One of my goals for Star Stable has been to level my rider to 9. This unlocks a city area that I really want to visit, along with a set of Celtic-themed set of gear for my rider and horse. Obviously, I’ve reached that goal over the past weekend (as seen above). However, I had a pleasant experience doing it that I didn’t expect!
I already liked the area of South Hoof Peninsula due to the Celtic theme of the area and the lovely music that plays there. So when I looked at my XP bar hovering just at the start of level 8 this past weekend, I decided I’d clean up quests in South Hoof just to nudge the bar along.
There weren’t many people living in that area at the time and I’d already finished a questline there before. So, to my eyes, there were only two quests I’d overlooked from my first trip. Little did I know these quests would quickly branch out into more storylines. And I was up for it!
My visit to South Hoof was super productive. Not only did I help a semi-retired fisherman start his new business as a shopkeeper, but I also assisted in kick-starting the ferry that once traveled here from the mainland. That was neat!
From there, I met a hermit living all the way on the other side of the area (I keep wanting to call it an island because it feels like one). Here, I unlocked a daily to work up my trust with him – not sure what I’ll get when I do. But it all revolves around helping out the wild horses of the island, so I’m good with it.
Lots of small quests had me exploring around the strange Stonehenge-like structures, and even racing with the wild horses across the plains (this was really fun)!
Every now and then, you can see the herd moving across the open lands as you ride through, which is a nice touch. However, there’s something a bit more sinister going on – I discovered what appears to be folks who are taking the wild horses from the island for who knows what. Hopefully, I’ll see more where this questline goes in the future.
A New Face in South Hoof
Riding back to the village, I noticed that the ferry had brought someone new! This was a big deal because this area had something like a population of 6 or so up until now.
Turns out, Hugh is the brother to Holly, the mother of the family who you’ve been interacting with all this time. He’s a military veteran who lost his leg during service and has decided to take up a veterinarian practice and restore the broken-down horse ranch on the peninsula.
I was pleasantly surprised by this story because Star Stable, for being geared towards younger folks, did NOT hem and haw about Hugh’s situation as ex-military and the injuries he sustains for his service. Nor did they talk down to the younger audience when discussing the rescue ranch or shy away from veterinarian lingo that went along with restoring an ill horse.
Good on you Star Stable for keeping it real!
Building the Rescue Ranch
I was absolutely delighted when I realized the next order of business was to restore the ranch so that Hugh could use it to treat horses. And boy was it in bad condition to start with.
I imagined this would be a daily thing, but it turned out not to be the case. I did pick up various tasks to fix things around the ranch – from fences to buildings to removing the nettles and fallen tree limbs.
None of it was overly complicated and all of it was satisfying to complete as I worked task by task to restore the ranch.
And none too soon… the night after, we made our first rescue – a sick foal from the wild horse herd!
Much to my surprise, this is where the daily events began. You help Hugh with veterinarian tasks to help nurse the foal back to health day by day.
Having wanted to be a vet in my younger years – and I’ll take a wild guess other players of this game likely dream of a similar thing – this was another extremely satisfying quest line.
I’m not quite done with it yet. But as of yesterday, the foal was up in the paddock walking around for a little bit of exercise. I think he’s going to be okay! I’ll find out more when I check in on him today.
During this, I also unlocked 4 new tracks in the area, which have really helped to speed up leveling my starter horse. He’s now partially through level 14, which means he should hit max in a couple of days at this rate. The tracks here were a bit more challenging than the ones I’ve done before, but once I learned them, I enjoyed them – it helps that the awesome Celtic music plays when running the tracks, too!
Leveling to 9 has also unlocked new horse breeds that I can purchase in game. It looks like the next level for horse unlocks is at 13 – but I wasn’t really looking at buying a new horse anytime soon.
That’s what I said, of course. When, ironically, this very morning they announced the Tier 3 rework of the Welsh Ponies!
I hadn’t really been looking at ponies, either, but a couple of these are pretty cute. I’m not sure if I have the level to buy one (I need to check), but I’ll consider it since my starter is about to hit max level and I don’t currently own any ponies. I do have a soft spot for Welshes.
All this to say… I have been continually impressed by Star Stable as a non-violent MMO that still provides satisfying content and questing. Of course, much of it is standard MMO fetch and talk to NPCs, but when it does do neat things – like rebuilding a rescue ranch – I’m always right on board with it.
I’m also finding new quests popping up in old areas as I level, which just means that it’s going to be a long time before I run out of stuff to do!