As a horse themed game, one of the most prevalent mini-games that we feel should be in Mystic Riders is the different types of races. We don’t want the game to be focused on one type of race. We want to have different types of races to reflect different horse disciplines and give them different mechanics in the mini-games.
To be clear, when the player is out and exploring the world on their own, we don’t really care how well they clear a jump or how fast they get from one area to the other. They are discovering the map of the game and such things shouldn’t matter. When they enter a story race, or a competition race, or a daily race to train their horse, then the mechanics matter.
In Mystic Riders, we have decided on four different racing tracks: Agility, Dressage, Racing, and Show Jumping. Each of these tracks require different stat combinations between the horse and the rider.
The Agility track is Western riding including gymkhana. This is slalom gate racing, pole-bending, and barrel racing with pony flag racing as an experienced skill. The mechanics of these are doing them quickly and not hitting the equipment. The player would be using their standard movement keys. Just because there is no extra mechanics doesn’t mean that it is going to be easy to take those tight turns.
The Dressage track is cavaletti, dressage, reining, and trail riding as an experienced skill. These are skills that require the horse to have discipline. The player would be prompted to go at certain speeds and to follow a mini-game where they have to hit keys in a certain sequence in order to complete the moves. To get from one area to another, there can be arrows on the ground to tell them where to go and the colors could indicate speed.
The Racing track is flat racing, endurance racing, cross country, and steeple chase as an experienced skill. In the racing track, they’d have to learn to conserve their horse’s strength by keeping watch on an endurance meter. In cross country racing where there are jumps, they would have to jump by hitting the space bar in the right spot on gauge meter.
Lastly, the Show Jumping track is about the different types of show jumping: basic, six bar, faults, and for the experienced, faults converted. (We can cover what each of those means later.) In the show jumping mini game, the player would be required to approach the jump at the right angle and the right speed. As they approach the jump, there would be spots on the ground that they’d have to hit with their mouse at the right time. If they don’t, they miss the jump.
Hopefully, these mini-games will be familiar and at the same time, have a balance of being challenging enough to be interesting and easy enough not to be frustrating. Having seen similar mechanics in other games, these mechanics are possible. They’ve simply not been used in a MMORPG setting before.
We want the mechanics of the races to show how these different races take skill to succeed. And at the same time, give the players freedom to explore the world on their own at will. (Getting from point A to point B shouldn’t be a frustrating endeavor.)