Frontier investigating Elite: Dangerous exploiters

Elite Asteroid Field

Elite: Dangerous studio Frontier Developments says players who took advantage of an exploit that cropped up due to a database error could face repercussions including exclusion from the 'Race to Elite' competition. The trouble started on January 1, when a network issue left "a relatively small number" of pilots unable to play the game.

Frontier issued refunds to all affected players, along with a 20 percent bonus for the aggravation, but during that process some pilots received far more than they were actually entitled to—as much as five billion credits in some cases. The studio is now chasing down those errors and will roll them back where appropriate, but it also emphasized that commanders in these cases will not be punished, since the refunds were not their fault.

The database error also opened an exploit that allows players to generate credits, however, and that's a different matter entirely. "These players know they are exploiting the system and will also be investigated," Frontier's Andrew Barlow wrote. "Actions may be taken against players who are known to be exploiting the system and do stand out from the commanders who were simply given the credits during our credit refund process. These players will also not be eligible for the 'Race to Elite' competition if we feel they have gained an unfair advantage over the competition."

Frontier also said it will release a "Server Status" dashboard which will keep players up to date on the state of the online galaxy. Elite: Dangerous requires a connection to game servers even in single-player mode; it was originally intended to have an offline mode but studio boss David Braben said in November 2014 that "as features were implemented, for the best results we chose to prioritize delivery of the online single and multiplayer experiences."

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