How many virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) still exist and don't suck?
September 21, 2011 7:08 AM   Subscribe

How many virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) still exist and don't suck?

I tried SL once and found it uncompelling. Having read all the MeFi SL threads and decided not to give it another try, and having browsed Wikipedia and seen a lot of discontinued SL-alikes, I'm wondering if the entire virtual world thing is dying or dead, or if there are one or two around that
- have a lot of stuff to explore
- don't have huge barriers to basic usage (i.e. "Buy ActionHands and a VirtuaFace for your V-Vatar for only 3,000 MetaShekels!") or building things (i.e. SL's rent system)
- aren't ghost towns
- aren't entirely furries, SEO crap, and/or geared toward teens
posted by AugieAugustus to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Are you excluding MMOs from this?
posted by griphus at 7:12 AM on September 21, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry, should have specified:
Yes, excluding MMOs.
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:20 AM on September 21, 2011

Any decent large minecraft server.
posted by empath at 7:25 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

The most stable and successful SL-spin off is Blue Mars.

However, just going through your list, a lot of this stuff applies to both:

1) Have a lot of stuff to explore: SL has been existent and populated for more than a decade now. There are terrabytes of worlds built in SL. If you can't find something interesting, you're doing it wrong.

2) You do not need to spend any money at all to play SL, or to build. If you want to build permanent structures (like a house, gallery or store) then yes you are going to need to rent virtual land.

3) You will need to find a community to make friends. In SL, I would suggest you join New Citizens Inc. NCI is geared for helping new players adopt SL. There are classes, a busy chat channel, really fun show and tell sessions, and weekly events.

4) SL is in no way a ghost town. It is filled with busy residents. However, the world is physically VAST and so residents tend only to congregate for events: parties, building contests, build contests, classes, charity events, group outings, etc. See #3 to adopt events of interest.

5) I'm 40. I have been in SL for a very long time. I know half a dozen furries reasonably well. I suspect these folks get a bad rap; none have ever tried to sex me up. The rest of the several hundred people I know are human avs. This is because the community I am interested in is not a furry community. Previously SL teens were on a closed grid, but recently the two have been merged. All SL residents are over 16. They tend to congregate in their own communities. I know one. I cannot address your SEO issue as I don't know what you mean.

If you need help with SL, please feel free to MeMail me. I would be happy to give you an orientation geared towards your interests!
posted by DarlingBri at 7:33 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I can never understand why people interested in this sort of thing are so down on SL. It is most certainly not all furries or sexy times. The arts scene alone (visual, writing, performance) can dominate one's time without ever even seeing other stuff. I see furries around sometimes, but since I'm not really into that scene, it's usually on an individual basis.

The ghost town effect, as DarlingBri says, is strictly because SL is so big. SL has changed a lot in the last six months--much more newbie friendly, with an opener page on the new viewer that tells you where the most people are, and what events are happening right then. A lot of the oldies don't like the new viewer, but I think it's great for someone who doesn't spend their whole life online. It doesn't matter what you're into, if you ask me, you'll find it in SL in spades.
posted by RedEmma at 7:58 AM on September 21, 2011

Response by poster: Hm, well, thanks DarlingBri and RedEmma; I will certainly give Second Life...a second chance.

Any others?
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:31 AM on September 21, 2011

Nthing Minecraft. You can claim any land you like (in single player - multiplayer servers might have some rules regarding this, but either way these rules will not involve 'rent'), and you are able to craft most things you need fairly easily (recipes for which are easily available online). The world actually expands before you as you explore, so you'd be hard pressed to find a game with more exploration options. You can play a creative game (build cool stuff), a survival game (kill monsters), a co-op game (build/explore with others), or a single game (build/explore on your own). There is actually a phenomenal MeFite community (on a MeFite server!), and the game itself is being more or less constantly updated (read: more to do all the time!). You should give it a shot - it's a ton of fun.

Also, there are a heap of mods to the 'vanilla' game out there, some of which are amazing. Want airships? Get the 'Airships' mod. NPCs? Get 'Millenaire'. Baby animals? There's a mod for that too.

One thing Minecraft lacks is a single, coherent server. You might have to dig a little to find a server you like (see aforementioned MeFite server, however), but it is worth the search if you like the gameplay.
posted by Pecinpah at 11:00 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not in SL as much as I used to be, but I still think it has a great deal of potential and interest. I've tried Blue Mars and (when it would run at all for me) found it less than exciting. Pretty, sure, but rather dull.

Feel free to MeMail me, as well, if you'd like another in-world contact. I might know some groups or communities you may find interesting.
posted by noxetlux at 11:27 AM on September 21, 2011

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