Community Update - Rule Enforcement Update, Forgiving Discord Offences, NPC Writing Contest, Exmoor Pony Making-Of, User Survey

Wednesday, Feb 23 at 14:00

Hello dear players! Valentine’s day is over, but we are working heart as always. Here we are once again with a fresh update! Our schedule has changed slightly this year: While we will still publish a news post every other Wednesday, not all of them will contain a code update. This will allow us to put more fine-tuning time into our large releases and opens up space for community news.

Today we have an array of interesting tidbits for you! Enjoy a small insight into what the team is currently working on in the background. We were able to release the bug fix for the club shows and a few more. Our moderator applications are now closed, and we have a rules update for you regarding the use of the Irish Cob’s old name. We’re sharing some information regarding past Discord offences. Exciting news for the creative writers amongst you: We are bringing back our NPC backstory writing contest for the lovely Naomi Hauwangaa. Read through to find out how you can participate! Our art team has made a behind-the-scenes video detailing the making of the stunning Exmoor redo, and we are thrilled to share it with you. Furthermore, we would like to remind you that our grace period for the merge is ending on March 1st, which is only 5 days away!

Valentine bonus poem: Some horses are blue roan, others are red, and when they get hungry, they want some spaghett.



🤖 What are we working on? 🤖

Our team is busy working out the foundation and wildlife park redo, and it’s coming along really nicely! The project has now entered the coding stage. Our plan is to finish the foundation update before the end of April. We are incredibly excited to see it progress and hope that you’ll love it just as much as we do!


🛠️ Bug Fixes 🛠️

The temporary blocking of club shows came as a surprise to many players. We received bug reports about funds not always getting properly returned when there were no entries in a club-hosted conformation show. Such reports had been reaching us for a while, but with the Merge preparations eating up our dev hours in late 2021, we could only investigate this issue in more depth recently. By the time the dev team was able to fully dive into it, they noticed it could potentially cause drastic currency losses. Resulting in them immediately blocking the feature, so that it could be investigated further, without taking the entire game offline or risking more damage. Since this happened shortly before the scheduled news post, the announcement came abruptly and without additional information. A fix was planned to go live that same day, but as it didn’t work fully as intended, the team needed more time for a proper solution.

Some of you wondered why new club shows kept appearing in the meantime. Most of these were created and queued before the feature got blocked, and went live at pre-set times. In some cases, though, the blocking didn’t work properly, and it was still possible to create shows. We want to thank everyone who pointed this out to us! While we understand the wish to continue using a feature, even a bug that seems innocuous can have unforeseen effects. If money losses result, we might not be able to refund you. And if loopholes get used purposefully to create advantages, that could, in the worst case, even lead to account loss (see rule #8.1). Fortunately, no such grave consequences resulted here but we want to emphasize the importance of reporting to the team when a feature - or blocking of it - doesn't work as intended 🍀

Regrettably, we weren’t able to communicate the above as thoroughly as we would like. We’re sorry if this caused you concerns or unforeseen problems! We appreciate your patience a lot and are glad to tell you that the feature to create shows was fixed and returned! Our team is still investigating whether it is possible to return any of the lost currency. We’ll keep you updated!

Edit: Following this news update, some players pointed out that the refunding of club shows still doesn't work when a show gets cancelled manually. Our devs were able to fix this quickly, and it should be working as intended now!

A rather irritating bug is causing some notifications to be sent repeatedly (see here & here for reports). For example, players get dozens of notifications about a foal returning from the foal pastures or a horse passing away. Our dev team said there was something that they tried, but we'd have to check with our player base to see if it is indeed working like normal again. It would be amazing if you could write your response on one of the topics above to let us know if it's behaving normally again! If it still isn't working, we recommend toggling off the affected notifications, as far as that is possible, via your account settings.

We have also been made aware of a bug here that affects the visible age of horses. Foals sometimes show as 6 months old on their profiles but as 5 months old on the market. Due to such age discrepancies, other game areas are also affected - such as some veterinary functions and events - if they rely on the age of a horse. Our team thinks they have solved the problem and it should be sorted now. Thank you for your patience with these issues!



💌 Mod Applications Closed 💌

We are glad to announce that we have received lots of applications for moderation positions for our forum and Discord server. We were positively overwhelmed, thank you to everyone who tried out for a position! Trials staff members are on the way, so soon you will notice some fresh faces in our team appear.

We will close our mod applications for the time being, since we have made a selection for members to enter their trial periods. Applications are estimated to reopen in May, so if you did not apply this round, or you did but weren’t chosen this time around, you will have a chance to (re-)apply and join us later this year!


👩‍🏫 Rule Enforcement Update: Racial Slurs 👨‍🏫

The following change won’t add new rules to the game, but changes the way we apply the existing rules: We are reassessing the way we moderate for the slur word “Gypsy”.

Last year, we changed the name of our beloved Gypsy Vanners to Irish Cobs. Although many players refer to the breed as Irish Cob now, or IC for short, some still continue to use the old name. We would like to change that, since many players and staff members alike feel it's disrespectful towards the Romani people.

Why does the old name still pop up frequently? We suspect that, in part, this is out of habit or because many players are unaware of what the name entails. Some might even know this horse breed by their old name only, which still gets commonly used in real-life in some countries. Players from various personal backgrounds have shared their concerns with mentions of “gypsy”, since this word is often used as a slur toward the Romani people. Although we are sure there is usually no ill intent when people refer to the horse breed, we would like to change this within Horse Reality.

This means that from this day onwards, we will start removing the term like any other slur word and start educating players about why we don’t agree with this choice of words. Anybody who is currently using this word in their estate or username will have this changed by a moderator within the near future - if you have questions or would prefer a different username than what we gave you, please get in touch! We will first and foremost reach out and educate, and not hand out warnings straight away. To us, it is not about blindly punishing people for unknowingly using a word with a dark past. Rather, it is important for us that players know why this word can be highly problematic.

Together, we can make Horse Reality a better and happy community. Please continue to report your concerns to us, so we can educate and improve the atmosphere within the game. Thank you all for your understanding!



👾 Discord Server: We’re forgiving past offences 👾

Yes, you’ve read that right: Our Discord offences list is getting a fresh start! This means that any past Discord reminders and warnings will be archived and no longer actively held against you unless they were very serious, such as racial slurs or homophobia. Bans issued in the past also stay intact. This forgiveness extends to any offences that occurred before the publication of this news post!

To make the job of our Discord moderation team easier, they will be using a different medium for logging player offences from now on. This is going to make the logging much easier and more transparent within our team and will benefit players and moderators alike. However, the transferring of past offences proved difficult. Our moderating practices have changed throughout the years and continue to improve. Questions such as “Would these offences still result in warnings nowadays?” or “We no longer log offences this way, so what would this translate to in a new sheet?” have become a recurring obstacle in our Discord team. So in the interest of transparency, orderliness and accountability, we decided it’s preferable for all sides to start over fresh with a clean slate! After all, springtime is almost upon us and a thorough scrub will do a world of good for Horse Reality’s Discord environment and morale!

If you’re unsure what your current discord reminder/warning count looks like, you may always reach out to a staff member or send us a contact form!


📚 Writing Contest: Naomi Hauwangaa 📚

It’s time for us to introduce Naomi Hauwangaa, future keeper of the African wildlife park, to the public! Considering that we announced for other wildlife parks to open this year, Naomi will become part of our active NPC crew and needs to receive some much-deserved attention before she can stand ready to take care of our Namib Desert horses. For this, we need your creative help: Grab this chance to write an engaging backstory for Naomi and win epic prizes in the process!

Your entry should be posted in this thread, where you are allowed to edit your post until the contest is closed. Remember to post nothing but your entry in the assigned thread, other comments will be removed. Any questions or comments about the writing contest may be shared with us under this news post!

Important Note: Don't send your entry via our social media pages, Discord server, PM’s or Contact Form, since they might get lost in our heap of daily messages. Only entries posted in the official thread will be considered!

📝 Contest Specifications 📝

You can enter the contest until April 1st 23:59 HR time (12 AM CEST).
Winners will be announced as soon as we have read and thoroughly judged all entries after the contest has closed.

Your entry should be posted in this thread, where you are allowed to edit your post until the contest is closed.

🥇 First prize: 20.000 DP and your story will be added to Naomi’s profile and her wiki article!
🥈 Second prize: 12.500 DP
🥉 Third prize: 6250 DP

What the backstory should contain:
🌱 An introduction: Who is Naomi? Where does she live? What are her hobbies and passions? What is her personality, her likes and dislikes?
🌱 Her history: Why is Naomi the way she is? Where does she come from? What are some memorable life experiences she has, or dreams for the future?
🌱 Her work: How did Naomi get to work for the wildlife park? What was her motivation to take care of the feral horses of Namibia?
Word limit: 800 words maximum
❌ Don't add artwork

Rules:
🚨 Your entry must be written by you: You may not use other people's intellectual property and you may not claim it as your own if you are not the one who made it. If we find anything is copied, not written by you, or obviously taken from other fictional or nonfictional characters, you will be disqualified.
🚨 Transfer and reservation of rights: By participating in this contest, you agree to give Horse Reality the rights to use this backstory for whatever purpose, with or without crediting you, forever. We reserve the right to make changes to the backstory. If an NPC only receives entries that do not meet our standards, we are not obligated to use any of those and will instead come up with a story by ourselves.
🚨 Creative freedom ends where the official game rules begin: See our game rules #6, esp. #6.4, and #7 about sensitive topics, sexually explicit or violent content, swearing, and cursing.

We cannot wait to read your stories, and to give Naomi the story of a lifetime!


🎨 Behind the Scenes: The Exmoor Pony 🎨

Many of you are always very excited to see our sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes content. We read your feedback, and while social media is still going to showcase new projects, we will include more sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes content in our news posts from now on. Now, players both inside and outside the game will get a closer look at our exciting art projects!

Our first ever in-game sneak peek will take you on a journey about how our updated Exmoor Pony came to be. We will show you Part 1 of the Exmoor Pony stallion speedpaint and show you how Dominika, our Equine artist, created these furry fellows!

Watch the video here



🧵 Profile Themes Collection-Thread 🧵

Ever since the introduction of profile themes in our Premium Membership package, we have not yet released any new themes, and we are eager to change this fact! What type of theme, colour scheme or background are you missing in our current theme selection?

Show us what you would like to see in our new premium profile theme request thread!


⚠️ Reminder: Grace Period ends on March 1st ⚠️

It has been about 5 weeks since we merged horsereality.nl with horsereality.com. Since then, players who had an account on both the English and Dutch server had the opportunity to merge both of their accounts into one by using the “transfer your account” functionality in the user settings. If you still have both an English and Dutch account, we would like to remind you that you have only 5 days left to merge these accounts together. Please make sure you are ready and sorted before the 28th of February 23:59 HR time (12 AM CEST), since the functionality to merge your accounts together will disappear and our standard rules, such as multi-accounting and making sure to use the English language, will go fully back into effect.

From then on, using Dutch around the game will result in reminders/warnings again, as usual. So please make sure to be up-to-date about our game rule #1! Any questions or concerns you may have should be answered in our official Merge FAQ. If not, you may always contact us via our support mail!


📋 User Survey 📋

Our new UX intern Benthe will be with us till the end of June. She will work on her graduation project and focus on how we can transfer Horse Reality into a user-friendly mobile version. This is why you will see more surveys in our upcoming news posts!

If you have a minute and would like to give your input, head on over to the Google form and fill in the questions. Our intern will thank you!


This week’s art feature called "Dutch Warmblood Drawing" was brought to us by asnape. Thank you for sending in this amazing piece! We love how much effort was put into capturing all the details - the texture of the fur, the braided mane, and all the detail on the bridle!

Do you want us to show your art? Then submit it here!


Next Community Update: Expected at March 9th
Next Code Update: TBD

Until next time!
Your Horse Reality Team

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