Elite: Dangerous server goes haywire, creates instant billionaires [Updated]

The Elite: Dangerous server has had a relatively smooth launch since it released just over two weeks ago, but all that changed last night when the server went absolutely haywire. A suspected transaction server failure caused a whole slew of bizarre bugs for those playing the game last night, from benign errors like players getting disconnected to catastrophic failures like deleting a ship's entire cargo, rolling back ship upgrades, and deleting credits. The worst problems involved players having ghost cargo that could be sold over and over again, allowing them to rack up millions of credits in minutes.

Though the problems were reported promptly, the server wasn't rebooted until its usual maintenance period over six hours later. In a feat of remarkably bad timing, the server problems happened on a national holiday in the UK, and so the developers at Frontier were taking time off to celebrate the new year. There has been no official announcement on the problems yet, and players are speculating on the damage that would be caused or reversed if Frontier performed a server rollback. Reports from the Elite forum suggest that developers may not be back to work until as late as January 5th, at which point it's unlikely that developers will roll the server back.

The damage from last night's errors continues to cause problems today. One player was left shipless and unable to log in when the server reversed a ship purchase transaction, and another's ship teleported back across the galaxy and is being held hostage at a station with no shipyard. Dozens of players have reported broken cargo holds or missing cargo and credits, and one player logged in this morning to find 5 billion credits sitting in his wallet. These events have naturally prompted a resurgence of complaints about Elite's always-online gameplay, as players have found themselves unable to play without problem even in solo mode.

We have reached out to Frontier for comment.

[Update 1/3/2014: Frontier has contacted Massively to assert that its engineers (indeed working 24/7 over the holidays) noticed the server problem over the holiday and dealt with it immediately. A post on the official forums this morning from the server maintenance manager reads, "On January 1st 2015 at 11pm GMT we had an issue with one of our databases. 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." Frontier further says that it plans to push live within the week a server status page to communicate such problems in the future.]