Sunday, March 7, 2010

now it's take and take and takeover, takeover

Wandering the wilds of the Building Block hunt, and I ran into something which stopped me entirely at AIDORU.

What I saw:

flowers,Second Life,scavenger hunts

What I read on the notecard inside, once I bought this hunt gift:

cheat sheet? try again hun :P
if not... well try again :)

Cheat sheet? How about store list? Vendor lists from the official blog are now "cheat sheets"? And landmarks from the last store, to the next store, used to port, are now "cheating"? The hell??

I can't find the blasted thing I'm supposed to find here anyway; which was a hammer for the record, AIDORU person, not a daffodil in the first place! I found the daffodil by camming around your shop!

Tell me camming's not allowed and I will punch you in your pixelated nose.

I swear, hunts are getting more insane and more restrictive. It's a rare hunt now that provokes interest. The Chase of the Beast hunt, some of the things on the Twisted hunt....friend of mine, obsessed with cute mouth things and cupcakes, put together a hunt called the OmNom hunt (that links to part one of Schnaeppchen's pics for that hunt; here's part two and part three). Now, a lot of the gifts on that hunt aren't necessarily things I'd wear, but the concept of the hunt is what I love. Mouth noms? Food-based poses, okay, that fits too. Food-patterned clothing? (This is a Fawn turned in a really well-shaded hamburger shirt in bright summery colors.) That also works. There are no random gifts in this hunt; people really thought about what they were giving out; Sanura Sakai of House of Sanu actually took the time to sculpt sesame seeds.

You heard me. Amazing job, too, she took great care with those insane little seeds.

Versus, the lady I just found in Peerskill, who, for the builders' blocks hunt (a hunt that is supposedly geared towards getting full-perm textures, and full-perm sculpt maps, or full-perm modifiable furnishings, into the hands of makers to make new things) gave out a "Lucky" set of neko ears and tail. No copy. No modify. And there's a sign right next to that one for the "Lucky Charm" hunt, for which that maker is giving guessed it...a "Lucky" set of neko ears and tail. And the Shamrock hunt next to it? Gives you the complete "Lucky" outfit, which also includes the LUCKY SET OF EARS AND TAIL.

No copy. No modify. SAME DAMNED GIFT.

Meanwhile, the organizer of the Nature's Hunt is up in arms, and she had some things to say on Schnaeppchen's blog that I thought were worth addressing (this is from Resje Bailey, the Nature's Hunt organizer):

Now i find that there are several people posting slurls. As organizer and hunter i really dont see the need of posting slurls. We are hunters, doing a hunt, to see more than only a gift. As organizer my goal is to let people see what kind of sims and shops are out there. That you get a gift too is an extra for everyone! I really dont understand the need of posting slurls and lots of vendors agree with me. It takes out the fun for them and the motivation to even build something nice or participate in a hunt. Because people dont get to see the rest or dont get to see their shop at all if they only look at the gifts and decide " Nah, i dont [want] that".

Fair enough. Now, let me tell you the hunters' side of things, Miss Bailey:

First, we all know that when grid-wide hunts started, the model of the new hunt was selectivity, and skill. One had to be a fairly competent builder, and it was--or at least seemed on the outside--an honor to be selected. And people put a lot of effort into what they put out.

But then grid-wide hunting proliferated. Last December alone, there were 31 grid-wide hunts. Thirty-one. That's INSANE. With most of those hunts being at least one hundred stores, if not more.

31 x 100 = 3100. Over three thousand new inventory items, and that's counting just boxes, not the things we unpack, the notecards with each hunt, the landmarks to those stores, and the folder they come in. For one month.

Multiply that by three months. Six months. One year. Two years. I tend to hunt more when I'm stressed, because it's something I can do without a ton of emotional weight; any frustration I develop is solely the result of not being able to find the hammer or doll or ghost or pickle jar or whatever the hunt item is.

My inventory, now, after December, January, February, and this long into March? Not to mention October, which was hell...I have 62,750 items in inventory. And I have over ninety-three hunts I've participated in and haven't even unpacked to see the items yet! This is insane. IN. SANE.

Yet you want everyone who decides to participate in your hunt to take the time to go hunt to hunt, using the landmarks found gift to gift. Because you don't "understand the need" to post SLUrls and pictures.

Okay, posit this scenario, Miss Bailey: I am working my way through the Twisted hunt, third year running. First year was unbelievably tragic; I knew without a doubt when we hit the run of wedding planners and baby factories that the organizers had given no thought to the theme of their own damned hunt. But the second Twisted hunt was better. So, okay, we decided to do the third.

Found the first hunt gift, with difficulty. This gave us the landmark--from the gift, not from a blog or a "cheat sheet" or asking in any of the myriad and various hunt groups to which we don't belong--to go to the second shop.

Wherein we totally failed to find the gift. Miss Bailey, that stops a hunt, stops it dead. There is no way to get past that, because we do not have the landmark to the third store, if we can't find the second gift. Do you understand that? Let alone most people on the grid don't have the time I do on occasion--and if I spend over an hour trying to find one bright green and black, rotating box, and can't do it--that kills my interest in the hunt.

Let alone some of the bastards on the Twisted hunt are hiding their prizes inside store walls. I'm not kidding. That is unfair and stupidly unrealistic to expect everyone to get that hunt gift, who's not willing to spend two hours camming about a shop, pixel by pixel, inch by inch, to maybe track that gift down.

It drains enthusiasm for that hunt; it drains enthusiasm for the concept; and believe me, at this point when I port anywhere, no matter how interested I might have been in their gift, and see that they're participating in nine hunts? I generally walk away. There will be zero care given to that gift; it will generally be a toss-off; and the maker involved is only doing it for the traffic, not the love of craft.

Plus, most of the grid-wides now discourage hints being given. Why? Because "it's supposed to be a hunt". Screw you people, and I'll tell you why: we don't know everything. Even if it's to stores we like, if we don't have a general idea of what we're looking for, and where we're going to find it, we have no clue how to find things! It is frustrating and irritating and stressful, and more stress on the grid, no one needs.

Let's take an example I just found, 'Sweet Misseries' in Anala. Beam in on a round circle of stone. There is a a guiding path of blocks and hammers that leads you up the stairs. Once at the top of the stairs, there's another little guiding path of hammers and blocks. And at the end of that little path? IS THE HAMMER FOR THE HUNT.


(Not to mention the fact that right now they have an incredible deal on their vardos--the "Gothic Cross" vardo itself, with the sleeping platform and the bed alone, 78 prims of Romani goodness, they're currently selling for L$525; you can get a mod/copy version for L$1050; or you can get the full bells-and-whistles furnished package, with bed, desk, all decorations, stove, chairs, and decor, for L$2500--and everything is packaged separately, not as one single clump of prims. How cool is that?)

So I use Schnaeppchen's blog. Because if I got everything on every single hunt I was interested in, I would have no time to build, no time to socialize, no time to spend with online...well, love, singular...AND hey, let's talk about that thing called a first life, since I have one of those, and thus cannot spend all my goddamned time on the grid! NO HUNT IS WORTH THIS. I don't care how much you think all your stores are incredibly precious and unique and need to be seen to be fully appreciated, so we will love and treasure and support them as much as you do--NO. HUNT. IS WORTH IT.

I have to gauge my time carefully, and my hunts carefully, because at some point I need to go through all of this and throw half of it away. Because I'm maxed on my inventory and it is causing client-side lag issues like you would not believe. So I go by Schnaeppchen's blog, or track down hunt tips--which are never port to this SLurl and pick up the gift, they're always "Gift 63: Flowers in rain" or "Hunt prize 40: Jessica has a big smile" type of hints. I keep SLUrls to stores handy. I go through the pics and weed out the ones I think I must have from the ones I can bear to pass by.

Is it better to get the flirty red dress with the sweet shading, and the pair of dark buckled boots, and skip the teddy bear in between? What if I don't have a love for plush animals to hold? Others do. There are going to be people who will bypass the flirty red dress and go in a straight line for the teddy bear! Because people are diverse. Because what appeals to one won't appeal to someone else, and I know this may shock you to your garden shears, Miss Bailey, but that''s okay.

Just don't ever forget that you are part of the problem. You get upset and you make people like Schnaeppchen take down their blog entries on your hunt, and people will bypass your hunt. And all that great care and your lovely list of stores will go unnoticed.

I will be honest, I have found some amazing things on hunts. And on occasion I've blogged about them, because they are that cool--to me. (Witness the above.) But you cannot expect, you cannot expect, with an asset server that already is bursting at the seams with too many people with too many things, that it is at all fair to expect people to do the entire hunt, start to finish. Every hunt. Every time.

Because we may not find all the prizes. Because we may not like all the stores. Because we may not have the time. Because maybe we have a set limit in our heads of how much our inventories should be at.

It is grossly unfair of you to expect us to invest that kind of time on the grid, if we have other things we need or want to do, tracking down each store, spending between ten minutes and two hours per place, and compiling that list of fifty, seventy-two, one hundred, one hundred and eighty-six items--and have lives on top of it.

And if your goal, really, truly, is to celebrate those particular stores, and what they do, so people will come see them? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL GODS SAY THAT. Tell people on your hunt blog. Most hunt blogs are set up and then forgotten--use yours. Post a SLUrl a day, during the month that your hunt exists, and post pictures of that store. Tell people what they do. Show off an outfit, a chair, a pose--something. Get people interested in them THAT way.

Anything else is stupidly disingenuous, and wholly unfair.

Trouble aplenty at the Girl Genius comic, yet they take these things in stride. Kaja Foglio is now recovering from knee surgery, and if you've noticed the column's been black and white for a while, that's because Cheyenne Smith, their colorist, spent an extended stay in the hospital. He's out now, but may go back in, and in the meantime is staring at all those lovely thousands of dollars in debt that getting really sick in America, without insurance--like most of us--does.

Miss Kaja, wonderful soul that she is, put together some amazing wallpapers for donation. You can see pictures of them here, and as they say on that web page, the brightly colored donation buttons anywhere on that site will deliver the funds straight to Mr. Wright's PayPal account throughout the month of March. Please help. Because in America, we don't have another alternative, most of the time, if we're uninsured. It's rack up that insane debt and then buckle under the pressure of paying it--or die.


Otenth Paderborn said...

I expect I'll do the Steam hunt again, but really, I agree that I see plenty of the store merchandise and styling even if I have hints. Not to mention that I can just use Emerald if I really want to, and find the hunt item by name. Slogging through the whole store when I already know just by looking around that all I want is the LM to the next place totally kills it for me.

For giving me a look at quality creations, hands down, nothing beats the Creators Stamp Rally "Choice!" events. It's only 20 merchants, each one distinctively creative. I look forward to each event.

Emilly Orr said...

I admit, it's gotten a little harder, now that they have winter *and* spring rallies; but you're not wrong.

There are several things the organizers, and the participants, get right in this:

* Buy-in fee. To get stamp cards, you have to buy something. Because whether or not you want everything, these people put their heart and soul into the gifts they want to give. Some of them are amazing. Every CSR there's at least one must-have; and for a hunt with twenty participants only? That says a lot.

* You get to DO something. Carry the card, find the stamper, get the card stamped. And the cards *do* stamp. It's amazing.

* There are dedicated helpers. Have a problem with your card? Ask someone. Have a problem with a machine? Ask someone. Any perpetual problems? They'll know.

* Certain stores are *always* on the rally; others change. And it's okay, because that's how it's designed to be. Rotating in and out merchants by the season.

And even high lag in some of the stores, I'm fine with, because I know if I'm patient, and stand still, it will work eventually. All things in time.

I agree, definitely.

turnerBroadcasting said...

you wrote 31 + 100 = 3100

not correct. 31 X 1000 = 3100

assume this is a typo?
31 + 100 = 131

Peter Stindberg said...

My dear friend Zippora talked me into the Building Blocks hunt last night, and already the second stop made me want to give up right away. This shop owner has hidden at least 7 decoys in insane locations, each decoy full with "witty" comments that I had to look further. The finaly hunt gift was hidden in such a spot that it was almost impossible to cam into without the camera getting "caught" in other prims.

We spent over 30 minutes there, increasingly annoyed, and we were about to give the hunt up expecting all locations to be so bad.

The shop owner did neither herself and her shop a favour - since we have VERY bad memories of her - nor did she the hunt a favour.

Of course I hear the comments about my "attitude of entitlement". No, I did not felt entitled to receive the gift. But in a daisy-chained hunt I want a fair chance to proceed to the next stop.

Rhianon Jameson said...

I have participated in exactly two grid-wide hunts: Steam Hunt 1 and, er, Steam Hunt 2. From your description, though, it sounds as though they all fit a similar pattern and vary only in degree.

Your point about using a list of locations is well-taken. During last year's Steam Hunt, when I knew nothing of such lists, I made it through about four locations when I couldn't find the gift, and hence had no place to go next. As it turned out, the store had pulled out of the hunt and had been replaced - so the LM in the previous store was out of date. Without the list, I would have been dead in the water...and stores number 5 to 130 would have been out of luck, too.

It strikes me that 130 stores is too many for one of these hunts (especially for those of you who do more than one a year). I have an obsessive streak, and the desire to grind it out as quickly as possible is not a healthy one.

But you raise another good point with respect to where the gifts are located. I'd think that, in the spirit of fair play, store owners should make the clue difficult to find in inverse proportion to the size of the store. That is, if I have to search over Hell's half-acre because you have a store that sprawls across a quarter sim, I want the damn thing to be easier to find than if you have a small booth in a mall. I'm sympathetic to the idea that store owners don't want to participate if hunters are going to stay no longer than the time it takes for the search object to rez - but if you embed the item in a wall, I'm not really looking at your merchandise, I'm camming through objects and using wireframe view to spot the dumb thing.

(Speaking of which - Mr. Paderborn, Emerald really allows search on a particular object name? Wow, that's an interesting thing to know!)

With a smaller number of stores, I'd find it less frustrating to have to solve clever clues, or to look in obscure places, or to find a series of false objects that ultimately lead to the real gift. I've seen some on the Steam Hunt that have been quite clever indeed, but my admiration is dampened a bit by the thought that I have another 100+ stores to go.

Finally, I don't understand the objection to hints at all. I thought the most effective placements of all were those near an item for sale in the store - not under the stairs, not embedded in a wall, or under a decorative object - in which a clever clue led the hunter to the prize. I have to look at your merchandise to see if it fits the hint - and isn't looking at the merchandise the benefit that the store owner gets?

Emilly Orr said...


Eep, you're right, wrong symbol!

Corrected. Thanks!

Emilly Orr said...

Peter, you're right about the fair chance as well, I think. Since I've already picked on them once (sorry, Vasha!), I'll use them as an example.

DV8 is the start of the Twisted Hunt. You go there first. You go there before you go anywhere else. And to apparently destroy the will of anyone who dares go on their hunt, they:

* have nine decoys of the puzzle box;

* have renamed random store prims (presumably to frustrate users of Emerald)

* have encouraged their vendors to hide things in impossible places, resize the hunt object, and otherwise suck all joy out of the experience (as I said, not kidding; at least one of the Twisted hunt vendors has it hidden INSIDE a wall)

* have discouraged everyone they can track down to not post hunt hints or store SLUrls (though to be fair, blogs that are known for that they haven't approached)

And the DV8 hunt? It wasn't the one where we started to do it by the numbers, going to DV8 first, then to the second stop (that was another hunt); but consider how bad it is on the Twisted hunt: the second stop is Stringer Mausoleum. And I love Helena Stringer's design sense intensely, but she has a daily changing 'hunt hint' (sometimes that you have to dig up as well) and her store is always riddled with decoys. It drives me BATS.

Fogwoman said...

Great information! I spent some time this winter in an alt prowling the grid, attempting to experience things that are outside my normal SL experience. Having read some of your blogs about "hunting" I decided to try a hunt. I just used search and went to a shop. After passing the required test to prove I was not a bot just to enter the store, I was a bit peeved. Having recieved a notecard with the EXTENSIVE rules list and restrictions, I decided that this was certainly not a casual activity and decided that hunts are not my thing.
Since I do organize a hunt every year, I have taken great joy in making it as vicious as possible. Having read this I realize I am a complete amateur!

Candy said...

The first hunt I ever tried was my last because the 3rd store in, Adult verification was required. Not gonna happen anytime soon. There are enough good freebies and freebie groups out there that I'm not too worried about missing out.


Magdalena Kamenev said...

At the risk of great pretension, I will quote myself from Twitter: I'm much more likely to look around and buy something if I am not frustrated and tearing my hair out over the hunt item.

Mr. Strindberg, I too was frustrated by the 2nd locale of the Building Blocks Hunt (although I only found 5 hammers, one being the true hammer). Thing is, once I saw the store had "fan dancer" AOs, I was hooked ... but then it took me another 25 minutes to find the frellin' real hammer.

A few locations give their own hints. And a few locations on the BBH have used a 'hammer trail' ... the results have been mixed, but I like the general idea of not having to wander every corner of a huge, multi-story store.

I've only seen one shrunken hunt item so far, but with the hint from the official blog, and the placement relative to the LM (i.e. quite close), I found it in approximately 45 seconds. Didn't even have to cam out to the store at large.

Also, I'm with Miss Jameson -- clever hints and a primrose path of decoys and clues may be entertaining if done on a small hunt (say, once of the Bare Rose fairy tale treasure hunts). Hitting that in the midst of trying to complete a hunt with locations in the high double digits (let alone triple) is more frustrating.

Sorry for the length of this, Miss Orr. I'm also still trying to fathom just how bad the BBH Hunters group was that the organizers closed it in a week of the hunt's opening.

Edward Pearse said...

I went on a Halloween hunt in 2008. It was only a small one and I think most of the stuff I turfed (with the exception of lots of eyes). I created an alt last year and took him through the Make Him Over Hunt and quite enjoyed that one. Some good stuff, some garbage and some items clues that were difficult to find.

Most of the groups seem to have frequent group chatter with people asking for help and the responses are usually still in form of clues. I think most hunters enjoy the hunt as well as the find.

I wasn't planning on joining this year's Steamhunt and did so only as a last minute thing when someone else said they'd been refused. But now I'm in and we'll see how it goes.

I would have thought that when your clue contains the word "escalate" and your shop has two large escalators (something rarely seen in any shops) that it would be a simple deduction. Apparently not...

Rhianon Jameson said...

Mr. Pearse - I didn't finish, and I'm unlikely to finish, the Steam Hunt, but I did reach Pearse'd & Cut, and, though I'm not the brightest bulb in the Steampunk universe, your clue was not a brain twister. (I even had the good fortune of guessing correctly which set of escalators. I also had the pleasure of chatting with a gentleman (a noob by rez date, but clearly an alt of someone more experienced) who should bring joy to your mercantile heart - he was going through the hunt but only to stores selling Victorian gentlemen's clothing, and for the purpose of buying suitable clothing. In essence, he was using the hunt list as a shopping guide.)

Mrs. Volare - Your hunt is limited in geographic scope. I don't mind tearing my hair out looking for a handful of objects in a single sim. The more fiendish, the better.

Emilly Orr said...

I'm so behind on replies. I may combine them again.

Lady Fogwoman:

I would reiterate, challenging hunts over one sim is not the issue. In fact, Mr. Azriel Demain of Falln does occasional holiday hunts, and his rules are lethally restrictive, occasionally violently irritating, and he has been known to completely reshuffle everything if he suspects anyone of cheating in any way.

But, if we really like the store, or the designer, or both, we are willing to put up with that. I know there's at least once I followed the clues on a hunt in SSC and didn't pick anything up (not that there was much left), simply because I'd missed the hunt itself and wanted to walk around the build!

How'ver, this is wholly different when one multiplies that sense of challenge and excitement to track down the hunt item--by fifty. Or one hundred. Or one hundred and eighty. I'm fine with walking around a store and perusing wares--I make a lot of landmarks to places I want to check out later, and last night, I did end up going back and picking up the gothic vardo from Sweet Misseries--but what I don't want is to hunt in wireframe, with simple prim rendering unchecked, scanning every single pixel-inch of the store. That makes it unfun. And as Miss Kamenev says later, that makes it far less likely I will ever visit the store again.

Emilly Orr said...


That's become another big one. To date, there's only one hunt (the Magic and Romance hunt, I believe it was, that ended in February) who has understood this, and ran coinciding "PG" and "Adult" hunt streams--you could pick up all the items on one, or duplicate your efforts with both streams, but if you didn't want to go to Adult locations, you didn't have to.

Miss Kamenev,

If the hunt item is supposed to be small (save for the Button hunt, those are flat-prim alpha-textured button-sized buttons, and that's just insane and wrong), that's one thing. But if the shop owner has shrunk it into nano-primhood, or changed the color of the prim one is expecting to find...that just complicates things. And that behavior started out with the first grid-wide hunt ever, where the goal was to find all one hundred and fifty white (or pink, or yellow), avatar-head sized (or cat-head sized, or miniaturized) ghost sculpts. It's extraordinarily frustrating.

Emilly Orr said...

Lord Primbroke,

The Steam hunt frustrates me to no end, too. There is so much potential there, going to complete waste. Someone organizing that one needs to be kicked in the head. Places in the Steamlands are givens--yay for inviting them. Places in Armada Breakaway--wonderful. That's perfect. Places that make steampunk equipment or clothing that aren't in Caledon, like Unzipped or Wunderlich--beautiful. Happy to see it.

Places that sell faery wings and magic wands? WHY are they in the steam hunt? Baby factories? Why? Furniture makers who have a kink for Danish modern and chrome tubes? You have to be kidding me. Burning Chrome--WHAT ARE THEY SMOKING?!?

I will say I'd like to see the Make Him Over hunt become at least a yearly affair; not to encourage more grid-wides, but because so few hunts geared to mens' attire ever happen. Some makers routinely include a gift for women, and a gift for men, but most of the time, all the men get is the occasional "unisex" toss-off.

Miss Jameson,

That's what themed hunts like the Steam hunt should be. "Here's all the makers of steampunkery we could find on the grid. We think they're very cool. Come and find gears, we hope you'll like them too."

Unfortunately such is not the case...