Thursday, 22 September 2011

Long Cycle vs. Short Cycle Breeding

Recently I had a conversation during which the other person, somewhat tactfully, implied that I do not have many rare Meeroos. They are not entirely wrong, I have a few Amber coats and a few very short tails. That is the result of my endeavours so far. I do not think I have done poorly, I do not keep a massive number of Meeroos. I do think I can do better. I have come to the understanding that the Regard boost is minute, at least I believe it to be. Perhaps significant from time to time, providing a surprise. But for the most part it is the nudge Tiger describes.

My breeding method up until now has included something I will call long cycle breeding, my words for the concept of breeding a large percentage of my Meeroos for their entire breeding cycle of sixty (60) days. I thought the additional Regard gained by the Meeroos during their lives would eventually provide some better traits. In some cases this may even have worked, it is hard to say. I have gotten some cool traits and the parental Regard may have played a part.

My new method I am calling short cycle breeding. It it based on the principle that genetics play the dominant role in breeding and almost discounting the Regard boost. My plan is to breed each set of Meeroos a few times, no more than (3) and if they do not produce the Nests I want I will switch their partners. Again I will let them breed no more than three (3) times before making a final decision on keeping them until they elderize or setting them free.

I can only guess what, if any, effect my new strategy will have on my breeding program. I am not sure how to measure it exactly, but I will keep you posted if I notice anything different. If I get any results or have any failures. I hope my accelerated Coaxing will use up a few of the exciting Nests I have around I really want to Coax. I had forgotten how many offspring Nests I have stashed away.

I am not eschewing Regard totally, I still intend to use the hilarious Pet-O-Matic to bring my new generations up to over one thousand (1,000) Regard points quickly. I do think that helps quite a bit. After they achieve the proper number of points I will slow the petter down to extend its battery life.

I am looking forward to Chapter 2 being released next month [October]. I think I will be able to keep myself busy with breeding until then.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Pet-O-Matic!

The legal auto-petter has landed and it is known as the "Pet-O-Matic". If you have somehow missed the auto-petter drama here is a short history: In the beginning all was well and all Meeroo petting was done by hand. Dedicated Meeroos enthusiasts would pet each little fur-ball individually and thus gain Regard points for their pets. Unbeknownst to us, deep in the recesses of the secret Meeroos development cave, the WeeMee was being planned and balanced. It was intended to assist with the task of petting Meeroos and would require some upkeep or interaction itself as a reward. Before the WeeMee even saw what is outside the cave a third party created their own petting aid without balance; it could pet every Meeroo it could find every hour indefinitely without user interaction. I say created their own but the most important scripts, the ones that made it possible, were appropriated from Malevay Studios. They were not authorized to use the scripts they took in the way that they did. The scripts in the HUD are meant to stay in the HUD and removing them violated the Meeroos TOS. This threw the balance of the game out of whack somewhat. Players using the auto-petters gained inordinate amounts of Regard leaving the rest of us in the, somewhat cliche: dust.
The maker of the auto-petter was contacted and asked to remove the item, they initially agreed but then decided against it. So it remained on the market while a DMCA was filed and then it was removed by Linden Labs. Players using the auto-petter were not penalized or punished in any way. Almost immediately another version of the auto-petter surfaced which required the end-user to break the TOS by removing the vital scripts from the HUD and place them into the petter themselves. While some players were auto-banned as a result of it, as I understand it most if not all of them were un-banned eventually. Most did not realize that they were breaking the TOS and were simply following the instruction that came with their shiny new auto-petter.

Soon after that Catherine wrote a blog post notifying everyone that as of Monday the 5th of September all third party auto-petters would be illegal to use and doing so would result in penalties. There are three (3) penalty levels, as stated in THIS blog post they are: "We will issue a warning to any player found using it. A second offense will result in a reset of their regard total to Zero. A third offense will invoke a permanent ban from the game." And that was the end of non-TOS compliant auto-petters.

With Team Meeroos now back in control of the game all was, once again, well. Many players had become, dare I say "addicted" to their auto-petters and I understand why. While a novel and integral part of the Meeroos universe petting can get tiresome over time. From what Catherine has said it is now obvious that petting was never intended to be a large part of the game: "The acquisition was intended to be a casual game that provided small bonus benefits at milestone levels. The bonuses never guaranteed specific results or an endless streak of WIN!" While important for various reasons the most important in my view is the boost provided to breeding, the boost is not massive. While we do not know exactly how much of a push it is, or if its effect is even quantifiable, Catherine and Tiger have made it clear it is a "nudge" not a shove. That being said in an environment as competitive as Meeroo breeding some players feel it is important to have every advantage possible to maintain their edge over the competition. An not without cause, it is important to get the most out of your Meeroos. So we all want to pet but sometimes just do not have the time or patience to do so. The loss of a device that solved that problem was hard for those using them to accept.

In response to player requests for a legal auto-petter Team Meeroos made one for us and it is super fun. It does have many of the same features that the banned petters had but implemented in a better way. While the pet-o-matic is free it requires batteries to operate. These batteries come in various "sizes" and must be purchased from the Meeroos store or the Marketplace. This moderates their use somewhat. Although this does give an advantage to players with L$ to spend it is much better than the buy-once-pet-forever third party petters. I think the pet-o-matic is a stopgap measure, I would not be surprised to see it phased out when the WeeMee makes its way into the light of day. Yes, you read correctly: the WeeMee, once put on hold, has now been put back into development. Again this was done as a result of an outpouring of player requests for it. Having been told about it prior to the release of the pet-o-matic it became apparent that people were enchanted with the idea and wanted one, badly. Team Meeroos has responded and said it will be released. I am quite excited, I am interested in both how it looks and how it functions. Hopefully it will take us away from a L$ for Regard system that the pet-o-matic embodies. Like I said: do not be alarmed if the petter is depreciated when the WeeMee arrives, auto-petters were never intended to be a part of the game dynamic and I believe the WeeMee is intended to offer much the same benefit without unbalancing the game. Of course the WeeMee might be released without the petting function at all leaving the pet-o-matic in place, as is. I can not complain either way. That brings us up to now, we have the pet-o-matic and it is oven-gloving our Meeroos to Regard nirvana. Perhaps that history was not so short after all.

How does the pet-o-matic work? It can be a little confusing to piece together from the boxes and signs at the Meeroos main store. I think that time was the most important factor in creating the petter and some things got done in a big hurry. Completely understandable given the constant chorus of "we want our auto-petters back!" So I will attempt to make it simple as I am not under their time constraints.

The pet-o-matic has a 10m range. If you drew a circle around it with the edge of the circle being the extent of its range that circle would have a 10m radius and thus a 20m diameter, for the math geeks it covers an area of about 314sqm. It will pet every Meeroo within its range at whatever frequency you set it to, you can choose to include or exclude Meeroos set to your Fellowship but not owned by you. The frequency options run from four (4) times a day up to a maximum of twenty four (24) times per day. It takes batteries which come in a few sizes. The important thing to remember about battery sizes is that, like Meeroo food, you are actually buying a set number of pets per battery. All the boxes state the frequency setting you would need to use to have the battery last for one week, if you wish you can set the frequency higher and it will simply not last as long. The petter displays the number of pets remaining in float text when touched and on the drop down menu, as well as the time till the next petting event.

As far as I can ascertain to be pet the Meeroo itself must be within the range of the pet-o-matic when the petting event occurs. It is not enough to have their stump within range. I like to let my Meeroos roam a bit, all my Homes are set to a 4 meter wander range. This means that for me to be 100% sure all the Meeroos on one of my stumps will get pet: the Home needs to be at least four (4) meters in from the edge of the petters range. I ran some numbers and came up with the probabilities that Meeroos would miss getting pet if their Homes are not quite close enough. The graphic below provides a visual representation of the results. The percentage missed is the quantity of Meeroos who would most likely be missed on any given pet event. A Home with eight (8) Meeroos in residence on the edge of the petters range would, on average, have four (4) Meeroos receive a pet when the pet-o-matic triggers. The same Home at three (3) meters in would allow seven (7) of its Meeroos to feel the oven-glove during a pet event. Of course the best placement is to have the edge of the Homes range not exceed the range of the pet-o-matic whenever possible. The easiest way I have found to determine optimal placement is to build a twenty (20) meter diameter cylinder and flatten it down to look more like a circle. That will show you the range of the pet-o-matic. Position the cylinder where it reaches the most Meeroos and then copy down its coordinates. When you rez your pet-o-matic you can enter those numbers in the edit floater and it will snap to the location you have chosen.
There has been a lot of positive and a lot of negative comments about the pet-o-matic. Whichever way you feel: it is here for now and it is pretty cool (check out the battery changing particles when you add a battery), even if you hate the concept of it. I love mine, it really does almost sub-consciously relieve the pressure to pet my Meeroos all the time. I can get back to petting them when I feel like it without the worry that I am loosing out on something. I hope everyone sees the positives in time and if not, and you have decided you hate the pet-o-matic; do not give up hope. The WeeMee is still on the way, who knows what it might bring? You can always pet your Meeroos by hand, I do think they prefer it that way.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Fellowships: What Are They Good For?

With all the recent hullabaloo over Regard and the auto-petter I am interested in taking a look at what benefits being in a Fellowship can provide. There is no breeding boost from Fellowship Regard and with releases to the Regard Store suspended for the time being a player would be justified is asking what they are good for. Do not give up hope, they still have value it is just not based on Regard.
For competitive players the top five hundred (500) Fellowships are listed, in order of Regard points, on the leader board. While there is no benefit gained from being in the top five hundred (500) or any ranking, it is fun to see where your Fellowship is on the list. In terms of tangible benefits you have: Trading Meeroos/Nests, Information and Tips, Help in an Emergency and possibly Mates for "spare" Meeroos in Season. Not all Fellowships will offer these things and some offer more. I have seen Fellowships that offer free space to rez and breed Meeroos. This is often on land where they will be pet frequently. These Fellowships tend to have requirements as well. To remain a member you may have to agree to pet other members Meeroos a pre-set number of times per day. For people who can not afford land these could be a valuable resource, possibly enabling avatars to own Meeroos who otherwise would be unable to.

Beware of any Fellowship that claims they can tell you how to breed rare Meeroos. They may have done a lot of research, they may even have a good working theory, but nobody can tell you with any certainty that their method will work one hundred percent of the time. As we have learned: any Fellowship which makes outrageous claims like that has the potential to be a Fellowship built around cheating the game using exploits as opposed to legitimate breeding. Anybody who tells you they can breed out whatever type of Meeroo you want ought to have a pen full of the most valuable Meeroos on the grid, or be well on their way towards it. If someone who has nothing rarer than a Sierra says they can teach you to breed Koi, be very careful, it is probably a scam or an exploit.

Trading Meeroos and/or Nests is, in my opinion, a vital part of any Fellowship. Of course you can trade outside your Fellowship, and you ought too, but you can get to know the people in your Fellowship and they can get to know you. Our Fellowship uses an InWorld group to communicate. Nests, either wanted or available for trade, get posted as a group notice. Some of my best Meeroos have come from Meeroos I traded for within our Fellowship, I hope others have benefited from the ones I traded them.

Information and breeding tips can be scattered and often inaccurate. While the WW of Meeroos group chat is a useful place to pick up tips it can also lead to confusion when the information is misleading or just plain wrong. While it is not likely to be intentional some people are, unfortunately, misinformed and they then spread that incorrect data unwittingly. Always take information in group chat with a grain of salt or two. Once you get to know the members of your Fellowship and interact with them you will be able to judge if their information is generally valid or not. The ones who provide the correct answers, in a way that you understand, will become apparent. That alone can be very valuable, especially if you do not have time to keep up with the WW of Meeroos blog and group notices. Having a Fellowship member or two who you can rely on to fill you in makes everything easier.
You can not plan an emergency, they happen all on their own. Sometimes you have to be away from Second Life, or (gasp!) the Internet itself, for days, sometimes weeks. In that time your Meeroos could starve. Even putting out tons of food might not be enough, and what if the emergency is that you can not afford food for a few days? Since Meeroos and their food have the option of being set to Fellowship your fellow members can feed your Meeroos in your absence. Make sure they can rez objects on your land and that your Meeroos are set to fellowship before attempting this. Another unfortunate problem is when rental Regions unexpectedly close or go out of business. One of our Fellowship members had her Region poof with about a days notice. Unless you have quite a few L$ sitting around relocating can be difficult and time intensive if not impossible. In the case of our Fellowship member we were lucky enough to have spare prims on our land at the time, so we were able to accommodate her Meeroos until she found a place to take them. While I enjoy helping people, and would never want to see a Meeroo without a home, I doubt we would have extended that offer to anyone who was not in our Fellowship.

Sometimes you end up with a "spare" Meeroo. Perhaps its mate has turned sixty (60) and been released to elder land or maybe it was needed to go breed with another Meeroo. Sometimes you birth a Nest by accident (looking at you scarlett :P). There are many reasons you might have an extra Meeroo and not be able to find a mate amongst your brood for them. The best part is: you are not the only one. There is a good chance that someone else in your Fellowship is in the same situation, and if by chance their Meeroo is compatible with yours then it is synergy time. By putting those two mate-less Meeroos together to have a Nest everybody wins: you both get the three hundred (300) Meeroo Regard points for breeding and whomever owns the Male owns the Nest created. I find it prudent to decide in advance what will be done with the Nest, even if it hinges on what the Nest is, best to have a plan in place to avoid arguing over an unexpected Loch coat with notched ears. You do not even have to transfer the Meeroos, if both are set to Fellowship just rez them on a Home set to Fellowship and they will breed without needing to be owned by the same avatar.

So in my opinion, even without the Regard Store, without any direct game benefits, Fellowships still have a purpose, they are still relevant. No matter what happens to Regard that will be the case. There may be other ways to obtain some of the benefits of a Fellowship without joining one; the re-instated Trade forums are fantastic for swapping Nests or lives. There may be drawbacks as well, as I said: some Fellowships require you to sign-up to pet other members Meeroos X number of times per day. Additional requirements may apply as well, such as a minimum Regard level to join. I prefer a laid-back approach myself, but I am not overly competitive. Make sure you read about what you are agreeing to when you join a new Fellowship, or risk being kicked out for non-compliance. Since there is no game-play benefit from Fellowship membership I suggest you pick one you are comfortable in, if you do not like the other members: do not join. If you feel joining a particular Fellowship, or any Fellowship, would add stress to your Meeroos experience I advise against joining. If you find one where you "click" and the people are friendly and helpful then consider yourself lucky, and do not forget to help them out when they need it!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

How Big a Boost?

Something I find myself discussing a lot lately is this: How much of a boost does breeding get from player and Meeroo Regard? I do not think we will ever be told exactly how Regard enhances breeding which is fair and possibly vital to the game. What I would like to have is some sort of analogy, something to give me an idea of its impact without being specific. I could even do with a colourful physics parallel, something in the vein of bouncing a marble off a pool ball. Anything that would give me some idea of how much effect Regard has on the process.

I would like to know because for one I am curious. The more practical second reason is that I want to know how much effort I should put forth to gain said Regard. I try to pet my Meeroos as often as I can, certainly any time I am inworld. I have often logged-in for the sole purpose of petting my little friends. I do not begrudge that interaction at all but I am not sure I would be quite so persistent if I knew the Regard bonus was something I consider insignificant. I do not even know what level I would consider that to be. It would depend on the way the information was presented. I think a percent value is probably not possible to give, what does a 3% boost mean in breeding? Three (3) percent boost to what? I think it is far more likely, as has been hinted at, that Regard provides the ability to reach further back into the Meeroos genetic history. So it could operate in units such as years, or ages.

If I knew even vaguely what I am achieving with my petting I could better judge how much time to spend on it. I do feel quite a bit of pressure to pet and I do not know if that is justified or not. Am I going to miss out on some amazing Nest because I did not pet that Amber enough? I suppose that is always possible, we can never know what we might have gotten had we managed to pet the parents just a few more times. I do think I could make better choices if I could estimate what effect my diligence might have.

The whole reason auto-petters were created is that people want this breeding bonus. There is currently nothing else Regard is going to do for you. You do not need much Regard for any of the items in the Regard store at the moment and that is based only on player Regard. Meeroo Regard does nothing except boost breeding, until they are Released when they pass it on to their owner. I wonder if the people who paid L$ for the auto-petters would have done so if they knew how much of a bonus Regard really provides? Perhaps so, it could be that they were value for money and the boost can be significant. Just as easily it could be the opposite: the Regard bonus might be almost imperceptible.

I have collected a few quotes from Team Meeroos about the Regard boost: In THIS post we are told " can considerably increase the chances of success by increasing your status with the Meeroos, by raising the regard points of your breeding pairs as well as your own" as well as "...many of you were worried that petting and acquisition of regard appeared to be nothing more than a time sink, and I can assure you that isn't so." In another post HERE we have been informed that the bonus provided has been raised, a lot: "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." Finally, consider this " is more of a nudge in popping out coveted traits, not a sledgehammer." from THIS post and from a recent answer: "The acquisition [of Regard] was intended to be a casual game that provided small bonus benefits at milestone levels."

While it is not guaranteed, I can think of no reason why the boost from Meeroo Regard would not work in a similar way to player Regard. For players the breeding boost is level specific, so two (2) players who are both on level twenty (20) would get the same benefit even if one has more points than the other. Thus player Regard bonuses are tiered and top out at level twenty five (25) for now. I figure it is likely to be the same with Meeroo Regard, see Catherine's comment about "milestone levels" in the paragraph above. While we do not know what the tiers might be I think it is reasonable to assume that, as an example, a Meeroo with one thousand (1,000) Regard points would garner the exact same enhancement as a Meeroo with one thousand three hundred (1,300) points. The next tier might begin at two thousand five hundred (2,500) meaning there would be no further breeding boosts until that value is eclipsed my the Meeroo in question. I would love to hear what other breeders have observed relating to Meeroo Regard. I have noticed myself, and seen mention of in group chat, that there is a boost that takes effect at about one thousand (1,000) Regard points and again around two thousand five hundred (2,500) to three thousand (3,000) . Breeders have noticed that at those tipping points paired sets of Meeroos begin giving better traits. There is not a statistically significant dataset however and all evidence of those tiers is anecdotal and possibly just the result of humans trying to impose order on something that appears chaotic.

Regard itself is in a sort of limbo right now. Releases to the Regard store have been paused while it is being sorted out. The advent of the auto-petters has enabled the formation of a gap in Regard points between players who used them and those who did not. Malevay Studios is working to rectify the problem. They have stated that once the regard level cap is raised upon reaching the maximum level your Regard points will also stop accumulating. Right now once you reach level twenty five (25) you stop levelling up but your Regard points continue to build. They may take additional steps to repair the damage to the Regard aspect of Meeroos. As such Regard as it is now may change or be implemented slightly differently in the near future. Whatever is done I hope we will either be told, or with time and experience deduce to some degree, what Regard does for breeding, how strong of an influence it is. I will pet my Meeroos no matter what, often I feel the motivation to cuddle them comes more from my not wanting them to be sad than any possible value the Regard points might have. They are too cute not to pet and petting is an integral part of the Meeroos experience but as Catherine said: "Petting was never intended to be a job."

No un-pet Meeroo
on the grid or in the wild.
Rare traits tomorrow.

-Regard bonus Haiku

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Oracle and the Compass

Along with the arrival of the Dryads comes a bit of a Merunic puzzle. We were told, as a hint, that: "The Oracle is facing North!" However there were three (3) locations and I believe the Oracle was aligned differently at each one. In none of them was she facing directly Second Life North. So the hint must reference something else the Oracle is facing. The arrival platform she stands on looks suspiciously like a steam punk compass and has a single Merunic glyph inscribed at each of the cardinal points. My inclination is to assume that she is facing the symbol for North.
There is a second mystery to be explored as well: which way do the symbols face? On a normal compass the letters are arranged so that their base is pointed towards the centre of the dial. This way you can read the one furthest away from you in its upright position while the letter closest to you will be upside-down. Just makes it easier to read. This is not the case on the Oracle's compass. If you look closely at each glyph you can see a small drop-shadow on each one [see: figure 1]. This allows us to align them all facing the same direction, which it appears they already are. In the case of the Oracle's compass all of the symbols are aligned to be read from the same position. I believe they are placed so they could be read easily by a person facing the Oracle [see: figure 2]. That is: I assume that the bottom of the symbols, when in front of the Oracle, would be closest to the viewer, or right-side-up as it were.
figure 1 (drop-shadow highlighted in green)
figure 2
figure 3
figure 4
I have often been wrong before, I am no linguist nor am I an adept puzzle solver, and there is one possibly fatal flaw with my theory: in the other Regions where Dryads were available, at least in the Hewes Region, the Oracle faces a different symbol [see: figures 3 & 4]. So that may put my theory directly out the proverbial window. If I am right then the graphic below is correctly labeled, if not then maybe someone from Team Meeroos could just put the proper labels on and email me a copy? [Not really, was worth a try though, right?]
I am looking forward to the delivery of the mystery stones Catherine mentioned. Yet another enigma I can stare at in uncomprehending wonder. We should soon gain access to the scroll containing the Dryad's message, in Merunic of course. Perhaps when paired with the data we have from the Oracle's compass and the store arch it will become possible to translate part, or even all of it. I hope so, the message is bound to be important.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Auto-Petting Zoo

I did not want to do a post on auto-petters or their effects on the game but after Catherine's last blog post, the one HERE, I feel like I have to. I would never have anticipated the scope and ferocity of the backlash  and what I have seen myself, only a small fraction of what Team Meeroos must see daily, saddens me. Malevay Studios has given us this incredible adventure. It is more than just a creature and some support props, this is the real deal: an immersive experience within Second Life, an adventure with a story and its own planned evolution. I think some people have become side-tracked with banalities and forgotten what Meeroos are all about.
I want to start by saying that I understand why people want auto-petters, I want one. I understand why people bought them, like I say; I want one. I do not hold anything against anybody for using one. Neither scarlett nor I have every used one and my reasons are simple: I have never thought that Malevay Studios endorsed or in any way was OK with them. I could not figure out how they worked, until the "Take-the-HUD-Apart-Yourself" one was released. Then it became even more obvious that it was not an entirely ethical product. I think it should set off alarm bells for anyone when a Creator asks you to dismantle another Creators product to make theirs work. That is akin to selling prefab houses and mentoring your customers in how to steal a door script or a window tint script from another vendor and use it in their new home. It is just not right. Not on the part of the customers who may not have known better, but certainly on the part of the offending Creator.

My general approach to creating and distributing Meeroos related products is that if I even suspect Team Meeroos would not approve: I do not offer it for sale. That is why I have never offered a Treasure Finder. I noticed shortly after Open-Beta the treasures were modified so that their name is no longer what type of treasure they are when they are just sitting around. If you touch one it reverts its name to "Rotten Banana" or "Tin Can" but for the rest of the time it is called something random "g7ie45" or the like. Well it may not be random, but it appears random to me. That was a subtle signal that Malevay Studios did not want third party Treasure Finders since they took steps to make creating them more difficult. I decided to spend my time developing other products and chilling with my Meeroos.

I do not understand the position some people have wherein they think that because a thing can be done it should be, or at least it is allowed or acceptable. Meeroos are not a secure system, they are not banking software, they are incredibly detailed and complex breedable pets, I am tempted to add: for crying out loud. Just because there are, or were, ways to hack the HUD and make it do things it was not designed to do does not make doing so permissible. While Malevay Studios is responsible for their product and keeping it fair for everyone, they should never be required to obtain perfection. The steps they have taken to protect their products, and their players, are sufficient; for me. Malevay Studios has a finite amount of resources, they have to allocate them to various aspects of the game. The more time spent perfecting the security of the software the less time spent developing new features and fixing non-security related bugs. Tiger has obviously spent some time on security to protect ethical players, who are the vast majority, from the unscrupulous ones. I think he has done a thorough job: all Meeroos products seem to be able to protect themselves and even auto-ban players who tamper with them. As new hacks arise they will have to be patched, that is the nature of any system humans will attempt to circumvent. But let us let Teem Meeroos focus on the Meeroos. How many un-patched security exploits are present in Windows today? Can anybody even count that high? In my opinion Catherine and her team have a firm grasp on the relative importance of various exploits/bugs/features. I trust them to triage new threats appropriately and will leave them to it.

What can they do now that the damage is done? I am still saying "What damage?" myself, but perhaps I just see things a bit differently, or am less effected than others. I know there are now two (2) tiers of players when it comes to Regard: those who utilized the auto-petters when they were under review and those who did not. There are some players in that top tier, the one with the auto-petter users, who have never used one. Some players I have talked to gained incredible amounts of Regard through completely legitimate means. I know one woman who was setting her alarm clock every four (4) hours just to log on and pet her Meeroos. That is devotion. I want people to be aware that when they talk about dealing with people with extraordinary Regard that group includes players who gained Regard without effort and players who worked hard for every point, gave up sleep, gave up their L$ and their time to gain those points. I know Team Meeroos has considered how  their choices in this unfortunate circumstance will effect those players, I hope everyone does.

I had someone tell me in group chat the other day that Regard is now worthless. I disagree. For one it still has the same effect on breeding, giving higher Regard players and Meeroos a nudge in the rare traits direction. That will soon be enhanced when the Regard level cap is raised to thirty-five (35). As I recently discovered the breeding boost is dependant on the regard level you are on, not the number of Regard points you have. Once a player reaches level twenty-five (25) they have achieved the maximum boost currently possible. Having millions of additional points has no effect other than shooting you to the top of the levels any-time the level cap is raised. Malevay Studios has even addressed that issue, and levelled the playing field more, by saying that after the cap is raised this time Regard points themselves will be capped when you reach the maximum level [in this case level 35]. That means that nobody will have an insurmountable advantage when the next level cap increase occurs.

Catherine says they are looking at ways to re-balance the game, and revitalize Regard. Will their solution be perfect? No, I doubt it. The damage, what there is of it, has been done and done intentionally. Remember that disrupting the game and its mechanics was the aim of the extortionists. They found a tiny crack and did their level best to pry it open. I feel they failed and Team Meeroos has prevailed. They are clearly going to great pains to make whatever they put in place as fair as possible to all players. They have shown that they are listening and understand by putting the Wee-Mee back into development and working to release their own stop-gap auto-petter. Both much requested by the community, myself included. I totally need a Wee-Mee in my life, well Second Life.

The way Catherine ends the blog post referenced at the top makes me sad because I wish life were not like this. I wish everything directed at Malevay Studios, and any creator, was positive. Even criticism can be stated in a positive, or at the very least impersonal, way. I find it is best received in that form. Sometimes tempers will flare and one might misspeak, or go on a tirade in anger. That I understand, and the more responsible among us generally apologize for and retract words they do not mean. The length and breadth of the rants I have seen over the auto-petter issue boggle my mind, some of them are beyond reason altogether. That same final paragraph also gives me great hope as well, it tells me that my faith is fortuitously placed as Catherine says: "Whether we have 5 or 5,000 people with us on this adventure, our path won't change. We'd rather have five of you with us enjoying what we do, then 5,000 people who don't and make us miserable because of it. We're going to fight to maintain our vision, because, at the end of the day, it is ours." Bravo Catherine. I concur with your sentiment one hundred percent. To anyone who said "You killed your game" I say to you: you must have overlooked a few of us; scarlett and I are still right here. Meeroos are far from dead, they are after all immortal. I can not promise I will be in the final five (5) players but if it comes to that: I intend to be.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Arrival of the Dryads

The four (4) Meeroo messengers have arrived! The Dryads: Troo from the South, Myrr of the East, Sula from the North and Azra from the West; they have returned bearing a message. It must be a message of some epic importance to warrant such measures. We have not yet seen the message, the scroll. When we do it is in Merunic and will take some deciphering. Preceding that we have the messengers themselves. All four (4) are fantastic, if offered a free Cinder coat to pick, I would have to admit to the Azra being my preferred messenger with the Myrr coming in a close second. Myrr is next up for MeePet/Shoulder Pet treatment however. They are going to be popular come Halloween season.
I did manage to obtain an entire set of Dryads, mostly made possible by the recently reinstated Trading forums on the WW of Meeroos website. I can not express how much of an aid it is having it back, how much simpler it is to facilitate swaps in a recognized Meeroo-central forum. I say I managed to put together a full set but scarlett did all the actual work, you know, contacting people and, as it were: exchanging the Meeroos themselves, both while keeping track of Nests and the like. Since we were not lucky enough to buy a Sula directly from the Meeroos store, which is by far the rarest of the bunch, the trading was essential to completing our collection.
Some people do not seem to understand Dryads. Since the traits that make them Dryads do not pass on to offspring, that is the coat and eyes do not pass, the claim is they may as well be Winecoats. For the most part they are. As I understand it these Dryads have the same genetic limitations as any other starter Meeroo. They can be Winecoat, Fawn or Ursine and have both short ears and tails. But they can not be a Loch genetically because that is not something you can get, from a starter. That does not mean they do not carry Loch genetics, just that it would not be apparent on the surface even if they were not a Dryad. It does irk me slightly that the photos given out in the WW of Meeroos InWorld group show Dryad Meeroos that could not possibly exist on the Grid at this time. They have traits not available from starter Nests, like the very short tail and neck fluff on the Sula and the long main fluff on the Azra. I take it that these represent Dryad Meeroos from the ancient past that no longer exist. I am thrilled we have the ones with us that we do. Now if we can just get that message sorted out. In the meantime, enjoy the photographs: