Where was that again?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Story Time!

Story time kids!

Once upon a time, I landed on a sim in Second Life, not knowing what to expect, and not knowing how it would come to impact my SL over the course of three years.  I was dating Leo at the time, and he’d decided he wanted to explore spending time in his SL as a lycan. (A lycan, for the sake of simple explanation, is like a super werewolf. It can shift form at will, walk upright, carries more muscle, and is smarter than a werewolf. ) I didn’t fancy myself as “dog-like”, as I was sporting a neko tail and ears at the time, so I didn’t share his desire. He picked up a lycan avatar and spent some time running around his sim wearing it, and apparently in his searching, came across a HUD based game that involved lycans and vampires. He goes over to check it out, and ends up joining it, I go over with him to look around, undecided. Being a good girlfriend, I ended up joining the game as well, but as a vampire, under the same person as him. That was May 19, 2009. Leo and I didn’t last, but I had gotten caught up in the game and stuck with it, whereas he drifted off into whatever.

I was an employee at the store where the HUDS were sold by mid-August, a clan elder around the same time, and in October of 2009 I went halves on a lycan pack with a good friend and became an “alpha lycan”. This led to getting further involved with the game, because then there were leader meetings, and the added responsibility of “policing” our own, which we were pretty good at. By then I was putting in probably between 30 and 40 hours a week on average at the store, the game had basically become what my SL centered around, and I was okay with that. 

Some may wonder why I’d be okay with centering my SL around it, and the answer is simply that the people I played with made it worth it. There was such an amazing social atmosphere that complimented the competitive nature of the game beautifully. It made you want to log in and play, you didn’t mind “dying” quite as much, because you had people to chat with who were also “dead” and you could watch other people fly around the common “hunting” places in the midst of combat, and it was still enjoyable. Meeting on rooftops for agreed upon one-on-one battles, double kills, sim raids on clan homes, official declarations of war with laughter afterward… Sixty minutes passed as if they were twenty, friendships were forged, relationships developed, dirty deeds done in secret… fond memories.

It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, it became evident that the game we had bought into and came to love was changing, and not necessarily in a good way. Greed was the suspected factor and things were sent into a whirlwind as the owner decided to try and blow things up to attract new players. “Dead time” progressed from the sixty minutes to thirty, then to fifteen. There were promises tossed around about how new “species” were being introduced into the game, and how they’d be different than the vampires, lycans, hunters, and hybrids we were accustomed to. Promises that went unfulfilled, with the only change being made in the terminology, not in the actual capabilities. Those of us who had been in the game for a while by then felt more and more neglected and worthless as our voices seemed to stop being heard. There hit a point where your membership in the game seemed to depend on how the owner was feeling that day when you happened to cross his path. A bit of a dramatic statement, yes, but it was the feeling of the time, not necessarily the actual actions. People grew less apt to say anything when they disagreed with what was going on because they feared losing their investments into the game, with no recourse.

Eventually the original owner seemed to grow less interested in maintaining the game, and the effort to keep interest strong. By then it wasn’t going to be possible to bring things back to the original atmosphere, as too many changes had been put in place. Other ventures began to take precedence over the game and then there were suddenly two new names in the picture. I’m still not completely sure if they were meant to be co-owners or simply investors who would receive some of the revenues, but they seemed to come out of nowhere.  Whatever the intended effect of these two people coming in was meant to be, I don’t think it was achieved because nothing useful changed for a while and the game continued to slide lower toward complete disaster.

About a year ago now the biggest change of all came, and that was in the form of a new owner. I was cautiously hopeful that maybe things would improve with the change in ownership, hopes that were in vain. Instead, the game has continued its decent toward its final days. Each change worse than the one before, with seemingly no responsibility taken by her, only resulting in complaints being directed toward those who feel some strange obligation to take the abuse in her place, rather than recognizing that she’s copping out. 

The court system that was put into place a long time ago to deal with rule violations has been grossly corrupted, with unjust rulings, or the overturning of just rulings, based on who the people involved are. Good people have been accused of and punished for things they should not be held accountable for. Bad people have been allowed to remain in the game, in spite of their actions. The rules are not applied fairly across the board, and rules are added or adjusted to stifle rather than enhance the game experience.

There isn’t an end to this story yet, and there may not be one for a while, but one thing is for certain: It is on the horizon.

As always, comments are open below. They are not reviewed prior to being posted, however I will remove any personal attacks. This is not the forum for that, there is one available to those who understand this story’s origins, ask around. I’m accepting private messages regarding this posting via email, second life messages, or facebook inbox. If you choose to use one of those venues, know that the attitude conveyed in your message to me will dictate the one you receive back. Thank you for reading.