The other day I managed to put in some time on Saintvache, pounding baddies in Pandaria (in Illidan’s name, it’s so much easier to quest as a Pally rather than a Holy Priest). Not long after I logged on, I got a pleasant greeting from a friend and it was followed by a question: how do I host a transmog contest? I can say that despite hosting a couple of my own, I never once considered this question. In pondering the answer I realized this was something I hadn’t seen discussed in the blogs much, so that gave opportunity to this particular post.
The first thing you need to do when hosting a contest for transmogrification is figure out just what the theme or main concept is going to be. This is usually not too hard because the idea to have a contest stems from what you want the participants to try and do in the first place. But in this, it doesn’t hurt to scratch out some guidelines you want to have in place either. You can always go back and fine tune things but a few general ideas are helpful as it keeps you focused on where you want things to go (and guidelines make it easier for those taking part, too).
Decide on what formats you will allow for entry. I’ve seen cases where entries had to be in-game. If the goal you have set out isn’t terribly difficult then this is fine. Otherwise, this really handicaps entries. Not everyone has the resources, time, or even luck, to get the items they want to make what they think is the ideal outfit to submit. Allowing the use of MogIt and other such outfit makers is a must.
How long are you going to give people to enter? Short notice reduces participation. Too much time and people sometimes forget about it. There’s no real answer on the ideal but if you’re doing multiple rounds you also have to begin to consider what becomes too taxing on people. That’s why I gave everyone a month to enter the Mogolympics, so they could get all the outfits done and entered rather than calling on one at a time. Of course, there was also a massive amount of entries, which made that decision work in my favour in the long term. Bottom line is give your entrants, and yourself, plenty of time.
Are you going to do prizes? Sometimes it’s fun to be able to tie into the theme of the contest by offering up a prize or two. But there are times when the Transmogrification community is content just to have bragging rights. Don’t feel that just because you can’t afford to attach a prize to your event that it means you can’t hold one. Also never underestimate folk making donations. Just don’t count on it either. Do it however you want and people will still take part.
Depending on the size of the contest, do not be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s graphically, organizationally, or the most common assist: judging. There are many people who if the time allows will be happy to help out. If you don’t know anyone, ask around. Or, ask around here. There’s plenty of regulars here that have helped me and others in the past and no doubt will continue to do so.
With the help idea comes the biggest piece of advice I can offer, and that is do not underestimate just how much work can be involved in running your own contest. I like to think the finished product always looks good on the blogroll but if other hosts are like myself, then a lot of behind the scenes work goes into what you end up seeing. Then again, perhaps I’m just finicky. That said, if you’ve got an idea in your mind of your contest in the first place then you probably have an idea in mind on how it will play out. Most of the effort into getting that end result falls on your shoulders and you need to realize that sometimes it means more than you expected. You need free time to stay on track. The more involved the contest, the more involved the work (is it any wonder I’m not doing a winter Mogolympics?).
I don’t say any of this to overwhelm you or scare you off from doing a contest. Quite the opposite as contests tend to tighten the community and even add new faces. That can never be a bad thing. But the last thing you want is to launch something and then see this giant snowball coming down a mountain on you just getting bigger and bigger as it rolls closer. By knowing beforehand what you’re in for, you can be on top of the mountain instead of below. Ideally, you’ll also be able to set up your own event nice and easy. If you do, be sure to send me an invite.