March 19th, 2012 by Marianne McCann
Some of the most successful parts of the mainland — and I am basing success on “retained higher than average land costs and low amounts of for sale/abandoned land” — have been the city regions. The double prim allotment has been huge for these regions, as has the theming by the Linden Department of Public Works’ “Moles” (or dedicated Linden staff in the case of Nova Albion). Having a strong community group like the Bay City Alliance of the City Slickers has helped these areas as well, creating events and other things that build awareness of the area, providing a space for residents to meet and discuss their area, etc.
As an aside, it was even better when a Linden often attended these meetings. It gave us someone who could help us with the Linden owned spaces, help us focus our needs, and also give us a sense of where the lab might be going from time to time.
Beyond these are other spaces that have done a great job of building successful, popular Mainland communities on their own. The East River community, Chibo, and the Luskwood come to mind. Beyond them are smaller individual or group-owned builds that are shining examples of what one can do on the mainland, such as Cowell, the Lost Forest, the Bhaga ironworks, Lakeville, etc.
But for each Bay City or East River, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of examples where mainland has not turned out well. As many long term resident of the mainland knows, all it takes it one person to cause an otherwise beautiful region to become an eyesore. Lately, there’s been issues with people covering parcels with large, sometimes brightly colored and glowing blocks in a misguided attempt to drive others off. Beyond these, you have other blights: Skyboxes set too low to the ground, ban lines, lost cars, squatters, and random junk left on no auto return lands, “breedable farms,” ‘bot farms, gambling dens, and other sim resource gobblers, and so on.
The Mainland, by its very nature, encourages this. There are no rules (beyond the TOS and CS), no covenants, no zoning (aside from a few early examples, a’la Boardman). You are welcome to build your tropical paradise in the Snowlands, your winter wonderland in the Volcano Island regions, and put your spaceport up in the middle of Nautilus City. As one person put it to me, after building something wildly out of theme in Bay City, “well, there’s nothing that says I can’t.” They’re absolutely right, too!
Indeed, the only thing one really can do is wait them out. Speaking as one who has faced having a bestiality stable go up behind my home, and a ‘crash a plane into a building every two minutes” in front of my store, I have developed a lot of patience. Yet where in Second Life to have fun, not grit our teeth!
Meanwhile, the Linden Homes are almost the exact opposite experience. With a strict covenant and public lands that really can’t be fully utilized, the Linden Homes are the virtual equivalent of a modern, HOA-driven community. They’re off on their own continent – Nascera – which further isolates them. There’s little attempt at personalization, and much self-expression is quashed. The Linden Homes are not “Your World, Your Imagination” nor are they “The Weirder The Better.” They’re also not the “Frontier” Rodvik is seeking. If anything, they’re the “Anti-Frontier.”
So what to do? I’d hate to suggest blowing up all those Linden Homes but… blow them up. Replace them with City-style (double primmed, themed) regions, for example Future City, Fantasy City, Anime City, Cyberpunk City, Bayou City, Old World City, Farm City (a contradiction in terms!). And heck, make some attempt at positively enforcing the theme in these places while you’re at it.
Oh, and sure, why not also include a handful of regions in each of these that do work as the current crop of Linden Homes. But rather than put them in their separate safe place, integrate them with the world as a whole. let them be part of their communities, not just some place far away from the action, tucked off in some private corner. Bring them all together.
One more thing on integration: one of the great features of the Mainland is the ability to cover large distances. You can drive the roads all day — or sail, or take a train, or boat. Not so much with Linden Homes. If there was some attempt at integration, Imagine the possibilities! The best features of the Mainland combined with the best features of the Linden Homes. It’s just that much better.