Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Journey: Adventures of a newb

Warning: This is not fashion related but more of story of my recent experience. 

I did something a little different recently. I decided to make a new alt. It's been a few years since I've had a new avatar and I decided to give it a go. I should start off by saying I decided to relive the old magic of Second Life. I didn't pass money, clothes or LMs to my new avatar. I wanted to experience what the truly new folks of SL see for the first time.. So here we go...

Meet Caliope. Or really MissCaliope.  Choosing a name was my first ordeal. I do have a resident or two in my cache of alts but back when it was new it was a LOT easier to pick a name. I miss being able to choose a first and last name. Choosing a first name that doesnt include a lot of random numbers and letters would be awesome. I just randomly picked the first female name my eyes came across while browsing some websites. Ity took a lot of random spellings and the added "Miss" To create a new me. I miss legacy names :(

I also have to note how much the new orientation island SUCKS now. I remember being a newb and having a mini city you learned to drive cars in.. a dome to learn to fly in and all kinds of click-able learn-able things. When I first started I think I spent a few weeks there because I thought it was cool and tons of people stayed around. The new place? Not so much. It consists of some mesh signs in a semi circle... they are neon colour swirls with things like "popular", "media", and whatever on them. The whole island? has been shrunken down to a plot of land surrounded by water. There are a few cheap trees and rocks around and the building is a bunch of archways. Suffice to say visually it stinks. There are absolutely NO signs telling you what to do or where to go next. Hoping for the best I clicked a sign. When I clicked this sign I assumed It would transport me to another part of the sim where I would be... tutored? NO. After clicking the first sign I saw I was immediately teleported into a massive warehouse style club. There were overbearing gestures, lots of chatter and noise. If I had been an actual new user of SL I would have been horrified. I went from being a supreme newbie to being shoved into a mass of half naked people. WTF. Where is the whole learning experience. Without thinking I tried to TP back to orientation island which as we all kn ow.. you can't do. Iwas given a pop up telling me if I wished to further learn I should go to Public Orientation island.

I suppose If I was using my already gained knowledge I would know to just pull up search or map. For someone brand new that's like being told to meet someone on 4th Street but not being told what town or given directions. I did however power on.

I decided to check out search. Again, I was squelching my knowledge and acting.. well.. new( not obnoxious, just toddling around looking at everything. clicking on some things..)! I clicked around a bit and somehow found some newbie friendly places. Time to mingle! I teleported to the first location- NCI Kuula. It boasted help and friendly workers. Newbie friendly and yadda yadda. I landed and saw a tn of people. For 10 minutes I wandered around. Stood near people and generally acted like someone who seemed a bit confused. I asked for help at one point. It took another 10 of my leaving my avatar just standing while I did dishes for one of the helpers to finally even greet me. The attitudes of people helping new folks is SO much different from when I first started. I remember when I started there were actually people to help when you first rezzed. And anyplace I went- especially these newbie friendly centres people were always there lending a hand. Sometimes it was overwhelming but there was someone there to tell you how to change clothes, find things, unpack- all those things we didn't know we needed to know.

I'm analizing this in the most BASIC level. Because honestly if I was truly new I would probably have hung up the towel at this point. I finally got greeted by a helper whop pretty much stopped his flirting long enough to tell me to follow an arrow to the help board. I followed the arrows that led me to a wall with all of these pictures and some scripted board. Even as someone not new it was overwhelming. Clicking. Waiting, being interrupted by someone else clicking it. It was a mess. This person never said a word after doing his "duty". I was pretty disappointed. This supposed help center was anything but. For one- I managed to toddle to the freebie section that was a fully scripted vending system that I was supposed to know how to work. Furthermore I was expected to know how to unpack a box. I remember actually being new and getting a box. I thought I had been scammed. I had NO clue what to do with it until someone told me.

I also tried the Shelter. Another bust. Here I said hello. No one helped. There were no signs to help. Just a bunch of people dancing and gossiping. Disappointment. I wasn't expecting handout or free things. I was more hoping someone continued the tradition of.. I don't know.. caring? Heck, I would have settled for another newbie hitting on me. Being ignored was worse.

Overall I'm disappointed in Linden Labs and the Second Life Community. I found there was little to no help out there for new people. The helpful signs may seem tedious but actually helped a lot when I was new. I also noticed the lack of freebie stores anymore. Places like the Gnubie store are gone. Quality freebies by generous people. 

If I was brand new I can say I would probably never have stayed if it had been like this 5 years ago.

So.. Do you have and newbie friendly hot spots? How about free stores, quality items, and the like?