Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gridwide Hunt Prize Lists - Why and Wherefore

Continuing to use this blog for anything I feel like saying or posting, whether or not it has anything to do with what came before or after, I'm going to start posting verbal descriptions of gridwide hunt items and SLURLs here. I have been doing this for friends on notecards for quite some time, but I had a conversation with someone earlier tonight that inspired me to begin posting them publicly.

It seems there is a blogger who posts pictures of gridwide hunt prizes and the SLURLs of the stores where they can be found (more or less what I've been doing by notecard on a small scale, only pictorial rather than verbal) who recently came into conflict with a hunt organizer who felt that the practice is antithetical to the goals of the hunt: it encourages hunters to go only to certain stores, which keeps them from viewing new sims and new stores that the hunt chain is meant to give them a tour of.

The vendor I was talking to didn't actually have a problem with the SLURLs being posted; her concern was that while the blogger in question used to take and post pictures of every prize in each hunt, she had instead begun to shoot and post only a portion of the hunt prizes. Since her blog is linked from a number of others, the people viewing her selections add up, and hunters end up going to the stores whose prizes are featured and skipping those whose prizes are not. The vendor has a prize in each of two hunts, and although one is a high-profile, heavily advertised hunt, she says that approximately 85% of the prizes that have been picked up have been the other one, which was profiled on the blog. Not only is she dismayed that people are not picking up the one that she considers by far the better product in the same numbers, but she feels bad for the non-profiled vendors on the hunt for which she was profiled.

My feeling is that identifying hunt prizes and making SLURLs for them available, first, is beneficial to vendors participating in the hunts because although some might get skipped, they are most likely to get skipped by people who otherwise wouldn't be hunting at all. Or to put it another way, more people will go to stores they otherwise would not have gone to than there will be people skipping stores they otherwise would not have skipped. Second, I'd like to step in where the other blogger has left off, in my own, less visual way, so that for some hunts, at least, people can view the full range of what the hunt offers.

I asked a general question in my plurkstream, to make sure my gut feeling was correct. The people I distribute my hunt cards to approach hunts in very different ways, but the two biggest groups consist of: those who never used to hunt but who use the cards to skip around and hit the stores that suit them, and those who are diehard hunters who go to every stop regardless of what the prizes are but then use my cards while unpacking later.

Like the latter folks, I'm a pretty hardcore hunter: I begin every stop without wireframe, without hints, without any other nifty tools (though I'll eventually use anything at my disposal if I'm there long enough), and I have been known to bitch people out when they've given away exact locations in open chat or group IMs. I finish every hunt I've started and unpack relatively quickly, in day-by-day batches. But that's what a hardcore hunter does. And the average SL resident is not a hardcore hunter. Those who are interested in hunting on this level will voluntarily recognize and respect the kinds of hunting ideals the organizer prefers. We do it because that's what makes the hunt a hunt. And I do believe that prizes need to be hunted for: I won't be giving hints or posting exact locations here. There are others who do the former, and the latter is plain cheating.

Realistically speaking, most people are simply not going to hunt that way. Instead, they're not going to hunt at all. They don't want to spend ages looking for things they won't want anyway, whether it's because the prizes aren't suitable for their gender, their "age," their species, or because they are homeless and have no use for anything that doesn't go on their bodies. Also, those who hunt the most are often prone to hunting the fastest. There are a lot of tricks you pick up through experience. Asking an occasional or beginning hunter to do every stop on a 150-store hunt is more likely to result in more people deciding hunting isn't for them than to suck them into the habit.

That's my justification, and I'm sticking to it. :) So now just a few words about what I'm posting here. I'm not interested in making this a massive undertaking. I plan to do pretty much what I've been doing, which is to do the hunts I want to do, write up brief descriptions of the items to be found at each stop, and include a SLURL to the store. I currently hunt and unpack at a pace of 20 prizes per day. I won't be going any faster than that, which means there will be more hunts I don't get to than hunts that I do. I won't be taking pictures. I used to take pictures after unpacking hunt prizes and post them on Flickr, but I find it time-consuming, and I'm not interested in glutting the blogosphere with the same-old-same-old that lots of people already do.

Finally, the one change I will be making to my previous hunt card routine will be the elimination of favorites. Those who have been using my hunt cards are used to me starring the items that I think are the best in the hunt, but I'm uncomfortable doing that in a space where people I don't know could use my ratings without being familiar with me and my taste, and then it's right back to the drawing board where some stores being favored over others is concerned.

Depending on my schedule, I might post a whole hunt at once or do it bit by bit as I work my way through it. I'm making no promises there.

Oh. And. This won't be the only purpose for this blog. I might stop doing it at any time. I'm just doing it now because I feel like it and I think some people will appreciate it. I'll still post any other old random thing here I want to. I'm not trying to gain maximum blog exposure... I'm just doing it for fun. So if I seem to do anything that doesn't conform to standard blogging conventions, oh well. I think that's it. Happy hunting!



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