You know, what with the recent drama and all it would be very easy to dismiss Ozimals Bunnies as being completely over. The virtual craze of 2010 now replaced by mewing cats and kittens in fact, but hold on. Ozimals may be down, but they’re not out just yet and have managed to retain a core of solid supporters to whom, let’s be frank here, they owe their virtual lives. We’ve all heard about their failings so I feel no need to repeat them again here, but it says a lot about Ozimals perseverance that at a time of crisis they are opting to ride out the tide of controversy and dissent by releasing new products to tempt and tease the faithfully bunny-addicted. They’ve just done it again, with the promise of new Elite bunnies, more on that later, but also they’ve played a blinder in the PR stakes by generously handing out a years supply of bunny food to a small band of early adopters. That’s pretty amazing, don’t you think?
I confess, I very nearly placed all my remaining bunnies in my inventory and just walked away from the whole deal. I know many people who have done just that actually; they’ve been so dismayed by various events that they’ve given up on the hoppers completely. At one point I had..gulp..over a hundred rabbits that I bred and adored. I’ve reduced that number gradually; allowing each bunny to retire into my inventory once they’ve attained elder status. I can’t even tell you how many Elders Of Euphoria there are in my inventory, a lot I think, but there they must remain. It’s not cheap to rear breedables, as many people realised when the market madness overtook them and bunnies began to take over the grid in reams.But back to my point, I didn’t give up on bunnies entirely and the reason was simple, I hadn’t attained the goals that I had set for myself. I wanted to create gem-eyed versions of certain breeds, and once I had done that I then wanted to breed the same, but with lop ears. For me this was a great hobby and I was creating my ideal bunnies. By the time I finally did get my stunning Silver Martin Black with Peridot eyes and lop ears the bunny market had practically evaporated, but by then I was beyond breeding for a small profit, but for pleasure. For me there’s just something rather special about a gem-eyed, lop eared bunny, and once the Twilight, Moonlight and Sunlight shades appeared I was again in bunny heaven. But even this was a brief respite, and sadly I’ve come to realise that there will be a parting of the ways between myself and Ozimals in the very near future, purely because I don’t like the new shades or eyes. I haven’t had an Acorn shade bunny yet, but the brownish tinge it offers leaves me feeling cold.
The Sunrise and Sparrow eye shades don’t have the sparkle or the fire that the gem eyes had, and not only that, but the gem eyes were always rather stunning to behold as far as texture and colour went, whereas by contrast the sunrise eyes look, well, I’m sorry to say it, but they look dead to me. I’m not a fan, and the bunnies that I have bred which feature these attributes I’ve sold because they just don’t appeal to me. I’ve held out though, only to see Hydrangea and Iris shades become the next big thing, but sadly not for me. I don’t think it’s a lack of ideas on Ozimals part by the way, it’s obvious that they do have ideas aplenty, but they just don’t work for me as a breeder.
I confess that all this disillusionment on my part has left me out of the bunny loop. Once an active poster on the official Ozimals forum, I’ve left it behind to become more involved with the cat breedables, being a beta tester for both Wildwoods and Kittycats, and somewhat poignantly, I haven’t missed spending time in my barn with my bunnies at all. I’ve still held by my non-bunnyburying values (but then again I don’t see the point of doing that anyway because as far as I’m aware bunnybury is still not live) choosing instead to place all my retired bunnies gently into a ‘Sleeping Bunnies’ folder that resides in my inventory.
It leaves me feeling sad moving them there; even though these aren’t fluffy balls of fur but just a bunch of pixels on a screen. The emotions that I have attached to them are very real.
Last night I was moving another bunch of newly retired bunnies into this folder, when my friend Vere pinged to tell me about the latest round of Ozimals Elites (special bunnies that can only be bred within a specific timescale and are by no means guaranteed) Vere is a complete breedable addict, and completely demented about her bunnies, and horses, and cats..and, well you get the picture. To be honest, I wasn’t madly enthused about what she was telling me because every single time I’ve tried for an elite in the past I have never gotten one, so what would be the point of trying now? That said, I did have an especially nice nest that I was going to kindle to sell, a Rhinelander Blue lop with Peridot eyes in fact, so there was no pressure on me either way. If I got one it would be a bonus, if I didn’t no worries. I’d still have a great bunny with which to hopefully make a few Lindens. I clicked the nest to kindle, then got back to the task in hand – reducing my flock with a heavy heart.
And then an hour later I noticed a tiny scarecrow with bunny ears was hopping round my barn….(click to enlarge)
Oh it’s hard NOT lo love Ozimals when they get it right, and they really have gotten it right with the styling of these special bunnies. Credit where it is due then, because, one of their successes has always been their Elite hoppers and as this Scarecrow bunny proves they still make the right decisions with regards to texture choices. I’m totally in love with this little ‘Worzeletta’ as I have named her, but will I be keeping her? No. I need the Lindens and I’ve already decided upon the bunnies I will continue to keep as pets once my breeding programme finally comes to an end.But here’s a point to ponder, am I the only one looking to a future without the bunnies? Obviously there’s the whole Amaretto Vs Ozimals court-case looming in the middle-distance, but what about Ozimals themselves?
The reason that I ask this question is due to a photograph posted on the Official Ozimals website, under a post called ‘The Other Side Of The Yellow Brick Road’.
It’s an intriguing photograph, featuring a creature surrounded by fungi in the foreground, looking skyward as various constellations shine down. It’s hard to determine what the creature is; it has an almost Pikachu-like quality to it but one thing is for sure it has large ears, so large in fact that this particular critter’s tabs seem to be sporting icicles! Go and take a look and see what you think. I think it looks like some sort of fox, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be some sort of fantasy-type breedable of which we’ll see many more appear on the grid during 2011.
I must warn you now however that a new breedable venture from Ozimals will not be warmly received by everyone upon the grid. The hardline bunny enthusiasts, of which there are many more than you may think, will no doubt use the posting of the photograph as further evidence that the priorities of Ozimals have shifted perhaps resulting in promised developments being shelved. But look at the bigger picture. It all comes down to the profits of course, and if Ozimals aren’t making the dollars they used to with the bunnies then of course they’re going to move onto a different breedable creation. They’ve proved they’re capable of delivering the product and let’s be fair to all concerned here, the bunnies are an incredible breedable game. The issue that Ozimals MUST address in future is how they relate to their audience, and in future they must take care that they are more cautious in their approach when it comes to making promises, that for whatever reason, they cannot keep. For some reason most avatars have the memories of elephants, and couple this chat logs aplenty and you have more than enough headaches for Candy and everyone at Ozimals HQ to deal with, so effective PR is a must for 2011. We’ve already seen them taking steps towards this (see the first paragraph to this article) which is a good thing in the long-term, and I am pretty sure that they are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that they don’t fall into the same traps that they did during 2010.
But when it comes to the bunnies they are without a doubt one of the most endearing things to ever come out of Second Life, and for that alone they should be proud. Alas, for me the time is fast approaching when I will be bidding a fond “Adieu” to my floppy-tabbed furballs.
120 bunnies at my peak. Now down to 12.
Many of these are on their final generations as well, so by this time next week that number will be reduced even more. Once all my bunnies are retired, I plan to resurrect a few particular favourites from my inventory to keep as pets because a life without virtual bunnies would be a sad one.
But I am resolute in my decision to move on. That said, I have enjoyed every minute of my Ozimals adventure, and even though I’ve gone as far as I can with it, I know there are still more avatars out there on the grid who are persevering with the hoppers and hoping for great things.
To those concerned I wish you all the very best of luck, and can say that even though I am bidding a gradual but final farewell to these beautiful virtual objects, I will always be grateful to Ozimals for bringing them to Second Life and allowing me the chance to attain some amazing virtual goals via these wonderful creations.
Note to readers: I am accepting offers for the following bunny:
Elite: Scarecrow Bunneh 2010
Fur: Rhinelander Blue
Ears: Lop Ears
Elite: Scarecrow Bunneh 2010
Please IM in world with offer if interested! ( Bear in mind this is a Rhinelander!)