Kidnapped By Elves

The Elven Isle Of Telrunya

So there I was, wandering around Second Life, minding my own business when an Elf leaped out of the bushes and ordered me to stop. I decided to do what I always do when I encounter Elves, never trust them! Unfortunately this Elf was far more cunning than I expected.

He invited me to a party, fed me copious amounts of food and a strange liquid. Initially everything was fine, I felt rather merry and many more Elves arrived. We danced, they sang, I forgot my suspicions and then awoke, my memory mysteriously erased.

Where am I?” I pondered.

Azeroth, land of people with yellow exclamation marks above their head“, came the reply, from someone who identified as a Rogue.

Noooooo” I cried, “This can’t be happening, how will I ever get home?

Hearthstone?” suggested the Rogue. Unfortunately that just returned me to a strange location with lots of odd looking characters.

Still waiting!!!

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Login2Life Set For St Patrick’s Day US Premiere

Login2Life is set for a St Patrick’s Day premiere in the USA at the Reelabilities Ny Disabilities film festival. The film by Daniel Moshel and with musical credits by Bernhard Drax (AKA Draxtor Despres) is described in the blurb as :

Elaborate digital platforms like Second Life and World of Warcraft offer novel opportunities for friendship, sex, employment, and aesthetic experience in virtual communities populated by cartoon-like avatars. Centered around people who have found communities online, Login 2 Life profiles people deeply immersed in virtual worlds, including individuals who are homebound because of their disabilities, and attempts to understand what these individuals get from their virtual lives.

The film is scheduled for two showings tomorrow :

  • 8:30 pm – JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave @ 76th St New York, NY, 10023.
  • 12:00 pm – Pace University, 3 Spruce St, B Level, Angelo Bianco Room, New York, NY, 10038.

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2014 Reviewed Part 2 : July To December

In this post I will review 2014 from a largely virtual world perspective for the months July to December. This is part 2 , part 1 is the post before this one. I’ll combine both posts into another post for easier future reference once they are both completed. These posts will miss lots of big and interesting stories because the nature of the beast demands some brevity. These post may well look longer than they actually are at first glance because of images and pictures. The aim of posts such as these are to give a brief overview of the year, rather than an in depth review. An in depth review is too long for a blog post, it may make for an interesting book.

July

New changes to Skill Gaming policies in Second Life were coming to the fore in July, the result would be a learning curve for Linden Lab, creators and region owners. This was not a smooth process. KR Engineering, creator of the very popular Greedy Greedy announced they would be releasing a free to play only version of the game to ensure they did not have to deal with the Skill Gaming Policy.

Experience keys were the flavour of the month as Linden Lab invited us to the Cornfield to experience the new experiences!

Linden Lab updated section 2.3 of their terms of service. The update wasn’t really convincing and remains problematic. CG Textures, who now forbid use of their textures in Linden Lab products remained unconvinced that any of their concerns had been addressed at all and told Jo Yardley :

I’m afraid this does not change the situation for us.

I’m not sure why it’s so difficult for Linden Lab to address this issue. 

Linden Lab announced upcoming improvements to Second Life, including experience keys beta, improving group chat, implementing the chrome embedded framework and more improvements for Mesh and texture loading.

UWE Education In Virtual Worlds MA

I covered the University Of The West Of England teaching an MA in Virtual Worlds within Second Life. This course was aimed at those who want to teach in virtual worlds but some of those taking the course were actually just interested in the subject matter.

Despite the slow down in the loss of private regions in Second Life, the overall amount was still dropping. Tyche Shepherd informed us that the number of private regions had slipped below 19,000 for the first time since 15th June 2008.

The new Skill Gaming policy in Second Life, which had initially been pencilled in to be enforced from August 1st had its deadline pushed back to September 1st.

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Blizzard’s Decision To Cancel Titan Should Sound A Warning Bell For Linden Lab

Hamlet Au over at New World Notes has a blog post about Blizzard’s decision to cancel Titan. Titan was a planned new MMO from Blizzard, a long rumoured new MMO, indeed seven years long and it never seemed to see the light of day but it was supposed to be the next big thing.

Hamlet’s article has a link to a Polygon post on the same issue : Blizzard cancels its next-gen MMO Titan after seven years. That article has some great quotes from Blizzard’s co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime and Blizzard’s senior vice president of story and franchise development, Chris Metzen. Linden Lab should pay careful attention here to what is being said and what has happened. Mike Morhaime is quoted as saying :

We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs, So we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine. And it didn’t come together.

Linden Lab have created Second Life and I’m pretty sure that they feel really confident on how to make virtual worlds. They have now set out to make the most ambitious virtual world that one could possibly imagine, but will it actually come together?

Chris Metzen is quoted as saying :

We were losing perspective and getting lost in the weeds a little. We had to allow ourselves to take that step back and reassess why the hell we were doing that thing in the first place.

Linden Lab need to ensure that they don’t find themselves in this position with their future virtual world, that they don’t find themselves making something that isn’t fun, that isn’t really progressing how they would like it to and that might not be worth their time at the end of the day.

Then there’s the World Of Warcraft factor. World Of Warcraft may be in decline but it’s still quite healthy. The same can be said of Second Life. Chris Metzen confirmed that Blizzard will continue to support World Of Warcraft, indeed he goes further and says :

My hope personally is that we’ll support it forever

Linden Lab have said that they will continue to support Second Life, I’m sure there are people at the lab who hope they will support Second Life forever.

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World Of Warcraft’s 10th Birthday Will Have Events, An Expansion And A Slap In The Face For Pound Sterling

World Of Warcraft will hit the impressive milestone of being ten years old on Friday November 21st. Blizzard, who are keen to incorporate party themes into their world will be launching events running all the way through to January 2015. The launch of the latest expansion pack, Warlords Of Draenor will be just prior to the birthday, on November 13th.

In a post on the blog Blizzard explain some of the planned events :

The 10- year anniversary celebration will begin in-game on Friday, November 21 and will last until Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 10 a.m. PST. Everyone who logs in during this time period will receive the incredibly cuddly, feisty, and fiery new Molten Corgi to love, pet, and call their own. You’ll also be able to participate in a pair of special events to commemorate the occasion.

There will be dungeons, player versus player, achievements and probably a lot of fun. However for those of us in the UK, the birthday spirit has been somewhat tarnished by Blizzard Europe deciding to rise prices for new subscribers who pay in pound sterling. This will mostly be new or returning players based in the UK. Those who pay in other denominations will not get this slap in the face. On a post on their forum Blizzard explain the situation :

We regularly look at our pricing around the world and from time to time we make changes in light of local and regional market conditions. As such, we want to give everyone a heads-up that we will shortly be adjusting the pound sterling subscription price of World of Warcraft.

The new price for recurring subscriptions will be £9.99 for one month, £28.17 for three months (£9.39 per month), and £52.14 for six months (£8.69 per month). The suggested retail price of the 60-day prepaid time card will be £20.99.

As a thank you for current World of Warcraft subscribers, we guarantee that players with recurring (auto-renewing) subscriptions at the time of the price change will retain their current price for two years, as long as they remain in the same recurring subscription without interruption. This applies to anyone who is already in, or signs up for, a recurring subscription prior to the price change, which is scheduled to take place at the Warlords of Draenor release. We will reach out to relevant players approximately two months prior to the price change with a reminder.

Happy tenth birthday to you too Blizzard Europe!

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