What will change for the EC Prestige?

The Equestrian Center’s Prestige is an important feature on the game. It is hard to get and maintain it high. Soon the feature will see some big changes. So we want you to get all the information you need to adapt your Equestrian Center (EC) to these changes.

The way we decided to change EC prestige is guided by three goals:
* Be more transparent on what this prestige contains. For the moment, some factors are not well known by the players. For example: did you know that carrots count for the prestige of the meadows? Did you know that mash counts for the boxes prestige? All these untold things are not clear for everyone, even for us.
* Some factors in the prestige are quite unbalanced. For example, the boarders’ prestige reflects the quality of the horses you get in your EC. Ok, then do you think the total skills or each skill are equally taken into account? No. In fact each skill is taken into account but not in the same proportion.
* Adapt the prestige to the employees’ removal.

 

After those explanations and the change on the game, we hope the EC prestige will be clearer for everybody and will continue to offer you a challenging gameplay.

What will count for the total prestige after the update? Let’s see that together in detail.

EC COMFORT

The EC comfort rating is a brand new concept.

We created it to highlight the advantages the EC offers to the boarders:

* Box size: higher quality boxes (from 1* to 3***) will bring more prestige and a better morale for the horse when it wakes up.
* Bedding: higher quality bedding (straw or flax) will bring more prestige. The bedding quality will influence the energy and the morale of the horse when it spends time in the box.
* Improvement for the box. For the moment it concerns only the shower but we will add one more later. You need one shower per box to get optimum prestige and the shower makes the horse spend 10% less energy for each action it makes.
* Food
If a type of food is available for the boarders, then you get the optimum prestige for this type of food
- Fodder: at least 150/box to make it available for the boarders
Oat: at least 75/box to make it available for the boarders
Carrots: 15/box to make it available for the boarders
Mash: 15/box to make it available for the boarders.
* Tack (saddle, bridle, saddle cloth, polo wraps, ear bonnet): 1 of each/box to make it available for the boarders. If a horse uses tack from the EC, it will leave the EC with the tack. The higher the quality of the tack, the higher the EC’s comfort prestige will be.

The EC comfort prestige is an important part of the total prestige.

MEADOW PRESTIGE

* Meadow in pasture fertility: 100% to get optimum prestige.
* Total surface area of pasture meadows for the horses: respect carefully what the equestrian center requests depending on the number of boxes you have to get the optimum prestige.

This prestige will count a bit less than now in the total prestige.

CENTER CAPACITY

Number of boxes: at least 100 boxes to get the optimum prestige.
The occupancy ratio: at least 50% of occupied boxes to get the optimum prestige.

BOARDERS PRESTIGE

The best skill of each horse boarded in your EC is compared to the best same skill of the entire game. The closer the horse’s skill is to this value, the higher the prestige will be.

The price and the skills gain of the lessons will be based on the boarders’ prestige. So it is not only the dressage level that will decide the lessons level anymore, but each best skill of your boarders.

COMPETITION PRESTIGE

We do not change anything in the way this prestige is calculated. It will only count a bit more in the total prestige.
Each competition is taking into account equally in this prestige. Nevertheless, to complexify the formula, the competition prestige is not a simple average of the 5 competitions quality.

 

The lessons prestige is deleted and the employees will not count for the prestige anymore.

Knowing all that, here is some advice to help you when it will go online:

  • Pay attention to your stocks. You need a certain amount of tack and food to get a good prestige but do not forget that the horses you will host can use all that stuff and so it will decrease your stocks. If you do not have enough stock you will not be able to propose those advantages to your boarders and you will lose prestige. Notice that to appear on the registration page your EC needs to propose the double of stuff that is requested to make it available. So for example, your EC will need 300 fodders per box to appear on the registration page.
  • Later you will be able to produce your own tack, so it should cost less but it will take more time. Meanwhile, the 2** tack will give the same prestige than 3*** tack.
  • Pay attention to the boarding price you propose. You will be able to choose a price between 20 and 200 equus per day. 200 equus seems a lot. Ok but read again the part about EC comfort to understand why we increase this price so much. If you propose a lot of advantages to your boarders and the boarding price is only 20 equus per day… well, let’s say you risk being broke quite soon. On the contrary, if you have nothing to propose to your boarders and ask 200 equus per day, your EC might stay empty. The balance between what you offer to your boarders and the price you ask for boarding is a really important matter for your EC managing.
  • You can use divine horses to raise your occupancy ratio. The divine horses do not count for the boarders’ prestige, so do not forget to get some normal horses or your boarders prestige will stay to zero.

We hope this article will help you to prepare your equestrian center strategy. Join us around mid-October to discover the new prestige and other features that concern Equestrian Centers.

Maïté, Community manager for the french version

Reviewing the equestrian centers

Several months ago, we told you about our project to review the Equestrian Centers. Since, things have progressed and it’s about time for us to give you some news about this –huge- project.

Why review the Equestrian Centers?

To start off with, we noticed that equestrian centers (EC) hadn’t evolved in the almost 9 years of Howrse’s existence, while the rest of the game regularly underwent evolutions, small or rather large.

And what could have seemed nice nine years ago doesn’t necessarily today. Online games progress fast, very fast and to be perfectly honest, the ECs are a bit obsolete. The ECs needed to be modernised!

Next, the question was: what can we do with the ECs? How can we make  them more attractive, more fun and more challenging? The two master words were: strategy and player interactions.

We want the ECs take a bigger role in the game’s game play, not just be a feature superimposed on the rest and whose impact on the game stays on the fringe. We want strategy to be the hearth of it and player interactions a tool to get to the top.

How are we going to do that?

The main axis of this project is the production cycle. Basically, your EC could manufacture or harvest almost all the resources it needs for its development (as boxes, showers, …) and your horse’s needs (as food, treats, equipment).

The basic principle is:
-> harvest a primary resource
-> transform it to make it into an end product
-> use the end product to improve your EC, keep it for your personal use or sell it to earn equus.

To add some challenge, every EC has to specialize itself by choosing a location (forest, beach or mountain). To get wood if your EC is near the beach, you will have to buy some in the market place.

The other players’ actions could have some influence on yours. For example: your EC is in the forest. You can ask the horses boarded into your EC to perform missions for you (missions will replace lessons): for example, harvesting wood in the forest. In return, the horse’s owner will get money and the horse will receive skills. With the wood, you could make something useful in your workshop, for example make a new box. You also could sell the overflow in the market and this way influence the wood price because all the products will be priced depending on supply and demand (the rarer and more desirable a resource is, the more expensive it’ll be).

How are we planning to introduce the features?

You can imagine that such a huge change on an already existing feature isn’t a piece of cake.

So everything will not be going online at the same time. On one side, we do not want you to flee into the opposite direction.  On the other side, we think that it can be useful our developers and game designers’ sleep sometimes.

Basically, everything that will be set online before the arrival of the production cycle is aimed at preparing this same arrival (for example: changes about agriculture, the horses food) and everything that will come out after the production cycle will be to refine and complete it. For example: rethinking the secret market or the draft horses introduction.

It is quite difficult to tell you precisely how much time it will take but we can already give you estimate: it will take more than six months and we are going to need several months before the production cycle’s arrival.

How are we going to communicate?

The first step will go online on the beginning of September and will mark the start of all the future stages. We will propose a special page that will be available on the game until almost all the EC’s new features are done. This page will show you:
– the features coming in the next update
– an overview of the features coming later on.

It will be possible to discuss them on a dedicated topic on the forum.

In the meantime, we will propose you some blog articles, treating about more sensitive subjects (as the fusion of the breeder and EC reserve of equus)  to give you detailed explanations and to reassure you.

We hope that we could give you some keys to prepare yourself to this and welcome the new features with excitement and pleasure when they will come.

See you soon on the game for the first step.

Maïté, community manager for the French version.

The World Equestrian Games 2014

In the past year here at Owlient, we have decided that we wanted to introduce more of the real equestrian world to Howrse.

As a rider myself, the World Equestrian Games have always been a celebration of the passion and love we all share for horses.

The 2014 edition of the World Equestrian Games taking place in Normandy - France was too good an opportunity for us to miss out and would allow us to do just that: celebrate equestrianism under all its forms and make the Howrse community a part of it too.

We also wanted to try and reward our players for their unyielding support and enjoy this moment with them.

This is a map of Normandy, click to see it in Google Maps.

This is a map of Normandy, click to see it in Google Maps.

So we thought long and hard and came up with a mastermind plan.
We would take a small group of our players with us and share what we would be doing during our adventures with the rest of the community.
We also decided it would be really nice to let everyone try their luck at becoming one of our guests, of course with certain limitations; after all it is a trip across the planet.
That’s how we came up with the idea for the World Equestrian Game’s contest on the International, French, German and Russian versions.

With our guest list complete, it was time for us to get to work on all the travel and planning logistics for our adventures. I myself caught a few more grey hairs in the process, but I am very happy with what we have been able to achieve. ;)

So here is a bit more about what we will be up to during this event.

On Thursday the 28th of August, our guests will be joining us after their trip to Paris. In some cases the distances that they will travel to join us are huge!

Everyone will meet up at the Owlient office and we will have the pleasure of presenting our teams and some of the things we do.  :)

Afterwards, we will hop into our carriage (sadly not horse powered) and be on our way to Deauville!
Deauville like a lot of places in Normandy is intricately linked to equestrianism in France and in the world.  More specifically, it hosts some of the biggest auctions for thoroughbred horses in Europe.
It also has a very nice beach front where you can enjoy a good canter on horseback or a more sedate walk on foot.

Deauville, the beach by  Arnaud Gaulupeau, creative commons.

Deauville the beach, by Arnaud Gaulupeau, creative commons.

On Friday the 29th of August, it’s time for some very serious business, World Equestrian Games here we come!

We will visit the Game’s Village in Caen with all the horse themed animations, concerts and shops. There will also be some demonstrations on the use of draught horses in modern applications like waste removal, forestry or maintenance of the Game’s installations. This is a good way for horses to be part of our daily modern lives and help save energy and prevent unnecessary pollution.
After the Game’s Village, we will have the pleasure of watching the biggest and best horse and rider couples the world has to offer competing in the Freestyle to music grand prix dressage test!

I am personally looking forward to it; I am very curious and impatient to see the competition between Totilas and Valegro to name just those two among the many others that will be testing their mettle.

Maree Tomkinson VIC riding Diamantina, by  Franz Venhaus, Creative Commons

Maree Tomkinson VIC riding Diamantina, by Franz Venhaus, Creative Commons

How about you? Which couple would you like to know more about?

On Saturday the 30th of August, time for some outdoor fun! So off we go to see the cross country event that will be taking place at “Le Haras du Pin”.
We might also be able to discover some interesting things in this place bathed in history and prestige.

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Le Haras du Pin, By Pascal, creative commons

Indeed, “Le Haras du Pin” is a stud farm that is an institution on its own, hence why it’s also called the “Versailles for horses” and covers 2,471 acres of lush greenness devoted to horses. An architectural and cultural heritage handed down to us from Louis the 14th!
We’ll also walk around the cross country course and watch the riders take on some very impressive obstacles and technical difficulties. Among them, Zara Phillips, Pippa Funnel or Bettina Hoy!
We’ll try to take some great pictures to share the excitement with all of you.

Then it’ll be time for us to store our cameras and computers and hop back into our carriage (still not horse drawn…) to head back to Paris after these eventful three days!

Eiffel Tower in Paris, by David Rasner, Creative commons

Eiffel Tower in Paris, by David Rasner, Creative commons

During our whole adventure, you will have the possibility of following what we are up to thanks to a special page available in French, Russian, German and English that you will soon discover. We will tweet the link to this page directly on Howrse at the end of this week, so stay tuned!

We hope you’ll enjoy this celebration of equestrianism as much as we surely will.

Come and join us on the forums and don’t forget to follow our adventures as they unfold.

Best regards

Alice, Community Manager for the English version

A new Animation Cycle

Since June 2011, Howrse has been livened up rhythmically by contests that appear on the game every three weeks or so.

We know you enjoy these contests; they liven up your game and amuse you. You often fancy their theme or graphic design and of course the gifts they provide.  However, we are conscious that you are becoming a little weary, especially our most senior players who have been taking part in all these contests since the very beginning.

On our side, the creation of a contest takes a huge amount of time. They use up most of the resources from the technical and graphic design teams into their elaboration … this is detrimental towards improvements for all the other game areas.

Nevertheless, Howrse cannot go without regular contests and animations, they are vital for the game, this is also true for the introduction of divine horses. Therefore, we’ve thought long and hard about a way to make things work so that you can have fun on the game and have things to do on a daily basis, without making you feel compelled to complete the whole contest to get the divine horse. All this, while giving us enough time and free resources to develop new features and improvement for the game, keeping it modern and making it fit your expectations.

It does not mean that your favourite contests like the Cards will never come back on the game. They will just be rarer, therefore more enjoyable.

Here is what we’ve got planned :

The Big Challenge

With the new system, everyone on Howrse will be able to take part in the Big Challenge.

All the players of a same Howrse version will have a common goal: collect a certain amount of tokens together. For example, the whole community on howrse.com has to gather several millions of tokens. The amount of tokens will depend on the versions, according to the number of players.

There will be many ways to collect tokens: UFOs, some competitions, the Grand Prix and 6 daily tasks. Those tasks will be randomly selected every day and they’ll be different from one player to another. Some will be similar to the missions we usually have in the contests (win a competition, give an apple to a horse, etc.) and can be integrated in your daily life on Howrse. Other tasks will be brand new, for example donate Equus and objects to a new player. This way we’ll focus more on the collaborative aspect of the game (and Ow isn’t the only one getting your Equus :p ).

The 100 objectives as they exist in the game now will disappear and the trophies will be available to everyone right after the tutorial. It would be redundant to have both the daily tasks and the objectives.

Also, you don’t need to participate if you don’t want to. There’s no obligation, you can still take part in what follows. However, the number of tokens you have collected may give you an advantage for the Festivities.

BigChallengeHere is a provisional mock-up of the Big Challenge.
Click on the picture to enlarge.

The Festivities

Once the community’s common goal has been reached, the Festivities are launched.

The Festivities are five days during which the community celebrates its achievement and is rewarded for its efforts. These five days are punctuated by a Lottery, a commercial offer and some advantages won by the best contributors during the Big Challenge.

The main gift you can try your luck for is a new divine horse. Some of the new tack items will also be introduced into the Lottery as gifts. During these Festivities it is interesting to keep one’s eyes open; you might be lucky and find tickets flying around as UFO’s.

In the same time, there will be a commercial offer which will allow you to try and get the divine. This commercial offer could be: Horns of Plenty, Titan’s Challenges or even new surprises ;)

The players who have gathered the most items towards the community’s common goal will be rewarded by some benefits in the commercial offer and even a divine horse for the very best.

Of course all the players who have taken part in the Big Challenge get a little incentive with Lottery tickets given according to how many tokens  they gathered for the Big Challenge’s goal.

When the Festivities are finished, a new cycle begins with a new Big Challenge to take on.

FestivitiesHere is a provisional mock-up of the Festivities
Click on the picture to enlarge.

 

The divine horses

One short word about divine horses: the divine horses that you’ll be able to win during the festivities will offer new benefits.

They will give their owner the pleasure of getting gifts that’ll be useful for his game.

If their owner is a VIP player, he’ll get an extra and specific VIP benefit from his divine horse. This benefit could be anything from making it easier to perform an in game action to increasing your usual possibilities on the game like an extra item exchange for instance. Anything is possible.

The divine horses will also give tokens that will be counting towards the next Big Challenge’s goal.

 

So this is it. We hope you are as excited as us about this new contest cycle and you will enjoy discovering it on the game shortly.

 

Alice, Julie and Maïté
Community Managers for the English, German and French versions

Review of the equestrian centers

As you mind remember, a few months ago, we asked what new features you would like for the equestrian centers.
Our plan is to refresh that part of the game. Indeed, we haven’t launched any new features for the equestrian centers in ages. And they really need it now!
So here are a few new features or improvements that we want to launch in the following months.

Refreshing of the equestrian center pages
Many among you asked for it, we will review the interfaces of some pages of the equestrian centers, such as the page where you manage your boxes, or the one where you manage your meadows. Looking after your equestrian center will become much more practical!

Removal of the jobs
Hiring employees for your equestrian center may be a difficult task for you; there are often more job offers than players who are searching for a job. Employees and particularly temporary employees can also be too expensive for beginner equestrian centers which don’t have large fertile meadows to grow crops yet. Moreover, having a job isn’t very interesting; you can earn much more Equus with your horses than with your job. So we have decided to delete the jobs. However, equestrian centers will continue to have the possibility to provide the horseshoes bonus, or saddle and bridle for their boarders by making or buying them and installing them in a box, just like for showers.

Beach, forest and mountain
Then we will add locations for the equestrian centers. That means you will be able to install your center either near a forest, a beach, or even on a mountain.
The presence of such locations will allow us improving the rides, which are currently very tedious for you. There will be only 3 types of rides, instead of the current 7: rides in forest, rides in mountain, and rides on beach. Yes, you won’t have to do a lot of short rides in a day to develop your horses’ speed skills anymore! One lengthy ride a day will be enough.
And thanks to forests, we will probably launch draught horses on the game in order to unload wood! We know you have been asking for them for a long time.

A new economic system
Forests and mountains will also offer another benefit; they will provide you with raw materials, in order to craft items or produce by yourself, instead of having to buy them. For example, you will have to get wood from the forest with your horses. And thanks to that wood you will create wood chip bedding or boxes.
Indeed, all the items that are available at the stores will be only created by players. And the price of these items will depend on the quantities you will sell and buy. So this economic system will be totally independent from us. There will be more interactions between you, players. This should make the game more strategic.
In order to launch such a system, we will have to realize some changes on the items we currently have on the game. For example, barley will be deleted, whereas wood will be added, as said above. But you will discover more details about all the items and the production lines in our next publication.

Merge of the reserves
As some items or produces can be used either for the equestrian center or for the breeders’ account, we have decided to merge your equestrian center inventory and Equus reserve with your breeding account ones. Thanks to that, you won’t have to buy some items on one side, and sell the same items on the other anymore. For example, to make manure for your crops, you will be able to directly use the droppings from your horses.

More interactions with the equestrian center in horses’ actions
We also want to make the equestrian center a more important part of the game. So we have decided to link more horses’ actions with them.
The best equestrian centers will enable your horses to get more energy or moral when they are fed, watered or groomed. Or they will allow you to do rides faster according to their location.
We are also thinking about merging the feeding action and the meadow, as they both feed the horses.
Riding lessons will be replaced by different missions offered by the equestrian center where your horses are boarded. And the reward for the missions can be different according to the mission chosen (Equus, wood, treats, or other things…). Of course any mission will increase your horses’ skills in their two best potentials, the same way as the lessons do.
We will give you more details about all the changes in horses’ actions in our next article. So keep an eye on this blog!

More secret market items
With all these new features, we will be able to add more secret market items. And maybe, we will offer some of them during our future contests.

VIP perks
With the introduction of the VIP account, we didn’t introduce advantages for the equestrian centers. The reason is that we didn’t want to offer you some advantages which will become obsolete when the equestrian centers will be updated. When all these changes we have in mind are launched, we promise to add some VIP perks for equestrian centers.

This is only the rough outlines for these new features. We will give you more details about them later. But we already wanted you to know that we have heard your wishes for equestrian centers even though we didn’t give you news about it until now, and that we are working on it.
Also note that these features are just ideas for now, and they can be adapted if necessary. So feel free to leave your comments and suggestions about them in the Event forum of the version you play and even give us new ideas that we haven’t thought about yet. Thank you.

Pamela, Game Designer

New coats and tacks to come

In our last publication, we told you we had other features than the immersive horse page in mind to offer your more immersion and realism.
Here they are!

Rework of the coats
Remember the survey we made a few months ago about the coats of horses. The result was not a surprise; the great part of you would like to see the coats from the parade contest instead of the actual ones. So we are working on all the coats so that they are more realistic and really fit with the real appearance of each breed. And, you know, it is a long-term job, as we have several hundreds of coats to rework!
We are sure you want a preview, don’t you? So have a look here:
v4horses

Diversification of the tacks

Then we will bring even more realism by introducing new types of tacks: the saddle cloth, the bonnet and the leg wraps. This will provide more diversity on the game.
Each of these new tack items will exist in several colors and patterns. So you will have a lot of possibilities to customize your horses and get very unique ones!

The saddle cloth will become compulsory in order to enter competitions, in addition to the saddle and the bridle. Yet the bonnet and the leg wraps will be optional that way you don’t have to buy too many items of tacks for every single horse.
And you won’t have to give them horseshoes any more. Indeed horseshoes can’t be customized much to the contrary of the other tack items. So they don’t really need to be displayed on horses. Thus, we have decided they will only remain as a bonus offered by the farrier of an equestrian center, making the farrier more interesting at the same time. Be sure that you won’t lose anything: you will receive a compensation for the horseshoes you and your horses have.

Like the already available tack items, the new ones will also give a skill bonus to the horses that wear them. And we are considering correcting the skill bonus of the existing tacks in order to offer the same bonus in all 6 skills. That way, there won’t be a competition which will be favored more than the others.
Even better, if your horses wear a saddle cloth, a bonnet and leg wraps which have a common color, then they will get an additional skill bonus. Try to find the best associations to both get the highest bonuses and have the best-looking horses!

The tacks displayed on your horses
The cherry on the cake is that all the tacks of your horses will be displayed directly on your horses’ picture, as during the horse parade contest last summer if you remember.
Imagine realistic horses, wearing customizable tacks and evolving in a wide beautiful landscape! You will almost have the feeling they are alive.
Don’t just imagine, watch:
tacks

Of course we can’t display tacks in some horses which have a special coat (such as divine horses or horses with a Golden Apple coat for example). But we are working on a solution to highlight tacks on these horses even so.

We hope all these features we are working on will please you. Feel free to leave your comment in this article.

Pamela, Game Designer

The horse page will become more immersive

You may wonder about the future features we are working on. Well, you have to know that our new guideline is to bring more realism and immersion on Howrse. And the first thing that comes naturally in our minds is to review the horse page, by removing the beige background on this page, like we have done during some contests.

Your horses displayed directly on the landscape

Indeed we already have a beautiful landscape on Howrse but it is almost totally hidden by this beige background, and the horses seem to float on the page. So we have decided to put the horses directly on the landscape of the background, the same way as the wild horses, you know, these horses evolving in magnificent landscapes! By this way, you will be able to see all your horses in their natural environment, leaving you the feeling that they are livelier.

You will also be able to resize the image of your horses, or move them in their landscape as if they had the Helios’ Ray.

And don’t worry! Your playing won’t be affected. Indeed, the actions blocks will remain at the same place.
Even better! The removal of the beige background allows us to display these action blocks a bit higher on the page. So you will have to scroll down the page less than now. This will be more comfortable for you to take care of your horses.

You probably want to know what the future new horse page will look like, don’t you? So take a look here:
howrsepage1 howrsepage2

What about the Helios’ Ray?

The landscapes of the Helios’ Ray will be enlarged in order to replace the landscape of the background when you are on your horse page. By this way, the landscapes of the Helios’ Ray are also better highlighted.

All the landscapes of the Helios’ Ray already in the game will be automatically resized. Yet the quality of these landscapes may be altered by this enlargement. So we will

  • let you change all the landscapes of your horses which have the Helios’ Ray for free
  • give a 3-month-period to the creators of all landscapes already in the game to send us a better-quality resized version of these landscapes.

After that time, all landscapes which creators won’t have resized manually will be deactivated from the Helios’ Ray sale. Yet they will be kept on the horses which already use them.

Of course we will give you more details about how to resize your landscape creations before the immersive horse page is launched.

What’s next?

The immersive horse page is not the only feature we have imagined to offer you more realism and immersion. Keep an eye on this blog!

Pamela, Game Designer

The VIP-Account

Hellow,

This month we will be introducing a very important feature called the VIP-Account!

Here is a short explanation of how we came to this idea:

The motivation behind the idea of a VIP-Account came from the fact that in the last few years, a lot of our work on Howrse was about making the game easier to understand for our newbie players because they felt that the game was too complicated in some aspects.

To give you an example:

We simplified the horse’s page (apple, salt block, 2nd riding lesson). We are well aware that those types of modifications may not be pleasant for more experienced players and that all these changes might give some of you the impression that the game has become too simple. Additionally, the choice we made to keep the “basics” of the game simple didn’t always allow us to realize a couple of the marvelous features ideas you might have suggested (yes, we read them ;-) ).

So in early 2013, our aim was to find a solution to the following problem: How can we satisfy these two dissimilar categories of players? On one hand, by keeping a certain consistency in the basics of the game, so that new players can easily get into it, and on the other hand, by offering a wider range of specific features for the more experienced players (by realizing the suggestions you made and by offering a more complete game experience), and by allowing them to go further in Howrse’s gameplay.

We decided to do so by introducing the VIP-Account, which will be added as a second subscription-type besides the Pegasus-Account. The main difference is that the VIP-Account offers more advantages than the Pegasus-Account. It also contains a base-package offering 21 perks (e.g. enjoy all the Pegasus-Account perks, save your search options in the private sales; sort the competitions by difficulty …).

On top of that, you can chose 10 more perks from a list of features in order to personalize the game so that it fits to your own needs (e.g. customize the positions of the different blocks on your horses’ page  [yes, you can move the horses' skill block down again ;)], participate in feature test sessions, get a higher probability to get a unicorn, preselect the quantity of food for your horses, buy horses automatically, buy several horses with a single click, leave sticky notes on your horses’ pages, change your horses’ specialty etc.).

Not to mention that the VIP-Account was an excellent occasion for us to reinforce the links between all our players, by making the breeding partnerships between players on Howrse official. With this account, you can officially join a breeding team, have a common Affix for the team’s horses, lend horses to your partners, and make coverings available for all members of the team. Or even take part in the monthly Affix-rating allowing the best team to get awarded with stars and to win gifts. The creation of a team is reserved to players that have a VIP-account subscription, but each one of them can invite up to 3 other players. Accordingly, a team can host up to 4 players and each time another player with a VIP-account joins the team, the team’s size increases by four more players, up to a maximum of twenty players.

As detailed earlier, the account subscription is exclusively reserved for our well experienced players who have invested a certain amount of time or money on the game; accordingly, the access to the VIP-Account is determined by a player’s position in the rankings or by the amount passes he bought.

The VIP-Account’s cost is at 10 passes per month that can easily be balanced by the benefits from the various perks which allow you to pay less passes inside the game (e.g. additional objects with different packs, possibility to have BLUP 100 before a horse is 10 years old etc.).

Furthermore, we welcome several features on the game that will be available for everyone and that had been suggested by you!

In a few days, you will discover:

A brand new species, the winged Unicorns that can be bred by adding Medusa’s blood to your unicorns! Moreover, you can enjoy the possibility to grow; shrink and mirror flip your horses in order to make them fit perfectly on the background you chose for them.

You can join us in the Event forum of the version you play on to discuss this new feature.

Enjoy these new features!

Alessa, Product Manager

Do you want to know more about tests?

Remember our article about how features make their way into the game. One of the steps concerns the tests before features are online.  As these tests involve players, we thought you might be curious to know more.

A bit of history

Apart from a few tests we did in the early days of the game, we started the tests with the players on a regular basis in 2010. At the beginning it was mostly to report the glitches and it was only on the French version. As time went by, we began to ask our players their opinion about features. At the same time, we opened the tests to the players on the International and German versions.

How the tests are going?

The tests occur on a recent copy of the game hosted on a different server, that as no link with the real game. New features are implemented on this “copy of Howrse” and some players are invited to join.

These players can test most of the new features and the contests.  They have access to a test forum where they can give their opinion, discuss with others players and with the admins and report the glitches they meet.

The glitches are reported to the developers and corrected. The players review and interesting debates are reported to the product team. When possible, we make adjustments and take into account improvement suggestions.

We also follow a test plan to systematically test each step of a feature and check that there are no bugs. Unfortunately, it happens that bugs do not appear on the test server but appear on the real game. This is simply because it is impossible to reproduce identical conditions to the real version on the test server.

How are the players selected?

Depending on the Howrse’s version and the features, we invite between 40 and 100 players. Most of them are invited on a regular basis but we invite almost always new persons.

You probably are very curious to know how these players have been chosen.

So these are the criteria that we take into account to select new tests players :
* Players who are implicated in the game and in the community.
* Players who know the game very well.
* Players who go on the forums and give constructive opinion about what they like and do not like in the new features; players who give interesting suggestions.

So … Maybe one day it could be you?

 

Maïté,
Community Manager for French version.

Focus on the general ranking

The general ranking in Howrse is one of the most popular rankings in the game.
Become ranked first and your popularity will be increased tenfold!

A lesser known fact is that the formula behind this ranking has changed only once over the past five years.
This happened two years ago and was intended to restrict the number of horses used to calculate this ranking to 10,000 per player.
Besides this, nothing has changed.

Further details about this are that the ranking takes three parameters into account:

  • Horses (number, age, skills)
  • Player seniority
  • The number of passes bought by each player

First, we take the 10,000 most skilled horses for each player and multiply their total skill points by two :

$latex 2 * \sum (stamina + speed + dressage + gallop + trot + jumping + 1)$

Next, we multiply this value by the sum of all these horses’ age (capped at 30 years old per horse) and apply a power to it :

$latex (\sum age + 1)^{0.025}$

Then, we divide the result by the number of horses owned by the player and apply another power to it :

$latex (horses + 1)^{0.2}$

Finally, we multiply the value by the number of passes bought as well as seniority:

$latex (1 + {pass\ purchased})^{0.03} * (1 + {user\ seniority})^{0.01}$

The formula as a whole looks like this:

$latex \dfrac{2 * \sum (stamina + speed + dressage + gallop + trot + jumping + 1) * (\sum age + 1)^{0.025} * (1 + {pass\ purchased})^{0.03} * (1 + {user\ seniority})^{0.01}}{(horses + 1)^{0.2}}$

In this formula (as in the rest of the game), we use powers a lot.

We use powers bigger than 1 to increase differences between the players, whereas powers smaller than 1 are used to reduce differences between the players.
We have exhumed this formula from the source code in order to write this article.

Furthermore, as we wrote it we had a new idea… How about we replace the number of passes bought with the number of trophies won?
This has two positive consequences. We remove a parameter that doesn’t depend on in-game actions and replace it with a parameter that truly reflects each player’s playing skills.

 

Vincent, Howrse founder