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?


  1. Your post inspired me to go hang out in some of these regions myself to help out (I usually focus on the sandboxes). To my delight, I found members of various superhero groups already there, helping the residentlets learn to be residents.

  2. How you would prevent meeting assholes? It is sad, but really not Lindens fault.
    How would you prevent this?

    Linden Lab does very much wrong.. but to blame them for all the .. erm.. disguisting people in SL is wrong. It is like in RL.. you go to a new place. If you are lucky you will meet awesome people. If you are not...

  3. It's not so much that you meet assholes, it's the fact that assholes are the majority you meet. No one to say "hello, welcome to Second Life", no one to point you in the right direction, no one to make you feel even remotely welcome. If Linden Lab actually staffed the Orientation Island and Welcome Centers with people to actually help newcomers, then the assholes would be easy to over look.

    When the only people who bother to contact you as a newbie are assholes- that's a major problem and it most certainly IS Linden Lab's fault.

  4. Theia, interesting can't wait for part two. It is a sad state you have shown and shame on LL.

    Thanks Dee :)

  5. Just seems like there should be some kind of "be helpful or move along" policy at these places. The fact that women are being trolled for sex there is a really ugly mark on the face of sl. And yes, it's something LL needs to staff and enforce IMO.

    My first day in sl would have been likely impossible to navigate without a friendly person taking my hand, tp'ing me out, showing me how to move, get freebies, change my shape .. it only took an hour and I was intrigued and addicted. But it could have easily gone the other way.

    And one thing LL needs to be aware of if it's courting the social network crowd for new users .. like me they have mostly never been in a virtual world and are less technically savvy than users who joined in the past.

  6. This is interesting, Theia - I'm not running into this when talking to people at one of the hubs. They've all been really cool.

    Lots of people come here to try out the virtual sex thing - (my guess is at least half - a friend challenged me on that, and swears way more) - so make sure you have some LMs for the free sex sims on hand next time out!

  7. I'm glad there's a better group there today. I have a feeling at times it's "hit and miss" depending on who's there. I just wish LL would actually staff them so when crappy groups do take over it, there is someone there to help out.

  8. Sounds like what I encountered when I made Han Held in 2008, except for voice [either because we didn't have it yet, or I didn't know to turn it on] and what I encountered when I came back in 2009. I remember standing dumbstruck just outside of Baycity airport as three people tore each other apart in voice, that made an impression on me I'll not soon forget.

    I'm convinced that the info-hubs, specifically the way that they chase off new users, if it isn't the number one problem Linden Lab needs to address -it's in the top five.

  9. Sorry for the late reply, only just read this after following a link and following a link etc lol

    I did spend some time helping out at one time and some friends still do, and do a great job.
    Agree with points above, it is in LL interest to staff these sims to either help OR just eject/ban griefers giving them a bad name.

    Some of the people work patiently for long hours each day, and try and be the first point of contact for noobs when they fall off the path looking for help.
    However far too many times the first impression is that SL is a place for idiots, perverts and damn right immature people to play around.

    Myself i was one of the lucky ones, id been in world literally seconds when a girl called Melita Magic offered help.
    The fact i still remember her name is proof enough of the impact she made on me, seeing has ive not seen her since them first 2 week
    She answered questions... and yes i had many. even give me a few freebie clothes which at the time i thought was awesome cos it made me look less noob (to me anyway).
    Not only did she give me LMs to fun places she actually went with me to show me round.
    Eventually i weaned my way off Melita and felt ready to take on SL alone... leaving her to deal with even newer needy people behind me.
    By then i was addicted to SL as id been shown the GOOD things.
    And as i found out in the coming weeks people for some reason dont take kindly to noobs even a few week old which is always a shame... down to paranoia (thats subject of another debate)

    The bottom line is this....
    What percentage of new users have left because of this problem? i suspect its very high.

    If this was solved the number of active users in SL would rise dramatically im sure