Friday, April 8, 2011

Life as a Newbie: Theia 2.0

So over 5 years after being a true noob in Second Life, I decided it was time to find out what it's like to be a newbie today.  First, I made a new avatar this morning, complete the horrible lack of surrname (I won't even get into that at this time, ugh).  Next, I downloaded the standard Second Life viewer.  Finally, I logged in.

I must say, the initial landing point into Second Life has vastly improved since I was a newbie.  They actually teach you how do things like cam in on things and how to sit on a prim.  They also got rid of the ridiculous HUD tutorial they implemented some years ago.  But once you walk through a rather short demonstration area, you end up being given directions how to open the Destination Guide to teleport off into the world.

Really?  The Destination Guide?  That's the end of 'help'?  That explains why it's now common to see avatars only an hour old wandering lost at events and clubs. Being as many newbies still end up Orientation Island and Help Island, I made Orientation Island my next stop.  Wow...what an experience.

The first thing I noticed when landing was a couple people fighting on voice.  If I was a newcomer and the first interaction I had with another resident was hearing two idiots call each other "asshole" and curse each other out on voice, it would definitely make me wonder what the hell I'd gotten myself into.  But I remained despite the voice drama.  I stood around for about 20 minutes, waiting to see if someone would offer assistance, with no luck.  So, I decided to ask in local chat.  You will not believe the response:

[12:45] Theia 2.0: does someone know where I get what the sign gave me?
[12:45] Oldtimer Troll: I WANT TO DO TEH SEX! 

I'm totally not kidding.  That is the response I got to my question.  28 people in the sim and that is "help" I received when asking for it. *sighs*  Thankfully about 4 minutes later someone briefly told me to where to look in my inventory for the Notecard.

If that's not bad enough, about 5 minutes after that stimulating exchange, I got this IM:

[12:51] Fucktard: hi
[12:51] Theia 2.0: hello
[12:51] Fucktard: how are u?
[12:52] Theia 2.0: fine thanks, and you?
[12:52] Fucktard: good
[12:52] Fucktard: u need someone take care of you
[12:52] Theia 2.0: well no, but can you tell me how to change my hair color?
[12:53] Fucktard: you no BDSM? 
[12:53] Theia 2.0: huh? 
[12:53] Fucktard: you can be my slave
[12:54] Theia 2.0: Your slave? How about I make you my bitch instead? What kind of loser trolls noobs for freak'n slaves?  In a G sim no less? Unreal.
[12:54] Fucktard: what?  stupid bitch
[12:55] Theia 2.0: Yes, I am a bitch, but I'm not stupid nor am I a noob.  I've been here long enough to know a douchebag when I see one, and you're it.  Man up, grow some damn short hairs, and quit trolling noobs because you're too pathetic to get a woman who's not new and confused.

Unfreak'n believable.

Since Orientation Island was an epic failure, after a brief log into RL I decided to move onto Help Island Public.  There were 39 people in the sim when I landed.  This time I landed to people fighting and calling each other names in local chat. (why does everyone argue at these places?)  I spent another 20 minutes waddling around aimlessly, and no offer for assistance.  I once again asked for help in local chat:

[13:20] Theia 2.0: how do i change hair color?

 No response.  None.  No one even attempted to help.  They just continued to gesturbate, banter, and argue in open chat.  It was like I didn't even exist.  Another newbie was also asking for help, and received the same non-response I did.

Mind you, had I been a real newbie, I'd have thought "screw this" and logged off LONG before now.  But, there was a light at the end of dreary tunnel.  Right as I about to log, I received this IM:

[13:35] Nice Newbie: hi
[13:35] Nice Newbie: we meet before
[13:35] Theia 2.0: i dont think so
[13:35] Nice Newbie: did i take you to the school
[13:36] Theia 2.0: what school?
[13:36] Nice Newbie: about how to use the virwer 2
[13:36] Nice Newbie: and the game
[13:36] Theia 2.0: oh no, how do I go there?
[13:37] Nice Newbie: i give you a land mark
[13:37] Nice Newbie: ok
[13:37] Theia 2.0: what's that?
[13:38] Nice Newbie: now click the land mark and go
[13:38] Theia 2.0: the globe thing?
[13:38] Nice Newbie: 2 click
[13:38] Theia 2.0: ok ty
[13:39] Nice Newbie:there some shops
[13:39] Nice Newbie: free shops
[13:39] Nice Newbie: when yoy finish there
[13:40] Nice Newbie: call me
[13:40] Theia 2.0: oh ty

Ironically, the only person to actually offer me assistance was a fellow newbie, born in February 2011.  He gave me a Landmark to the University of Caledon Oxbridge, a place I am finding out is wonderful for helping newcomers.  I didn't 'call' the nice newbie afterward, but I do plan on looking him up on my real avatar (Theia), explaining who I am, and offering to return the favor by taking him shopping (my treat) to un-noob himself.  He deserves it.

This was my first day as a born again newbie, and it was not fun.  As I stated earlier, had a been a real newcomer, I'd have logged out of Second Life forever without ever leaving Orientation Island.  Is this really the experience Linden Lab wants newcomers coming into Second Life to have?  Is this the image they wish to portray to people first entering their virtual world?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Newcomers in Second Life- Dazed and Confused

Back in the day, on my first avatar, I was a Second Life Mentor.  I would often spend time on what was then a private island where newcomers where would land.  These islands could only be accessed by newbies, Second Life Mentors, and Lindens.  It made the entrance into Second Life a non-threatening experience for newcomers, free from griefers, spammers, and general idiots that might harass them.  As a mentor, I also had the ability to ask for help in the Second Life Mentor channel when I was too outnumbered by newbies, and others would come to help.

Then, a couple years ago, that all changed.  Linden Lab disbanded the Second Life Mentors group, and newbies began to rez into Second Life on publicly accessible land.  What's worse, they are even dumped into locations like Waterhead and Ahern when the Help Island Public sims are full.

What's Ahern?  What's Waterhead?  Welcome Areas.  What's wrong with them?  They're in inhabited largely by people with zero interest in helping newcomers- and would rather spend their time making fun of them.  This, of course, is when they're not busy acting like foul mouthed 12 year olds in local chat or screaming at each other in voice.  

When I was on a Help Island Public last night, I had Tweeted what sad shape it was in.  Within minutes, Wizard Gynoid landed after seeing my Tweet.  Her response?

[00:49]  Wizard Gynoid: this is a lot like the ahern sim.
[00:50]  Theia Magic: I know :(
[00:50]  Wizard Gynoid: people hassling noobs

The truth is, Help Island Public isn't any better than Welcome Areas these days.  These are PG regions, where it's not at all uncommon to land in the middle of scantily dressed chics and a lot of foul language in local chat.  I've seen wannabe content creators standing near the landing zones, spamming their group tags to every newbie that rezzes in.  I've seen particle griefing, and last night was I even griefed by a blue drop down box spewing obscenities.  I've seen newcomer after newcomer laughed at and berated when asking for help, and I'm quite certain more than a few decided that Second Life wasn't for them because of it and never logged in again.

Did I mention this also where Linden Lab finds it acceptable for the Teens to log into Second Life?

Something desperately needs to be done about the way newcomers are introduced to the Second Life experience.  Had I landed in Help Island Hell as it is today five years ago when I joined Second Life, I can honestly say I'd have said "screw this" and never logged in again.  The Second Life Mentors may not have been perfect, but at least they tried to help newcomers in safe areas that the general public couldn't access.

I'm going to make the same challenge others have in recent weeks- go to Help Island Public and help a newbie.  While you're there, take note of the chaos newcomers are being dumped into and then make it known.  If Linden Lab wants to draw more people into Second Life, let alone make it a safe place for teenagers, then they have A LOT of work to do.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gett'n Jiggly With It

Well it was suggested I make a video of the jiggly features in the Snowstorm Viewer. What, you mean you haven't heard? The new build has not only breast physics, but butt and belly physics too. That's right, it's time to get jiggly with it!

I've never used this viewer until today, and I've never made a video in Second Life before today. Calling this 'amateur' is a serious understatement. So please ignore my giggling and antics ;)