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World Of Warcraft: Noblegarden vs Easter Egg Hunts IRL

Eggstravaganza puns at the ready...

Catching up on Blizzard news this morning took me to the World of Warcraft [official site] blog where the company cheerily announced the return of their Easter-themed event, Noblegarden.

Noblegarden is more on the "hunting for brightly painted eggs" side of Easter than the "waiting three days to get resurrected" side. I assume it's at least partly because the latter would make raiding rather inconvenient*.

The reason I bring this up is mostly because comments on the blog about people camping egg spawn spots and complaining that this now-traditional event has not changed in years** got me a) laughing because I don't play WoW and b) thinking about the subtle changes and tweaks parents and other caregivers have to apply to the real-life game of Easter egg hunts.

I spent part of yesterday creating an Easter egg hunt for my toddler niece and kept thinking about the difficulty curve and reward of the experience. I mean, it was about looking at the space with her eyes and capabilities in mind and trying to make sure everything was where she could see and reach it.

She had her mum to help guide her around and she's of an age where the shiny wrappers, the fact she gets a cool basket to hold and the fact people are focusing on her and rewarding her with claps and smiles are the big things. But I still tried to make sure there was a bit variation when it came to difficulty, going from an egg nestled into the corner of a step right at the start of the hunt and topping out a few rooms later with a gold egg perched on top of a gold-coloured book just above where her gaze normally falls.

It made me wonder how it works for parents/caregivers over the course of years. I've done a few egg hunts for older kids as well and for those I do things like actually putting the eggs inside objects or under cover so you can't see them without moving an object. I also put eggs with coloured wrapping on objects with a similar colour so they're harder to see, as well as using higher hiding places.

The idea of "camping spawn spots" which was mentioned in relation to Noblegarden was also of interest to me here. I mean, if you live in the same house for a few years you start to know the go-to Easter egg hiding places so you leave some of them fallow each year so the kids don't just head to the same places each time. Or maybe you do the hunt at a relative's house so there are new hidey-holes, or, if you have a garden, you could switch from an outdoor to an indoor hunt.

My favourite thing as a kid hunting the eggs was actually something which I guess would be harder to approximate in a game because it's about the unreliability of memory and weather/the physical world. Pretty much every egg hunt we had involved either my mother being unable to remember where she had hidden at least one or us finding them all then making our own hunts until we started losing eggs and called it a day. there were also a few eggs that were casualties of gusts of wind which took them away from their original site and off to who knows where?

It meant that at some point through the year you'd see a flash of coloured foil and get surprised by a sneaky missing egg or, in one case, find one of last year's as part of the current hunt and be appalled by the taste of year-old-left-in-the-garden chocolate. I don't particularly like chocolate so I watched this happen to siblings :D

I have never Noblegarden-ed because my interest in World Of Warcraft lasted for the duration of my free month back in December 2010/January 2011?... and no further. I got really cross with a soldier called Marshal McBride because I felt he was applauding sarcastically and then I killed a small frog. It was a giddy time.

The prospect of being able to go on an Easter egg hunt or to run one is exciting to me, though. I know you can do it in WoW as of last year's Noblegarden but, from what I've read, it doesn't sound like it has that same intricacy you get in real-life hunts, where you can tailor the experience to players and really experiment with the environment.

Maybe it's something you could set up really effectively in virtual reality, though?

Noblegarden runs until 4 April, FYI.

*This joke was initially a lot longer and involved the Harrowing of Hell being a by-product of Jesus having to run back to his corpse. It's probably a good thing that I cut it down, really, although I assure you it was HILARIOUS.

**A complaint which I'm looking forward to lodging with the Church of England on their blog.

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