Community Update - Forum Restructuring & Ideas Review, Discord Verification, Next Breeds, Rules Update, Premium Search

Tuesday, Jun 16 at 15:00

Howdy, fellow horse lovers!

It has been two weeks since our last news post, so we thought it was time to give you another community update. This time it’s all about what we are planning to do next: Our forum and Discord server will get a few changes, the Brumbies and Thoroughbreds are making slow but steady progress, and our rules are being updated again according to your feedback. At the end of this update, we will give a statement about our decisions about retirement retrieval and the premium search.

↖️⬆️↗️ Forum Restructuring & New Ideas Board ↘️⬇️↙️

We think it is about time to renovate our forum boards and for this, we would love to hear our communities input! Which categories do you feel are missing? Which ones should be split because they get too much content? Which should we get rid of because nothing ever happens there? Let us know in the comments of this news post!

During this reorganisation, we will be moving the current ideas forum to a location only visible to staff to sort through and properly review your idea threads. Once we are finished with a thread, it will be moved back to a public area. As we have over 1 200 threads (COM + NL) to review, this will not be a quick process, and we will do it thread-by-thread and not all at once. Don't worry, your ideas will not get lost, even if they stay hidden for a while! But some threads might get closed (exact same idea) or merged into a combination post for very similar ideas about a topic. We will also put up a brand new ideas board, so you can still let those creative juices flow. We love them!

🤖🤖🤖 Discord Verification Bot 🤖🤖🤖

We will soon add a verification bot to our official Discord server. This means it will then be necessary to verify your Horse Reality account with your Discord account. This is to help prevent banned users from making a comeback and to avoid trolling. Once the feature is added, we will walk you through the process of verifying your account step-by-step, so no need to worry!

🐴🦓🐴 Brumbies & Thoroughbreds 🐴🦓🐴

Questions about the estimated release dates of those two much-anticipated breeds reach us almost daily. Thus, we would like to share their current status with everybody.

Brumbies: The Brumbies have recently been added to our test server! However, we found that we have to make some adjustments to their artwork. Some coat colours did not make it through our quality control, and we learned that Brumbies have the silver gene (rare). We did not discover this upon our first research, but thanks to our observant community, it surfaced in time. While the artist improves old and creates new colours, the existing artwork is being tested on our test server but needs to be reviewed again once the new changes have been added.

All unreleased artwork is subject to change: When we discovered that we needed to change the Brumby artwork, a problem regarding our social media accounts occurred to us. Much like the unavailable Finnhorse and Knabstrupper patterns we talked about here, some of the Brumby coat colours on our socials are among those that may never make it into the game. Such is the nature of showing work in progress - it is being worked on and might change prior to its release. We still want to be able to show sneak peeks but we do not want to disappoint you with last-minute changes. As a middle way, we will be adding a disclaimer to our socials whenever we offer sneak peeks.

Thoroughbreds: We have realised that since we released so many new breeds quickly, anticipation for the Thoroughbreds is ever-growing. While this is exciting for us as well, we may need to manage the expectations surrounding their release date. They are the toughest breed yet for us to add, as they come with an incredibly wide range of colours. They require additional coding work because Thoroughbreds have new variations of the KIT gene that are currently not found in any of the existing breeds in the game. So, for all the Thoroughbred lovers out there: Sit tight! They are in the works and there is progress, but unfortunately, they will not get added as quickly as you might wish for.

⚖️🚨⚖️ Rules Update & Clarifications ⚖️🚨⚖️

Two weeks ago, we updated our rules and asked all of you to read up on them. We tried to cover every possible situation and make our rules as clear as possible, but as always, some situations slipped through. Community members have been approaching us with smart questions about the meaning or limits of specific rules and with great suggestions for additions or modifications. The rules will be updated again soon to get rid of misunderstandings. We plan to wait another 1-2 weeks, as we are still receiving a lot of feedback. In the meantime, we wish to clarify some of the rules:

Rule #3.4 about discussing staff decisions or actions in public: Many of you have feared we added this to silence players who voice game-related concerns or constructive criticism. This is not the case at all! We greatly appreciate your feedback, be it positive or negative, private or public, and we rely on it to make our game better. The rule purely relates to our moderating and rule enforcing practices, including, but not limited to: reminders, warnings, and bans. Those are issued to players for a reason and we do not discuss nor negotiate them in public. If you are not in agreement with a moderating action or practice, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us privately via our contact form!

Rule #6.2 about staying on topic: That we forbade sensitive topics such as sexuality, politics, and religion from the game has unsettled a lot of players. We want to clarify that this rule was not added because we disapprove of these topics in any way. But Horse Reality is a game and supposed to be an escape from reality. We do not want any in-depth discussions of these topics on our official Horse Reality pages. Those tend to get heated and need to be actively moderated to ensure that all players feel comfortable enough to express themselves. At this point in time, we do not have the moderation capacities and tools to guarantee that.

However, to the extent that a certain belief is a part of your identity or otherwise important to you, you are allowed to express it (as long as you do not violate any other rules, most importantly rule #4.3 against discrimination). To be more specific:
⚫ You are not allowed to create threads for the sole purpose of discussing religion, sexuality, or politics, but you are allowed to mention, for example, your sexual orientation or religion on your player profile or create clubs based on them to find like-minded people.
⚫ As a rule of thumb, sensitive topics should only make up the definite minority of your player/club profile. The largest portion should remain dedicated to non-sensitive contents.
⚫ For clubs specifically, please note that the club must still be focused on the game and the sensitive topics cannot get discussed in the club forums.
⚫ Do not use such clubs to practice or promote discrimination or antagonism. The same principle, of course, applies to any other area in the game.

🤔☝️🤔 Retirement Retrieval & Premium Search 🤔☝️🤔

We want to give you an official team statement about the following two topics.

Retirement Retrieval: In the aftermath of the recent flat racing situation (explained here), some players asked if we could open up the retirement home for a short period of time to compensate for the mistake. Unfortunately, after reviewing this request thoroughly with our developers, we find it is technologically next to impossible. As you might know, we are in the process of transferring the game page by page from V1 (outdated, vulnerable code) to V2 (fresh, new code, that allows for faster updates with fewer bugs). Completing the move to V2 will result in a huge improvement to our updating and bug fixing speed and is our #1 coding priority. The last part of the game that will make the transition to V2 are the horse profiles. They are the heart of the game, they connect to all other parts of the game, and we need to be absolutely sure we can transfer them without any loss of data. The retirement home is still on V1 and heavily intertwined with the horses’ profiles. Even making a small adjustment in there, such as opening it for retrieval, can create severe bugs that would delay the move to V2 by months. It is with a heavy heart that we tell you that, therefore, we cannot open the retirement home. We have reached this decision because we think it is the best for the future of the entire game and the players.

Premium Search: We had announced that once our new server is up and running, we might be able to open up the premium search to all players. Today we just wanted to let you know that we are still investigating if that will be possible. The new server seems to perform adequately, but we want to keep our eyes on it for a while first and double-check with our developers before we make any promises. In the meantime, we are still collecting ideas on how to make premium accounts more desirable if advanced search options become available to all. Feel free to read up on them and add your own in here!

Final Notes

Although the year 2020 so far has proven to be unpredictable in real-life, at least in-game we are happy to offer some lovely vibes! The Kahana Beach background has returned to the Delta Store and will remain available until the end of the month. After that, it won’t make a comeback until next year, so grab it while it’s hot! For even greater variety, the brand new Kluane National Park background has been added to the store this month, and will be available all year round: Gallop through the river on a sunny day in Kluane National Park in Canada, enjoying the lovely weather!

That’s all for now - thank you for reading! If you have any feedback, comments, concerns, or questions, we are always happy to hear them! :)

Have a lovely week,
Your Horse Reality Team


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