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Yes you’ve read that correctly, last names are returning!

They of course never should have been removed, they were missed by most almost from day one.
Sure, we love that this allowed us to change our display names but somehow those called ‘resident’ were missing out.
Last names are fun, especially when you bump into a ‘relative’ of yours with the same last name.

Anyway, I get ahead of myself.
As you may know, SL will be celebrating its 15th anniversary soon and have started handing out gifts early.

I will share a link to the original announcement at the bottom here but first discuss a few specifically for the simple reason that I find them interesting and this is my blog and I do what I want you’re not my mum.

1&2. Lower tier on the mainland, we were given this a week or so ago and its great but of course those of us who are no longer on mainland felt a bit left behind.

3. More value for premium members, including new advantages that will add more value for merchants, creators and landowners.
Now this sounds very interesting as I am one of all of those, but generally premium membership hasn’t given me any bonuses that I got very excited about and this promise is rather vague so all we can do is wait.

4. Environment enhancements, FINALLY I WILL GET MY 24 HOUR DAY CYCLES!!
This is brilliant, we’ve known about this for ages and I can’t wait.

7. Last names to return!
This is wonderful, I’m glad they found a way to do this.
They write; “we will provide a way to customize your last name in Second Life” and that sounds even more exciting than new residents getting last names, because this seems to suggest that… everyone will be able to customise their last name!
Wait, what?
I have no idea what they’ve got planned but does this mean old avatars can also change their last names?

Finally Ebbe writes about more pricing changes to come.

Currently, Land costs can be quite high, and make up a lopsided portion of our Second Life revenues. To improve this imbalance, we plan to increase revenues in other ways so that we can lower land costs further. In order to avoid shocks to the in-world economy and to take care that we keep the business healthy, we plan to make these changes in a measured way, taking time to assess the impacts of each change as we go.

And;

In the coming months some other fees may increase, including Marketplace commissions, Linden Dollar exchange fees, and cashout fees.

This sounds both promising and worrisome.
The idea that tier could be lowered by raising other costs is not new and has come up many times before, but mostly in relation to Sansar.
It is nice to now see it brought up in relationship to SL and I do think this is the way to go.
This system will tax those of us who make money, it will tax commerce in stead of creativity.
Tier could lower, sims could get cheaper, the threshold people need to cross to start a new community or project in SL will be lowered.
We’ve already seen the exchange fees go up and this brings extra income to LL but doesn’t effect the majority of people in SL.
But all of this has to be done very carefully and in small steps because if SL becomes more expensive or less profitable for those of us who try to make a living with it, it could cause some serious damage.

For instance, if my exchange & cashout fees go up before my tier goes down, I’ll be losing money.
However I am assuming LL will plan these changes at the same time or at least make sure tier goes down first.
Either way, I expect that these changes will, no matter how, make SL generally cheaper for all of us, regardless of how much money you make.

Anyway, what do you think about these changes?

You can read the entire announcement by clicking here.

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