MMOs are often 'wiped' when they exit beta testing—Everything is reset to zero, so all players start off on equal footing on launch day. Frontier Developments has announced that Elite: Dangerous will not be wiped, however, meaning that whatever players have accomplished during the beta period will carry over into the full game. As you might expect, not everyone is happy.
"This is just a quick update to confirm that there won't be a wipe at launch," Community Manager Edward Lewis wrote in the Elite: Dangerous forums yesterday. It's not an unreasonable approach to take, given the amount of effort that some players have put into it already, but while reactions appeared to be largely positive at first, there's been considerable criticism of the decision as well. Some of that comes from vague concerns about "equality," but there are also worries that players will be rewarded for exploiting early bugs in the game.
Lewis said in a follow-up post that Frontier Developments is "looking at ways to find people who have used exploits," but also offered assurances that anyone who made use of them as a normal part of the beta process won't be unduly punished. "The guys on the dev team know the difference between testing something out and abusing the systems," he added.
As for the backlash, he said it was inevitable no matter which way the decision went. "It's one of those things," he wrote. "Wipe or no wipe we would receive criticism."
Elite: Dangerous launches on December 16.