Well, there was the good. Now for the bad. No game is perfect, and there are definitely some problems with Star Stable.
To begin with, a game play quirk. Beware the places of crowded servers. Moorland and Fort Pinta suffer from it the worst, because that’s the only places the free players have to be, and you’d be surprised how many players don’t want (or have parents who don’t want) to pay for the game. In addition to that are the three championship races that periodically run there, crowding them even further, and it can be an absolute nightmare. In fact, it used to freeze me up so bad, that’s part of why Ginny and I moved our home stables to somewhere else. So if you have an older laptop (and by “older” I mean…2012…), you might experience some severe lagging issues that will make racing almost impossible in the game. At least they appear to have fixed the crashing issues they were having by helping stabilize their servers, but with them adding a new area in a week or two, I worry how well that’s going to hold up.
Also, everything south of the castle is okay, but north of it… Well, don’t get attached to how anything looks. We’ve already seen my hissy fit over Josh’s new appearance (which I stand by still as making no sense). Those areas haven’t been made over yet, and I’m sure most if not all of them are on the to-do list. I’m also (probably needlessly) concerned that now that some of the older breeds are being given make-overs, the old options are going to go away. This was only a concern with the American Paints and me, because I wanted one of the older ones too, but I bought Opal, so she’s safe. 😛 Otherwise, err, approach with caution? I’d definitely check the YouTube channel to see which ones they’ve done the breed videos for already, since they aren’t likely to change.
But in terms of updates, this has been the year of the crowd-pleasing to the detriment of a lot of the story in the game. We haven’t had a proper story update in ages, and because of this, there a lot of loose threads hanging. Some of the factions, you can keep earning up to Admired to with daily quests just to be prepared, others, like the Sun Circle, you can’t. Not only are there half a dozen subplots hanging, but also about as many main plot (or what I can tell is the main plot) also hanging. But instead, we’re getting…lead ropes, which while the RPers are dying for, really serve no purpose in the game. More breeds that they had to change the construction of one of the itty bitty islands to make room for a new sale stable for them. And while I find the art updates minus one detail pretty, I feel like there is a better place in the story to do it. (For example, in the “space” between finishing the summer adventures and going to this Institute we’ve been promised and yet seen no sign of.)
Something I don’t think they’ve realized is how much of a mess the mall is turning into. Almost every week, there are new gear items and clothes being added to it. Problem is, it’s impossible to see if they aren’t flagged as new. I notice more than Ginny does, for some reason. I care less than she does about “sets” missing gloves, shoes, and hats, since there are enough basic ones to fill in gaps, and I’m very mix-and-match in that regard. What kills me is the colors not matching, or sets have names that are misleading. My latest example of this: I love the sailing gear, which only just recently got clothes in the same shade of blue (I think, I need to buy one to confirm) and they are labeled as retail clothes. Similarly, the clothes that match the sailing clothes just got matches… the sea beach gear. And could they get AWAY from blue, tan, and brown? Seriously, we are over saturated in blue period at this point, and brown too. Black would be welcome, as would more of the turquoise they have just started playing with. If they can make the colors match. >_< I swear, they need to make a color-key and STICK to it.
There’s also some inconsistencies with style. The three (current) Soul Steeds are the style of the comics and some of the older games… sort of. If you go hunting for the artwork, you can actually turn up some highly realistic covers for the games. Then there’s the difference between the updated artwork and the old, which can be a little jarring. There’s also one character in the game whose speech-bubble-icon is her old artwork from the earlier games, rather than updated, which is just lazy. I’m not sure that I feel like James fits with the rest of the art at this point despite being newly updated. I love him, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not sure he fits with the other characters. Speaking of characters, as part of that whole deal where a bunch of plot lines are left open, there are bunches of named NPCs floating around with nothing to do that they’ve done absolutely nothing with. Which is a shame, since one might be related to us having more horse shoe options or other metal work.
Perhaps the thing that kills me the most is sometimes they don’t seem to know their horse basics. I get that the rider needs to mount/dismount on whatever side there is the most room for them. But… You don’t do that in reality. You only mount or dismount on the left side of the horse unless so-said horse has special training. And the one horse I’ve met who was special trained, hated being mounted from the right and would throw a fit over it. The only time you are on the right of a horse is brushing, cleaning hooves, and fixing tack. Otherwise, you are in the front or to the left side. I also think feed seems severely over priced. I mean, this is something players have to buy if not every day then in bulk purchases. I don’t get why it is so expensive. Though perhaps I should, since a lot of other things are very obvious money grabs meant to incite people to buy Star Coins, which puts some money in the company’s pocket…
And then there’s the western riding quirk. I mean, I’ll be honest, I don’t get English riding most of the time–it seems needlessly complicated, but that’s my opinion. I ride western pleasure/cowgirl style and I’m proud of it. I also barrel race, so during one span with Marley and Butterfly and you run to the back barrel first… Oh, I LOST it in chat (as much as the chat lets you, it’s heavily censored). Overall, western riding feels severely under-represented in the game. I mean, even if you don’t want to update the graphics for roping, I used to chase the calves with Hagen! (I can’t rope, I’ll admit it, but he’s so cowy, getting to chase one out of the gate was a big treat for him.) And there are sheep that could be herded like cutting, which could be cool.
Some of this is pretty nitpicky… Other, not so much. I’m hoping this was just an off year and they wanted to do some fan-base appeasement to make sure they stayed around for another four years, but it’s causing older players to leave because of the lack of updates to the main story line. I’m not one of them. Yet.