Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bowling for Sloop

I know this is all old news, so I'm just going to wave the "better late than never" flag here, and get on with it:

Lette Ponnier, Thornton Writer, and Lillian Shippe all get major kudos from the Second Life trivia for putting on the second Buccaneer Bowl, which went off as a major success—and I'd like to think that the fact I was able to attend this time helped in some small way. The Buccaneer Bowl works a bit like most other trivia games in SL, in that a host asks questions in open chat, and all the players try to get in with the right answers before anyone else. Prizes are awarded for the first three correct answers—just like a few other trivia games in SL. However, the difference with the Buccaneer Bowl is that contestants are grouped into teams of three or four players: each correct answer earns points for a player's team, and at the end of each round of questions the team with the most points gets a bonus question that only they may try to answer—increasing their prize pot.

And the Buccaneer Bowls are—appropriately enough—being held on the decks of sailing ships. Hence the title of this post!

Trivia fiends gathered at the second Buccaneer Bowl

The prize money for the Buccaneer Bowl is not insubstantial in SL terms—some $10,000L (about $50 CDN)—making it one of the most high-stakes in-world games. So, naturally, the Buccaneer Bowl attracts top players. And it's the only game I'm aware of where teams compete instead of just individuals—the team aspect not only differentiates the game, but makes for super-fun maneuvering and posturing, since teams have started negotiating and recruiting players weeks in advance of the event. And it's all in good fun—most of these people have at least a passing acquaintance with each other, no tempers flared, tongues were firmly planted in cheek, plus everyone played fair and were super sports.

One interesting thing this time: the organizers gave prizes for avatars who kept their Avatar Rendering Cost—or ARC—below 1,000. The ARC score doesn't really have units, but the higher the number the harder a SL client and server has to work to render an avatar—and avatars are usually the most complex things in any given view. (As a point of comparison, my ARC is usually between 400 and 1,600…and I did not have to "dress down" for the Buccaneer Bowl. But a friend of mine has sported an ARC in excess of 130,000—no joke!) By keeping ARCs under 1,000 the Buccaneer Bowl was able to pack 40 players into a mainland sim and keep lag to a minimum.

As with all trivia games…sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you. My valiant team, the Trivial Corsairs, I managed sixth place out of, I think, nine or ten teams, but even that turned into not-insignificant prize money. This was the second Buccaneer Bowl and the head Buccaneers are hoping to keep it going as a monthly event. Huzzah! Or, "Arrr!" Or something. Yay.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for blogging this, Lou! I get a huge smile every time someone says they enjoyed the Bowl. I've loved running it, and I've been extremely pleased by how the teams work out. The recruiting, the team spirit, the competitive drive... it's all what I hoped it would be. I want to thank the players for making this event so awesome. I hope we'll be seeing everyone back at the next one, on March 21.


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