Saturday, December 8, 2012

Second Life hunts - It is a game

Do you remember the thrills of a scavenger hunt in your youth? Have you dreamed of finding a message in a bottle leading you to a hidden treasure? Were you fascinated by the riddles that the protagonists of adventure books solve during their treasure hunt? Then you'll understand the success of Second Life hunts. There is a good reason why the "The Hunt & Hunters Resource Centre" is one of the top entries in the games section of the SL destination guide.

As a game concept in Second Life hunts are very popular  - even if many don't even see it as a game. They might counter that the motivation for participating in hunts is to get nice outfits and gimmicks for free. But there are residents with cramped inventories filled with thousands of unused hunt items. I don't go on hunts often, but I have more unopened hunt items in my inventory than anything else. The secret success of the Second Life hunts seems to be, that finding and collecting the prices gives a satisfaction similar to collecting achievements in classical games. The hunt price itself often is of less interest.

The player begins the hunt from the starting location, equipped with a hint that indicates a spot were the object is hidden. When finding a location that fits the hint description, the player has to search the place carefully. When finding the object, the player receives a price, the landmark of the next participating region and a new hint.

There are many blogs that list ongoing hunts, such as the SL Hunts blog.

Here are some tips for a good hunt experience:

1) Chose your hunt well
Before choosing a specific SL hunt, you should consider the following criteria: It is helpful if the hunt organizers provide previews of the prices. In case that you get stuck at a place, you will know if it is worth investing the extra time. You should only play hunts that provide a list with hints and landmarks to all the participating places. If there are no hints, then searching is half as fun. If there is no store list, then you cannot skip a place when the item is too hard to find and you'll get frustrated.

2) Always go on a hunt in company
It is much more fun to share the hunt experience with friends. You can speculate together about the clues provided by the hints. You can share the task of searching and several eyes see more than two. And you can even compete with each other on who will find the most hidden items. Before starting or continuing your hunt ask the friends who are online if they want to come with you. If your friends are busy, then send a chat message in the hunt user group. Often there are other players that appreciate the chance to team up. I have made a new friends this way.

3) Set yourself deadlines
In my opinion a hunt is only fun when the quest for the single prices is not too difficult. I am not a friend of very obvious hiding-places that are found within a minute. But what I cannot stand is hiding-places that are so invidious that players will loose hours to find them. Set yourself a maximum time limit per location, for example 7 minutes. If you haven't found the item within the time limit then continue at the next location. After completing the hunt, you can always come back for a second look. If you loose a lot of time repeatedly, you run the risk of getting very frustrated at some point. 

If you would like to share your own hunt experiences or if you would like to give us your own tips, please do so in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, you are so right. I love doing hunts but I never thought of them as a game. I do have so much unopened inventory from hunts, the challenge of finding the items with the provided clues is more fun it seems than the actual prize itself, although I won't do hunts if I see that the prizes are not my taste or if the starting locations are filled with stuff I don't care for.

    Doing hunts have taught me a lot about how to use my camera controls and also a lot about the Second Life interface in general, like the gridview (Ctrl Shift R).

    I remember when I was new a lady I met always told me she was 'hunting'. Never having done one, I for some reason imagined blood and violence, silly, right? I can be so naive. :P

    Anyways, I love hunting and have met many good friends doing them and I have a lot of really cute stuff.. I think :D