Wandering the Mainland (and the non-death of SL)

Mainland wandering is something I spend a significant amount of time doing, because it is fun. :)

Going through some of the more ancient (but unsorted) stuff in my inventory (also something I spend a significant amount of time doing!), I came across a couple of freebies from a place called The Muffin Shack. I went there some time ago, on some hunt, and I remembered it as a place with lots of smoothly-textured pretty things at very reasonable prices, in a little pastel-wood roadside store on the mainland somewhere.

So just on a whim I put on the Muffin Shack tee shirt from one of the folders, found a Muffin Shack landmark in inventory, and TP’d there.

And I landed in an empty piece of roadside land, up for sale.

Now anyone who spends any time reading SL-related weblogs or Twitter feeds or anything will have heard people (generally comparative oldbies) opining that SL is dying, because of all the people and stores that are leaving and all. And the vanished Muffin Shack seems at first to be evidence for that.

But the rest of this story is, I think, evidence against it.

Being a bit sad that there was no Muffin Shack, I looked up the creator’s profile, and looked at Picks, and found another store in there, called Old Dirty Bastards. That store, as it turns out, exists!

(And not only that, it has a wall with an assortment of old Muffin Shack stuff for free or for sale, which made me smile.)

So the Grid lost a store, but it probably also gained a store. A sign of life rather than death, there.

Then, being on the mainland, I wandered out the door and found myself on Route 1 in Spini, on the West side of the bay in Heterocera. I found a rezzing place, and randomly rezzed my Lemon Burst Scooter (from {{Ripe}}), and drove off down the road in first gear to sightsee.

About one sim later, near the Mormo-Parva border, I was here:

Citizen D, Mormo

That is Citizen D (SLURL), a great little store with robots and Star Guys toys and a variety of Jawa AVs and resale vendors for sale and random fancy and/or amusing stuff at both high and low prices (so that’s my Recommended Shopping Destination of the day!).

In the background is Deeproot Manor, a very atmospheric haunted parcel with a haunted house to explore (don’t miss the mysterious roof), and trees that turn their many eyes to look at you, and ghouls hanging from trees, and all sortsa spooky stuff like that. Also a hatrack that will give you a copy of that nice hat I am wearing (black with feather!), and various surprises for the explorer to be startled by.

(And when you visit Citizen D, don’t miss going outside to Newbie Bob’s Route 1 Mormo Souvenirs, and the Famous Mormo Sign! All very mainland, and I love it.)

And then a little further down the road in Parva, random general beauty:

Homlett Estates, Parva

That’s “Homlett Estates”, but as I’m not quite sure if it’s actually a place of public accommodation, I won’t give the direct SLURL. (Although there are greeters that tell you that they have a public rezzing room.) I just thought it was sort of gorgeous. :)

My explorations stopped there for today because I wanted to go listen to the live music at Wharf Rat Blues.

Which might also be considered evidence against the whole “SL is dying” thing. :) I think it’s just that oldbies in particular get used to a certain set of things existing, and as change happens and some of those things stop existing, and they are maybe too set in their ways to go out and look for new things, it looks like the set of things that exist is getting smaller. But actually it’s just changing. SL may have more or less plateaued in population lately, but it doesn’t seem to be shrinking in any significant way.

There’s lots of stuff out there! Scooter down the nearest mainland road, and see what springs up. Or go listen to some Jazz… :)

17 Responses

  1. november 2008 – that was the month that SL had the most sims ever and it was also near the time when the concurrent record of 88,000 was reached

    it has slowly declined from then and user hours have decreased by over 30% since

    empirically, that is true – those are measurable numbers

    anecdotally, you have oldies, like me, who very much wish SL had continued growing and who wishes they still had their 19 sims. i had “phase I” plans for 52 sims and “phase II” for 104

    i am very sad that SL had its TOS changes, changes to openspaces, and that Philip left

    i opine because i grieve for what SL could have been and what it should have been based on that time from 2005 to 2008

    but . . . that is my opinion based on my experiences and intertwined with the money i ran through SL – no one can fault me for my opinion and i dare anyone to say they were ever more commited to SL than i was. i even met with two Linden Lab managers, in person, in San Fran (they introduced me to fish tacos, which i love!)

    but my opinion is simply that and my perspective can only be from myself

    for me, SL as i knew it, is gone BUT that does not mean it’s gone for others and for them, perhaps it holds the same magic it did for me way back then

    i will always be deeply thankful for SL and the creative outlet it gave to me – one that i still very much enjoy today =)

    • Thanks very much for the thoughts (and glad I provided the opportunity for warm fuzziness :) ). I would definitely not fault you for your opinion; you aren’t one of the people implying the “SL is dying because I’m not as into it anymore” thought that I wanted to offer an alternative to here. And really hardly anyone has said that directly; it’s more of an idea sort of floating around the blog-o-verse, and I just wanted to offer my own different perspective.

      (And now your link reminds me I need to update my Sim On A Stick!)

    • Agree :) A great way to put it too. For me there isn’t much impetus to log in with a “seen it done it” mentality and other things that I am interested in now. Does that mean I feel the need to criticize it? Nope. Do I hate it? Nope :) And I stay in touch with quite a few friends via Facebook in there.

      What that does mean is that LL has a big job trying to find people willing to part with $30-$100 per month for playing a game that is graphically inferior to everything else (including other virtual worlds) on the market. Tough sell.

      When I play Xbox I look at the graphics and wish SL was able to function in the same way. But logging in to inch an avatar along in a laggy event… nah. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Nor does the ceaseless pandering for money.

      But from time to time… I wander and find good folks having a great time in there. And I recognize the newbie joy and wonder that I had more than five years ago and smile.

      ~ Skylar

  2. […] thanks Dale for your post that sparked this introspection nov ’08 – very exciting times – subQuark does 3 […]

  3. Dale – is there fun to be had in Second Life still? Sure. But that does not mean SL is not shrinking in terms of land mass, concurrency and number of hours active users spend in world. A quick google search turned up several links with data to support the idea that SL is indeed contracting.


    • Yeah, statistically speaking I think various measures are going downward, others are flat, some may even be up; that’s what I meant in general by “plateaued”. But in terms of what there is to experience just sort of randomly bopping around the Grid, which is what I was commenting on in this posting, my impression is that things aren’t noticeably smaller; there are enough builds, stores, artworks, hunts, live music, DJs, wargames, and whathaveyou to fully occupy anyone willing to find them…

      • Any time I am in world there are more things to do and places to go than time permits. Sure some of the old places are gone but there are new builds going up every day and new people to meet all the time.

        Is SL dying? I don’t think so. Is it changing and going through the natural lifecycle of any game/world/community? Absolutely. The interesting thing to watch will be what comes next. Will SL regain its lure for new people and revisit the growth trajectory it had in the past? Will another “world” pop up that interests people enough to draw them away from SL in great numbers? Who knows, but we can be sure change is inevitable and that is a good thing.

  4. Not as old as any of you, i found only recently the joys of mainland!
    Its a jewel that i wish LL would endorse and promote, being making sim crossings more stable, being creating more water sims around or connecting the old continents to the new 1 (One of the joys i had latel, was to travel from Blake sea to Gaeta 6 via Athol, Nautilus and Corsica on a boat) or making sure that the sims that connect each, are free for all to pass by!
    What worries me is not the lost of users, is why some leave!
    All the latest problems, due to lack of communication with its user base, needs to be addressed.
    Users are not a pain, they are the foundation of SL and the only justification for its existence!
    And SL is not a game, its a tool for Any dreams!
    As soon as Linden Lab board understands this, more Sl will grow and be what it should always have been!
    Our dreams our imagination!

    • Woot! Thanks for supporting my claim that there are interesting new people all the time. :) And applause for your world-exploring trek! I need to do another one of those sometime…

  5. I don’t think SL is dying. I think it’s waiting for the next generation wave of people who will start spending again :) Right now there is a lull and a culture of “freebie-ism” that is making some businesses give up.

    I think it is waiting for the next group of people who will start creating without the expectation to make “real world” income there… and just create and socialize for the sake of being creative. The way we were in 2007 and 2008 :)

    Great post Dale… it warmed my heart.

    xo Skylar

    • :) Thanks much, and I’m glad. I hope the Lab is wise enough to hold out through the various ups and downs and plateaus and waitings. I’d hate to have to rebuild from scratch in OpenSim or Cloud Party. Or actually I probably wouldn’t hate it :) but I’d miss SL…

      • One of the other things I noticed walking around incognito on my alt, is that new users or present users are more laissez faire about the grid. They come in when they need something to do, log out when they have something to do.

        I hate to draw conclusions but my impression was that there are fewer grid “addicts” or the types that log in for hours and hours. Some folks come in for an hour, enjoy it and leave. I’m wondering how much less those people who are “take it or leave it” spend than the folks who are devoted to creating a full alter-ego existence in there. I wonder if that is the change?

        Don’t know :) It sure is fascinating to be around new users though. To listen and learn and see through different eyes. Most of them aren’t expecting to build a utopian society in SL. They simply want to log in and have a great time… and log out.

  6. PS: It isn’t hard to find people having fun in Second Life :) There are lot’s of them still… 99% in fact ;)

  7. […] are so very many places to see in SL.  I love v wonderful friend Dale’s excellent post on exploring SL’s mainland and the many delightful finds you stand to come across.  I too am a huge fan of SL’s […]

  8. We are the biggest asset of Linden Lab, and no matter how sometimes we feel just simple ignored, is Us that in last instance makes all worth!
    Yesterday was one of those days, where i just went to listen to some good music and found that not only me and my love where there, but a crowd of Worldwide users as well!
    Is is so rewarding, not only for the performer(s) but for All, to be part of these moments!

    But then today i blogged and i felt i had to post this:

    On a sunny day

    Cause we will see another amazing piece of joy disappear unless we show that we care and support these jewels!

  9. I wish Second Life wasn’t dying, Dale, and it’s encouraging that people who can make a difference are blogging about a non-death. My avatars have been around almost 5 years now and I love mainland living through them. But there’s so much *yellow* (land for sale) on the map; I use to walk/bike around but there’s little point any longer, since it’s so far between places of any substance. There’s really no debate possible about the decline in terms of mainland in my opinion, and there’s also been no real growth of it since maybe 2009 excepting several Linden home continents, which are just basically clones of the original after all. Can the decline be turned around? This article from a prominent and long term Jeogeot resident, for example, indicates a “no”.


    Thanks for the informative post!

    • Quite welcome! I’m surprised you’ve found there to be no point in wandering around the mainland anymore; while there is quite a bit of land for sale, there are also, at least in my wanderings (including very recent ones) still large amounts of new and fascinating and funny and random stuff. I believe it’s true that the absolute amount of resident-owned mainland hasn’t been growing, but then neither has the land-area of Manhattan, and I don’t hear anyone saying that that’s dying. :)

      Fleep’s article is good and interesting, but it’s just one person’s anecdote. I find it’s a very common effect that someone who’s been in SL, or any comparable space, gets to a point where things have changed, the stuff they used to do and people they used to hang out with have wandered off, and they’re too tired or jaded or just not in the mood to find new ones. But that’s more a fact about the person than about the space. People do get to a point, sometimes, where they need to go somewhere new. But that doesn’t mean the old place is therefore dying…

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