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A Review: The Aftermath

I recently reviewed a product by a popular DLC (downloadable content) creator for a popular online game on a forum of that game. While it was not a glowing review, it was honest and praised where praise was due. I have made several similar reviews of this creator’s DLC but not in the game forum.

A representative of the DLC creator contacted me and specifically asked me to explain parts of my review. For fairness sake, I completely re-examined the DLC and wrote an expanded review explaining my viewpoint and offering suggestions. This was posted to my blog. Included in the review was the complete text of my first review and my correspondence with the representative, including said person’s screen name. I did so without permission.

The rep contacted me and, agreeing with the desire for privacy, I removed the name and identifying content immediately. The Terms of Service for this on-line game does prohibit the sharing of text messages and online chat logs *within* the game or any platforms of the game publisher. The ToS does not and cannot prohibit third-party sharing including blogs, emails, Facebook, etc. So I feel justified in retaining the text of my correspondence with the representative. My purpose for including the text was so that the reader (we happy few) could have an unbiased account of the exchange with the DLC creator’s representative.

I informed the rep of my actions, expressing regret that this review, the only one I posted in the game’s forums, had upset them. I pointed out that I had praised aspects of the DLC. The rep responded that my review had not been upsetting but that they were reaching out to help me.

Then the representative of the DLC creator filed an abuse complaint against me to WordPress. As the rep did that, then *SPECULATION ALERT* I suspect an abuse report was also filed with the game’s publisher.

Wow. Talk about unable to take criticism. Wouldn’t put it past them now to *SPECULATION ALERT* attempt to ban me from game areas within their control.

It seems a bit unfair for the “big” guy to attempt to influence critics to remove or modify their comments or to remain silent.

But perhaps in today’s climate, it is not so surprising.

Note: I am not accusing the DLC creator or their representative of anything. I am simply stating what happened. At no time has the DLC creator contacted, written, or spoken with me in any form concerning this issue.

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On August Posted August 16, 2018 I posted a review of Madpea’s Mystery Crate Vol. 2 The Collector on Marketplace. I gave it two stars and titled it Entertaining Let-Down. You can read the full review here.

A few days later I was approached by a Customer Service Manager with MadPea about my review. She brought up some points she wanted me to explain. The note is at the end of this article.

My response:  “Hi there. I don’t have time tonight to chat but I’ll put my thoughts into a note card this weekend.”

I decided to give the game another in depth play-through to see if I was unfair in my review.

Let me first disclose that I am a mystery game beta tester, a mystery table-top and PC gamer, I read a lot of mysteries, and am writing (re-writing) an optioned-but-unpublished mystery novel. I consider myself fairly grounded in the genre.

Madpea CSM: “I see you noted that there was no story to the Mystery Case. There is a story behind the puzzle, it’s also part of a bigger puzzle including the first Mystery Case. So, I was hoping you would explain why you felt there was no story.”

After unpacking the crate you get a “read me first” notecard stating that a dying man hands you the case to destroy. Once you put on the HUD you get a bit more: A middle-aged man, blood red eyes, foaming at the mouth hands you a crate as he collapses. You call 911 and split for home where you decide to open it. (You can read my alternate beginning at the end of this article.)

Note that the crate is actually a large chest.

At a later point in the game, the man is mentioned. Period. Mentioned.

To me, that is not a story. It is a setup for a story which – SPOILER ALERT – never materializes.

The marketplace description states this is a standalone puzzle game. Nowhere in the marketplace description is it implied or stated that the mystery cases are part of a bigger puzzle. In fact, the web-page write up about the first mystery case states the game is “leading up to the final and thrilling conclusion.”  I suppose at a stretch that could mean the first game is the first step toward an over-arching conclusion. But over-and-again, it is stated these are stand-alone games with different themes, which implies that they are complete in themselves and not related to each other.

Back to the lack of a story: SPOILER ALERT! The ending is abrupt. To say the least. Nothing indicates that this is another puzzle in a larger mystery. (You can read my alternate ending at the end of this article.)

Madpea CSM: I see you also mentioned that you had a problem with the slide puzzle.

I did not say I had a problem with the slide puzzle. I said the mechanics were jinky. By which I meant awkward and difficult to use. This is frequently the case with Second Life objects. Interaction with objects is sometimes harder than it need be.

Madpea CSM: some people may love one prize, others may not

This particular prize was disappointing to me for a couple of reasons: the holding animation is really poor, it is over-sized (although modifiable so I was able to size it more realistically), and does nothing but maybe act as decor. The second part of the prize is just a MadPea advert. Suggestion: if this really is part of a larger puzzle, perhaps the prize could relate to that.

I realize that prizes mean different things to different people, but I don’t play for the prizes. The challenge and the story mean the most to me.

So, my 2-star review stands: -1 star for no story. -2 star for poor mechanics. – 3 star for disappointing pay-off

Alternate Opening: “While on your way home you take shelter from the rain in a bus shed. You notice a man, obviously in distress, in the corner and ask him if he is okay. ‘Yes, thank you,” he whispers. Suddenly he looks past you and his eyes widen in fear. He reaches out and grabs your arm. ‘They’ve found me!’ He presses a wadded piece of paper into your hand as he stumbles to his feet. ‘Please. Please help me. Pick up my trunk from the train station. Give it to no one. I’ll find you.’ With a look over his shoulder, he staggers off down the alleyway, holding his side. Two men in dark overcoats run across the street and follow him down the alley. One of them glances towards you and you quickly look away, hiding your face. Only then you notice that the wadded up luggage claim is blood-stained. Your first thought is to toss it into the trash and head home. But then you remember the look in the man’s face, the fear in his eyes, and you decide to …..”

Alternate ending: “Looking at the strange collection of objects and the things you discovered in the light of what had just happened, you realize that you had unlocked one mystery only to discover another. What had happened to the man who had bequeathed you the trunk? Was he even alive? Gazing out the window you see one of the men in overcoats watching your apartment. Backing away from the window you shove the items from the trunk into a backpack, climb down the fire escape and run.”

Full Marketplace Review: Completed in about 45 minutes with no hints. The puzzles are clever, clear, and mostly on-topic. If you like puzzle solving for itself, the game is entertaining. The story-line is non-existent. The pay-off isn’t worth the effort. Won’t spoiler by complaining about the prize except to say …. let-down.

Mechanics of the slide puzzles really jinkie. HUD is dark and interface too small.

-1 star for no story. -2 star for poor mechanics. – 3 star for disappointing pay-off

Note from Madpea CSM: “I’m (name withheld), the Customer Service Manager with MadPea. I saw your review on the Mystery Case. I was hoping to talk with you a bit about it. I see you noted that there was no story to the Mystery Case. There is a story behind the puzzle, it’s also part of a bigger puzzle including the first Mystery Case. So, I was hoping you would explain why you felt there was no story. I see you also mentioned that you had a problem with the slide puzzle. If you’d explain that as well I’d be happy to look into it 🙂 We always welcome feedback and we realize that while some people may love one prize, others may not. It’s all personal preference. Have a wonderful day!

Since I was bored I decided to visit some of the “destinations” LL has pinned to the side of our screen. One of the “featured events” is The Beached Bunny Hunt.

From the starting point I went to the web-site to see if the hunt items would interest me. Directed to the Flickr page I sort of turned up my nose at the selection, but seeing one or two things of interest thought it wouldn’t be a total waste of time.

Was only partly right. Halfway through the sponsored locations someone pointed me to a better listing of the hunt items (the website link didn’t work)and I narrowed my search. I picked up 2 hunt items I really liked and purchased another item at one location. I wasted 1L getting some really ugly hair.

Notes:

– Listed in SL Destinations
– 67 hunt locations in listed in notecard
– Look for blue sandbucket
– Clue notecard available at poster listing sponsors at starting point
– Cost $1 per item
– Flickr showcased (at the time) mostly slutty beachwear
– Website has better representation of hunt items
– Many Adult locations

Recommended? Only if you need lots of nasty bathing suits and crop tops. Otherwise not so much.

WITCHWOOD – PETITE MORT & OUBLIETTE
FIRST ANNUAL MIDSUMMER HUNT AND 50% OFF SALE

NOTE: As a VIP I was able to start the hunt a day early, but the easel wasn’t giving out the Starter Pack. I stumbled over an item and got a hint that way. A kind avi gave me the first hint a little later. For this review I went back and used the hints.

I rarely review hunts anymore because they are so cookie cutter. But Insilvermoonlight, owner and creator of Petite Mort and Oubliette, creates some really sweet and original items. They are sexy without crossing into slutty, whimsical yet grown-up, witty, and usually very well-fitting on my Maitreya Lara body.

Reasons to hunt:

The hunt is limited to 6 items and quick to do.
The hints make sense.
The sim is beautiful.
The outfits are really cute.
Free beach bag tote.
At 60L it’s a good bargain.

Reasons not to hunt:

Each item costs 10L.
Items are for mesh bodies only.
Clothing items fit mesh bodies only (Maitreya, Physique, Hourglass, Venus, Isis, Freya)

 

The first annual (a troublesome phrase) Midsummer Hunt ties in with a stores-wide 50% off sale. The hunt items appear to be original and unique to the hunt, which I appreciate.

 

The hunt is a great excuse to wander around this exquisite wilderness garden setting. One travels only a few meters before stumbling over another tiny nook, comfortable seat, or private getaway corner. It’s a great location for photos.

 

Spoiler alert: Photos may hint at locations.

 

All in all, I recommend this hunt.

I decided to get a jump on my winter holiday decor this year since last year took me by surprise. So with a pocket full of Linden I went shopping.

After much decision and mucking about with my parcel footprint, Frosty Copse from Two Moons Gardens by Bunnie Badger became my base landscape. Two Moon products have quality and imagination. Being able to copy and modify most of the elements gives me the versatility I require.

It was a tough choice but Bee Designs (Bee Cauldron/Mandy Broek) won me over with the incredible Christmas version of the Bear Retreat Cabin. Great seasonal price, chock full of content and detail, copy and mod versatility – it has every thing I need and more. I don’t think Bee Cauldron creates all of the mesh or objects but she has an amazing eye and design sense. Of course, I put my own spin on it.

I enlarged the porch to a full size deck and changed the lighting and decor to something more whimsical.  Outside lighting Half-Deer Frost Firefly Vine, What Next Winter Harvest Stars Lanterns and Clary Craft Acorn Lanterns. Window candles are Lisp Bazaar Antler Candles. Porch decor includes the Tis The Season Setting from Adorably Strange Wares, Zinnia’s Chiminea Danza, Winter Harvest Chairs from What Next, and Dust Bunny‘s Knitted Stool and Cocoa and Cookies Tray.

The cabin is essentially a one-room space with a sleeping alcove. The ceiling is raftered with a small floored area above the alcove. It comes fully furnished and one of the selling points for me was the size and quality of the furnishings. But I had to include a few of my favorite things and give a shout out to some of my favorite designers and content creators. See the larger pictures and shopping info on my Flickr site.

 

Just visible through the trees from the bridge, you can see some winter magic at work, courtesy of eager beaver stirring creature from Noctis and Mushilu‘s enchanting forest animals.

 

Here are my results from the #SecondLifeChallenge – Google Your Second Life Avatar.   I’m a bit disappointed. Wallflower in real life, wallflower in virtual life. Big Sigh.

  1. Google your Second Life name in “quotations” and share your results. About 3,740 results
  2. What are the first 5 links that come up?Blog, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapzilla
  3. Click on the “Images” tab and tell us where the first 5 images are from. LinkedIn, Twitter, Hiveminer (?), PicsSr (?), my blog
  4. Click on the “Videos” tab and share your results, if any. Well, my channel was listed, but I don’t post videos.
  5. Click on the “News” tab and share your results, if any.  A post I made on “The Splendid Table” about Green Soup. Forgot about that. It’s good soup. I need to make a pot.
  6. Did any of the results surprise you?I thought I was a bit more visible, but I lost out to a 100+ year old Rose. What H**L is Hiveminer or PicsSr?
  7. Are you satisfied with your results or wish they were different in any way? I wish my more current activities showed up.
Green soup

Basic Green Soup

May followup with review.

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