| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (62)

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 6:40PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I'd say this is pretty spot on. The first time I tried second life, nothing made sense, the newbie avatars looked like crap, nothing worked, it was a mess.

About a year later, I decided I really really wanted to play a Naga like race in an mmo but couldn't find one with them as a playable race, so I gave Second Life a second try. I went in with a specific goal in mind. I got my Naga, than I found a fantasy themed area, complete with dragons and warriors, and have had a blast ever since.

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 7:01PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you. I've played and enjoyed social MMOs in the past, including both TSO and There, but ultimately what I dislike about social MMOs is that the folks who are there for the sex won't mind their own business and leave me the heck alone to NOT have virtual sex.

I could be the exception to the case, but I think you are underestimating the sex thing. I had a friend who was trying to convince me to come play Second Life. He tried to tell me it wasn't all sex, and that I'd really enjoy it.

So I asked him what his girlfriend's name was, and of course he told me.

It might be capable of being more than just a virtual dating machine, but that doesn't change the fact that that is exactly what it is... nothing will ever change that. The earliest MUSHes (which are, of course, the progenitors of the social MMO) were exactly the same, it has always been this way.

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 7:14PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Faulty syllogism, I'm afraid, @cliff. "I believe Second Life is just people having cybersex. My friend had an online girlfriend. Therefore Second Life is just people having cybersex."

You're not required to like Second Life or think that it's worthwhile, but "I'm right because I'm right" generally doesn't fly in most of the world.
Reply

Posted: Jul 10th 2009 6:07AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Really, your friend is wrong...there are loads of fun things to do. I spend most of my time teaching. Bizarre, I know, but I just love the rush of knowing I'm teaching people stuff. So I hold classes on animation, coding, etc... SL is pretty endless in what you can do.
Reply

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 7:24PM Freeballer said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
this is basically the same advise I said to a newcommer, a friend of mine irl. I said its infinitely possibilities give you chance to try almost anything you never thought of in first life. Mind you, yes, skydiving in sl is not same lol but it helps me get out and be social when I'm up late, gives me a chance to be creative and explore and for most part I'm not bored. MIND YOU.... I think there IS alot of sims and people looking for vr sex but thats not what I'm into and my profile says so, which maybee why I don't get asked alot for it.... also this is more of a social network like facebook than it is a game.... so maybee this is why mmo players don't like?!

Also as a rp don't confuse sex with roleplay, or even D/s with sex.. it's not, its sexual perhaps but not necessarily means sex.

My major grips about second life and unfortunately not easily fixed but won't get into them in this forum. Needless to say I think everybody should give it a try before making judgement - if you do or not is another thing but keep an idea what is said here before needlessly whinning

Anyways. my rant is done
Tootles
Rylee

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 7:24PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I'm concerned by your comments early in the article. "Don't like avatar customization? You most likely didn't want to spend the time to learn the UI. Ended up in a furry sim or some sort of sex sim? You most likely didn't know what you wanted to really do in SL." At least to me, you're coming across as dismissive of people who actually, legitimately didn't like the experience. I understand that you're trying to include more people in Second Life, but what I'm hearing is "you couldn't possibly have actually not liked my hobby, you must just be doing it wrong."

I tried Second Life for a while, and I admit that my frustration with the user interface and my negative interactions with other people ("gtfo noob" was far more common than "hi, welcome", at least in my experience) contributed to my decision to leave. But it's more than that - Second Life, unlike many MMOs, simply doesn't have a clear way to find out What's In it For Me (WIFM), and both the official literature and the game's proponents go to great lengths to describe features, but don't give me any idea of of the benefits that those features produce. In other words, there's a lot about the neat things you can do, but very little about how those things will fulfill needs. The Search button lets me buy a lightsaber - that's great, but why should I want a lightsaber? (Why should I want to buy things? What's the point of amassing currency in a secondary world? et cetera.)

Second Life, unfortunately, is one of those games that I think you just have to *get* - there's nothing that indicates to me how it will fill an existing need, or create a new one (or awaken one I didn't know was there), so I have to be willing to push at it until I figure out how to satisfy my own needs *with* the game - and honestly, I have other things I'd rather be doing and other tools I'd rather be using to satisfy the needs I already know I have.

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 7:52PM Seraphina Brennan said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I'll agree with you about the dismissive part. I re-wrote that area a few times to try to not sound like that, but apparently it's seeping through anyway, even though that is completely not my intent. The point I wanted to make is that perhaps people didn't give it enough of an effort, but I wanted to tie that statement into my overall theme of people not "getting it." But, believe me, my intent is not to be dismissive or to sound elitist. I have my own gripes with Second Life... such as the UI IS A PILE OF ARRGHHH. Of course, once you get a hold of it, it gets better... but it still needs to be reworked to be more approachable.

But, hey, thanks for the comments, and I understand where you're coming from. If it's not for you, like I said, it's not for you and that's cool. But, if it was the welcome areas that got to you, you should check out New Citizens Incorporated. Lots of good people over there who are totally willing to lend a hand. That is, of course, if you want to try to jump back in. If not, well then, it's all good. :)
Reply

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 8:19PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Your mistake is in thinking of SL as a game. That statement may attract some flack but it is in fact a virtual world, not a game.
So there not being a clear answer to "What's in it for me?" isn't surprising at all. Is there a manual somewhere for real life to answer that?
You ask why you would want to buy a lightsaber. I don't know, maybe you're into star wars and want to hang out with like minded people.
It's all optional. You don't have to buy anything, amass virtual currency or build anything. The reason you might want to do some of those things is to experience an alternate world than the one you're living where anything and everything can be changed.
But as you say, not everybody gets it, If you can't find a need to fill within SL then there are hundreds of "games" out there with clear goals that might fill them for you.
Reply

Posted: Jul 10th 2009 12:16AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Colin, thank you for clarifying. (Do you prefer Colin? I notice your Twitter account is Sera Brennan.) I struggled myself to make it clear that I knew you didn't *mean* to come off that way, and I hope that came through. If I ever get back into SL, I'll certainly check out New Citizens Incorporated.

traxx, while I appreciate the point you're making, the bottom line is that while Linden Labs and SL users love to say things like "is there a manual for real life?", SL is quite decidedly NOT a second world. It's a product that mimics one. Talking about whether or not "game" is the right word sidesteps the point - it's a piece of software, a recreational activity in which people can choose whether or not to participate.

The old joke is that in the game of life, you can't win, you can't lose, and you can't even quit the game. You CAN quit Second Life, and LL and SL's users just aren't doing a very good job of demonstrating the benefits of staying - not the features that Second Life offers, but the needs that those features fulfill.
Reply

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 7:29PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I have to disagree with Cliff & say that you're spot on with this article. I'm approaching my third "rezz day" in SL and sure, I've seen tons of "pixel sex" in SL, as well as being propositioned more times than I can count. However, I still firmly believe that SL doesn't have to be a "virtual dating machine".

I'm a DJ in SL and that kinda throws me into the spotlight quite a bit, especially in the crowd that I circulate in but people know that I'm not in SL for the sex. Sure, I flirt like a maniac, but that's part of the entertainment. I can't remember the last time that I actually had someone truly think they were going to get me to have sex with them. Heck, I haven't even owned an "attachment" since I gave one away over two years ago.

For me, it's about fun. Maybe it's different because I have a "job" and it gives me the goal that is talked about in the article, but even when I'm not DJing, I login with an alt and go role play on one of many different environments from medieval, to goth/vamp, to cyberpunk and darn near anything in-between.

Like Colin said, have a goal as to what you want out of SL and it'll be there. If you want to have sex, fine, it's out there. But if that's the last thing on your mind, no worries, there's places to go & things to do to keep it away.

Great article Colin!

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 7:47PM Skreeg said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@cliff I'm afraid that yours is exactly the attitude that this article was directed at. As someone that has been a user of SL for over four years now, I can assure you that it is not all about cyber sex. Yes there is sex in SL I'm not denying that but how is that different than any other game or real life for that matter. If you were constantly being harassed by other people about having cyber sex, you were simply hanging out in the wrong places. I'm guessing you were in one of the welcome areas which is akin to going to a freak show.
To stay with the author's analogy, like the internet, you can pretty much find anything you can imagine in SL and a few hundred things you can't imagine.
Figure out what you want, get out of the welcome area and have fun. And if for some reason you can't find what you want, create it. You have all the tools there you need.

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 8:31PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
"I'm guessing you were in one of the welcome areas which is akin to going to a freak show."

Do you not understand why this is a problem? I will admit that the majority of my experience in Second Life is in the welcome areas, and they were a freak show. And since I have a limited gaming schedule, I didn't want to put up with the propositions I got within 10 minutes of logging in, so I left. This being said, I'm not a hand-everything-to-me kind of player. I enjoy the social network building aspect of MMOs; hence why I played a subpar game like Star Wars Galaxies for 2 years and led a large, successful crafting guild. But the problem with SL for new players is that the sex and the deviancy is all we see. We log in having no clue and are immediately propositioned. Or at least, that was my experience, on three separate tries.
Reply

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 10:28PM Skreeg said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Certainly I see why this is a problem. I see it as the main problem actually. If you never leave the welcome areas, you are left with the impression that this is what SL is like everywhere. Hell, I would have quit SL years ago if I hadn't left the welcome area on my first day.
My advise is log in, get out of the welcome area asap, start exploring and searching for what interests you. Then after you've found your place in the world, you can go back to the welcome area and watch the freak show for laughs. And maybe you'll spot a lost noob caught in the chaos and drop him a few landmarks to some "normal" places you've found in your travels.
Reply

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 8:42PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I wrote a post about how I (as a gamer) found the fun in Second Life.

http://www.cuppycake.org/?p=802

Might be interesting to some folks here.

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 9:20PM ShadowKoneko said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
If you want something more like other games in SL. Look up MCM, Mech Combat. Thats right, Mechwarrior / Battletech style combat in SL. Very well done and pretty fun, pretty different from other combat systems ive ran across.

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 10:11PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I've found it to continually be a largely empty world with dragging frame rates, that picture at the top of the screen is about the nicest I've seen. Usually they have sex or sitting pose balls all over the seats. It's typical to see nudity every time you log on. I've found it to be a dragging environment with a certain type of person. If I connected with a few people it might be different, still, standing in a lowpoly building (usually a store or just outside) with people playing animations and talking while doing something else with a fps of 5 is not my idea of an ideal game.

Posted: Jul 10th 2009 7:26AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
A previous commenter wrote
"It's typical to see nudity every time you log on"

I want to point out that this is just plain false.
It will be even more false now, that there is a new policy about Adult stuff.


Answer to another commenter:
yeah, people actually play and enjoy SL. Their number is growing, not shrinking.
Reply

Posted: Jul 10th 2009 10:20AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Perhaps that's because it's not a "game"?

I mean, if you move to a new town, do you automatically expect to have friends right away? Or do you complain that everything looks the same when you don't go outside? Just like anything else, you get out of SL what you put into it. If you don't put any time or energy into finding new things, or people, you're not going to get anything out of it.
Reply

Posted: Jul 10th 2009 10:41AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Fnord, when I move to a new town, generally I know people there, and generally there's a Yellow Pages available.
Reply

Posted: Jul 9th 2009 10:57PM JeremyT said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
I've read your post, and I have to disagree a bit. The impenetrable UI, horrid performance, and generally low level of quality found in most user generated content are my biggest gripes about the game.

A good system would provide both easily accessible content generation tools (to enable more people to generate quality content) and effective rating and search functions (to sift through the inevitable sea of garbage content). SL does neither.

This combines to create an experience that's going to be completely confounding to a casual player. I've tried the game on multiple occasions, thinking that a graphical MUSH by all rights *should* be a worthwhile thing, but I can never find enough willpower to plow through the game's technical failings to get to the meat of the thing. In your article you seem to imply that it's all worth it, if you just tough it out - and maybe it is. But the fact is, if the new user experience is so terrible, many (if not most) new users will simply never get beyond it.

Furries, sex sims... whatever floats your boat, that doesn't bother me. The entire point of such a free-form environment is that it enables you to engage in fantasies or activities that you are unable or unwilling to do in the real world, and it should be no surprise that kink sex is pretty high up on the list. What bothers me about SL is that it's almost unusable, except for people determined enough to fight through the brokenness. And I am not one of those people.

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW