I am terribad at surprises, but sometimes I enjoy finding fun and interesting ways of ruining them. In this case, it was hard to completely ruin the surprise – that would involve leaking a major release, which would not be okay!
The fun started with a few things that we did last week. First of all, Chance’s Unflared product page received a title and text update. Several astute Forum users noticed the change and wondered if there was a reason behind the change. I hate to spoil the fun of conspiracy theories, but Chance’s update was just that – an update pushed through to try some different writing styles! Alas, no hidden message. : ( But seen those theories and people searching for hidden meaning was when the gears in my head started to turn.
We had this Dragontech campaign running. It had been pretty popular so far; folks seemed to enjoy the wasteland theme and different characters we’d come up with. We had a fun world conceptualized with a lot of cool creatures and ideas floating around – what if we had a little fun with the worldbuilding we’d worked on?
So a few of us sat down and put our heads together. What was something playful and harmless we could do to get part of our community engaged?
We decided to create a “test” product page for something called Hunter on November 4th.
We’re aware that some users track site map changes, and waited for someone to find this test URL and the creative silhouette we came up with. We’ve heard the word “hunter” sounds pretty neat when it’s translated into other languages, and thought it would be a good name for a fake Dragontech creation.
As is tradition, it wasn’t long before rumors started flying around the internet. Reddit picked it up on November 5th, then our Forums found it, and soon we had a full-blown conspiracy theory on our hands. What was the Hunter? Would it really look like that? Was this somehow tied into Chance’s product update? What about the new song on Dragontech radio? How did everything tie in together?
Well, nothing really did tie in together. So I had to get creative.
I poked my head out of my shark tank and nommed through the ether to Devil Doge with an idea that popped into existence all of a sudden – what if we released one Enderfang toy early, on Friday?
I’d actually created precedence for this kind of thing a ways back when we released Teenie Weenies. I managed to coax The Powers That Be into letting me post a few packs on our Adoptions page before our hard launch with a note that said “accident with shrink ray, objects may be smaller than they appear.” All that I needed was to convince them again that this was a good idea.
I made a list of pros and cons, asked my question, and bounced around on my fins waiting for a reply.
At 11am, I got a reply: the teaser release was a go! I scrambled to our Adoptions team and grabbed a cool-looking Nocturne that was eagerly waiting for a new home.
The toy’s name was altered to read as “ERROR” with a flop reason of “filename=invalid064 064 066 063.” An impossible small clue was included in this string of numbers. Here’s the logic (and the logic jumps) behind it.
111015unleashed was converted into binary. From binary, it was converted into hex, which resulted in a huge table of numbers broken into groups. Summing these gave a total of 4463, which was converted from text to octal decimal.
I vowed to eat my hat if anyone managed to reverse engineer that. I’m very, very thankful that I made a few nonsensical logic jumps that made sense to me, but made it impossible because my hat is not an edible thing. (Sharks sometimes have a hard time with number puzzles.) Next time, I’ll try to do better at making things DIFFICULT but SOLVABLE. (We did see a few people that managed to get to 4463!)
We posted the toy at 12:31pm MST, sat back, and waited.
At 12:35, someone on the Forums found it.
At 12:42, it made the Adoptions thread.
And that started an afternoon of frantic activity.
This toy bounced in and out of carts for HOURS. Both the Bad Dragon Banter and the Adoption Adventures threads were a flurry of people chatting. What was ERROR? Was it a horse-related toy? Was the toy pictured in the shredded image a Spritz? A Trent? Something else entirely? If you bought it, what would happen?
CRON, our artificial intelligence previously responsible for managing Dragon Island, re-activated and chose to be less than helpful. He regurgitated some previous information from Dragon Island: “listen for the key.” If Pepper Coyote and CRON hid anything in Nuclear Love that even hinted at an Enderfang, we haven’t heard it. CRON then proceeded to post a “deadline” saying that one hour remained.
The mysterious ERROR vanished from the website at 5pm, only to reappear a few hours later. Our Forum user, Knottery, decided to go bravely forward and purchase the mysterious toy!
…but seemed a little uncertain about what they did on Saturday:
I turned the mysterious toy over to our Shipping team on Monday morning, and CRON delivered the following message to both myself and Knottery:
Ｃｏｎｇｒａｔｕｌａｔｉｏｎｓ ｏｎ ｔｈｅ ｐｕｒｃｈａｓｅ ｏｆ ｙｏｕｒ ｎｅｗ <＜ＥＲＲＯＲ＞>． Ｙｏｕｒ ｏｒｄｅｒ ｗｉｌｌ ｂｅ ｄｉｓｐａｔｃｈｅｄ ｗｉｔｈ ａｌｌ ｈａｓｔｅ ｕｓｉｎｇ ｔｈｅ ｌａｔｅｓｔ Ｄｒａｇｏｎｔｅｃｈ ｉｎｎｏｖａｔｉｏｎｓ ｉｎ ｐａｒｔｎｅｒｓｈｉｐ ｗｉｔｈ ｔｈｅ Ｆｅｄｅｒａｌ Ｅｘｐｒｅｓｓ ｃｏｕｒｉｅｒ．
Ｉｆ ｙｏｕ ａｒｅ ｗｉｌｌｉｎｇ ｔｏ ｓｈａｒｅ ａ ｐｉｃｔｕｒｅ ｏｆ ｙｏｕｒ ＜＜ＥＲＲＯＲ＞＞ ｗｈｅｎ ｉｔ ｉｓ ｒｅｃｅｉｖｅｄ， ａｓ ｗｅｌｌ ａｓ ａｎｙ ｔｈｏｕｇｈｔｓ ｙｏｕ ｈａｄ ｄｕｒｉｎｇ ｙｏｕｒ ｐｕｒｃｈａｓｉｎｇ ｅｘｐｅｒｉｅｎｃｅ ａｎｄ ｔｈｅ ｅｎｃｏｍｐａｓｓｉｎｇ ｅｖｅｎｔｓ， ｗｅ ｗｏｕｌｄ ｌｉｋｅ ｔｏ ｆｅａｔｕｒｅ ｔｈｅｍ ｏｎ blog.bad-dragon.com ｗｉｔｈ ｔｈｅ ｒｅｌｅａｓｅ ｏｆ ＜＜ＥＲＲＯＲ＞＞ ｔｏｍｏｒｒｏｗ．
Ｐｈｏｔｏｓ ｏｆ ｙｏｕｒ ＜＜ＥＲＲＯＲ＞＞ ｔｏｙ ａｒｅ ａｖａｉｌａｂｌｅ ｕｐｏｎ ｒｅｑｕｅｓｔ ｓｈｏｕｌｄ ｙｏｕ ｄｅｓｉｒｅ ａ ｐｒｅｖｉｅｗ．
Ｄｕｃｋ ａｎｄ ｃｏｖｅｒ，
ＡＴＴＡＣＨＥＤ ＹＯＵ ＷＩＬＬ ＦＩＮＤ ＴＷＯ ＰＨＯＴＯＧＲＡＰＨＳ ＯＦ ＹＯＵＲ ＜＜ＥＲＲＯＲ＞＞． ＰＬＥＡＳＥ ＥＮＪＯＹ．
ＤＲＡＧＯＮＴＥＣＨ ＩＮＮＯＶＡＴＩＯＮＳ ＲＥＱＵＥＳＴＳ ＹＯＵ ＤＯ ＮＯＴ ＳＨＡＲＥ ＴＨＥＳＥ ＩＭＡＧＥＳ ＯＦ ＹＯＵＲ ＜＜ＥＲＲＯＲ＞＞ ＵＮＴＩＬ ＴＯＭＯＲＲＯＷ ＡＦＴＥＲＮＯＯＮ ＵＰＯＮ ＴＨＥ ＜＜ＥＲＲＯＲ＞＞ ＲＥＬＥＡＳＥ．
ＷＥ ＬＯＯＫ ＦＯＲＷＡＲＤ ＴＯ ＹＯＵＲ ＣＯＮＴＩＮＵＥＤ ＣＯＯＰＥＲＡＴＩＯＮ．
ＨＥＬＬＯ ＴＯ ＮＵＣＬＥＡＲ ＬＯＶＥ，
Thankfully, Knottery was glad to cooperate with CRON , and provided some helpful feedback and initial impressions (and gave us permission to share!).
“Initial thoughts for <<ERROR>> – Really glad to see that it’s a pretty unique design from BD’s other offerings! I like the look of the head and the subtle texture on the shaft and think the base looks pretty interesting, too. Can’t really make any judgments on the size from the photos alone, so I’ll leave that until I’ve gotten my hands on it.
The Dragontech promotion itself has been pretty fun to see unfold! Love the little extras like the bottle caps and the hinting and teasing going on, building up the hype for each new announcement. The little radio jingles are fantastic and it’s cool to see themed merchandise available in the shop. The <<ERROR>> I picked up from adoptions was an interesting little game. I ended up taking the chance that there could be a burning end to our romance on <<ERROR>>, but not everyone is comfortable throwing $95 dollars at a big mystery, so it might be cool to see something more accessible for more people to take part in (aside from the game of wild speculation). It’s always nice to see promotions that try to engage the community, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Dragontech takes us tomorrow and what Bad Dragon has planned in the future!”
I’ll see about photos and some further thoughts on <<ERROR>> once I’ve gotten it tomorrow morning!”
UPDATE: Here’s what Knottery had to say!
“Well I took a gamble on an ERROR and I’d say it was plenty worth it! The size of the medium is nice and manageable, not too long or overwhelmingly girthy, the swells on the shaft taper nicely into each other, leading up to a knot that is bulbous and substantial without being too sudden or intimidating. The detail is nice, I like running my fingers over the bumps on the shaft and the lines under the head. I also like that it has a gentle curve to it and that the base isn’t too heavy while still having a bit of detail in the spines. Overall a well designed toy! As always, Bad Dragon product quality is exceptionally high and the toy itself is beautiful – a metallic marble of copper and a greyish silver with lots of swirls and patterns on it. To top everything off, I scored some Dragontech swag with my unconventional order – a Duka-Cola poster, a bottle of retro lube, and a full set of precious, precious bottle caps!”
That about wraps it up for our teaser! We’d hoped to do more on Monday, but some unfortunate circumstances threw a wrench in the works. All in all, we hope that those who played along had a fun time, and that everyone enjoys Nocturne.
…And we’re very sorry if anyone is disappointed that we are not releasing a giant bee stinger. Hunter isn’t a real thing, folks. Please don’t lock us in a vault and feed us on Rattleyote sandwiches for the next 200 years.