First, just start out with breeding, then you go through your training and evaluation period for all your virtual horses, identify the proper racing conditions, enter them, wait for the tournament to begin, the races to be run and hope for the best. It sounds pretty easy, doesn't it?
The reality is, the more a person digs, the more opportunities there are to find those best-kept secrets that can help you increase your winning percentage as both a breeder and, of course, a trainer in our game.
Don't get me wrong, just like real horse racing, luck plays a factor, but there is definitely a skill set required to climb up the leader board in our community.
The best players in our game first have a pretty good understanding of horse racing in general, then they learn as much as they can about the game and try to apply some of the real-world horse racing knowledge into our virtual racing playground. It's amazing how you can talk with players who have been managing their stable for two or three years now and they tell us they're still learning how to increase their skills and enhance their performance, both as a breeder and trainer all the time.
There is no doubt that the level of competition has increased since we first released our community-version game back in 2007. Players are more savvy, they spend more time analyzing their horses and the horses of their competitors, not only trying to find the right spot to place their horse, but also trying to figure out where other players are racing their virtual horses. It's one thing to find the right spot to race your horse. It's another to identify and then avoid certain horses you don't want to compete against.
For the novice fan, who's interested in a little fun and wants to manage a small stable, we provide enough guidance with our color-coded tournament system so they can enjoy themselves without spending hours and hours of training, evaluating and reviewing everything that is going on in our game and community. But, for the true racing enthusiast as well as the hard-core gamer who loves burying themselves in statistics, we offer a whole new level of information that makes the game so much more exciting and engaging, which tends to bring out our true competitive spirit.
Horse racing, traditionally, is a very statistic-driven and opinionated sport. There is no right or wrong way to approach the data and how to interpret it in order to bring back the best results when breeding, training or racing your horses or even competing as a jockey or bettor in those areas of our game.
If you look at the statistics, you can almost break up the player base into three or four categories. At the top level is that very small, elite group of players who look at every detail to try to find that winning edge. The second group of players are also dedicated, but not at the level as those top tier players. Still, they win their share of races and have an overall, solid, in-the-money percentage of managing their stable. The last two groups are casual fans or those who just don't have the time to dig deep into every aspect of the game to increase their overall win percentage. But, even at these levels, our game offers a ton of enjoyment. Once you breed your horse, name your horse and start his/her racing career, the excitement truly begins. These virtual creatures become family members and an interpretation of ourselves as they race at a variety of tracks against other players from all over the world. And, even though it's a game, the difference between winning or losing a particular race or tournament can be the difference of having a good or bad day!
With the release of our web-based game, we expect a lot of additional players to enjoy what we believe is the best horse racing game around. What's exciting to me is opening up the game to a whole new group of individuals. Yes, it will probably increase the competition, but for those truly competitive racing enthusiasts, I'm sure they're up to the challenge. In fact, I would have to bet that a lot of our top players want to make as many people as possible know that they are the game and community leaders. When it comes to racing and managing their stable, they're the best in our virtual world.