As a follow up to my last post on There vs. Second Life, I want to briefly explain my own history and interests in these two games. Everybody’s tale is different, here is mine.
As you may be able to tell on my There Magic page, one of my primary activities in There was exploring. This interest started all the way back on my first day in There, June 24th 2003 (yes almost 5 years ago). One of the things I bought on my first day was a black hoverboard “The Fed”, and I started riding it everywhere. At the time the world consisted of five islands: Caldera, Ootay, Tyr, Saja and Egypt. All with lots of cool professionally designed spots by creative artists like Don Carson.
I spent nearly a year exploring There, and finding new creative stuff, even a year later I was finding stuff I had not seen before.
In April of 2004, I made my second attempt at Second Life. (I signed up once for a 7 day free trial, free accounts did not exist, in November 2003, and did not like how buggy and slow it was, and my video card would not render the graphics right.)
Second Life had no professionally designed content, and the vehicles sucked. True you could fly from place to place, but it just wasn’t as cool as hoverboarding in There. The content that was there was boxy looking and repetitive. I got bored fast.
It was the next month, May of 2004, I joined my first MMORPG, City of Heroes. I spent the better part of the next year playing that instead. Meanwhile, There started having financial trouble, threatening to shut down.
August of 2005, I finally became a “Premium” member of Second Life. By that time, the community had grown enough that I could return to my favorite virtual world activity of exploring.
I still jump into There occasionally to see new stuff, but as you can see from my postings over the last few months, exploring new and cool stuff in Second Life is a never ending activity. Multiple independent companies of artists are building cool 3D environments to explore, with new ones coming out daily.
It makes mathematical sense: There started out with tons of material at release, way above what SL had. The amount of new material getting into There’s grid though is limited by the approval process. Only so much new stuff can get in, hence growth is linear.
Second Life started with zero at release, but gave players the tools to make whatever they wanted, and add whatever textures they wanted, no approval necessary… just a 10L fee per file. Growth in SL has been exponential. It did not take long for SL to bypass There as far as content goes.
But the approval process in There has another advantage: New material introduced into the game is generally of higher quality. So even though Second Life had more content, the majority was crap.
Thats why it took so long for Second Life to become this explorer’s game of choice.