HRP Survey – Part One:
First of all i would like to thank everyone who took part in this survey, i believe that if its not the first then it is certainly the biggest ever carried out and addresses many of the things we have been discussing on the forums in recent years. I have been greatly encouraged by the positive attitude of those who have taken part, whatever their opinion, everybody seems to agree that this is a great game and one that they enjoy in so many ways. In looking at the results i have tried to remain impartial, i offer an opinion on each result but that is only my opinion and i hope that the results will be discussed for months to come with a positive attitude.
As a footnote we had a total of 60 stables complete the survey, not all completed every question but this was a tiny minority, the results are given in percentages to try and give a better picture of the overall opinion of the participants. I am happy to forward the results and e-mails to HRP or to the management of the SRF should anyone doubt the validity of the survey but they will remain anonymous to the wider HRP community to ensure that people arent chastised for their point of view.
1) What should be the maximum number of active horses a single stable can own.
500 – 38.6%
As many as they want – 38.6%
1000 – 12.3%,
250 – 7%
100 – 3.5%
So as reflected on the forums the community is split between restricted and unrestricted stable size. You can look at the results in one way and say that 61.4% of people believe that players should be restricted to 1000 active horses or less making this the majority but with 22 players wanting unretsricted and 35 players wanting restrictions it is too close in many ways to call. I think HRP are on the right tracks with their plans as far as stable size go.
2) What should be the maximum number of horses a single player can create in one quarter.
as many as they want 19.3%
This was far more clear cut with 80.7% of the community agreeing that there should be a restriction on breeding with the winning selection being just 100, thats 400 a year. Clearly HRP has got it right and going on this survey would find support in restricting breeding even more than they have planned. If you combine questions one and two and had a lower number of horses created but larger stable sizes this would certainly increase the value of horses in the long run. The only problem i foresee is that as horses seem to deteriorate quicker at HRP the population size would suffer within a few seasons so if they were to follow this trend they would have to do something about horse longevity and the availability of races for older horses.
3) How do you feel the class system would be best advanced?
By running more claimers and allowances 47.5%
Slower development 22.8%
European style handicaps 14%
Rating system 10.5%
entry restrictions 5.2%
There certainly seems to be a concern that a horse can win a claimer then a stakes race, or get beaten in a one win allowance and then win a grade one making the ‘class’ system at HRP very difficult to assess. There are nearly 23% of people who believe that slower development will help and there is no doubt it would to an extent but then we will still have a problem that a horse could be running in claimers until it started to improve and then suddenly be stakes class. The favoured option is to write more claimers and allowance races allowing horses to move through the grades or to ‘find’ a level of racing but again i am not sure that this in itself will cure the problem.
The intricacies of the problem is reflected in HRP’s difficulty in making a decision on this, they have suggested a few things but all have had problems and all have been discarded. I wonder if stable size and breeding restrictions will start to have an effect on the class system as there are less created horses and therefore less of a selective approach to racing. I think this is where HRP are at the moment and i dont believe we will see any changes until they have assessed their effect.
4) Which instructions should be available at HRP?
All instructions as now 58.6%
just positional instructions 24.1%
just style based 6.9%
Just pace instructions 5.2%
Just HL 5.2%
It seems that most people like the instructions as they are now although many people made a note that they felt they should be more consistent. Not surprisingly positional instructions were the next favoured option with the rest just picking up a smattering of votes. It seems that as far as instructions go the majority are content with the status quo
5) Should the forums be monitored as they are now to ensure current rules are followed?
62% monitored but not as strict as they are now
34.5% monitored as they are now
A fairly clear cut result with most people happy with some sort of monitoring but feel it may be a little over the top at present. There certainly seems to be some inconsistencies in what is allowed and i think this is where many of the complaints come from.
6) Should meet titles continue as they are now?
69.2% Scapped and the money put towards purses
17.3% left as they are now
13.4% less meets more paying places
Again a pretty clear cut result with a rather large majority in favour of scrapping the meet prizes and using the money to bolster purses. It is clear that only a few stables really compete for meet prizes, i know myself that i will target one meet a year but find it very hard to keep up with a few of the mega stables who have atleast one entry in just about every race. So they are a part of the game that cater for the few as reflected in this survey result but for some reason HRP have decided to go against the majority and keep on going with them. I think they are worried that those mega stables will not enter so many if the meet titles are scrapped and must have some evidence for this as they have been so stoic in their decision to keep them.
7) Does the draw play too much part in the outcome of races?
Again a pretty clear cut result. I guess there is a level of difficulty in representing the disadvantage of an outside draw in a computer simulation. There are so many things that affect a wide drawn horse in real life, i have seen a horse drawn 20 of 20 bounce out of the gate and settle in a soft lead within 50 yards, or find a nice slot on the rail in midpack after a 100 yards but i have also seen horses revved up after a slow start and falling too far back. So the problem is how to represent the wide draw in our game in computer code to make it work properly. It is clear to most that it isnt working properly at the moment and i believe that HRP should take the result of this survey pretty seriously.
8) Do you believe that there is the right balance between luck and skill at HRP
Too much emphasis on AI, draw and track bias 47%
Training part of the game should be improved 24.6%
Fine as it is now 17.6%
Too many hidden abilities 11.8%
There are 82.4% of people who think something needs to change to improve the balance between luck and skill. That is a fairly high number and suggests that people are a bit lost as to how their horses perform against their expectations. I guess the question here is just how much depth is there to the game and are we able to access enough information to be able to assess performance accurately. If the information as to why horses run like they do isnt available or is too ‘gray’ then it does in fact look like a lottery when in fact there might be a whole list of reasons why a horse ran like it did. The balance between making the game too easy and providing enough information can be very difficult to achieve but its clear some more thought must be given to the problem.
9) How many entries should a stable be able to have in a stakes race?
2 in all stakes races 40.4%
as many as they want 36.2%
Graduated pricing 19.2%
Graduated numbers according to level 4.2%
As the least answered of the questions with 13 people not answering it it would seem that things are pretty much as they should be. There was a slim favouring towards 2 entries per stakes race but just behind that opinion was the people who thought a player should enter as many as they want so i dont think there is an overwhelming feeling that things need to change.
10) Does breeding work as it does in real life?
If anything it seems that breeding is something that HRP have done well with only 19.6% of the responders feeling that it doesnt work as it should. One feels that as breeding numbers are cut we will see a much clearer picture as top sires and mares begin to out produce those that are less consistent.
11) Do you think that three year olds have an unfair advantage at HRP?
Yes, slower development is needed 35%
More 4 Y O plus races run 27%
Weight allowance lessened or scrapped 20.5%
I think everyone by now knows my opinion on this but with 82.5% of the responders feeling something needed to be done to redress the balance it seems it is not only my own opinion. It seems clear to me that the problem is exacerbated by the fact that horses are so close in ability regardless of maturity but the solution to this is where things tend to fall down. We used to have slow development but then people complained they couldnt beat older horses so it changed. When it changed the weight allowance system didnt which left things at a disadvantage for older horses. Restricted racing for older horses wouldnt solve the problem but it would put a band aid on it atleast until the Breeders Cup. I dont know the best solution but once again it is clear in this survey that HRP needs to put some thought into the matter.
It seems to me that a lack of guidance and a lack of communication is the root of many of the misinterpretations and complaints in the game. However, i think the reason for this are far deeper than just having a member of the HRP team answering every point made on the forums. We as a racing community are pretty fluid in our opinions, they rise and fall with success and failure and when that happens we end up with ineffective arguments. These arguments can be counter productive leaving support with a sense of exasperation and new players with the view that the game is somehow flawed.
I wonder whether the game can ever be ‘perfect’ in everyones eyes and as whatever has been done in the past has been greeted with equal amounts of positive and negative support it seems that HRP face an impossible task to keep everyone happy. In the face of this they seem to have backed off completely and this is a trend which will not help anyone going forward.
My hope is that HRP will view this survey as a positive step forward and i would be happy to write how they feel the community has responded should they want me to. Alternatively they could respond with their own piece in the SRF and let the supportive community they have know that they are still striving to keep this game the best on the internet.
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