Almost ten years ago, in July 2004, I first stumbled into the virtual world of Second Life. This article isn’t going to be a story of massive life transformation due to a new virtual frontier, however. My time in Second Life has been very casual and rather on-and-off.
My Second Life History
Back then, new residents got to choose their last names. So I created my avatar, Aywren Sojourner, and learned to fly. I visited many astounding resident-created places (still have the bookmarks and many still exist!), but also ran into the real-money-transaction walls that kept me from enjoying the world as a poor college student.
Those were days before flexis and sculpties and long, long before mesh. So while it was revolutionary for its time, the graphics struggled to impress. Even if you subscribed to the game with a decent stipend, you’d have to pay out the nose in real life cash to have the smallest 512 plot… should you find one.
512 got you a lot less back then, too as there were no 1-prim sculpts like you see today. So, all in all, if you weren’t able to plunk down the cash as a resident, you were more of a visitor to other people’s lands than someone who could build their own. I’m not much of an online socialite, so once I understood that sandboxes were the extent of my creative locations, I drifted away from Second Life for a while.
A Return to Second Life
The strangest thing brought me back to Second Life: breedable pets. Some people might groan at the thought of laggy horse farms, and I understand that pain. But about three and a half years ago, when I discovered a video of Precious Dragons queen flight, I knew there was something moving through the virtual world that I finally wanted to be a part of.
I jumped back into Second Life the fall of 2010, headfirst into the world of breedable pets. Fascinated by all the working bits that made up these pets, I began blogging about them. For a while, I was hired to organize and keep the wiki for Precious Dragons, my first ever in-world job for $L. I did that with much excitement, earning some cash that allowed me to indulge land rental and pet ownership.
Boy did I own pets, too. From cats to dragons to horses to dogs to bunnies and birds… you name it. At one time or another, I owned at least one pet from every major breedable developer out there. I blogged the breedable news. I attended breedable events. I talked with developers and team media specialists. It was a good time with good community and lots of excitement.
I saw some really crazy things in my time — like one of the first Koi Meeroo selling for over $600 in real life cash. Yes, I’m serious… a virtual pet made of pixels. Some people got waaaay too into this stuff.
Things have come a long way in Second Life. Mesh has been introduced, and the quality of creations in world is now astounding. I’ve been to live music shows with friends where you’re seriously attending a concert with a real musician on the other side. There’s a community for just about everything you could be interested in (for better or worse).
And while I was never in need of anything after I started selling my breedables, advertising space on the blog, and carefully rationing stipends and land rentals, I feel as if my time in the world is coming to a close. You know those symptoms: you’re not logging in, you’ve sold or inventoried most of your pets, you don’t really feel the need to decorate your Linden home.
While breedable pets are still going strong and the developers are still amazing and wonderful folks in both technology and art, I just haven’t felt the lure of pets the way I used to. The passion of keeping my blog isn’t there anymore — I’m mostly quoting out official sites and in-world notifications to report the news. Even though there’s still interest in advertising on my blog, I can tell when it’s time to step away and say farewell.
Easter is a big time for breedables, and one of my advertisers still has a month left that they paid for. So between now and June, I’m going to uphold my end and blog as I always have. But in-world, I’ve already picked up all my stuff and relinquished my nice little house next to the waterside. My pets are tucked away… always there should I want to come back. And I’m sure to stop in when friends want to listen to a concert or play a game of Greedy Greedy.
For now, this is farewell to Second Life… (until something really cool pops up that draws me back in again).