Comparing Second Life Basic, Premium, and Premium Plus Accounts: How Do You Choose What’s Best for You, and What Is the Best Value for Your Money?

This blogpost helps you figure out the best way to spend your pennies on a Second Life account!

It’s the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer, and I must confess that I haven’t felt like blogging (or doing much of anything) these past few weeks. I’ve been watching lots of Netflix (Umbrella Academy season 3, yay!), testing out responses to various text prompts on DALL-E 2, and sending forth my small army of Second Life alts in a blitzkrieg campaign of pillaging all the fabulous freebies at the SL19B Shop and Hop event before it ends on July 10th. Trust Auntie Ryan; this is the single biggest haul of freebies you will ever see at any one shopping event in Second Life! 😉 So go now!!!

As part of the Second Life 19th Birthday celebrations, Linden Lab (the company who makes SL) has announced a brand new, second level of premium accounts for users, called Premium Plus. There’s been a lot of discussion in the official Second Life community forums (and elsewhere) about this, and so I thought it was time to take a bit of a deep dive and look at all three levels of SL accounts: Basic, Premium, and now the new Premium Plus, in an effort to help people figure out what’s best for them.

PLEASE NOTE: All prices in this blogpost are in U.S. dollars; you’ll have to do your own currency conversions if you use Canadian dollars, or whatever your local currency happens to be. In my case, the conversion between the stronger American dollar and the weaker Canadian dollar always makes me wince in pain!

Signup Bonus and Weekly Stipend

Basic accounts have no signup bonus or weekly stipend (i.e., an amount of Linden dollars which Linden Lab pays you). If you upgrade to Premium, you receive a L$1,000 signup bonus, plus a weekly stipend of L$300. If you choose to upgrade to Premium Plus, you get a L$3,000 signup bonus and a L$650 weekly stipend.

Please note that you must stay at your Premium (or Premium Plus) level for 45 days before you receive the signup bonus; this is prevent people from signing up for one month, collecting the bonus, then downgrading back to Basic!

Avatar Legacy Names

Basic accounts are what everybody gets when they first sign up for Second Life. You need to come up with a single-word name which is unique, and since Linden Lab dropped the first name-last name avatar naming system for new signups a decade ago, believe me, you are going to have to be very creative to come up with a good single-word name that isn’t already taken!

This name is known as your legacy name. You do need to understand the difference between your avatar’s legacy name (the name you chose for your avatar when you created your Second Life account) and your avatar’s display name (which you can change to pretty much anything you want, one change per week). Most Basic users are quite content to set up a display name and be done with it. If you want to create a first name and last name for your avatar, you will have to upgrade to either Premium or Premium Plus (for at least one month) in order to do so.

Here are my step-by-step instructions on how to change your avatar’s legacy name, written in April 2020, before Premium Plus was announced.

I did some quick calculations, and I discovered something surprising: if you have an avatar whose name you want to change, it’s actually cheaper to do if you upgrade your Basic account to Premium Plus, than it is if you upgrade to Premium!

  • Premium (1 month): $11.99 + Cost of Name Change $39.99 = $51.98
  • Premium Plus (1 month) $24.99* + Cost of Name Change via Concierge $15.00 = $39.99

*This is a time-limited promotional price. Afterwards, the price is $29.99 monthly.

So, if the only thing you are interested in is creating a first name and last name for your avatar, you could upgrade that account to Premium Plus for one month, submit a concierge request to pick a first name and last name, then downgrade your subscription back to Basic! (Yes, if you change your legacy avatar name, you do not lose it when you go from Premium or Premium Plus to Basic. You also don’t get the signup bonus, obviously.)

Also note that the last name you can choose for your avatar is limited to whatever choices are on the list of available last names at the time you make your request.

Number of SL Groups You Can Belong To

A big difference between the three levels of Second Life accounts is the number of groups you can be subscribed to at any one time. Many Basic users already are well familiar with the dance of unsubscribing from one store group in order to join another, once they hit the limit! In worst case scenarios, you might have to unsubscribe from a group with a group join fee, and then have to repay that fee to rejoin that group later. It’s obviously not ideal, and so both Premium and Premium Plus do offer you more group slots.

  • Basic accounts: limit of 42 groups
  • Premium accounts: 70 groups
  • Premium Plus accounts: 140 groups

So a freebie fashionista like Vanity Fair, who keeps bumping up against the 70-group limit because of all the store groups she belongs to, is a good condidate for an upgrade to Premium Plus! (And I am considering it.)

An interesting fact is that, if you have a Premium account subscribed to more than 42 groups, and then downgrade to Basic, you can still stay subscribed to all the groups! You will not be forced out of any groups. However, you will not be allowed to join any new groups until you bring your subscriptions down below 42! I assume the same applies to Premium Plus.

Priority Entrance into Full Sims

A nice perk (and one that comes in quite handy at times!) is that Premium and Premium Plus users get priority access to jam-packed, full sims, while Basic users have to wait until the number of avatars on a sim goes below a certain level before they can teleport in. (There are automated tools like the free Teleporter Hammer you can use, but if the sim is full, you still might be waiting for hours or even days to get into some overcrowded, popular sims!)

True story: there was once a time-limited 10th anniversary sale at Junbug, a wonderful vintage, historical, and fantasy womenswear store, where everything was priced at only L$10 each! The Teleporter Hammer was not working for me at all, despite days of trying, and I was so absolutely desperate to get a certain avatar (with a Basic account) into that store sim to so some bargain shopping, that I upgraded her from Basic to Premium for one month, just to get her into the sale!

Free Land Allowance and Linden Homes

Basic accounts get no free land allowance. If you want to get a free Linden Home, or want to purchase a parcel of land on the SL mainland, you must upgrade from Basic to Premium or Premium Plus. (Note that most Basic users simply rent land from estates created by landlords on private sims in Second Life. The downside of this is that, if your landlord suddenly closes shop, you lost your carefully decorated home—although you will probably get all your home decor returned in one big lump!)

  • Premium: 1,024 m² free land (which can be used for a Linden Home if you wish)
  • Premium Plus: 2,048 m² free land

Linden Lab has been busy creating a new continent full of sims with Linden Homes in a variety of styles over the past few years (for example, I picked up a lovely Victorian home on a landscaped parcel for an alt when I upgraded her from Basic to Premium in order to change her legacy name). LL has announced that they will be releasing 2,048 m² Linden Homes at some point in the future, as another incentive for you to upgrade, but nothing is currently available.

For example, if you upgraded from Basic to Premium Plus, you could use half of your 2,048 m² free land allowance to pick up a lovely Linden Home, and use the other half to “buy” (actually, lease) a 1,024 m² plot of Second Life mainland for a second home or a store.

Also, Linden Lab has announced a new concierge service, called Choose Your Linden Home, where you can submit a support ticket instead of trying your luck with the Second Life website, hoping to find the type of Linden Home you want, in the location you want!

Note that, unlike legacy names, you do not get to keep your free land when you downgrade from Premium or Premium Plus back to a Basic account!

Various Fees

In order to prevent abuse of resources, there are fees associated with various actions in Second Life. For example, Basic and Premium accounts have to pay L$100 to create a new group, while Premium Plus users can create groups for only L$10 each.

Uploading images, sounds, and animations costs L$10 each if you are a Basic or Premium member, but are free if you are a Premium Plus member. For example, if you are a content creator, or you use a wardrobe system which allows you to save a picture of each outfit, it might be worth it to splurge on a Premium Plus account!

If you wish to create a single event listing in the SL calendar, it costs L$50 for Basic users, L$10 for Premium users, and free for Premium Plus users. Basic users cannot create recurring (i.e., weekly or monthly) events, but Premium users can do so for L$50, and Premium Plus users can do it for free, so if you run a club or store and create a lot of events, it’s likely worth the upgrade to Premium Plus!


This is just a summary of the comparative benefits of the three levels of Second Life accounts. For more information about Premium Plus, you can read the official announcement from Linden Lab, from which the following comparison table comes:

Inara Pey also has an excellent blogpost summarizing the particulars of Premium Plus, with charts and tables comparing Premium and Premium Plus, including a few of her own personal observations.

LIST NOW UPDATED TO THE ABSOLUTE FINAL VERSION 6.1! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: A Guide to the Second Life 19th Birthday (SL19B) Shop and Hop Event and Fairgrounds Gift Area!

Covering a record twenty sims, and boasting 400 vendors, the Second Life 19th Birthday (SL19B) Shop and Hop is the biggest-ever such event in the history of SL! Here’s a handy guide, featuring an alphabetical list of all 400 stores participating. Almost every single store has a free gift for you, and all are offering sale prices on some of their merchandise!

This year, I am NOT going to cover the Shop and Hop event in detail here on the blog. Instead, I have compiled a notecard of my picks for the best and most fabulous freebies, free store credit offers, and gift cards, and posted it to the Second Life group I maintain, called the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group (the group costs L$50 to join; more information here).

I know some of you might feel a bit cheated that I am not listing all the items on this blogpost, as I have done in previous years, but there are so many high-quality gifts this year that it was impossible to select just a few to show you! The notecard lists dozens and dozens and dozens of my picks for the best fashion and home/garden decor.

Also, I do want to earn a little bit of in-world income, so I can call myself a professional Second Life freebie fashionista…and I hope you understand, thanks! If you don’t want to spend L$50 to join my group, you can use the other methods I have outlined in this blogpost to find the best gifts for yourself.

My notecard includes the exact SLURL for each freebie, for you to pop in, pick up your gift, and move on to the next score, for the most efficient freebie shopping experience! (Note that SL’s list of stores in the paragraph above has a lot of locations which stick you behind store walls!)

At the moment, this notecard is version 1.0, but I have no doubt there will be updates as I learn about more fabulous freebies! (UPDATE: THE FINAL VERSION 6.0 HAS BEEN POSTED TO THE GROUP! Please see the notice at the tail end of this blogpost.)

So please join the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group, and stay in the group for news about sales, giveaways, and events. The quite reasonable group join fee also helps feed Vanity Fair’s shopping addiction…thank you! 😉

I do apologize for not keeping my SL group as updated as I should have been over these past few months, and I promise to be more assiduous in posting the fabulous freebies I do find in my travels across the grid, from now on! In fact, I will be posting more and more such finds to the SL group instead of the RyanSchultz.com blog.

I will show you one free gift that absolutely tickled my fancy, from a store that was new to me, called Key Style. My favourite movie of all time is the 1964 musical My Fair Lady, with Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, and this wonderful Mademoiselle historical ensemble looks like it leapt into SL straight from that classic movie!

The blouse and skirt are two separate pieces, and the outfit includes pink flats (not shown under the skirt), the gloriously over-the-top wide-brimmed floral hat, and even the delightful touch of the matching parasol! The Mademoiselle outfit comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Slink Physique, and Slink Hourglass mesh bodies, and you can find it in a gift box on the counter at the Key Style store at the SL19B Shop and Hop.

I’m not the only one who is overwhelmed by the bounty of gifts this year! It’s still so early, and there are so many gifts this year, that even the ever-reliable Naria Panthar has not yet done her usual thorough unpacking video yet! (Let’s face it; twenty sims is A LOT to get through!!!) Naria did take a quick first stab at it, though:

The only place that has pictures and descriptions of most of the SL19B Shop and Hop gifts at this early date is the little-known-about SL Free and Inexpensive Items Russian-language group on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook, which often lists items I don’t see on other SL freebie blogs. Use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome web browser, or if that doesn’t load, then just open up Google Translate in a separate browser tab and copy and paste the text as needed.

Chrome has an automatic translator feature, which can come in handy when browsing the Russian VKontakte!)

Note that you do not need to have an account on VKontakte to use this resource! Whenever you are prompted to sign up/in, just click the little “x” to bypass it:

Just look for the posts tagged (there’s one for each of the 20 sims), and click on the timestamp to see the enlarged images of each of the gifts:

Dreamer’s Virtual World blog is also working on posts of gifts from each of the sims—you can find them all here (she’s not done yet!).

Happy freebie shopping!

UPDATE 7:53 p.m.: I have updated my notecard to version 2.0, adding many new freebies which I think are the best gifts at the Shop and Hop—including many new gifts for male avatars! It would appear to be a conscious design choice, that all the male gifts are located on one sim (Lavendar), which should save you men from wandering around all 20 sims, aimlessly looking for freebies amidst the overwhelming majority of female gifts! Thank you, Linden Lab!

UPDATE July 17th, 2:50 p.m.: Naria Panthar has just posted her two-hour unpacking video to YouTube, for the first half (10) of the 20 SL19B Shop and Hop sims (pro tip: watch the video at 2 times regular speed, and keep a notepad and pen handy to take notes as to which stores have gifts you want to pick up!).

Stay tuned for a second video covering the second half of the 20 sims!

UPDATE July 17th, 4:03 p.m.: I have now posted version 3.0 of my notecard of my best picks for gifts, free store credit, and free giftcards available at the SL19B Shop and Hop event to the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals, and Freebies group! I have to say, that I have never seen such a bonanza of high-quality freebies at a single shopping event like this before! Again, my notecard includes the exact SLURLs to take you directly to the gift, and all Ryan’s recommended freebies are sorted by sim name.

UPDATE July 19th: My notecard is now up to version 5.0, with dozens more goodies for you! I have also double-checked all the SLURLs in the notecard, so they should take you directly to the freebie in each booth at the SL19B Shop and Hop event.

Please note that I have posted a separate notecard to my SL group, RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies, which outlines my picks for the best gifts from the Tapestry of Time Gift Area on the Second Life 19th Birthday fairgrounds, which is separate from the SL19B Shop and Hop event sims (and I’ve also included a link to it in the FINAL version 6.0 of my SL19B Shop and Hop gifts notecard).

There’s some really nice gifts there, too, so don’t skip it this year!

Also, Cat Pink has posted three new videos on YouTube, where she shows you many of the Shop and Hop gifts (again, watch them at 2 times speed, and take notes!).

And Naria Panthar has just posted her YouTube video where she unpacks and tries on gifts from the second half (10 sims) of the SL19B Shop and Hop! Watch it on twice the speed and take notes as to which stores have the freebies you want, then use the SL19B Shop and Hop Store Guide to teleport in and scoop them up!

Aaand, adding in a few more fabulous freebies from Naria’s second video, I have now posted VERSION 6.0 of my notecard with Ryan’s picks for the best gifts from the Second Life 19th Birthday Shop and Hop event! As somebody who has been diligently freebie shopping in SL for over 15 years, I can assure you that this is the single biggest haul of freebies at one event that I have ever encountered!

In the final version 6.0 of my notecard, I have also added one very generous gift which I had somehow forgotten to include in the previous versions! (Not surprising, since there’s so many gifts to keep track of!!!) It’s a long hairstyle by ADE, called Baby, which comes in a complete fatpack of colours and with a styling HUD. You can find it here:

The avatar in the following picture is wearing the Baby hair, swept back, along with another must-get SL19B Shop and Hop gift from the Belle Epoque booth: this cool, lovely Lara strapless minidress, which comes with a HUD with ten different, high-quality tropical textures (sizes: Maitreya/Petite, and Legacy/Perky):

So you owe it to yourself to head down here before it all closes on July 10th, 2022, and vacuum up some fabulous free fashion and home/garden decor for your avatars! Again, the easiest way to navigate would be to join the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group for only L$50 and pick up my notecards with the exact SLURL for each gift, but you can also use the VKontake group posts and Naria Panthar’s and Cat Pink’s YouTube videos if you don’t want to spend that L$50… 😉

Happy freebie shopping!

P.S. I have encountered some problems embedding the notecard for the Tapestry of Time Gift Area into the main notecard, and I have also noticed that some of the SLURLs I have put in the notecard will stubbornly refuse to load! So I have added information about how to get around those problems to version 6.1 of the notecard, and I do apologize. If all else fails, open up both versions 6.0 and 6.1 of that notecard, and if a SLURL refuses to load on one, try it on the other (for some bizarre reason, that seems to work!)

Now I am going to go collapse on the sofa.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: the FREE Summer Festival Vibes Hunt at Alaskametro and the Free Dove!

I have a few RyanSchultz.com blogposts simmering on the back burner, but first, a short, snappy post about a great, free Second Life hunt for female avatars, offering a generous variety of clothing, makeup, and skin gifts.

The Summer Festival Vibes hunt is one of the monthly hunts held at the venerable and recently redesigned freebie store, the Free Dove. The hunt prizes are all from Alaskametro, and all you need to do is join the Free Dove group (for free), and hunt diligently for festival passes on purple lanyards which are hidden, five per location.

NEED A LITTLE HELP WITH YOUR HUNTING? Here are Ryan’s top six tips and tricks for a successful Second Life hunt. Read, mark, and digest! 😉

Here’s the hunt legend, so you know what you are getting:

alaskmetro<3 "Summer Festival Vibes" hunt

Below, one of my alts (wearing a Meshbody Legacy body), is wearing the Arwen feather earrings, the Annika lacy top, the Eve distressed Eve jean shorts in faded denim, all covered up by this wonderfully detailed Misty fringed coverup jacket! All clothing comes in Maitreya Lara and Meshbody Legacy sizes only. The metallic body tattoo (Bakes on Mesh) is another one of the Summer Festival Vibes hunt gifts.

And in this picture, my alt (wearing a Maitreya-Lara-compatible Kalhene mesh body) is modeling one of the Karma LeLutka Evo X skins (which comes in three skin tones, including the head, ear, and body skin!), the Annika lingerie top, the Eve jean shorts in black, and the sheer Misty coverup in a black floral tone.

Add some sandals or sneakers and you’re all set for your next virtual folk festival!

Other Summer Festival Vibes hunt prizes include Bakes on Mesh/system skins (three full-body skin tones), BoM/Omega lipsticks and eye shadows, and fingernail textures for Maitreya or Slink mesh hands. Here’s another one of my alts (wearing the Chelsea head by LOGO), wearing the Kismet II Bakes on Mesh skin, along with the Crystal eyeshadow and the Backstage lipstick, along with the HUDs for the latter two items to show you the colour options (the makeup comes in both standard BoM and LeLutka Evo X versions):

The hunt ends on June 30th, 2022, so don’t wait too long to snap up these fabulous freebies.

News Watch: What I Didn’t Blog About in April and May!

I’m constantly on the look out for stories for the RyanSchultz.com blog, bookmarking anything and everything that I or my readers might find of interest—news and announcements about social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse (including the blockchain-based platforms).

At the moment, I’m so backlogged with my bookmarks, that today I’ve just decided to share many of them with you, in an effort to get caught up! Each would likely be the seed for a proper blogpost all on its own, but here each one will just get a sentence or two, a brief annotation only. Hope you don’t mind!

Ready? Let’s dig in!


Geekwire: ‘Second Life’ creator shares lessons learned from one of the world’s first metaverses (an interview with Linden Lab’s founding CEO, Philip Rosedale).

Businesswire: Razorfish Study Finds 52% of Gen Z Gamers Feel More Like Themselves in the Metaverse than in Real Life (Razorfish and VICE Media Group released findings from a new research study, titled The Metaverse: A View from Inside).

Road to VR: Virtual Social Platform ‘Rec Room’ Hits 3 Million Monthly Active VR Users (Rec Room continues to rack up some impressive statistics).

The Conversation: Can you truly own anything in the metaverse? A law professor explains how blockchains and NFTs don’t protect virtual property (a thought-provoking editorial by Indiana University law professor João Marinotti)

Medium: World War “M” and the curse of the Metaverse, by Avi Bar-Zeev (an editorial where Avi poses the question: If “The Metaverse” represents our digital future, who decides what “it” is?)

metamandrill: Interview with Founder Adam Frisby of Sine Wave Entertainment (an interview with the man behind both Sinespace and Breakroom)

NFTs are Legally Problematic (a 46-minute YouTube video featuring lawyer Steve Mould and NFT pundit Coffeezilla)

24/7 Crypto: Metaverse hotel for avatars to open in Decentraland next week: “The first ever metaverse hotel (*cough*cough*Second Life*cough*cough*) is being opened next week in Decentraland by Singapore’s Millennium Hotels and Resorts.”

TIME: 6 Lessons on the Future of the Metaverse From the Creator of Second Life (a good overview article, with the writer talking to both Philip Rosedale and Tom Boellstorff about the lessons learned from Second Life).

moOMNI: Around the Metaverse by DrFran Babcock (short but essential reading; Fran shares her thoughts about the community within the metaverse).

Road to VR: A Dating App for Meeting Avatars in VR Aims to Build Very Real Relationships (a review of the Flirtual matchmaking app)

XR Today: Sensorium, Humanity 2.0 Launch Vatican City Art Metaverse (Ultra high-end social VR platform Sensoirum Galaxy partners with the Humanity 2.0 Foundation to build a virtual gallery for Vatican City). “The company’s Sensorium Galaxy platform is currently in beta testing, with a launch date set for later in the year to expand its availability across devices, including VR headsets, PCs, and mobile devices.”

Road to VR: Meta to Merge ‘Venues’ Event Space into ‘Horizon Worlds’ Social VR Platform (starting June 6th, 2022, Horizon Worlds users will have direct access to live sports, concerts, comedy, and user-created meet-ups in Horizon Venues).

WIRED: This VR App Has Legs: Spatial adds support for full-body virtual avatars, giving realism in VR a step up (the Spatial social VR app now had a full-body option).

The Atlantic: Lessons From 19 Years in the Metaverse (an interview with longtime Second Life blogger Wagner james Au).

Medium: Web3.0 Must Be Destroyed (long, but well worth the read).

Harvard Business Review: Cautionary Tales from Cryptoland (interview with Molly White, creator of the website Web3 Is Going Just Great).

Current Affairs: Why This Computer Scientist Says All Cryptocurrency Should “Die in a Fire” (interview with UC-Berkeley computer science professor Nicholas Weaver)


Now that I’ve shared some of my most interesting finds with you, I hope that this list will tide you over until I can whip up some fresh new content for you! Expect more blogposts soon. (If people find these news roundups useful, I might continue to write them, as well as my regular blogposts.)