Community Update - Important News about the NL Server, Thoroughbred Release Date, Vet Update, 1-Day-DP Sale & Poll
Update: 15:24 HR time July 28 - Cost Bug
For about 10 minutes, the "select all" button in the veterinary took rude amounts of HRC for using it. Our dev had accidentally put that bug in while trying to fix another bug - we are so sorry! This bug is now fixed and we are working to reimburse everyone who fell victim to this bug! No worries, you will get your money back!
(Update 2: Everyone was refunded at about 16:46 HR time!)
Dear players, today’s news is gonna be a very mixed bag, which is why we split it into two sections. We’re going to start by revealing some very important news about the future of our NL server to you. We want to give you as much information about that as we can, so it includes all details and an FAQ section. Afterwards, we’ll add our usual community update, where we’ll talk about today’s code update (the v2 veterinarian and fertility testing!), other exciting news, and we will also reveal the release date for the Thoroughbreds!
So strap on your seatbelts, or well, tighten your saddle girth - it’s gonna be a long ride!
🚨 Important News: Future of the NL Server 🚨
As many of you might know, Horse Reality exists on two servers, an English one (horsereality.com) and a Dutch one (horsereality.nl). Because the two original creators of the game are both Dutch, this seemed like a good idea at the time. However, the two servers have been growing apart in terms of game pace but also community wishes, leading to both servers not being treated the way they deserve. Especially our Dutch players are unhappy with us, and the truth is - we really get it. Over there, we don’t listen to you as well as we should, we are not around in the comment areas as much, we take ages to answer your bug reports or react to your reports of rule-breaking contents, … We want you to know that this is not out of ill will, but for a lack of resources.
In the past months, our team has been taking a long and hard look at how we allocate the time and money we have to the development of Horse Reality. And it has become clear to us that we need to make a business decision.
If you add up the working hours of everyone in our paid team, you’ll end up with about 100 hours per week - that’s equivalent to about 2.5 full-time employees. This team constantly splits their time by tending to two different servers. However, over 90% of our income comes from the COM server. From the start, the maintenance of the NL server has been costing us more money than the income we receive from it. Yet, in order to properly satisfy the needs of our NL community, we would have to allocate more money to their community management. Most likely that would still not be enough to be up to our standards in how we want to meet the needs of the NL community. Talking about development is not as good as making development happen, and with the two servers progressing at such a different pace, we would actually have to start tailoring our updates to our servers.
That would basically mean creating two different games - and splitting our team into two. Then, roughly 1.25 employees would each develop one game, and that’s just not enough. It would result in two halfheartedly updated and maintained games that would both have a very unsatisfied community. Instead, we would much rather put all our money and time into the focused development and community management of one coherent game and its community. It is therefore with a very heavy heart that we announce - Horse Reality will close its NL server.
We are deeply sympathetic and sorry for our NL players - we are all gamers and when part of a game disappears, it feels as if years of effort were put to waste and what once was a daily hobby will only ever be a memory. Our team asked ourselves: Is there a chance to at least preserve something? Which is why we haven’t told you about this decision right after we made it - instead we were investigating together with our development team what we could offer you.
At first, our only option seemed to be simply shutting down the NL server and deleting all data associated with it. We absolutely loathed that outlook. But luckily, after two months of hard work, brainstorming and code-digging, we have come up with a solution we think is the best of the tough options we had: We are able to merge the NL server into the COM server! That means that all player accounts and horses from NL will be transferred to COM. This will be a huge project and it will also cost us a lot of time and money, but we think it is the only fair thing we can offer our community. We don’t want you to lose your progress and we don’t ever want anyone to think they’ve wasted their time in our game. We know it will still not be the same, since the two servers differ so much in player activity, top horse progress, economy, and the like. To reimburse you at least a little bit for that, all NL players will get a welcome package upon their first login to COM. More details about the transfer will be laid out further below.
We made this decision because we’re absolutely convinced this will be the best for everyone in our Horse Reality community - the COM and also the NL players. We’ll have a bigger community management and moderation team for everyone in the community, instead of constantly tearing ourselves in half in a futile effort to make both servers feel heard. We’ll also be able to put a bunch of extra money into the development of the game instead of maintenance and translation!
As we expect this news to be shocking to the community, our team will stay around in the comment sections longer than usual - and we’ve also asked our COM team to be around on NL, doing their best to answer all your comments as well as Google Translate allows them. We want to do our best to make this merge as smooth as possible and to take away as many of your fears as possible. If there is any concern that we haven’t thought of yet, we want to hear about it so that we can find solutions!
Our players are everything to us - we wouldn’t be here without you. We hate having to share bad news with you. And we’ll do everything we can to make the best out of this situation, together.
❓ The Merge: Hard Facts FAQ ❓
Please note: Anything that’s vague in this news post will be elaborated on in later news posts. Let us know your questions in the comments so we can answer them and add the answers to the next news!
Q1: When will the merge happen?
As much as we'd love to give you the exact date, we don't have it yet. We want to merge the servers before the end of this year, and it will probably not be before November. There are a lot of things that need to happen behind the scenes to make sure the merge works smoothly and without any loss of data. Our developers keep us updated about their progress, and we will in turn keep you updated about everything we learn. The moment we have a date, we will announce it.
Q2: How will the merge happen?
The merge will be taking place within one day. The game will be in maintenance mode for this entire day - nobody will be able to play. Once we're back up, horsereality.com will be up and running as it always did, while horsereality.nl will be inaccessible.
Q3: What will my first login after the merge look like...
🔸 ...if I only have a NL-account? - You'll be able to log in with the same credentials as before, just now on horsereality.com. Your player profile, your horses, your PM history, your DP, HRC, FT, WT, your milestones, your stables, your avatar, ... everything will still be there. You will also receive a welcome package with currency and items to hopefully make the transition at least a little bit smoother. We already know how we'll tackle issues like identical usernames and the player profiles of NL people being written in Dutch, but we’ll dig into these details in the upcoming news posts.
🔸 ...if I only have a COM-account? - You'll log in like always, but you'll find that a whole bunch of NL players have joined the server! There will be more players and more horses. The week of the merge will be an event that holds rewards for all players (both from COM and NL), although former NL players will get special attention - we want to make a party out of it and properly welcome the Dutch players to the international side of the game!
🔸 ...if I have an account on both NL and COM? - There are less than 500 players in this category, but nevertheless, they are the truly complicated cases! Please read question number Q9 for details about your situation.
Q4: What will be merged?
🔸 All horses that ever existed on the NL server will be transferred to the COM server. That will mean all foundation & wildlife park parents, old or new, dead or alive, will exist twice in-game. The current NL foundation parents will be retired when they arrive on the COM server. All NL horses will receive a new horse ID, too. All of this is a bit messy but it's the only way to make sure the NL horses can join our COM server without suddenly having huge gaps in their pedigrees or bugging out in other ways.
🔸 All NL player accounts will be transferred to COM - be they actively played on, abandoned, deleted, or banned. That's also going to ensure all transferred horses still have intact histories of who bred them and their ancestors. All NL accounts will receive a different player ID.
Q5: What won't be merged?
Everything centred around Dutch as a language won't make its way over to our COM server. All players will need to use English when posting in public game areas. We are really sorry - but the entire point of this merge is to have our community together and to manage them in a language our entire team actually speaks. That means:
🔸The NL forum will be irreversibly gone. Prior to that we will make sure to look through all your bug reports and ideas and take note of any in there that aren’t in our COM forum already!
🔸NL clubs won't be transferred. Club owners on NL will be refunded the 500 DP that they paid to open a club. The HRC money in the NL clubs’ bank accounts will be gone, however - we encourage everyone to spend the time until the merge hosting club events to give the HRC in the club banks back to the members. If for any reason this is creating issues or worries for you, please reach out to our support team and we’ll do our best to figure something out!
🔸The text part of the NL player profiles will be transferred but only be visible to each individual player, so that their individual design isn't lost, yet they'll have to translate their profile to English before publishing it again.
🔸We will close the NL part of our Discord server. This too is a decision we made with a heavy heart. But, again, the point of merging the servers is to create one game with easier development and community care, and having just one Discord is an aspect of that.
🔸Stable capacity for players who have both a COM and an NL account (see question Q9)
Q6: What will happen in the months before the merge?
🔸As of today, nobody can register a new account on horsereality.nl anymore.
🔸We will keep you updated about any developments on the topic via our news posts and our social media channels. Once we’re closer to the merge date, we will also - for the first time ever - send you some emails to make sure every NL player knows what is to happen, even if they haven’t logged in in a while. Please make sure you have an email address you actually have access to in your settings! (We’ll keep reminding you to do this in future news posts).
🔸For now, we will keep updating the game on COM & NL just as usual with the biweekly updates and news posts that you’re used to. Likely, as we’re nearing the (currently unknown) merge-date, we will have to stop updates for a month or so. Otherwise, with every new update, we would be adding in more things that we’ll need to merge. We then might end up with ugly bugs if we don’t have time to think their merging process through.
🔸Buying DP on the NL server won’t be blocked since there will be several options to take all your belongings over to COM - more about that further down. However, we’ve added a note to the DP purchasing page of the NL server to make sure people are aware of this news from here on out.
🔸Closer to the merge, there will be more warning banners and emails around the NL game to make sure nobody misses these news.
Q7: Why are you telling us this news only now, and without giving us an exact date?
We wanted to let you know about this news as soon as we possibly could, while also being able to provide you with all the details you’d want to know. Our plans developed over the past weeks and months but for a long time it was unclear what exactly will happen. We didn’t want to drop highly unsettling news without being able to say much. At first, it seemed we may have to delete the NL server altogether, but we just didn’t know for sure and were hoping to find a better solution. By now, we’ve found one and worked out all the details but one - the date. We will let you know about the exact date as soon as we have one!
Unfortunately, the server situation also posed challenges to our communication. We couldn’t just halt all other developments behind the scenes, and game updates continued to happen. Other plans, e. g. about the Thoroughbred release, kept getting postponed. It wasn’t always possible for us to answer all your questions in full detail. Please know that we never meant to mislead you and hated not being able to address valid player concerns, about the Thoroughbreds and other things, transparently at times. But doing so would have meant sharing half-cooked plans with a potential to cause extreme worries due to their lack of details at the time.
Q8: I bought DP with real-life money for my NL account yesterday - can you refund me?
Because your NL account will be transferred, and players who have both an NL and a COM account will get their DP transferred to the account they want to keep, you will not lose any DP in any case. But we understand that some of you will be very disappointed by today’s news and might want to stop supporting our game. We want to offer you refunds, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this. For example: If you’ve already spent the DP you bought on stables, then we can easily refund you and take the stables back. But if you spent it on stud fees to another player, then the solution will be more complicated, and possibly we can’t offer a refund in such a case. We would kindly ask you to reach out to us via the contact form to help you with this on a case-by-case basis!
Refunds like this will only be offered for any purchases made in the past 30 days on the NL server, and this is about purchases made with real-life money and not the currency exchange or anything similar.
Q9: I have an active account on both servers - what will happen to me?
🔸Up until the day of the merge, you can play on your two accounts on the two servers as per usual.
🔸As we move towards the merge date, some of you will get some extra emails and information from us. Our system requires a unique username, estate name and email for each player, which means that we’ll have to do something about the accounts that use the same email address on both servers as well as those names that happen to double with COM names. Don’t worry - we already have a plan and will inform you of the details when we are moving closer towards the merge date!
🔸After the merge took place, horsereality.nl will be gone but you’ll be able to log into your COM-account and your former NL-account on horsereality.com. You will then have a grace period (we’re thinking 4-8 weeks) in which you are allowed to keep 2 accounts and also trade belongings between them. We are making an effort to get the item-trade-market done before the merge so that this process won’t be a huge hustle for you. (To any cheaters whose ears just perked up - don’t try us! The grace period is only for the COM-&-NL doubles and we’ll keep extra sharp eyes out for anyone who takes advantage of our attempt to be fair to our most dedicated players.)
🔸After the end of the grace period, you’ll have to choose which account to keep and which one to delete. It’s your own responsibility to delete the account you don’t want to keep. Anyone who plays on two accounts after the grace period is over will be considered a multi-accounter and banned as per our usual game rule #2. If you are a fair player, don’t worry about this - if you only had 1 COM and 1 NL account and forgot to delete one of them, or just logged into both of them accidentally but didn’t play, …, our internal data will show that quite clearly. But don’t try to cheat us by continuing to play on both accounts once the grace period is over. This would result in all accounts connected to your IP address receiving a permanent ban.
🔸Since all your belongings (horses, currencies, backgrounds, …) can be transferred to the account you want to keep, we think there is only one open question left: What about your stable capacity? We absolutely understand that stables are one of the most valuable things in-game. There will be ways in which you will get reimbursed for stables on your "lost" account. But for several technological reasons, there won't be a 1-fit-for-all-solution, which is why we want to lay out the solutions we have in mind in our next newspost! [text edited Jul 28 18:42 HR time because the previous text was misleading]
Q10: How will the merge affect the COM-server economy?
The economy depends on human behaviour, so we have no way of knowing for sure how this event will affect the horse and currency markets of the COM server. However, keep in mind that the number of active NL players is about 5% of the number of active players on COM (active = logged in within the last month). We therefore estimate that the impact of the server merge will be noticeable but not disruptive, but only the future can show this for certain!
Q11: Will there ever be other language servers again, e.g. German?
No. Long ago, we announced that we’d like to have a German server in the future, and maybe even more language servers down the road. But looking at our capabilities, this is just not something we are able to do in the way that our community would deserve.
What may happen instead is that we offer different languages in our settings. However, this is a far-future idea only and nothing that we’ll actively work on anytime soon.
Q12: Can’t you turn the NL server into a second COM server?
No. We have considered this, since it would tackle the language issue, but it still doesn’t solve the main problem: Two servers require two sets of teams, and we’re just not big enough a gaming company to continue splitting ourselves and our resources up like that. The merge is the best option with the greater good of the entire community in mind.
Q13: If you put more time/effort into the NL server, we would be more inclined to pay for the game and then you could still do all those things you mentioned. So why not do that?
We understand that this thought may come up, and the logic makes a lot of sense. But we are a small company and don’t have large sums of money that we can first invest in a server and later see if it worked out. To properly run the NL server, big investments would need to go into community management and, at some point, separate coding. We cannot expect people to make large purchases as long as their server isn’t well-maintained. But we’re putting all our profits right back into development, and the amount of income that would be needed to truly make both the COM and the NL community happy is something we don’t have at this moment. And the main problem is what we explained above - our team is currently just too small to handle two servers, regardless of whether these are a COM and a NL server, or two COM servers, or any other language combination. With as small a team as we are, it feels much more appropriate to focus our resources on the development and care of one server.
Q14: Are you broke? Should I expect the COM server to also close soon?
No! Financially, the last few months have been our best ones ever, and our community has also seen a rapid growth in new members! But that’s exactly why we need to take this step now: We want to put our extra income into the actual development of the game, and we want to make sure that our community management and moderating team can keep up with the growth of player numbers and the resulting increase in ideas and conflicts in the community. Basically, we want to focus on creating one happy community, instead of splitting ourselves up and creating two unsatisfied communities.
We’re sure there are many questions we haven’t answered yet. Please feel welcome to ask them in the comments, but also know that we’ll keep you updated in future news posts! Whenever a relevant step of the merge is approaching, we’ll give you all the information you need in the news post before!
🔔 Regular Community Update 🔔
🧪 Today's Update: V2 Vet with new features & competition results page & contact form! 🧪
🔹 Our veterinarian has been rewritten in V2 code and now sports an improved design for mobile & screen readers!
🔹 We've added fertility testing as a new feature to the vet! This will allow you to reveal the fertility stat of your horse. Please remember: A stallion's fertility is what influences the likelihood of a failed covering. But because foals inherit their fertility stat from both their parents (1 allele each), we made it possible to also reveal your mares’ fertility stat.
🔹 We have made it impossible to geld stallions & artificially inseminate mares while they are up for sale or auction.
🔹 Premium accounts now have a “collect all” button for semen vials.
🔹 Currently purposeless vet features have been hidden until we implement them in-game (twin pinching, vaccination, microchip). Despite being hidden for now, these features are still in our plans for the future, at which point the related vet tasks will also return!
🔹 Health checks should now only be available once per lifetime for each horse to reveal the health stats on its profile. The regularly re-appearing health checks we used to have will return in the far future when we actually have health/illness implemented!
🔹 The competition results page has now been reworked to match the design we introduced in our last update! You should now be able to see relevant symbols (up for public sale/stud/pregnant). In the all-breeds competition results you should also be able to see the breed of the competing horses (not in the breed-specific ones, because... well. It's kinda obvious.) This is excluded for mobile view, as it would become too much information for such a small screen size.
🔹 We have updated our contact form! We often had issues with players having typos in their contact form email addresses, resulting in us not being able to contact them, so now we've added a "confirm email" box. Otherwise we've mostly added some information and behind-the-scenes-software that is exciting for our support team more than for anyone else. But let's just say - our support team is extremely psyched about this update!
🏇 The long-awaited news: THOROUGHBREDS WILL JOIN US ON OCTOBER 6th! 🏇
The never-ending story will finally be resolved: Please prepare your stables for the arrival of the beautiful Thoroughbreds! They'll be here on October 6th.
We are really sorry about the odd way we managed the community’s expectations about their arrival. After the community voted in April to release Thoroughbreds sooner rather than later, at the cost of missing some colour genes, we first thought we could release them very soon, so we got excited! But then, several factors caused delays.
Their artwork had been sitting near-finished for a long time and our new researcher had many suggestions about their coats. When comparing them to our artists’ current style, many TB coats looked outdated. We know how highly anticipated this breed is and want them to look good! Thus, many of their coats have been undergoing bigger corrections than we first expected. Besides ensuring that the artwork is up to our standards, preparing the arrival of a new breed in the current foundation system takes quite a bit of internal testing to ensure that, for example, their stats really fall into the desired ranges.
The decision to change something about the NL server additionally impacted our plans for the Thoroughbred release. We didn’t want to announce their arrival before we knew what our options for the NL server looked like, because we know many players will prepare themselves by buying more stables and DP, selling horses and becoming very active in the game. We want you to be able to make informed decisions about your playstyle. It would have felt dishonest to announce an ETA for the Thoroughbreds, allow everyone to get into the full swing of excitement, and two months later go: “So by the way...” - But we also couldn’t announce our server-related plans sooner. They were still too vague for that. Only recently did it become clear that we can really merge both servers. We are truly happy that we can finally give a clear update now!
The two TB teasers that lately went out on our social media channels were accidents, though - those posts were planned months ahead of time and were not highly present in our minds anymore. At the time they were published, it also looked as if we might be able to announce our plans for the servers and an ETA for the Thoroughbreds soon. But not only was our community very quick to figure out the teasers, our internal plans shifted again and we were unable to announce an ETA as soon as we had hoped. We should have cancelled those teasers in advance unless we were fully certain that we can follow through on them, and we apologize for the confusion and frustration that this has caused you. Unfortunately, working out the details of the merge behind-the-scenes had us so busy that we didn’t fully register how problematic those teasers could become.
We hope we can move on from the unfortunate past of the TBs, enjoy any upcoming teasers and excitement of them together, and then properly celebrate their arrival in-game!
💸 1-Day-DP-sale 💸
Last Saturday, a DP sale showed up in the game and then was taken down soon after without an explanation. This sale was scheduled a long time ago - we had forgotten about it and now it popped up with an extremely unfortunate timing! We took it down as soon as we noticed, because we didn’t want anyone to buy lots of DP before learning about today’s NL-server news. We apologize for this mistake!
To make up for it we will be holding a 1-day-DP-sale this Friday, July 30th, from 09:00 till Saturday, July 31st 09:00 HR time (CEST). That we are announcing this DP sale in advance is an exception because of the unfortunate circumstances - don’t get used to it! :)
🔕 NEXT Update on August 11: Notification Toggles! 🔕
Our NEXT update is going to bring some QoL improvements and bug fixes!
🚨 Please note that updates can always be changed, postponed or cancelled! 🚨
🔸We have promised to do something against the current notification flood, and now we're gonna follow through! Next update, you'll get notification toggles in your settings! This means that you’ll be able to decide which notifications to (not) receive. There’s a few types of notifications that relate to V1 pages and on those we can’t yet offer you a toggle option. But those are mainly the “your foal was born” and the “your horse passed away” notifications, which we think is tolerable ;) Luckily all our notification-intense pages are already written in V2! Yay, progress!
🔸Competition entry page: When you check the checkboxes about which horses to enter, we are planning to have the amount of selected horses show up in the title bar. E.g. if you've checked 5 of your 40 horses in level 1, we want the top bar for level 1 to show: 5/40.
🔸Several bug fixes, yay! We’re moving closer and closer to a bugfree-V2-game and are excited!
❤️ Next update: Say goodbye to tack placeholders! ❤️
Are you sick and tired of those tack items that have a placeholder saying "image coming soon"? Us, too! And so, so soon we'll not have to look at those anymore! Our amazing intern Mette drew the missing items for us and she did a great job. We're psyched to tell you: If nothing unexpected happens, our next update will bring real tack instead of placeholders! (Please note that tack still won’t show up on horses - that is planned for the very far future, though.)
😭 Team Changes: Goodbye to Mette 😭
During the last five months, we've had the pleasure of having an amazingly talented art intern in the midst of our team. Mette didn't just do amazing work with things like our new tack and our new staff badges (soon to come), but she also enriched our team by being a fun presence to have around. We'll miss her a lot! But, the good news is: We've already agreed with her that we'd like to keep her bound to Horse Reality and she'll be working for us occasionally on a project-bound freelancer basis. That's what being an intern with us can get you, folks! So don't be shy - apply to be our next (art) intern here!
🌴 Our team is taking summer holidays 🌴
All members of our team are going to be taking a 2-weeks-holiday! We've scheduled those holidays to spread out over the next 2 months. This means that for 2 months our team won't be here in full force, and answering your support mails and reports may take a bit longer than usual. However - someone will always be there for you. After those summer holidays the staff will be back, full of regained energy to put into HR!
🐴 Exmoor Poll Results! 🐴
In our last news post, we showed you some potential lineart for the Exmoor Pony art rework to vote on. We want to announce now that the polls are closed! We are blown away by the amount of feedback we received - thank you so much!
Together, you have decided the following:
Our amazing artist Dominika will do her very best to make this lineart come to life! We also want to tell you: art is a non-linear progress. Sometimes it happens that only after working on it for a while, our artist is able to tell us with certainty "I've tried to make this pose work, but no matter what I do, it looks odd" and then we adjust the pose. This is why we usually do not take votes on postures. But we wanted to test if this could be something that works. We'll do our very best to stick to the poses you voted for or at least capture their energy, but if it turns out that we have to opt for different poses, please know that we tried very hard to match your preferences before making this decision!
🖼️ A new poll: Birthday background! 🖼️
It was amazing for us to see how eagerly all of you voted on the Exmoor lineart topic! So these kinds of polls are something we'll try to integrate into our news posts more often. The next one is about something a bit further in the future: In October, Horse Reality is going to celebrate its third birthday! As usual (by now), our birthday comes with a special birthday background - but each year we're again thrown by the question of what our birthday background should look like. So why not let you vote on this topic? What would you like to see:
A: An epic tree, to celebrate Horse Reality becoming t(h)ree years old!
B: A Halloween-themed background, because October is spooky season!
C: A harvest-themed background, with an abundance of red apples, golden wheat and more!
Setting: Day or night?
This week's community art feature is a piece of amazing digital art made by ReViSilver! We love the contrast of colours and that smooth movement! Please keep your submissions coming, they give us lots of joy and we can’t wait to show them off! Submit your art here!
Next community update: August 11
We’ll see you in the comments!
The Horse Reality Team 🐴