I’m the eternal old spinster, I don’t need no family, but lots of people in SL do. They love getting married or just partnering with their best friend. People start families, clans, clubs, gangs, etc.
But although at least we can partner someone of the same gender and animals, furries, ghosts, dragons, etc, one part of the partnering system is still stuck in the past; you can only partner to one person at a time.
There is no real reason for this, partnering someone doesn’t do anything, all it means is that their name is added to your profile.
I would like to see partnering improved and expanded, perhaps as a premium membership perk…
For starters of course allow us to partner more than one person. Even in the classic sense of partnering there are some romantic relationships that include more than two people. Get with the times Lindens!
You should be able to partner more than one person, not just because of unconventional relationships but also, as I just mentioned, because people use the partnering option for other relationships as well. If you have a family, wouldn’t it be nice to have your kids connected to you in your profile as well? And your parents? What if you’re a member of a gang or a vampire clan or someone’s slave in ancient Rome? Would you not like to have those people shown in your profile as well? Yes you can prove you were made a vampire by Lestrade, look he is in your profile, something that can only be done if he accepted your proposal!
Having more than one partner might clutter up your profile, even if the section is replaced with a drop down menu. So it would be a good idea to make this a separate tab, the ‘Relations’ tab.
It could look a bit like the picks page in your profile. Anyone you’d partner with would appear there, like a pick, with their profile pick, their name and below it a window where you can write some stuff. There is space for 10 picks in your profile, adding 10 possible partners might be enough or at least a good start. Of course again here is an option for LL to tempt people into becoming premium members by for instance allowing regular users only one partner or none and informing regular users that the relations tab is only available to premium members with a link to the sign up page.
Try and imagine what this could look like. In your window you have one tab that says relations. Here you see several people, all these people are there because you “proposed” to them or formally asked to partner them. One of them is the man of your dreams, two of them are your kids, but you’ve also added your best friends and that lovely chap who was the first person you met in SL and who showed you around but sadly died years ago. This tab will be a collection of memories, friendship, love or just a display of all the really bad dudes that are in the same gang as you are. Yeah don’t mess with me, “Skullcrusher” Henderson is in my gang, yeah check out my profile, see!
Personally I think this would be a fun perk for many of us and it would make being a premium member even more tempting.
On top of that all the divorces that will ultimately follow all these relationships will put more money in LL’s coffers!
What do you think? Good idea, silly? How many partners do you need? Let me know in the comments section below.
I upgraded my account because as someone who ran an active community I regularly needed assistance urgently and premium accounts promised 24/7 live chat support. Filing a ticket when some griever was running around your city making life miserable for everyone just didn’t cut it. Back then asking for help through chat support regularly resulted in an actual Linden coming over to see what the problem was. Ah those were the days kids, you youngsters don’t remember.
I’ve been premium ever since because you sort of have to if you own land. Without a premium account you can’t own land on the Mainland but even when you buy a private region you still kind of need some of the premium account perks such as the chat support.
Over the last decade I’ve seen LL try all sorts of things to try and get more people to join the premium program. It makes sense, there are at least 60.000 premium accounts in Second Life (source), which means right now Linden Lab made over 4 million Dollars a year from premium accounts ON THE MAINLAND alone and that is when everyone pays annually. With the new price, again assuming they will have still 60.000 premium account members left and they all choose to pay annually, they’ll be making almost 6 million Dollars just with Mainland regions. So that is not counting premium account holders who don’t own land or who private land. In short, premium accounts are quite important to Linden Lab. Disclaimer; I’m terrible with numbers.
Right now, when you become a premium member you get the following benefits;
Weekly L$300 stipend*
L$1000 sign-up bonus** for first-time Premium Account subscribers
Priority entry when regions are full of avatars
Linden Home or 1024m² tier allotment for use towards a parcel on the Mainland
Expanded live-chat customer support
Premium virtual gifts
Exclusive access to Premium areas and experiences
Increased cap on missed IMs
Increased group membership limits
The right to own mainland parcels in popular areas
Immediate access to adult-only areas
utilizing increased region capacity
L$ transaction history increased from 32 days to 90 days
Some of these benefits don’t have much value to many of us, especially if you are a landowner.
Anyway, I started thinking about how the premium accounts could be made more appealing. If LL got a lot more premium members, they’d make a lot more money and they could then decide to lower tier or even our money transfer costs that have shot up recently. I know the Lindens are working on an ultra-premium option, so maybe some of these options will be part of that or maybe these will give LL a few ideas;
Let’s get right to the most desired thing in SL; lower tier. I understand that LL can’t give all premium account holders a tier discount, even though many of course are not land owners so they wouldn’t even be able to use this option. However for me and other landowners it would be extremely appealing if the grandfather option would return as part of the premium membership. Being able to grandfather my regions made a huge impact on improving my situation in SL and if this would return I would be more tempted to rent more regions, thus putting more tier in the Linden Lab safe.
Same goes for NO setup fees for new regions. LL has already lowered the setup free dramatically which is great but you still have to pay an entire month tier and 100$ to start a sim, this has to come out of your own pocket because you won’t be getting an income from this new region through rent, access, tips or other ways for at least one or two months. Starting a sim still costs you hundreds of dollars till you manage to break even or make a profit, if ever. If you wouldn’t have to pay the setup fee premium membership would earn its annual fee back for everyone who buys a region.
Another option I’d like to see added is more group-roles. Not only would this make running a group/sim/community a LOT easier, it would also mean many groups could be deleted as the lack of roles is the only reason they exist. We’ve just learned that groups put quite a bit of pressure on the SL resources so this would be an added bonus to both users and LL.
I’d like to see the groups being improved in general, I’ve written about this before (here; https://joyardley.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/improving-groups/ ) but I understand that changing them can be quite a hassle and will take a lot of time and effort from LL. However if they make ‘Deluxe Groups’ TM a Premium Account only thing, it would pay for itself. Not only would quite a few shop owners, RP communities and other people gladly go or remain premium for a group that offers more options, this too, when done well, would mean a decrease in the amount of groups in SL, again something that would also be beneficent for LL.
Another idea I have is a bit of an ego related one. How about we make it visible in people’s profile that they’re premium members! Lots of people like this, perhaps as a bit of a status symbol. “Hey why do you have a gold star that says Premium on your profile?” “Ah well dear old fellow, I’m a member of an exclusive club…” the man answered as he polished his monocle.
It would be a wonderful perk if premium members could upload textures for free or got a discount. Right now uploading each and every single texture costs you 10L$. This adds up if you’re a creator and need to upload many textures while building something, often uploading the same one many times just because you changed a little detail. Another texture related perk many people would love is the return of the temporary textures. I am not sure if these ever were an official thing or just a Firestorm feature but a long time ago you could upload temporary textures, this would mean you could upload a texture for free but it was temporary so after a few days it would just vanish again from the servers. This was a great feature and money saver for us creators.
I would love to be able to change my tier paying date. I have two full regions and three homestead and I have to make sure to put some money into my account several times a month, it is a hassle. I would love to change this and just pay for all my land on the same day of the month.
One thing that has annoyed me for ever is the fact that our transaction history only goes back a short while. Recently they changed this from 32 days to 30 and that is already quite an improvement but I don’t understand why this can’t be even longer. Surely just storing these records can’t take up that much precious computer memory at Linden Lab, especially not compared to all our inventories and this entire virtual world? Why can’t we look up what we spend 8 years ago? Anyway, I think adding even more days to the transaction history would make having a premium account even nicer.
Ok this idea is a bit more complicated but may not be as big a hassle to make work. How about… we create SL families! Right now you can connect your avatar with one other avatar by making him or her your partner. All this really does is show someone in the partner space on your profile. That’s all. So what if premium members could add more than one person as a partner… Again this has no real consequences but it is a nice way to show the world you’re part of a modern relationship with two other people, are happily married to just one person but have seven kids or that you’re a member of a vampire family because Lestrade bit you. We know how much these families, clans, gangs, groups of friends mean to people but also the huge value they can have to roleplaying communities. Being able to officially connect more than just one person to you is quite appealing and will make a few people decide to go premium. And of course all those divorces that will eventually follow means more cash in the Linden coffers. Read more about this idea by clicking here.
Allow premium account holders to rent a homestead without having to own a full region.
Premium account holders get a region they buy for one month with no or reduced tier. Starting a sim is expensive, it takes weeks, even months to get things set up and all that time you’re not getting any money from tenants or shopkeepers. The first month tier comes out of your own pocket while you have no income. So knowing that you don’t have to pay (full) tier that first month would be nice.
Custom SL e-mail address.
Pay for your tier and premium fees with Lindens. No need to go through the hassle of selling L$, LL just deducts costs from your L$ balance directly.
Ok this is a mean one… how about we add ‘Allow only premium members’ to region settings… People could start clubs and sims that only premium members would have access to. Lindens could create Premium member only sims!
Rezzday gift! It doesn’t have to be much, maybe just a card from Ebbe, or a cake, a kiss-o-gram, a bigger stipend, etc. Just a little something to thank premium account holders for being in SL for another year.
So anyway, these are just a few of my ideas that would make becoming a premium member even more appealing. What do you think? Got other ideas and suggestions? Share them in the comments below.
Disclaimer; some of these ideas don’t come from me but from the SL forums or drunks rambling at my bar in 1920s Berlin.
Linden Lab wants to move away from making the bulk of their money through tier because of course expensive land is one of the things that needs changing in SL. But that means they need to make their money in other ways, for instance by increasing our money transfers more expensive.
Personally I think making lots of little things a little bit more expensive is better than making a few things a lot more expensive. That way we all carry the load in stead of just the land owners and content/experience creators.
One of the ways LL is already making everybody pay a little amount is by uploading textures. We all do this, not just creators. And every time we do, LL gets 10L$.
Big textures demand a lot from our computers, internet connections and LL’s servers. If you go to a sim and everything is grey and it takes for ever to see anything, that’s because of big and/or too many textures all being squeezed through your internet cable. Unfortunately SL is full of people who don’t know or don’t care about this and they fill our virtual world with huge textures. Not just when it is justified, like when you’re making a big building that needs to look good up close, but also for no reason whatsoever, as part of things that really don’t need such a high resolution. I’ve found 1024×1024 pixels textures on the bottom of shoes, the back of paintings or as minuscule parts of tiny earrings. Situations where the creator could have easily used a lot smaller texture without anyone noticing it. Of course we do all notice the lag these textures cause.
So if Linden Lab makes more money here and there they can make other things cheaper and it is in everybody’s best interest if we use fewer big textures in SL. Put that all together and we come to a system where you pay more to upload bigger textures AND pay less when you upload smaller textures!
And I’m not talking about huge fees, but for example, uploading a 1024×1024 example could cost you 15L$, the basic 512×512 would still cost 10L$ but the 256×256 texture would only cost 5L$. So if you use small textures you get rewarded and content creators who know that they can use smaller textures in many places will actually spend less money on uploading fees in many cases.
As I said before, everybody uploads textures in SL, not just builders. We make snapshots, upload wallpaper for our home, RL photos to show friends, etc. So this is something that will not only mean everybody gets to pay, it also, hopefully, encourage people to think more about the size o the textures they upload into SL.
Of course… Linden Lab could at the same time start offering people FREE uploads as a premium account perk… I reckon that would be one of the most popular perks ever! But even if the perk would be cheaper uploads or the the option to upload temporary textures for free, it would be very welcomed by many.
So what do you think? Silly complicated idea or a brilliant one? And can you think of other small fees LL could charge that would allow them to not charge so much when it comes to tier or money transfers? Let me know in the comments.
Linden Lab announced another change in SL costs and perks! As we users have been asking for tier to go down it is great to see them take another step in the right direction but part of making SL nicer for Premium users means it is also going to get a little less nice for basic users.
This really is a big deal because it’s even for those of us who own grandfathered regions. Unlike the last time they lowered the prices, this time every landowner gets to enjoy the change.
Premium and basic accounts change;
We’re going to get more from being a premium account owner, which is great because to be brutally honest I’m only premium because you kind of have to when you own a sim, to buy land, get quick support, etc. When we lost the 24 hours a day chat support I considered abandoning my premium account because that really was the main reason to be premium for me at the time. LL has tried many times to add extra value to the premium account but most things they tried didn’t really impress me, regular gifts, premium areas, etc. I had no need for any of those things and the only improvement I actually welcomed was when they gave premium account holders extra groups! They are doing this again but frankly I’ve managed fine with the 60 group limit, are there really many people who want more than that? As for the cap on offline IM’s…. I didn’t even realise there was one. My IM’s all go to e-mail, I don’t think I miss anything. More improvements are promised; more Linden Hom themes, more limit increases, etc.
But all this comes at a price, yes premium membership is going to get more expensive;
As you can see you’ll now pay about 12 bucks a month for premium membership, however if you pay annually it will actually be cheaper. Which is nice… if you can afford to pay a hundred bucks in one go. I can’t.
I’m not sure being a premium member is that interesting for most users and I doubt these changes make it become more appealing to become a premium user. But that is just from my personal perspective, other premium users may be rather happy with all the extras they get.
The credit processing fee goes up;
In short processing credit fee doubles. This is a bit of a shock because that can add up. I’m not good enough at mathematics to calculate how much extra this is going to cost me each month but I reckon it will bite a big chunk out of the decrease in Tier we’ve just been given, perhaps even swallow it whole. Either way I think that there not being a maximum fee is also a bad thing. After all those who make the most money in SL are also in many cases the ones who make a biggest impact on most SL users by making stuff many of us want to buy or organising events and running sims most of us want to visit.
It is great that land is getting cheaper while other things are getting more expensive, but in the end the balance should be that SL in general is getting more affordable for us or at least not get more expensive. Those of us who create all those experiences, run shops, own sims, etc., are already and still paying lots of money each month, seeing any kind of cost potentially doubled is a bitter pill to swallow. This hurts the people who are the backbone of SL, the content creators.
As you can imagine there was quite a bit of chatter on the forums so Grumpity Linden responded in this thread;
Land prices: Full estates get ~$20/mo reduction in price. For the first time we are also reducing GF/BD region pricing. This is not a frivolous gift to the 1%. This has real and proven effects on the rents many more pay.
Premium prices are going up on June 24. Starting June 3 and until June 24, Premium accounts have 3 weeks to pre-pay an additional cycle of premium at the old rates. Best deal is, of course, prepaying for annual regardless of your current level. We hope you can take advantage of it. If you’re paying quarterly today, you can continue as quarterly. We will no longer offer it to new premium signups. With the new prices, VAT will be charged on monthly and quarterly but not annual (of course only in the countries where VAT applies).
We looked. We hadn’t raised premium prices in the history of premium prices in SL. Crazy! A lot of value has been added to premium over the last few years (new Linden Homes, double tier, reduced mainland prices, premium access, more offline IMs, more transaction history, more groups, more animesh, experiences, and yet more to come) and we are raising prices to reflect that. We’re not lowering limits out of spite, groups really are quite a strain on our back end for a variety of painful historical reasons, including overloading group functionality instead of having other tools. This subject alone is worth a novel liberally sprinkled with tears. So anyway, we don’t hate basic users, and in fact we work hard to retain our free-to-play offering as one of the most generous across many industries. But yes, no big surprise, we do want to nudge active residents to become subscribers, because we think it’s a great value, and – as many have noted – we’re also running a business. But no, we’re not shutting our doors to non-premium residents. Rumors of our insanity and villainy have been slightly exaggerated. Fees to process credit are going up, effective June 24. L$ buy fees are not. Yes, this is another step in rebalancing the economy. It’s also the right step, because the regulatory climate has evolved dramatically since SL first started out, and in order to continue to offer a platform for creators to actually make money, we have a lot of ongoing work to keep up with those regulations. Compliance is generally no fun (shh don’t tell our compliance people I said so – they’re wonderful and actually think it’s fun!) but it keeps all of us in business and the bad guys out. If we weren’t doing this work, we would literally have to stop offering the ability to process credit. We’re making lasting investments into SL in infrastructure, features, and content. While we set aside some special morsels only for premium members, the work we are doing benefits everyone – region crossings, attachment reliability, marketplace improvements, inventory stability, land auctions – are just a few examples. No one project will please all of our residents, but we make an effort to address the needs of all communities in turn. We can’t get everything done immediately, but we’re focused and determined to keep SL successful and evolving. It’s a unique and thriving world we work hard to support. Look, this is obviously a bitter pill. We can’t keep slashing land prices at the rate we did last year. We can’t raise other prices and yet keep everyone happy. But we sincerely believe this is the best path forward – and hope you will come around too.
It is interesting to read, for the first time (in my case anyway), that groups really are quite a strain on SL I guess this is common knowledge but I’ve never heard a Linden confirm this. I can think of a few solutions that will cut down the amount of groups in SL drastically while making them actually better for users. Few ideas are to delete groups owned by people who haven’t been online for years, create subgroup options, let groups have more roles, etc. For my 1920s Berlin sim there are dozens of groups! We are am active roleplaying community that has been around for literally a decade, we need all these groups but often only because we run out of roles, permissions or need a way to communicate privately as a group. We would need just one group if we could have some of the things mentioned above. Another option would be to move some of the group functionalities to the SL website. If that website had some of the options Facebook has we could have pages for each group with a forum, chat option, etc. Perhaps even some functionalities that are integrated with inworld options. More about how groups could be improved here in this old blog I wrote in 2012;
And yes, the buy fees are nog going up, that is great but I don’t even remember the last time I actually bought Linden Dollars. Even when I just started in SL I would try and make money inworld in stead of buying it. It was quite rewarding to make my first Linden Dollars. Increasing sell fees damages the profit (if any) people make who work in SL, the content creators, the sim owners, the event organisers. I understand that this price has to go up but the increase is rather extreme and I am not sure the tier discount carries this extra cost. Not to mention that countless shop owners, creators, event organisers etc. don’t even own land so they don’t at least get a tier discount to outweigh the extra costs. Unless the owner of the land where their shop is located decides to lower their rent because tier has gone done 20 bucks, this change is quite damaging to many of the most important people in SL.
This means that the general overhead for these people goes up, they need to somehow make this money back and they’ll do this by making their stuff more expensive. Of course if you’re not a shop owner it may be harder to do this after all, if you raise the rent in your sim tenants may simply go elsewhere, if you start charging a fee for your club you may end up with an empty joint.
So in short, SL is getting better in some ways but worse in others. Which isn’t good. I think premium accounts can be made more attractive without having to take away from other members. But even with all the new changes and bonuses, is having a premium account actually worth it? Is what you’re being offered really worth the new costs? For me it used to be 24 hour chat support for emergencies, but that’s gone. The extra groups was a great bonus but 60 is enough groups. I don’t mind having more but I don’t feel comfortable about those extra groups coming at the cost of basic users losing some of theirs. My blog is full of ideas that can make the premium account more worth it and I’m sure most SL users could make some great suggestions as well.
In short; this change doesn’t make premium accounts more attractive, it has achieved the opposite effect.
As for things getting more expensive in any way for any SL users, I think that is always a bad thing. Not just because I’m a cheapskate Dutch person but because SL is more than just a game for many of us, it is how we make a living or it at least helps us pay some of our bills. I would make more money flipping hamburgers a few nights a week than I do working more than full time creating experiences in Second Life. Credit processing fees have seen several increases without us seeing much happening to outweigh those extra costs. When some things get more expensive others should get cheaper or parts of our virtual society are getting damaged. Again, those of us who own land at least get a discount to counter these extra costs but creators, shop owners and others who don’t own land but do cash out are only going to see a decrease in their income.
What if cashing out keeps getting more expensive and people just start asking tenants, customers or clients to start paying them directly via paypal?
Today Linden Lab announced that their wonderful Destinations video series will now be a weekly thing. We can now expect there to be a short (60-90 seconds) video that gives us a look at the creations and communications in Second Life.
I think this is a wonderful idea and something, I think, similar to some of what I’ve suggested in the past. The Destination Guide is not mentioned in SL’s official announcement (you can read it by clicking HERE), but if I’m not mistaken all the videos so far have been or still are in the Destination Guide.
As I’ve said before, I love the Destination Guide and think it is one of the, if not the best tool Linden Lab has at their disposal to bring new people to SL and to keep them there. It is a wonderful showcase of some of the best that SL has to offer. I’d love to see it used more, for instance by loading the page for people when they first join SL or perhaps let people pick their first teleport from the destination guide inworld from the starter’s island. Either way, I hope LL is going to make a video for every place in the destination guide and eventually will somehow embed these videos in the destination guide itself!
The destination guide deserves a little more love and attention I think. There are a few places on there who perhaps shouldn’t be there, for instance sims that have vanished or completely changed their theme and no longer offer what they promise in the destination guide. Of course a while ago LL started the ‘Places pages’ which started out quite promising but then went a bit quiet. I’d love to see the destination guide expand a little by for instance a few more pictures per destination, a video and maybe just allow those sims that have been picked the option to maintain their page in the destination guide.
Anyway, back on topic! This is a great little video series and I look forward to seeing lots of them being made and uploaded every week.
You can find all the videos so far by checking out the playlist on youtube by clicking HERE.
Many years ago, in 2012 to be exact, I wrote a blog about how it would be a good idea to give region owners some offline tools to help them manage their sims.
You can read it by clicking here, but in short;
I suggested some tools accessible on the SL official website that allowed region owners so do some things inworld without actually having to start up the viewer as that isn’t always an option.
One of the tools I suggested was to allow us to restart a region from the website.
Linden Lab has now given us this option!
This is very handy, not just because you can’t always go inworld because you’re too busy in RL, the computer you’re on doesn’t handle SL or maybe your sim is under attack by grievers and you can’t even get to it.
And of course, by being able to do this via the SL website means you can also do it on your mobile phone while in traffic and nowhere near a computer. Click here to read the official announcement.
Region owners can now simply go to their land manager page and restart all their regions from there, you can also restart them in safe mode so with scripts, physics & collisions disabled.
Effectively making griefing impossible.
This is a very handy and some day it may save your bacon.
But I hope this is just the first of more tools to come!
Because I can think of a few more improvements that would be most welcome.
Here are a few ideas for SL website tools (not just for region managers) I wrote about in my blog back in 2012, if you can think of more, please share your ideas in the comments section.
Be able to send an message to the region.
Have access to your groups so you can send a group message, join group chat (for instance to explain what you’re doing about the griefer attack) but also give and take away permissions to make things harder for that troll who pretended to be a tenant or to give that new tenant rezing permissions without them having to wait till you get home.
See who is currently visiting your region and eject someone if need be.
Have access to detailed visitor logs.
Change the windlight.
Allow everyone, not just region managers, to chat, live, with anyone in SL from the SL website.
Allowing you to talk to your friends but also fellow administrators in case of an emergency or just to check if everything is in order.
In short, all those little jobs that only take a few seconds to do but because you have to do them inworld, can take minutes, even hours if you have to wait to get home to take care of them.
I’ve contacted Linden Lab and asked them if they are planning any improvements and additions to these tools.
I was told;
Yes, we do – we have a project viewer with an update to estate management tools coming very soon. The simulator changes have just rolled out to support those. We think these are going to be a very welcome addition.
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!
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.
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.
Most people in SL have been saying it for a long time and it has even become a bit of a, what kids these days call a “meme”;
The Tier is too damn high!
Well, today Linden Lab announced they are lowering the tier by 10%… but only if you have land on the mainland.
Which makes this news not quite as exciting for this landowner.
I can’t help wonder why only mainland land owners get this bonus.
I guess it is because there is so much empty space there, but it being crowded and lack of land management powers is the reason many of us decided to move to a private region ages ago.
Personally I felt I didn’t have a choice, being surrounded by lots of strange builds that ruined the immersion in my sim but also desperately needing full admin powers to deal with grievers and other sim problems, I needed to move 1920s Berlin to a private region to make the place even remotely bearable for my tenants.
This however meant much higher tier and thus much more work to make a sim pay for itself or even profitable.
Just to get access to tools I think all land owners deserve.
Now I am famously horrible at math, but that would reduce the monthly tier for a full mainlandregion with $17.50, so from $175 to $157.50.
Which is of course still quite a lot and as many will say is still “too damn high” but it is a step in the right direction and something I welcome.
It is of course a fact that this change will help everyone who currently has land but will this amount make a difference to aspiring land owners?
Would the 10% reduction change your mind?
According to the LL announcement this reduction is effective immediately.
Another nice bonus is that mainland allotment is doubled for premium members.
I remember getting my first land as a premium member and starting 1920s Berlin on it and I know this change would have been very welcome back then.
We, well some of us, get this improvement a few months ahead of SL’s 15th birthday.
I hope we can expect more bonuses like these when the birthday celebrations begin and I hope that private region owners and those of us who have left the mainland and live elsewhere on this virtual planet are not passed by this time and also get a reduction in tier.
I reckon we’ve deserved it.
Linden Lab just announced a few changes, good & bad.
The buying Linden Dollars & process credit fees are going up;
Effective today, the fee for buying L$ on the LindeX will be $0.99 per transaction (previously it had been $0.60 per transaction). These changes impact only buys on the LindeX, and the fees associated with buying L$’s during SL Marketplace transactions remain unchanged.
On January 3, 2018, the fee for processing credit transactions (i.e. paying real money into a PayPal or Skrill account) will be 2.5% per transaction, with a $3 (USD) minimum, and no maximum. This fee is currently 1.5% per transaction, with a $3 (USD) minimum and a $25 (USD) maximum.
This means SL is getting more expensive for most of us and those of us who (try to) make a living from SL need to find a way to balance out the extra costs.
Say you manage to make 700$ a month from SL, in the olden days it would cost you $10.50 to send this money to your Paypal account, in the future that will cost $17.50.
Luckily it is not just bad news.
There will be more improvements coming to SL, lots of money (millions of dollars!) are being put into our virtual world to make it even better.
The most interesting thing (for me anyway) is the animesh;
New creative tools. We recently released Animesh in beta, enabling creators to use skeletal animations with non-avatar objects – like wild animals, pets, vehicles, and scenery objects. Coming soon is EEP! (Environmental Enhancements Project), a series of extensions to Windlight that enable you to trade or sell your own environment settings. EEP will also allow Parcel-based environment settings and an extended day cycle too!
This could bring realistic moving NPC’s to SL that are less laggy than current options and also look better.
They can also replace bots.
I hope the EEP! includes the 24 hour day cycles!
Also very exciting;
We continue to make progress in the massive upgrade to SL infrastructure and move to the cloud (we call this project Brave New World). This move will (among many other things), help make SL more performant for Residents around the world, and may also enable us to introduce new products and more flexible pricing in the future.
SL performance and high tier is something many of us would like to see improved upon so this is going in the right direction.
After years of bothering Lindens about it, trying to threaten and blackmail them, hiding in the Linden Lab HQ and jumping out during meetings demanding it, after hiding in Ebbe’s garden and shouting at his house with a megaphone about this (some of these situations may have been made up) it is finally happening;
24 hour day cycles are coming to SL!
And that is a bit of an understatement as the masters of time and weather have decided to tweak it all a bit more and added some other fun toys as well.
For years I’ve tried to mimic the time of day in RL Berlin in my 1920s Berlin sim, but as day cycles had a 4 hour setting, I had to manually turn the sun on or off, twice a day… rather drastically… for years…
Just so I could give visitors to the sim a realistic experience.
One they could always overrule and set to day light on their own viewer if they didn’t like it, but at least the option for realism was there.
So now finally I can stop doing this and program a realistic 24 hour day cycle for my sim based on if it is day or night in RL Berlin.
These changes are officially called The Windlight Extension Project.
So they are planning a day cycle setting that is set between 4 and 168 hours and this can include multiple sky and water settings per day.
This means I can finally create a 24 hour day cycle starting with sunrise, going on to noon, sunset and ending with night.
And this cycle can even be programmed for an entire week!
Some more interesting things that come with this huge pack of improvements;
Create your own windlight settings and keep them in your inventory
PARCEL BASED environment settings!
This is a huge one, finally we can set custom day cycles and environment settings separately from the region settings, something we could already sort of do in Firestorm but not without using up precious parcel description space with a line of code.
This is fantastic for my multi-zoned Time Portal sim as part of the sim is situated in sunny 1930s New York while another part is foggy Victorian London!
Imagine the time of day and windlight changing when you step through a portal back in time… exciting!
And it is of course also extra interesting for people who rent out land on their region as they can give their tenants the freedom to set their own windlight.
Experience based environment settings, make the setting change per individual depending on what they are experiencing in your sim!
For more (and better) technical details, check out Inara Pey’s blog by clicking here.
This is EXACTLY what I’ve been hoping for, it will give my sim more realism without me having to manually tweak this stuff and turn day into night and the other way around.