Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hunt Tips for Hunters, Organizers, & Shopkeepers

This rattles around in my head every time I find myself chasing one hunt or another, and it probably will be re-written in a more cohesive form someday, but here's my hopefully-rational, down to earth, no-nonsense straight talk about Hunts and Hunting....

Hunters: You can't be told often enough- you're being given a gift (or in some cases, a real bargain, at least.) Don't bitch. Some hunt gifts will be AMAZING. Others will make your eyebrow twitch as you hastily send them to the dumpster. Nobody HAS to hunt, and no one HAS to participate on the giving side either. So- if you get something you hate, send it to Recycle, and move on. A merchant's objectives in participating in hunts should be and usually are to give you a taste of their quality and style, to let you see their shop, and to increase traffic. If a merchant has included instead some shoddy object that has nothing even to do with the product or service they provide, then don't return, and don't recommend them. Simple as that.

Likewise, respecting other hunters and the hunt itself are important. So... DON'T run headlong like a lunatic 4 year old meth head on a sugar-crack high around each shop, bumping or leaping ninja-style over the heads of other hunters and customers. Please. It's tacky, rude, and makes people hate hunters in general. Fly, if you need to, but flailing like a deranged toddler helps no one, and looks pretty dumb, too. MOST hunts are not races meant to be sprinted through. Relax. Take pictures. Take landmarks. Stroll. I promise... it doesn't hurt. (The scary thing to me is, I've seen more hunters who DO act this way than those who don't.)

Merchants: The majority of merchants really are terrific, although some get pretty impatient with hunters who are rude and pushy. That's fair. Please remember when you sign up to be in a hunt, your objectives are to win new customers, woo back those who have strayed, to increase traffic, and to showcase your awesome work. If you jump on every hunt bandwagon, and toss freebie, poorly made stuff in your hunt object, you are hurting yourself more than anything.  No one will come back to a shop that gave out an unscripted black cube labeled "Elegant End Table", no matter how awesome the stuff on your walls for sale is. ESPECIALLY not if what you sell is clothing, or animations. No one is asking you to give out full perm fat packs of your top-selling product... but a no-copy, no-mod version, in on special (maybe even hunt-exclusive) color, would not be a bad idea. Put a tiny logo-tag on the item, too. Something discrete, that will help remind the hunter where he got that awesome chair. Then the hunters will not only be back, they'll remember your shop's name, and tell all their friends.

Hunts are not Merchant Vs Hunter. That's not the point. You don't need to be adversarial. Give us a challenge, sure, but there are a few merchants who are notorious for an attitude of "HaHA! You will NEVER find my amazingly hidden hunt item!" Really? I mean... all well and good to get into the spirit of the hunt and all, but... you WANT the item to be found! Otherwise, the hunters DON'T get that nifty thing you worked so hard on, and they also don't get the LM that you put in the box, and they probably leave grumbling, or they become compelled to cheat. None of those are good things.

Reality Sucks and sometimes, after months preparing for a hunt, you get pulled away and can't be around to fix broken things, or redirect botched LMs, or whatever. If the unforeseen befalls you, try to arrange for someone else to have the proper rights and permissions to handle any such problems, should they arise in your absence.

Organizers:  Try to assure that your hunt info signs contain all the critical information. First LM, any costs (huds, group memberships, passport items, etc,) the nature of your charity if you have one, and very importantly, the THEME of your hunt.

Encourage or require that merchants be appropriate in maturity level and theme! It's creepy as hell to be on an X-rated or horror-themed hunt and find oneself on a kid sim looking through the footy-pajama section for a tiny severed head! Likewise, when one is on a dark gothic hunt, one doesn't want to be strolling through a neon strip mall full of sports equipment.

Make contact information clear, so that hunters AND merchants know to whom they can turn in case of emergencies like broken links, or confusing instructions.

All of these things, on everyone's parts, will make hunts more enjoyable for all, and lead to bigger, more successful hunts!