Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a picture of you. a picture of you in uniform, standing with your head held high

[22:18] Litzi Xue: Um, I'm seeing a lot of boxes with dancing Hitlers at Love Soul....
[22:19] ame Meili: omg
[22:19] ame Meili: tp me lol

It's a lively group, the Kitties, so there was some other chatter on shapes...then people caught on:

[22:20] Mikayla Ares: i wanna see can u tp me litzi
[22:21] Mikayla Ares: once more plz
[22:22] ame Meili: omg something is wrong at love soul
[22:22] Litzi Xue: LOL
[22:23] Mikayla Ares: damn sl wont let me tp
[22:23] Mikayla Ares: there


[22:23] ame Meili: anyone else want to see
[22:23] ame Meili: it really is dancing hitlers
[22:23] Mikayla Ares: ok made it
[22:23] Autumn Thatch: they will probably crash the sim
[22:23] ame Meili: im taking a picture
[22:23] Harding Hammerer: what is it?
[22:23] Litzi Xue: And they're all saying Merry Christmas :0


[22:23] Mikayla Ares: are they by tp point?
[22:23] Autumn Thatch: they always crash help island
[22:23] WoulfCat Singer: griefers?
[22:24] Harding Hammerer: i want to see tp me
[22:24] Mikayla Ares: oh wow
[22:24] Lalinda Lovell: slurl, kittys can invade and beat hitler
[22:24] Mikayla Ares: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Nanba/217/62/27
[22:24] Mikayla Ares: its restarting in 2 minutes

And that was that.

Now, why were dancing Hitler cubes attacking a Japanese sim? Why, in fact, were they attacking a Japanese sim selling prim nails? Only the fates know, and I think they're laughing too hard to tell us.

Next, from Massively, comes mildly disturbing news from Second Life--in short, the Lindens are worried over the loss of premium accounts (including mine).

Even though Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon claimed that premium subscriptions were a small part of the overall business, at about 81,400 accounts and at least $6 per month (many pay more depending on land ownership etc) this is at least $488,400 a month or $5,860,800 a year in income (and probably double).

Why is this happening? I'd hazard a guess and say it's got to do with the OS sim crisis. Which was the absolute last straw for very many people.

Of the long list of suggestions for improvements for premium account-holders--most of which would be divisive in the extreme, or impossible to execute--I found a few I really wanted to see happen:

6. Bonuses and Gifts/Drawings

It's cheap, but people respond to it.

8. Better support

Or, for many people, functional support at all.

10. Upgraded Server Capacity

This is huge. And this, right here, if implemented prior to the hack job of customer disservice with the OpenSpace sim issue? Would have kept very many people premium account members.

12. Better profiles

Again, it's a picky meaningless point, but it would help people, they'd feel they were getting something--even if it was something entirely useless.

13. Bring Back First Land

14. Increase Group Limit

These two? ALSO HUGE. Let me say that again: First Land (for new premium members) and increased group limits (for all premium members) WOULD MAKE PEOPLE JOIN SECOND LIFE.

If there are any Lindens reading this? I'm not kidding, those would really help.

17. Premium Classified Ad Positions

A good selection for the merchants. Another good potential benefit for merchants:

19. Improved Inventory Management and Backup

So many people I know just get enraged when they lose things in their inventory, things they can't replace, because they built them.

24. Mega prims

I don't know why people don't give this up, but to be fair, this is what a lot of people want--permanent mega-prim creation abilities. For me, eh, whatever, I use mega-prims when I have to, they're not essential to me--but a lot of folks really want mega-build enabled.

All in all, brief but important--LL is now seeing that something they thought meant nothing, in terms of outgoing stipend payments, is now actually causing a great deal of worry and belt-tightening.

LL, it's your move. What do you do now?

And a brief overview of online worlds.

Yeah. That's somewhat accurate.

And does anyone know anything about Whirled? It mentions user content--but it looks a lot like it's been designed for the 13-to-15 set.

Finally, to wrap everything up, here's this little bit of holiday joy from the Lindens.

This was my first hint of deep danger:

The team produced a gorgeous design that uses Flash. In order to test the new design, we'll be pushing this new page live for a few hours next week, so we can evaluate the impact to traffic. Since Residents that log in get cookied (and directed to the "logged in" home page), the impact to Residents as we run our test should be limited.

In other words, expect crashes, net spasms, freezing, getting auto-logged out, and unbelievable levels of lag like never before.

They go on:

The core of the design is a nine-pod layout and a carousel of pods that can be "flicked" from left to right to reveal additional pods. This allows a potential Resident to see a wide range of experiences available to them.

In other words, graphics-intensive, Flash-dependent website that will ignore entirely those Residents who don't run Flash well, who have older computers, who prefer non-graphical environments (don't laugh, but I know at least one legally blind lady who loves SL for talking to people).

But this paragraph is the one that stunned:

Some of the pods include "verbs"--the things you can do in Second Life--like shop, build, play, flirt, learn. Verb pods expand to play a short animated Flash clip that shows the Second Life experience in motion.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, WAIT, now. Okay, first of all, why the hell is "verbs" in quotes? Verbs can stand on their own, damn it. They don't need inappropriate quotation marks to emphasize that they're VERBS.

Secondly, they need waaaay more words. Shopping, building, flirting, learning--those are all good things. But we need to add in everything else, now, that you can do in Second Life.

Like sailing. Oh, wait, they took that away.

Or getting married. Oh, but no, they're likely going to jump on the "traditional marriage" bandwagon next, and insist that SL marriages must last at least six months to preserve our grand heritage.

How about sex? Oh, but they're likely trying to play that down. Okay, forget sex, let's talk screwing people over--because content theft, copybotting, and outright nothing-for-something schemes are HUGE on SL, still.

Griefing. Now that would make a good "verb". We could even sub-set that one into separate categories--like caging, or trapping, or orbiting. And tie that all in under the heading of banning. Because a lot of people do that here.

Or maybe just outright say what it is, and have one of the cute little Flash-enabled takes-nine-years-to-load-the-goddamn-home-page pods listed as stealing.

In fact, we could add in a whole bunch here--shooting, killing, fighting. Throwing (your computer out the window). Banging (your head against the keyboard in frustration). And then, of course, crashing, logging, relogging, rebaking...and of course upgrading (your video card, because accessing this highly Flash-enabled piece of moving fluff will have burned out your last three).

Oh, yes, indeed, my great gods, this was absolutely necessary, I see it now. They needed to do this. It was vitally necessary. They had absolutely nothing that needed more attention.


*storms off in a huff*


Icterus Dagger said...

Miss Orr,

I'd like to point out that many of those numbered points are essential to free account holders as well as for premium accounts. Of course, there should be some added benefits to actually paying for it; however much of what you touch upon is broken for EVERYONE.

I suspect you know this and were just venting.


Emilly Orr said...

I do, sir, and I was. In all truth, I don't feel--beyond stipend payments, which I still believe are basically rewards for account loyalty, more than anything else--that there should be that many differences between basic and premium account holders. Stipend, yes, that makes sense. Access to live chat and concierge services--as many premium account holders also own virtual land, this is essential.

To take this to a more ridiculous extent, I can't count the number of times that fellow residents have put forth the idea of build only being enabled for those who pay, or creating a sort of 'free zone' consisting of free giveaway stations and orientation exercises, where those without premium accounts (or payment information on file) would be exiled, with the whole of the grid open to premium account holders only.

The system, the game platform, the game tools, the product support, and communication with the Labs all need to be revised, reworked, made more stable and more functional, for everyone. If we as end users didn't feel nearly a Sony-level disconnect with the people running the game, I doubt people would be this upset. And by and large, they are right to be.

Alexandra Rucker said...

I'm definitely in the Megaprim camp - on smaller parcels it's easier to build something with minimal prim count that still has, you know, room to turn around in without your cam going "boing boing ZOOOOOOM" off into the distance.


Emilly Orr said...

I'm not saying megaprims are an inherently bad thing, unless you're just talking ridiculous numbers (apparently someone in Caledon has a 65665x65665, or some such, which is beyond ludicrous). I personally adore Winter Ventura's mega box, because all of her dimensions are designed to halve evenly, something I didn't even consider when megas were briefly enabled. And since I started pulling the odd prim out of that box when needed, I've only once had a prim need that she hadn't already solved--and that was only because I built the current house to strange dimensions!

And it worked just fine with a cylinder prim 20 feet long, instead of 19. :p

Alexandra Rucker said...

Oooo, I never considered the halve evenly thing either. That's cool. :) And yea, anything bigger than 256x256? just seems ludicrous to me too.

Emilly Orr said...

I can see the novelty of getting the entire footprint of one's property under one prim--512x512, 1024x1024....the problem then becomes, what else does one do, beyond simply mega-plating the land?