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Guest Post: Heroes hunting for screenshots

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

Early in August, <Hero Squad> of Bleeding Hollow (US-H) started a screenshot scavenger Hunt to distribute the five vanity items that are awarded when a Shadowmourne is created. The Shadowmourne chest contains five pretty sweet items. (Well, OK, maybe making a portal to Dalaran isn't exactly the games greatest reward.) A chance at any of these items would have most players bending over backwards, and our raiders are no different.

A few months back, the officers sat down to figure out what to do with these items. We knew that we wanted to do something fun and memorable to hand out the first items. We brainstormed about 10 different types of games but eventually decided on a screenshot scavenger hunt.

Designing the event

Initially, we thought about having our raiders collect items from around the game world. We certainly could have had our raiders gathering a bunch of Comfortable Insoles for my boots, or filling the guild bank with Soap on a Rope. But to us, gathering hundreds of random items didn't seem very original and honestly felt too much like a quest grind. We also felt that gathering random items would have just boiled down to an exercise in Wowhead searching skills, which is an aspect of the game I'm sure we'll all get plenty of, leveling from 80 to 85.

Far too often, raiders get stuck in a funk of spending all their in-game time either in the current raid instance or wearing down a path between the auction house to the mailbox, not doing much else with their playtime. Our scavenger hunt was designed to have raiders out actively doing things in the game world. We wanted our raiders to reach out to guildies they may not have talked to, interact with raiders in other guilds, visit places they may have never seen or do things they would never have thought of doing before. We didn't aim to add things that were frustratingly difficult, but we did try to come up with some things that would be challenging enough to take two or three tries, or tough to do without enlisting help from others.

The full list of items on our scavenger hunt is on our guild website, but I'll talk quickly about some of my favorites:
  • Show Icehowl enraged and pwning your raid. When Trial of the Crusader was current content, nothing was more frustrating than people who couldn't dodge Icehowl after his Massive Crash. So, of course, we had to add an item that forced our raiders to either hope for someone to fail at this mechanic or "accidentally" get his toon trampled.
  • Spell the letters "HS" with smoke flares midfield in Warsong Gulch. There were a few things I put into the hunt while thinking to myself, "This will probably be tough to do" -- yet in reality, turned out much more difficult than imagined. For instance, did you know that when you die and release, any smoke flares you dropped will disappear? So completing this item requires either luck or bringing along someone to watch your back.
  • Screenshot yourself running a level 80 5-man random heroic in all gray-quality gear. This was a task designed to leave participants with a dilemma: Do you just queue up for a random, pop on your grey gear and go, or do you ask some guildies to drag you along with them? Either way, you're in for some fun, considering you'll be pulling a few hundred DPS and being one-shot by any mob that AOEs.
  • Shoot your picture with the cat man of Zul'Gurub (the tiger boss). High Priest Thekal in Zul'Gurub has one of the sweetest models in the game (and I mean "sweet" in the most Napoleon Dynamite way possible). Many people know will him from farming for a tiger mount, but for those who haven't seen the encounter, in phase 2, Thekal transforms into a tiger-man. It's been rumored that this model could make a comeback during the reclaiming of Echo Isles. Please let that rumor be true! One thing that WoW is severely lacking is epic battles between armies of ligers and tigons.

Balancing it all out

Most of our members are in their late 20s and work 9-to-5 jobs. The one issue we wanted to avoid was having players who were home all day simply run away with the game. Our solution was pretty simple. Each screenshot must show the player wearing the guild tabard. During prime time, we change the tabard color to green, and during off hours, the tabard is changed to red. Screenshots with a red tabard or showing no tabard at all are worth 75 percent of the normal point value, while the screenshots with a green tabard are worth full points.

We're are happy to report that the event has been a resounding success. In the first weekend, we had quite a few raiders staying up into the wee hours of the morning to grab screenshots. We also had enough interest in the scavenger hunt from other members of the Bleeding Hollow community that we put up some gold as a prize for non-guild members who wanted to take part.

We've had a lot of fun planning this event, and people seem to be having a good time participating in it. I absolutely cannot wait for the screenshots to start rolling in. We'll be posting the best of the bunch up on our guild website.

Have you ever wanted to write for WoW.com? Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions, and be sure to sign up for Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com. The next byline you see here may be yours!

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