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Virtual rewards 3.0


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This is exactly why

1 minute ago, Lynx Humble said:

Sadly your friend is wrong because Groundspeak announced they are giving 500 more AL to random player that placed at least one AL before today....

 

I hope I am not getting a third I have no idea where I would put those 5 cheap +1.

This is why Virtuals were origanally grandfathered- there were too many virtuals and all the most remarkable places were taken up and replaced with not so interesting virtuals. They have been grandfathered for quite some time now and the numbers have dwindled away (at least in my area, I am sure that there are many old archived virtuals that weren't mantained) so why not bring back virtuals in some kind of opt-in or reward manner? I think that sadly ALs are going down the same path as Virtuals.

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20 minutes ago, dennistubaplayer said:

This is why Virtuals were origanally grandfathered- there were too many virtuals and all the most remarkable places were taken up and replaced with not so interesting virtuals.

 

What is your source for this statement?  I was part of the decision-making process for stopping the publication of new virtuals way back in 2005, but perhaps my memory has failed me.

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4 minutes ago, Keystone said:

 

What is your source for this statement?  I was part of the decision-making process for stopping the publication of new virtuals way back in 2005, but perhaps my memory has failed me.

I have heard from Numorus people who have been caching a lot longer for me that virtuals weren't just as special anymore and that there wasn't as many interesting spots. I know that I'm talking in circles, but there are so many cool and interesting spots that don't allow physical caches or you can't get a cell phone signal from for ALs. Even if they don't do another round of VRs, I would be happy with just being able to do ALs on a GPSr. Does this make any sense? Thanks everyone!

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Your contacts are misinformed, or you are mispercieving them, both in regards to (1) Geocaching HQ's plans for Adventure Labs and (2) the reasons why virtuals were grandfathered in 2005 until their revival in 2017 on a limited basis via the Virtual Rewards program.

Edited by Keystone
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42 minutes ago, Keystone said:

Your contacts are misinformed, or you are mispercieving them, both in regards to (1) Geocaching HQ's plans for Adventure Labs and (2) the reasons why virtuals were grandfathered in 2005 until their revival in 2017 on a limited basis via the Virtual Rewards program.

Could you explain a bit more why we are mispercieving it?

 

I wasn't there in 2005 and was under the impression that virtual got grandfathered because reviewers had to judge of their WOW factor and there were too many dispute on logging requirements.

 

Also Groundspeak plans about Adventures Labs have never been clear from the little information we are getting. I wonder if they even know themselves what is the plan with all the missing features and the fact they are still at the beta stage after almost 2 years.

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One difference though (and a big one I'd say) between Virtuals and ALs is that the V's are about real-world stuff. ALs can be entirely fictional and creative. So while 'wow' spots may grow slim, in theory ALs could keep getting published as long as the owners continue to be creative.

(not that I'm advocating for endless ALs)

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6 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

Also Groundspeak plans about Adventures Labs have never been clear from the little information we are getting. I wonder if they even know themselves what is the plan with all the missing features and the fact they are still at the beta stage after almost 2 years.

 

History has a tendency to repeat itself. As memory fades, events from the past can become events of the present. Wherigo... Adventure Lab... I predict that both will have  the same fate.

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

One difference though (and a big one I'd say) between Virtuals and ALs is that the V's are about real-world stuff.

Another difference is that virtual's are still a reasonably precious commodity, and AL's seem to be becoming as common as dirt....

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7 hours ago, Keystone said:

Your contacts are misinformed, or you are mispercieving them, both in regards to (1) Geocaching HQ's plans for Adventure Labs and (2) the reasons why virtuals were grandfathered in 2005 until their revival in 2017 on a limited basis via the Virtual Rewards program.

 

I am curious, did the limited Virtual Rewards program solve problems that led to the grandfathering of the original virtuals?

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3 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

I am curious, did the limited Virtual Rewards program solve problems that led to the grandfathering of the original virtuals?

 

I wouldn't say that it solved the problems the led to the grandfathering of the original virtuals but the guidelines used for the virtual reward program did a pretty good job of avoiding those issues.

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49 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

I wouldn't say that it solved the problems the led to the grandfathering of the original virtuals but the guidelines used for the virtual reward program did a pretty good job of avoiding those issues.

 

So you mean that grandfathering of the original virtuals could have been avoided by using these guidelines?

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28 minutes ago, arisoft said:

 

So you mean that grandfathering of the original virtuals could have been avoided by using these guidelines?

Yes, I think that they would not have been grandfathered if Virtuals and Webcams had an opt in reward program similar to ALs from the start. It would have been interesting to see what would happend if this took place.

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2 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:
6 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

I am curious, did the limited Virtual Rewards program solve problems that led to the grandfathering of the original virtuals?

 

I wouldn't say that it solved the problems the led to the grandfathering of the original virtuals but the guidelines used for the virtual reward program did a pretty good job of avoiding those issues.

 

Good question and good answer.  I do think that the structure of Virtual Reward Caches dealt adequately with the problems which led to the grandfathering of virtuals:

  • Old virtuals "took up a spot" which could have held a physical cache in many cases.  Virtual Reward caches are not subject to the Cache Saturation guideline.
  • Old virtuals could be "spammed" - I recall an example where every historic marker in a small city was submitted as a separate virtual cache.  Virtual Rewards are a limited commodity - one per account.
  • Old virtuals could only be published if they met the "wow factor" test - featuring a location that made the visitor say "wow, I never knew this was here" or "wow, I learned something I didn't know about," etc.  With Virtual Rewards being a limited commodity, the recipient is more likely to pick a location with "wow factor" rather than wasting their one Virtual on a street sign or historic marker.  As a result, Community Volunteer Reviewers do not review for "wow factor" and thus there are no disputes about the eligibility of a location, as was the case week in and week out during the years leading up to the grandfathering of Old virtuals.
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13 minutes ago, Keystone said:

 

Good question and good answer.  I do think that the structure of Virtual Reward Caches dealt adequately with the problems which led to the grandfathering of virtuals:

  • Old virtuals "took up a spot" which could have held a physical cache in many cases.  Virtual Reward caches are not subject to the Cache Saturation guideline.
  • Old virtuals could be "spammed" - I recall an example where every historic marker in a small city was submitted as a separate virtual cache.  Virtual Rewards are a limited commodity - one per account.
  • Old virtuals could only be published if they met the "wow factor" test - featuring a location that made the visitor say "wow, I never knew this was here" or "wow, I learned something I didn't know about," etc.  With Virtual Rewards being a limited commodity, the recipient is more likely to pick a location with "wow factor" rather than wasting their one Virtual on a street sign or historic marker.  As a result, Community Volunteer Reviewers do not review for "wow factor" and thus there are no disputes about the eligibility of a location, as was the case week in and week out during the years leading up to the grandfathering of Old virtuals.

My point is now that Virtuals have grown less common, A person who receives a Virtual reward would be more lenient to put a Virtual in a location where geocaching isn't allowed in a spot that is a big "wow" factor such as a state park that doesn't have a cell phone signal, so no ALs can be put there. All in all, I do agree with HQ's choice and your point of view.

Edited by dennistubaplayer
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2 hours ago, Keystone said:

 

Good question and good answer.  I do think that the structure of Virtual Reward Caches dealt adequately with the problems which led to the grandfathering of virtuals:

  • Old virtuals "took up a spot" which could have held a physical cache in many cases.  Virtual Reward caches are not subject to the Cache Saturation guideline.
  • Old virtuals could be "spammed" - I recall an example where every historic marker in a small city was submitted as a separate virtual cache.  Virtual Rewards are a limited commodity - one per account.
  • Old virtuals could only be published if they met the "wow factor" test - featuring a location that made the visitor say "wow, I never knew this was here" or "wow, I learned something I didn't know about," etc.  With Virtual Rewards being a limited commodity, the recipient is more likely to pick a location with "wow factor" rather than wasting their one Virtual on a street sign or historic marker.  As a result, Community Volunteer Reviewers do not review for "wow factor" and thus there are no disputes about the eligibility of a location, as was the case week in and week out during the years leading up to the grandfathering of Old virtuals.

So why Groundspeak is doing the exact same mistakes with AL that led to grandfathering of virtuals?

 

They even removed the reviewer part from it so people can put multiple AL at the same GZ...

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2 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

They even removed the reviewer part from it so people can put multiple AL at the same GZ...

 

That was the problem. Reviewers didn't like flood of virtuals. Now reviewers have been eliminated from the equation.

Edited by arisoft
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3 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

So why Groundspeak is doing the exact same mistakes with AL that led to grandfathering of virtuals?

 

They even removed the reviewer part from it so people can put multiple AL at the same GZ...

 

Interesting take.  I arrive at the same conclusions about Adventure Labs that I stated in my prior post about Virtual Reward caches (no saturation impact to block physical caches, no spamming of a limited commodity, and no wow factor test).  The only added feature is Bonus Caches associated with many Adventures.  But, these have physical containers, which are part of the core geocaching experience.

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4 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

They even removed the reviewer part from it so people can put multiple AL at the same GZ...

The lack of review reminds me of Geocaching Challenges™ (not to be confused with Challenge Caches). When Geocaching Challenges™ first came out, a lot of them (including those published by Groundspeak) were pretty silly. But after a while, things seemed to settle down, and it looked like they might evolve into something interesting. Then Groundspeak eliminated them completely.

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15 hours ago, Keystone said:

 

Good question and good answer.  I do think that the structure of Virtual Reward Caches dealt adequately with the problems which led to the grandfathering of virtuals:

  • Old virtuals "took up a spot" which could have held a physical cache in many cases.  Virtual Reward caches are not subject to the Cache Saturation guideline.
  • Old virtuals could be "spammed" - I recall an example where every historic marker in a small city was submitted as a separate virtual cache.  Virtual Rewards are a limited commodity - one per account.
  • Old virtuals could only be published if they met the "wow factor" test - featuring a location that made the visitor say "wow, I never knew this was here" or "wow, I learned something I didn't know about," etc.  With Virtual Rewards being a limited commodity, the recipient is more likely to pick a location with "wow factor" rather than wasting their one Virtual on a street sign or historic marker.  As a result, Community Volunteer Reviewers do not review for "wow factor" and thus there are no disputes about the eligibility of a location, as was the case week in and week out during the years leading up to the grandfathering of Old virtuals.

 

I think you've highlighted perfectly the issues that lead to the grandfathering of virtuals way back, thanks for that, but I'm not sure I agree about the third point with respect to the virtual rewards solving the problems.  In my humble experience and opinion, there are a lot of virtual reward caches (and subsequently ALs also) that are rather ho-hum, with no discernible "wow factor", simply because the recipient felt they needed to use the virtual rewards (or AL credits) they were offered, and what's more, had a time limit within to do so.  And there are still cachers who missed out, and had great ideas for "wow-factor"-worthy virtuals.  Luckily, however, since these virtual rewards were limited to 1 (or 0) per account, at least, as you pointed out, the map is not saturated with non-"wow factor" virtuals.  ALs on the other hand... still limited, but....

 

Edit to add: Please no one take offence - whether a virtual (or AL) is good or boring is entirely subjective.

Edited by funkymunkyzone
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I would love to see Virtual rewards 3.0 focus on Webcam caches, but of course there shouldn't be as many as 4000, like the Virtual Rewards 2.0. 400 would be a viable number, since the amount of Webcam Caches would then triple, which would make them a tad less rare, but still very rare and thus interesting.

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On 12/28/2020 at 6:03 PM, JoLTeam said:

I would love to see Virtual rewards 3.0 focus on Webcam caches, but of course there shouldn't be as many as 4000, like the Virtual Rewards 2.0. 400 would be a viable number, since the amount of Webcam Caches would then triple, which would make them a tad less rare, but still very rare and thus interesting.

 

Same here. I'd love if HQ would adopt an option for parties interested in bringing up a Webcam to file a plan for how the Webcam would be set up including maintenance plan to secure the continuous operation of the Webcam for some time to come. HQ could select the best ideas based on the actual plans and grant a Webcam cache to those. That would be a pretty safe way to set up just a limited amount of new Webcam caches that probably will stay for a while.

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13 hours ago, NLBokkie said:

 

Same here. I'd love if HQ would adopt an option for parties interested in bringing up a Webcam to file a plan for how the Webcam would be set up including maintenance plan to secure the continuous operation of the Webcam for some time to come. HQ could select the best ideas based on the actual plans and grant a Webcam cache to those. That would be a pretty safe way to set up just a limited amount of new Webcam caches that probably will stay for a while.

I don't think that you're the only one that wants Webcams to come back. I've scrolled through a lot of posts, and I have seen posts of people wanting webcams back left and right. I would very much like to see something like you described. I am even in the process of making a new version of a "Multi webcam!" I am still getting he parts ready and gathering info, but I'll have it done eventually. I have found that one of the best things about the forums is being able to bounce ideas and thoughts off people, kind of like what I'm doing right now with the Multi webcam idea.

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On 12/28/2020 at 12:03 PM, JoLTeam said:

I would love to see Virtual rewards 3.0 focus on Webcam caches, but of course there shouldn't be as many as 4000, like the Virtual Rewards 2.0. 400 would be a viable number, since the amount of Webcam Caches would then triple, which would make them a tad less rare, but still very rare and thus interesting.

 

Guess I'm lucky I got mine published almost fifteen years ago, before they were no longer permitted.  I received permission from the agency that owns it.  They thought it a great idea to attract more visitors, and they painted a white cross to show you where to stand.  1129 finders and 373 favorite points!  It's tough to maintain, because so many cachers try posting selfies.   But it's fun!

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On 12/16/2020 at 1:16 AM, Lynx Humble said:

I hope I am not getting a third I have no idea where I would put those 5 cheap +1.


Geographic distribution is the biggest issue, if you drop 'em in a place where there are none, they will still be appreciated.  As someone trying to build up the game in Malaysia, we struggle with cache diversity so of course I would suggest to drop your unwanted surplus in Malaysia.

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On 1/4/2021 at 10:45 AM, NLBokkie said:

 

Same here. I'd love if HQ would adopt an option for parties interested in bringing up a Webcam to file a plan for how the Webcam would be set up including maintenance plan to secure the continuous operation of the Webcam for some time to come. HQ could select the best ideas based on the actual plans and grant a Webcam cache to those. That would be a pretty safe way to set up just a limited amount of new Webcam caches that probably will stay for a while.

 

Random distribution as was/is the case with virtuals or adventures would not work.  There are however newer caches that use a webcam, and in a first effort, HQ should allow the cache type to be converted.  Simple solutions often work best.  I'm located in Asia, we do not have the type available here, so I would not mind creating a brand new set of webcam caches.

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3 hours ago, Barnyard Dawg said:

we struggle with cache diversity

 

Why do you need "diversity" of the cache type? The quality of a cache shouldn't be better just because it is a rare type. So why not hide good multi caches, mystery caches, traditional caches?

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On 2/6/2021 at 5:41 PM, frostengel said:

 

Why do you need "diversity" of the cache type? The quality of a cache shouldn't be better just because it is a rare type. So why not hide good multi caches, mystery caches, traditional caches?

 

Because hunting for diversity is part of the fun for many of us. What is supposed to be good or fun is very subjective and different amongst cachers.

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On 2/6/2021 at 8:41 AM, frostengel said:

 

Why do you need "diversity" of the cache type? The quality of a cache shouldn't be better just because it is a rare type. So why not hide good multi caches, mystery caches, traditional caches?

Aren't the ones you list a "diversity" of cache type?  Seems you answered/countered your own question.

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1 hour ago, The Jester said:

Aren't the ones you list a "diversity" of cache type?  Seems you answered/countered your own question.

 

These are the main cache types anyone can hide. And my eyes they keep enough potential for good caches that are fun. If it was for me each cache could be a multi cache (Boring to others as the "diversity" is missing? Or wouldn't they like it for another reason?) but that's just what I like most - others prefer unknown caches or simple traditionals.

 

There is no need for virtual caches, webcam caches or lab caches to make geocaching fun or "to build up the game" (quote). That's what the poster wanted to do and that's what he is able to do with all the normal geocaching types available. Perhaps you are missing an "or" in my text: they can put out - for example, there are more! - good traditional caches or good multi caches or good unknown caches to "build up the game".

 

I just do not understand the reason why spreading the game of geocaching in Malaysia or anywhere in the world needs these rare (webcam, virtual) or new (lab) icons. The normal ones work great and let's be honest - a normal geocache with a nice container is a better advertisement for the game than any of these virtual cache types if you want to find new players. Those are just for the statistics but that's not what "build[ing] up the game" should be. Should it!?

 

That's what I wanted to say and that's what I still believe.

 

Jochen

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On 2/6/2021 at 5:41 PM, frostengel said:

 

Why do you need "diversity" of the cache type?

 

For the same reason you do not stick to logging one type only?  Would you be happy if you eat the same meal every day?  Sorry to say, but it almost sounds like you are against a level playing field?  As was mentioned, some prefer one type over another, and that right there should be enough!  To be honest, I feel a remark like that can only come from someone who sits neck deep in geocaching luxury and is spoiled for choice with no reason to complain about anything.  Your remark about quality also suggests we do not have quality caches, somewhat arrogant and not appreciated!  According to your profile, you are located in Germany (beautiful country btw), more specifically Karlsruhe, I could not help but notice that you have about as many caches in a radius of 8km as we have in entire Malaysia, an area of 330.800 km².  I do not know how many active players Germany has, be we have about a dozen only, half of them expats (read: temps), please refer to the geocaching map for detail.  Before you say, "place more caches" , another thing I have noticed is that I have created twice the amount caches than you have.  In any case, you definitely get more out of the game as a seeker!

 

Before the virtual rewards we had only 1 virtual, nothing else.  When Virtual Rewards 1.0 came out, exactly 2 were dropped in Asia.  Only 0.1% had landed outside North America and Europe!  We had to remind HQ that the world is larger than that!  They tried to correct the situation with Virtual Rewards 2.0, but yeah, you can't distribute caches when there are no players to distribute them to, right?  If you want to check "geographic spread", feel free to check the distribution maps for virtuals and adventures!  But the list goes on, no webcams, no mega/giga events, no reviewers or lackeys visiting with their pockets full of goodies, none of that.  We do not run out for FTFs, we save the caches we have for the souvenir runs, and the demands for those are not always friendly to cachers in remote regions!

You tackle me when I talk about cache diversity, and suggest to go for quality instead.  About quality, we have spent years cleaning up the scene of zombie caches, and have brought up the quality of our game significantly!  The number of caches has increased significantly too!  We have also successfully lobbied for our country souvenir, we had articles published in newspapers, started social media, we handed out caches, promoted however and whenever possible!  But... we're only a dozen strong, and we can only do so much!  Any player has a limited reach, and can only realistically maintain a certain amount of caches.  So why should we not ask HQ to look our way and ask for extra support?  We are few, and virtual caches allow us to expand the game beyond our reach and personal limits.  I doubt they will unlock the game to allow geocaching to grow unrestricted, but supplying virtual types to the few players who keep the game going outside North America and Europe, the same ones that allow HQ to keep touting the game as "global", that comes at no extra cost for HQ and should be a no-brainer.

Mind you, because there are few cachers in Malaysia, most of the geocaching traffic, say 99%, comes from tourism, so we are not so much placing caches for ourselves, but for the many tourists (many Germans btw) that visit.  Right now we suffer lockdown and restrictions, but while the game is going strong in Germany and is actually promoted as an outdoor activity, the game is flat on its behind in Malaysia since March 2020 and unfortunately it will be for some time to come.  So excuse me if I suggest that HQ should invest more in the few players that currently keep the game going against all odds.

As I so often say, we too are part of the game, and deserve more than the odd bone thrown, a bone for which we actually have to remind them (beg?) every so often.

As NLBokkie mentioned a few posts ago, personal preferences are subjective, and of course quality caches are a must, but it would be good to be aware that not all countries bathe in geocaching luxury the way Germany does.  And it is not because Germany has been served, and you have a distinct preference, that we have to settle for the standard cache types!  If you look at the geocaching maps, any of them, it is clear that HQ should invest more virtuals in the countries that could use a leg up.  As said, it cost them nothing, but it would make a huge difference on the map!  If you know that there are cities with more virtuals and adventures than some continents, you really have to question "geographic distribution" as it is today.  They love to refer to their own rules when it comes to "requests", but they seem to forget they also make the rules.  In an effort to allow left behind countries a fair chance to catch up, why not handpick a few prominent cachers and supply them with 10-20 virtuals and a handful of adventures?  More caches on the ground (virtuals tend to be reliable and have a longer lifespan), more chances to attract new players, ... do it right and everyone benefits!  Cost for HQ to drop credits based on reviewer feedback is minimal, and requires good will more than anything else.

Apologies for the long post, only because I care.

Cheers!

Edited by Barnyard Dawg
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3 hours ago, frostengel said:

These are the main cache types anyone can hide. And my eyes they keep enough potential for good caches that are fun. If it was for me each cache could be a multi cache (Boring to others as the "diversity" is missing? Or wouldn't they like it for another reason?) but that's just what I like most - others prefer unknown caches or simple traditionals.

 

There is no need for virtual caches, webcam caches or lab caches to make geocaching fun or "to build up the game" (quote). That's what the poster wanted to do and that's what he is able to do with all the normal geocaching types available. Perhaps you are missing an "or" in my text: they can put out - for example, there are more! - good traditional caches or good multi caches or good unknown caches to "build up the game".

 

I just do not understand the reason why spreading the game of geocaching in Malaysia or anywhere in the world needs these rare (webcam, virtual) or new (lab) icons. The normal ones work great and let's be honest - a normal geocache with a nice container is a better advertisement for the game than any of these virtual cache types if you want to find new players. Those are just for the statistics but that's not what "build[ing] up the game" should be. Should it!?

 

For me, caching is about bringing people to interesting places and showing them things they might otherwise have never known about. The location generally dictates the type of cache: some places work best as traditionals, some as multis and some as mysteries or even whereigos. But there are also places where any sort of physical container doesn't work. Around here, those are generally national parks and while permission can be granted for physical caches (I've had 3 approved), it's fairly restrictive in what's allowed and where. However, their geocache policy says that virtual geocaches don't require formal approval, so an EC, AL or virtual reward might be the only option. But ECs and ALs have their own limitations, in the case of the latter it's the requirement for solid phone coverage (often lacking inside national parks) and a map that doesn't show any of the minor walking trails in this part of the world.

 

Sometimes this limitation can be worked around with a multi, where the places of interest within the park are set as virtual waypoints and the physical final is in a suitable location outside the park, and most of my Chasing Waterfalls series is done that way. I've been lucky that there's been public bushland reserves just outside the park entrance where I've been able to find a suitable hiding place for a container. But there are also many others where that's not practical, like this pretty amazing rocky outcrop overlooking the waterways in Brisbane Water National Park.

 

DSC_0472a.jpg.1b312086795190cfa5b45e9645909642.jpg

 

I've already approached the ranger about putting a physical cache there but it was knocked back because of Aboriginal engravings along the unofficial track out there. The location is many kilometres from any of the park entrances and, because there are multiple approaches with no bushland buffer between the park and the houses, a physical cache outside the park wouldn't work well. Had I received a virtual reward, that's where I'd have likely put it, and it was also an option I considered for my second AL but the limitations of the app ruled it out. I have a germ of an idea for an EC that might work there but so far I've been unable to get my head around the physics of the earth science lesson it would entail. So, like many other places where a physical cache won't work, it remains an empty spot on the geocaching map.

 

As for enticing beginners, by and large they're only interested in traditionals, at least until the novelty of using a GPS device to find a hidden container wears off. In my first four months of caching I only found one multi, the rest were traditionals. The non-traditional cache types are more about providing a greater variety and interest for established players and keeping them in the game, and that applies equally to the physical container types (multis, mysteries and whereigos) and the virtual types (ECs, ALs, virtuals and webcams). For me at least, it has nothing to do with statistics, rather it's all about a broader and more interesting experience. All the cache types have a part to play in that.

 

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