Well, I will say one thing about the Nexus, the brand new central social hub in Sansar. It’s gorgeous, like something straight out of a science fiction movie! Linden Lab obviously put a lot of care and attention to detail into the environment design, story line, and quests they have built around this new gathering hub, and it shows.
First, if you’re the kind of person who likes to read through the instructions before diving in, here’s the new Sansar documentation for the Nexus. But if you (like me) just want to dive right in, let’s go!
But before you can explore the Nexus, you must first complete a tutorial quest, called the First Portal:
There was a bug the first time I tried this, and I found I had to go back to the Nexus and restart the quest for it to work properly. Basically, a hovering presence (an NPC named Agent Primus) takes you through the basic avatar movement and teleporting functions, and at the end of the quest you are given your Codex, which I understand is a tool used to collect and organize the worlds which you visit in Sansar, to make it easier to revisit them later. You can get more information about the Codex here.
After you complete the First Portal Quest, you return to the Nexus to receive a second quest from Agent Primus, Welcome to the Nexus, where you explore what the Nexus has to offer:
Here’s a few more shots I took while exploring the Nexus. There’s a map, but it’s probably best just to wander around to get the lay of the land. You can keep your quest window open in the upper right-hand corner of your screen if you’re not sure how to proceed.
At the centre of the Nexus is a gleaming Prime Portal, making a faint mechanical sound, which you activate by clicking on one of the lighted pillars which surrounds it:
This pulls up the reassuring, familiar Sansar Atlas and Events listings:
Now, for me, the jury is still out over whether it is an improvement or an inconvenience to have to go to a physical place (the Prime Portal at the Nexus) to see the Atlas and Events, as opposed to just pressing a button on the left-hand side of the screen as we used to do to access them. The idea is that the Nexus acts as a sort of physical library or experiences (or worlds, as they are now calling them), from which you can make selections to add to your personal Codex, which is what has replaced the Atlas when you do press that Go button to the left of your screen:
The idea is that the Nexus will become an even busier version of the old Sansar Social Hub, much like the idea that people will visit the library to check out books, mingle, and socialize. As a librarian who understands the value of the library as a social space and a learning space, I’m willing to suspend my initial skepticism and give it a shot to see how well it works out.
And, I gotta tell you, the Prime Portal is stunning! It has an imposing air of gravitas, reminding me of builds like the Ivory Tower of Primitives in Second Life:
But a still picture doesn’t so it justice. Here’s a brief video of it in action:
Off to one side of the platform is a club called the Socialite Guild, where you walk through a blue pulsing curtain and are instantly teleported to a dimly-lit, futuristic nightclub. Walk back through the curtain and you’re back at the Nexus.
In a ring around the Prime Portal are circular specialty portals, such as this Events Portal. (Note that many of these portals are not yet set up.)
So, overall, what do I think? I think this is pretty impressive so far. It remains to be seen if this sort of innovative thinking and attractive design will help Linden Lab with its goal of enticing newcomers into Sansar, inspiring them, and encouraging them to come back often for return visits, eventually becoming a member of the community.
As Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg himself said recently on the official Sansar Discord server: “Retention, retention, retention, people.” I think this is a step in the right direction. Congratulations to Ebbe and his team for all the hard work they’ve put into this update! I think Linden Lab can be proud of what they’ve done here.