Monday, 25 July 2011

Meeroo Personality Profile: Aggressive

Time for another Meeroo Personality Profile, this one dedicated to all the Aggressive Meeroos out there. The animation unique to Aggressive Meeroos is performed while standing and is a little stomp along with a fearsome look. In theory anyway, I do feel a bit bad for Aggressive Meeroos, it is like they are trying their best to be tough but are just too cute to pull it off. Perhaps other Meeroos find them a bit scary? I wonder if fathers tell their newly Coaxed Meeroo daughters to avoid the Aggressive boys at school because they are bad news; often sneaking extra berries behind the bike shed while skipping their Meerooish lesson.
Speaking of which I would love to know what the Meeroo language is called. I am sticking with Meerooish until I hear otherwise. Perhaps there will be some clues, or an outright answer come October. In any case, if anybody is going to be skipping their language lessons I bet it is a gang of Aggressive Meeroos and a few of their Mischievous mates. I just hope the Head Master [AKA: Principal] is Friendly!
My partner scarlett discovered an interesting Meeroo fact, something I am going to try and get either photos or a video of soon: Meeroos grow when they eat! If they have growing to do that is. Check out your baby Meeroos next time they head to a food bowl. So long as they have not reached their maximum size they will grow, just a bit, right after they eat. This means baby Meeroos grow four (4) times a day. So a Giant fourteen (14) would grow a total of fifty-six (56) times before it reaches maximum size. The easiest way to see the effect is if you wait until your Meeroos are asleep. When asleep they will only get up to find Treasures, make Nests, and eat. Watch closely if they head for a food bowl, it is a wow moment the first time you see it. It is that kind of attention to detail that makes Meeroos so immersive, and it is a credit to Malevay Studios that they even thought of doing it in that way. I have some other fun facts I plan on sharing in these Personality Profiles, might even start a Meeroo Fun Facts feature if I compile enough.

I hope you enjoy the Aggressive photos, it is not easy getting the leg mid-stomp, let me tell you. Special cuddly thanks to scarlett for taking them all for me. You are awesome sweetheart! And, of course, Team Meeroos rocks!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

So Much Stuff

So many things happened this past week with Meeroos I do not know where to start! For one the Pre-Order and initial Release Meeroos all turned sixty (60) this past week. Either on Sunday or sometime Wednesday, depending on when they were Coaxed. This means they have reached Elder status and can no longer breed. Many of them were subsequently Released as a result. I personally went up about eight (8) levels due to Releasing my Elders that I did not want to keep. I say I did not want to keep them: I did. I can not keep forty (40) Meeroos around forever, even as MeePets.

Yes: MeePets! The release of the MeePet option has been announced on the Official WW of Meeroos blog in THIS post. The option is out now at the Roo store. One fantastic piece of news: players who use the MeePet option will receive the Regard points from their converted Meeroos. So keep petting those Meeroos, even if you plan to MeePet; you will still get that Regard! For those of you who have had Meeroos starve and run off the Whistle to call them back is also available, right next to the Honey Dipper. MeePet Honey Dipper is L$999 and the Whistle is L$350 both are single use items. The Whistle will not work on Released Meeroos, only ones that have run off due to hunger.

Honey Food Bowl for MeePets
Team Meeroos also announced the release of a few more products planned for the near future. As well as the opening of the Regard Store; where having certain Regard levels unlocks the ability to purchase specific Malevay Studios Meeroo related products. There will be a Seasons calendar available if you are level five (5) or over and for level ten (10) and up: the fabled Primbie bird. Slated to open this weekend.

It keeps going, there are now starter and non-starter Meeroos. I did not see that coming. I am OK with it, just took me by surprise. Before recently you had a chance to pull extremely rare Meeroos from starter Trunks. According to Tiger player Regard was playing a part in that as well, pushing the chance higher for players with massive Regard. The chance of getting rare Meeroos from a starter Trunk right now is 0%. Team Meeroos says it can not be done. So there you go, all rare Meeroos are non-starters. From what I can tell that means the only coats you will be able to get from starter Trunks are: Winecoat, Fawn and Ursine.

While you may no longer be able to randomly obtain super rare Meeroos from starter Trunks it is now a bit easier to do so through breeding. Once again Malevay Studios has raised the effect of Regard [Both Meeroo and player] on breeding. This means that having 10,000 Regard points will have more of an influence now than it did a week or so ago. The posts points out that " is more of a nudge in popping out coveted traits, not a sledgehammer." There is no guarantee that high Regard will pull out any traits at all. If there are none in the Meeroos genetics it is impossible to get no matter how much Regard you or the Meeroo has. It is time to put the starter Nest lottery aside and concentrate on breeding. It is now the only way to find new rare Meeroo traits.

Tiger notes that the number of rare genes has been reduced in starter Nests a few times now. That, in combination with the fact that Nest genetics are permanently set when the Nest is first rezzed from the Trunk, means that older starter Nests potentially have more rare genes hidden within than newer ones. His advice is to not only buy Nests from the secondary market, but to keep an eye out for older (lower Nest number) starter Nests. I suggest any of you with Nests out for sale check to make sure none of them are low Nest number starter Nests, they may be much more valuable than you think.

As for the Oracle, there are more new questions coming. To quote Tiger: "new oracle questions? these are still coming, i know, i know..." I believe Team Meeroos has been working on more important updates, like the MeePet and the Whistle. Both of which people have been very much looking forward to. Getting the MeePet option released close to the time that the oldest Meeroos would become Elders strikes me as far more important than new Oracle questions. Of course, I do want more Oracle questions, with more trivia and fewer song lyrics! I just do not mind waiting until more important projects are finished.

I have been paying a lot of attention to this Meeroo alphabet that has been cropping up on statues and around the Meeroos stores. I do not have anything of interest to say about it yet, other than it looks pretty cool. I have photographed all the glyphs I can locate and will be attempting some analysis over the next week or two. I have already noticed the symbols for "Meeroo" on one of the statues but with another character in the middle. What might it mean? I think we might just have to wait and find out.

On a personal note; the Elders I Released were replaced, plus a few, with newly Coaxed baby Meeroos. They all turned five (5) last night and began having Nests of their own. Already I have my first ever Very Short Tail! Interesting to note it came from two (2) Short Tail parents. There should be some interesting discoveries before October. I know I have high expectations for my Meeroos and my breeding program. There are tons of breeding Meeroos out there on the Grid now, tons of Meeroo breeders. I have not even seen all the currently known traits in person yet, I can not wait to see what shows up next. The Azure coat is amazing by-the-way, if you have not seen a picture I suggest you ask for one in Group chat. I have not found one to photograph personally, but I will post pics here when I do.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sixty Days to Breed

My Pre-Order Meeroos turned sixty (60) last night and stopped being able to breed. It was a bit sad as I had to release a few of them to make room for the new generation of breeders. One thing I noticed is it looks like Meeroos can breed through their sixtieth (60th) day. That is: they can continue to breed until they are over sixty (60). So once they hit 60.25 they will show as Elders and will not be able to breed. It might be important to know for your breeding strategy; my partner and I had a few pairs that bred a mere twenty (20) minutes before they became Elders. Having that Nest granted each of them three hundred (300) Regard points as well as the two hundred and fifty (250) points the Nest itself is worth. That is quite a bit of Regard from a pair we would have Released earlier had we thought they could not breed on their sixtieth (60th) day.

To put any rumours to rest: there is no Regard point bonus, either to the Meeroo or the Owner when the Meeroo hits Elder status. If that is the only reason you are holding on to some of yours, I am sorry to disappoint you.

I am excited to be starting on my second batch of Meeroos. I have added some in throughout my first batch, and still have some that are not yet close to Elder status. But for the most part all of my Meeroos currently are babies! It should be very interesting to see what I get from them. I am looking forward to figuring out more about their genetics this time around and I will keep you all updated here on the blog. With the first set, the Pre-Orders and the ones I got right after release, my strategy was to see how they bred and I used mostly random pairing in the beginning with a few stabs at breeding for a trait just recently. Now it is time to get a bit more scientific, now that I know a little more about the mystical creatures. The next sixty (60) days should be a very educational.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Honey part 2: Why Tiger Rocks

All of my MeePet worries are a thing of the past. Not only that, I am once again incredibly impressed with Team Meeroos. Some of you may have noticed Tiger's comment on my last post about the MeePets. He says: "They are still animals that want to eat, right? They will still starve if you don't let them eat their free honey. But, no matter how much/long you starve them, they won't run away." So a MeePet can eat Honey but does not have to! This mean they can be kept in Inventory and can easily be given to people as gifts. Even if the recipient knows nothing about breedables, or Meeroos, they can just pop their MeePet Meeroo out when they want, if they want, as an adorable pet. This is very good news for me as it means I can convert one of my favourites to have on my shoulder all the time! [Do not worry, I will let him down from time to time to nibble a bit of Honey.]

I said in my last post that I thought having an optional food for MeePets seemed like a lot of extra work and I am sure it was and is. Team Meeroos is doing it anyway and it is a brilliant touch. It adds realism to have food even for Meeroos that do not need to eat. It is so subtle that I was sure that was not how it was going to work. I did not think anybody would go to those lengths for an optional item. I should have known Malevay Studios would do things differently and not compromise any aspect of the Meeroos experience. So; thank you for the clarification Tiger and way to go. Team Meeroos rocks!

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Trouble With Honey

I am a little concerned about MeePets, here is why: apparently they will still need to eat. As per Catherine's blog post: "It [the MeePet] will need to eat honey to thrive, and honey will be made available from the main stores for free." What this means is that a MeePet can not be kept in Inventory. Nor will it be easy to gift them to people who might want a pet without any hassle. They would still need to go to the store periodically to pick up food and keep the Meeroo rezzed almost all the time. Which brings me to the Prims issue: if they have to be rezzed to eat they are going to be using Prims and Home Stump slots as well. I was really hoping for a Meeroo I could wear; all of the time. A little fellow I could pop on my shoulder and just leave there but Meeroos do not eat when attached.

There is some hope however, the FAQ on the WW of Meeroos site says: "...this will mean that you no longer have to buy them food, and they will not starve or run away to the wild." [Emphasis added by me] I would be interested in some clarification on this point: can a MeePet starve, or not? According to the FAQ: No, they can not starve. Then why the requirement for Honey? Unless the eating of Honey is purely aesthetic and is optional. It might be nice for them to have their own food bowl they could nibble on from time to time, but it seems like a lot of work if they do not have to eat. If they are required to eat then I have to assume they could also starve, which is contradicted by the FAQ. Hence my, now abject, confusion.

I feel that for the MeePet option to be viable for any but my very best, most special, Meeroos it would have to allow them to be kept indefinitely. When Open Beta ended and everyone was waiting for their "Real" Meeroos I used the term "ForeverRoos" to mean the ones we would get to keep as long as we wished. For the MeePet option to validate the term ForeverRoos there has to be a guarantee that they will never be lost. Once the procedure is performed, in this case once the Honey Dipper has been used, they should have no further breedable-like requirements. For all intents and purposes they should act like a non-breedable, non-eating, pet. The resultant Meeroo should be able to stay in Inventory forever if need be and should not require anything else to  continue existing when rezzed. i.e. It must not require food, although optional food would be cool. If the MeePet option is implemented in a way that they still require feeding then it will not be of much use to me. I would very much like to keep quite a few of my current brood, but I have neither the Prims nor the Home Stumps to do so if they need to be rezzed like ordinary Meeroos.

I understand that the Honey will be free. There will be no charges for keeping a MeePet which is great. But if it can not go into Inventory, or onto my shoulder, then I am going to have a difficult time justifying the L$1,500 cost for the Honey Dipper. However if they genuinely can not starve and will never run away, then consider it justified and I'll be saving up to MeePet all of my favourites. We will all find out how it works soon enough, but if anyone who knows from Team Meeroos would like to comment in advance of release please leave a comment here or contact me InWorld.

[EDIT: As you can see from Tiger's comment below, this is now a non-issue, please have a look at my follow-up post HERE explaining how it really works.]

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Remedy to Reduce Ridiculously Rare Roos: Revamp Regard

Team Meeroos has recently increased the amount of influence Regard has on breeding. In case you do not know: both Personal Regard and Meeroo Regard work together to enhance the likelihood of rarer trait Nests. Traits from further back in the Meeroo genetic history. From the blog post: "We have significantly increased the bonus regard rewards a player and a meeroo that allows it the chance to reach further back in their genetic timeline." Malevay Studios has decided that new traits are not being unlocked quickly enough. As they say; the game was meant to be difficult but not this difficult.

I do not mind it being difficult, I think it makes rare Meeroos even more sought after. On the other hand it is no fun if you never get anything cool. There has to be a reasonable balance. I have to admit Meeroos can be stubborn when it comes to producing rare traits. I have been disappointed with quite a few of my Nests. I have been overjoyed by others though and that before the Regard enhancement.

The Regard enhancement is a good move. I think it will encourage some people who might have been close to giving up Meeroos to try a bit longer. Maybe a few people who were getting fed up with the difficulty of the breeding system will find it less trying with the new Regard boost. I hope so, the more people who have Meeroos the better it is for the Meeroos Community. I hope the boost does not make things too easy, or make to many traits common. I did have a Highland coat the day after the increase was announced. Could be coincidence, or it could be a direct effect of the change. Either way I am thrilled to have it. There are quite a few people out there getting surprise Nests.

Nobody knows what sort of effect the change will have on Meeroo sales, if any. Over the next few weeks we may see some traits now considered rare become much less so. Some may even cross the line from rare to common. I think it is likely that prices will drop, at least a bit, for some medium to high rarity Meeroos. Also you may reap the rewards of the Regard bonus yourself and have a Nest with the genetics you are looking to buy now; from pairs that may never have given you much of anything before. Those that have produced good Nests in the past may now sometimes give you exceptional Meeroos.

Once more I am impressed with Team Meeroos responsiveness. They noticed that things are going a bit slowly and took steps to tweak the game, to make it better. I am also pleased that the MeePet has not been forgotten, Catherine says on the blog: "The MeePet option is on the way." That is good news for me. It looks like MeePet Meeroos will still have to eat, but they will eat a special food: Honey. Honey will be available for free from Meeroos stores. A honey dipper will be used on a Meeroo to convert it, permanently, to a MeePet which can not gain Regard or breed. I would very much like to know if the Owner gets the Regard for a Meeroo lured into the honeyed world of the MeePet?

The Oracle is getting out her quiz book and scribbling down some new questions for us. Old oracle questions are being phased out and replaced with some new ones. I have already answered a few questions today I have never seen before. I hope this will reduce the practice of having Oracle question & answer sheets. Any in existence now will be obsolete fairly soon. It is a bit exciting to get a new question, even if you get it wrong, like I do, most of the time.

So, good changes already. Looking forward to the release of MeePets and enjoying new oracle questions in the meantime. Keeping an eye out for new, better Nests as a result of the Regard enhancement. All that and, as of today, it is only 83 days until October. I do not know when in October the Meeroos expansion is planned for, but the close in countdown begins on the 1st! If you have not read the Meeroos blog post referenced above you can find it HERE, I suggest you check it out.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

How do you Meeroo? Game vs. Business

As many as the possible combinations of Meeroo traits are the types of Meeroo breeders. Every avatar has their own style of play, their own expectations and desires for the Meeroos. Everyone has their own theory on what is best for breeding this and that. Loads of people have personal goals to gain a certain number of Regard points each day or to pet all of their Meeroos at least X number of times. Some people are banking on avatar Regard playing a pivotal roll in enhancing breeding and going for high personal Regard by Releasing Meeroos and petting as much as possible. Others, myself included, think that individual Meeroo Regard is quite important in bringing out rarer traits and save their Meeroos until they can not breed any-more. Along side those strategies lay hundreds of personal observations and conclusions that guide an avatars breeding program. The variations in ways to engage with the Meeroos are manifold.

However; with all the numerous ways to play, if you will, I believe everyone who owns Meeroos falls somewhere on the game versus business continuum. Unless you never sell a single Meeroo you are somewhere to the right of the pure game end. I imagine that there are a small percentage of Meeroo owners out there who never have, and never will, sell a Nest. More common are those who only breed Meeroos to sell for a profit. I have even seen what I am pretty sure are some people purchasing starter Trunks and then reselling any rare Meeroos in an attempt to turn a profit without doing any breeding at all. That is the far right hand of the scale: pure business. The vast majority of people fall somewhere in-between.

Most of us will want to sell the occasional Meeroo to defray food costs, or to make enough L$ to buy a new starter Trunk. Some will even start small stores or rent market spaces. They key is not to take the sales aspect of things too seriously. There will be ups and downs, prices will fluctuate, sometimes your Meeroos will produce lovely Nests other times not. As long as you have a healthy dose of game in there as well, so long as you are having fun with your Meeroos, it does not really matter. If your interest is purely business I would offer a caution: Meeroos are not like other breedables currently available. It is a difficult and involved process to breed them, the results are certainly not random. I have seen complaints in Group chat that claim Meeroo breeding is random, I would respond that in my observations it is much less random than other breeding systems.

If you think about it: say you have some cats you want to breed; some everyday cats that you got adopted by and maybe a few kittens a friend could not keep. Now say you want to breed a Sphynx. What do you think your odds are with your collection of random cats? Pretty much nill would be the answer. While the genes for a Sphynx cat may be in there somewhere, it would take many human generations to breed them out from a selection of random cats, if it were even possible. That is exactly how we got those crazy cats in the first place; some people started with a bunch of ordinary cats and bred them for specific traits until the modern Sphynx was created. The Sphynx is a pure-bred cat, if you take two (2) of them and breed them together the result is pretty much going to be another Sphynx with a few minor variations within breed standard. From the Wikipedia article on pure-bred animals: "In the world of animal breeding, to "breed true" means that specimens of an animal breed will breed true-to-type when mated like-to-like; that is, that the progeny of any two individuals in the same breed will show consistent, replicable and predictable characteristics." This is one of my [current] pet pevees: referring to any Meeroo as "pure-bred". I have yet to see a Meeroo pair that A) Are both nearly identical and B) Produce offspring that are, not only reliably similar each time, but almost identical to the parents. Just because your two (2) Teacup Meeroos produced another Teacup does not make it a pure-bred Teacup. Call it pure-sized if you like, but only after it is reproducible down the line, until you get only Teacups from the offspring.

I also take issue with any group claiming they can teach you how to breed specific, or generally rare, Meeroos. If that were the case, if they really held that secret, they would themselves be flush with uncommon Meeroos and would be able to make enough L$ to not need anybody else in their group. If you could, somehow, reliably produce Koi Meeroos through some breeding concept, would you share it with a bunch of people? If you did, how long would it be before loads of people were breeding Koi? How long before it leaked and everybody began using it? My guess would be: not very long. I suspect there is no such method. Meeroos seem to be as close to real life genetics as I have seen in a simulation before. At least to observed genetics. Keep in mind that despite mapping the human genome we still do not really know how genetics work. We have a lot of good information, but nobody has ever claimed we understand all of it. So anything modelled on real world genetics will be an approximation based on what we do know. What does work, in real life, is to establish a pure-bred line, over time. One number I heard, for cats, is eight (8) generations breeding true, without significant variation from the breed standard, is standard for calling a feline pure-bred. There are not many, if any, 8th generation Nests out there.

If you got into Meeroos, or are thinking of getting involved, just to make a profit: Meeroos may not be for you. I am in no way saying a profit can not be made, it can. It will take some work, a lot of work. With the last breedable I participated in you could get almost anything from a breeding pair. After a few breeding cycles you would know what was possible from them, but it bore no relation to the genetics of the parents. It was like breeding two (2) ally-cats and getting a Siamese. It meant you could make easy L$ once you found a pair that bread what you wanted but it also lost a lot of its fun right then. That is what I call random breeding. I know most breedables have hidden genetics, but Meeroos have tons of hidden genetics. I suspect they have more than anyone will be able to map in the sixty (60) days a Meeroo has before it reaches Elder status and stops making Nests.

There will eventually be pure-bred Meeroo lines and some avatars are going to make a lot of money off them. Those avatars will have put in the work to create those lines. Just like in real life, with Meeroos hard work can pay off. As I have blogged before; I believe that the Meeroos system favours the small breeders and the community in general. It is easier to breed for what you want, and keep track of your Meeroos, when you keep a reasonable number and focus on them. Throwing hundreds of Meeroos together and hoping for the best is unlikely to have profitable results, at least in the long term. Remember that Meeroos is a game, the more you enjoy them the less L$ you need to make to have it be worthwhile. If you enjoy them enough you might be one of those Meeroo lovers that never parts with a single Nest!
Meeroos: a Venn diagram (fig.1)
I am not in any way saying that Meeroos have to be either fun or profitable. They can be both. As you can see from my Venn diagram above: Meeroos encompass both business and pleasure. They can be fun while simultaneously making a few extra L$ if you enjoy participating in auctions. All I will say is the money will not be easy. With Meeroos it looks like you get out of them what you put in, the more time and effort you put forth the better your results are likely to be. It was never intended to be easy, and who would want it to be really? If breeding was simple where would Meeroos be a year from now, or two? Stick with it and above all: enjoy your Meeroos, they are for fun!