SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Treasure Hunt Etiquette

Over the course of the two days it took me to complete the Twisted Hunt I met some great people, enjoyed some hilarious chat in the hunt group, and found some fabulous prizes. But also over the course of those two days I saw and heard about some pretty shoddy behaviour, and it’s that behaviour which has prompted me to write this post.

Most of this should be common sense, but it seems that a few people are lacking in common sense. Or, to put it a tad more bluntly: they’re rude. So this post is a short “Do’s and Don’ts” for treasure hunting. There are also lots of hints and tips for getting the best out of a hunt. I hope it helps some of you :)

Hop behind the cut.

1 – Do let the place or store rez around you before you start looking. Many hunt prize boxes (or whatever the gifts are hidden in) take a while to rez, and sometimes you need to be quite close to them in order for them to do so.

2 – Having said that, do take a step or two away from the landing point as soon as you can. If everyone arrives and doesn’t move then you’ll soon have a pile of flailing avatars. Step aside, then wait for everything to rez.

3 – Have your Mini-Map open and keep an eye on it to see where people are around you. Avatars rez much more slowly than your other surroundings, and it’s very possible that you’ll be smacking into people if you go marching off into the store before much of it has rezzed. (And they’ll only laugh at you when you walk smack into the solid wall that you thought was the open door of the store before it fully rezzed *g*)

4 – If you arrive, and are doing the mid-air-flail it means you’ve landed on top of someone else that hasn’t moved away from the landing point. The fastest way to stop that embarrassing flailing animation is to hit the ‘fly’ button and rise gracefully up off the top of their heads ;)

5 – This one is tricky, because sometimes it applies and sometimes (like when ten of you have been fruitlessly searching as one group for 30 minutes) it doesn’t: don’t call out exact locations in open chat if you can help it. Shouting it so everyone else can hear is even worse (again, an exception to this that I can think of is when you and a few others are alone in the sim and have been looking for ages when you finally find it and want to tell everyone so you can all move onto the next location).

6 – Hunt groups are there to help you, but if someone asks for help on a certain prize, don’t just say, “It’s behind the chair,” or, “Look in the toybox on the second floor”. Be creative and give a clue, like: “Go and put your feet up,” or, “boys and girls come out to play”.

7- Further to #6, be aware that most of the merchants participating in the hunt will also be members of that hunt’s group. If you give away the exact location of their prize, it’s very likely they’ll move it the first opportunity they can.

8 – Further to #7, don’t bitch about the location of a prize in that hunt’s group. If it’s somewhere you’d never have even dreamed of looking, you’re only going to insult, piss-off, and possibly upset the merchant by bitching that, “number so-and-so was in an effing STUPID place”. Instead, give the best possible cryptic clue that you can, and if you must say something, say it’s a really difficult one, or it’s a bloody good hide.

9 – Don’t bitch in the store if you can’t find the prize. And don’t demand that in-store models and helpers tell you where it is (surefire way to a store ban, that). It’s also not a good idea to stamp a pixel foot in hunt group chat and demand that, “If someone doesn’t tell me where number such-and-such is, I’m giving up RIGHT NOW!” (Saying you’ve been frustrated by number whatever and would be grateful for a hint because you’re tearing your hair out is quite another thing altogether. The important thing is: don’t be rude, demanding, or bitchy about it!)

10 – Please, for the love of god, please don’t bitch about the prizes you get. So what if there’s something you’re not keen on? You don’t have to blog that you hated such-and-such store’s prize. If you don’t like something you won, bin it and move on. Simple, no?

11 – Any big hunt is going to be busy. Be considerate of your fellow hunters (even if they’re not considerate of you) and wear a lag-free avatar or a low-ARC avatar.

12 – At some point you’ll keep bumping into the same people, as you synch up and find the prizes together. Buddy up in the big stores where more eyes will help to find it faster. Teamwork works ;)

13 – Don’t forget to click Midnight Mania boards that you see on your way around, and make notes of lucky chair locations. You might find a great one you didn’t even know about, and if everyone clicks those boards, the next time you login will be like Christmas, with extra prizes dropping into your lap.

14 – Create a notecard for that hunt. When you land in a place that has stuff you really like and will want to check out later, drag its landmark into the notecard and add a few words about what the place sells and why you want to return.

15 – Standing on top of, extremely close to, or right in front of the prize will not make you any friends among the people you’re hiding it from (unwittingly or not). If you want to subtly indicate to others that you’ve found it and here it is, stand close to it and click it, or look down at it for a while. People nearby will get the hint.

16 – Many merchants time their sales to coincide with hunts they’re participating in, so if an in-store model mentions there’s a sale on (or you see a ‘SALE!’ sign) and you like the look of the store, do some shopping! It’s a good time to snag a bargain.

17 – One for merchants: if your store is HUGE (especially if it’s a mall), please don’t shrink the prize object down so small that one has to be almost on top of it before it’s spotted. Likewise, don’t hide it around some obscure corner in an enormous area. Try to keep it relatively close to the landing point (within 20m is good) and discoverable after a bit of effort, but not impossible to find. You honestly don’t want people to associate your store/mall with feelings of utter frustration.

18 – Another for merchants: hunts always improve the hunters’ cam-fu, but there’s only so far one can cam without screaming as the damn thing boings and shudders anywhere but where we want it to go. One of the hardest things to do is cam around until one can grab an object that is fully-enclosed within another object, especially if the enclosing object is small. Please, leave a tiny little bit of the hunt object sticking out somewhere; just enough to be able to click on it and grab it.

19 – Bloggers, please don’t post full giveaway direct SLurls to every prize location in a hunt. There are many reasons why merchants participate in hunts, but one of them is they want to get their store name out there and bring people in to see their items that might not have seen them before. I lost count of the number of times I heard people around me (and in hunt group chat) say things like, “I’m sooo coming back to this store!” and, “I’ve found so many great new places this hunt!”. Posting direct SLurls means many people will grab and run, especially in the bigger hunts when tiredness and frustration set in. And the merchants are giving away something they’ve made, something they would normally charge for. They want people to put in a little effort to find what they’re giving away and getting no remuneration for.

20 – Hunts are supposed to be fun. If you’re feeling frustrated, headachy, irritated with your fellow hunters, or just plain knackered, then step away from the computer for a while. Unless you’re trying to do the hunt on its very last day, there’s always tomorrow. And if you plan on doing a big hunt in one day, remember to take breaks. You’ll be straining your eyes and unconsciously leaning toward your monitor a lot more when hunting than you would do normally. Get up and walk around, make a hot drink and something to eat, and take a nap if you need one.

March 3, 2009 - Posted by | do's and don'ts, hints and tips, mar's ponderings, second life, treasure hunt


  1. Here Here! Well done and ty for taking the time to blog up some guidelines. It all makes it better for everyone, and I totally agree.
    Another one for Merchants is to not put boxes in to boxes (in to boxes). I really lurve it when its just a folder or even nothing at all. But given that we are unpacking hundreds of boxes at a time, it creates less hassle. :)
    Lastly, cheers to all the merchants that participate. Your generosity is sooo appreciated.

    Comment by NanicaZ | March 3, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks, NanicaZ :) I agree about the boxing up of boxes. It’s much easier when you don’t have to deal with the original boxes and the unpacked folders. I always seem to end up with twice as much stuff as I had before I started! And then again, when I think something’s going to be boxed, I get the shock of my life when I rez… a plane inside my skybox LOL!

    And absolutely agree: thank you so much to the merchants who participate in all hunts :)

    Comment by Mar | March 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. Wireframe can be your friend. Just hit ctrl-shft-r and voila! you have x-ray vision. Same keys to go back to normal vision. This can save your sanity (and your hair!) when you’re looking all over a place with lots of nooks and crannys.

    Comment by Firebird | April 26, 2009 | Reply

  4. Fabulous idea, Firebird! I’d never even given Wireframe a thought for that :)

    Comment by Mar | April 26, 2009 | Reply

  5. This is becomming a pet peeve of mine…

    If you come across an area that allows you to rez items, and you really really can’t resist the urge (or you need to rez a prize package to get at the next landmark), please, for the love of God, PICK UP YOUR TRASH BEFORE YOU LEAVE!!!! Few things are more annoying than clicking on what you think is a prize box, only to find it’s an empty left by a previous hunter. And vendors can be annoyed enough by trash left on their land that they drop out of the hunt!

    Comment by Firebird | May 6, 2009 | Reply

  6. GREAT article! As a hunter, hunt organizer and hunt vendor I’ve often wanted to shout these same points to people. Here here!

    Comment by Jenneh | September 6, 2009 | Reply

  7. Thanks, Jenneh :)

    I have another, more in-depth blogpost in my draft list right now. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to finishing it, but it’s coming along slowly, mainly as a result of watching many hunt groups’ chat channels over recent months. It’s going to take the form of an open letter to everyone participating in hunts: merchants and hunters alike. Keep an eye out for it!

    Comment by Mar | September 6, 2009 | Reply

  8. great post!
    I would only add one thing, on the trash…it really makes store owners not want to ever do hunts again, some need their primmage to make more stuff for more hunts! We leave rez’ing on as a favor to the nice, respectful people that pick up after themselves. It’s also frustrating for the next hunter coming along. And of course, it really says little about you, remember, anyone can check to see who left that trash behind.

    Comment by Catty Loon | September 7, 2009 | Reply

  9. Thanks, Catty, and I agree. I can’t remember which hunt it was (sometime much earlier this year – possibly the Bunny Hop?) but there was one store where two or three people had opened their hunt prize objects and left them on the floor. I remember hanging around so I could tell incoming people that the very obvious ‘prizes’ right in front of their eyes were duds!

    And I can see why it would be annoying for store owners, too. It might be a good idea for merchants to set auto-return on during hunts; just long enough to open the item (allowing for the extra lagtime that lots of avatars bring with them) but not so long that the objects sit around, confusing everyone else. Maybe a two-minute auto-return time would work?

    Comment by Mar | September 7, 2009 | Reply

  10. One possibility for unpacking boxes would be to have a small designated area where object-rezzing is allowed, clearly marked as such, that way the whole store doesn’t end up littered and we can still see what fabulous prize we’ve won, in case we want to stick around and shop and spend some $ there!

    Comment by Lila Utu | September 7, 2009 | Reply

  11. That’s a very good idea, Lila, especially for the stores that require people to open the hunt object before they can get the next store’s LM. (I do wish they would set the object to sell contents instead of a copy; that way the hunter gets everything in a folder, instead of a copy of the object that they then have to unpack!)

    Comment by Mar | September 7, 2009 | Reply

  12. I love the hunts which Im new to. my first was the steam hunt and now Im on the silk road. and I love all the wonderful places Ive found. Ive got so many LMs in my LOVE it folders its insane in there. and I cant even tell you how many times I find something I just have to have even though I swore I was only going to look and hunt!

    In several instances I found stores that had exactly my style in furniture, clothing and more…styles that I had no idea existed. wonderful.

    I DO think you can blog about your fav store. just DONT give the LM in the context of the hunt. After all, Im fairly certain the merchant participating, is hoping your love of his/her wares is gonna be viral.

    and one final note to the merchants. when I am on the hunt, I dont always have pocket change…so I decide to keep your LM in my folder based on the quality of the gift. i.e a few months down the road I wont recall everything I saw in your store, but if your gift, for example, is one of my favorite hats, or is the lovely music box sitting on my table, not only is your LM IN my inventory, but even when I do not keep an LM, I can always refer to my gifts profile to come back to where I got it.

    And yes, I have 4 fav hats, from two vendors (two of the hats I bought) and not only is the music box on my table, but the gramophone I fell in love with, at the merchants, during the hunt, is right next to that table too!


    Comment by moon darkthorn | November 1, 2010 | Reply

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