One popular player-run event is the scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts are fairly simple events that can be used to add some entertainment to a larger event such as a PA hall or store opening. It can even be a stand-alone event. In a scavenger hunt, participants are sent out into the world with a list of items ranging from Tusken raider weapons to a wedding dress. The players must find as many items as they can from that list and return with them within a certain time.
Scavenger hunts are popular because of their simplicity for the organizers and the challenge for the participants. A scavenger hunt can be run by one person with little prep, and can work with any number of people. Depending on the list of items, the hunt can be a fun romp in the park, or a serious challenge for multiple large groups.
Here are some tips for when you throw a scavenger hunt on your server:
Preparation: Scavenger hunts are typically low in preparation, but there are some things to do ahead of time. First off is (obviously) is make a list of the items to be scavenged. Put this list into an in-game email that you can send to all participants when the contest starts. Don't send the list out early or some people will have everything before the competition even begins.
Rules: It is important that everyone be on the same page when it comes to the rules. If you are vague at the beginning you'll have some arguments later on. For example, do the players get to keep the items they find (usually yes)? Is there a time limit? Is the winner the first one who brings in all items on the list, or the one with the most items by the end of the time period? Make sure these rules are listed in the invitation to the event and spoken again at the start of the competition.
Scoring: There are three primary ways to score this event and pick a winner.
1. Most Items Returned - The players are given a list of items. The team who has the most items from the list by the end of the contest is the winner.
2. All Items Returned - The contest ends when one team has gotten every item on the list. If you go this route, be sure to keep the list small, or plan on a long event because it can take a while if your items are too hard to get.
3. Most points - With this method you assign a value to each item on the list. Players can bring in one or more of each item and have its score tallied. This system is fun for all types of players, because a player might decide to go for a couple big ticket items or try for many lower valued ones to build up their score.
Duration: There are two ways to go with this. You can have the players return when they have all the items on the list, or you can have them return at a set time and reward the team with the most items. Generally it is better to have a set finish time. That gives players a sense of urgency, and ensures a crowd for the final award ceremony. Some scavenger hunts are multi-day events, but it can be hard to keep everyone interested unless the prize is really good. Having a short, one-time event generally creates more excitement for the players. Besides, if you are using the scavenger hunt as entertainment for another event, you'll want to make sure the participants are around to buy your wares!
Teams: Depending on how many people you have signed up, it is best to send people out in teams. Galaxies is a massively multiplayer game, so it's good to encourage grouping. You may require that teams always stay together, but such a rule would be hard to enforce, so letting a team split up to grab different items is acceptable. Letting people group into teams is also fun for players because two strangers might have very different resources and ideas and may end up being able to help each other find items the other wouldn't know how to get.
Chat: While not typical, it can be fun to create a special scavenger hunt chat channel. This will allow you to make announcements ("Ten minutes remaining") to the participants and let them communicate (or taunt) between teams.
Item Lists: For maximum fun it's good to have a varied list of items. Instead of making a long list of only dropped loot items, put in a little of everything. You could have an item that would require a crafter to attach a certain name to what they made. You could even put a person on the list! ("Bring me someone with a chef title"). By incorporating non-combat related items, non-combat class characters can participate as well.
Try to have an idea of the kind of loot drops that may occur near the starting line for your event. There's nothing wrong with putting a Tusken Raider Gaffi stick on your list even if your event is on Naboo, but be prepared for the event to take a long time when your teams fly to Tatooine to complete the list. If you do add a few far-flung items, you could give those items more weight in the final tally. It can be fun to add in unusual items - besides, someone on the team may already have it in their inventory!
Prizes: Be sure to have some good prizes for the entrants, and not just for first place. Many merchants will donate prizes in exchange for a mention on the event announcement and during the award ceremony. It can also be fun to have unannounced prizes for categories such as "strangest item not on the list," or a "worst item to point ratio" prize for the team who brings back 100 one point items instead of a few higher-value items.
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