Last week, YouTuber Strasz released a 30-minute video essay that’s part documentary and part love letter to a pioneering virtual world that he was once a fond and active member of, called Active Worlds.
Consisting mostly of first-person coverage of his exploration of AW, it’s a fascinating look at what many people (myself included) consider to be the first virtual world with user-generated content—launched way back in 1995, well before Second Life debuted in 2003! Although AW never reached the success of SL, it was still a pioneering virtual world, where users could set up an avatar, build anything they wanted, and form communities.
What is so interesting about Active Worlds, besides its longevity, is that unlike websites which eventually get taken down and discarded, much of the original construction from its earliest days still remains in place, much like a prehistoric insect trapped in amber for scientists to pore over. I think it’s a wonderful documentary, and I can recommend it highly if you’re interested in the early history of the metaverse.
As I mentioned, Active Worlds still exists today, at the ripe old age of 27 (although it has a daily user base in the single digits). You can create an account, download the client software, and explore! Here’s the website. You can also see all my blogposts about Active Worlds here (including this one).
DID YOU KNOW? 14.5% of Manitobans are of Ukrainian ancestry, as well as 13.4% of Saskatchewan residents. In the last census of 2016, there were an estimated 1,359,655 persons of full or partial Ukrainian origin residing in Canada (the majority being Canadian-born citizens), making them Canada’s eleventh largest ethnic group and giving Canada the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia. (source: Wikipedia)
DID YOU KNOW? You can donate to the Canadian Red Cross’ Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis Appeal, and the Canadian government will match individual Canadians’ donations up to $10 million? Money raised will enable the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to respond to humanitarian needs generated by almost eight years of conflict (since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014), as well as preparedness and response efforts due to heightened tensions in Ukraine. The support could include preparedness, immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency, and other critical humanitarian activities as needs arise, both in Ukraine and surrounding countries, including supporting populations displaced.Please donate today!
You might be surprised to learn that current events in the real world are often quickly reflected in the virtual world! The war in Ukraine is no exception, and in almost no time at all, Second Life content creators have responded! This blogpost will showcase FREE clothing and home/yard decor to allow you to express your feelings about this unwanted, unnecessary, heartbreaking war.
For example, the Haus of De Vil is giving away both men’s and women’s long-sleeved T-shirts with the slogan Slava Ukraini (which means Glory to Ukraine, the Ukrainian national salute). Both men’s and women’s shirts come in wide variety of different sizes to fit just about every avatar, whether you have a classic/system or mesh body!
The creator says in his descriptions for these free items:
With the current deplorable situation I have taken a temporary side step from my usual way of clothing creation to bring a series of T shirts to vent my frustrations.
I am appalled by the vile behaviour of Putin and his cronies bringing war to Europe once again. We must stand strong with Ukraine and show our support unwaveringly in whatever ways we can. We must also remember at this time that many of the people of Russia are not in support of his behaviour and it is only with the government we need aim our disgust.
To those in the Ukraine, friends and families, I wish you the best.
Couture Chapeau is giving away a free, full permissions Ukrainian flag on a flagpole, as well as a (copy, modify, but no-transfer) We Stand with Ukraine banner for your virtual home or yard. Just visit the store and click on the blue-and-yellow box indicated by the red arrow below:
Teleport to the MKN store and click on the large box on the front counter to pick up another free women’s outfit to show your support for Ukraine:
The Pray for Ukraine outfit (T-shirt and sweat pants) comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara; Meshbody Legacy and Perky; Belleza Freya; Slink Hourglass; and INITHIUM Kupra mesh bodies. The Jumpov sneakers are a free fatpack group gift from VERSOV; the VERSOV group is free to join, and there are seven other free group gifts in their store.
Speaking of VERSOV, there are a number of Russian and Slavic content creators in Second Life, many of whom are shocked and appalled by this war. For the love of God, do NOT take your frustrations out on them! The small amount of money that people can earn from SL might be making all the difference between having no money or having some money to buy food, so please, don’t be an asshole, okay??
In light of recent events, the owner of Mossu – Stephen Mossu (akirakiyoi) has put together a list of content creators that may benefit from your love of shopping, that could help support their real life situation during this unexpected and disruptive time.
The Second Life community has always shown solidarity in times of need and here at Seraphim, we would like to pass on this resource to you. You can find the list ☞Here☜
Please note: Seraphim is not the creator of this list and we are in no way affiliated with any of the designers listed or the owner of the list. Any questions, comments or concerns should be directed to Stephen · Mossu (akirakiyoi)
Given the unprecedented situation in the Ukraine, I’m sure these businesses would appreciate your purchases even more than usual!
If you wish to provide financial support, Two Moons Gardens is donating the proceeds of their Inspiration Garden (249L) to the International Red Cross for use in their care of refugees and victims of acts of war. The garden, pictured above, is located on a special sim where there are freebies and 10L items to purchase to support the Red Cross’s efforts in addition to donation kiosks.
There’s actually a huge sales area with discounted merchandise on sale from various vendors, from which the proceeds are going to the International Red Cross! For example, you can pick up a L$1,000 gift card for Alli&Ali Hair Designs for only L$700.
UPDATE March 6th, 2022: Another fundraising event in Second Life is Love to Ukraine, running from March 5th to 19th, with all proceeds going to NBU (the National Bank of the Ukraine), Voices of Children, and the Ukrainian Red Cross.
Among the many items for sale at the Love to Ukraine event, I picked up this Peace Pack of knotted T-shirts by Miss Chelsea (L$199):
And I have some more free gifts to show your support for Ukraine. Princess Stuff is giving away this lovely minidress in the yellow and blue colours of the Ukrainian flag:
Safira is a Second Life womenswear store known for its fun and colourful fashion, but did you know that they have a huge group gift room as well? If you join the Safira store group for just L$50, you can pick up no less than ninety-eight free group gifts!
Today, Second Life supermodel Moesha Heartsong will show you a few of the group gifts you can snap up! The Shawn dress in pink with tiny red hearts comes with an optional white harness, and Moesha is wearing it with another Safira group gift, the Lola heels with socks (also with tiny red hearts!). Both the dress and the shoes come in sizes to fit the Maitreya, Legacy, Hourglass, Freya, and Isis mesh bodies.
The Roxanne bodysuit comes in Maitreya and Hourglass sizes, and with a HUD featuring a complete array of mix-and-match colours for the top and pants (you can tint the belt separately). The Annie ribbon choker which Moesha is wearing is a free gift from Pretty Deceased, which also comes with a fatpack HUD (no group needed for the choker; just teleport here and click on the gift box on the floor!).
Along with the Annie ribbon choker in a different colour, Moesha models the Ellie knotted top, which comes in a complete fatpack of solid colours and floral textures (Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Isis, Hourglass), paired with the Aiden floral jean shorts (Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Isis).
The simple, beautiful Zenda dress comes in a fatpack of ten different colours and textures (sizes: Maitreya; Belleza Freya and Isis; Slink Hourglass and Physique).
This Renee bodycon knit dress comes in four different textures, and the optional belt has three options (sizes: Maitreya, Freya, Isis, and Hourglass).
The aptly-named Summer minidress comes in three different tropical textures as shown below (Maitreya, Freya, Isis, and Hourglasss sizes)—perfect for your next virtual resort vacation!
These are just eight of the 98 group gifts available from Safira for only L$50, which works out to half a Linden dollar per outfit—a bargain under any circumstances!
As I suspected, this was a scam. I know this because I know that legitimate NFT metaverse projects do not direct message users via Discord. (I have seen similar messages before, borrowing the names of projects such as Cryptoland, Decentraland, and Somnium Space, to the point where I recently issued a warning via Twitter:
I also got a DM via Discord from them this morning. In the past month, I have received phishing offers from scammers impersonating Cryptovoxels, Decentraland and Somnium Space. Caveat emptor! These are all scams. #MetaverseNFT #Metaverse
Getting back to the scammer from Wilder World, I read the message carefully, and noticed a couple of signs that something wasn’t quite right.
First, in a direct message, Discord will inform you if you and the other person have any Discord servers in common. The fact that Wilder World and I had “no servers in common” is a big red flag. You seriously mean to tell me that the REAL Wilder World would contact me from a Discord account that doesn’t even belong to the official Wilder World Discord server?
Second, I checked the URL against the list of official links in the #official-links channel on the official Wilder World Discord server, and did NOT find this new, suspicious URL on it! (I blurred out part of the URL address in the previous image.) If the Discord server does not have such a list (and all legitimate projects should), then look for it on the official website. Never click on a new, unfamiliar URL you have not thoroughly investigated first!
It is all too easy to target people who have joined an official Discord server for NFT metaverse projects, since you can easily see who else is with you on the server (just check the far right-hand column). It’s also very easy to create a false account by stealing an official logo and calling yourself the project’s name (e.g. “Wilder World”). There is nothing stopping you from creating as many Discord accounts called Wilder World as you wish, since each one has a separate, randomly-generated four-digit suffix at the end of the username (see image, right).
And, unfortunately, some people always fall for this particular scam which appropriated the logo and name of Wilder World, using a well-written come-on and a fake website to take that person’s hard-earned cryptocurrency:
A: That was a scam, I think Victim: are serious?! ffs
B: There is no land stuff [right now] The focus is on Pets.
Victim: I just filled it out!
A: So any land sale is a scam [right now]
Victim: omg did I just get scammed
C: There was a scammer yesterday DM’ing people
Victim: wtf it was a message from Wilder World D: From a scam CLONE E: oh noooooooo Wilder World never DMs u!! F: Was a scammer with a WW logo on their profile G: [refers Victim to the #report-scammers channel]
H: Land is not for sale yet, only raffle for mint list is available on [Wilder World] website, click the link in announcements
And I went over to take a look at the #report-scammers channel on the official Wilder World Discord server, to see this, plus numerous other scams being reported on. The Victim did report this scam on that channel (see image right), but unfortunately, any money he thought he was spending on NFT-based virtual land in Wilder World is unrecoverable.The scammer, once he or she fleeces a number of people, then deletes the Discord account and the website, and vanishes into the night—likely to repeat the same scam on a different target in future.
So, once again, I am going to list the things that you can do to avoid getting scammed via a direct message on Discord for the various and sundry NFT metaverse projects:
Legitimate projects will not direct message you on Discord. Instead, they will use an #announcements channel on their official Discord server, or perhaps post a blogpost on their official website.
Always check any DM you receive via Discord to see what servers you and the other person have in common. If you and the other person have “No servers in common” (particularly, the official Discord for the legitimate project), that is a red flag! I belong to almost a hundred Discord servers related to social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse, and I now routinely block any DM from someone where I have “No servers in common”. The reasoning is this: anybody whom I am interested in talking to should belong to at least one of the same Discord servers as I do!
Check the various channels of the legitimate NFT metaverse project Discord server carefully. Look for an official announcements channel. Look for an official links/URLs channel, either on the Discord or on the project’s official website. Look for a channel to report potential scams and scammers.
Always stop and ask yourself if something is too good to be true. Be highly suspicious of any “good-will gesture” such as the following example, taken directly from today’s Wilder World scammer: “As many of you may have expected, there has been talks of a land sale coming up and we are excited to officially announce…As a way of giving back to those who supported Wilder World early, we will be hosting a limited-time presale to raise liquidity and allow our users to buy the land early before…”.
EDUCATE YOURSELF ON BLOCKCHAIN, CRYPTOCURRENCIES, AND NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS! If you aren’t willing to take the time to learn how all this works, you are better off staying out of this arena until you do.
I leave you with a few articles on the subject of blockchain/crypto/NFT scams (I’m sure you can find many more on your own):
REMEMBER: Do EVERY. SINGLE. SCRAP. of your homework before investing in any blockchain. cryptocurrency, or NFT project! Be especially cautious when you receive a direct message on Discord!!! Caveat emptor!
UPDATE 4:17 p.m.: Someone on the official Wilder World Discord server shared the following handy tip:
You should turn off server DMs from any NFT Discord you’re in – just click on the server name, select Privacy settings from the drop down menu, and switch them off. NFT Discords will never DM you directly.