Lootbox Eve

~ Gimme Gimme Gimme Presents After Midnight ~

Lootbox Eve is a free for all of thieving and thieving from thieves, until the time is up mid2day. Every participant may only have one present at the end of the Eve, a rule that is strictly monitored by not, as one might expect, Galactic Security, but rather every other participant. Those discovered with more than one gift during or in the aftermath of the event will catch the opposite of "holiday cheer".   The event takes place on the final night of the Festival of the Winter Moons. It occurs both within the Net and in the physical Festival Market simultaneously. Both events are open to everyone of any species from anywhere who arrives to participate, though taking part in both cyberspace and meatspace phases in a single year is quite a challenge, if one plans to keep any loot in either reality. When the clock strikes fullnight, presents are distributed freely among the attendees, who then race about the designated event area to either get a gift, hold on to the gift they acquired, or trade their current gift with someone else. Who may or may not be willing to part so easily with their own box......   Most attendees are adults below the higher echelons of society, lower upper class and below, but some midupper class folk have been known to mingle in the streets--if only to watch the spectacle. Demographics from higher social spheres, all the way up to the Elites, typically show no interest in participation beyond their backstage contributions, so long as costs for damages and medical bills aren't sent their way, their property is unafflicted, and ticket-purchasing tourists remain in high numbers.  

In the Market

girl and her dog running with their Lootbox Eve loot
Lootbox Eve by DaniAdventures (with Midjourney & Canva)
Right down the center of the longest street of the Festival Market, vendors empty their stalls of all the goods and trinkets remaining after the previous shopping days. They replace their normal products with piles of wrapped items, all but spilling gift boxes onto the street from their stall tables. Then they walk away.   The night explodes in a flurry of grabbing hands, bristling fur, flailing legs, and an unusually heavy amount of bodyslams. There are never enough gifts to go around, and scarcity tends to lead to bloody snouts and noses. Humans, often the weakest of the species involved (unless they're hooked up with strength cybernetics or temporary chips), have to be sneaky to keep what they have and calculatingly smart to steal what they don't.  
The possibility of the mystery gifts being rare or valuable is quite high, which draws a number of those tourists to the event on its own. But that isn't what makes it one of the biggest holidays folks look forward to in this corner of Luridity. No, locals to the Centralvest Zone show up for a variety of reasons beyond the loot itself.    
  • Participating vendors are paid in advance for their goods by Luridity's Elite, who often buy out entire stalls' worth of inventory in order to get Giving Season credit for providing gifts for the event. It's a massive income burst that comes at the end of a year, which allows these typically middle and low class sellers to begin the new year out of debt and without worrying if they'll have a roof over their heads.
  • In year 522 some vendors claim that though they did have orders and the items were picked up per usual to be wrapped, neither payment nor presents returned for the event at all. They may never know where those gifts ended up, but there were people who went to a great deal of trouble to ensure vendors were reimbursed for their goods by the end of the Festival.
     
    wolfKynd dressed as a reindeer and running with a huge Lootbox Eve gift
    by Dani (Midjourney & Canva)
     
  • Entertainers and creatives of the Artistocracy (and those from lower classes who are granted special dispensation to perform or create for the event) receive higher tips and commissions during the week of the Festival. It only gets better from there. After Lootbox Eve, the tips for performers become mounds of quality presents (from those disappointed with their haul and those who still need Giving Season credit) and commissions for physical artists and artisans explode. Whether that is due to more and more folks seeing the quality of work coming out of the gift boxes and wanting one for themselves or due to the amount of booze and chips imbibed in the aftermath has yet to be determined, but regardless, it sees these folks through the beginning of a new year with an already booked work slate.
  •  
  • Underground elements find it convenient to use the mayhem of the night to disguise exchanges of...less reputable goods. It does provide an extra challenge, to have to guard their illegal wares from those who might try to steal their "present", but folks from this group know how to handle themselves around greedy opponents.
  •  
  • Unlike these other groups, Downgraded citizens ARE there for the gifts, and will fight like beasts to not only keep them, but to take more than they should. It is not unusual to see partnerships and teams of people who have banded together to cobble together a makeshift base, allowing them to begin to grow a collection of heavily defended loot.

  • When there are no rules and the object is to steal presents from others who will be wholeheartedly defending them, one can almost bet on the injury counts. (Some Elite do take quite the perverse pleasure in doing just that, and occasionally providing assistance to their selected "fantasy team lineup" during their looting endeavors.) Though the violence of Lootbox Eve is certainly less...creative...in the real world compared to the virtual one, its prevalence means even those in medical professions find themselves making quite a bit of money for services rendered.  
    Perhaps due to the underground elements, younger children are banned from the physical event. That won't stop all of them from joining in, however, the more people involved in meatspace, the more public hooks are available for loading into the Net, which is where most of them would prefer to get lootboxes for in the first place. Besides that, children and teenagers of every species happen to be vicious in the virtual realm, making them fierce competitors who can more easily stand avatar to avatar rather than looking up at adult opponents. It also helps that their skills and gear in cyberspace tend to easily rank above that of any adults who invest less time in the Net.
    cyberpunk thief with Lootbox Eve gift
    Stealing a "Gift" by DaniAdventures (with Midjourney & Canva)
     

    A Marketing Opportunity Done Right

    Artisans across the network contribute clothing and other avatar items, decorations, big ticket furniture or animation effects, and candies loaded with entertainment buffs, all of which tend to serve as marketing for the creators' other virtual wares in the following months.   Donations from individuals tend to serve as marketing for the creators' other virtual wares, or physical ones. This can be a very lucrative opportunity if done from a clear altruistic approach with attention to quality and good will...or a very expensive one if done poorly.  

    A Marketing Opportunity Done Wrong

    Multiple vendors a year still insist on releasing such poor quality virtual goods that negative publicity bleeds their profits for the next several months. Also receiving negative reactions are contributing conglomerates, who, in typical disconnected fashion, only provide lame company-logo'd materials.   Lootboxes made with resources beyond Artistocracy crafters and artisans, or other Independent creators, are typically not welcome in virtual market events. Yet, big businesses still try, ingratiating themselves to the masses like its their job. Which it is, of course.   If any contributor has not turned over their designs by the time the donations are checked, they will not be able to participate as a sponsor of the event, though this lost opportunity doesn't tend to actively diminish one's income in the same way as a poorly executed design would.  
    In the high spirits for the festive holiday, employees have been known to churn out junk to meet their quota through cheerful malicious compliance. As their bosses reject designs, employees ensure to include every new requirement upon new requirement with exacting accuracy, until the final product is entirely up to the higher-ups' specifications...and entirely unpalatable.
     
    A Lootbox Eve Jog by Dani (Midjourney & Canva)

    Inside the Net

    A single mesh layer is built out which is best described as a sports arena. The enormous, enclosed space is much like a stadium, lined with risers upon risers of market stalls, instead of bleachers full of people. This mesh is completed in the days before the festival, ensuring coders and model designers have enough time to complete the arena and to test the collision settings and physics engines.   Simultaneously, those in charge of securing the gift donations do their final checks on digital goods. These will be given an in-Net "wrapper" to mask the contents, and stacked in the market stalls prior to the start of the event. Goods might include anything from free wardrobe pieces, virtual furniture sets, armor and Netgame specific gear, free rent terms and virtual property, memberships and access to locked or gated Net content, decorations, or simply candy with holiday oriented buffs.   The center of the arena is open, a silent open space which will be filled with virtual Net avatars in the final three hours before the event. The doors to the event are shut one hour prior to its start, a buffer time which allows event staff and Net technicians to do final checks and ensure the load is balanced and accomodating each and every attendee.  
    Though the Net typically experiences very little lag and rare delays in load times, not one person wants to risk being kicked from the Net once the fun begins. Arriving early ensures that there is ample time for ones loadout to populate, and for the cyberspace arena to fully render. This also allows for the system to secure respawn points, for those players unlucky enough to have their health bar depleted.
      Once the clock strikes fullnight, the mayhem begins, continuing for three galactic standard hours--an hour longer than its real world equivalent. Similar to meatspace, boxes are to be taken and stolen and defended and lost and taken again here, but the cyberspace variant of the evening has an extra element.   Lootboxes drop from the virtual sky, tumbling into the Net with bonuses for every player: candy with a variety of pranks, emotes, animations, and event-oriented buffs. There is no limit to the amount of lootboxes one can collect, and every bonus stacks to ridiculous degree.   Players will find themselves flying, blowing each other up with explosive snowballs, or being flung to the complete other side of the map by an accidentally acquired giant sky slingshot. Respawned players--those who perish during the game and have to be resurrected--lose any package(s) they had acquired to that point, but retain any of the looted buff timers and gain additional speed and strength bonuses to help them catch back up.    

    various scenes of people falling, running, and flying to try to hold on to their gifts for Lootbox Eve in the Net

    Dangerous Lootbox Eve Mayhem on the Net by Dani (Midjourney & Canva)

    Comments

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    24 Dec, 2022 00:33

    Great art and a nice article overall. Amusing mix of Christmas White Elephant and The Purge.

    24 Dec, 2022 08:59

    Thank you!! I had fun taking a tradition and twisting it in a way that would work for my particular dystopian brand of cyberpunk :D


    You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
    Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
    26 Dec, 2022 10:36

    I was just getting ready to write this is what happens when you combine a gift exchange with the Purge! Nicely said Mutterwolf. Dani, amazing, creative and funny! Thank you.


    Featured Articles in the Shadow War across Creation by Graylion

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    26 Dec, 2022 10:45

    LOL! Great minds, y'all! Thank you so much Graylion--the chaos in this one felt good :D


    You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
    Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
    4 Jan, 2023 15:32

    What a fun concept! I like that it takes place in meatspace AND virtual space!

    Come see my Bestiary February article with hand-drawn sketches every day in February (maybe)!

    16 Jan, 2023 15:25

    Thank you so much! <3 One aspect of Luridity I love to play with is how different events get to be more accessible. I mean, it's a high tech, low life setting and things are quite unfair to the less fortunate, but there are ways and means to level playing fields and take alternate mainstream and supported paths. So with both environments available with Lootbox Eve, this one doesn't require cybernetic "keep up with the system" major surgery--to play, anyway. The aftermath may be a different story. XD


    You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
    Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
    6 Jan, 2023 00:00

    Good work. Your article convinced me to bet on the injury count, that any gift looks better after midnight, a makeshift defense is a preferable looting tactic, and bluescreens are deathknells on Lootbox Eve.

    A fictive age writer lives and completes her daily work like any other age builder who inhabits her own worlds long enough to write and tell her stories.
    16 Jan, 2023 15:31

    Yesssss! Those Elites do love a good round of betting, and loot must be defended! I wonder what my best strategy would be to end the night with a box in hand. Thank you for the compliment, and for stopping in for the read! <3


    You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
    Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
    12 Jan, 2023 02:49

    Okay, but why does this actually sound fun? Presents? Check. Games? Check. Competition? Check. Chances for profit? Check. A virtual network? Check again. The only issue is the chaotic maelstrom of people, and the chances of getting hurt...   I initially thought this would be something more sinister - maybe a night where various thieving groups might pull off elaborate heists. But this is so much more fun :D

    May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
    16 Jan, 2023 15:13

    Nothing sinister, just a jovial holiday moshpit lol :D The Underworld does sometimes use it to cover illicit exchanges, because it is chaotic and the night provides a good outlet for amusement, but they've really got to be on their toes! Wonder how many times some random tourist makes off with their haul and skips town? :D


    You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
    Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
    18 Jan, 2023 18:19

    New Year's Resolution challenge Constructive Feedback: Although the rules said only constructive feedback, I'd like to do a little of both.   I really enjoyed the aesthetics of the Lootbox Eve title and present icon/image. This immediately draws my attention to the content and gets me excited to read more about your tradition! When you used the term "mid2day", you added a snippet popup that explained the term in greater detail. This is great because I immediately am able to answer my own question of what the term means and continue enjoying the article. After reading the tradition I liked looking at all the images again, and I enjoyed the footer images the most.   For some constructive feedback the 4 images at the top of the article was slightly overwhelming for me as a reader to take in all the different images. Consider only your favorite image as the header. This will help keep the focus on the content written initially, at least for myself. One last thing I noticed while reading through the tradition is I was stopping while reading a few times to ensure I had read everything correctly. As an example this sentence, "When there are no rules and the object is to steal presents from others who will be wholeheartedly defending them, one can almost bet on the injury counts." took me a few reads. Although I could not find all the words to describe how I felt while reading sentences like this, I do think that restructuring the sentences will be helpful.   I hope this feedback is helpful. Thanks again for the awesome read. Keep up the great work!

    20 Jan, 2023 19:14

    This feedback was great!! Thank you so much, and thank you for including this event on your list of articles to check out! I hope your 2023 is a most excellent year. <3


    You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
    Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
    2 Feb, 2023 14:16

    Thanks, you as well!

    20 Jan, 2023 03:01

    This is one of the few times, Dani, that I wish we had a 'Love' button, in stead of a 'Like' one.   Article: 10 out of 10. Artwork: 13.2 out of 10   Thankfully I'm terrible at math. This was fun!

    JAIME BUCKLEY
    Your New Author Friend =)
    Come see Wanted:Hero
    20 Jan, 2023 19:15

    Awww thank you so much! <3 I had a ton of fun writing this one and trying to come up with what kinds of mayhem might happen. :D


    You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
    Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
    20 Jan, 2023 22:37

    I adore your background. The purple is beautiful. Love it.

    JAIME BUCKLEY
    Your New Author Friend =)
    Come see Wanted:Hero
    26 Jan, 2023 19:43

    Wow love the art and the Xmas Madness as well

    28 Jan, 2023 09:17

    I had to click on this and read it after seeing the article block linked on another article. I was not disappointed, and was entertained the whole way through. pretty great!

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