Just Me

Friday, February 17, 2006

The First Step

Well, the grand journey has begun -- into the realm of my Second Life have I begun my ascent! (Whee!)

This isn't my first virtual experience. I did try out "There" for an hour or so at one point, a few months before I discovered Second Life, but I have to say that Second Life seems much more useful and intuitive, plus is just so much better to look at. There (pun very much intended!) is really no comparison.

As a world, There felt very awkward, faded (like watercolors left to lay in the summer sun for far too many afternoons), and the controls were just confusing despite the fact I had prior MMO experience.

Second Life, on the other hand, was quickly engaging, offered much more control, and seemed to work off principles I already understood. It was designed in a way that made it a little more easy to figure out. Plus, the world itself just seemed so much more interesting.

I spent the first hour figuring out the controls – how to get places, use the map, fly, interact with things, and chat (although not much chatting yet – I hate having to make conversation when I don’t understand where I am or what people are talking about, I just end up feeling awkward and dumb and want to duck out).

I also spent some time playing with the avatar creator, with which I was very much impressed. I could adjust almost every dimension of myself in order to define a completely unique appearance. That’s nice – most MMO games (which Second Life really isn't, but there's little else to compare it to) are very limited in what they offer, in terms of one's appearance.

Lineage 2, for example, is very cookie cutter, with just a few choices, and everyone looks the same except for hair color and style and frownie/happy face (you get 2-4 choices for each, max -- what were they thinking?) .

City of Heroes, on the other hand, offers a fairly wide range of adjustments by implementing sliders, and EverQuest 2 (the other MMO powerhouse) is somewhere in the middle.

And I must say that I do like the fact that I am not forced to be a Beautiful Person. Maybe the thought of a slimmer waist is enchanting and the velvet stuff of dreams, but I have already accepted that I am not the sort to model swimsuits for Sports Illustrated, and there is a sort of frightening Stepford facelessness that seems to come with being someone who does.

More on Beautiful People later, when I get a few minutes... Hopefully I won't be long.


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