If you haven’t paid a visit recently to the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland, you might be surprised by what you see. Here’s a shot of the ConsenSys headquarters shared via Twitter, which at first glance I mistook as a picture taken from Second Life! It’s clear that the first generation of blocky builds has evolved towards more realistic-looking trees and buildings.
And, in a move to become more welcoming to newcomers, Decentraland has completely redesigned its central Genesis Plaza, where new users spawn. According to a blogpost on the official Decentraland blog:
At the heart of Decentraland, Genesis Plaza was always meant to be an experience that welcomed users to the metaverse, providing a stepping off point for the rest of the virtual world.
The Decentraland Foundation development team has been steadily making improvements to the Plaza to ensure that when users arrive in Decentraland they know where they are, where they can go and what they can do.
When you first spawn in-world (or if you type in /goto 0,0), you are deposited in a cloud platform with three large boards and a whirlpool with a diving board:
This platform is the lobby. Here you’re presented with three main information boards showing you classic games to play, upcoming and live events which you can jump straight into, and a list of locations where other users are currently hanging out:
If nothing on the boards appeals to you, you can leap into the whirlpool, and fall through to a comfortable lounge on the ground level:
A multitasking octopus bartender NPC engages you in a conversation to help you get your bearings, answering your questions:
The goal here is clear: to help orient new users, and get them exploring the grid. Here’s a recent YouTube video (7 minutes) showing you how the boards in the new plaza work, plus a better look around the ground level lounge: