Written 6 November, 2008
United Sailing Sims—Goodbye?
One of the most pleasant areas in Second Life is an interconnected area of more than 130 sims (most Openspaces) dedicated entirely to sailing. The United Sailing Sims look for all the world like New England’s maritime areas or the islands off the coast of Southern California. With the exception of a land mass on which can be found an airfield and Second Life’s only golf course, the sims are ocean sprinkled with islands. Some are one hundred percent water. Vegetation is light, residences are few, and lag is minimal. The sims are a pleasure for recreational boating, and the weekly races are fun to watch. Sweetie and I, often with friends, have spent many pleasant afternoons boating or watching races there.
Last week SLCN TV (http://slcn.tv; stupid Blogger won't let me make the link) Iscreened, in world, the sailing sims’ weekly regatta. The regions were packed with boats and people, to an avatar angry and upset with Linden Lab for its proposed policies regarding Openspace sims. The sails of many boats bore protest slogans. Other communities, even the usually reclusive pirates, were present to show solidarity.
SLCN TV commentator MarkTwain White made it clear the United Sailing Sims group cannot live with the Lindens’ new Openspace policies. Someone on screen said the purchase of more than twenty Openspace sims has been postponed until this crisis is resolved.
A number of people have been to OSGrid (http://osgrid.org/) to check it out. So have I. The general conclusion is that at present alternative grids don’t provide an acceptable alternative to Second Life—but in six months or a year, OSGrid or one of the other alternative grids may well be viable places to live.
I’ve no doubt that without some accommodation by Linden Lab the majority of the sailing sims will shut down in hopes of one day migrating en masse to the OS Grid. Second Life will be losing some of its best citizens and some of its best places—people and places which, I would argue, exemplify SL at its best. After all, the Second Life Sailing Federation recently raised more than 1.1 million Lindens for cancer research. That’s more than $4000 US, huge by Second Life standards.
Mass migrations between platform are not unheard of. The Gorean community came here as a unit from The Sims Online or There, I disremember which. So, also, have any number of role playing groups.
That the people behind the United Sailing Sims are even THINKING of abandoning their sims or leaving Second Life is a signal that Second Life as we know it is in dire danger. When other virtual worlds—soon— offer as good or better tools, communities, and prices, what will there be to keep us here/ What, other than our loyalty to Linden Lab? What will stop us from decamping?
And that loyalty? It’s pretty much a thing of the past.