Well I don’t feel as if I’ve been scammed. For it to be a scam that would presume that they set out right from the very start to deceive in order to take money with no intention of delivering, and I simply don’t believe that’s the case here. Nor would you believe, with Star Citizen either.
I’ve backed a whole load of games in early access, Kickstarter etc, that have ridiculously large, but well intentioned roadmaps, with more features than could possibly be realistically delivered on. I have never been so naive to imagine that these things are some sort of cast iron promise of things that will be delivered upon, as by necessity, things change during development, things take longer than expected or are more problematic to develop than anticipated, and features get dropped. So I tend to view these things more as a guide of the direction that they’d like the game’s development to go in.
As regards Elite, for the next paid expansion, I would say that they need to nail down just exactly what it will include and what the updates will entail and in what time scale they will be delivered in. I think they handled the Horizons expansion quite poorly in that respect. Saying that it will include 3-4 seasons of updates and then kind of changing tack on the whole seasons thing and what the updates would be. I don’t think it was a deliberate scam, just poorly managed. I can accept things being a bit wishy washy during a period of early access, but when it’s proper paid content, they need to be a bit more definite and concrete about what that and any future updates for it will include.
Part of the problem with Elite’s development, is that it doesn’t feel like they have any sort of a development roadmap for it, just a feature list they’re trying to tick off bit by bit. It often feels that as one update is finished and pushed out, that they’re then sat around the table saying “Well what should we do next then?” And so they make odd decisions like coming out with features like Power Play or the Engineers. Features that were never asked for and never appeared on any of their development feature lists. Why do that when they could have spent the time putting in the stuff people wanted? And they have a habit of putting in features that feel more like placeholders that they’ll come back and finish off properly later, like they did with exploration and mining. At some point I imagine they’ll revisit multi-crew and give that a proper finish too. But you have to ask, why can’t they fully develop these things before putting them in, in the first place?
However, they do at least have a good game out there, that’s reasonably well rounded and often quite enjoyable to play, and they have updated it quite a lot, and it would appear, are still invested in keeping it going for the foreseeable future, given the 2020 date for the next major milestone. When I compare what’s in it now to when I first started playing, they’ve made loads of changes and put in quite a fair bit of extra content. It has come along very slow though over the 4 years it’s been going though, and it’s such a big game, that all that content gets spread quite thinly around. So no, I don’t think it’s a scam. There’s been some fumblings and poor decisions made and development can feel frustratingly slow, but there’s nothing I feel angry about.