There has never been a better time to be a player in virtual worlds. The combination of innovation, cost and choice has led to what may be looked back upon someday as a “golden era” of this pursuit.
It’s too bad many people don’t see this. Too bad for them.
I’m not writing for them. I’m writing for those who get it.
There are many different reasons to be drawn to virtual worlds. For me, it is a hobby. I am here to have fun. It is a pastime. Like with any good pastime or hobby, I can multiply the amount of fun I can have by learning more about it.
If I look at the big picture of my virtual life of six years, I can see there are distinct periods. For a time I enjoyed this life one way and then switched it around and approached it in a different way…and then another way… and another. All the while, having fun.
Sometimes I would get involved with something that was less fun as time went on. It could then become more work than play. Or it could be repetitive or tedious. Or some aspect of it would change and it would not be as much fun as it used to be for reasons beyond my control.
But when it was still fun, I knew of other things going on in virtual worlds that were also fun but that I did not have time to take part in because I was too busy having fun my way. So when I’d hit one of those periods when my fun thing wasn’t so much fun anymore, I didn’t give up on virtual worlds. I just started doing it differently.
Although I have gone the route of owning one good sized place at times. I have generally liked to have a few places to hang my virtual hat. With today’s pricing in OpenSim-based grids – whether HG-enabled or not – I can take either approach.
My joy these days is spending five-percent of the money I was spending on virtual worlds four and five years ago…but having a lot more land and many more prims to play with.
I now have three small parcels in Winterfell on Second Life. They contain my little cabin, my pub and my office. I also have a four-region spread on Kitely where I host four Myst/Uru-inspired ages for the Devokan Trust.
Recently, I have been looking to put down some prims on one or two more grids. I’ve been looking for just the right setting. And just the right price – free.
There are a number of grids that have free land available. To the point where one can be picky. It all depends on what you want.
What I wanted was a residential parcel with enough room for a house and a yard. Something on the water would be nice but not “at the beach.” I want trees and I want a neighborhood – as long as the neighbors aren’t too close. And I want a good number of prims to work with. And I want all the basic parcel powers.
Am I asking too much? No. Not today. This can be done.
It is easy to find what one might call a “starter parcel” or what was once called in Second Life, “First Land.”
But when I looked about the grids that offered free parcels of 512 or 1024 square meters, I was either turned off by the fine print or by the general “look” of the area. There are some virtual ghettos out there.
For example, on one grid that offered a free parcel of 1024 or similar size, the houses all had a noob look to them. It might not have been the individual buildings as much as the collection of them as a whole. And there were no trees or other landscaping. Just a common road or path with oddly cut parcels connected to it. Some were empty but were listed as unavailable. Others showed the name of a renter but were listed as available. The info note card had no info. The rental box had a 30-day limit. What happens then? And is this one of those places where you have to show you have used your parcel in a given week, in order to keep it? Where/How do I get this information? The grid’s website didn’t explain it. It did tell the names of the regions with free land. But it didn’t tell how to find them. I found them on my own. Would a newbie know how to do that? Or how to find someone to ask how this all works?
Well, I will leave that to the newbs to figure out because, just from looking at the place, I knew I didn’t want to live there. Way too many issues. That place needed a manager. But keeping up with the constant turnover would be labor intensive. And so the grid sets the place up and walks away.
Why bother at all? Just to say, “Yeah, we have free land.” Yes, you do. It sucks but you do have it, can’t take that away from you, no sir.
Is there a real benefit to the customer? Not much. Is there a real benefit to the grid? Not much.
Nearly all of the renters in such a place are going to be newbies. Or people who really don’t care that much about being there. The newbies need help and when there is no one to give it, many of them will give up and go away. From virtual worlds altogether or at least from that grid in particular.
What is the benefit to the grid “supposed” to be? Isn’t it to develop new citizens/residents who might some day become paying customers? Or maybe it’s to build a community so other people on the grid will have customers to sell their products or services to or to populate the grid overall and get people attending events or exploring what the grid has to offer?
If the reason to provide free land is all or any of the above, then come on! Do it! Give them FREE LAND.
FREE as in: it doesn’t cost money, you are not required to spend X number of hours or days to keep it, you don’t need to prove you are there. FREE as in: don’t make me a prisoner of this parcel. LAND as in: a parcel of enough size and prims that one can put a real house on it. One that your tenant can fix up nicely so it doesn’t look like a noob home amongst many noob homes. LAND as in: if you give me a reasonable-sized parcel that I can actually make a home on, you won’t have to have requirements to get me to be there – I’ll be there because I’ll want to be there.
Free Land only has appeal to quality tenants if you do it right. Quality tenants are the ones who give something back and they are lower maintenance. If you’re not doing it right, quality tenants will look elsewhere.
One grid that is doing it right is End of the Metaverse, owned by Bladyblue Bommerang. It’s a new grid so things are still coming together. They recently changed hosting companies and reorganized the Mainland. New inworld features are being added regularly. It is Hypergrid-enabled.
There is a 16-region roleplay continent called Realm of Rygeon. A four-region auto-racing sim is being installed. There are two sandbox regions and a nine-region Mainland.
Blady’s policy is that the Mainland parcels – whether commercial or residential – will always be free to tenants. She hopes for a revenue stream coming from people who want to rent full regions. Those regions will not be attached to the Mainland. There is room for the Mainland to grow if necessary but the overall idea is to remain small and manageable. So if there is not a huge business in people renting entire regions, The Mainland, Rygeon, the racing sim and the Sandboxes will survive. And if there is large growth on this grid, Blady has prepared for that as well, making an operational plan and structure that can grow with it.
Not only is End of the Metaverse HG-enabled, people are allowed to be full citizens there without opening an account. If you want to own a parcel on the Mainland, you can do so with your OSgrid or Metropolis avatar or any avatar from a grid that lets you HG out.
I opened an account in May and have been watching “EndMeta” or “EOM” since then. Last week I took a free parcel. No purchase price, no tier, no rent, no money at all. No time clock to punch, no catch. Just live there and be happy. I asked for a 4096 sqm parcel and received a little more than that. I put a big house on this property and named it Whitfield Point, as it is right on the water. It will be used as a getaway/retreat and I will work it into my RP storylines.
End of the Metaverse seems like the perfect place to get in on a grid from the start. It’s a very nice place to spend time in and from which to travel and explore the rest of the Metaverse.
It’s a grid where the phrase Free Land has real meaning.