Saturday, January 16, 2010

so come out in the middle 'til midnight

There's been a lot of SL response to the crushing disaster in Haiti, but Miss Chatnoir does a marvelous job listing all the relief efforts she's found. Please, if you can contribute, do so; every Linden, dollar, pound, ye--whatever--counts.

In Second Life, there is no place for memories.

In the meantime, with much trepidation, I took on another grid-wide hunt. First, for anyone who doesn't know--and to reaffirm for those who do--grid-wide hunts are a good idea gone horribly, horribly wrong. The idea--the original idea--was genius: Invite a large number of stores to make an item to hide within the same object--the original hunt hid ghosts--and advertise. It was explained as a benefit to shops that maybe weren't doing so well, because it would bring a lot of traffic to their door, in exchange for time spent crafting an item for the hunt. And the hunt blog can guarantee lots of hits for people curious about the hunt, and maybe sell advertising in or out of world. There could be people falling in love with what creators do, and sticking around to wander, driving up traffic, or best of all, buy something from the store in question. Any way you look at it, benefits all around.

How'ver, at this point? The grid-wide hunt concept has exploded. Just in January of this year alone--not counting last year's hunts, the year before's hunts--we have the Death Becomes Her hunt, the New Year's Resolutions hunt, the Heat Wave hunt, the January Snails hunt, the Burning Hearts hunt, the Shoes and Accessories hunt, the 40 Below hunt, the Broken Resolutions Hunt, the Music 4 the Soul hunt...and those are just the ones I know about, and that's not even going into the twenty-one hunts in December!

And we're not done with January yet.

And the hunts now are not simply beam in to the location, find the sign, find the hunt object near the sign, go to the next store. Oh hell no. Most hunt organizers want their merchants to hide the damned things, whatever the things are. Let me be blunt and honest, here: If I am hitting one to two hundred stores (I did a hunt for two hundred and thirty-three items once, and NEVER. AGAIN. will I do that) the last thing I want is to have to dump an hour and a half searching for whatever small quirky thing the organizers have come up with--a death mask, a snake winding around an apple, a ghost, a small snowman--WHATEVER. It makes me mad at the hunt organizers--thus ensuring my enjoyment in hunting goes down; it makes me mad at the merchant--thus ensuring I'll either leave and try to find the next place without that item, or worse, set it in my mind that, good or bad, I will never shop at that merchant's store again; and it makes me mad that I've fallen for the grid-wide hunt concept again.

For the most part, I avoid grid-wides. As a matter of course, because I know they're going to frustrate me; because, for every single landmark I make to peruse later, there are going to be at least ten stores so tawdry or ill-built I remain baffled at how they got into the hunt in the first place; because I know it's usually just me, by myself, hunting alone (because my loves have lost all affection for the grid-wide concept, and usually refuse to go).

So what do I really get at the end of a grid-wide hunt? The "satisfaction" of inventory bloat. The "sense of accomplishment" I get from knowing I could have done anything else and had more fun doing it. The deep and abiding resentment at myself, at the merchants who participated, and at the hunt organizers, for making me think that this hunt--whatever this hunt was--would be different.

No. They're all alike. Every last damned one of them. Just the themes change.

That having been said, how'ver...I participated in the Hunt for the Forbidden Fruit. I know, I know, but I wanted to see what the organizers meant by a "dark kinky adult" hunt. I've participated in so-called "adult hunts" before--in fact, the first Twisted hunt took place before there was an Adult continent. But this was one of the first big hunts, post-Zindra, to feature mostly stores on Adult-rated sims.

So I gave in.

First thing, if you want to follow along: prepare for frustration. The hunt organizer flipped out early on (I don't blame her as to why, but it did make everything more difficult) because people started passing around exact grid coordinates to the hunt prizes. Not only is this deeply tacky, but it also ruins the experience for everyone else, to wit: Danika Mavendorf (who owns the Kass' Kink Art Gallery in Guittarez) urged all her merchants to change the locations of the hunt prizes and "hide them well"--and they did, making this hunt nearly impossible to finish.

Second thing--what you're hunting for is actually really nifty:

Second Life,scavenger hunt,Adult

It's one of the better sculpts I've seen--the snake, I mean, the apple's straight from the library, along with the texture for it.

But the snake wrapping it, that's clever; wrong, of course, "Eve eating the apple"--but beautiful in its own way.

At this point, while there are no direct hints (and any scavenger hunter, for the most part, doesn't really need direct hints), there are location lists and pictures. The Hunt Locations blog, as I said, has the list of participating stores, and Anna Zweirs covers the hunt with pictures of most of the items.

Still. Ninety-nine stores participated. Two decided to back out, to make ninety-seven by the time I started hunting. I couldn't find twenty of the gifts, leaving seventy-seven. I ported in to twenty-five stores, shook my head and left immediately--either they refused to rez for me at all, or had moved, or I knew at a glance their interests were not conjoined with mine. That's not always a condemnation--there are some extremely talented designers of modern-style furniture, for instance, that looked very nice--but since I live in Caledon, they would just take up space in my inventory.

That left fifty-two, the fifty-two apples I found and took home. And of those...


Fourteen items out of ninety-nine, I kept. And two of those are skyboxen I will have to rez out and check to see if I want to keep them. Now, I will say to that--there are items I did not find, and I might go back and hunt harder, if the pictures of the items really intrigue me. But for the most part, I'm done.

Fourteen. Out of ninety-nine stores that participated, fourteen. And that is a high number of items I've kept from any grid-wide hunt.

Note, this is the grid-wide phenomenon in living color; hunts I've participated in on the FallnAngel sims I've thoroughly enjoyed. Azriel Demain is a diabolical fiend for finding impossible places to hide things; and he's stricter than a martinet on his hunting rules. But I put up with the rules and fry my brain finding things because I love his design sense. This is also the reason, when I can, that I buy things from FallnAngel, because I love his design sense.

The problem is not devious places to put hunt items. The problem is the sheer scale of the grid-wides. One hunt, ten stores on that hunt taking some extra effort to hide items, that's irksome. Running fifteen hunts at once, and having all of those stores be arcane in where they hide things? Impossible. And, I personally think, unfair.

I won't get this, but honestly, what I really want? Is a universal set of rules for grid-wide hunts. That all hunts will be compliant with.

1. Hunt items must be hidden within twenty meters of the hunt sign. No exceptions.

2. Hunt items can be no smaller than one quarter the size of a normal prim. No exceptions.

3. Hunt items can contain no more than ten prims. No exceptions.

4. Hunt items may not be hidden inside other prims. NO. EXCEPTIONS.

Honestly, grid-wide hunt organizers obeyed these four rules? Just these four? I'd be happy to go on more grid-wides. Hells, I'd make an effort at the stores I liked to buy something.

But really, if I have to spend an hour and a half crawling inch by inch in goddamn wireframe over four stories of complex for one hunt prize? The prize isn't worth it; the store isn't worth it; and I have better things to do with my time.


Alexandra Rucker said...

Ay-Men Sistah!

Emilly Orr said...

You know I've got a friend planning a grid-wide now? I keep telling her she's lost her mind. She says it will be "totally different".

Theme: food or food-related items. Hunt prize: cheeseburger. Merchants: not over one hundred.

Same damn thing. Just the themes change.

Astolat Dufaux said...

The other problem with hunts that I have heard from other merchants (and having participated in a couple as a merchant) is that the traffic generated from hunts does not necessarily translate into sales. Which in theory would be the point in participating for a merchant, as a marketing strategy.

From my own experience, I'm inclined to agree with merchants who say that the proliferation of hunts and freebies has cultivated an attitude of entitlement among a significant portion of SL residents, who now expect everything to be free. I've run spreadsheets on this over the last few months and less than 10% of people who take my freebies ever return to make purchases. I think that's about par for the course with other merchants these days too.

I like the idea of freebies and hunts (and sometimes wish my RL financial situation would allow me to give more away), but in the last few months I've scaled back on freebie marketing. Now I'm only offering freebies to my update group members and a few other select marketing groups that I belong to, in humble appreciation for the support of their member customers.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Dufaux, you should drop a line to Miss Evangeline Miles, ask her for the final figures from the Pieces of You hunt.

Requirements: participants had to join a group. It was not an easy hunt, though hints could be asked for--in the group. It was L$88 to join the group and L$12 for all the hunt items, total, L$1 each--for L$100 in all.

The prizes were lovely, the sim was gorgeous, and--I think--everyone came out feeling as if they'd gotten a great deal.

And it wasn't a grid-wide; it wasn't everything for free.

Astolat Dufaux said...

Thank you for the recommendation, Miss Orr, I will definitely look into it!

Emilly Orr said...

Another one to possibly consider is Miss Kouse Singh of Kouse's Sanctum in Avilion--she had an Advent calendar running through December with holiday variants of her dresses, and accessories. They ranted from L$1 to L$30 per day, and I never felt my money was ill-spent on anything.

Both Miss Miles and Miss Singh make fantasy/medieval dresses, somewhat similar in design--not in that one's cribbing from the other, but in that they both use sumptuous shaded velvets and satins for their creations, and limited--though gorgeous--palettes.

I think a strong case can be made for hunts, or in-store offerings, costing *some*, just not a lot. Back when I had a part of my summer madras texture set up on XStreet (the pack containing the two Caledon-inspired madras squares) for L$1, I made rent for two months running just selling box after box.

People *will* pay, if it's not beyond what they think of as "inexpensive". I think the top level of inexpensive wavers between L$50 and L$75, with mid-range being L$10 to L$20.