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Elite:Dangerous goes TITSUP

Rift in space-time crashes servers, freezes cargo bays and relocates players

Eight-bit classic space trading game revival Elite:Dangerous, has hit further strife after its servers experienced total inability to support usual performance over the holiday period.

Elite:Dangerous has proven controversial since its makers decided not to offer an offline mode, as was promised in the Kickstarter campaign used to fund the game. Users didn't like that decision and weren't afraid to say so, with one even penning a game simulating the frustration of attempting to secure a refund from Frontier Developments, the game's maker.

Those concerns are now being trumped by the game being close to unplayable. In threads like this one players report a variety of bugs, including being unable to log in to the game or finding their character cannot return to recently saved states. The latter is especially frustrating as some players have invested many hours, and in-game cash, on kit that in some cases cannot be retrieved and in others appears to have been partially restored after help from support. Other players have become wealthy after selling virtual cargos, only for the goods to re-appear in their inventories anew – and ready for another sale - within moments. Other players say they've not been able to sell a single thing, which is a bit of a pain seeing as the point of the game is to buy and sell cosmic tat.

The incidents struck late on January 1st, a time Frontier Developments insists did not mean its support team was down on numbers.

In a post explaining the mess, Frontier's Andrew Barlow attributes the situation to a “network issue with one of our databases” and says engineers “spotted the issue and reacted to it immediately.”

The post also says effects of the problem lingered into 3 January, and that along the way some users took advantage of the mess as follows:

We are also aware of an exploit (I won't detail it here) which occurred due to this database error, where players have been abusing the broken state of their ship to "create credits". These players know they are exploiting the system and will also be investigated.

Players inconvenienced by the outage have been topped up with a 20 per cent bonus on their in-game accounts. But plenty of players are posting tales of long waits for restoration of their characters' status and the need for kluges like flying to another virtual star system to set things to rights.

Some commenters are tolerant of Frontier's woes, suggesting the company has enough on its plate without being expected to respond to every trouble ticket in moments. Others are livid.

Between this incident and the ongoing refund mess, this one's got a way to run. ®

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