It's been four, almost five years since I started in SL. I remember a little bit of gambling (slot machines for minor amounts of $L), large groups of campers (are those sims even around anymore?), everything being under a serious case of "stop motion" and thinking it was all normal (I was on a cheap laptop that could not handle SL, and even my up to date laptop of today is struggling), and wondering "hot damn, anything really IS possible here!".
Now, after nearly five years later and I-don't-know-how-many shifts in power that SL has had, I thought it would be interesting to go back and talk to another old timer about how SL has changed both for better or worse. I teleported over to the old Korea sims where I hang out, and ran into someone going by the name Seth The Husky, someone who has been around since 2004. We sat down to interview and people-watch for a time.
I got a couple of unusual answers. I didn't know Obama had a sim during his run in 2008 for instance, and the situation with college classes no longer getting discounts for sims if the end result is to educate people.
Xymbers Slade: Ok, my first question is what was SL like when you first arrived on the scene? What did you want to see more of at the time? (besides less sound spammers... heh) [Someone had entered the sim with their mic on and music blasting.]
Seth The Husky: It was like the wild west in 2004... there was no such thing as "no push zones" or any of the things that are normal today. You had to watch who you insulted or you would get orbited or worse. In a way people where more polite back then.
Xymbers Slade: I wasn't aware there were no-push zones now. I need to get out more.
Xymbers Slade: What good things have you seen -removed- from SL in the time you've been here?
Seth The Husky: The sense of community has taken a hit. We used to get along with the people in charge and help them on projects. Now they are more interested in making more money and letting Second Life suffer for it. I miss us being in this together... learning from each other. Now that they are taking away free access to colleges... it kinda makes me sad.
Xymbers Slade: Wait, what? Free access to colleges? o.O Since when? Wonder if this is going to have an effect on the classes Caledon Oxbridge does.
Seth The Husky: In the old days colleges could set up a sim with not much cost to it, if it was to educate people and such. Now I hear LL wants to charge them full price for a Sim and in this economic climate... schools don't have a boat load of money.
Xymbers Slade: Greed Knows No Bounds, I suppose.
Seth The Husky: I know Linden Labs wants to make money... I'm ok with it. They are running a business. But when you start to mess with a group of folks that has suffered with them through the rough times. There is a degree of being screwed over real or imagined
Xymbers Slade: The Loyalty Factor. That actually brings up another one of my questions...
Xymbers Slade: Second Life used to have an official Mentor group to help the newbies get their feet wet, made up of unpaid volunteers. A year or so ago, those mentor groups were made "no longer official" and were banned from the starting islands, forcing them to make alts in order to remain on them and help newbies out if they so chose. Now that anyone can tell anyone anything and claim to be anything from "official in-game helpers" to "SL Police" and lure people into a false sense of trust... LL should just bring back the Mentors, right? Easiest solution.
Seth The Husky: Well here is my thought... I carry stuff on me to help new folks... and I do answer questions. I dont mind. The problem we have had lately is the new people that come on here are mostly Alts to be used to troll or grief. It is hard to pick out the true new folks that we need to mentor or the morons that want to be the "look at me" whores that have been around a lot of late. In a way it is partly LL's fault and our own.
Xymbers Slade: Do you think the problem would be remedied with an official group? One with ban powers that could kick the trash off the grid? Abuse Reporting, in my experience, has never really worked. They just come back, it's too easy.
Seth The Husky: Yes.... because if they want to help more people to stay here they neeed to cowboy up.
Xymbers Slade: What keeps you in SL then? Just the social factor of a place like the Korea sims?
Seth The Husky: Fact is.... I like being a dog. I have been through the gambit of human stuff. This is the only game/social network I can be a canine and enjoy it.
Xymbers Slade: Heh. As opposed ot the majority of us who have about 90 avatars and shapeshift as the mood strikes. (smile) [Namely, myself]
Seth The Husky: And no it isn't sexual... it is about no drama. Dogs tend to have less drama and I kinda like that.
Xymbers Slade: True that.
Seth The Husky: I have been on here for over 5 years....I have ran the list....wizard... cowboy.... super hero, you name it
Xymbers Slade: Second Life has been up for 6+ years now. Anything that CAN be done, HAS been done. Or overdone, as the case may be. How can new people wanting to start businesses here cope with the established powers that "rule" the market? Grendel's Children comes to mind. They'd be tough to match or beat.
Seth The Husky: Two rules for that. Do what you love. If you are just doing something for the linden, you will fail. Two, find something someone hasn't done or you want to put your style mark on.
Xymbers Slade: If that second one is possible. SL has been around a long time. Only so many ways a sculpty can be shaped into a horse's muzzle for a horse av, after all.
Xymbers Slade: What do you think could be done to -truly- keep the people in Second Life so they don't bail for say, World of Warcraft or something that's more action and fast paced?
Seth The Husky: The ability to be anything and you are only limited by what you can make or buy. Do you really want to be a cookie cutter elf or your vision of an elf?
Xymbers Slade: Guess I'm cynical. I'm starting to see it as "an elf is an elf is an elf."
Seth The Husky: There are couple Drow I know wuld fill your a** full of arrows for that, eheh.
Xymbers Slade: If I didn't lag so hard, I'd -be- one of those drow, but it's hard for me to slip into a gaming system here... too many to choose from, I think. I have a nice Drow in my inventory I've had for a good two years and haven't done anything with :P
Xymbers Slade: What is the absolute Worst Thing Ever in SL and how can LL fix it? My own opinion is scrap it all and start fresh with a new code base and more modern servers.
Seth The Husky: Letting political campaigns buy sims.
Xymbers Slade: That's... an unusual answer I was not expecting. They did that?
Seth The Husky: Back in 2008 Obama's campaign had a sim.
Xymbers Slade: I expect they got griefed. If not by the opposition, then by kids with nothing better to do.
Seth The Husky: And they had town hall meetings... but they would not like when you said something they didn't support
Xymbers Slade: Voice of the people, but only of the people you like. Not Surprised.
Seth The Husky: The one thing I do like about is the SL TV thing.
Seth The Husky: Doing shows for SL viewers like talk shows and some others. The sports are kind of cool.
Xymbers Slade: I dunno. If I wanted to see a place, I'd teleport there. TV within "TV" (in a loose sense)... seems redundant.
Xymbers Slade: Then again, reality TV. *shudder*
Seth The Husky: Well in my opinion the normal TV shows that do stuff on Secord Life... like CSI Ny... kinda pissed me off because they don't get it and they made us all look like idiots.
Xymbers Slade: And if they don't get it, they're not going to get it. I run into a lot of newbies who are not ignorant, but neither are they the sharpest sword in the scabbard.
Xymbers Slade: What do you think the next step for SL should be in order to stay on top of the market? Especially if "a challenger appears"?
Seth The Husky: They need to take pride in SL again... upgrade the servers and find a way to cut on lag.
Xymbers Slade: So you think they don't care but it's too profitable to let go of.
Seth The Husky: They haven't given a s**t about us in 2 years.
Xymbers Slade: And not just step on the opposition like a 800 pound avatar.
Xymbers Slade: All right, that about wraps up the questions I had written up.