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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Information on 1.2 Update and the Village of Bunnybury!

Before we start talking about what is happening in 1.2, I would like to say this. Despite the immense excitement and popularity of Ozimals from even before the launch date, we are a new game - barely 2 months old. Ozimals is essentially a "massively multiplayer online" game, and any new MMO during its first 2 or 3 months of release will have to make changes to balance gameplay.

It is an unescapable fact, no amount of testing can uncover every bug, every imbalance, and every exploit. If you look at the history of the first months of any new MMO-type game, you will see patches and updates always happen to bring things into balance and in line with the core game concept. There will always be things that could never have been accounted for during beta.

Please remember that we do not make these changes randomly, for extra profit, or for spite. We make them to benefit the overall customer base and because we want to make this the best game possible for the long term.

When is 1.2 coming out you ask? Very Very Very Soon. They won't let me say the day yet :(


***Nests***

1. We've fixed the unpacking bug from 1.1 where if you picked up the nest or moved it too soon, it would show the unpacked error that turns the nest red. To help with knowing when it is safe to move or pick up a nest, we have added hovertext in red that says "Please Wait" and also further darkened the nest to make it more clear not to touch it yet.

2. Added option for anyone to click nests to get stats - removes the necessity of having hovertext on for nests that are for sale.

3. The nest expirations will be removed. Yes, you read that right. We are removing Nest Expiration. I discussed why it was done in last week's letter, and I do want to say briefly why that decision was reversed.

We heard a lot of good feedback about the expiration and the other methods for nest control. We took those constructive comments and suggestions into consideration when we decided to reverse the expiration. What we did ~not~ take into consideration, nor will we ever, are those comments made in a angry or threatening manner. We are all adults here and should be capable of having civilized discussions. We always welcome feedback given in a polite and constructive manner.

It is important to note that not all game balance changes we make will be popular and there may not always be other options available. Please know that we have the benefit of the overall game in mind when changes are made,and they cannot always be reversed as we can in this instance. Also, we will not be able to remove expirations on nests. The scripting will not allow this, unfortunately - but they can be turned in to Bunnybury.



***Happy Stumps and Stat Boosters***

As most everyone knows, we have removed the happy stumps from our product lineup for review due to game balance issues. The stumps were being used excessively in conjunction with other stat boosters to prevent the bunnies from following their proper life cycle (waking/sleeping) and contributing to faster nest production that exceeded the intended levels for the game. We put the life cycles in place to prevent overbreeding and subsequent overpopulation.

When we did our initial numbers, we never anticipated the boosters being used in this way to prevent the bunnies from ever sleeping. The bunnies are supposed to sleep 8 hours a day, and by using the boosters like this, those breeders gained hundreds of extra hours for breeding resulting in many more nests than intended and that has negatively impacted the entire marketplace.

The stumps will not come back in the form they are now. We know that not everyone used the stumps to avoid the life cycles and it is unfortunate that the bad apples have to ruin the whole bunch, so to speak. But there were enough people misusing these stat boosters that we had no choice but to remove them. We are doing tests to determine if we can have a replacement that can be used to slightly bump a bunny's happiness without being used to overbreed.

We are aware that the current happiness boost from holding is affected by an SL bug. We are looking into similar "spending quality time" boosts that owners can use to bump the happiness as well, as an addition to the holding since that LL bug has not yet been fixed.

We know that you all share our concern for preventing the continued overproduction of nests and we appreciate your understanding that this is a necessary step in that direction. Please note that no stat boosters were available for the entire duration of our pre-release beta and people bred quite successfully.



***Elder/Sage/MP Bonuses***

The happy stump/red bunneh combo focused our attention on all the stat boosters and prompted a review of everything that provides a bonus. When we began our testing, we quickly realized that the initial M/P 7.5% boost was too high to be a permanent item. However, because changes are being made to the stat boosters - these slight reductions in the percentages and ranges do not change the fact that Matriarch/Patriarchs are still the best stat boosts in the game and well worth the investment of the Archetype food on their own, not even counting the additional benefits that food provides while being eaten.

New stats for the Elder, Sage, and Matriarch/Patriarch are the following effective with 1.2:

Elder - 1% per 5 meter range

Sage - 3% per 10 meter range

M/P - 5% per 15 meter range

Again this is a step that needs to be taken to keep the game balanced, and based on your feedback, that is your primary concern as well as ours. Grandfathering will not be applied in this situation because you are still receiving the highest bonuses in the game from the Archetype food. In fact, Elders, Sages and M/Ps are all actually more useful now because of the removal of the happy stumps, making it so everyone has a chance to have a permanent bonus item available to them, rather than one that runs out and must be repurchased.


***Bunny***

1. Fix the bug from 1.0 and 1.1 that wasn't allowing Elder/Sage/MP to show in hovertext.

2. We believe we have fixed the happiness jumping up and dropping bug in hibernation (added additional check, performed well in testing)

3. Increased cooldown between generations to 4 days.

4. Increased baby phase to 7 days.

5. Adjusted bond time to 5 days per requests.

6. Added to "anyone" stats to show if bunny is bonded - this gives buyers more information about the bunny before purchase. Showing cooldown is a more involved process that couldn't be ready for 1.2, but we are still looking into options to add the cooldown in.

7. Bunny no longer needs to be set to "anyone" in order to see its stats - this is to prevent unintentional breeding in marketplaces.


***Food***

1. No more spam if bunny is hibernating and it is the wrong version.

2. Lengthen all food times to account for the increase in cooldown. Please remember that babies eat half as much as grown bunnies do, so the increase in baby phase actually reduces the amount fed for that time period.

3. The Premium level 2 carrot breeder pack water (only) had an incorrect script that caused water imbalance. If you purchased this pack and need assistance, please file a ticket at http://support.ozimals.com


***Updater***

1. Restore the ID display for "no ID" bunnies. (This will eliminate bonding issues.)

2. Fix 1.1 "zombie" bunnies upon updating.

3. The updater will only update one bunny at a time now but is still automatic. (should fix most bugs related to the updating process)



***Bunnybury***

1. We are hard at work on Bunnybury at the moment, but please understand that this is a ~large~ project with many parts that need to be done (The coin values, the actual Bunnybury items, scripting for those items, the system and the backend database to support it, the vendor system you will use with it, etc.) and we hadn't anticipated needing it as soon as we did. We have additional help in to assist with these projects and we anticipate having Bunnybury soon.

However, for those who would like to go ahead and turn in nests and bunnies we are working on a Deposit program where you can turn in your nests for coins and they will be saved in a database where you can view your coin levels while the Bunnybury program is being created.

As an incentive to add your nests and bunnies to the Deposit Program, we are offering a 10% coin bonus for any nests and bunnies submitted to this Deposit program prior to the launch of Bunnybury. We expect to have this database up shortly and will provide complete info at that time about how it works and post a notice - you don't have to ask, we won't forget... really. ;)

We've come up with a system that we think will reward players regardless of the number of bunnies you have, which has been a major complaint of other programs of this type. Again, more information on those specifics will be released closer to the launch of Bunnybury.

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