I got an occulous rift down the line and was surprised that it even had online multiplayer. They probably should have just released a bad single player game and left it at that so they could hold onto their funding. Once they opened the refund gate I bet they didn’t have enough cash to hand out a refund to everybody asking, which also shows they have probably made a huge mistake.

      • Neurotic says:

        Spot-on. I think we should be honest about the fact that a good percentage of people, in these situations, are only paying so they can have early access to the game, simply because they’re impatient.

      • Dale Winton says:

        Played for 50 hours and wants a refund? What a prick. That’s just cheeky. I’d tell him to bolt

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          I’d tell him to bill them for 50 hours beta testing, but then I think the whole beta access thing is stupid anyway.

          • Caiman says:

            I don’t agree. He paid for access to the beta, for a gameplay experience, he was not required to actually deliver a report on that beta. Any feedback he may have provided would have been voluntary. I don’t think it warrants a refund at all.

        • Beernut says:

          Did he play 50 hours of the full game once it had been released? No. He participated in a beta, with all the flaws, unfinished bits and pieces and possible game-ending bugs, maybe offering feedback on forums in order to have those thing fixed for release. Alpha- and beta-access to games has been somewhat glorified in recent years, but in the end it’s the developers who rely on the user-driven tests of their game and in this case their server-infrastructure to catch bugs they could never expect to encounter while testing in-house. A user putting 50 hours of his time into testing a product provided a service.

          • Cinek says:

            “He participated in a beta” – and by that he actually helped the development of a game. To make it more clear: HE did unpaid WORK to improve a game. And now that’s the gratification he gets.

        • Cinek says:

          Actually comes out that people who NEVER played the game still CANNOT get the refunds.
          50 hours, 40 hours, 10 hours or no hours at all – doesn’t make a difference for Frontier.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Can’t +1 this enough. So many couch suits wiggling their fingers at a small developer.
        I sincerely doubt the majority here cannot play the game without an offline mode. To those who have that problem, I do sympathise with them and they should defeinitely get a refund.

        Then there’s those who because it doesn’t align with their vision of the game they feel betrayed and want to refund mostly out of spite. Guess what. Nobody cares what your vision of the game is. It’s theirs, and you gave them money for them to get it into fruition. Don’t back a project if you are not ready to not like what the devs come up with in the end.

        And of course, the always present hordes of people who misunderstood beta testing and supporting a kickstarter project with preordering. It isn’t.

        • sicemma says:

          I am sure reasonable people can disagree on whether this is some small developer being kicked around by meanies.

          link to frontier.co.uk

          From their feed –

          Frontier announces listing on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM

          Frontier Developments plc has applied for admission to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of approximately £39.4 million.

          Frontier Developments: 240 people and still indie

          The company’s market cap has more than doubled since it floated on the AIM stock exchange less than a year ago, and Walsh is in the midst of a recruitment drive that will add nearly 50 new people to a team already 240 strong.

          fdev stock

          FDEV Frontier Developm… 261.00 -6.50 -2.43% 87.29M

          It is probably unwise to simultaneously run “look how big we are” on your website to boost investment and “look how small we are” through your defence force to discourage refunds though.

        • Emeraude says:

          And of course, the always present hordes of people who misunderstood beta testing and supporting a kickstarter project with preordering. It isn’t.

          Would be less of an issue if the developer themselves didn’t treat it as such.

          We have a nice fiction going on here: you look at the Kickstarter page with its column of “rewards” and what are the rewards ? Not just some fluffy insignificant stuff, but the end products the people want to buy in the first place. At a price fixed by their market value.

          Kickstarter can claim as much as it wants that’s it’s not a pre-ordering system from all intent and purpose, it works like one, only one that deprives customers from basic protection.

          I can even given a base counterargument as to why it’s not a donation from a legal standpoint: I can’t get any donation to Kickstarter deduced from my earnings from tax deduction purpose,.
          It’s not recognized by the state as patronage. If it’s not, it’s pre-ordering.

          Yes, I’m being somewhat sly, but I hope you get the point.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Oh yes, i get what you say. In the issue about refunds in particular, I think frontier is on a lot thinner ice than with the offline issue we discussed the other day. I’m willing to admit that. They should’ve probably been a lot more forthright about that.

            My feelings about the vitriol stay unchanged though. And given that many of the people here are still complaining about the offline issue, which Braben already discussed pretty straightforwardly, i think some lines of thought are crossing.

  3. Baltech says:

    All the moaning about this is but a small precursor of what will happen when Star Citizen once sees the light of day. There is just no way in hell that they will be able to make good on all their promises. I’d like to be positively surprised but the hype around that beast is not of this earth. There’s bound to be quite a few long faces.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Look, I know we have to have the stupid rivalry subthreads, but Star Citizen could literally ship as a executable that just plays fart noises and sets your wallpaper to pictures of soiled cat litter (so long as it can contact the DRM servers), and it still wouldn’t have any affect on whether Frontier’s actions here are reprehensible or not. These are distinct events.

      • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

        Yeah, I’ve never understood why whenever there is an article about Elite: Dangerous (or Star Citizen) someone always, always has to chime in with an irrelevant comment about Star Citizen (or Elite: Dangerous).

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It’s fair to say we’re touching new lows when it comes to forcefully shoehorning Star Citizen’s hysteria everywhere. I’ve been thinking about it lately and i think i just got the confirmation needed: this is a new form of sickness, which i’m from now gonna call the “Robert’s Syndrome”.

      EDIT: Actually, it turns out this Robert’s thing already exists, but don’t google it if your stomach isn’t up to spec.

      • Neurotic says:

        I read the first few lines of the Wiki in my search results and instantly decided against an image search.

        • AngoraFish says:

          Well, that was interesting…

          • Sgt_Big_Bubbaloola says:

            *Reads first few lines of the Wiki* ……. nooooo no nonononononono close it, CLOSE IT!

    • SuicideKing says:

      I know! Frontier simply shouldn’t have tried making both Star Citizen and Elite at the same time.

    • Cinek says:

      “There is just no way in hell that they will be able to make good on all their promises” – that’s a ridiculous comparison. It’s not about making good on their promises, it’s about straight on giving up on 2 major parts of a game MONTH before the release, with no earlier warning:
      1) DRM-free gameplay.
      2) Singleplayer-offline mode.
      Nothing similar ever happened with Star Citizen and most likely: never will happen. They are being transparent with which features are going to be included in first public release of a game on what won’t. Yes, it takes time and effort to dig up this information, but it is there. I can’t imagine CIG popping up with shit like that a month before the release. In a worst case – they’ll delay it. Cause that’s what a proper customer care means – delaying product when you know you are unable to deliver such a feature of your game, or at a very least – delaying the feature itself and delivering it shortly after the public release (like Planetary Annihilation did – not an ideal solution, but far from the shit Frontier does).

      • Baltech says:

        Sounds reasonable. I was more thinking along the lines: more money involved = more people pissed off. And SC still seems to promise much more with much less to show for than ED. It was not my intention to invoke any ire. In an ideal world, I will play and enjoy both games. I’m just not surprised at companies going back on promised features. Could Frontier have handled it better? Yes, yes they could have. But it seems to me that Roberts&Co are setting themselves up for a similar backlash, if not for the same reasons than for others. Can any kickstarted game of that scope really meet all hopes and dreams?

    • Holysheep says:

      Star Citizen actually did worse than Elite, as it went online while it didn’t need to, at Elite’s contrary.

      In the alpha, at first, you could disconnect yourself from the internet after authentication, and you could keep enjoying your… well, hangar.

      After that, they actually DRMized it, and while all resources are offline (unlike in Elite!) if you lose your internet access, you’re disconnected… from parts like the hangar already.

      It’s probably because of CIG wanting to control what kind of ship the players can visit…. like, because yeah, to own a ship in the hangar you totally gotta pay hundreds for it, while they could just allow anyone to visit any ship before the release and then control if they have said ships when there is actual gameplay…

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Then again, a fully offline mode was never a part of their sales pitch, which is the whole point there.

        • Foglet says:

          Eh, yes it was. A Kickstarter campaign does not last a couple of days after opening. It can, for example, be altered if its host sees it necessary for whatever reason, which is what happened in our case. The off-line obligation was made within the campaign time frame.

          Edit: Nevermind, I misread ‘their’ as ‘Elite’s’.

  4. mukuste says:

    So you helped us alpha/beta test our game? Well fuck you, then!

    I wasn’t as outraged as large parts of the community about this whole offline business at first, but the way they are handling this is just dismal. So much goodwill destroyed.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Yes, to me testing is still a thing you pay people to do. The fact that nowadays the testers are paying for the ‘privilege’ of testing still blows my mind… but not nearly so much as the concept of punishing people for testing your game. Mind is boggled.

      • Premium User Badge

        JiminyJickers says:

        Yeah, exactly. The testers are doing Frontier a favour by testing and reporting bugs, but lets punish them even more for helping out. First, we will remove a major feature you want, second you can’t get your money back because you did a job we should have paid people for.

        • LionsPhil says:

          This post should be big and red.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          If you were doing them a favor you wouldn’t be paying for them. Stop being disingenuous. A very small portion of the alpha or beta testers are doing it as some kind of favor. Mostly they are just people with no impulse control, who are frankly getting what they deserve.

          There is very little reason to expect most KS pitches to survive development totally intact. Even a lot of the very successful ones badly miss their timelines and/or scrap features, and that isn’t even getting into the majority which simply never make it anywhere near completing what they said.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Mostly they are just people with no impulse control, who are frankly getting what they deserve.
            Something something victim blaming.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            If you were doing them a favor you wouldn’t be paying for them.

            If you do something for someone else that they need without requesting compensation, you’re doing them a favour.

            If you do something for someone else that they need without requesting compensation, but you want to do it so badly that you offer something to do it (even though the other party would benefit more from it even if there was no exchange of value), you are Spongebob, and also paying someone to do them a favour.

          • Reefpirate says:

            So you’re just going to pretend that everyone who played the pre-order wanted to do legitimate QA work instead of just play something shiny and new? People don’t treat paid-betas like real beta tests. They play them like games, and want to play them before everyone else in the majority of cases. It’s a symptom of impatience rather than some sort of goodwill bug testing initiative.

            If anything it gives a good excuse for incomplete functionality, but trying to pretend that people wanted to do proper bug testing instead of fly around in cool spaceships I think you’re twisting the truth more than a little bit… And trying to make it into some sort of workers’ rights sob story is hilarious.

            Oh the poor exploited QA testers, they have to pay Frontier just to do their job! And now look! Give me a break.

            I think it was pretty transparent that anyone who bought in early was investing in a future idea, and that future is going to be uncertain in game development.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            It really doesn’t matter what they wanted. Them playing the game generates valuable information for the dev without any need for direct interaction. That’s one of the things about always online, a player can be watched constantly and issues that they find can be flagged automatically.

            Chances are that frontier saved a lot of QA money by letting people play early.

          • SheffieldSteel says:

            “Mostly they are just people with no impulse control, who are frankly getting what they deserve.”

            That is Kickstarter’s new marketing slogan, right there.

  5. cabbagered says:

    I’ve spent a fair amount of effort avoiding always online games and a handful of other DRM solutions that I find unacceptable. Now I find out that not only have I supported such a product, it was from a small developer that I was trying to support. Infuriating. Had I only bought a pre-order I would be fine, but the fact that I paid significantly more to fiddle with the VR settings only to find that they were a little undercooked now means that I cannot receive a refund? What has changed over the past two months that you’ve only just now discovered that you will not be able to deliver an offline mode in a product that is about to ship?

    • Artist says:

      Simple. You could play with always on (even in solo mode) and enjoyed it. Wouldnt refund you too, because you can contiue to do so. But hey, why not a bit raging, right?

      • Emeraude says:

        Even more simple: Frontier Developments could have not promised something it wasn’t going to deliver.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          Or, once they realized they wouldn’t be able to deliver what they promise, at least attempt to refund people who bought their product based on their promises.

  6. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This position is legally untenable, the product or service isn’t fit for use.

    Or they could ship the game with a local server and point the client at that. I know what I’d do but I wouldn’t have any plans to hold access to the server over players.

    • drewski says:

      Mmm, whether or not those sort of consumer protections apply to something like Kickstarter is, I suspect, yet to be definitively settled.

      An annoyed and enterprising class action lawyer might have fun with this.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Should add Godus to the List.

        Promised: A God game, of the like of Populous and Black and White

        Delivered: A Mobile game with in-app purchases.

        Funny, that didn’t make the RPS list of outrage though. Guess DRM is more of a hot-topic.

        • Cinek says:

          Read some RPS coverage of GODUS: link to rockpapershotgun.com – as far as I’m concerned it did made it to the “RPS list of outrage”.

          • drewski says:

            Hey, he was building a perfectly good straw man there, don’t you go demolishing it by actually doing a tiny amount of research.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            I stand corrected. Thank you.

        • Lacero says:

          Like that joke about the bear, if people are still going back to give molyneux money they’re not doing it because they believe the promises.

        • spacedyemeerkat says:

          What they’ve done with Godus makes the offline issue with Elite: Dangerous pale into insignificance.

    • Asurmen says:

      Oh, I want to arm chair lawyer too! :p

      I can only assume that alpha/beta access that has been used constitutes a suitable resolution for both parties as product was provided as advertised (alpha/beta access) and the actual release was just a bonus.

      Remember that refund policies are there to protect both parties.

      The decent thing to do then would be separate the aspects of alpha/beta and release from the costs and refund the release portion (and/or refund a portion of the alpha/beta depending on amount of use). That’s the bit that hasn’t been delivered yet and therefore not used, and the product won’t be as advertised/promised.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      Saw someone on the forums there claiming that when people bought into the beta, they were buying beta access as the actual product, and a copy of the full game was being given to them as a reward/gift sort of thing once the game hits retail.

      I suppose by that definition, playing the beta would invalidate your refund chances, although it does seem an odd way to look at it. No idea whether the company itself subscribes to this position, or whether it is just apologia thrown up by the threadnought.

      • The Sombrero Kid says:

        Trading standards has been pretty clear in the past, that bundling the real product for free is just semantics. If it’s part of the original offer and isn’t supplied, the original product the customer bought isn’t fit for use, whether the seller believed parts of it were free or not. Even assuming a court would take the sellers position as valid I would expect contra proferentem would mean the buyers interpretation would take precedent.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Yep, they frown on that for these exact reasons. Generally it’s those selling “a postage stamp” with a free packet of some illegal (though only if sold) product/substance.

          Not sure if they are as angry when it’s to avoid service/sales/consumer standards.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            Most judges get pretty damn annoyed with people trying to play silly buggers with the law. There’s whole shelves of case law about people getting smacked down for trying to do an end run round contract laws and it pretty much always ends up badly for the person who thinks they’re ‘clever’.

  7. FurryLippedSquid says:

    How to ruin your public image in two easy steps.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Not sure Braben had too great a reputation to begin with.

      There’s this from Ian Bell’s web site, for example “Well there’s there are legal and moral issues here. Firstly, he’s used materials which are our joint copyright while claiming them to be entirely his. I really can’t see why he refrained from the simple courtesy of putting “Elite elements copyright Bell and Braben, used with permission of the authors” on his Frontier titles. [STATEMENT DELETED]. Morally, he’s not giving credit were credit is due, either for the sake of self-aggrandisement or to somehow try and erode my joint ownership of the materials.”

      Of course, this is only one side of the story, but it’s enough to cast doubt.

      Then there’s complete non-delivery of projects like The Outsider. link to rockpapershotgun.com This doesn’t mean a whole lot, but for some it did cast into doubt whether Elite: D would ever see the light of day at all.

      And for chuckles: link to twitter.com

      • mukuste says:

        His public image was very good because he was considered the genius programmer who made Elite happen on the day’s hardware. From what I’ve read now, Ian Bell actually had the larger part in this, but these things seem to be coming to the larger public’s attention only now.

        • Cinek says:

          “but these things seem to be coming to the larger public’s attention only now.” – blame Elite fanboys. They were so blindly focused on getting new Elite in their hands that they agreed to everything and dismissed every negative opinion on the game. Heck – whenever I tried to post any info on the guy online I was automatically named Star Citizen fanboy (cause, lol, only Star Citizen fanboys dare to criticise Elite or it’s glorious creators, everyone else love it unconditionally) and thrown into some random box of dismissal.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            Not me. I was doing my due diligence when I came across your posts, which led me to Ian Bell, which led me to the conclusion that David Brabham wasn’t the genius behind three games that I loved and in fact was someone morally, if not legally ripping off the genius behind three games which I loved which led me to not back or pre-order the game, which led to me feeling greatly relieved now as I am ONLY interested in offline mode in my space sims.

            So, thanks!

      • sicemma says:

        What really sticks out to me from that interview with Ian Bell is that, according to that, not only is David Braben the kind of guy who will screw his trusting buddy for an extra percentage point, he’s also the kind of guy who will then call his lawyers in and threaten legal action unless the terms under which the buddy was screwed are forensically accurately described.

        That’s much better.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          So he’s British Steve Jobs then, and Bell is Wozniak.

          • sicemma says:

            Also, let’s remember that this is all stuff they couldn’t even scrub under english libel law :)

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            @sicemma +1 if you can publish something bad about someone in the UK who has a lawyer and still own your own shirt by the end of the day you can be certain its true.

      • Emeraude says:

        Braben *is* the sole reason I didn’t back that project in the first place. Have no trust for the man given his history.

      • Casimir's Blake says:

        It’s reassuring that others are aware of this “background” between Bell and Braben. I was hesitant to give Frontier Dev any money in the first place due to this (yeah some of us do have principles), but with this latest “farce” I don’t think I’ll bother at all.

        Play Pioneer Space Sim instead!!
        link to pioneerspacesim.net

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Dude… that is the most mild, green avatar I have ever seen :)

  8. MrLoque says:

    Next in line: Star Citizen

    Staround was my last kickstarted project. Never again.

    • Cinek says:

      Star Citizen will work just fine in an offline mode. They also plan DRM-free release, dedicated servers for the people, and ability to mod the game – which people ALREADY do. So as far as I see – Star Citizen is far from that shit. Heck – it looks like some people who asked refunds from Elite planned to get Star Citizen instead, but now when it comes out that refunds won’t be possible – they’re kind of stuck with EA-style always-online experience.

      • Zuglub says:

        “Star Citizen will work just fine in an offline mode. They also plan DRM-free release, dedicated servers for the
        people, and ability to mod the game – which people ALREADY do. ”

        No they don’t. Stop lying. Using SC Assets to make some shitty video isn’t “modding”.
        Also I like how you predict the future and all the things SC will do. Let’s just wait and see?
        They’re years and years away from a release at the ridiculous slow pace of development they’re on.
        They’ve already changed a number of their “promises” since Kickstarter.

        “Heck – it looks like some people who asked refunds from Elite planned to get Star Citizen instead,”

        That was one reddit post and the guy got PLASTERED to the wall by STAR CITIZEN fans.
        There’s people buying Elite everyday and this whole offline fiasco was just a vocal minority.
        The vast majority of players are playing it online.

        ” they’re kind of stuck with EA-style always-online experience.”

        Ironically an SC fan is talking about EA-style concepts when every single playable asset of his game is stuck behind a paywall for the next 3-4 years. Tell me more. I have endless popcorn to listen to your malarkey.

        • Cinek says:

          @1 – I’m not lying, you just don’t use google. There’s much more out there than just people making movies with the assets. And that’s just a beginning. Cause you see – Star Citizen is build from ground-up on a heavily moddable engine. An engine that already has an outstanding track record of mods created in various games based on it, all sharing the same common base for modding.
          @2 – “Also I like how you predict the future and all the things SC will do. Let’s just wait and see?” – yes, let’s wait and see, cause doing random guesswork right now is just plain dumb thing to do.
          @3 – “That was one reddit post ” – one you know of. And: lol at using reddit as a source.
          @4 – “There’s people buying Elite everyday and this whole offline fiasco was just a vocal minority.” – said under article with over 200 comments on a whole disaster. Jesus, these Elite fanboys are damn blind.
          @5 – “The vast majority of players are playing it online.” – CAUSE THAT’S THE ONLY OPTION! THAT’S THE PROBLEM! They either play it online or not at all.
          @6 – Nope, not a fan, though I did back Star Citizen, and I regret it less that purchasing Elite.
          @7 – “stuck behind a paywall for the next 3-4 years” – source or STFU.

          • derbefrier says:

            its funny how people keep trying to shoehorn SC into this fiasco like it bears any relevance. classic deflection.

      • Holysheep says:

        SC actually HAS a DRM, to Elite’s contrary, since Elite needs online resources, while everything in SC, aside from multiplayer, is on your disk. You could pretty much log off after authenticating during the hangar phase, now there is a DRM checking if you actually don’t log off, and if you do, you are kicked from it while you have all the resources needed…. since it was how it was done before.

        • Cinek says:

          “while everything in SC, aside from multiplayer, is on your disk” – no, it’s not. Never was. In the same that everything in Elite never was on your disk.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Have you somehow missed the huge upcoming patch for Starbound? They ARE still working on it and provide regular news updates. And they haven’t gone back on any of their promises as far as I’m aware…

  9. wyrm4701 says:

    An offline singleplayer version would be both a game they don’t want to make and a huge amount of work.

    And yet, they advertised offline singleplayer as a selling point from the start. I guess it’s not surprising that they’d be fundamentally dishonest regarding the reality of refunds, as well.

    More and more it looks as though David Braben is looking to make retirement money at any cost…

    • drewski says:

      That’s just a nonsense accusation give how well the game is, by all reports, turning out.

      • wyrm4701 says:

        Thinkin’ out loud, mate. I’m having a little trouble understanding the naked disingenuousness on display. Appreciate your contribution, though.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          They might be legitimately stumbling around in a vain attempt to justify the balls-up they’ve made.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    Good article. Alice continues to keep the bar high for RPS.

    Braben concedes that they were wrong to wait so long before telling people they wouldn’t have an offline mode.

    But then they couldn’t keep bilking people fifty quid for pre-order-with-private-beta-access then turn around and say you couldn’t back out of this when they broke their end of the deal! Don’t you know that once you open a digital copy of a game, all the new box smell is gone forever?

    That last paragraph is spot on.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      They only mine a limited number of fresh 1s and 0s every year, no one wants your second hand binary.

  11. drewski says:

    David Braben clearly of the “we fucked up, it’s all your fault, you can’t have your money back” school of PR.

    Honestly, a blanket refund policy for anyone who wanted it – regardless of when they paid up and whether or not they’ve played it – would be the correct way to go. If the game’s as good as Braben’s claiming, it shouldn’t cost them much anyway.

    • iainl says:

      Braben’s attitude doesn’t exactly encourage me to make my most expensive games purchase of the year be something that relies on his goodwill to continue working.

      • Zuglub says:

        He mentioned they’d release an archived offline version of the game. What more do you want? A personal contract between Braben and every single one of the thousands of people who bought the game?

        He was honest about why they changed what they changed. It makes sense, if you don’t like it, don’t buy the game. It’s your loss.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          That’s too late for some you insensitive solipsist.

          FD took the money for preorders and changed the deal. I guess we shoul pray they don’t alter it any further.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            You realize that very few game KS ever release with exactly the terms promised. A huge portion of those that even success are late or have features drop. This is not and was not ever a core element of this game except for a very small minority. But there are a ton of people who like to disingenuously make a big deal about it.

            Is it a screw-up? Absolutely. Does it suck for the people who backed? Yes. Is this a lesson why you shouldn’t fund games that are not completed? Yes.

            Is this some evil plot to steal people’s money…no.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            This also affects people who preordered on a store mate. Kickstarter disclaimers do not apply.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            It’s also preorders.
            FD took people’s orders and changed the deal. Unless they refund those who want it I’ll absolutely consider it a scam and a con. All they fucking have to do is be decent humans and refund. That is all they have to do.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Joshua Northey

            I think there’s a difference in magnitude between “late”, “some features dropped” and a base feature that means access to the game being dropped.

        • Fobok says:

          Given they said previously there’d be an offline mode in the game as well, what’s to say they won’t change their mind about giving out the server backup when they shut down too?

        • iainl says:

          This may come as a shock, but the person who’s been saying until last week that there would be an offline version at release, then changing his mind, isn’t someone I desperately feel like trusting will now instead provide that offline version at a point when there will be no developers employed to make it.

        • prian says:

          He also stated multiple times that Elite: Dangerous would have an offline mode – as recently as last month.

          Why would you now believe him on something that would cost more money to develop and has no financial gain?

          If they treat the future like the present (and there is no reason not to think that they wouldn’t) then all the noises that they make about an offline client are just noise – a thing to say to generate more sales without any intention of delivery.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            I am sooo glad some sense still exists in this galaxy, so that people like you can see reality.

            I really hope more devs go by trust and honesty, as I’ve seen some of the small ones do (Gunpoint/KSP etc) so far. :)

    • Cinek says:

      NO, it wouldn’t be a correct way to go.

      A correct way to go would be by releasing single-player offline DRM-free version. If they unconditionally cannot deliver it before the release date – than make it a priority after the release. Also a correct way to go would be notifying players about problems like that few months after the crowdfunding was completed, when it was clear not to be possible within scheduled timeline. Announcing stuff like that month before the release, or actually: after opening the pre-orders (as opposite to backing), is straight on EA-move.

      “If the game’s as good as Braben’s claiming, it shouldn’t cost them much anyway.” – it obviously is costing them much. Otherwise we wouldn’t have this whole circus.

      • drewski says:

        OK.

        The not-correct-really-considering-what-they-promised-but-given-that-they’ve-now-made-a-completely-different-game,-the-best-outcome-that-is-realistic way to go.

        You will, perhaps, appreciate why I was slightly more succinct.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          “A completely different game than what was promised”. Stop being disingenuous. This is why people have a hard time takings the mobs complaints about these things seriously. Because you go off the deep end.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            The problem is this: You cannot understand how such a seemingly small and meaningless change such as “Single player now needs to be online to play” actually fundamentally changes the product for some people. Lets just examine that for a sec, shall we-

            If it was a tiny but incredibly vocal minority being incredible loud pains in the ass about this, then why not just offer them refunds with no questions, no caveats and no qualms. Surely the couple of thousands of dollars involved is nothing compared to the perception of goodwill engendered in the community.

            If it is a huge number of players who now don’t want the game any-more, because this change has changed their mindset from “so excited about the concept that they are literally willing to hand over their money early” to “Do not want”, then you have to concede that to a significant portion of people, this tiny change actually is a huge deal. If it is a huge deal to a significant number of people, then you have to surely understand that yes, this has fundamentally changed the game, even if you can’t see how yourself.

            If you still insist that the first option is correct, then why are they destroying their image by not giving the refunds. Are they standing up for right in a world of wrong, literally putting their company at risk of stymied development for years to come, risking the livelihoods of 250 members of staff because they refuse to be bullied by a couple of loudmouths? Well, as amazing as that would be, it seems unlikely, doesn’t it? Occams razor practically insists that in fact this is a case of giant company lies to sell product to customers.

  12. Clonezz says:

    Before this I was not in the Refund camp, now I’m thinking of refunding just to spite David Braben. Buy it later at a huge discount or in a bundle, I have too much game to play as it is.

    • Artist says:

      You want to spit that man into the face? How mature…. and manly….!

      • Foglet says:

        You confused ‘spite’ with ‘spit’.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Only a genuine manly man is capable of spitting another man at all, let alone with such accuracy!

        • solidsquid says:

          Little did Team Starfox know, Andross’s biggest weakness was a projectile David Braben coated in saliva

    • prian says:

      Just be aware that they could shut down the service at any time without any warning.

      If they game were to ever make it to a bundle then, chances are, it’d be at the end of its sales cycle and shutdown of the service would likely be imminent. It’s not like this company can be trusted to deliver on what it says it will do.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        If that were to happen server code would be released.

        • iainl says:

          People keep saying this. Why? Why would it be easier to deliver an offline mode after all your developers have been laid off than it is at or near launch?

        • FriendlyFire says:

          Until a month before shutdown where they say that the infrastructure is too complex and finnicky to be packaged in a format usable by end users, so well bye!

        • vlonk says:

          It is insane to belief that a company will declare their only meaningful asset free and open-access before their bankrupcy. This would most of the time be a crime against the shareholders interest, robbing them of their possible payout from the insolvency! That promise is therefore mighty thin and an offline version is not even in his plans anymore going by his own words in that newsletter.
          This will not be a creative game, it will be a social one. The play experience Braben deems unworthy is basically the one his games delivered in the 90’s.
          I bet my cat and a hat that Braben will not release the serverside code for free to the public when time comes. This ain’t Carmack link to github.com

          • paralipsis says:

            And I hear the majority shareholder of Frontier is a really litigious dude. Some guy named “David Braben”.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            There are many other routes to a server being shutdown besides the company going bankrupt – most likely that they are not earning enough from the game anymore, so shut it down to get rid of an expense while they focus on their revenue streams that are actually earning.

            But I completely agree, the day Brabham releases code to the public is the day hell freezes over.

  13. LW says:

    Offline solo play was a tertiary feature mentioned in the FAQ halfway through the Kickstarter period. Why people are acting like they’re suddenly jettisoning a core part of the game I’ll never know.

    • Yachmenev says:

      DRM free versions where part of the rewards for the higher pledge levels, from £60 and upwards. That’s something they promised, and not something they can say have been delivered with the beta versions.

      Also, the FAQ on on the project page still mentions that there will be DRM free versions.

      link to kickstarter.com

      What people are reacting to is not just that offline isn’t part of the game anymore, but more about how they handled it, with the lack of communication and now their attempts to refuse kickstarters a refund, without any kind of other compensations.

    • zarniwoop says:

      I don’t know what you mean by “tertiary feature”, but as I understand it the reason it was mentioned halfway through the kickstarter in the FAQ is that loads of people were contacting them and asking for an offline mode. They then promised those people an offline mode in order to encourage them to support the kickstarter. Once it was promised, a lot of people who would not have supported the game otherwise, gave them their money.

      This is why those people, and lots of other people like myself who didn’t support the kickstarter, but think this a shitty business practice, are annoyed.

      • sicemma says:

        It’s crazy to suggest it was some buried out of the way feature.

        It was continuously promised for years. The ED store itself, the EULA, David Braben himself and Michael Brookes the EP confirmed it multiple times on Reddit AMA and on the forum, various forum mods on the ED forum were confirming it right up until the day of the newsletter. There’s a collection of screengrabs (and only a small portion at that) of it being confirmed here –

        link to onedrive.live.com

        This really is a ridiculous thing to try and wriggle out of.

        • Cinek says:

          THIS THIS THIS.
          Offline mode never was a tertiary feature.

          • sicemma says:

            Also when you read the screencapped comments, bear in mind that Frontier’s interpretation of the above is merely that

            “Offline-only support was a requested feature during the Kickstarter”

            link to us2.campaign-archive2.com

            Ahuh.

    • prian says:

      Offline mode was a game mode of the game.

      It’s a core feature for some people.

      The reason it was mentioned in the Kickstarter is because it was a highly sought feature by many people. They kept inquiring if the game would have it and if it did then they would back the project.

      As such, Frontier said that there would be an offline mode to get those backers. They then maintained that there would be an offline mode throughout the entirety of their development cycle. Note, they didn’t have any qualifiers to the statement of offline mode. They were very clear and very specific that offline mode would happen – no ifs, or buts, or maybes – it was always a definite: yes, there will be offline mode.

      For some people offline mode is why they backed or later pre-ordered the game. For you it doesn’t matter and that’s cool. For others it is one of the primary reasons for supporting the game.

  14. Artist says:

    Its too obvious that this is also a DRM decision to prevent illegal copies. We crucified Ubisoft and EAs Sim City for allways on demands. Not sure why Frontier should get away with this?
    Oh, right – they have technical reasons… like Sim City…

    • mukuste says:

      The technical reasons here are actually credible. They’ve essentially developed this as an MMO — would you expect WoW to be able to put out an offline single-player mode without major re-engineering?

      The real problem is that 1) they’ve developed an MMO when they promised an offline mode, and they knew that many people backed due to this promise of an offline mode, 2) they announce this only now when it must have been clear that it won’t work out months ago.

      • Detocroix says:

        We’ll see 2 weeks after release how credible the claims actually are. SimCity was semi-believable because PR people will always hype and masturbate over details and there actually could have been some big online features that actually defined the game. Same is VERY possible here.

    • Zuglub says:

      The situation is different, the reasons are different, the technology is different, the development if different, the games are different… how on earth does your mind tell you it’s a similar case is beyond me.

      • Emeraude says:

        The claim is that the situation is different, the fact is that many of us don’t agree with the claim.

  15. blainestereo says:

    Good arguments against always online in Diablo 3 were:
    * you can’t play it on the plane or in other places with no internet access;
    * server latency is an issue, lag spike can easilly kill your level 60 hardcore character which sucks.
    Both arguments don’t exactly work for Elite because it’s best played with a flight stick and a VR headset so not exactly playable on the plane anyways; also, connection stability requirements are extremely low, it only uses server for mission generation/trading/low latency stuff like that.

    Good arguments against always online for Sim City were:
    * there is literally no need for that except as a shitty DRM substitute.
    It doesn’t really work for Elite because of reasons Braben clearly stated in the no-offline announcement.

    Good arguments against always online for Elite are:
    *…

    Bad arguments against always online for Elite are:
    * waaah waaah I am a horrible entitled baby that likes to cry about non-important stuff
    * NEWSFLASH a kickstarted game failed to fulfill all its promises 100%, oh the humanity
    * needing online is bad because I have a knee jerk reaction for things like that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      How kind of you to come forward with this even-handed, measured assessment of the argument here. I’m sure it’ll be received with the charity and warmth it deserves!

    • aepervius says:

      “Good arguments against always online for Elite are:”

      That you do not realize that there are good argument and resort to a childish insult tells a lot more about you than about the one wanting the offline mode.

      But sicne you are asking :
      1) some of us do not have good internet. Yes that become less common, but due to family, environmental, work, or whatever constraint this is still widespread
      2) some of us do not want to have their gameplay influenced by other people. Ever. Changing economy by player or whatever ? Not wanting that.

      To that I would add :
      “* there is literally no need for that except as a shitty DRM substitute.
      It doesn’t really work for Elite because of reasons Braben clearly stated in the no-offline announcement.”

      Yeah. like the original elite which was fully online. Right. You realize that the announced data exchange amount to not much in quanlity ? Just about data about the economy etc… Nothing really by today’s standard. Something which could have been made local by procedural generation. As for evolution ? Lot of algorithm to already calculate evolutions of so many entities. More than doable on a local PC. You don’t think that there server is doing 100 giga flops calculation on economy and factions , right ? Shade of simcity really.

      • Mansfield says:

        You are forgetting that there is a thing called solo mode, and Braben just mentioned in the latest newspaper that it can be played with a 10kbps network

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          NO THEY’RE NOT NO-ONE IS FORGETTING THIS AAAARHGGHKGHSDKG

        • Geebs says:

          That argument is embarrassingly self-contradictory: the server side is so hefty that you couldn’t possibly run it on your local machine, but the network requirement is so low that you barely need any bandwith to communicate with this godlike server?

          Not buying it. Or the game…

      • SIDD says:

        You’re forgetting…
        3) In 2-5 years time, when some of us STILL would like to play our game but the company have either gone tits up or just plainly decided that they’re not making enough money from this generation of their IP to keep the servers running, we’re fucked without the ability to either play offline or at the very least run our own servers.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          Server code will be released if that were to happen.

          • Llewyn says:

            Do you have any confirmed source for this? I’ve seen it in a lot of comments. There are two things I think of when I see it:
            – This is from the same company who promised they’d make an offline version initially.
            – More importantly, if they go into administration they won’t be able to give away their assets like that.

          • sicemma says:

            Ah yes, and if you feel like going for the same line a second time, they are again saying they’ll have a look at implementing an offline mode at some unspecified point in future, maybe.

            The kinds of claims about Frontier’s products that I’m interested in now are strictly limited to enforceable and verifiable claims, taking place wholly within the window of a credit card chargeback or paypal dispute. Everything else can safely be assumed to be whimsy.

          • iainl says:

            Say the same people who said the server code would be in the box at launch.

          • prian says:

            Sure, coming from the same company that claimed up until the last minute that offline mode would be there.

      • aleander says:

        Except that the Sim City argument totally applies here. There is no reason why the market/mission thing can’t be done locally, except for DRM. They’re running a version handling the full user base on Amazon’s cloud hosting, apparently, but whatever — you really, really don’t have to run it for the whole universe if there’s only one player, there’s only a limited space that has any activity in it anyway, and it’s not like “pretending to simulate a large world while actually barely caring about what’s happening behind the horizon” isn’t a solved problem in games.

      • blainestereo says:

        >1) some of us do not have good internet. Yes that become less common, but due to family, environmental, work, or whatever constraint this is still widespread

        If your internet is good enough to write angry comments then your internet is supposedly good enough for Elite.

        >2) some of us do not want to have their gameplay influenced by other people. Ever. Changing economy by player or whatever ? Not wanting that.

        This sounds horrible, my condolences.

        • solidsquid says:

          If you have a slow connection which is fast enough to let you do email then you can play it online. If you have a connection which disconnects frequently then you can’t really play online because any long missions have a high chance of you disconnecting half way through

        • aleander says:

          Not all “poor internet access” is “low bandwidth” or “high latency”. Sometimes it means “only in internet cafes”. In which case you can write a lot of angry comments, but is kinda useless for games other than PBEM.

          And a lot of dismissive comments would be totally valid if not for the fact that is was a very specific promise, in context where it was reasonable to assume it was a deal-breaker for many customers, and in which it’s also reasonable to assume that the economic untenability of providing offline single player was already fairly obvious.

    • Premium User Badge

      zapatapon says:

      I used to be unsure about what I should think in this debate, but thanks to your finely formulated and cogent arguments now I am convinced!

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Some do not have good internet access
      Some don’t want other players in their universe as they are in Solo mode even if you can’t see them
      Some want to mod
      Some want to pause
      Some want to play on the plane
      Some want to play when the company goes bust
      some… well there’s as many good reasons as there are people who kickstarted because they were promised offline play but here’s the thing, they don’t need a good reason at all, all they need is the features they wanted when they signed up or failing that a refund and a sincere apology.

    • Detocroix says:

      Good argument against Elite:
      I have a 3G phone connection with unlimited data but it usually delivers E or H connection due to coverage area issues.

      I can download it on my laptop at work, no problem, but I can’t play it at work.

      If playing Elite: Dangerous is like commenting on RockPaperShotgun, no problem!

    • Joshua Northey says:

      This is exactly my read of the situation. Is it bad that they promised one thing and are going to deliver a slightly less complete version of that thing? Yes. Should that be surprising with a KS? No. Would this in reality impact even 5% of the playerbase? Not even close.

      It is a few people who should absolutely get refunds and a bunch of people who like making every little thing into a crusade.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Please tell me you’re not serious and are attempting to imitate a stereotypical Elite fanboy.

  16. iainl says:

    So very glad I decided to hold off my pre-order until the last minute. Now seriously reconsidering whether I want the game without the offline mode that would enable me to play it on the move.

    • Zuglub says:

      As long as you have a mobile phone you can play online solo. It has ridiculous low bandwidth needs.

      • Detocroix says:

        As low as their promises for offline play? What if… it will require more bandwidth now that they don’t need to care about offline play promises anymore?

      • iainl says:

        If you want to pay the £5/month EE charge for tethering for me, sure.

    • Dilapinated says:

      Same here! I was so eager to get this and try it out on my new PC, it was going to be one of the first games I played on it. Really, really glad I decided to wait until release and avoid the mess it’s turning out to be.

  17. tumbleworld says:

    Yet another high-profile nail in Kickstarter’s coffin.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Not really. High profile crowdfunding is still just going through growing pains. What’s happening with Elite:D is just something that will teach the ones that will come with new projects what level of communication is needed for projects like this.

      And if we can’t learn to take the good with the bad, we will never have nice things.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        I always went into Kickstarter with the feeling that it was a bit of a gamble. Giving someone money to do something without a real contract is gonna be risky.

        • ferdinand says:

          Offline matters. If Planetary Annihilation would have been honest and told me and everybody that offline/single player would have a very low low priority I would not have funded it. As it is I would not have funded it. I still play Supreme Commander and the $40 PA sits there collecting digital dust.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            Oh, yeah, I don’t disagree with that at all.

            All I’m saying is I personally make a distinction between funding a Kickstarter and doing something explicitly called a pre-order. If I didn’t want to risk getting less than what was promoted, I wouldn’t kickstart something, but if I were to pre-order something, I’d expect to get it. I don’t intend to expect other people to act in the same way, though.

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          Offer, acceptance and consideration – its a very real contract and when someone drags one of these Kickstarter projects into court the judge is going to slap anyone who claims it isn’t so hard they’ll be seeing stars. This stuff isn’t new, people have been trying to skirt round contract law forever and judges have been slapping it down just as long.

      • jrodman says:

        I think it’s a real problem. This is a case of a pretty high profile kickstarter just deciding not to deliver what was offered, and then deciding not to refund backers.

        This isn’t the usual Kickstarter claim of oh we mismanaged our money or oh we failed, it’s just “nope, we won’t do it.” They’re flouting the system quite deliberately, and if we find out Kickstarter has no teeth to enforce projects to offer refunds when they bald-facedly declare they won’t honor the agreed upon deal, it’s going to have a chilling effect, at least in this field.

  18. zarniwoop says:

    Before this I was thinking about getting the game when it was discounted as I was never going to pay full price for a game that’s only going to last as long as they keep the servers running. Also, from watching my brother play I have some concerns, as beautiful as it is, about there being very much to do in the game. I can live with online only play, but it’s definitely makes the experience worse for me. Others may care more or less.

    Now, I’m moving more towards never ever giving this guy any of my money. I’d rather not encourage this type of behaviour.

  19. melnificent says:

    So to get the money back from them we need to….. start court action. A large promised feature was suddenly dropped AFTER taking money. A contract was entered into in good faith (there is legal precedent on good faith).

    Yes the Alpha/Beta were bought by some, but that was a bonus for helping them to develop the full game (off and online). To take away the reason that lots of people bought into it and refuse to issue refunds is not good.

    So chicken using courts it is. Not class-action, but death by a thousand cuts individual claims. After taking Orange all the way and winning over their in-contract price rises (£1,414 contract declared void) I don’t really fear doing it again for a lesser amount over a sale that later changed shape.

    • Horg says:

      A court action over this will be a non starter for most backers, as it will cost as much or more to list the case in small claims court and get a hearing. Your best option, if you have been denied a refund, is credit / debit card charge back.

      First off, check if your card supports this feature. If so, you are entitled to a charge back under the following conditions; ”Chargeback can be used in cases of goods not arriving, arriving damaged, arriving not as described, or where the merchant has ceased trading.” In this case, arriving not as described would be what we want to prove. Secondly, you need to make your case to the card provider to demonstrate a breach of contract. In this case, evidence from kickstarter showing your pledge, the advertisement of offline single player, the kickstarter ToS, and the dated announcement revealing the plans to cancel offline single player. You have 120 days after the date you were aware of a fault to apply for a charge back. Finally, contact your card provider and apply.

      If you used PayPal, you are probably screwed as uploading funds to PayPal is considered the card transaction, not using the funds from PayPal. If you apply for charge back, you will be applying for the card provider to recover money from Frontier as kickstarter do not receive your money. Frontier might object to a charge back but they would have to prove your claim invalid to do so, and with such a strong case against their removal of advertised features, they are unlikely to be able to do so.

  20. Arithon says:

    People who bought the game from Frontier on pre-order can get a refund, but people who have been playing the game all year, or since July don’t.
    Backers on the Kickstarter are not in the same boat, as they funded a game development, they didn’t buy a finished game. We made donations towards the game’s development (that’s what Kickstarter is) and it doesn’t mean you necessarily get the finished product you want, only the one they make.
    It blows for people that have a genuine reason to want an offline only version of the game, especially the long term Alpha backers.
    This is a case of poor communication rather than some grand conspiracy to defraud, since it is a long way from the whiteboard to the desktop. Frontier and David Braben (on the forums on Tuesday) admitted they could have handled it better in hindsight.
    I’ll hate to see the outpouring of rage when StarCitizen fails to live up to somebodies expectations, considering the sheer volume of money they’ve raked in.
    It makes it very understandable why Valve won’t even discuss making Half-Life 2:Episode 3.

    • solidsquid says:

      Kickstarter gets complicated if they offer the product itself as a reward. While they don’t necessarily have to deliver all the promised features, they do have a legal obligation to deliver on the rewards they offer. If the game itself is one of the awards, then arguably removing the offline mode means they now aren’t going to deliver the promised rewards which (potentially) could bring it back under consumer protection law. Also, since DRM free was an independent reward tier and there’s now no way to play the game without going through their servers they arguably aren’t delivering on that either

      • blainestereo says:

        Hello I am a lawyer specializing in Internet law and you are indeed correct, this behaviour is in direct violation of chapter sixteen of Internet law and is subject to a fine of no less than five million Internet points.

        • solidsquid says:

          Part of the contract projects sign with Kickstarter includes the obligation to fulfil the investment reward promises. Whether changing the rewards falls under consumer protection law or not will depend on what the law is where the person investing lives, but it would certainly seem to fall afoul of the contract they have with Kickstarter. Never claimed to be a lawyer, but this (not fulfilling the rewards) is something Kickstarter themselves said was a legal obligation based on their contract

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          The fact that you think “I am a lawyer especializing in Internet law” is obviously supposed to be a humourous and satirical statement shows how much weight your opinion should hold.

    • Detocroix says:

      I have launched the game once, ran it for 10-15 minutes. I have apparently received enough from my product :/

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      “…people who have been playing the game all year…”

      I am seeing quite a few claims on the forum that peeps who bought into the beta are being denied a refund whether they have ever fired it up or not. No way to know how true their claims are, but if they are legit, and these folks had bought the beta but were waiting for the offline bit of the beta before they actually played it, then they ought to be able to get their cash back, one would think.

  21. melnificent says:

    Just as an FYI. Frontier have said there are in-game advertisements planned and the only way to not see them is to play offline. So by not implementing the ability to play offline they are removing our right to not be tracked for marketing… Which we all have the right to request.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Have they explicitly said that, or are you going by the EULA which allows them to do that?

      (I mean, those two things are probably functionally equivalent, but they’re not exactly the same.)

      • melnificent says:

        EULA, which is a statement of intent.

        If I put in the EULA that there might be in-game ads, or law enforcement officials monitoring chat for illegal activity IRL. But it isn’t currently implemented then it is a statement of intent. It’s something that the devs intend to put in further down the line.

        Look at EA and the 30 days server shutdown stuff. It doesn’t mean that 30 days after you buy it the servers are going to be shut down. But at some point in the future they will implement that part of the EULA and shut them down.

        • pepperfez says:

          Ah, but you forget: Their statements of intent actually mean nothing, so we might as well assume the in-game ads are just as much a promised feature as the offline play.

  22. melnificent says:

    Third and final point is sadly,

    I told you so. I said from the start that Braben was pulling the wool over peoples eyes with Elite. That it was a nostalgia money grab. I hoped to be wrong, so much that I did eventually cave to nostalgia in August when it appeared that Frontier was going to deliver.

    These actions show that it really was a naked money grab. From the interviews saying offline was coming to suddenly dropping it right before release shows that they really wouldn’t have had enough money to make the online only DRM they wanted. Why else hide the fact they never intended to develop offline. They would’ve known 6 months-1 year ago that offline wasn’t coming as they weren’t actively making it.

    Frontiers finances were not in great shape before the kickstarter. They said anything they could to get the money to keep the studio afloat. And it worked, we all bought into the illusion of Elite.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      “I told you so” really loses some of its punch when it’s more accurately phrased as “I told myself so, but I didn’t believe myself! Well, I sure showed me!”

      • melnificent says:

        I freely admit I didn’t follow my own advice. I knew that they’d screw it up, but let nostalgia get the better of me. I’m human it happens. Is that really a bad thing to admit?

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          Nah, I’m just needlin’ ya. “I told you so” usually comes with a free bucketload of smugness.

        • Emeraude says:

          Yes, have your fleshly bit removed, only once you’ve been upgraded to a perfectly rational, unmoving bit of pure concentrated logic shall you be free*.

          *:level of freedom may vary.

    • mukuste says:

      As badly as they are handling this particular issue, there is nothing to suggest that the entire project is just a cashgrab. The game seems to be shaping up well in other aspects.

  23. sophof says:

    Just when I thought this all went remarkably smooth, Mr. Braben strikes again. This is all dodgy at best.

    • slerbal says:

      I know, right? Just when I was thinking “Wow! I can’t believe how well Elite is doing and how smoothly it seems to be turning out” they then throw themselves off the good will train and into the sidings of infamy (not one of my best metaphors, I know, but it *is* early!). I am shocked at how they are squandering their hard-earned goodwill.

      I was strongly reminded of this Robot Chicken sketch:
      link to youtube.com

      Jokes aside it makes me sad. I was hoping it would turn out to be a success story, and it still might, but the honeymoon is most definitely over.

      • Lacero says:

        Shunted into the freight yard of bad publicity. Spinning on the turntable of confusion. Subjected to the whims of the Fat Controller of fate.

  24. Foglet says:

    Ahem. Either one or the other of the following is true:
    – The portion of people asking for refunds is insignificant, as claimed by the developer and a vocal portion of the fans. Thus, it’s no big deal to refund and let them go in peace.
    – The portion of people asking for refunds is sufficiently numerous and insistent that the company faces considerable difficulties in refunding all such orders. In this case, isn’t it high time to stop and reconsider the claims you keep making about them being a minority?

    I personally suspect that developers have blatantly underestimated the number of fans unwilling to deal with always-on requirement and the degree of this unwillingness. They were not expecting an outcry on THAT scale. (On one hand, it’s clear as day why one can make this mistake. Offline-disposed people are below the radars for… this very reason, actually. On the other… Really? Thirty years in game development, and you have learned nothing from, say, the launch and eventual fate of Darkspore?)

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Are you suggesting the same company having problems with telling us first if a game will have a feature or not, second why that feature is being removed is then thirdly having problems telling us why it can or cannot give a refund?

      ;)

  25. Thurgret says:

    I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the game. I have, to date. I was always going to be playing the online version anyway. That doesn’t change that they have chucked a bunch of goodwill out the window.

  26. Cinek says:

    “if you’re played at all, you can’t have one.” – They aspire to be new EA? WTF?! IS THIS EVEN SERIOUS?!

    So much for crowd-funded games being done FOR the community.

    • sicemma says:

      Amazingly, even EA will let you refund a game you’ve downloaded and played.

      link to help.ea.com

      • Cinek says:

        Jesus, every day it looks worse and worse for Frontier.
        (though to be fair – I recall EA being unwilling to refund SimCity when time was due, though I don’t remember how exactly it ended up, luckily I avoided this flop)

      • LionsPhil says:

        Nice. It’s not strictly comparable, since even those terms wouldn’t allow refunding in this case, as they appear to be geared towards “I’ve bought an ‘finished’ game and it doesn’t run on my machine and/or is so unbelievably terrible that I’ve quit never to return”.

        This is subtly different in that its a break of crowdfunding and pre-order promises that then penalizes people doing voluntary beta testing. Nobody has played any hours of the complete Elite: Dangerous, since it does not yet exist.

      • mukuste says:

        Wow. I didn’t know about that. That’s better service than Steam, actually (but worse than GOG).

        • Cantisque says:

          To be fair on Steam, EA only offer refunds on their own Origin games and under strict conditions. With Steam, your first point of call for support would be the publisher for that specific game.

          • sicemma says:

            I would also like to point out that EA’s policy states that their offers are –

            “This is in addition to your standard return or refund rights.”

            Yeah. Not actually allowed to mislead people about whether they still have those.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Still miles better than Valve.

          • Nogo says:

            I had a rep refund me the Battlefield DLC (against terms) two weeks after my window had expired, after I had played it, simply because I asked nicely.

            Shit on their games or whatever, but their customer support is well ahead of anyone else (although the bar is still sadly low).

    • Emeraude says:

      Paraphrasing from someone who said it better than me in previous thread: at least EA didn’t pretend the game would work offline before selling it to you.

  27. Lobotomist says:

    They obviously can not refund all that money because it is invested already.
    But beyond that I really dont understand how could they not foresee the shitstorm that would result from such decision. They could have made a simple game version with limited functionality and completely separated from online game. Just to please offline fanatics.

    But honestly. If you have functioning internet connection (like 99.9% backers does) , why would you like to play offline and miss all the intricacies of shared universe ?
    I thought that was the point of Elite sequel ? If not its just upgraded graphic version of 1984 game…

    • solidsquid says:

      A lot of people wanted an updated version of the original and weren’t interested in playing in a shared universe. Others want to play while travelling and won’t have an internet connection. Both of these groups thought the game was worth investing in because it was delivering something they wanted, but now it isn’t

      edit: also, whether they invested it or not is irrelevant. It might be that they need to set something up to channel a proportion of their income from sales towards refunds and it’ll take a while to raise enough, but they’ve just flat out said they won’t do it

    • Ed Burst says:

      They can’t refund all the money to every customer, but they could probably afford to refund some customers – specifically, the ones who want their money back after learning this news. That surely can’t be more than a small percentage. (If it’s a large percentage, then they should never have dropped the feature in the first place.)

  28. Trotar says:

    Seems fair.

    When you back a kickstarter, you take a risk. You know that.
    And anyone who bought and played beta can obviously already go online, so they don’t have much of a reason why they wouldn’t be able to play the game.
    Which leaves players who didn’t or couldn’t download yet, and people who pre-ordered.
    Which can get their refunds if they really want to.

  29. Boosh says:

    FD were hemorrhaging goodwill at an alarming rate even prior to this, I think a lot of it is due to pretty poor expectation management in the face of stampeding nostalgia. When you’re funding a project in this manner it’s difficult to deliver any bad news at all, let alone changing scope.

    Shouldn’t be forgotten that as it stands Elite Dangerous is looking superb still, and there is a lot more to come yet.

  30. Foglet says:

    Funny how a regularly emerging “But since you have managed to [pledge/access the forums/download/play the alpha/beta/ever get on the Internet], you are apparently fine with the always-on system!” is a nearly flawless re-enactment of a Catch-22 in real life. [Edit: Look no farther than two posts above this one for an example. Huh.]
    Along with the ever-present “It’s you voicing your disagreement that is the REAL problem”.

  31. Casimir's Blake says:

    This might be a good spot to say for those that are unaware, Pioneer Space Sim exists:
    link to pioneerspacesim.net

    A big chunk of the single player Elite experience can be found here, particularly if using the “Pioneer Scout” package found in the forums. Recommended, though do save often as it’s a touch buggy.

  32. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    I at least got a refund, but I only pre-ordered with no beta access etc, so my case was a lot easier. Well, I got told I’m getting one, money should be back within 9 days, hopefully.

    Hopefully they will change their minds down the line, I will revisit then.

  33. ffordesoon says:

    It may well be that an offline mode would be precisely as limited as Braben claims. That does not matter, however. If the offline mode is terrible, so be it, but backers should be the ones to decide that, not Frontier. They should at least promise the offline mode will be added after launch; many KS successes have delayed promised features that way, and if backers are playing an online-only game, then they have the capacity to recieve patches. Grab an archived snapshot of the online universe, explain the limitations of it to players who choose to use it, and never do anything with it again. No patches, no hotfixes, nothing.

    That’s not an ideal solution, obviously, but it’s an offline mode. And who knows, maybe fans can mod online features into the offline mode. The point is to let the backers decide for themselves.

    The real tragedy in all of this is that Dangerous is by all accounts a terrific game from a supernaturally talented independent developer. All they had to do at this point was not fuck up the good thing they had going. But, alas, they have apparently forgotten that they are not shipping Diablo 3, or any other game with the marketing cachet to withstand sustained bad press right before launch.

    • pauleyc says:

      Apparently FD decided that releasing a limited, sub-par/static offline version of the game would damage their image to a greater extent than scrapping it altogether. In a way I do see their point (I am certain it would cause a shitstorm with fraud/misdirection accusations anyway, sadly people are like that on the internet) but the way they handled the issue was exceptionally heavy-handed.

      The whole affair leaves a bitter taste, which is especially disappointing since the game is quite good. It’s already a great remake of Frontier (without planetary landings, obviously) which is enough for me personally.

    • blainestereo says:

      I don’t think backers get to decide anything, ever, other than the decision to back the project. That’s a good thing mind you, having to depend on decisions of anonymous mass of people not very good at game design sounds horrible.

      • Foglet says:

        This strongly reminds me of Neal Stephenson’s bemused remark on Clang’s halted development, and I quote:

        “Kickstarter is amazing, but one of the hidden catches is that once you have taken a bunch of people’s money to do a thing, you have to actually do that thing, and not some other thing that you thought up in the meantime.”

        No one could have said it better than a writer, methinks.

      • Emeraude says:

        That’s the thing though: as I said in previous thread, the artistic freedom of the creators shouldn’t be impeded *apart* from the things they specifically promised during the kickstarting process – which should be the base framework upon which they work, and upon which they shouldn’t engage their word lightly.

        If not the whole process is worthless from a donor point of view.

  34. blainestereo says:

    Reading comments, it is incredible how many people play videogames exclusively while traveling with no Internet access. It is almost as if RPS is a site for some kind of nomadic race of people, roaming the endless steppes of inner Mongolia, getting their Internet via a complicated network of carrier swallows with floppy disks tied to their feet. Fascinating.

    • karthink says:

      It’s just selection bias. You realize it’s fewer than a hundred people commenting? The rest don’t care strongly enough either way.

      • shadow9d9 says:

        Or the rest simply don’t care to post, but still care, and this will affect their purchasing decision, either retroactively, or going forward.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      The implementation of IETF RFC 1149 was a real godsend to me.

    • schlusenbach says:

      This isn’t about online or offline.
      It’s about customer rights and about how companies are treating their customers. The fact that you probably don’t care about an offline feature doesn’t change the fact that other gamers are being mistreated here.

    • Emeraude says:

      It’s incredible also how many people think like they should have a say in how others live their lives, spend their money and whether they should be satisfied or not being lied to.

      Whatever connections overs have, how they want to use it, and whether they are satisfied with the proposition made to them of how to use is it is none of your business.

      • blainestereo says:

        Whatever opinion I have about your in my opinion stupid opinion is none of your business, stop having opinions about my opinion.

        • Emeraude says:

          I refuse.

          Edit: I love how you try to devalue my post to an “opinions” as meaningless thing though.

          The issue is not a matter of having an opinion, but that you want to dictate which behavior is acceptable or not in private matters that are none of your concerns.

          • blainestereo says:

            What the hell are you talking about? Dictate? Behaviour in private matters? You sound like I’m trying to stop you from having sex with your dog or something.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            People are claiming stuff like “Well you downloaded the game, so you don’t need offline” or “Well you played the game, you don’t need offline” or worse “You post on RPS, you can play online”.

            They all try to justify the bait and switch by claiming that the people wanting offline don’t actually need offline, and therefore that their claims are unfounded. I’m sorry but if I want offline, it doesn’t matter if I have a 300 bauds modem or gigabit fiber.

          • blainestereo says:

            @FriendlyFire – I get what you’re saying, what I’m saying though is no pure offline is a weird dealbreaker to have if you’re able to play online. People are entitled to their stuff of course, explicitly promising a feature to get the offline people’s kickstarter pledges is kind of a dick move, naturally, needing a better refund policy is a no-brainer too – still, wanting offline when you don’t really need it is weird to me. A matter of principle people say, well that’s a stupid principle to have.

          • sicemma says:

            I don’t think it’s all that impossibly silly a concept.

            I don’t necessarily need offline while I have internet, and I do need it when I don’t have internet.

            I don’t necessarily need offline while Frontier are solvent, and I do need it when for they aren’t.

            It’s not like there is some inquisition run for people who turn up to a shop to return something, demanding to see them using or failing to use the product that they’re returning, literally right at the second they’re returning it. Because that would be dumb.

    • Little_Crow says:

      I don’t really do laughing out loud, but if there was some acronym for a wry smile, I’d be using it.

      It’s a bit of a dick move that they aren’t just giving no questions asked refunds.
      I’d even go as far as to suggest that people who really wanted offline might be placated enough by the offer to realise it’s not such a big deal and just enjoy the game where they have internet access.

      Some people are also touting the fact they want to play on their own – I’m one of those people too. I’ve played Elite and Frontier to death (FE passed me by as no release on the Amiga), and done my time in Eve, and I want to do my own thing.

      In a blind internet rage, some have concluded that the game is suddenly an MMORPG – There is totally still the option to run a private instance – you can have the universe to yourself if you wish.

      • sicemma says:

        Amusingly enough, ED being an MMO is now Frontier’s actual position

        link to us2.campaign-archive2.com
        From the Q&A:

        Do you now consider Elite: Dangerous to be an MMO?
        Technically, it has always been.

        Next newsletter: how ED has always been a sleeper sequel to Bikini Karate Babes.

      • jonfitt says:

        I wanted a simple player mode too when I first backed the game, and according to statements that’s still there. You play in your own instance, and it never joins you with anyone else. It makes small pings to a server which tracks galactic commodities and events when it needs some data. I’m guessing that means you can take part in their galactic events even if you never see anybody else real. Sounds alright to me.
        I’ve changed my plans since backing, and I (along with the vast majority I’m sure) will jump into the online game. It looks like fun.

    • FCA says:

      Nobody travels all the time, but everybody travels some of the time. See the difference?

      Though for me personally, it feels like I’ve been doing only traveling for the past 4 months though, with varying degrees of Internet connection (none, phone-only, spotty, slow, good), and I was really glad for my no-DRM collection of games, which *always* worked.

      For myself, I’m glad I didn’t back this (I had my misgivings after offline play didn’t feature at first, but was added on at some point), but I was considering buying it at one point. I’m sceptical if their approach delivers an interesting single player experience though, given how much is made of 1. The boringness of off-line, 2. The little amount of data sent back and forth.
      I’ll wait and see how these 2 points are reconciled.

  35. Starayo says:

    The lack of offline IS a big enough deal for me to want a refund. I don’t care much for other players unless it’s with people I know, and the connectivity requirement has already caused me quite a few headaches. Unfortunately the bank account used to pay for it is now closed, so I won’t be getting one. I’ll still play it, begrudgingly, but it wouldn’t have been that big a deal for me to wait for star citizen.

    The thing that pisses me off about their policy for refunds in this case is that they claim they do not owe me a refund because I’ve played in the beta. This is incorrect. Under consumer law in my country I am owed a full refund because their website made false advertising claims at the time of purchase (if I had backed it on kickstarter, not so much). I would be within my full rights to initiate a chargeback.

    But I can’t, because the account is closed. If only I had kept my old account. I got burned this way with archeage too.

  36. Emeraude says:

    Back on the Kickstarter is no buying wagon, quoting the term of uses:

    If a creator is unable to complete their project and fulfill rewards, they’ve failed to live up to the basic obligations of this agreement. To right this, they must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers. A creator in this position has only remedied the situation and met their obligations to backers if:

    they post an update that explains what work has been done, how funds were used, and what prevents them from finishing the project as planned;
    they work diligently and in good faith to bring the project to the best possible conclusion in a timeframe that’s communicated to backers;
    they’re able to demonstrate that they’ve used funds appropriately and made every reasonable effort to complete the project as promised;
    they’ve been honest, and have made no material misrepresentations in their communication to backers; and
    they offer to return any remaining funds to backers who have not received their reward (in proportion to the amounts pledged), or else explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form.

    The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they’re unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers.

    The creator still has obligations. And can still be held liable to holding them.

    It’s not supposed to be perfectly free handouts.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      Kickstarter’s demands for accountability, as you stated, are (predictably) incredibly mild, and Braben fails to meet even those.

  37. Gap Gen says:

    This is one of the bigger problems with Kickstarter. If you’re turning an early funding round into a solid gold promise about what a game is going to be, then you’re severely hobbling yourself in terms of where your project goes. The whole point of prototyping and development is that it’s iterative, because no-one knows what’s fun before they try it, and no-one can predict certain technical issues, which seems to have been the case here. Kickstarter is a valuable tool for people without the capital to just make a game upfront, but if people expect you to make good on all your promises rather than releasing a similar product in good faith, then it’s a hugely problematic platform for developers and subsequently for consumers. I’d rather have a product that the designers are happy with than something worse that holds truer to a design document that turns out to be suboptimal in the light of actually building the thing.

    • Emeraude says:

      Yes, but then here the core gameplay was already a known quantity: it was supposed to be an Elite game.

      The core design already existed in the first place. And it was offline.

      It’s not as if we were talking of a brand new, never attempted endeavor that needed to go to Kickstarter because it couldn’t find investors to believe in the envelope-pushing project.

      This is a purely commercial endeavor capitalizing on the dissatisfaction of niche markets who knew exactly what they wanted.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I’m not saying that half-way through they should have decided to make an RTS. I mean, it’s still an Elite game?

        I’m saying that design decisions like this one come up all the time in the process of doing pretty much any software project, and it’s a problem to have to enter this kind of legal/moral/PR quagmire in the event that a certain design decision made at the first stage of the project doesn’t work once you’re actually at the point of doing it. If you look at any first design document, I assume that the final product will be radically different in some way. Again, I’m not saying that people who complain are wrong or that the designers are doing the right thing in this case, but that it’s a big problem with the Kickstarter model and the assumptions of designers and backers going in at this stage in the platform’s evolution. If it were published and released as a finished product, then people could decide for themselves whether to take it or leave it, and game-breaking bugs aside, refunds wouldn’t be an issue.

        • Emeraude says:

          it’s still an Elite game?

          Debatable, that’s an Elite inspired MMO if I am to believe the latest declarations of the developer.
          Which at the core is not the same thing at all from a design standpoint, despite superficial similarities.

          We’re not talking about a small, relatively insignificant in appearance element of design that could be overlooked here. Your whole development infrastructure is going to be different depending on whether you want to tackle what at the core is a single player (with maybe a modicum of multiplayer attached) and a full fledged MMO.

          And I do understand the issue. But then I can take the example of Kickstarted board games, and I find the comparison wanting:those generally come with an already designed game with full document I can judge, what hey lack is the money for art assets and crafting the actual products.

          Kickstarter games needs white-boxing I guess.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I’ve never worked on a big game, so I’ve no idea to what extent design is firmed up early on in the process, but I suspect board games are a bit simpler to realise than videogames. That’s not to say that there’s not a great deal of skill in designing board games, but the complexity of the systems and how that feeds back into the player experience is reduced. You’re right that in an ideal world you’d have most of the groundwork done before you Kickstart, but then actually getting to that stage in a videogame like this is still pretty expensive, I’d wager. In board games you don’t have to have a graphics engine, AI, networking, etc, in order to test the game as it’ll feel to play in the final version, you just need some bits cut out of cardboard and drawn on with marker pen.

          • Emeraude says:

            I didn’t make my point clear, of course video games are more complex to produce – there are more moving parts.

            But if the developer cannot hit a white box prototype for the Kickstarter, and cannot be held liable to changes to even the base features promised at the time (because again, always-online-MMO isn’t an innocuous feature when you take the engagement of delivering a single offline mode), then maybe the model is just simply not fit for video games.

        • Geebs says:

          I’d agree with you if it wasn’t for the fact that they came out and said that they’d do offline single player because that was one of the most requested features during the Kickstarter; I don’t feel particularly sympathetic to Frontier removing a feature that they implemented specifically to entice more backers.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The onus is on the developer not to make unfulfillable promises, though, especially in backer rewards. If you want to give yourself wiggle-room, you will have to be vague. For example, if memory serves Broken Age was on Kickstarter as “we’re Double Fine, and we’re going to make some kind of adventure game, but we don’t know what yet”.

      If being vague makes it harder to attract funding, that’s just one of the tradeoffs you’re going to have to balance.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, I’m not arguing the legal or moral standing of the developers in this particular case. But like you say, there’s a trade-off, and I’m not convinced that it’s one that benefits the quality of the final product.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          This is the division between art as entertainment and art as product. (And while we gamers might see Kickstarter as the Xtreme Preordering Service, its primary funcion is geared towards funding artistic pieces. If you don’t think games are art (or all games are art) replace it with ‘creative project’ and my point will remain; I’ll use art because it has way less letters.)

          As an art appreciator, I want the artist to create the best piece possible, and trust them to deliver something I like even if it’s not what I wanted.
          As a consumer, I want the producer to deliver the product I have purchased.

          These are understandably at odds, and whenever you charge money for art this is liable to pop-up. The artistic way to deal with it is to do whatever you want and refund people who don’t like your changes. (That is, do the best art possible, then refund consumers who no longer want it as a product.) The consumerist way is to stick to the defined vision of the product, even when it’s clear it’ll harm the final piece. (Remember that Kentucky Route Zero was crowdfunded as a sidescroller.)

          I feel I should have a final paragraph explaining the conclusion of this line of thought, but I don’t have one, so instead here is Kirby doing a dance. <('.'’.’)> (v-.-V) ^(‘o’)^

          • Emeraude says:

            Quoth myself from previous thread: If you don’t want your high cuisine to be treated as a hamburger, don’t sell it with all the strappings of a fast food chain.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            The example to cuisine is a really good one above.
            Even if it’s art, it can leave a bad taste in the mouth. If we are paying customers, then we require a good eating experience.

            If it’s art for free or in a gallery, then don’t take thousands or millions of customers money before the product is delivered, or just before changing the product.

            Even the best chef in the world, understands they must deliver to the customers expectations.

  38. Fireprufe15 says:

    I’m sorry, but the Kickstarter Terms of Use are clear on this matter. They promised the offline mode in reward tiers. Backers of those tiers are entitled to all of the rewards, including the offline mode, or a full refund. According to the Kickstarter page, this is a legal requirement.

  39. schlusenbach says:

    What really baffles me everytime I read about F-ups like this, is how the involved companies make up their own rules about who gets a refund and who doesn’t. “You can’t have a refund” is something that should be said by a judge and not by the CEO of the company that doesn’t deliver a promised product.

    Whether a customer has already participated in the beta release is completely irrelevant in this case. The people paid for an offline game that was advertised as such. What they get now is an online game. This is one of the most fundamental differences you can have in gaming.

    Why are customers at the mercy of the company that is selling the product? I don’t get it.

    • sicemma says:

      At least under our local laws here (in royston vasey), simply saying that nobody is entitled to a refund is against the law all by itself. You can’t misrepresent the conditions of baseline consumer rights. Completely illegal.

    • Horg says:

      They say things like that because it would cost the average backer more to get the case listed and heard in a small claims court than it would to simply write off the pledge. They are backing on consumers not having the time, willpower and disposable income to pursue justice out of their own pocket.

      • Llewyn says:

        Agreed, it needs buyers to be prepared to throw good money after bad, though the costs of the small claims process are generally a bigger deterrent for businesses. £25 to list a claim, which Frontier would have to contest for it to even go to a court hearing. If they contest it they’ll need to pay for representation in court, which in general they will not be able to recover from the claimant even if they win. If they get any decent number of these things then it’ll simply be cheaper for them just to accept the claims and pay up.

        Edit: It would also be interesting to see some non-UK backers try their luck in court. Again, the cost of contesting claims might be enough to force them to address their refund policy.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      The customers could certainly take it to court for a judge to decide, however my guess is that most people won’t bother.

  40. Premium User Badge

    zapatapon says:

    I think purely rational arguments are probably missing the point. I’d go out on a limb and say that since Frontier taps into 25-year old nostalgia for promoting E:D, there is a reasonable chance that the target audience responding to that is 30+ year old, and that may precisely be a group more touchy about the always-online issue, because old-timer values and all that (that is certainly my case).

    Also, it is not unreasonable to imagine that in the same movement people remember the past fondly, they would more or less consciously project themselves in 20 years’ future, dreaming they could still in principle play the game they purchase now and enjoy the nostalgia again then. Which is at odds with the very concrete possibility that the new game might disappear in a puff of smoke in a few years.

    These are not entirely rational arguments. But my point is that nostalgia is a strong and fragile emotion, and if you rely on it for promoting your product you’d better take care of not shattering it inadvertently.

  41. Meoith says:

    Yikes they never should have advertised the game as supporting PVE unless they were totally sure they were going to provide content for it, its a double edged sword that will get you in the end otherwise.

  42. Themadcow says:

    What’s to stop Beta testers getting a refund, then buying the game again on release (effectively at a discount?)

    That has to be a key consideration here. If there was a way of guaranteeing these people couldn’t repurchase the game at a later date then I’d be all for beta refunds… but there isn’t. If there was, then I’m pretty sure the guys wanting refunds wouldn’t be quite as quick to demand one as they would be cutting their nose off to spite their face. Online single player and multiplayer Elite is shaping up to be a very good game, and if you beta backed and played it I’m willing to bet that it’s one you’ve been desiring for a long time.

    • Emeraude says:

      The game wouldn’t be at a discount, it would be at a more fair,closer to real estimated value, price given the suppression of what had been a desired and more important promised feature: offlline.

    • Foglet says:

      That concept has a name. It’s ‘presumption of guilt’.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      So take the difference between beta access and game price out of their refund and just refund for the price of the game. (and then since we’re so keen on being all just and fair pay them market wages for software testing for the number of hours they spent in beta)

    • Blue_Lemming says:

      As i understand it from the current pricing structure that if I had Beta backed the game i’d have access to the expansions(Landing on planets etc) and access to Sol. Which is about 50 GBP from memory. To preorder the game(as i did) costs 35GBP.

      So refunding the beta access would mean you’d effectively lose out on the expansions you’d bought by being a beta tester.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        I think the “lifetime expansion pass” where you get all future expansions for free was a seperate thing to the beta. And that it was £100…

        • Blue_Lemming says:

          My bad (relied on memory) , wow so I might still come out on top, unless the DLC is massively overpriced,. Another scandal just waiting to happen? I hope not.

          On a more positive note, this has been one of the most vivid RPS articles I’ve read. Sums it up for me, hopeful they’ll pull it off in the end.

  43. Emeraude says:

    Something worth mentioning for all the “single player online” supporters, we have the example of other single players games with indirect influence of other players over the network, and it has created that most incredible situation of modern design: grieving in a single player experience

    • pepperfez says:

      Indeed, there are quite a few people already grieving for single-player.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      I’m pretty sure you meant “griefing,” but “grieving” still fits pretty well, too.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      I certainly don’t want to find the price of some commodity pushed down by another player who’s spamming some kind of “get rich quick” trade route. I also don’t want to see the price of useful items pushed up because everybody agrees they are a good thing to buy.
      Both of those seem like very likely outcomes.

  44. fredc says:

    Unfortunately, it has become apparent that one of the downsides of Kickstarter is that a larger than normal percentage of your buyers will be basement-dwelling, Cheeto-stained misanthropes and/or somewhere on the autistic spectrum. As a result, fairly inconsequential changes result in fits of Nerd Rage, as anyone who has browsed a backer forum will be aware.

    The substitution of solo mode for an off-line mode will be significant for a very small number of Frontier’s customers who, in 2014, genuinely don’t have internet access capable of meeting the minimal bandwidth requirements for solo. If there are a significant number of those and they get the brush-off from Frontier, I will be entirely sympathetic, but I see no reason to assume they will.

    I backed the project expecting to play offline myself, but can’t see any reasonable objection to using solo (or even private group mode) other than “I physically have no internet connection available to me”. Pretty much any other objection seems to boil down to MY ASS BURGERS PREVENTS ME FROM INTERACTING IN ANY WAY WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS YOU HAVE MADE ME MAD NOW.

    • Foglet says:

      Your stance aside, pray tell: since there’s only an insignificant number of them, why is it all of a sudden such a huge deal to just refund them and be done with it? ‘Cause before the refund rules were announced, those like you were shouting for the discontented to simply get their money back and be gone. You can’t have it both ways; pick either ‘insignificant and inconsequential’ or ‘if they have their way and get refunds, the developers suffer noticeably’.

    • Emeraude says:

      Again: if their number is insignificant:
      a) reimburse the people who complain and let them go , it won’t cost you much in money and avoid the much greater cost in goodwill and dividing of the community into pointless arguments.
      b) Don’t promise the thing in the first place. That one’s not hard to understand, is it ?

      I don’t know about cheeto-stained-misanthropes, but they sure sound as good company compared to the smarmy haughty self you’re displaying here.

    • mukuste says:

      And how will you play the game five years from now when FD have shut down the servers?

      • Blue_Lemming says:

        Download the server code, whack it on an AWS instance and chocks away. :)

    • wu wei says:

      Don’t leave your strawman near anything too hot, it’ll burst into flame.

      I have kids. I need to pause games at a seconds notice. Unless E:D includes an option to instantly teleport back to a base – which would totally break the whole immersion of the experience – I just cannot play it. Why shouldn’t I be disappointed that I’m excluded from the audience of the continuation of a game I first played in 1986? What makes you think your ableist insults are a justified response to other people’s reactions?

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Man, you sure are making Braben’s rabid fanboy army look nicely adjusted. Misanthropes, autistic syndrome? If only I had Tourette’s, I’d give you an earful.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      May I inform you that those in the autistic spectrum offer the complete opposite to the attacking remarks some give in this thread. Yes we all can be fooled by advertising and we all can misunderstand intent and legal requirements on refunds.

      However, an autistic person is no more or less going to defend or forgive such a mistake. They may have a more difficult time discussing it, but those involved in this particular instance are more human and understanding than the replies I’ve seen here.

      • sicemma says:

        Yeah that seemed a little harsh even for vidya games on the interwebz stuff.

        Besides which, if your game looks like this –

        link to i.imgur.com

        y’know, I’m not sure if antagonising people with autism is really the way forward into super sales.

  45. Felixader says:

    Well Fuck. I just bought this game like three weeks ago for the Singleplayer and i have only played the Tutorials because of that. Shit.

    • Themadcow says:

      Two things there.

      1) Singleplayer is very much still an option, just that you need to be online
      2) Why pay extra to go into the beta if you’ve got no intention of playing the featues in the beta version?

      • Felixader says:

        Oh i was, i just wanted to first aster the tutorials in wich i am stuck on Training Msiion 1 Sidewinder Face Off (it’s actually like the fifth or sixth mission, for everyone else wondering).

        Also: Support what i otherwise think is really good.

    • Horg says:

      Try applying for a charge back on your card, if it’s supported.

  46. necrofobic says:

    promise one thing to get people to back you and deliver a totaly diffrent thing

    then denying refunds in a very shady and vague way

    superepicgood business!!!, i can give a promise right here i will never ever buy anything from these clowns.

    .. yeah seems pc gaming is back at its glory days for sure, im so sick and tired of the bigger gaming companies/projects i just want to puke

    bought 2 games the last week, DAI and ac:unity, both being bug ridden and unoptimized as all holy f***, then these companies have the guts to complain about piracy and sales..

    yeah just… just …. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      I’ve sadly put DA:Inquisition and AC:Unity on my Do Not Buy list.

      Disappointed!

      I’m still unsure about this one. Sources point to “no”.

  47. derbefrier says:

    So basically they aren’t doing anything since that’s always been their return policy. Figures…..I guessed it would be a long shot anyway but I was hoping the pressure to save face would coinvince them to do the right thing I guess the money was more important than their reputation.

  48. SalaciousJames says:

    People – a Kickstarter does not make “promises,” so stop referring to them as such. They lay out their project plans, and leave it up to you, as investors, to decide whether the project has potential or not, and whether the inherent risk in any unfinished project is worth taking on. This isn’t a simple consumer transaction based on advertising.

    If that reality makes you want to stay clear of Kickstarter, you’re free to do so. But please, stop bloviating (not referring to the author of the article here) about “reprehensible” or “unethical” behavior. If you applied these wishy-washy sentiments to the real world of business investment, you’d be flat broke in a week.

    • drinniol says:

      I’m sorry, a Kickstarter absolutely makes promises, and as they have broken the promise they will be held accountable if not in a legal sense certainly a reputational one. There’s a huge image problem that’s been blown out of proportion by the absolutely fucking stupid decision to not give refunds in all cases. They would have had to refund, oh, maybe a hundred? Tens? Several? But now they have lost the goodwill of much of the niche audience this game has, and that take years to repair.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      I imagine Kickstarter’s lawyers doing a little convulsive involuntary twitch-cringe every time someone writes “investment” and “kickstarter” in the same sentence – Kickstarter is explicitly definitively not an investment and its not because their executives and board don’t want to spend the rest of their lives in Club Fed for securities fraud.

      Its not a donation either – a doantion is one of those yellow buttons with a line “please give me money” it might also say “you’ll be supporting orphan programmers dreams of writing a real space game when they grow up”

      Kickstarter creates a contract between the project and the backers or the delivery of the rewards promised if a project can’t deliver then the backers have recourse to legal action. If a project wants to avoid that they should avoid making promises they can’t fulfill, either by not making specific promises our by making the rewards something easy to do (“you won’t get our game but here’s a mug with out stylish logo!”)

  49. necrofobic says:

    im sorry but if you say “give me this much money and ill put X in the game” you have made a fuckin promise, if i go downtown and grab the first person i see and tell him “hey if you give me 10 euro ill get you a soda” and return to him with a straw ive actually commited a crime

    • blainestereo says:

      So in your metaphor the whole game they are about to release, game servers and all, is represented by a straw, while the offline mode is a cup full of $10 soda?

      You’re weird.

      • necrofobic says:

        hehe , well i think you get the point, you cant accept money for something you promise if you dont intend to hold that promise, regardless of what it is..

        this is how you describe fraud

        i can whip up a few more wierd examples.

        you go into a car dealer and he ask you if you want to buy a car, “sure” you say and ask how it will look ?, the dealer says “well its gonna have 4 wheels and a steering wheel and leather seats, all that cool stuff” you ponder a while since its alot of money and then say “oh awesome ill take it!” a few weeks later the dealer calls you up, your car is ready, you get to the store and realize the car has 3 wheels, and wooden chairs.. “well heres you new awesoem car just as promised” you look at the car in utter disbelief… wtf… “i ordered a car with 4 wheels and leather seats ?” the seller does NOT understand why you are so upset “look you spoiled brat it has wheels doesnt it… ? and seats ?”

        THE END

      • TechnicalBen says:

        So your saying if someone comes back with half a can of soda it’s ok?
        So if the store starts taking out of the packets… or your boss starts reducing your pay? It’s all ok, because it’s only a little?

        • blainestereo says:

          What I’m saying is people get hilariously overdramatic about this issue.

  50. southsea14 says:

    “I told you so. I said from the start that Braben was pulling the wool over peoples eyes with Elite. That it was a nostalgia money grab. I hoped to be wrong, so much that I did eventually cave to nostalgia in August when it appeared that Frontier was going to deliver.

    These actions show that it really was a naked money grab.”

    Agreed. Some people will try to be `positive` about this, but not everyone has internet. Single player was promised and has failed to materialise. I will never do early access simply because so many studios seem to be into rushing out products before they have matured. Alpha testing, beta testing, `gone gold`. Whatever. Gimme the money and I`ll see if I can deliver on what I have led you to expect.

    So many games seem jaded as `new` games are brought out to squeeze whatever drops of value can be extracted from worn-out genres (FPS, strategy and what have you); far better it would seem to have friends round for a few beers (or other substances) for a couch-session with banter, `bigging yourself up` before playing.

    While I`m on the subject of multiplayer, I`ve got an idea for a real-life game called `Class Action IRL’ where people who have been virtually mugged bring it on in court and sue Braben`s not-so-iron-ass.