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Elite: Dangerous had a rough start to 2015. A server malfunction on New Year's Day resulted in a wide range of issues for players of the PC open-world space game.
Players on Elite: Dangerous' sub-Reddit (via Massively) reported that their ship's upgrades and cargo went missing along with their credits. In one case, a player was stranded thanks to a ship purchase being reversed by the server.
Not everyone was hurt by the bug. In fact, some players managed to profit tremendously from it. They discovered that they could sell the same cargo over and over. This bug allowed them to make millions of credits in a matter of minutes. One of these profiteers felt guilty enough about this to gift 5 billion to a random player.
The timing of the server bug concerned the player community. They believed that the development team at Frontier Developments was away for the holidays and that no fix would come until January 5th. However, Frontier made an announcement on their forum that they addressed the server problem just hours after it started.
"On January 1st 2015 at 11pm GMT we had an issue with one of our databases," said Frontier's Andrew Barlow on the forum. "One of our engineers spotted this immediately and removed the database from circulation. This took around 2 hours to complete, test and make live to commanders. In this time, a relatively small number of commanders were affected by failed transactions and small losses in credits. These commanders should have received their refunds, along with a 20% bonus as in previous instances."
Barlow added that they had 24/7 engineer supervision of the game over the holidays. However, they're going to do a better job of announcing issues to players. A new server status page should go live in a matter of days.
Several players chimed in on the thread to say that they still haven't received any refunds. It's unclear whether Frontier Developments has any additional measures planned to fix the unexpected loss from New Year's Day. It's also not known whether they're going to do anything about the easy millions that many players made from repeatedly selling the same cargo.
The most extreme option would be for Frontier to roll back all server progress to the point before the January 1st server problem. However, this would erase any legitimate progress that players have attained in the past couple days as well. The development team might consider the effects of the rollback worse than the problem it's intended to fix.
Elite: Dangerous allows players to explore a virtual galaxy based on the Milky Way. They can pursue many lines of work during their travels, such as piracy, trade, smuggling and bounty hunting. If players don't want to share the galaxy with others, they can opt for single-player or private sessions.
However, even if you're playing alone, you need to be connected to Elite: Dangerous' server at all times. Unfortunately, this always-online structure means that players can be majorly inconvenienced by server issues. The holiday issues of Elite: Dangerous are giving those players a taste of what Diablo 3, SimCity and Destiny players have experienced due to their games required a persistent connection.
Elite: Dangerous launched on PC in mid-December. It can be purchased through the game's official website. The developers suggested that they may create console versions in the future as well.