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In a newsletter sent out Frontier Developments founder David Braben announced that the anticipated sci-fi game Elite: Dangerous will be online only as opposed to the online and offline capable modes in addition to some other beta announcements.

The change in direction for the game is a bit of a shock to some players, as the project was kickstarted by backers with one of the promises being that “it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server.” The game has from the beginning stages shown a focus on a shared galaxy server idea where procedurally generated content and actions from other players could affect the worlds and systems for all players taking part in the shared server gameplay. Games still under development often make large changes in mechanics, shedding bad ideas that are not working and bringing in new mechanics that are more promising, but being that this game was crowd funded over 1.5 million dollars based on stated commitments, making such a drastic change in the games promised capabilities shortly before release next month is notable.

A significant number of players took to voicing their concerns about the change on a 4,000+ comment forum thread on the official site and others game sites, with many stating a desire to get their funding back as they are no longer getting the game they were promised when they originally funded development. Those players without reliable internet connections or wanting to play the game without having to jump on to either insecure or too severely secured networks to get access will find themselves not being able to play the game they pre-ordered. Refund requests are being worked on a case-by-case basis per a statement on the forum by executive producer Michael Brookes. As well, he reinforced that the decision was not made lightly and that the mechanics involved in how the game handles the developing galaxy would have to have been drastically altered and less effective in an offline state.

With the game in the closing stages of development with a current launch date of the 16th of December, its unlikely that this news or a sudden increase in refund requests from upset backers will prevent the launch, however a scandal like this could be damaging to the brand via word of mouth if the players are still upset during the crucial days surrounding the commercial launch.

Kris Hyre

I am a lifelong gamer and IT professional living the Pacific Northwest of the US with a large household packed full of the next generation of gamers. I have a sweet tooth for the Fighting, MMO, and Sci-Fi genres.

  • TheOligopolist

    The game looks exceptional but I can’t justify paying full price for a game I can’t play offline.
    Glad I didn’t buy into the beta now.

  • Spirokeat

    The seemingly inexorable drive to all games being online is disheartening. Sometimes I just want to play a game on my own without the world at large influencing it’s economies or regions. I’d be asking for my cash back.

  • BenGarrison

    You know why they did this?

    Because people only went online to fight and there was no reason to go online if you were not fighting.

    It promoted carebears and was one of the biggest problems with the game.

  • TheOligopolist

    I think making you have separate saves or whatever for online and off would have been an acceptable solution.

  • Cy

    This is why I very, very rarely back anything on Kickstarter and yet another reason why I never, ever give money to a game in any kind of early access. I’ve tried EVE Online once, I have absolutely no desire to ever play a space sim MMO ever again. Not wasting my money on this. Or Star Citizen, most likely, if it ever gets finished. Sad, I used to love space sims.

  • Kelly Maxwell

    What a dumb Move – There’s no reason they couldn’t let you play around on a backed up limited version of ur own planetoid. This is some DRM nonsense masquerading as a shift in vision i’d warrant. I hope their customers won’t let this slide.

    U wanna know the really sad part? They are risking bad PR and refunds for no reason. Someone is going to find a way around the ‘always online’ thing and let u get on some kinda way; they always do. So they are only encouraging that shadow market more.

    why are the people at the top always so out of touch?

    Must be the altitude.

  • Kelly Maxwell

    have you tried STO? – it’s pretty good, even if the PVE carebear coding team are pooping all over the PVP currently. One day they’ll learn virtual competition CAN be a good thing.

  • Kelly Maxwell

    I dont see why there couldn’t be an easy work around to that. Just add in a pvp flag for those who want to opt in.. other games have demonstrated this system works well. You can be unflagged but as soon as u help or fight the flag goes off. and it takes time to fade away. This shit aint difficult.

  • Cy

    Yeah, and it’s ok. But that’s the best I can say about it. But Elite and Star Citizen are going to be persistent worlds like EVE online, and I hate that. I don’t like forced PVP. It makes it impossible to have any fun unless you devote all of your free time to grinding or mining or building up stupid social connections with people who you’re forced to interact with just so you don’t constantly die the moment you travel outside a safe zone, if there even are any. It’s not fun or relaxing, it’s stressful and I want nothing to do with games like that.

  • Fenrir007

    Kickstarter is a trust based plataform, and breaking this trust on a very big feature such as this one (despite the major funding they got) is downright disonest. I am considering a refund. This sounds like the exact same bullshit from SimCity “can’t have offline, period”, and we all know how that ended up.

  • Glenn McBride

    I made the mistake of shelling out $200+ for the Elite: Dangerous beta back in April 2014. Since that time it has been one mind-boggling blunder after another, and at this point I have stopped playing altogether. I have never in my life seen a group of developers so hell-bent of spitting in the faces of their client base as the crowd at Frontier. Also, you can forget trying to post your perspective on the Frontier forum as anything short of flowery accolades is brutally put down by a swarm of (paid?) shills and Sarkeesian-esque moderators. I have said since summer that Elite Dangerous will most likely turn into another over-hyped Sim City flop in mid-2015, or simply fizzle into a myopic bankruptcy shortly before release. Avoid this one like the plague, people, as this turkey typifies all that is wrong with game development these days.

  • Kelly Maxwell

    that’s only the PVP vision that people who Hate PVP perpetuate into the gaming community. It. Doesn’t. Have. To. Be. That. Way.
    they have complete control over the world, If they wanted it to be merit based they would – the problem is pvp loving devs aren’t that common. If you enjoy competition and want to improve, pls consider being FOR – merit based pvp without the P2W nonsense – rather than scrapping all pvp because a few PVP haters have made it into something crap.

  • Cy

    But I don’t like competition or want to improve. Gaming is my hobby. It’s my entertainment. “Training” to get better at it is *work* and if I’m not getting paid, I don’t want to be doing work. I just want to be able to relax and enjoy a game that’s just challenging enough not to be boring, but not so hard that it eventually becomes a stressful chore to get through. I don’t like PVP. I’ve never liked PVP. If you do, that’s great, I hope Elite is everything you want it to be. But it’s not what I wanted it to be, it’s not what it was supposed to be, and I want nothing to do with it.

  • That announcement disappointed me greatly. I guess I’ll kiss that money goodbye, because I am not interested in an online-only game. I remember the original Elite with fondness, so I guess I’ll just have to go back to playing that in an emulator.

  • From the Kickstarter:

    How will single player work? Will I need to connect to a server to play?

    The galaxy for Elite: Dangerous is a shared universe maintained by a
    central server. All of the meta data for the galaxy is shared between
    players. This includes the galaxy itself as well as transient
    information like economies. The aim here is that a player’s actions will
    influence the development of the galaxy, without necessarily having to
    play multiplayer.

    The other important aspect for us is that we can seed the galaxy
    with events, often these events will be triggered by player actions.
    With a living breathing galaxy players can discover new and interesting
    things long after they have started playing.

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

    That was 2012. As of now, it’s a big FU to the original backers (of which I am one.) To hell with it. FD made sure I will be VERY wary of “claims made while begging for cash” from now going forward.

    That was a waste of $62 dollars. Good work, guys!