I would like to start off by telling you what the meaning of this interview is for. I know when I was a new player I wanted to get as much information as I could to help me decide what I needed to do as a player myself. Now for about 2 years before I joined the SIM I had hung over my best friend’s shoulders watching her enter her horses and play the game all the time and it looked like so much fun. That person is Janey Adams. Now this particular interview isn’t over Janey but in the near future I will have an article about Janey, although she doesn’t quite know it yet. Anyways as I began my game not only did I have Janey helping me I had a lot of the people that I am doing interviews on in the next few weeks helping me a lot to. Now I had to quit the SIM to finish out my high school years and get my life situated. With me just starting back up in the last year I am low on money so I wanted to write an article, but I didn’t want to do it over just anything I wanted to do it over something that others can benefit from… The interviewee for this article is Eric Nalbone. I know in the past I have asked him for help and opinions and he has done just that. So hopefully the information he shared with me will help you new players too like he did me.
My first question to Eric was: In your first weeks of playing the SIM, what was something that was most helpful to you and, Why?
He replied with…
Not particularly in my first few weeks of playing the SIM, I was pretty incompetent. I stopped and started with the game a few times before sticking around for good, and made more than my share of newbie mistakes. Whether it's SIM year 36 or SIM year 6 when I started, new players will be new players. I had no wins in 33 starts my first SIM year. I got my hands on a few nice horses, promptly sold them to vets who had a better idea of what they were really worth than I did. I broke horses. I ran horses at the wrong distance, on the wrong surface, etc. A lot has changed for new players since then, but you still learn the bulk of what you learn by making mistakes and trying not to repeat those bad experiences.
Don’t think it is the end of the world to make mistakes and mess up that hopeful horse of yours completely more will come and go and we all start out by doing these things.
My second question to Eric was something that I had a hard time with when I began with the game, because I wanted to have as many horses as I could in my barn. The question was… What should new players do to pick their first horses, prices, breeds, bloodlines, and running type etc.?
His answer was…
I'll preface this answer by saying that I really don't play with or know anything about the mixer side of the house. I'm sure there are opportunities there for new players, but I can't speak to them since I make a point of not learning about them at this point - I just don't have the time or attention span for it right now or interest in scaling back my thoroughbred operation to pay attention to mixers. That said, if you're looking for horses, the only thing you should be looking for are GOOD horses. That sounds obvious, but I feel like oftentimes people get caught up in the mentality of "I only want dirt routers" or "I only know anything about turf milers so that's the only thing I'll look at buying." If you've got very few talented horses, ANY good horse will do. Don't lock yourself out of opportunities because you refuse to look outside one division. I think you can find a lot of horses on the sales page that would immediately be competitive on the claiming circuit if people would go that route, and to get a string of money-makers together that's probably where I'd start ... then save money for purchasing the allowance or stakes types.
I know being social is a big thing with me and believe me I have no problem being that social butterfly… Sometimes I might be a little too social, but hey, that’s just who I am. So my third question to Eric is What are some things that you would recommend people do to become more social around the SIM?
This one's easy; you have two options for interacting with SIMsters via the game. Post on the forum and get involved in some discussions, or head into the chat and talk there. Just don't freak out if you don't particularly mesh with some SIMsters or vice-versa. In every group of people there will be people you get along with great and people you don't get along with at all - just ignore the latter group and have fun with the first group.
My fourth question to Eric was... What is one that you did that really set off the player you were to become later one in your SIM life, a horse, person, etc.?
I'd point to two things - one is a horse and another is an event. That horse would be Mirror. I had stakes horses before I got my hands on her, but when you get a mare like that who is just a slam-dunk, can't miss broodmare who throws superstar sprinters, milers, and routers (her offspring won G1 stakes at distances between 6 furlongs and 1 1/2 miles) it's just such a catalyst for a stable. When her daughters go on to become such amazing broodmares it just proliferates so quickly ... especially when her sons are out there as superstar stallions (Saga and Braveheart).
The second thing that I'd point to is an event, which is the SIM reopening. After a very, very long (several real year) hiatus, the SIM came back while I was in college. At the time of the SIM closing, my barn was starting to take off, and the top 10-15 horses that I owned were on par with the top 10-15 that anyone in the game owned. It was the bottom 95% of my barn that was still struggling to keep up and draining away resources. When we came back and everyone started with the same bankroll and something like 11 horses from our old barns and the rest that came back were reintroduced slowly, my racehorses came out firing. Saga promptly won the Desert World Cup and whatever monetary parity existed before that point went out the window real quickly. $7M in earnings from one horse in the first 6 weeks of the game reopening meant I was able to go out and accumulate talent quickly. I also had the good luck of acquiring Ghostzapper shortly after the SIM reopened, and between him and Saga I had two of the elite sires in the game at that point. That money held me over until my broodmare band was reestablished and I was breeding the talent I needed each year rather than needing to go buy it. So that went well for a good long while, and it's pretty much continued though I've taken a little bit more relaxed approach to the SIM lately. It's expanded to the point that empire-building isn't a realistic goal at this point (which is a good thing) and I'm content to just see what each new crop can do without worrying too much about having the most money, chasing specific races, etc.
The fifth and final question to Eric was something that I know every simster has happen to them. We all have that favorite horse come through our barns and they stick with us throughout our whole simming years. I have yet to get that one that REALLY sticks but I’m hoping I come across it soon. Who has been your favorite horse that you owned since playing the SIM and, why?
Whitney ... she's the culmination of a lot of time spent with the Mirror line (referenced above), and while I know there have been a ton of amazing fillies in the SIM you can probably count on one hand the number with a resume that approaches Whitney's. She's a sentimental favorite of mine as well and I waited a long time to use the name on a horse that I thought would live up to it ... she exceeded all expectations.
And that is all for today, and I really hope that the information given above helps the new player, or any players in the SIM at that matter. I hope that you come back to read the next interview I list for you guys!!