UPDATE 2015Jan31: After I originally posted this, my curiosity got the better of me and I bought the game. Wow. It's terrific. I particularly enjoy the 'solo' mode, where you're playing in the same universe as everyone else, but you never encounter other human players, only NPCs. Given the data storage requirements for a fully-populated Milky Way galaxy, the dynamic nature of the universe, and the fact that I can play without ever having to deal with griefers, I can totally live with the lack of an offline mode. It's a huge contrast with that griefer heaven, EVE Online. It's fun to see how EVE expats want desperately to play E:D, but are then turned off because they can't pick on less experienced players.
Say you're a game developer, and you need money. Step 1: promise your new game will have features people really want, like offline play. Step 2: rake in the dough via Kickstarter. Step 3: announce that the game won't have offline play after all. Step 4: refuse to give refunds to anyone who contributed money and actually played the early demo version. Step 5: face the wrath of gamers and the ridicule of the Internet.
This is exactly what David Braben did with the upcoming Elite:Dangerous. If this scenario sounds familiar, it's probably because EA did something very similar with SimCity 5. Except that EA never promised offline play or took money from people before disappointing them. They just said offline play wasn't possible, when in fact it was, and forcing online play was only done to prevent unauthorized copying (DRM).
What Braben has done is much worse. Why would anyone trust him or his projects in the future?