Second Life 15th Anniversary Announcements

Second Life 15th AnniversaryToday a special announcement was posted to the official Second Life community forums, which included a list of 15 new features and improvements to SL. A few of these caught my eye, and I wanted to share them with you.

First, and as Jo Yardley already reported, last names are finally coming back after a seven-year absence! The actual text of the announcement says:

You’ve asked for it (a lot!), so we will provide a way to customize your last name in Second Life! More details will be available later this year.

How this will work is anybody’s guess. But people have been asking for Linden Lab to bring back avatar last names for years, and it looks like they are finally going to listen. So if you’re tired of having the last name Resident, it looks like you’ll be able to change it sometime this year. Good news!

Second, it looks as though Linden Lab wants to make some adjustments to the way they collect money, depending less on the cost of virtual land and more on other fees:

Currently, Land costs can be quite high, and make up a lopsided portion of our Second Life revenues. To improve this imbalance, we plan to increase revenues in other ways so that we can lower land costs further. In order to avoid shocks to the in-world economy and to take care that we keep the business healthy, we plan to make these changes in a measured way, taking time to assess the impacts of each change as we go.

Last week, we announced that we have lowered the cost of Mainland by over 10 percent and doubled the Mainland tier allocation for Premium members. In the coming months some other fees may increase, including Marketplace commissions, Linden Dollar exchange fees, and cashout fees.

I’d better go buy a whack of Linden dollars before they raise the exchange fees! And I’m sure that some vendors will not be pleased with the news of increased commissions.

Finally, they said that they were considering having various premium subscription levels, instead of just one level like they currently do:

In addition, we will soon announce new tiered Premium membership offerings that allow Residents to choose the membership level that provides the benefits most important to them.

This sounds interesting, and similar to what Linden Lab is already offering with the various Sansar creator subscription levels.

I’m looking forward to the 15th anniversary celebrations that will happen this year, and to all the new developments that are taking place in Second Life!

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Discrimination in Second Life Based on Avatar Appearance: Don’t Be a Meshist!

donald-teel-349294-unsplash

Don’t judge a book by its cover (Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash).

Is there discrimination in Second Life based on your avatar appearance? You bet. Last October an avatar was banned from a popular music club, seemingly solely based on his appearance.

Yesterday, somebody made a post to the official Second Life community forums bringing up the topic:

People asking for friend but only if you are mesh. This maybe not full racist to you, but just  sub the word mesh to an ethnicity or religion.

One person replied:

Well, mesh isn’t a race, but I understand where you’re going with it. Those people tend to state that they’ve put a lot into their avie and don’t want to look at a sub par one (in their opinion)…I usually just scroll on by if it’s just the mesh thing mentioned. I can’t get butthurt over every stupid thing people write. If someone is that picky about what sort of pixels they want to associate with, that’s on them. There’s too many real issues in the world to worry about, why create more?

And someone had the idea:

Let’s just call it meshism and meshists. It’s a brand new discrimination!

You might be surprised to know that there are actually some places in Second Life that explicitly ask their users to use a mesh avatar. For example, this note appears in the rules notecard of the popular FMD club, which describes itself on its Flickr group page as “Second Life’s sexiest club and lounge”:

No noobish looking avatars. It’s 2017. Get mesh. FMD Staff determines your appearance and if you feel we’re being too harsh, take it up with someone who gives a fuck.

Now, I have been to FMD many times, and I don’t think I have ever encountered a classic SL system avatar there. Everybody has a mesh avatar head and body, and many obviously have spent a lot of time and money pulling together their look. I don’t really know if they do toss you out if you don’t have a mesh avatar, but it’s a bit intimidating.

And the thread in the community forums made me realize that perhaps I, too, am becoming a bit of a meshist. When I visit Frank’s Place, one of my favourite things to do is to right-click/inspect what the other avatars nearby are wearing. (That’s how I find some really great items to buy for myself.)

But I now notice that I am beginning to critique—in my head, not verbally—some rather dated-looking classic avatars. (“2007 called. They want their avatar back.”)

And it’s not fair. Many people who use Second Life can’t afford to shell out forty bucks to get a full-blown mesh avatar head and body, plus associated shoes, hair and clothes. Catwa Bento heads cost L$5,000 or US$20.00. The popular Maitreya Lara mesh body sets you back L$2,750, which works out to about US$11.00. (Honestly, Onyx LeShelle must be taking home money by the wheelbarrow from her Maitreya Lara mesh body sales! Maitreya must have seventy percent of the female mesh avatar body market. And as a result, everybody designs for them. It’s a bit of a vicious circle.)

Avatar fashions change over time. I still vividly remember the pre-mesh days, system clothing and flexiprim ballgowns. In fact, I sometimes pull them out and wear them to Frank’s. Stuff that Nicky Ree made a decade ago still holds up very well today:

Vanity Fair in Red Satin Shine Gown by Nicky Ree 5 Jan 2018_001.png

(All I did here was upgrade to a Bento mesh head—Catwa Kimberly, ka-ching! there’s twenty bucks right there!—and Bento Slink hands.)

What I’m saying here (and what I need to keep reminding myself, as well) is to try not to judge other people by the quality of their avatar. Don’t become a meshist!

Linden Lab Announces a Mainland Price Decrease in Second Life

In a surprise move today, Linden Lab announced that they’ve reduced Mainland land costs by 10%. Here’s a before-and-after comparison chart of the changes (here’s the source if you are having trouble reading the fine print):

Pricing and Allotment Comparison 14 Mar 2018

Another big announcement is that they are doubling the amount of free land that Premium members get, from 512 to 1,024 square metres. So that’s actually a benefit that may entice some people to upgrade to a Premium account. Maybe. (I’ve always thought that Linden Lab doesn’t give nearly enough perks to Premium members. 60 groups instead of 42? Big whoop-dee-do. As an SL fashionista, I need at least 100!)

It’s no secret that Linden Lab is sitting on top of lots and lots of unused/abandoned Mainland, so maybe this is a way for them to sweeten the deal somewhat, in order to encourage more land ownership. I’m rather skeptical that this move will work, but we’ll see. People who were fed up with the high land prices in Second Life either downsized long ago, or packed up and moved to one of the Opensim-based virtual worlds.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Get a Full Bento Altamura Mesh Avatar Head and Body for Only L$300 at the 2018 Skin Fair

Are you still wandering around Second Life in an old system avatar? Wishing that the more aesthetically pleasing mesh avatar heads and bodies weren’t quite so expensive? Well, have I found a deal for you!

Altamura is offering the Valentina model, a fully-featured, fully-adjustable, Bento mesh avatar head and body package, for only L$300 during the annual Skin Fair! The skin comes with five different built-in skin tones. In these pictures, my alt is wearing the darkest skin tone:

Altamura Valentina 1 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 2 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 3 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 4 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 5 11 Mar 2018_001

To get this deal, you must:

The body comes with a number of HUDs. The body HUD has complete alpha, skin and layers controls. The head HUD allows you to change or remove any of the many makeup options. There’s a second makeup applier which allows you to easily change your eyebrows and hairbase to white, blonde, red, brown and black. There’s also a separate nails HUD for controlling the shape and colour of your nails. There’s an extra animation override just for the Bento hands so you can use it with your older, non-Bento AOs (a nice touch!). And finally there’s a facial expression HUD. You get the whole package!

If you wish, you can alpha out the head using the body HUD and remove all the makeup using the head HUD, and then use your own head with it. (I have tried this body with an Akeruka Bento mesh head and it works perfectly.) You can also purchase an Altamura Omega installer/relay so you can use any Omega products (skins, makeups, tattoos, etc.) with it.

Even better, everything that my alt is wearing in these photos is FREE! The dress and earrings are 7Seas fishing prizes from Sn@tch (all you need is a fishing rod and some patience). The hair is called Evolve, and is a free Gimme Gacha group gift from Analog Dog at the Imaginarium event going on right now! It comes in a full fatpack of colours. And the black high heels are a freebie from Marquesse, available at the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil. They come in a pack with four basic colours: white, red, black, and nude. The Altamura bodies have Slink-compatible feet in three heights (flat, mid and high). I have also found that clothing created for Maitreya Lara mesh bodies fits the Altamura mesh bodies well. And of course, you’ve got full alpha control with this body!

And, if you don’t even have the L$300 to spare on an Altamura Valentina head and body, you can pick up a free version at Ajuda SL Brasil! The free version is fully adjustable, but only comes in one skin tone and one makeup version. Look for the big red sign across from some gift boxes lying on the floor of the freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil.

This special Altamura offer ends when the Skin Fair does, on March 25th, so hurry!