Elite: Dangerous is dropping its planned offline support. While the space sim will feature a singleplayer mode, that mode also needs an internet connection. It's a decision that Frontier made because, according to founder David Braben, "the work needed to deliver a rich online nature of the game diverged from the requirements of a fully offline game."
You response to this news will depend largely on your circumstances. I was planning to play Elite online anyway – my experiences with the beta having shown the benefit of playing around others. But some won't be able to do this. Others won't want to.
Given an offline mode was both planned and advertised, Frontier recognise that there are now people who have paid for a game that no longer suits their purpose. As such, in the latest Elite newsletter, the team have laid out a refunds policy of sorts.
"We have started responding to requests where there is a clear outcome," Braben says. "Those who have pre-ordered an Elite: Dangerous release version from our online store and have therefore not yet played the game are eligible for a refund.
"Those who have already been playing the game online in the Alpha and/or Beta phases, regardless of whether they backed the project via Kickstarter or purchased access to Alpha and/or Beta through our online store, are not eligible for a refund."
That's pretty clear, albeit likely disappointing to anybody who both wanted offline support and spent the considerable money on alpha or beta access. For everybody outside of those two examples, the policy is rather more vague:
"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."