Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Observations of a Second Life Newbie

Look at me. Newbie girl! I think I lasted about two hours on Orientation Island. Yeah yeah.. follow the arrows, learn to fly, do some unclear torch lighting quest that doesn't work, piddle around with my shape. Check. Let me the hell out of here! Too many goddamn newbies toddling around. Y'know .. like me.

So I click whatever it was that needed clicking to leave the starting place forever and get dumped into Hell - literally. There must have been a thousand gray unrezzed avitars slogging around in this strange purgatory I found myself in. I could not move. I could not speak. I could not see. I thought - WTF? (for the uninitiated, that doesn't mean "World Transoceanic Flight") Second Life my ass. More like Second Death.

But it was an interesting purgatory. There were strange gray shapes that looked like fox women. "Hmm" I thought to myself "have I stumbled into a casting call for Disney's Robin Hood?" There were males and females (all gray of course) of all shapes, sizes, species, and presumably colors, if only I could see them. It was like a great soup of diversity.

So instead of shutting down in frustration and ending my Second Life there and then, I tinkered around with the menu until I stumbled upon teleportation. And at last my Second Life truly began.

The first thing I learned is that there are people (avatars) everywhere in this place. You cannot walk 10 toddling steps (sans animation overrider) without bumping into another person. And they are people of every nationality, speaking almost any conceivable language. A true melting pot of abundant diversity and humanity.

The second thing I learned is that if you have a sexy female avatar (check the picture above - not too bad for a 24h old noob, eh?) everyone wants to have cybersex with you! Before my avatar had existed for a full turn of the clock, I had countless people (mostly male avatars) offering "friendship", giving me money (hey .. maybe I'm onto something here), and sending me IMs (instant messages) that lit up my screen like a switchboard. Jesus, was that annoying! A piece of advice to people who are men in First Life: Want to know what a pain in the ass it can be to be a woman? Create a female avatar, buy some hot clothes, give her big tits. Good luck getting your summer reading done, dude.

The third thing I learned is that there are essentially two social classes in Second Life: the Freebies and the Premiums. I was a Freebie for a very long time. These are people who will not provide Linden Labs with a red cent. Second Life is great because it allows you to join for free. But it costs money to have fun in SL. You have to buy clothes, you have to pay to get into certain groups, you need dough to rent or own a place to live. Enter the Premiums: people willing to give LL around 100 USD each year for the privilege of owning virtual land. They also get a tiny stipend of Linden Dollars, which quite frankly is not enough to really have much fun with. So even Premium citizens have to come up with extra dollars.

So I did what all newbie freebies did: Camp!! Yes, you can actually get paid a trifling amount to sit in a chair all day long. Landowners do this to increase the apparent interest in their property. Campers do it so they can save enough money to buy that new prim hair. It only takes about a week of camping to do so. For cheap hair. Can you believe I did this? Instead of growing my character, meeting people, discovering new things and new experiences, I sat in a fucking chair all day long. In retrospect, there is something dehumanizing about that. Rats in Skinner Boxes. Shit. Perhaps Second Life is more like First Life than it seems.

The fourth thing I learned, once I dropped a relatively small amount of RL money into the place (thereby ending my enslavement to the camping chair industry) was that if you want to have sex in Second Life, there is always someone (and usually multitudes of someones) free and ready and willing .. and almost all of them are talentless, insulting, degrading, unable to spell or string three words together into a meaningful sentence .. and altogether not sexy. Do a search for the places with the words "orgy" or "sex" or "fuck" and a huge list of places comes up. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Yeah, its real exciting to watch a bunch of people with newbie avatars and freebie penises (freakish looking gigantic things that bump into people as they stumble around) walking around saying sexy things like: "u want 2 fuck?" Mmm... baby. Where have you been all my life?

The fifth thing I learned is that if you sift through the multitudes of mediocrity, there are people living Second Lives who are absolutely astonishing in their intellect, creativity, personality, humor, depth and humanity. I have met some of the most intensely beautiful souls in this second world. Unchained from the encumbrance of First Life responsibilities and baggage, these angels take flight and soar to new heights of existence. It is these fine souls who will occupy most of my attention in this blog.

(c) All Rights Reserved. Copyrighted (June 2007) by Magdalena Cazalet.

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