Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Witch

This may be hard to believe, but... I've created a gacha set! I'll talk about reasons and how the creating experience has been, as an OCD merchant, but before that, I want to tell a little story. The story that started to write itself in my mind when I had completed the first two items, and that decided which would be the rest of items despite I had written down to create something else. The story of The Witch.

There are places in the world whose names have been forgotten. Ghostly places, enshrouded in ancient magic, almost like if they weren't there, are waiting for inadvertent visitors that step within their boundaries to never be seen again.

One of these places was once called Inhn, but nowadays nobody even knows the place exists. Back in time, Inhn was inhabited by a cruel witch. She was nameless, for part of her power lied in being an unknown entity to those that fell in her small realm. Her cabin and the graveyard around were surrounded by a forest. Only part of the forest was reached by this ancient magic, enveloping it, but it was enough to set a trap for those who were wandering by the other side of the forest.

The witch was known to mutilate her victims to then transform them into disturbing creatures that lost their humanity. Those creatures were then caged like birds and set outside the house, in the darkest part of the graveyard, left alone to die.

She fed on their suffering and their blood. She kept all of their limbs to continue torturing them even after they died, for the torment of their souls trying to reach the hands that no longer they could touch and reach was a delightful scene for her to watch. Their limbs in jars was what those poor souls wanted to recover, but even being next to them, they could never be complete again. Their despair and denial about the situation was what tied them to stay in the place, exactly where she, the nameless, needed them.

But even witches grow old, and as she aged, she was losing her power. She needed more people than before if she were to regain strength, but the forests around Inhn had been forgotten, and barely if ever new visitors showed up. She had sowed pain when she was young, and now she was too tired to watch her own back.

That's how one night, it happened. The legends aren't clear about what happened exactly. The only thing we know nowadays about the events is that the last two of her creations that despite dead, still were able of breathing air, buried her alive. Exhausted, their bodies fell and rot over her grave, and since that moment, their souls guard the nameless' tomb, to make sure she'll never raise among the dead.

This didn't put an end to the witch's victims' torment. Their souls had been tied to their mutilated limbs, and day after day, their weeping laments could be heard if you walked close to the limits of the safe part of the forests around Inhn. As time went by, those souls forgot about the nameless, they forgot what led them to be dead without hands, and slowly, they started to vanish forever, in sorrow and pain that would accompany them until the end of time.

That's how another tomb at the graveyard was abandoned, and the power of the witch started to grow back within it, whispering a song in the wind that started to attract people into walking near the forest.

The legend says, this other tomb is waiting for the next lost traveler that crosses the frontier to Inhn and sets foot into that haunted land. The tomb will then announce to the traveler that the day is their last day alive, and this new death will have power enough to bring the rejuvenated witch back to life.

This story is also published in The Night Corner

As I've mentioned at the beginning of this post, The Witch is my first gacha set, created for the Wayward Halloween event, by Wayward Events. Despite the set title, no actual witches show up. The first item I created was a rare, the Witch Cabin, and my first idea was to create furniture for it, and some witch poses. This is what happened next in my mind:

Perhaps a tree outside the house, with a tomb, could fit. Since we talk tombs, why not adding ghosts? Not plain ghosts: Ghosts that show by close presence, and hide otherwise. [Insert Blender break time here while creating the tomb and the ghosts, then scripting them.] Forget about the tree, I like the ghosts with the tomb. Since I'm making ghosts, why not another ghost mourning the separation of his hands from his body? Ohhhhhh... That could have been the witch! And what else happened to these pour souls?

And that's how I ended up creating a set that had nothing to do with my first idea (except for the Witch Cabin), and writing the story of The Witch.

As a consumer, many people that know me, know that I do not play gachas. The reason is simple: I know what I want, I know which choice of permissions I want, and if I cannot get what I want, with the permissions I want, then I do not spend money.

However, as a merchant, I can no longer stay blind to the fact that many people like playing gachas, and even though I don't share their like, that shouldn't be a reason to not give gachas a try, from the merchant perspective. But I didn't blindly apply to the first gacha event I saw showing up. I applied to one that I knew would motivate me (Halloween is every day in my heart.) And I put special attention to likes/dislikes/requests coming from people that like playing gachas, in many threads in Plurk.

One of them is: I've tried making a set where each piece is independent of the other. This isn't an armor set that makes no sense unless you have all pieces with the same color. This is a decoration set where each piece can have its own life alone. In other words: You don't need to get several decoration pieces to create something that makes sense.

Another one is: I'm willing to trade your complete no copy set for a complete copy/no transfer set as long as you obtained the pieces by playing in my machine, using my gacha script. I studied what other merchants do when it comes to their gacha sets and the customer service part, and I wrote my own gacha policies, contemplating the trading complete sets case. If you plan on playing my machine at the event, I recommend you to check these policies and make sure you understand them, for they will be useful in the (nonexistent, let's hope) case you have a delivery issue, or if you want to trade a complete set. I will say here as well: If you obtain the complete set from another place than my machine (yard sale, gift, Marketplace...), I will not trade it. Trading is a benefit for my customers, since I will be taking the time of checking that everything is correct before trading. I'm saying upfront that I'm not responsible, at all, about what happens outside of playing my machine.

I've also paid attention to explanations from merchants about how their gacha scripts seem to work, about complaints coming from customers that rares seem to be extra-hard to obtain and wonder if the machines are rigged, about alarming facts that make me wonder how many gacha scripts contemplate the case of somebody using a modified viewer to pay the machine whatever they want rather than pull price...

... and developed my own gacha script.

It will be soon ready for general release, once I polish a couple of details, write the final documentation, and give it a final beta-test round. But as of now, my gacha script is the script that will be used in my machine at the event, and that's how I will know if you've gotten the full set by playing in my machine.

As for packing the gacha items to load the machine, and checking permissions for next owner... Oh hellish hell! The hell of all hells for someone suffering OCD!

When I wrote the preparing your products for sale, permissions and more chapter of the Merchant Help series, I talked long about setting permissions, and at the end of that section, I said:

Important for Gacha Merchants
Gachas, by its own nature, mean that permissions should be set to no copy. You may want to send blogger/review copies of these gacha items. Do you send them as
no copy too? If you do that, then you should be aware that bloggers could sell the items before the event opens, whether they blog them or not. Not all of them will do, but the possibility is there. You should set permissions of the review packs to copy/no transfer, and remember: This means that you have to change permissions of contents too!

And it's anything but funny to do this. I swear by the Old Gods and the New =)

You have to prepare your bloggers pack with all items copy/no transfer. Send it to your alt. Check permissions of the oh-so-many items you've decided to include in your set. Then, you have to prepare one box per gacha item, containing the gacha goodies, store landmark, ad (or gacha key) and a notecard explaining things.

I repeat: One box per gacha item.

Send them to your alt. Check that the boxes arrive in inventory as no copy, yes transfer. Unpack them. Rez all the items. Check all the permissions. Pray some more to the Old Gods and the New for you haven't made any mistakes. Curse a little (or a lot) when you find out you've made some. Fix them. Start again.

And when that double permissions check is done, you're finally ready to load your machine.

Enjoy The Witch, coming October 16th. It's been an experience to me :-)

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