Previously we’ve discussed that Star Stable Online is a MMO created primarily for young girls who love horses. (Part One.) The game has decent graphics with fun quests that are fairly creative. Overall, it is a pretty to look at and a relaxing style of game with plenty to do for players that will both advance them along the game’s plot line and things they can do socially with other players. (Part Two.) On the downside, it does occasionally crash, the camera system needs work and the chat system is a moderate pain because of heavy censoring. (Part Three.) My previous post got too long to finish up with “what I’d like to see in the game.” So, the rest of this is more or less are my personal opinion versus actual game play issues.
As I’ve said, I’m rather ambivalent about them adding story related quests to the game. It’s their game and they can release story quests when they want to. That, and I can’t tell which is a plot related quest anymore and which isn’t. I swear, I put off doing the “Do you want a vest?” From Donald the Tailor for two weeks before I realized I had to do his quest to unlock the story related quests of Felix and the ducks. (I didn’t really want a rainbow sweater vest. If I had more control over the result, I would have been more enthused, but I didn’t.) Edit: As I added in the previous post, this has actually gotten more frustrating as time has gone by, mostly due to lack of organization. If it felt organized, it wouldn’t be nearly as frustrating.
Sometimes though, when they do put things out in the game, especially holiday quests and they decorate the stables and towns, it sincerely frustrates me because I see this as a source of experience wasted. I love to decorate. Decorating is fun! I’d love to be able to do more quests in the games around holiday times that involve decorating the stables and towns. They did these quests during the Christmas Season and it was truly enjoyable and at times funny. Now, if we could do some of it for the other holidays. They also have a renovation of Moorland Stables, a main area, coming up. I would love to be able to see that as a quest tree. They could even have it open up for the early players and give them something to do earlier or leave it until after Jasper’s new scarecrow quest tree because Pi mentions renovation rumors. That way, higher level players have reason to go back to Moorland and help Thomas, since in game, he sends you to the winery until he needs you again. Well, I would hope renovations are under the definition of ‘need help!’ However, I don’t know if the developers of the game will see it the same way I do. (And since helping people usually involves new clothes, that’d be great too.)
Now, there are a lot of clothes and gear in the game. And I mean a lot. There are around 2000 items you can buy (or earn) in game. Clothes and gear in Star Stable come in two ways. There are items that are clearly meant to stand by themselves and mix and match with anything the rider could want, and items that are also clearly parts of sets because they share names and descriptions. For instance, the Winery Set is almost complete, it has bridle, saddle, blanket and leg warmers, but it doesn’t have a matching saddlebag or ribbons. Now the Purple Heart set has a saddle bag but no leg warmers or ribbons. Some of the sets have matching outfits, some don’t. However, there are sets that have matching outfits where the outfits aren’t complete. They might have everything but the shoes for example or gloves.
It’s frustrating because you have to hope they put something out later for older sets (and know it is highly unlikely that they will). I would rather have the older sets completed before they add new sets into the game. That way if I want to kit my horse or myself out in a set, I don’t have to scrounge to find something among the stand alone stuff that hopefully matches! And even then it might not work, because in Jorvik, there is no one color of lilac. If you go by color description and are trying to mix and match out of the single sets. You may get a saddle, bridle and blanket that all have lilac in the name, only to get them together to find they are three ‘shades’ of lilac! And this is true for every color. It is so bad, that I refuse to buy something without having the gear I want to go with it on my horse so I can color match.
Now here is where I wish they had some crafting. If they had crafting, I could at least buy say, the green checkered saddlebag and dye it purple to match the purple checkered saddle set (or pink to match the pink.) Or we could do quests to get materials for items that can now only be bought with Star Coins and have Donald the Tailor make them for us. They have set crafting up with both horseshoes with Conrad the Blacksmith and clothes items with Harold the Tailor. Most other RPGs do have some sort of crafting, even if it is only crafting armor and weapons items. New items and gear could be added through the crafting. (And maybe types of food with Harold the Baker? Hey, we’ve made pancake cake with Mrs. Packard. If the food did something, I’d like to craft it.)
Anyways, I’d enjoy crafting. Being able to make treats for our horses when they’re ill or down. Making clothes (or dying other clothes or changing their stats) and the leather parts of the gear with Harold and learning to do the metal bits with Conrad the Blacksmith. Exclusive items to crafting as well as older Star Coin exclusive items would make it worthwhile. Crafting could also give more control over stats for both characters and horses. There are sets in the game that are earned during holidays that don’t have any stats (or extremely low stats) and are extremely pretty. Crafting could make those sets useful. Hey, you could even add farming by using Barney’s, Marley’s and Steve’s fields to grow items for crafting!
I didn’t realize how much I missed crafting until I was tired, wanted to do nothing but collect and create items and had no “safe” game to do so in. I was tempted to go into Guild Wars, but that involved killing things and I just didn’t feel like it. (So, I ran around and did an archaeological dig in Star Stable instead, but I would have preferred crafting.)
And at the same time while I don’t want new items until the old ones are caught up. Mostly, because I’m a fashion designer as well as a writer, I would love to see some new shapes for the clothes. I don’t know how many other people have noticed, but most of the clothes so far in the game are ripped directly from the older Star Stable games (as are the settings, NPCs and music). I’d like to see some new styles. All of the dresses are knee length, A-line with long sleeves. Most of the hats are classic helmets, and it’d be nice to see more newsboy caps in different colors and variations. I’d love to see a rounded Russian fur hat and a French beret. With all the western events, some more variety in western clothing would be great. Big circle skirts and plenty of “sparkles.” Western vests with fringe would also be fun. In fact, more than colored chaps, but fancy chaps would be cute too.
Okay, enough about clothes. (I know, I can be obsessed.)
There are horses and ponies in the game. The horses have plenty to do. And while the ponies are cute, we don’t end up doing much with them. I’d love to see more pony only related quests and races. It’s sad to me that they used up a lot of the pony colors with the Jorvik Ponies and so now there aren’t a lot of color options left for them to make Chincoteague ponies in or others such as Shetland, Caspian or Fell ponies. But I’m sending my pony to a nice vacation in a paddock because he, poor thing, has nothing to do. He’s cute, but he needs to be useful if he’s staying in my stable.
Some race variety would be nice. About 90% of the races right now are cross country races. The circle track up by North Link hasn’t even been started on yet. (Oh that will be a fun quest tree.) There are no simple short straight tracks at all. And dressage has only been addressed in Sun Circle training. Western has their own version of dressage called reining (it’s more robust) along with other patterned riding such as Western Riding Class. These do require more discipline than cross country races at least on behalf of the horse and wouldn’t be entirely timed races. (Or at least I hope not.) There are also sheep and cows and no roping or cutting.
I would also like to see in the future, the ability to choose a ‘class’ as you will as you progress in the game. The Keepers of Aideen, and the four Soul Riders, have four circles that you can join. There is the Sun Circle, the Lightning Circle, the Star Circle and the Moon Circle. It is a point of the plot that the player has abilities for all four circles, but I’d like to see the option of being able to focus on the abilities of one circle in the game. Some of these abilities are laid out in Star Shine Legacy, (a good set of games to watch a play through of at least, but you don’t have to know those games to play Star Stable Online, even if they are being treated as game canon) and it is apparent that they’ve developed the different circles more for this game. So, I’d just like to see players being able to choose while having the potential to develop all four abilities if they desire, be able to focus on one particular circle. This of course means, eventually all the circles will have to have factions in Jorvik.
And because I’m coming from the Guild Wars, WoW background and well, I enjoy making pretty things, I’d like to be able to make some sort of emblem of patches for riding clubs to decorate our riding hall with. (I’d also like to be able to choose the interior of the riding hall but that might be asking too much.) In the riding hall, it does have our Club name on the walls, but it’d be really neat (in my opinion) if we could have club flags or something. Because the names of the clubs come from a number of lists, it shouldn’t be that difficult to come up with emblems to match the names. In Guild Wars the players wear capes. In WoW, Guilds have tabards aka tunics they wear over their armor. Now, I’ve seen a few riding clubs whose members all wear the same outfits (and ride the same horses and almost all of them have the same avatar look sometimes.) But I find that a little crazy and don’t ask my club members to do anything of the sort.
Of course, my club consists of three people including me and while we all love the color purple, we can’t seem to decide on a single shirt to wear between us as a “club shirt,” much less the rest of the outfit. But because I am a bit crazy and do enjoy messing with things (even though I don’t have a good raster program to work with at the moment) I have tried to come up with our own club emblem. Just for fun. The Owl is sacred to the goddess Athena and is a representation of wisdom and the helping of others. The stars are in the positions of the prophecy of the soul riders from Star Shine Legacy. And when I do get a program, the colors will be purple, black and white.
I do realize that 75% of what I’ve just said has to do with clothes. This is actually a huge credit to the company. They’ve done everything else so well that all I’ve got major wishes for is clothing and gear related! That, and as I said, fashion designer, so it is important to me that the clothes be fun and have variety! And the additions of crafting would give people a lot more to do who are complaining. Though some of the ones complaining, I’m sure wouldn’t do it anyways. Just complain that it is too much work for the result.
The game has such potential and I want to see and do more in it. Sadly, I don’t have a job with the company. (Moving to Sweden isn’t on my priority list.) So all I can do is hope, and enjoy the game. I hope this review has helped anyone with questions or doubts about whether or not they want to play the game.