EDIT: 01-09-2011 Due to all of the user feedback on challenges, Groundspeak removed the “challenges completed” count from the find count, so parts of this article that mentioned it have now been scrubbed out!
Last night Groundspeak implemented their replacement for virtuals – Geocaching Challenges. A while ago there was a user feedback suggestion to bring virtuals back, and I did indeed add a vote to it. However, after doing so I started thinking… Would it really be such a great idea? Back when virtuals existed the overall cache quality was higher and there were far fewer Geocachers. There are some brilliant virtuals that are still alive today, but there are also some really pointless ones. The reason I questioned my vote was that I wasn’t sure how new virtual quality would be measured so that the poor ones wouldn’t get through. How worthy a location is of a virtual would surely be very subjective. Reviewers have enough to do reviewing physical caches to be bombarded with virtuals as well. Groundspeak obviously thought about these things when they created their “Geocaching Challenges”, but what exactly are they, and did they think hard enough? The brilliant Podcacher podcast had an interview with Jeremy and Bryan from Groundspeak about this before the implementation which is worth a listen. Here’s a look at Challenges now that they have been implemented…
Completing a Challenge
After the update we now have the ‘Challenges’ link under our Quick View, and when you hover over ‘Your Profile’ and ‘Play’ on the main menu. Creating Challenges is a ‘Premium Members only’ feature, but completing them is open to anyone. In your profile, your finds are now broken up into Finds, Hides, and Challenges
and although your “Found” number in the top right-hand side of the Geocaching page and in the logs for caches shows the total number of Found/Completed which includes challenges, when someone clicks on your public profile they will get the breakdown.