For the last week, we've been evaluating all of the breeding statistical information since the first of the year. We're very satisfied with the number of new horses that are being kept because of all the new tournament options, including insta and restricted tournaments. We've also noticed a significant increase in breeding and, at the same time, a significant increase in the bigger breeders stating that it's harder to find top-quality horses.
As I've said in previous posts, there is a rotation of the breeding pairs. This is to prevent an over-abundance of exceptional horses when the breeding pairs are found. Once a hot breeding pair is found, depending on a combination of time and the number of high-quality horses bred, the breeding pairs will then rotate once again. For the newer or novice player, this program works fine, but for the big stables, it's frustrating - especially when, in the beginning (last March), once the hot combinations were revealed, the sharp and big breeders pounced on them and were able to continuously produce, with some level of consistency, higher speed rated horses. About a week-and-a-half ago, several breeders quietly accumulated some good young horses. While they did that, once again, it forced the breeding traits to randomize. When this happens, everyone is lost and the quality of horses that are being bred definitely drops down overall. In fact, the average horse's speed rating will drop as much as 10 points the first couple of weeks after the randomization has taken place. Then, as people begin to experiment and zoom in and share information, that average speed rating continuously climbs until the point where the shifting will occur again. What is really interesting is that a lot of the races for the younger horses are much more competitive. This is probably a combination of the breeding randomization program and the new restricted tournament classification program. In fact, the statistics show that the average margin of victory in a trainer tournament race is almost half of what it was five months ago. Simply put, players are smarter, there's more places to put your horses and the breeding program has put everyone on a pretty level playing field.
With all this said and spending a lot of time looking at the data, starting next week, the following changes will occur. These changes will probably be implemented either Wednesday or Thursday. You'll know when the changes are implemented because there will be some new tools located in the community.
1. Starting next week, in order to help people find the hot breeding trends a little faster, we're going to display on the community home page the top three horses (not their names), just their speed ratings and who the owner is. So, if an owner bred 6 or 8 different pairs, you'll still have a lot of experimenting to do, but you'll be able to zoom in on the hotter trends faster. The data we will be exposing will be updated daily, so the best three horses bred on Monday, the owner's name and speed ratings will display all day Tuesday. For example, if I bred the best horse today, tomorrow in this special new tool, you will see "Puddles SR 129". It will be the player's task to either get the information from the owner (if he's willing to provide it) or research it by checking out what they bred.
2. Hot Breeding Trends - The formula for randomizing the breeding trends, starting today, will no longer be randomized as often as they have been. In other words, the trigger point that normally would force another randomization of the traits has been raised. That in conjunction with visually showing the owners of the best bred horses of the day will lower the pain when breeding and increase the chance of finding a better horse faster. So, when hot pairs are found, the opportunity to get good offspring from them will last longer. As I said, this has gone into effect today and will become truly noticeable over the next week or two as players zoom in on the breeding and begin to discover what's hot and what's not.
3. I've always said that we want to offer entertainment to all levels of players. We now do that with insta-tournaments and restricted tournaments and other cool features. But, we also need to remember that it's the paying players that support everything and allow even the free players to enjoy our game. And, when presented to me that way, it made me realize that those players need additional benefits, even beyond those you receive by becoming a VIP. Paying members of our community will be given an increased chance of generating a higher speed rating horse than our free members or those who enjoy the game but don't contribute. This doesn't guarantee that a paying member, or the biggest paying member, will have the best horse. All of that still comes from the breeding program. At the end, anyone can get a superstar - free players or paying members - but paying players will have an absolute increased chance, using a mathematical formula, to produce with some increased frequency, a horse(s) with higher speed rating figures. Not only will this be obvious to paying members, but VIP paying members even more. The way I'm now looking at it is - my team and I are putting in all the time and the cash paying members, especially the VIPs, are standing behind us saying keep going.
Do not try to read anything into this post too deeply. It is exactly what it is - nothing more; nothing less. Over the last month, I've really started to see the community grow and really can now visualize what a great place this is and will be. More and more people are spending more and more time and some more money, and those resources will play a factor in new features, enhanced programs and all-around better customer support. That's valuable. In no means, does this mean that paying members are guaranteed monsters. What we will guarantee is that there will be a stronger return for quality horses on money spent. The level of that quality still pertains to the right breeding pairs and a little luck.
In addition to this, I've been talking for the last few weeks about our new bonus program that pays community points based on your stable earnings. This program is just about complete and will go into effect, hopefully the first week of March - but, like you know, with technology, things are always hard to predict. We're still dealing with little bugs from the new insta-tournaments. As you obviously know from the last few days, we've had instances with insta-tournament overpayments and we've now discovered an issue with the new horses - FN, PN and NN - that have the ability to run more than 3 insta-tournaments in a year. That is not supposed to happen and will be fixed by Monday. Once we continue to work out these little issues, it will allow us to roll out the next new group of features.
That little teaser I gave last week on something big that was soon to happen is probably going to happen this upcoming week and I look forward to making that announcement.