Three posts in a row from MMORPG: first, an essay by Justin Webb on the fine line between RPGs and MMOs; then an article pondering Facebook gaming as a gateway drug to deeper, larger games. Finally, William Murphy compares Star Wars: the Old Republic with Mass Effect 2, and wonders if the Mass Effect 2 universe would make a good MMO.
I'll even toss in a fourth at no extra charge, because Scott Jennings' second part of why MMOs fail just hit the inbox. (If you haven't read part one, then here you go.)
All worth reading, though I am laughing, comparing FarmVille to SL's Tiny Empires. It's sort of the same thing, innit? But then, what is Tiny Empires the gateway drug for?
Via Laird Brideswell, Elrik Merlin, comes a page on how the internet has changed thinking. He particularly points you towards Brian Eno's contribution, which--distinctly and oddly--mentions Second Life. (Eno's also bought into the party line that record companies are losing money due to illegal downloads, which is sad to see.) Of other odd note--he doesn't think it's a positive thing to have long-distance relationships on the net.
On the net or off, I will agree, absolutely: long-distance relationships are terrifying to negotiate. And the longer the distance, the more unlikely of it becoming something more personal--in the sense of independent, in-person presence, not emotions felt--which is, can be, a sad thing.
I am very convinced of the value of these, how'ver. Unlike Eno, I do not believe my ability to express love and devotion stops when I can't physically reach out and touch someone. I communicate widely using the net and email, and I am also capable of communicating with great emotional depth, I believe. I think net-based communication--and net-based love, for as far as it goes--are only as limited as one makes them.
Another tip from Mr. Merlin--the beginning of a conversation on whether or not SL residents should match age and gender for 'real' events--like teaching classes, immersive recreation sims (the WWI Poetry Archive was mentioned in a comment), training seminars, and the like. An important point was made at the very beginning--while that commenter doesn't think it should be mandatory, she does think that showing up in a non-human form should be something the resident is comfortable with, and also understands that this may be viewed as being outside the norm.
While it goes farther in SL than RL, that is a reasonable prejudice to bring up--if you don't look normal, for whatever guidelines of normal qualify for your community or teaching institution, you will get looked at funny, if not outright mocked. This is nothing out of the ordinary; it happens all the time. It is of note, though, that by and large people on SL are more tolerant, not less. It's always interesting--and nearly always, due to a sudden external influence of outsiders joining residents--to observe the spikes of intolerance on the grid.
"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength." Maya Angelou said that, and she was right. If we can't manage successful diversity and adaptation in a virtual world, what makes us think we will ever manage it in RL?
Finally, you gotta see this.
I'm dead serious. It's in Caledon Morgaine and is somehow made of cavorite particles and gum resins. I'm not entirely sure if it's safe, but it is fun.
We'll just have to watch for mutations. L$25 outside of Portland and Broome Manufacturing, and comes two pieces per pack. And they're tradeable--a piece for you, a piece for a friend.
I fully expect small popping sounds accompanied by mini-lifts will become the next Caledonian fad.