11 thoughts on “Game Over

  1. I love this post, Kat! I’m a long-time resident who just signed up for SL under a new alt account – a “veteran rookie”, you could say – and having never seen the default mesh avatars that people are forced into, I was utterly confused myself. For someone completely new with zero guidance to figure out how to peel off the mesh, remove the alpha, and then build a “system” avatar from ground up … I can’t even imagine the confusion they must experience. No wonder so many quit before they get started!

    Ooh, and I can help with the demo thing: on the MP, enter your keyword into the search box followed by “NOT demo”. So for example, if you want to find cheap/free hair, type in “hair NOT demo” (without the quotes; NOT has to be capitalized) and click search. Then refine by changing the price parameters to the 0-10 option, or type in 0-0 in the two boxes if you want completely free hairstyles only. Sometimes people do get around that by putting D*E*M*O or similar in the title, but for the most part, that should hide the demos from view. Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. This post is SO true. The ‘unWelcome Centre’ must be something that makes many new sign-ups decide to log out and never play again, such is the lack of explanations provided. You correctly identify that the international dimension of SL means the entry point does need to be streamlined, but Linden Labs could make this so much easier if a new avatar could click on something on their avatar to bring up a ‘help’ page in the world’s major languages. Equally, I’ve always felt ‘defaulting’ the movement and camera controls on screen at start-up would at least help newbies move.

    Furthermore, Linden Labs could work in tandem with bloggers -Fab Free, certainly, and maybe SL Style Daily Wire, and one or two others, maybe one or two freebie places?- to provide information to newbies to ease their way into the game, get them to pick up good looking freebie skins (Apple May Designs do skins, and some great looking clothes for newbies, as well as other places) and hair and so on to allow them to easily, simply, get a foothold in the game.

    Mesh layers have made this entry, in my mind, more difficult. We want to move around, change clothes. In the days prior to mesh any outfit would fit perfectly. Now we have all of this mesh in different sizes….it doesn’t make things simple for newbies.

    Linden Labs appear to be running some sort of affiliate programme at the moment to encourage established avatars to get ‘sign ups’ (in return for cash). To me, this is part recognition from LL themselves that the entry into the game is problematic.

    We all continually ‘tweak’ our avatars, and look in admiration at other players who’ve spent years perfecting theirs. If only LL could make the entry level avatar half-way decent (decent skin, flexi hair, a proper AO included in inventory) I believe it would encourage new players to stick around, looking good, rather than feel overwhelmed by others, waddling without an AO, rigid hair refusing to move no matter how fast you run or fly!

    Another issue that vexes male avatars is the lack of genitalia. Midnight Lotus do a free, realistic (non-scripted, non-fucntioning) one, an item I blogged in June 2014. https://theslnaturist.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/realistic-freebie-penis/

    Again, why can’t males come with something like this in inventory? It would certainly stop us having to endure the sight of badly coloured and ridiculously sized, permanently erect appendages which are laughable (but which males invariably attach because they’re free and they wish to make their avatar look ‘complete’, understandably.

    The entire entry point into the game needs root and branch reform, the process simplified so that new sign-ups find the process simple and easy. That way, they get into the game right from the beginning, and immerse themselves in it rather than struggle to get a foothold in it. I wonder, sometimes, just how many people sign up, log in, find the thing appalling difficult to begin with, and log out, never to return to SL.


    1. You’re so right on all your points, Ella. I’m not 100% certain where avatars end up when they poof through the portal; I think it might be Social Island, Help Island, something like that? But presuming it’s open to regular SL members, unlike the newbies-only Learning Island, I can only imagine the UN-welcome that people receive once they land there.

      I’ve been recommending that people make NCI, Caledon Oxbridge, or FabFree Headquarters their first stop after their portal jump. A lot of the newbies I’ve met seem concerned with immediately updating their appearance (can’t blame them there) so FabFree makes a great first stop, but I genuinely hope they make it to one of the others shortly thereafter. After a lot of poking through the in-world Places search last night, I’m becoming convinced that those might be the ONLY dedicated newbie help zones left that aren’t awash with griefers and troublemakers. That LL hasn’t made one of them the first official landing place post-Learning Island is a true shame.

      Kat, I hope your friend decides to give SL another go sometime!

      1. I’ve visited Caledon Oxbridge, and it is thorough in how it guides people through EVERYTHING -how to control walking, how to changes clothes, everything!- in a comprehensive manner. Of course, I speak as a native English speaker (and Oxbridge’s language is English) so it’s all rather simple for me to read. Not quite so much for anyone for whom English isn’t a first language! Imagine you or I having to tp into a Russian, Korean or Japanese ‘welcome’ centre with no indication of what to do next. I rather imagine we’d log out and abandon the game too.

        Griefers and troublemakers are another concern. In the days when the rather ridiculous ‘Bloodlines’ was popular I got ‘bitten’ by a vampire on Day 1 or 2. No long term harm was done, but I worried for a while if my avatar’s ‘health’ was going to be compromised. Would she fall sick and die? I genuinely didn’t know. I confess that that experience made me wonder whether I should stick around in the game (I did) and whether I should invest real cash on an avatar who might become ‘sick’, so I didn’t invest any money on my avatar for weeks, until I learned that one ‘bite’ (and rejecting offers for many others) had no long term effect.

  3. Everr, from what I recall, after going through the portal, my friend did indeed land in a place filled with avatars. We ignored them and immediately tp’d to Fab Free, so I can’t really say what kind of people they were. But the sheer number was not a good feeling. 😦
    I’ve not been to Caledon or NCI, but I was lucky enough when I started to have someone who had in-game experience helping me as well.
    These days, people who sign up are probably expecting what they get from most other ‘games’ like SL – jump in, be given some objective to complete, and off they go. The rest they learn as they go. In SL, it’s like being dumped into the final boss fight of a game when you first start – most people give up, because they have no idea what to do. There are some tenacious ones who stick it out and learn on their own, but those are few and far between.

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