It’s time again for the Twisted Hunt and as usual, The Torch and all our associates are looking high and low at over 120 different stores for these small, rotating cubes… but something seems off this time ’round.
It’s not really a fun scavenging hunt, it is more of a tedious job. Flying around with your camera, some locations didn’t give hints, just saying somewhere within 30 metres there is a small, rotating box that might be the small rotating box you’re looking for. It might be a decoy. It might also be a broken version of the real box. This year’s Twisted Hunt has been a letdown, riddled with problems and here they are.
1) No imagination
Twisted Hunt was known in its prime to be the hardest hunt in Second Life. The store owners did their best to make sure you didn’t get your prize by putting out decoys in strategic places (to prevent cheating), redecorating the whole store in the colours of the box and by throwing you off of the trail in very inventive ways. One of our favourite moments was in our first hunt in 2011, we actually got stuck there for some time. The criminally genius and sadist store owner created a maze, which moved from time to time, you had to get out, get to the store and begin looking for the hunt box. That’s right, you spend hours just trying to get out of this maze to START looking for the item.
This year we’ve been through 50 of the stores before we gave up on pure boredom. The vast majority of the stores seemed to not even try, others seemed to have gotten the wrong impression when they were told to make their location ‘twisted’ hard, it made parts of the hunt feel more tedious than the accomplished feeling you got from braving the twisted mind of a store owner who seemed to enjoy torturing hunters. The decoys are far more plentiful now, but were used in a completely different way. Instead of having them inside walls or under floors to turn away cheaters, or having a few of them out in the open to throw you off, the majority of hunt location owners just tossed 10-50 of these boxes out and one of them is the real gift. They didn’t even hide it, just 10-50 visible boxes where you had to click each one to see if it was the actual gift, not even a hint to help you on the way. (And before you say it, yes we know that you need to IM the Hunt Group to find the hints.)
The only store we found that were really “twisted” was MV, one of the earlier stores. MV was really into the Twisted Hunt spirit, they had both the decorations and decoys to match. Each decoy was hidden, not just thrown out and the store not only offered a hint, it was vital for the end surprise (that I won’t spoil for you), it was a riddle that you needed to solve first, once you did that you could find the prize.
Back in the height of Twisted Hunt, this store would be considered one of the easier ones, this year it was the highlight!
2) All these decoys
As I mentioned, most stores just tossed a bunch of decoys out and didn’t even give a hint. Those who did give hints were mostly “Look within 30 metres”. A store hid the decoys, but was so lazy about it that all you needed to do was look from a different direction to see them. All of them contained the prizes, but only one of them was set for sale. This was the height of laziness and you could really see on the way the store was set up, with each of the 55 (yes, FIFTY FIVE) decoys “hidden” by one of the new products, all products lined up in a row, just so you could cam in really close and look at every detail of the stuff he sold. This store didn’t really seem into the hunt, it felt as if it was more showcasing the products. (And before you say anything I am well aware that Hunts are to promote businesses, but just because that is why most people join hunts doesn’t mean that is why people who join the hunt go there, especially in a hunt such as Twisted.) which brings us to –
3) The height of laziness
I can’t tell you how many stores didn’t even bother enough to move the prize. I lost count at 10 (yes, a fifth of the ones we looked at) that had just put the box right next to the hunt sign. You came into the store, looked at the sign and there it was. The first time I thought it was a mistake, the second time I thought it was a joke, but then it became more and more apparent that these people didn’t offer a Twisted Hunt, they weren’t even supplying us with a regular hunt, they just wanted their names out there on the grid’s most well known hunt and one of the top events of the year. To really hammer the nail into the coffin, many of these stores offered other hunts, which they had hints for and had hidden pretty well. ( And before you say anything, doing that at the first few days of the hunt is acceptable, since owners are still working out the issues, we’ve seen it in hunts before, but doing it 2 weeks after the beginning is just unacceptable.)
As much as we spent too much time in the former category, the time lost was almost made up by breezing through these stores.
4) Where’s the hints?
I touched on this earlier, but most of the stores didn’t even offer any hints. None at all! All you had to go by was the fact that you knew it’d be within 30m of the landing point, but even that didn’t help much some times, as some owners read the rules as 30m from the sign, which itself could be up to 30m from the landing point, so you would end up looking through the whole store over and over again. To top it all off, many did a combination of this, decoys and hiding it in a wall or inside something else, so you couldn’t see the real prize unless you cammed inside the object or made it invisible. ( And before you say anything, we don’t have an issue with this per say, Twisted is one of the few hunts in SL that makes you learn how to move your camera. Just have a hint, not just 30m. 30m is a guideline not a requirement)
5) The final nail, but no coffin to hammer it into
Twisted Hunt was beloved by all forms of gothic and dark people. The theme was always dark, twisted and demonic and the stores would reflect this. Twisted Hunt wasn’t just a hunt, it was an experience, a thrill ride that took you into the dark psyche of some of the most twisted, sadistic store owners in Second Life, and this is why we love it. They’d have you shivering in fear, made every step a thrill, made you think and the whole community would build up their stores around the theme of the hunt.
This time, I saw ONE store even using the textures given to them to build with, and that was to lay down a carpet on the floor. They didn’t put any boxes on the carpet to make it hard to see, just had a carpet in those colours.
I understand that they wanted to cater to everyone this time, ranging from high-end fashion to lycans to petites, and I have no problem with that, but it seems like nobody really got into the gothic and dark sadistic spirit that follows the Twisted Hunt. Some tried, but most didn’t even do that much.
Not all bad!
For me and many others, this hunt was an utterly disappointing experience, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable. I wanted to know if everyone agreed, so I asked around and surprisingly many really enjoyed this year’s Twisted Hunt. Some of them were even veterans who were there in the first ever Twisted Hunt, so it’s not just new people who didn’t know how it was back then.
I asked what made the hunt so fun for them, and most could agree that it was the rewards, the social aspects and the end-game. Funny as it seems, even though I and others that I know that used to do the hunt for the experience, many others do it as a social thing. They go in the group, and help each other. It becomes an alternative to clubs. For this purpose, the new style of the Twisted Hunt works really well. If you are more than one person, you can split up and a take part of the store, thus making the process a lot quicker and less tedious than if you were doing it by yourself.
The social aspect has also helped to keep the Twisted community alive. The store didn’t offer a hint? Well, many people before you have found the gift, some have written their own hints. It struck me as I was reading the group chat that these unofficial hints are also shared a lot. Somebody popped into the chat and said “This store has moved their gift, new unofficial hint is this” and immediately, at least 5 people responded with “I’ll update my list and send it out”.
I might not have liked THIS hunt, but that doesn’t stop others from enjoying it, and even I must admit, when a store hit the head on the nail, they really struck gold and free high-quality clothes and items isn’t something to moan about.
All in all, this was not the Twisted Hunt I was looking for, but I did enjoy the good bits and many people enjoyed the whole hunt.