In the last few weeks, between the private messages, emails and forum posts, Puddles assigned me with the task of trying to get everyone on the same page.
First, let me say that I'm excited to see some of the rivalry brewing between players. If you can't get your emotions going here, then we're not doing our job. We want your blood pumping, we want you screaming for joy or yelling at the top of your lungs. Horse Racing Fantasy is all about a roller coaster of emotions, just like real horse racing.
The logic behind our game took years to build and the technology is quite sophisticated. The realistic effect that is created is as close to real horse racing as you're ever going to get. Here are some general statistics, and the numbers don't lie.
Top trainers in the world of horse racing win between 20% and 25% of their starts and have an in-the-money percentage of between 45% and 55%. The top trainers in our game are running virtually parallel to those numbers - literally within one percentage point.
Favorites in horse racing, on average, win approximately 32% of the time. In our community trainer game races, our favorites are holding right at the same number. Again, as close to real racing as you can get.
There are numerous players in the game with the utmost intentions of being the leaders. When you put multiple top players in the same tournament, you're in for some tough competition. If your horse enters a tournament and you believe he is as good as anyone else in there, I guarantee you that there are other trainers in the same tournament who feel the same exact way about their horses. Being the best in this game requires persistence, a turnover of inventory in your horses and the ability to take risks. There is just no other way to put it.
The way the horses have been programmed allows for each racing opportunity to be completely unique. When a horse is bred, he is given a talent range. Inside that talent range a whole slew of conditions - including age, race distance, competition and their running style, a horse's courage and consistency ratings, track surface - all play a major role in where that horse's performance will show up inside that range on any given day. There have been literally 3,000 hours of programming put into the main game engine along with over 500 hours of real live jockey/trainer/owner interviews. It is from their input and the expertise from our programmers that we have been able to develop our game engine, which is the heart and soul of what we have.
On Saturday, they ran the Pacific Classic. On paper, the race was Colonel John's or Einstein's to lose - but that's on paper. There are a whole slew of other factors that come into play. If our races were run specifically and exclusively on the mathematics of a horse's ability only, then this game would get boring real fast. Colonel John had trouble Saturday. Garrett Gomez had nowhere to go and the horse was checked numerous times. Einstein was just simply outrun by a horse that was on the improve and who was benefitted by a very fast early pace. All of these factors are some of the same factors we utilize, bringing together the formula that emulates real live racing.
When we had the pleasure to sit down with some of these top jockeys and trainers, we asked them what was realistic and what wasn't when it came to win percentages, both for trainers/owners and horses themselves. This past Saturday, we shared our current numbers with two top horse racing stars. After reviewing the numbers, the response was that we're pretty much 'dead on'. If you look at the California racing circuit, just in the jockey colony alone, the top jockeys are winning at 20%, the average jockeys at 7% or 8% and the no-name jockeys at 3% to 4%. When you put that all in perspective, the same formulas can almost be applied for trainers, as well, and that same formula applies here - and we're proud of that.
Puddles recently posted this past weekend that when the new version of the game is released next month, we will continue to keep the Breeders' Cup final races as handicapped races (where weight is assigned to help balance the field to some degree), but we're going to lower the spread of the handicap weights. If there is one weakness in our current system, it is with the final races where the weight might be affecting the finals a little too much. There will be a 30% reduction in the weight assignment program and we'll cotninue to modify that, if necessary, over the next couple of months.
In summary, get your emotions going. Get the best stable you can build going. The stakes are getting higher. WIth the FN and PN horses being introduced, there are some serious player reward opportunities on the horizon. But, keep this in mind - inside of our game are some very sharp players who are putting in the time and effort to succeed here. They want the best of the emotional roller coaster and at the same time they want the recognition that comes with the rewards of winning. So, when you're in a tournament and your horse has a good chance, just remember - at least a few of the other players in that same tournament feel the same exact way.
In a blog post today I noticed that someone said, "Why do people get riled up here? It's just a game." This year I went to a Yankees game while they were playing Boston. Why did those fans get so riled up? It was just a game. Why do the Raider fans get so riled up when they're watching their team play if it's just a game? The answer is simple. When you put your time, heart and soul into something, whether it's that support and belief or money and dedication, whether it's a game or not, you want to win! And, you know what? We love it! For us, it's not just a game - it's our way of life. And for our players who have found the opportunity to participate in something that they really enjoy, it excites them and motivates them and we're glad. We hope to bring even more of you a lot more of the same!