Monday, 29 August 2011

Meeroos: The First Hundred Days

New Presidents in the United States are always evaluated after their first hundred days in office. Meeroos are at least as important as U.S. politics so I think it only fair to do the same for them. By my calculations Meeroos will have been available to the public, the avatars of Second Life, for one hundred (100) days on Monday August 29th 2011. This is, perhaps not coincidentally, the day the new messenger Meeroos are to arrive [They have been released already, one day early]. One hundred days and we are about to receive our first message, in Merunic, to decipher. That is what is next, and most likely beyond my ability anyway. For now I am looking back to see where we have been so far.
Many new Meeroo traits have been coaxed from the Meeroo genetic puzzle. As I understand it over twenty-five (25) new coats have been discovered since launch. That is over a coat every four (4) days. Not bad breeders, not bad. Of course we have had changes to both Regard and the chance for rare Meeroos from starter Trunks. The impact Regard has on breeding has been enhanced multiple times in the last hundred days and the percentage of rare traited Nests in starter Trunks has dropped from some small number to absolutely zero. Thus ending what was commonly referred to as the "Nest Lottery". A side effect of this is that we now have "Starter" and "Non-Starter" Meeroos as only some traits are possible from the Meeroos store.

Some of the first very rare Meeroos came directly from starter Trunks. If I have my information correct the first was the Koi coat Meeroo from Japan. Then there seemed to be a short lull for a week or two before the others began to appear. Now we have two (2) new types of food to feed two (2) new species of Meeroos: From Africa we have the Savanna Meeroos which eat Desert Grass and from Egypt we have the Nile Meeroos who prefer exclusively Junglevine. Catherine does keep saying these, the ones found so far, are just the beginning. I can not imagine what might be next; we will be getting a sneak peek however. Catherine writes on a recent blog post: "We are preparing to show you a few pictures of species you have not found yet. Last time we used the Kirstens viewer splash screen, this time we're going another route." I will be keeping a close eye on the WW of Meeroos blog to see what that route might be.

Team Meeroos has released a few ancillary Meeroo items since launch. The much anticipated Honey Dipper for converting Meeroos into MeePets and the Whistle of Return, used to call back Meeroos who have run off due to lack of food. We have also seen the opening of the Regard Store with its first two (2) products: the Primbie Treasure finding bird and the Seasons calendar. I particularly like the Primbie bird, he is very amusing and gets hyper excited about everything the Meeroos dig up. I think they enjoy having a cheerleader of sorts.
I have been and remain befuddled by the lack of bugs and issues with the Meeroos themselves, and the HUD. Nothing is perfect, of course, but there have been no major updates or fixes. Part of the beauty of the way the Meeroos are scripted is they can be tweaked without having to issue an update. Much of the code behind the Meeroos is on Malevay Studios servers and Tiger can manipulate it when it needs adjusting without the need to inconvenience the players: us. There have been some issues, most notably the "Baby Ready" Nests. While frustrating these problems have been transient and, in the scheme of things, not really all that bad. Most of the issues Team Meeroos have faced have been man-made; some extortionists have targeted Malevay Studios in an attempt to siphon off some of their hard earned L$. These thugs resorted to attacking the Meeroos store InWorld and, I assume, attacking the servers as well. This is the most likely cause for many of the problems players experienced. I do not think there was ever a question Team Meeroos would pay them off, I would hope not. So we had to endure the assault. At the end of the day: not such a big deal. I still have a mystery "Baby Ready" Nest. I look at is as a surprise, I will Coax it sometime I am feeling lucky. Any problems the Meeroos have experienced have been mitigated by the awesome CSRs employed by Malevay Studios. Even when response times have been longer they have, in my experience, always been polite and helpful.

Recently there has been one update, to the HUD. We have gone from version 1.0 to version 1.2, in one quick step. This is, I believe, in response to the proliferation of auto-petters which, in every case I have seen, violate the Meeroos TOS. The HUD permissions have changed and I assume some code has been re-written to prevent the exploit. I am relieved to see the issue put to bed for now. I do not judge anyone who ever used an auto-petter, I understand the desire to have your Meeroos stats maxed without having to put in the time. I can not wait for an official petter of some sort to materialize in the Regard Store and soon. I would even use a third party product if it were endorsed by Malevay Studios. Alas the auto-petters as they were designed were a hack, they got around a wall that was intended to be un-get-aroundable. They violated the TOS, and did so by using Tigers scripts in their own products. That or asking the end user to do so, to move the scripts over themselves thereby causing their own customers to break the TOS. That is just in bad taste. The new HUD also adds the Hair trait and the percentage of time spent in "Too Soon" [The time Meeroos can not breed for after creating a Nest] to the display. Both welcome and much requested additions.
The attempted, and successful, thefts at the Twas Meeroo store caused Team Meeroos to close up shop there and transition the store on the Roo SIM, then known as Haute Coture, into the only Meeroos store on the Grid. At the Twas, and Roo, stores the would-be thieves used a Second Life exploit to create Prims even though the permissions on both Regions were set to prevent that very action. Once created these unauthorized Prims were made invisible and placed over the legitimate food vendors inside the store. Unsuspecting players paid their L$ to the scammers instead of Meeroos Resident. The miscreants were using new accounts set up so that their names looked similar to the real Meeroos Resident, substituting zeros for O's and such. In an overzealous clampdown, meant to alleviate the problem, Linden Lab banned all of the avatars with names in that format. Including the real Meeroos Resident, leaving Team Meeroos with no way to sell food. It was not long before the account was restored and even before that the entire situation was remedied when Meeroo food was made available on the Second Life Marketplace. Or as I still call it: SLX. So something good came of it all. I love having access to Meeroos products via the web and it is a form of insurance in case Roo goes down or the store becomes inaccessible for any reason.

I am still unsure about the sixty (60) day breeding period Meeroos have. In many ways I do like it quite a bit, it does have some drawbacks: When things go wrong and one half of a breeding pair has to be replaced breeding cycles can be lost. There is a lot of pressure there for the breeder. I feel it leads to a lot of anger when hyper rare Meeroos miss a chance to breed through no fault of their owner. It is a more realistic system than a fixed number of Nests and I like that it keeps you involved. A breeder has to pay close attention to cycles and Personalities to use those days efficiently. I doubt it is something Malevay Studios is going to change, and I support that. Catherine and her team seem to know what they are doing. I would hate to see that muddled up by to many conflicting requests. I only bring up the breeding period because I said I would re-evaluate it after enough time had passed. I thought a hundred days would be enough but I am still on-the-fence. I would be interested to know how the rest of you feel about timed breeding periods versus a fixed number of offspring. Feel free to swamp me with your insights.

As I write this there have been 189,583 starter Nests created. Not to mention the number of Nests bred from those and their offspring and so on. Meeroos have exploded into the public consciousness. Maybe not everyone has Meeroos, or an interest in them, but nearly everybody has heard of them. The Meeroo lore is just beginning to heat up and get interesting. Recently there have been hints of fantastical things yet to come. All of this in the first one hundred days. Soon we can expect the release of Chapter two (2), sometime in October. Makes me wonder what the next hundred days will bring. I am still trying to breed a Cinder coat for peats sake!

= I'm reading about #Meeroos: Meeroos: The First Hundred DaysTweet this post!

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