Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm back...No change at Linden Lab....go figure

Well friends, I'm finally returning to the Blog. I made a promise to a certain Linden and said I would hold my tongue until such time that the NEW ORDER at Linden Lab had time to prove themselves....and prove themselves they did.

There are three separate points that I want to bring up today, so, put on your seatbelts as it's time to get going.

First, and most recent, as many of you are aware, I became a Private Island Owner back in June. Of course, this was something I have wanted since Linden Lab announced that you could own your own Island, but until last June I wasn't in a Fiscal position to make it happen.

My Island, Patapsco, is just another extension of myself. I put up my Store and a New Resident area, and the rest has been dedicated to friends and strangers that needed a place to call home. This is not out of the ordinary for me of course, and while many of you think I'm just too nice, I feel that in order for Second Life to continue depends on the Community. I believe having a Strong Community that welcomes New Residents and Strangers is important, and because of that I do what I do on Patapsco.

A couple of days ago we had a small hiccup in Patapsco. Two groups got into an argument and began sabotage one another by returning each others items. Yes, this was very childish, but as we all can attest, sometimes we do things that we normally wouldn't. Once I found out what had happened, I took the necessary steps to be certain this didn't happen again, and then submitted a Support Ticket to get a ROLLBACK performed. This ticket was submitted at 5:00PM CST and unlike what others have told me about Support, by 10:00PM CST I hadn't heard anything about it. I told the Residents of the Island they might hold off creating anything, in case the ROLLBACK occured during the evening/morning hours. This morning after getting my required Coffee intake, I checked my email to find a Response to my Support Ticket. I was told that because these people intentionally returned the items the ROLLBACK would not happen, as LL reserves ROLLBACKS to catastrophic events only. Exactly what LL's definition of Catastrophic has yet to be defined of course, which allows them to use this as an excuse to play favorites.

Now, let's look at the facts here. As a Private Island owner I'm contributing $300/month to the LL coffers, and I'm supposed to be at the HIGHEST level of support available. ROLLBACKS are one of the easiest items for Support to do, as I have requested them TWICE before (on land I didn't even own) and was granted them. Before my "leave of absence" I promised Blue Linden that I would give Linden Lab a chance to prove they are making concerted efforts to change for the better. Well, here's one thing they haven't changed at all, LOUSY Customer Service. What's nice to know though, is Linden Labs Customer Service is as bad as it is for Conceirge Customers as is it for Premium Members. You do have to give them props for being Consistent about that, consistently bad, but consistent.

Second, Linden Lab recently announced that XSTREETSL merchants would have to PAY to PLAY. That's right, if you want to sell your Items through XSTREETSL, then you are going to be charged a listing fee per item, per month. Not only are you going to be charged a listing fee, but you are also going to be charged a commission for every sale you actually make. I've always been one of those people that think "double dipping" is rude and unsanitary, but in this instance it's just plain greedy. In a time when Linden Lab wants to have a Strong Community, they are pushing away those Merchants that create for their world. I guess the next logical step in this process is that Linden Lab will announce that there will be a fee for every listing you or your products or your store are mentioned in the Searches and for every sale you make, there will be a commission charged as well. Guess Blue Linden was right, this New Order are taking huge strides for Second Life, I just thought Blue Linden meant FORWARD, not backward.

Third, Linden Lab announced that there is a New Continent out there and will contain Parcels of 512Sq. M. and will have housing already installed. This sounds interesting, and maybe even forward thinking, until you visit these cookie-cutter land masses. When I "examined" these parcels, I had one thought, Internment Camps. Everything is exactly the same. Every House, tree, road, etc, is repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over. There isn't an ounce of creativity, everything looks plastic. Why Linden Lab would think this environment would be a PLUS for New Residents entering Second Life says a lot about the New Order and their understanding of the Community. As I suspected a few months back, Blue Linden's expectations of the New Order are far from reality. This new Continent looks as if a first year design student sat down and thought up their version of the 1950's Tract Homes. Apparently the New Order's idea of the perfect Second Life Community means we stop thinking as Individuals, we bury our Creativity and we blindly follow these new leaders. There's just one small problem with this; that's not the Second Life Community. Sure, a New Resident might choose to live in these unattractive cheap and boring homes, but after these same New Residents begin to tour more and more of Second Life, they will see just how ridiculous these Land Masses look and will "jump ship" faster then a rat leaves a sinking ship.

Well, over the past several months, I sat idly by, watching and waiting, and today that wait is over. I see clearly that the New Order is the same as the Old Order, and no matter who is in charge at LL, it's still operating under the same old philosophy. It's official, the New Order of Linden Lab has no experience in the Virtual World of Second Life and therefore they cannot understand the harm they are doing to Second Life and the Community by being so disconnected. At least the Old Order was able to say, "I know Second Life and my vision says we go this way." This New Order cannot say this and by the looks of things they only basis for their decisions is greed.

I now am looking for another Virtual World to belong in. Perhaps places like In-Worldz is where the real future is at. At this point, there's no being upset, as I said it before, and even after these months that have passed, I will say it again, "Second Life is Dying." There is but ONE way to cure the illness that is in Second Life, and that is to kill Linden Lab. Don't worry friends, I'm not supporting a violent attack on Linden Lab, we don't have to take such drastic measures, this New Order is doing what we need done by itself and quite satisfactory.

I have waited for this day, and now that this day has come, my eyes view only destruction.


Wizzy Gynoid said...

Consider Reaction Grid. It's an open sim, it's constantly in development, it's relatively stable at this time, and they respond to your support requests.

Nulflux Negulesco said...

On the subject of double dipping... We all know land tier is charged on a Peak usage scale. The question is - do we realize what this truly means?

It means that if you own even 1SQM above and beyond your current tier level, you get automatically tiered up to the next level. For instance, lets assume you're a premium member and you own a meager 512sqm parcel. Now imagine that you had a really good month and profit left you with enough money to buy a new parcel. After some searching you find a decent deal on a 4096SQM parcel, mainland. So you buy the parcel thinking 'sales have been good' and assume that you'll be able to afford the tier in months to come.

Now, several months and about a dozen catastrophic decisions by LL later you realize that your sales have all but stopped and you can't afford to pay tier anymore. So, as anyone would do - you decide it's best to sell off your 4096sqm parcel to reduce your tier fees.

Here's where the double dipping starts... Lets say your tier is due on the 6th of each month and it took you until the 10th to realize you would not be able to pay and you had to sell the land fast. So - you sell it to a friend, at a loss, just to get out from under the tier. You take the money from the sale and pay off your current bill, tier down so you don't get charged again and breath a sigh of relief.

Or so you think. A month goes by and you're busy working on a project... Then all of a sudden your login no longer works and it gives you a message stating 'there is a problem with your account, please contact support blah blah'...

So you log into the website and realize, lo and behold - your account is locked because you apparently owe a full months tier on the land you only owned for 4 days into the billing cycle. The message in your email says you have 30 days to pay the bill, yet your account was disabled 7 days after the tier was due.

In a panic, you log into XStreet, knowing you have some money to cover the tier but it's in LS and you'll have to transfer it to your SL avatar so it can be sold on the SL web page.

What's this? OMG, they locked your XSL account too and you can't even transfer the money to your avatar?

Now your face is turning pink... your confused, your angry. Your only option is to ask your friend for some help to get your account unlocked. That's when you find out that LL charged HIM the full tier too! You both paid for a full month of service for the SAME product, a parcel of land - even though you only owned it for 4 days and he owned it the rest of the month.

Now, take this situation and scale it up to those of you who own (or are thinking about owning) a full sim. The tier on that is 195USD and now the double dipping approaches felonious amounts. What if you had two sims? Three? What if you were one of the moderately successful land barons who owned a couple dozen sims? The day you decide to pull out, to sell what you have because your profits are failing - you could lose even more.