I know I said I wouldn’t continue to flood my blog about Second Life posts, but it’s what I’ve spent the most time doing this weekend. So, it’s natural to talk about it a bit!
The Water Horse Riding Horse had a 1st Anniversary Event on Sunday. The horses were discounted 25% (if you’re a group member), and many of the stores in the mall have special gifts scattered around for grabs. There’s some pretty nice free stuff there!
The Sim was overflowing on Sunday, and I was surprised to see the enthusiasm that Xaa and Vix had for getting their own horses. Because the sale was extended to the draft horses, which I didn’t already have, I picked up a Clydesdale to go with my Warmblood. I have a plan for her… more on that later!
One way or another, the Posse took advantage of the sale and we got everyone horses. Since then, we’ve spent time searching for parks and neat sims to explore on horseback.
Riding Miss Daisy
One thing I hope to do for my re-newed Second Life blog is a series called “Riding Miss Daisy.” It’s the reason I wanted a draft horse, even though I already had a warmblood.
I picked up a free bonnet for Miss Daisy, modified it a bit for her ears, and stuck a hover text script in it to name her properly. Then, I spent most of my time last night looking for the right skin and mane/tail coloration to match the concept of what I had for her in my mind. I’m pretty happy with how she turned out:
Now, my plan is to leisurely ride through awesome locations in SL and blog about them. Hence, “Riding Miss Daisy.”
Since I’ve spun up the idea, I’ve come across a lot of parks and neat places that I’d never have known about in SL. I haven’t started writing up the series yet (was still working on getting my horse in line), but I’m looking forward to what all I’ll discover!
Another thing that I’m excited about is the possibility of working on skins and assets for the Water Horse. There was a link in the barn where you can request a Water Horse dev kit — this required a pretty formal legal agreement that you won’t use it for anything you’re not supposed to use it for.
I don’t have a lot of knowledge when it comes to SL, Blender and that sort of thing, so I doubt they have much to fear from me. I just want to learn how to make some neat coat textures for the horses… and maybe, if other people like them, put them up for sale.
Doing some research last night, the cost for stalls around the Water Horse Mall is extremely reasonable… when compared to the cost of a much smaller store to sell my breedables. So, I’ve sent in my agreement and “application,” and I’m waiting anxiously for my response on whether I can get a dev kit.
So I’ve been itching for a pet raising/breeding game lately. And while the new Magikarp Jump mobile app is not really that, it still seems to scratch that itch. Bonus points that it’s simple, cute, and doesn’t take a lot of my time up.
I’d been hearing about this around the net, and decided to download it yesterday. The idea is that there’s… well… here…
So you come to Hoppy Town, where Mayor Karp wants to regain morale by winning the league. Not the Pokemon League. But the Magikarp jumping league.
See, about the only thing you can train Magikarp to do well is jump higher. So this is a game about doing just that, and then taking your trained Magikarp to the league to challenge other NPC trainers to see who jumps the highest.
The Pond and Food
Your Magikarp gets their own little pond where food slowly rains down. You tap the food to feed them.
Each type of food increases their JP (Jump Points) by a different amount. You can buy different types of food as your trainer ranks up, and you can actually rank up the individual food types by coins that you earn through playing the game.
You can also buy decorations and themes for your pond. Decorations can have different bonus effects, such as bonus experience for your Magikarp, or your own trainer levels.
I’ve been talking about leveling, but how does that work?
You have two types of leveling going on: your Trainer rank and your Magikarp’s level.
You gain more Trainer ranks as you win battles and successfully retire your Magikarps. Each time your Trainer rank rises, the max level your next generation of Magikarp can be raises.
For example, at the start of the game, your first Magikarp is capped at level 11. Once he reaches that point, he must challenge the league and make it as far as he can. Once he can no longer beat the next opponent, he retires to a nice life in a retirement pond.
Then, you’re allowed to fish up a new generation of Magikarp. However, since you’ve likely gained a few Trainer levels between now and then, your new Magikarp now maxes out at something like level 13 instead of level 11. And it keeps going up in that sort of cycle.
Aside from food, another way to increase JP is to train your Magikarp. Here’s where the timed mobile app elements of the game comes in. You have a max number of training points (right now I have 3), which replenish over time.
Sometimes an event will give you a point back. When you gain a Trainer rank, you get your training points back. And you can use items to get the points back.
So, if you’re impatient, yeah, you can use real money to buy fake money to buy items to replenish your training points. But I honestly don’t see a reason to need to.
Magikarp can come in a variety of colors and patterns. This is another one of the collectability features of this game. You even have a Dex to record the patterns you’ve found so far.
I know that Shiny Magikarp exist as I’ve seen it mentioned online.
Overall, this is a cute little Pokemon pet game you can play whenever you have a little bit of time to waste. While there are in-app purchases, I don’t see it as being super tempting to me, and it’s not so in-your-face as to turn me off.
I left out a few details here and there so that if you decide to try the game, there would still be a lot of surprises to experience!
Over the winter, I’ve somewhat taken a break from breeding horses at Horse World Online. While I’m still a big fan of the site and all it offers, just so much was going on and my stables have gotten quite a bit disorganized.
Yesterday, the team made an announcement that got me excited, though. The much-awaited white patterns have been added to horse genetics! My understanding is that you have a chance to find these hidden genes in many of the base breeds you adopt from the wild – and you have to have new bloodlines to get these.
A lot of time went into not just the art, but the research and science behind the genetics that cause these patterns, which is quite impressive! The thing I love most about Horse World Online is their desire to really base as much of the game as possible on real life colors and genetics.
The guide below provides a sample – you can see a bigger version of this on their official website.
Now 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.
Anyhow, 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.
So what is it that I like, aside from it not being a P2W game?
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!
SO MANY BREEDS! Seriously, hundreds of breeds, many I didn’t even know existed. This is not your standard Arabian, Thoroughbred, Appaloosa pony game.
You can develop your own farm and change the farm’s layout!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been playing Flight Rising for quite a while, and wanted to eventually write a review about it. However, since registration is limited to certain days and times, I decided to hold off until I knew there was an upcoming registration window opening. And there is!
Flight Rising will be opening a registration window for new users Monday, April 14th starting at 5:00 server time and ending at 5:00 server time on April 15th.
Okay, with that out of the way, here comes the review.
Dragon Breeding and So Much More!
What is Flight Rising? I’d be tempted to call it a dragon breeding virtual pet website, but it’s far more than that. Hearkening back to the days of NeoPets, Flight Rising has created a thriving community of dragon lovers, and provides several browser-based games to supplement your shopping sprees.
What all does this site include?
Several types of dragons to breed. Their traits and color combinations are genetic, so you can mix and match to develop your dream dragon.
Clothing and vanity items for your dragons to wear.
Community broken down into Flights (clans), based on element or dragon philosophy. Good for the RP types.
Daily gathering for food and rare items. Eventually, I hear there will be crafting.
Collect cute familiars and earn their trust for gold and treasures.
An auction house for selling items and dragons.
A battle coliseum where you can develop a team of dragons that gain levels as they take on monsters in a turn-based RPG environment.
Match your dragons against other players in the coliseum as well.
A fairground with several types of browser based games that help you earn in-game currency.
Monthly contests and festivals for each flight.
Battles for flight dominance to earn perks, such as marketplace discounts.
Let’s not forget the wonderful artwork, much of it lovingly created by NeonDragon.
The Flip Side
Flight Rising has a lot of wonderful concepts and offers a lot for dragon lovers to enjoy. I list all of the above as positive aspects of the site, but a review wouldn’t be complete without some cons to balance it out. While this has been one of the most enjoyable virtual pet games I’ve played, and I support it whole-heartedly, there are some hitches that will probably not bother a newcomer to the site… and certainly shouldn’t turn you away from trying it out.
Website Woes. Flight Rising is popular. In fact, it is so popular that the developers underestimated the kind of traffic the site would receive. The team has done a great job of ironing out the issues that cause crashes and sluggish response times in the beginning. It’s not unusual to see the site have hiccups, however. And the team continues to keep the site closed to new member registration for concern of website load.
Breeding and Economy Woes. For a game that centers around dragon breeding, even well-traited dragons sell for far, far less than the cost of a breed-change scroll. Don’t expect to make money by selling your dragons on the auction house. It’s sad but true. Games and coliseum are the focus of generating revenue, which tends to miff those of us who came here to breed lovely dragons we hoped would be of value.
Slow Breeding Times and Cooldowns. Depending on the breed of dragon, the time between breeding cycles can vary from 15 to 30-something days. And once your dragons breed, obtaining a random number of eggs (which can be one egg if you’re unlucky), it takes another five days of incubating to hatch the eggs. It’s a pretty steep waiting game that may turn some breeders off.
Real Money Transactions. Flight Rising is free to play, but does include real money transactions in the form of purchasing gems. You can earn these gems (very slowly) or sell at the auction house for gems, but the fastest way to get the rarest breed and trait scrolls is to plunk down real money for it. This has never bothered me, but it might bother some folks.
If any of this sounds exciting to you, why not give it a shot? The registration window is only open one day next week, and it’s hard to tell when the next window will open once this is closed. If it seems like something you’d enjoy, feel free to reference me (Aywren) as your referral and friend me once you get your account running!