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Trail of Summer - Afterword

Discussion in 'Events' started by PM Horizon, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. PM Horizon

    Project Manager

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    Greetings,

    For many of you the days following our last week’s maintenance were filled with sleepless nights, memes and clowns. We love seeing players come together to solve riddles as one unit, and we definitely saw that in the Trail of Summer event.

    Your feedback has been loud and clear, though before we get into it, let’s first look at each chapter individually (spoilers ahead).

    Chapter explanation
    Chapter 1
    A pretty simple approach to an introductory chapter, with a clear hint image and story. The intention was to provide an easy starting point for everyone, which indeed turned out to be the case!

    Chapter 2
    Largely hinted by the story, you quickly found out that the answer is ‘Windmill’. While it was expected that this answer would be found relatively easily, it was still a lot faster than originally anticipated. In hindsight, it may have been better to omit the “yellow flowers turn white” part and keep the “answer is in plain sight” hint - after all, the original intention was to have you look at the portrait frames of the inn!

    Chapter 3
    Another chapter that was solved way quicker than anticipated - for those of you who may have not noticed, the windmill where the woman villager NPC is found is actually the same landscape shown in the portrait of Chapter 2.

    Chapter 4
    This is the first ‘real’ riddle that requires figuring out an answer using outside-of-game knowledge. As you correctly identified, this is based on the dice game “Petals Around the Rose”, which was hinted at by the petals falling around the vase. As for the GM residence you have discovered, this was an unintentional coincidence that I found out at the same time as you did!

    Chapter 5
    Oh boy, where do I even begin? This was by far the chapter that required the most out-of-the-box thinking, and there were actually multiple references that lead you to the concept of guilds. Let’s start with the notice board; what are the actual notices there? "Residence cleaning service," "Horse-sitters for hire," "The White Knights are recruiting," - the context of guilds hides in plain sight, not only on the theoretical notice board (which is behind you, considering you’re facing towards the star symbol), but also the NPCs in the blurred background (the Guild Manager). Finally, “Needle in a Haystack” is a reference to that one guild named “Square And Compasses” (the symbol hinted by the Tarif tree note), among thousands of others.

    While undeniably a huge meme generator, it’s not the answer of this chapter that should be focused on, but the way of thinking on how to find it and retrieve it; there is no broken English involved. With that said, we don’t want to let your memes be dreams - we are doing something about Chapter 5, more details later on.

    Chapter 6
    An easier one that didn’t require in-game interaction - the numbers are mirrored and overlaid instead of being put side to side.

    Chapter 7
    Chapter VII was solved way quicker than I imagined, though looking at your approaches for it’s solution on various Discord servers, I can understand how this came to be. The first two lines of the quiz hint towards a clock (add hours horizontally to get 12, subtract each hour with its counter-facing part to get absolute 6), and the degrees are the hands of the clock. In hindsight, the “←0” part of the quiz could have been more vague to allow more room for experimentation.

    Chapter 8
    This was the weakest chapter of the event, with the answer getting figured out early on (plus the early image misplacement issue that helped even further). Originally, the idea was to collect 4 different notes that had to be overlaid on top of each other to form an image.

    We were in the process of revising the riddle and answer for this one, though you managed to outpace us by far. A lesson learned!

    Chapter 9
    Personally, this was my favourite chapter. The original constellation serving as the key for this riddle would have been Andromeda, though we made a last minute change and replaced it with two in-game constellations, Giant and Black Dragon. The reason behind this change was that the riddle would have otherwise been brute-forceable extremely easily, a problem we have consistently faced across all riddles. In hindsight, mentioning Vigenere so plainly was probably the wrong way to go. The stars being the key could also have been worded more vaguely.


    Chapter 10
    The final chapter was very controversial and understandably so. While knowing Latin gave you an edge, it was not necessary for the solution - let me explain.

    The title “Beyond the Unknown” signifies that you are looking something beyond the boundaries of what is known to you. The picture of the woman (which I didn’t even know the name of and found out through your frantic research) leads you to Valencia, and more specifically to a residence. There are two distinct objects that you will find there, maps and lion heads - putting all 3 hints together and researching online, you would get “Here be dragons” by searching something like “unknown map lions”, and from then on, you figure the rest. As you’ve noticed early on, the stylized capitals of some chapters were an anagram for “Hic Sunt”, and yes, there was also another unfortunate anagram that was 100% unintended, word.

    Quoting Wikipedia: “The classical phrase used by ancient Roman and Medieval cartographers was HIC SVNT LEONES (literally, "here are lions") when denoting unknown territories on maps.”

    Now that you have a better understanding of how each chapter worked, let’s take a look at some of the most popular feedback you’ve sent.

    Feedback
    What the hell were you thinking with Chapter 5?!??
    I think a common misconception was the fact that since Trail of Summer is a web event, nothing changed in-game. While for the most part this is true, it was nowhere mentioned that you wouldn’t need in-game resources to solve the puzzles. This led to many crazy theories, huge scavenger hunts and the brute forcing of every possible in-game name relevant to Tarif, which was the first thing we put under consideration when creating a riddle; “How can we come up with an answer that is not brute-forcible?”.

    There were some very good guesses out there such as the 5 rings of Illezra, but a simple in-game term would not be enough for the latter chapters of the event. Do the math; how long do you think it would take for an answer to be brute forced, considering the volume of realistic in-game terms related to Tarif and assuming a summed up try rate of 5 per second?

    Now you may understand a bit better why the answer was “you forget the rock look deep” and not “Tarif” or “SquareAndCompasses”. It’s not about the answer, it’s about the method of solving the puzzle, and this is true for every chapter (e.g. how does “Per Aspera Ad Astra” relate to being a passphrase for Deve? It’s just a passphrase, and as readers we don’t know why this was chosen).

    Why was it necessary for us to research outside of the game to figure out the answers? It would have been a lot better if everything was lore related.
    Totally agree, nothing beats a canon story in-game, though there are real trade-offs that need to be considered when preparing such an event, and the most important is toolkit freedom and what cost comes with it. A web based event setup allows us to associate images with riddles, gives us the flexibility to navigate through all chapters easily, and is lenient when it comes to mistakes/hotfixes, but with these comes a major problem too; there is no time suppression. An in-game event requires you to actively interact and engage with the world, walk around and explore, activities that consume a significant amount of time and prolong the life of the event. Considering the explanations of this post so far, you may agree with us that the more you consider the options, the less likely you are to find something that is restricted solely to in-game lore.

    Chapter 10 was language locked.
    Before responding to this feedback, I think it is first worth to consider the following; is there any sort of puzzle, quiz or riddle that is free of knowledge-based advantages? The answer is yes, obviously there are cases where greatly talented people come up with something completely fresh and tied to nothing ever seen before, and while we wish that would be true for Trail of Summer too, it would be an overly ambitious task given the timeframe this event was executed in.

    Cryptography-oriented people had an edge over Chapter 9, people that like geometry had an edge over Chapter 7, people who had played “Petals Around the Rose” had an edge over Chapter 4, and so on. It is nearly impossible to create a riddle that not a single player has a knowledge advantage on, and we therefore opted in for variety instead.

    As for “Hic Sunt Leones”, the answer to Chapter 10, players that knew Latin were indeed at a knowledge-based advantage over the rest, but as mentioned above, the riddle was solvable even without knowing Latin (by connecting the 3 hints together).

    There should have been clearer instructions on the answer validity scope.
    The instructions could have indeed been worded better, though the issue was in itself taken into consideration as you can also see by the way the answers are structured - once you found the answer or a close variation, it was clear whether it will be correct or not.

    Giving exact details is not a viable solution, and any mention of the following was avoided:
    - Length of answer
    - Alphabetic, Numeric or Alphanumeric
    - Ingame or outside of the game
    - Space trimming

    Part of what makes riddles fun is the fact that you don’t know where the answer is, and by disclosing the nature of the answer without revealing it takes this advantage away. Telling you “There is a note hidden on the west part of this island” instead of “There is a note hidden on this island” is the simplest example I can give - in both cases you’re looking for a note, but the latter is much more vague. This was also a constant problem we’ve faced, and were even doing last minute adjustments to make riddles more difficult.

    The first person to solve Chapter 10 gets to choose who the other 9 winners are.
    Indeed, this is a true possibility and especially so with the Trail of Summer event due to the lack of time constraints. We acknowledge that this is problematic and going forward, web-based riddle events will follow a different reward format, such as rewarding the first person to solve each chapter, with a total of up to 10 winners.

    There was no hint schedule.
    A valid issue that we will address in the next iteration of the web riddle event.

    The level of difficulty was not linear at all.
    Agreed. This was not the intention, and we definitely failed to set the proper difficulty for Chapter 8. Going forward we’ll pay closer attention to how difficulty scales up.

    Bauro is searching for the book in the bookshelves of the apartment - there aren’t any in the in-game residence!!
    This was unfortunately a mistake I realized too late T.T

    Would it be possible to adapt this story to an in-game version?
    Trail of Summer is meant to be a web-only event, and the lack of compatible toolkits makes it difficult to port in-game, but we are nonetheless very excited to see you invested into the story! If you’d like to re-read it from time to time, we suggest saving a screenshot copy of it.

    What’s next?
    The next iteration of the web riddle event is far away - our teams will need time to recharge their batteries and come up with more challenging puzzles. By then, we’ll come up with a more streamlined reward layout and iron out all the loose ends of the event design.

    After popular demand, we will be implementing a title in honor of Chapter 5 in-game, accessible to everyone. Details on how to obtain this title will be shared in the future.

    Thank you for your participation, crazy theories and all the memes. We will do better next time.

    You forget the rock look deep,
    PM Horizon [​IMG]
     
    Dan Hot, Ellly, Domneva and 12 others like this.
  2. Dannyswe1235

    Dannyswe1235 Kunoichi 62 EU

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    will we get rock look deep title?
     
  3. JustAWeeb

    JustAWeeb JustAWeeb Tamer 61 EU

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    I will be honest, I didn't expect a statement regarding the web-event this soon.

    While the Trail of Summer event wasn't the best web-event, it certainly did one thing right, it brought people together, to either meme the event or to solve it, which is an achievement of it's own, thank you.

    I also appreciate the time you have spent on actually answering our feedback and to explain all the chapters.
    I am excited to hopefully see another web-event in the future! [​IMG]
     
    Cherrytwinkle likes this.
  4. RainnellLynnMitarius

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    Well make us work together yes, but reward all of us together too. I didn't sleep for 2 nights trying to figure out stuff...I would have appreciated something better than what I get continuously from RNG boxes.

    Give a poor woman some pearls for my fashion/screenies addiction. *Cri in Pepehands* I'm just too dumb and kept searching for in-game correlation.

    I forgot the rock ---I didn't look deep enough.
     
    Jinoro likes this.
  5. Andeluvian

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    Part of good game design is that the player understands how to play :-). This event was given to us without instructions which led players feeling betrayed since while the game was web-based some part of the game were in-game while others not related to the game what so ever so maybe in the future just have a disclaimer at the start "all answers are not found within the game and require real-world knowledge and experience, while some answers are in the game itself." doesn't have to be more than this :D.

    Before you make the reward scheme like this, also keep in mind that the further the event goes the more players will drop off due to not expecting to be getting a reward. :p
     
  6. CrestFirill

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    I love you man, I love you.
    That signoff was too good
     
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  7. BigMaidEnergy

    BigMaidEnergy Ranger 62

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    new title when
     
  8. Amirite

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    I'm glad the feedback from the team after this and also took my time to give my 5 cents. on for the next Puzzle event.
    • After popular demand, we will be implementing a title in honor of Chapter 5 in-game, accessible to everyone. Details on how to obtain this title will be shared in the future.
    A fine way to handle the Chapter 5 situation and was actually thinking "just do it Kakako, just do it" add the title and turn the negative into some fun instead. That's how you deal with something like that so good job.

    Looking forward to see what's coming next, maybe some in game events as well, but I like this also because is brings a good team work together between players no matter what you play or what you.

    Overall good fun and like a good crime story you sit back and read :)
     
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  9. Mimimimi

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    very cool that you took the time to explain the riddles the your thought process. thanks!
     
  10. WaifuJanna

    WaifuJanna WaifuJanna Witch EU

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    thanks for the fast reply and after game discussion :)
     
  11. Holdrid

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    Thanks for taking the time to put these together, and for the thoughtful post at the start of this thread.

    It's a real challenge to design riddles for an MMO, making puzzles accessible to individuals but not to easy for a community.


    But to give genuinely constructive feedback, I didn't feel this:
    Other players were in the same boat, judging from barrage of Discord messages asking for explanations, along with the many wrong rationales given. It took a lot of digging to come up with a explanation list:
    https://community.blackdesertonline...s/trail-of-summer.525486/page-52#post-2526578

    Here are my suggestions by chapter.

    Chapter 1
    A nice introduction.

    Chapter 2
    To my eyes, the story did NOT 'largely hint' at Windmill, but rather gave more emphasis to the place where 'flowers turn white.'
    So the picture is our useful resource here, and there are lots of elements in it. A vineyard? The farm pictured on the bottle? Or a windmill, but which one?
    The answer seems fine, but it's hardly the sort where you know you're right once you've got it.
    Still, the idea of finding clues by actually looking in-game at the right place is fitting for the event.

    Chapter 3
    I have mixed feelings here. While 'Fatoos' Farm' seems a stretch - it's not a name mentioned anywhere else in the world of BDO (since it's Costa Farm, according to every other map and character) - I really like the method of obtaining the clue, finding the exact view to discover the NPC who gives the necessary information.

    Chapter 4
    This struck me as the cheapest trick in the set.
    To solve this, you must recognize the NAME of the 'Petals Around the Rose' puzzle. The concept isn't in the hints, since the petals aren't counted (nor is anything else). Either you're familiar with the name and can connect it to the flower petals, or you're not and that's the end of the riddle.
    To fix that, I would have used numbers in the clue and specified the length of the input code, and shrunk the size of the grid. A 4x4 grid is big enough to prevent a correct answer through random guessing, yet small enough that players trying the 'Petals' method - whether or not you know the name - can easily test their theory.

    A good riddle answer should provoke a puzzler to say, "Ah! I should've seen that!" Not a chance here, if you don't already know of Petals Around the Rose.

    Chapter 5
    The problem here was not that this 'required the most out-of-the-box thinking,' but rather that it required 'out of the game thinking.'

    Yes, yes, I know Guild Rankings are in the game. At least, I do now, having never used the function before (or even seen it! It's not under 'Community' in the menu, though your own Guild is).

    But the answer draws on writing that a player wrote for a particular guild. It isn't part of the BDO story. It isn't part of orphan's story. It isn't lore. It has nothing to do with the service notices on the notice board, nor any of the references the Black Spirit makes to his images around Tarif.

    Yes, yes, 'The White Knights are recruiting' is a guild notice, but there's no way to give that weight over 'horse-sitters for hire' unless you already know the answer.

    This ended up being a time-gated riddle, inaccessible until the proper shared hint. There are better ways to time-gate events, as in my last comments, below.

    Chapter 6
    This was fine, though to get the "Ah, I know it!" feeling evoked by a good riddle, I would have been clear about the length of the answer.

    Chapter 7
    This was fine. The first two lines of the quiz were more misleading than helpful, if read like instructions on how to manipulate the numbers rather than a hint at a clock, but the concept was fine.

    Please, no. The way to make a harder riddle is not to make the input more vague. The link from clue to answer is already vague enough (3:58? 11:19?), and if you want it to be tougher, you can include more steps. Or use the time-gating strategy below.


    Chapter 8
    I missed the 'the early image misplacement issue that helped even further,' so I can't comment on this one.

    Please designate a single place for hints, or better yet, use the in-game option: see below.

    Chapter 9
    Mine, too. Well done.

    Agh, no! Riddles are not improved with vaguer wording. If you want it to be harder, you need more conceptual leaps, not weaker instructions.


    Chapter 10
    I liked that this one made good use of in-game exploration, with the answer reflecting what you find. Yes, the answer is in Latin, but it's not a random phrase. It's fitting for both the puzzle clues and the story.

    Since it sounds like you want to make puzzles that the community can't get through so quickly, I have one more suggestion: time-gate certain puzzles in-game, with the option to complete them in any order.

    That means using in-game exploration (like for 3 and 10), linking further clues for a given answer. That way, as they advance through clues, players get feedback that they're on the right track - and that's the feeling you want for any puzzle - even before they arrive at an answer.

    You can then hold back some clues in-game. Some might be available only at night, or only when it rains, or only after Garmoth spawns, or only after a special seed grows. If players can also tackle riddles in any order, they can work on the ones that suit their difficulty level. That way, players don't passively await community answers to the hard riddles.

    And that allows for a satisfying end to the event. Instead of one person solving #10 an handing rewards to 9 friends, all players can advance toward the conclusion ("I have 3 left. How many do you have?" "I just need 2, but I still need to finish #5!). Win or lose, that's a more active experience for everyone.
     
    #11 Holdrid, Jul 27, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
    Ashaara likes this.
  12. Ashaara

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    Sure its possible. By using the lore and abusing the knowledge about the game everyone who participated loves and plays 24/7 non stop. Even new players that came in with this new season-addition played the main story for some time now. Sure there are always people who are smarter and faster, but as you have seen yourself it's not about a single player named Einstein. We all solved that together. There was not one player that solved all riddles by himself. Thats not possible, no one can tell me that. And this is pretty much >normal.< *shrugs*

    So with this statement out of my mind, my answer to yours about this:
    What makes riddles truly fun are the problem solving steps and not the answer. If you don't know how to find the answer you either start digging up some methods by trial and error or you just search for already applied methods. Problem solving is the true nature of every good game in existence. If nothing works you either cheat or bruteforce and if that also fails you usually just stop playing. In your case, if everyone would have just stopped playing you probably would got huge problems, thats why you gave use the chance to earn this unnecessarily high amount of money as a motivation ^^ to keep us hooked... To expect that a normal player with an average age of 16 would be interested in solving such problems as those presented, was definitely too much for the "single player". That these puzzles were solved together was a result of the MMO-community spirit , just like at the other Mystery of Summer events.

    This moments are extremly unique in this community and provoking this which such an event is exactly what this game ever needed, nothing more.

    For example:
    You would have ef*** my mind with chapter 5 if you actually abused the weathervane in tarif to make us translate all of these weird gibberish texts around town. That would perfectly apply problem solving AND would make use of ingame Lore AND would teach us new ways of problem solving which are always a valuable lesson for reallife. AND it already was done before in a game called Pokemon xD lol. Something everyone knows.

    Summarized, good execution, well presented, nice wholesome story, but huge problem solving flaws made for individuals that know some stuff and not for a community. Now after 2 similar events this was a super refreshing approach to this and hope all of this feedback help you to improve! After all thx for the event! :P Pls more of something like this that make us want to interact with the comm pls.
     
  13. Shimoyaki

    Shimoyaki Tamer 62 NA

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    meh could have been way worse

    im just 6840210.0812406% happy it wasnt an actual mysteries of summer event
    they have been actual cancer
    i make myself literally physically and mentally sick doing those
    plz never bring that back
     
  14. BladeNero

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    Also the last story for Chapter 10:

    "Wait, so he wants us to somehow guess the title of a book we don't even know the story of? There are thousands upon thousands of adventure books, finding it out will take a couple lifetimes on its own!' says the Black Spirit in a demotivated voice."

    There was really no point in putting this statement with the last picture, since it had nothing do with the latin word. I don't know about anyone else, but when I looked at the picture and the last story together. I got the idea the book title/answer was 1001 arabian nights aka One Thousand and One Nights.
     
  15. Sells

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    For the last chapter, don't give any feedback whether the inputted answer is right or wrong.
    Just update the event page at certain intervals that anonymously lists someone claimed first/second/third/... place.

    This way, whoever wins does not know they won and can't share the final answer.
     
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  16. burnout__

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    This should go without saying. The way I see it: having chapter 10 as a puzzle is completely fine. The problem was this is the chapter that did win the big prize for you. And it automatically makes it way harder for you if you've never heard about that phrase or latin in general.
    Also, if you had done chapter 4 as the final chapter it would have been the same story with the complaints (probably even worse) because most have never heard about this dice game and it would have felt really unfair that only those that know this dice game have a chance of getting the grand prize.
    this would solve the problem mentioned imo.
    I hope this doesnt mean that the next one is a year away from now (I'm afraid this will be the case). Because I enjoyed the event (mostly because of memes and clowns). But if the lesson is learned and feedback will be taken into consideration this could be a really good event that brings the community together.
    I'll look forward to the next one (hopefully somewhat soon). [​IMG]
    You forget the rock look deep
     
  17. Andaro

    Ambassador

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    Personally I have to say I much enjoyed the event. Even though I suck at riddles, the community seemed to enjoy themselves. Chat in discord was rolling pretty good, and I miss that at times lol. (ahh shoutbox memories)

    I think the coolest thing that comes from these events, especially when the community gets a bit rowdy, are the memes and funny one-liners - like "The Rock Look Deep" - and I am totally down for that being an in-game Title lol Sometimes fun and whimiscal are just what we need haha

    With that said, since we have reached over 500 respondents to our feedback survey, we have printed the results into a handy PDF.
    https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachme...ail_of_Summer_-_Feedback_Survey_Responses.pdf

    upload_2020-7-27_15-24-57.png

    (PS. Players can still take the poll if they have not done so already, and it will automatically update the non-printed internal results)
     
  18. GamePois0n

    GamePois0n PootyPoot Ranger 61 NA

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  19. Kishigai

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    Imo, just drop the top 10 rewards. Also rewarding the first 10 persons solving is not a solution unless you also don't reward a person that already solved one (or that persons gonna be hated and focus ingame by other players). Cause if someone pass a bottleneck like chapter 5 was, there is high chances he will solve the one coming next before everyone else.

    Just give good enough rewards that motivates people getting into it. Solving the riddle should be what people focus on, not being the first one to do so.

    It would also give people less pressure into solving it fast... Like you said a lot of people spent a lot of time trying to solve it. And I've known people loosing sleep because of it! So get the pressure down in consideration for people health ^^"

    Competition is not always good.
     
  20. Kishigai

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    @Andaro
    That's pretty interresting, and a bit representative of discussions and a few argument we had in my guild. The event appeared difficult and confusing to most players, and a bit lackluster to some of us. One reason was that some of us where catching the train after it departed... and to catch up we where basically skipping the whole reflexion about the riddle, and just taking answer published in the discussion.
    I personnaly was working on cracking the Vegenere Cipher on chap 9... and while doing that, one of my guildmate just dropped the answer he got from a group he was working with before I had a chance to finish. That's a bit frustrating...
    And the reason it was going this way is because it's a competition, and you gotta stay in the lead if you want to win... Therefore my previous post about not making these event a competition.

    But there something else very interresting:
    People found it difficult, but they're not asking it to become less challenging. But they'd like it to be more adventurous (which i guess translate into more going around in the game to chase clues), and longer! And I agree! I had the most fun hanging around with buddies around Tarif trying to figure out chapter 5. Some guildies went from Heidel to Altinova with a rowboat looking for clue! And on the other side, it was finished all a bit too fast.

    Also, people want more and would be happy to participate.

    So here is some idea to help with that:

    Maybe you could keep the Riddle relatively difficult and challenging but release it by chapters (maybe 3 riddle/chapters) instead of all at the same time. Release next chapter the day after previous chapter was released, giving people a break, and also the feeling of completing something when closing a chapter.

    It's probably difficult to tie the riddle to some ingame experiences (although you still did it well with BenroM appartment in Altinova, but you did not have to implement anything in the game for that), if you could do it for next event that would be awesome. If not that would be great if you still manage to get some element of the game to fit as clue for the riddles. Things that we could be travelling around and looking for ingame. As a possibility, some hidden marks you can interract with, or some hidden NPC to be found and talked to to get clue could be a nice addition. Chapter 5 was actually nice for that, using the square and compass picture ingame as a clue to find the answer. If I had anything to reproach to this riddle, it's that it's was missleading and convoluted. But i'm not gonna expand on that one ^^"

    Making good riddles is hard. Making an event that satisfy most people is hard. So keep up the good work, and keep learning from feedbacks!

    Also, it would be nice to ask people if they want these event to be more competitive or less competitive. That's one thing missing in the survey. Although it seems people like it more community involved... which in my books sound like less competitive :D
     
    Jinoro likes this.

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