Posted in Browser Games, Gaming, Virtual Pets

Horse World Online: Free Horse Breeding and Virtual Pet Game

horseworldonlinelogoNow for something a little different: please allow me to indulge in one of my guilty pleasures. I not only really like breedable pets and virtual pet games, but I have been a horse lover since I was a little girl. From time to time, I get the itch to find a new free to play, browser-based, multi-user breedable horse game… and my current quest has led me to Horse World Online.

Now, this is not a new game by any stretch, but I’m not completely familiar with its long history. I do know that they recently funded a KickStarter, which is quite impressive! It also just relaunched last month, so it’s still early on in the site’s re-release development.

Not Pay to Win

I’ve been involved with virtual pet games for a long time. I know my account at Horwse is over 7 years old, because I earned that achievement the last time I browsed by and decided to log in.

Now, Horwse is probably the biggest name out there in browser based horse breeding games. However, believe it or not, it is super pay to win. I mean, ArcheAge don’t got a thing on Howrse, which is why I stopped playing it every time.

If you want a horse that has any meaning in that game, you have to be part of the leet breeding circles who seem to do nothing but pump time and RL cash into their chosen breed of horses, training them at insane speeds and breeding them over and over. Basically, any horse you breed (if you play the game like a normal person) can never hope to compete with the top horses. Your horses are irrelevant before they are born.

While I never expect to be a top player, I simply don’t find that fun. The company is certainly making big money off those breeding circles, so they just keep upping the stars a horse can achieve and let it run its course. It’s a case of whales vs. minnows. I’m totally a minnow and they do nothing to cover up that fact.

horseworldhorseAnyhow, this post isn’t about my long-standing grief with Howrse, but rather the fact that Horse World Online doesn’t do that. They do have an optional subscription for perks if you want (though it’s a fraction of the cost of anything at Howrse). But you can also purchase permanent perks for your account for a very reasonable cost: things like faster regeneration of “turns” (known as days) and a larger max number of days you can accumulate.

While, yes, you can purchase upgrades to your account’s ability to train horses and win races if you want, there’s nothing that allows you to perpetually speed up a horse’s aging and development beyond the norm.

When you train a horse, it doesn’t effect the horse’s genetics and offspring (which, coming from Horwse was odd to me). But after I thought about it, I realized this is not only realistic (a horse will only pass what’s already in genetics), but also prevents the stat bloat and leetism I saw at Horwse.

Awesome Features

So what is it that I like, aside from it not being a P2W game?

Realistic Breeding!

  • You can adopt a starter horse of an ancient breed, and then begin crossing those breeds to create new, modern breeds. This is a very cool concept and gives those who want to discover breeds something to work towards!
  • You breed for color! And wow, is this seriously interesting and realistic. I didn’t realize I knew so little about official horse colors until I played this. For example, grey Arabians have been introduced in the game… and it’s so very neat to watch your horse turn more and more grey as they age.
  • Breeding for stats – parents pass innate genetics only. There are some horses with very poor stats (highlighted in red) and some with awesome stats (highlighted in green). It should be fun to work on getting multi-green horses.
  • Horses are evaluated on their build, height and other factors based on the standards for the breed. Neat concept!

horseworldadopt

SO MANY BREEDS! Seriously, hundreds of breeds, many I didn’t even know existed. This is not your standard Arabian, Thoroughbred, Appaloosa pony game.

Horse breeds for miles! So many not unlocked yet!
Horse breeds for miles! So many not unlocked yet! That is only the tiny part of the “As” for Light Breeds. It goes on and on.

You can develop your own farm and change the farm’s layout! 

horseworldfarm

 

This game is very liberal with handing out free tokens and days. You race your horse in local events to earn money – depending on their stats, they can race at higher levels.  But you also have a chance with each race to win a token or a free turn. I find this happens quite often, and it really keeps me playing.

horsewintime

The horse artwork changes dynamically as time passes. If you watch, you can see your horse actually change in small ways every time you progress a day. A foal grows up. A horse gains weight. A mare in foal becomes heavier over time. A foal’s color changes as they mature, and they often don’t even look like the same horse once they reach adulthood. It’s super cool to watch a grey horse turn grey over time, and see if they’ll be a speckle or if their mane and tail will change, too.

A genetically grey horse changing color over time.
A genetically grey horse changing color over time.

Your player avatar also gains levels. This opens up stats that you can choose. I’m not completely sure that all of the features behind this are unlocked yet, but it seems to effect the kind of learning you can level.

You level in knowledge. You can level your horse handling to increase your max horses, max broodmares, max breedable stallions, etc. You can also level your ability to train your horses and hold your own events.

horseworldtraining

 

You can join player-created competitions to win prizes and points. There is a leaderboard for the horses and players with the most wins.

You can create your own player competition for other people to run. Training allows you to unlock more competitions at once, and higher level competitions.

There’s a market. You can obviously buy and sell horses. You can also offer your stallions as studs and make cash that way.

Growing community. The site seems to be based around a forum foundation. There’s a forum community, and so far, they’ve seemed polite and supportive.

In closing… I really like what I see in Horse World Online. I think this is the breeding game I’ve been looking for over the years. I wish I had backed it during Kickstarter, but I’ve put a little bit of money into account upgrades to make up for it.

As long as the devs stay away from P2W tactics of their competitors, I can see myself being an avid supporter of this game. I really would love to see it do well and flourish. I think it’s the kind of online game horse lovers could really get excited about.

Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

12 thoughts on “Horse World Online: Free Horse Breeding and Virtual Pet Game

  1. If the game was about griffons, I’d be very interested. 😀

    Okay, in seriousness, I hope you enjoy it! It sounds like it’s better-designed than a lot of breeding games out there.

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      1. Depends on the world, of course. 😀 I mean, you can even get different griffon species if you do something like, say, these griffons are snow leopard/snowy owl griffons, these ones are mountain lion/red-tailed hawk griffons, these ones are black panther/raven griffons…

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        1. There is a game called Beast Keepers (http://beastkeeper.com/) that you can breed different fantasy creatures. It’s not graphically intensive but the art is nice. It does have dominant and recessive type genes. It’s not as realistic but then again they are fantasy creatures. I only wish we could interbreed the species 😛 They do seem to add new species now and then.

          You can train them, you have buildings you can build and upgrade, What you feed them does have an effect on how they develop but their underlying genetic traits define what you can do with them. Through selective breeding you can breed certain builds of fighters. Breeding elite types enable you to do certain quests both on the map and in paid tasks.

          If you want Dragons, keep an eye on Flight Rising’s open registration that happens every 3 months. They just had one in August.

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        2. Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve been a member of Flight Rising since the site opened, and still play daily. I think I also have a BeastKeeper account, but at the time, I didn’t have a chance to really explore the site well. I might go back and try it again!

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  2. ERMAHGERD HERSE!!

    Your intro sounds basically as though I wrote it. Curses – I may have to try this out. With my unlimited spare time in between the 4 hours a day it takes to feed the meece (I just worked that out and sobbed a bit 😀 ).

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  3. Thank you for this excellent review!
    I missed the kickstarter as well and I just found out yesterday they were open for registration.
    I do think the natural breeding makes it more of a challenge and makes it more fair for everyone. It takes understanding of genetics, training, and horsemanship to win, not dumping money into the game.

    I loved Horse Ranch Online but feel that too, with training effecting the outcome of foals and the breeding groups have an overwhelming advantage

    I was playing Horse Eden that has natural genetics, even negative ones can come in play. You do have to log onto there at least once a week as things progress on a schedule and game days. I got busy and did not play for a few months and my account is totally gone. I don’t feel like starting from scratch just now. I prefer to play at my own pace.

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    1. You’re very welcome! The site is still quite young, and things are held over from their beta, still to be improved. But they have a forum just for suggestions and feedback, and are responding to it consistently. I’m impressed by how much work goes into this game and how they seem not to want to fall into the same pay to win traps as other games.

      There will eventually be breeding groups, but I feel the game has a very fair foundation for new players. I was able to jump in and start working towards the breeds I really want to improve upon without much trouble.

      If you decide to join, feel free to look me up as Aywren there. I haven’t tried out the friend and social elements of the site yet because I don’t know anyone there! 😀

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