So, 45 minutes after they were supposed to be released (Tip to future AI animal publishers, have vendors set up for the allocated release time; if you publicise a time and you aren’t ready it looks a bit rough) I managed to get my hands on my very own Amaretto Breedable Horses. But if I thought the problems would end there, I was in for a huge shock indeed. But let’s proceed with my initial impressions.
The similarities to the bunnies are obvious; first up, these are good looking beasts. I’m not entirely sold on some aspects of their design, for example the shoulder/back arch doesn’t look as good on these as on some of the other horses that are available to buy on the Second Life markets, but then again they’re only 14 prims each. When you consider that the achievement is pretty remarkable. The horses do actually have really lovely faces, and their eyes are spectacular; in that mad unnerving way that horses gaze at you in real life. Another similarity to the bunnies is inside the horse, if you zoom into a bunny and pass through it you find a heart. In the horses you find a horseshoe.
The starter pack cost L$3k and for my money I got 4 horses, 2 x food and 2 x salt lick. The horses are NOT available individually ( wait until auctions kick off for that privilege) but the ratio of male to female ensures you have a great breeding program from the start. The horses are in coloured crates, and when ready you click to rez each horse., again like clicking a bunny nest. They appear practically immediately; for a few seconds white ghost-like shapes are visible, and then you get to meet your horses.
I was actually VERY pleased with my horses; I got a gorgeous brown Appaloosa stallion, as well as two grey Appaloosa mares in my pack, but best of all a plain grey mare with silver eyes, she had me hooked from the start. Struggling for names I resorted to the internet and came up with, Rhiannon, Epona and Zephyr for my mares, with my male called Gandalf. I cocked up during the naming process, but with the menus being exceptionally easy to navigate, especially if you have bunny experience, I was able to rename my mare very quickly and with minimum fuss.
And thus began my horse learning experience..I turned off the main features of movement and noise so as not to cause annoyance to my neighbours, and settled in to having four foals in my barn, along with my hoppers. It was nice. I can’t say that I’m keen on the young horses, they look ever-so-slightly wrong because of their size ( they’re just horses in minature) whereas bunnies win oodles of praise for thei just kindled cuteness factor.
Then disaster struck.
Something very, very wrong occurred upon the servers which impacted horses across the grid. Interestingly enough, mine were fine, so imagine my heartbreak when I discovered that just like every horse buyer across the grid I had to return my horses for replacement because the problems experienced were so darn sever that an updated edition of the horses had to be issued. I’d already begun to ‘bond’ with my horses, and was itching to breed and ride them. Even worse, the replacement was just a replacement pack..I wasn’t guaranteed like-for-like replacements. A HUGE let down from all angles, and I was gutted.
I spoke to an Amaretto rep and pleaded my case, and was advised that I could keep my horses out and rezzed, BUT they wouldn’t breed. I weighed up my options and elected to keep my two favourite horses rezzed (Gandalf and Epona) and use them as pets for riding. I sadly returned my other two mares, and received my replacement pack, and although my new stallion and mares are just as beautiful I’m sad to say the experience had lost some of the lustre after the initial experiences of rezzing horses.
So, now the initial furore has died down..how do I feel about Amaretto Horses as a product?
Well, some of the features are well thought out by comparison to some of the Ozimals applications, something as simple as the the combined food and water is a great idea and works extremely well.
I also rate the other horse treats that have been created, from sugar cubes to biscuits, that raise individual stats. The salt licks I think are going to prove to be an essential part of a horse breeder’s armoury; these look like a giant sugar cube on a stick and are used to increase a horse’s happiness stats. Like the food these need to be located within the horses range to be effective. But this isn’t anything we’ve not really seen before from other breedables. Amaretto has obviously studied the existing in-world programmes and has tried to learn from existing mistakes and improve upon them to make a viable product, but as the release day issues and initial disasters proved releasing new AI products upon the grid is fraught with peril and you need to be made of strong stuff to cope with the stress caused by the problem and pissed-off punters in equal measure. I think the jury is still out on the horses in a big way. They certainly haven’t replaced the bunnies in my affections, and as yet I’m not sure if after I’ve bred a few times, I will continue to keep them. What is interesting is already I’ve seen adverts for various horse breeds, with black horses particularly well sought after. Because the majority of horses on the grid will become pregnant around the same date, I envision a lot of activity in forums and chats this weekend regarding breeding and selling..and it will be interesting to see what ‘rares’ are thrown up, and the prices they fetch.
I’ll return to this subject in a few posts time, and let you know what results I have had from breeding my horses, and how I feel about Amaretto ownership in more detail. I’m fortunate however to be in a position where I’ve still got two of my original horses, and now they have passed the seven day benchmark I’ll be able to ride them around the grid. How this will compare to horses specifically designed for the purpose will be interesting to see…I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, let me leave you with this image: Who says that the horses have to be the death of the bunnies?
I think they’re the perfect compliment to each other….
Incidentally, this shot isn’t staged…I walked into my bunny barn and Sharky had snuggled up next to Epona for a snooze. Nice huh?