Twisted Hunt – The Payoff!

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We tried out the Twisted Hunt earlier this month, and it was awesome.

The -DV8- start zone, the first landing of the hunt

Twisted Hunt has long been rumored to be the hardest hunt in SL and we noticed these rumors were true. Many of the store owners are really sadistic when it comes to hiding their prizes and some even go through the trouble of putting out decoys that messes with you if you touch them and mazes that you have to go through to even get to the area where you’re supposed to search. Prizes hidden in walls, underground and within transparent object so you only can see them if you look from the right direction is common practice for the shopkeepers.

If that wasn’t enough, many have several prizes, wich can keep you occupied for hours on end… for each prize! Even tougher than that, there are no less than 218, yes two hundred and eighteen, stores that participates in this springs Twisted Hunt, that has been named Nevermore after Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”.  Nevermore is also what you will scream at the screen when you try to find that little red box that you have been looking for in over 4 hours, only to find yourself back at the store within a day to try again.

As we said earlier this month, the Twisted Hunt is organized by -DV8- and -DV8-‘s own Vasha Martinek has told me a bit about how it is to organize a hunt this big.

What is your role in the Twisted Hunt?

My official title is Organizer; basically I work with Dysturbed Sin, the other Organizer, to get the hunt themed, planned, organized, and launched — as well as managing it while the hunt is going on.

How did the Twisted Hunt come into existence?

We started kicking around the idea to have the hunt in December 2008, shortly after we opened +DV8+. We held the first one in March of 2009. We were participating in another hunt that was very… cute and fluffy. We’d looked for hunts aimed at the darker, stranger crowd in Second Life, but we couldn’t find anything – despite that being a pretty large community. It didn’t take long for us to decide that the freaks needed a hunt of their own,
and we were willing to be the ones to do it.

Vasha and DysturbedHow many people are involved in this hunt?

That’s a difficult question to answer, really. There are two organizers – Dysturbed Sin and myself. There’s one Lead Twisted Assistant – Samantha Zwickel – plus a handful of Twisted Assistants who help keep things running as smoothly as possible. There are nine sponsor stores in addition to +DV8+, representing 12 creators. There are 208 stores beyond the sponsors, representing over 250 creators. And finally, there are over 4,000 hunters in the group right this second — which doesn’t cover the people who have finished the hunt and left the group, or who are doing the hunt without the benefit of the group, or who will join tomorrow, etc.. It also doesn’t cover the people who throw parties and events to celebrate the hunt, or the people who attend those affairs. So – to take a wild guess? It’s safe to say the Twisted Hunt, start to finish, involves 5,000-8,000 people each time it runs.

How did you manage to get so many shopowners into the hunt?

I’m not sure we can claim that we got so many shop owners into the hunt, really. I think it’s probably more truthful to say that the community attracts people who are interested in what it has to offer. For many creators in Second Life… the opportunity to share ideas with other creative people, contribute to something larger than themselves, and give something back to all the people who buy their creations and keep their doors open – all at the same time – is very appealing.

How long did you have to prepare for this hunt?

About 20 minutes. Okay, it might have been a bit longer, it just feels like 20 minutes. Compared to many other hunts, we start our application process pretty late — sometimes a mere 28 days before the hunt begins. Often, the welcome packages and acceptance notes are going out 2 weeks before the hunt starts; sometimes even later. Twisted hits hard and fast, and for the months of February and August, it just plain takes over. Aside from
processing applications and getting all the hunt boxes and such ready — we also have gifts to make for our store, an endgame to build, and more. We always end up pressed for time, and there are always a few sleepless nights
— but it’s always worth it in the end.

Which is your favourite hunt spot and why?

My favorite spot is the endgame. That may be a little awful to say, since we built it – but then, that’s part of why it’s my favorite spot. The ‘Evil, Evil Twisted Endgame’ isn’t a store. It doesn’t exist any other time of the year. It  will exist for the duration of one hunt, and then be gone forever. In short, the endgame is a maze. We build them each time, sheerly for the purpose of putting a very challenging last stop on the hunt. It’s only reason to exist is to provide a little fun for the people who travel it.

Have you tried the hunt yourself? If so, how far did you get?

We’ve done every Twisted Hunt from start to finish except for the one last September — and that one we didn’t get to finish because so much first life stuff kept happening. We plan to do this one as well – though as usual, we’ll  wait until the last week, letting as many hunters go ahead of us as possible. In a way, you might say we do the hunt several times – since daily we travel to locations on the hunt to make sure all is well (as do all the assistants).  Generally we don’t pick up the prizes though, until we can do the hunt going one to the next like other hunters. I’ve noticed that many of the hunt merchants actually do the hunt, in addition to creating for it – something I’ve  always felt was testament not only to the quality of the hunt, but also of creators’ degree of involvement. They’re some of the busiest folks in Second Life — but twice a year, everything grinds to a halt long enough for them to enjoy the fruits of their community labors. We love it.

What is best thing about being a part of the hardest hunt in SL?

My immediate answer is – the people. Sure, there’s the odd troll, occasional whiner, periodic killjoy — but mostly, the hunters, merchants, assistants… all of them are just awesome. We’ve made some really good friends on  this hunt. People who are now married in real life have met on this hunt. The people are the best part of Twisted, hands down. But you asked what’s best about being a part of the hardest hunt in SL — and I’d be remiss if I  didn’t say just how much fun it is to create part of the game that is Twisted Hunt. There are plenty of hunts that make things easy, or at least easier. But we love making the game a challenge; we love finding formidable hiding  spots, making up puzzling clues, and making sure  the prize is worth all that trouble. In fact, the hunt is SO challenging that we give hunters a group tag that says ‘Twisted Survivor!” when they complete it — because it really is  an accomplishment.

Have you started thinking about the next hunt?

If anyone else in the world was asking, the answer would be… “No! Go away until July!” — possibly accompanied by some eye-twitching.

But in truth… we’re always thinking about the next hunt. We stay on the lookout for tools that could help us be better organizers, or help merchants be better participants. We consider problems from previous hunts and how  to minimize them, and we kick around themes and color choices until it’s time to decide on one.

As for what’s coming in September, well — that will just have to be a surprise. 😉

We also met the drow Shyntylene Lauria, the creator of Grey Gardens (stop number 16 in the hunt) and asked her about her store and her involvement in the hunt.

How long did you have to prepare for this hunt?Shynttylene Lauria

I think I had three weeks to a month, was really plenty of time for me.

Is this your first time or have you done this before?

This is my first time as a Merchant for Twisted Hunt, though I was a merchant in the Twisted Krissmuss shopping spree they did in December, before that I’d only participated in the hunts, but it’s definitely more enjoyable to be a merchant in it

Tell us a bit about your Store Grey Gardens

Originally it was our land we called Grey gardens, my co-owner Franny Hoof named it while Iw as offline the day we got it. It was named after the Grey gardens that was owned by Edith Beale, Jaquie Kennedy’s cousin. Franny and I like desolate, rundown things, they have character to them. So when I finished building the store which used to be called ‘Mr McGregor’s Garden’ that says something about Franny and I, seeing that’s where bunnies went to die. I decided the store may as well be called Grey gardens, so we had to make it look decaying, run down, sanded grass. Our items may not be that way, but then, Grey gardens was renovated. for the people we are we couldn’t really make run down items. Franny deals in furniture and garden pieces, I like to work with Staves, jewelry, Spellfire food, bits of furniture and my artwork. We sell a variety really.

What has your main inspiration been when designing your items?

When I made my staves or started on them, a few friends of mine who were Priests and Priestess’ often mentioned they could never find a stave that was hooked up with some HUD, all they wanted was a stave where they could slide scripts into themselves and not have a new system that they’d never use. that inspired me to make staves, being a Priestess myself, I’m always on the look out for staves, it was easier just to build a stave in the end and get them out on the market for customers. jewelry I just saw some sculpt maps once and though ‘That seems like an idea’ I guess my inspiration comes from shopping about and seeing sculpts thinking. Oh. I can put that with that, and get that, maybe someone will like it. I’m just mostly random, it’s the way to be when you build.

Could you tell me the short version about drow in Second Life?

Drow in SL are very intersim, our characters carry over in many different sims, we all interact, you have to really, we’re neither a large nor small community but we seem to all know one another either through an act, roleplaying or by name. Just like in Forgotten Realms of D&D Houses here are also strong, knowing some of the top and feared Houses helps. I’m not going to mention any out of respect to all Drow Houses in SL. you can guarantee you’re going to be known from place to place though. Like FR or D&D you have the deities, most on SL are worshipers of Lloth, then you have the Eilistraee and Vhaeraun Drow too, but we tend to stick to the laws of Lloth and live how Drow would live as best we can on SL.

Article by: Morphman

Photos by: Morphman and Vasha Martinek

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