These are the things I have learned from doing 20+ in-game transmog competitions. People looking to do either transmog competitions or just any larger event in game where you invite a whole server (or both) might find this valuable. A lot of these points are probably not applicable to smaller events, especially when it’s for the guild only.
Most of these points deal with something negative, but I hope they can be a source of amusement too.
1. The expressed positive and negative feedback is about 50/50. This means, as a recent sponsor put it: “I think even the trolls had fun tonight”. If people bother to sit through three hours constantly complaining, which happens, then take it as a compliment.
2. People favor a more lateral gold distribution over singular high prizes. We give out gold to 30-40 individuals each show. Our thumb rule is to keep the highest prize pool (top 10 fx) at or below 10% of the total fund.
3. People will say you’re hugely biased, every bias you can think of. If it’s not dwarves, then it’s warlocks, male characters etc. This complaint might also come out as “this competition was rigged”, which is a funny remark, I’m not really sure how we can favor complete strangers in a transmog competition instead of just focusing on the mogs.
4. Sometimes you’re not really welcome. This happened even on me and Noelani’s home realm and it can be very uncomfortable. Sometimes they’ll let you know that they could have done it better, and its their realm anyways!
Note the quote above: “our money” – I thought it was the sponsor’s money? It’s always an individual/guild sponsoring, there is no such thing as a whole server sponsoring. Then there’s “off-server people” and “utlendrs” (which I assume means outlanders) – very strange, what does which server you’re from have to do with transmog? It sounds xenophobic to me, I thought we were all WoW players getting together about the game – no? If they want to run it themselves though, great! More events means more fun for more people, but don’t make it about keeping “a bunch of utlendrs” from crossing your server borders.
5. Speaking of xenophobic, we get some really disturbing trolling only when we go to American realms, aimed at Noelani, who’s from England and thus speaks English. Sometimes they equate everyone to being from England, which then turns into something about us having bad taste, something homophobic and something about tea (I’m the tea drinker in this house btw, Noelani is all about the coffee). For the sake of clarity, Elvine is American (most guest judges are also American) and no one can tell where I’m from, so I guess they assume I’m English too.
6. People get very focused on how much certain guilds have won. None of us have the attention span nor the time to care about keeping track of which guilds get what. This is purely a server-specific obsession. I don’t know what they expect – “sorry, your mog is great but your guild has met our quota”.
7. If the event is big enough and attracts enough players, some people will report you for “trying to crash the server”. This has never actually caused any of us to get banned, however, giving out big portions of gold in short amount of time did get Keelhaul banned a few times, so consider writing a ticket to inform them that you’re not selling the gold for real money.
8. Some people take it personally when they are not pointed out … like really personally. Some will also start complaining about being “ignored” after 15 minutes. At this point, we’ve maybe pointed out 7 people out of… say 100. If I see someone constantly sighing and grumbling about not getting attention, I’m actually prone to pass them by. I don’t want them to think you get attention by demanding it. It’s about the goddamn mogs, not about who can yell the loudest and spam the most.
9. People think you’ve only really looked at them if you also inspect them. I’m very baffled by this, it’s not like they are wearing invisible gear.
10. Everyone goes into it with the knowledge of how much they have worked for their mog. The more they have worked for it, the higher the expectation. It’s impossible to know these expectations and even harder to meet them. It’s inevitable someone will be unhappy.
11. I suspect a fair amount go for the gold alone. We warn people on the livestream that they will get bored if they are only here for the gold. Some people care only about about their own mog, but couldn’t give a damn about anyone else’s. These are the ones who get really upset if they do not win and proclaim loudly that they “wasted” 2½ hour.
12. Some people care only about getting attention on the stream.
13. And some people will thank you and tell you they had a great evening :)
14. Sometimes people think we are game masters and they complain to us that we don’t answer their tickets. Generally people’s experiences of the event differ wildly. There are so many misunderstandings about what this event is about that I don’t know how to address this issue anymore.
15. Even people whom you’ve awarded gold will troll the event. I thought for a long that time that the gold was the defining factor, so that people who won gold left the event happy and satisfied and people who didn’t left the event unhappy. Someone at Cho’gall-US won early on for a Druid of the Fang themed set, but proceeded to troll at the end anyways. Gold will not shut up a troll, it’s best to disqualify them and /ignore as soon as they have been identified as obstructive.
16. Fairness is an overshadowing theme that forms the base in a lot of complaints, yet it’s impossible to to live up to a 100% fair mog competition because it will always be subjective.
17. “I did a bunch of Barrens quests to get this shield, and I didn’t even get looked at” vs. “I paid 100.000 gold in total for this outfit and I didn’t even get looked at” vs. “I am wearing something unobtainable/heroic, yet 100% recipe, and I didn’t even get looked at”. I didn’t make these up, people have very different ideas about what features should be valued above others.
18. “The event is too long” vs. everyone wanting attention.
19. The biggest hard limit is actually time, not gold. You can always adjust the gold prizes, but adjusting how much time you spend on each person will affect the quality of the competition. Not too little, not too long.
20. A lot of the same discussions/complaints appear at every event. It gets tiring but you get used to it.
21. We’re always expected to cater to both factions on a realm, as if Horde and Alliance are jealous siblings that demand equal amounts of parental attention. The sponsors are often completely overlooked in these “faction fairness” issues.
22. Some assume that we can just come to their realm when asked, and the prize gold will magically appear. I wonder if this has to do with gold being a currency that can be endlessly mined from the system, so people forget that its always earned by someone at some point. The fact that people think we choose exactly where to go, also produces complaints that we don’t do enough horde shows.
23. Some people go to these events expecting to be paid for the effort of attending alone. In fact, I think a lot of people forget that the gold comes from generous sponsors and that no one is automatically entitled to winning it.
24. We see people suggest for us to take entry fees, but I would strongly advise against it. Our sponsors go into it knowing that they will not win their gold back, it’s a donation for them. But if random individuals are asked to pay up, they will think of it as an investment and expect to get something in return.
25. Some people call for more methodical arrangements in the shape of fx moving contestants around in groups of 5 to ensure everyone gets looked at, without regards to the huge amount of time and work in-game organization like this require. Some people literally prefer us to go through everyone saying yes or no. Urgh, I’d hate having to do that! If there are more people than there are time, we want to spend that time on the positive highlights, not saying “no” 10 times in a row.
26. If you’re the one streaming, expect to get whisper-spammed.
27. Roleplay realms can have their own special complaints: One being that they want to wear rp gear. Even when informed in advance, they’ll put on a cloth hood or take off their belts. Roleplayers are sneaky people! Another complaint can be about the location. My “dear” home server (Argent Dawn EU), had particularly big issues with us hosting it at the cathedral, even though we told them repeatedly that there currently are no alternatives.
28. Some people are unhappy that some of the same people win in the first random round, and later go on to win a top spot. If we weren’t allowed to award the best mogs gold during the first round, we would have to ignore them for 1½ hour, then award them gold at the end. Not to mention the outcry if a certain clearly amazing mog did not win anything early on. The competition has a tiered structure, but this doesn’t always go down well.
29. Trolls are not inevitable and it is possible to have an event which is troll-free. Our stats say 1/21.