Tag Archives: star stable diaries

Review: Don’t Buy Star Stable Online

I am actually even deeper in this wagon than Ginny, but I was willing to hold stuff up until I had my Nuzlocke up to replace it. (Also, since there has been a minor site reconstruction as a result, it seemed like a good post to come back with, more on that next week.)

As I’m sure you all are aware of, I have gotten very disenchanted with SSO (Star Stable Online) since I originally started playing. Heck, I was the one who got Ginny involved. I found the game originally in under-grad, and then once I graduated, I found an ad, remembered how much fun it was, and bought the game. Ginny getting involved was an organic part of the process–I’m a casual, story-driven gamer, she is much more involved than I am in gaming mechanics but pretty much the same way, it was something fun we could do together.

The purchase of the game should have been our first red flag. It always took me two or three tries to get any kind of transaction to take, and Ginny had even worse luck. I think part of offering a game on an international level is being able to function in that country for purchases. It was a pain in the ass, to put it mildly, and I had to stay on their tails to get it resolved if I made the purchase during the week. If I made it during the weekend (you know, when most of their specials were going on?), I was on my own.

But we got it purchased, and for a while, we had fun. There were regular story updates, even if some of it was really weird, and Ginny and I had a game we could play together. We even started making the avatar into different personas, and then they turned into characters of their own. We admittedly got a little lost in what quest we had to do to keep going at one point–both of us only had so much time and energy in a day, especially with me working full-time, and the game’s story isn’t exactly laid out in a logical fashion. (Not to mention, it’s front-loaded as all get out. Like way more than any kid’s game should ever be. The crazy insanity of Zelda games is in the middle/end, people, not the beginning!)

Cue the second problem with the game, which I’ve ranted about before (not that it matters now). Nothing matches. Like, even things that belong to the same set don’t match. It’s bizarre and painful. I don’t know if they aren’t keep swabs, or if they don’t have someone on staff who is like me and can tell if colors are more than two or three shades off by hairs. (I’m terrifying.) Just, way to drive me nuts. Not enough to drive me from the game.

The big turning point for me was when the intro to the game changed (which was about when Moorland got its makeover and Josh changed). Suddenly this goal that the character had, as weak as it was, to attend this special academy (I’ve lost the name to time) was gone. And with it, I felt like we lost a lot of drive as a character. Why were we at this camp that was not very camp like? How could we be Aideen reborn when nothing let us actually be a hero? To make matters worse, story updates started dying out. Instead, it was frequently special events and new horses being announced, maybe a new area, but nothing was being resolved.

I thought maybe if we were patient, it would get better. They would dangle something in front of me–like something advancing what happened with Marley and his brothers and the Baroness…only to get something about horsemanship so appallingly wrong that I spent HOURS afterwards ranting at Ginny about it. And that’s with me giving them enough rope to hang themselves with. In addition to that, we discovered that story we had already completed was now changing, with no way for us to replay it. So sometimes when a character seemed out of whack to us, it was because we were playing with the original personality rather than the blandness that exists now.

By this point, I am disillusioned. Like, it had been fun originally to sort of mock the ridiculousness of some of the scenarios, but now I was looking at them from a writer’s stand point. And I was disturbed. As writers, we have a certain level of responsibility. Not a lot, but enough. Keeping the story straight and logical is part of it. So is showing civic responsibility. Giving a young teenager kerosene and a match? Or carrying a torch on horseback across the country side? Not so much. And I can’t even begin to touch on all the plot holes, we’d be here all day.

The game became a giant stress ball of disappointment to me. And that was the exact opposite side of the relaxing activity with Ginny that it was supposed to be. I had to stop playing to prevent myself from bursting into tears on a regular basis as each update, I was only going to be disappointed again. I thought maybe, maybe there was just something going on behind the scenes. Give it five years, and I could come back and it would be my game again. I hoped. If nothing else, it gave me more time to focus on my own stuff, and to start designing a dream-game with Ginny rather than playing a game that wasn’t fun anymore.

But now there’s the latest bomb dropped. See, I was what is referred to as a lifetime Star Rider. It means I shelled out twice (if not three times) as much as what I would ever pay on a video game in order to never have to buy it again, and that’s just for the game, not the extra Star Coin packages I would buy for myself around the holidays. This is versus their subscription rates, which go for varying amounts of time and rates.

Except Lifetime doesn’t mean lifetime, apparently. Instead of deactivating free players who have never paid for the game ever and have had accounts for years, they instead free up server space by deleting accounts that haven’t logged on in two years. Including Lifetime.

Ya’ll, I don’t know how to even explain to you how I feel about this game. I guess because at this point, I am completely apathetic. I found what I thought was a fun, inviting game for a casual player that didn’t require me to have five to six friends who also played. Instead, it turned into a money-grabbing, greedy corporation that I can no longer support in any way.

My SSO Diaries and other reviews will be up until Sunday, when I will be back with another blog post, and I’ll be taking those down. As much as I love the traffic they bring me, and get all nostalgic sometimes, I just can’t continue to offer free publicity for a game that I don’t think is worth the time or money to play.

(But don’t worry if you are super attached to Misty. She has been revamped into a new character that is much more rounded, and has a lot more personality. I’m hoping for Ginny and I to start a new blog for her and the rest of her friends/world in 2019.)

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News: NaNo, But Still Posting!

Hey everyone!

So, fun fact. I got horribly, horribly stuck in Act 2 of this draft of Ten. Not for your usual reasons of hitting writer’s block, I knew what was coming next, I was just having difficult slogging through a fight scene to get to my mid-point. And once I get stuck like that, I start thinking about the earlier parts of the book, which as I think I mentioned in an earlier post, I was having to revamp part of the first part of Act 2 to remove a character and bring the problem more the focus. And that made me think of the beginning, which wasn’t very actiony at all.

This revelation happened so conveniently close to NaNoWriMo. So yep. I’m scrapping what I have and starting over…sort of. I’m going to pull bits and pieces from the first draft, because I like them and see no need to rewrite them, but for the most part, I’m starting from scratch, revamping my old plot a little to fix the front… I still need to plot the second half of Act 2, but I’ll get there! So hopefully by the end of NaNoWriMo, I’ll have a complete second draft (which is the first complete draft), which will need a few edits around Christmas time once it’s had a chance to set, and it’ll be ready for an agent (and I’ll be much happier for it).

Now, with me doing NaNo, my free time is shot. But never fear! If you venture to the Star Stable Diaries landing page (or hover over it on the menu and click on the Diary Entries), you’ll see we’ve started breaking those up into smaller bite-sized sections (usually four or so) about the same size of our normal blog posts. So while there won’t be any reviews or random thinking, there will be part of the next diary entry every day, starting Monday next week. (Yes, I finally finished it.) So enjoy those, and I will be back with reviews and such in December.

Just in time for Christmas reviews, wee! (Because until after Turkey Day, don’t talk Christmas with me.)


Day 3: What is this feeling…? (Part 1)

April 5, 20xx

Dear Diary,

You know, I don’t know much about summer camps, but there is very little about this place that seems normal.

Except maybe how the morning started. I woke up before the alarm (I am ready for that time adjustment, please), so I went ahead and rolled (figuratively, I’m not crazy) out of bed. I was just sore enough from the mining adventure of yesterday that I did a few stretches to limber up my muscles, though they weren’t too bad. I’m sure they will be worse tomorrow.

Thankfully, my hair just needed a little bit of curling with the iron to tame the fly aways rather than a complete wash today. I put on my eyeliner and tinted lip balm, and realized that I would probably want to help Savvy wake up. So I pulled up “Icarus” by Bastille on my phone. It’s got that heavy drum and almost chamber music like singing in the beginning, I thought that would help ease her awake than it being a sudden shock.

She threw a pillow at me! Missed entirely, but still! I clutched at my robe, grabbed the nearest pile of clothes, and ducked into the bathroom with a squeal to get dressed. If she was going to be throwing things, I didn’t want to stay in the room!

I didn’t realize I’d left my phone in there until I was pulling those new pants and it switched from “Icarus” to the Audien remix of “Pompeii.” I scrambled into the green t-shirt and ran out, but Savvy was already up and had my phone in hand. I flushed and scuffed my feet on the floor, feeling like I had just been called into Daddy’s office. She didn’t say anything, though, other than to grumble and start getting ready herself. Today, I finished before her and took the time to unpack a little more. Honestly, there is hardly anything in that trunk! Shopping is about to become a necessity, as much as I am loath to admit it.

Rather than rely on Justin for food again, I dragged Savvy to the food hall again. Breakfast was come and go as you please, so I was able to have a cup of strong tea and milk and some toast. Savvy woke up enough and insisted I eat some protein. I managed to mollify her by having a bite of eggs, but I just don’t feel like eating much for breakfast most days.

Evening was just as cranky this morning as he was yesterday, and I’m afraid I lost my temper a little. He managed to get a mouthful of my hair, and I reached up and slapped his neck (loudly rather than forcefully) in reprimand. At least he had the decency to look ashamed of himself. I wagged a finger at him anyway, and took no nonsense with the cinch today, while you know I normally like to let the horse breath a little and then tighten it up. Honestly, my hair is the one thing about my appearance I actually like and people compliment. I know I shouldn’t be so sensitive, but… Oh, what am I saying. He’s a horse testing his boundaries, that’s all. Savvy’s Heart, of course, was the epitome of good manners. Couldn’t he learn a little from her?

We had just left the stable when May had need of us. Apparently the camp cow, Daisy, was sad and off her feed, poor thing. And since unlike the other campers, we actually knew Mrs. Holdsworth, she wanted us to speak with the woman since the vet couldn’t find anything wrong. Apparently despite being a retired accountant, she grew up around cattle, used to tell stories about them and anything. I know that there were cattle on the estate back home, but I’d never really been allowed near them. I don’t think Savvy was quite as enthusiastic about it as I was. I heard her muttering to Heart, though I couldn’t understand what was being said. But I thought it was an excellent learning opportunity.

Mrs. Holdsworth had a story about a cow named Wendy. I refrained from asking if it was a Peter Pan reference. But Savvy snorted, and I had to give her a curious look. Wendy seemed like a perfectly fine name to me… We had to gather some dandelions–easy enough this time of year–and she made us a brew for Daisy. She also suggested talking to her. Savvy was reluctant to leave Heart’s side, but I dismounted and chattered at her in complete sympathy. I understood having bad days.

When I pulled my hand back, though, there was this strange…spark. I would normally pass it off as just static electricity, but…

Well, I had just gotten back up on Evening’s back when there was a great kerfuffle. Thomas Moorland was shouting, and when we ran up to him, we found out that someone had taken that deed we had just recovered from Mr. Holbrook! Oh no, we had gone through too much fuss for us to let it go to pot that quickly. Not when he had been as tetchy as Great-Aunt Carolynn. So we went tearing after the rider.

And oh, dear, goodness. The rider. For a moment, I thought this was some specter from that tomb who had come to haunt us. The horse was dark with a white mane and tail, and his hoof prints were aflame. His rider was hooded in black and red. Evening and I forced them to turn, letting Savvy snatch the documents. And as soon as that happened, they just…faded from sight.

I had to grab Evening’s mane to keep from falling right off. He snorted, and side-stepped to help us both stay balanced, I was listing so badly as fear made all the blood drain out of my face. The blacksmith’s words from yesterday and my scoffing almost rang in my ears. Were magic and…and ghosts…real here? Evening managed to shift and shake me back into the center of balance of the saddle and we walked back to Moorland. (I would have fallen for sure if we had tried to go any faster.)

Mr. Moorland tried to dismiss our concerns, much like I did yesterday. It would certainly be easier. But I couldn’t help thinking of that spark with the cow and how she perked back up so quickly… it all seems so strange. Too strange. I didn’t want to think about it anymore, and still don’t.

So where did we go next? Of course, to check back in with the blacksmith. Now he needed spikes for the shoes, ones that could only be found on the beach. I beg pardon? Why are ancient artifacts being left out in the beach to be stepped on or picked up by campers? Ugh. But the beach itself was lovely. There was something going on with a barge and crates, at least on this side, but it gave me hope that maybe there would be something more hospitable around the fort.

Well, as much as it irked both Savvy and I, we had to take back what we found rather than clean the whole beach, since that would easily take the rest of the day, if not the next several. Evening dragged his feet back though, and kept looking back to snort at the beach’s direction. Conrad was happy with the spikes, and said to come back tomorrow. Sigh. It’s going to be one of those summers, isn’t it? But he gave us a jacket…even though the two greens of the shirt that came with and the jacket do not go together. At all. Even I can tell that.

Savvy wanted to go check out Fort Pinta next…or, I suspect, to do whatever her variation of Mummy’s shopping she had. I’m not quite full in the pocket enough to really consider shopping, but I thought poking around couldn’t be a bad idea. So I went along without needing too much coaxing.

But we hadn’t made it farther than the path to the abbey we were being interrupted again with another so called emergency.

Continue to Part 2…


News: Star Stable Diaries and Upcoming Renovations

I know, not a review. But in my defense, I’m sick. So here, have an update on the news front of things instead of a whole lot of nada.

So, obviously I’ve started doing the Star Stable Diaries with my best friend, Ginny. It’s our first time writing anything together, and I’m really glad we’re doing this. We’ve been beta readers for each other for the last few years, talk with each other all the time, and at this point, practically share the same brain. I don’t know how often the posting schedule is going to be. Obviously about once a week, but no real regularity to it (could be Tuesday this week, could be Saturday again).

And really, look at it as free writing from me. 🙂 Misty has been a ball to create and we’re having fun with what we are doing. Even if not having control over the plot is making me spazz a little. The game has been basically my excuse to be prissy and girly and unwind after work. And somehow, this wound up in Misty’s character some, which is a nice break from my usual tomboys.

Adding this to the site though has made things all sorts of clunky in the menu. I thought I could live with it, but nope. It’s about to drive me nuts. I don’t know where everything is going to be shuffled yet. I intend to make a plan, so then I can execute it and update the front page quickly to have the shortest amount of confusion as possible.

With that little update, I’m going to go lie down and hope I can breathe normally tomorrow.