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Back on the mainland.

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.

7 Responses to “Back on the mainland.”

  1. Laetizia Coronet Says:

    Well yes, you can cover large distances, if it wasn’t for some moronic ban line thwarting any serious attempt at doing so.
    I would therefore suggest that privacy and ‘payment info’ barriers be set to allow passing through. I got so mad just now that I did not clean up my plane – I just logged off. You wanted a barrier? You deal with the f&$£(” plane.


  2. WHAT IS THIS CRAP? » Once in a lifetime… Says:

    […] If there were a real Community Manager at Linden Lab, this is what they'd sound like. (Experienced, Smart. Dedicated. Local. Why have you not hired this person, Rod?) […]

  3. Yordie Sands Says:

    I agree with you on virtually everything. Btw, The Blake Sea region and Nautilus is one of LL be great achievements. I keep thinking if all the contients were connect by seas it would open up new vistas. I’m not sure everyone shares my love for water travel though.

  4. Crap Mariner Says:

    I am utterly horrified at the fact that they never hired you.

    But then, when a company’s HR motto is “Some people are more valuable as residents than employees” I suppose leaving the community role unstaffed/understaffed/staffed-by-emptysuits means less money taken from the stream back to the investors.



  5. Ziggy Says:

    I had a linden home when they came out. I don’t anymore. Good lordy me what a souless place it was. Probably not helped by being in an Aussie timezone, so there was never anyone else around.
    The batches of identical houses, all empty of people… it creeped me out and I hated that I couldn’t mess around with my house.
    So I ditched it. Good idea, badly done. I’d help blow them up!

  6. Uccie Poultry Says:

    Your post makes so many interesting points that I don’t know where to start. I suppose it might be best to state right off that except for a brief ‘homeless’ period and a time in a very nice Linden Home, I’ve lived on the Mainland since joining the Main Grid years ago. In fact, I have a home today on the same spot I first lived in back in 2006. It seems to me that Mainland builds wax and wane. For example, Route 9 near my house wasn’t there when I moved in. Actually, my home region (Nangrim) was on the edge of the world at the time. Today it has many empty spots and some terribly ugly (in my opinion) spots, but it also has nice refuges of beauty. Likely this will change soon. Mainland is about change. Mainland is about being a wild frontier, in a sense. Your land to do with as you wish.

    As much as I loved my Linden Home (Homes, plural, as I had two premium accounts) and the beautiful landscape with clever little community bits and surprises, the complete uniformity became a bit dull. And I had practically no neighbors to speak of … many homes were filled with Bots and breedable pets. The Linden Home regions are far more devoid of people than the mainland regions. Perhaps more could be done to build the community. Goodness knows Molly Linden and a couple others tried by having events in actual party regions (like http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Elderglen%20Party%201/128/128/20) and the Infohubs for the Linden Home regions have fun activities.

    What I’ve come to think of late is that there is too much space. There are too many regions with Linden Homes that are not being used. Too many Mainland regions filled with Governor Linden-owned abandoned land. Too many Infohubs that don’t easily connect to the Second Life Railroad or highways. My recent multi-day road trip around Route 9 (http://poultryreport.blogspot.com/search/label/Road%20Trip) showed that there is much to admire aside from what is created by the Linden Department of Public Works but it is far to spread out. Parcels are still too broken up by land squatters and land cutting.

    High-quality development like Bay City might be an answer, but I see very few people actually living there. If less land was available that might concentrate the population and thus bringing about more social interaction. “Bring them all together” you wrote meaning to bring the Linden Homes into places like Bay City and I think that is a fabulous idea, but it might be time to shrink Our World in the process.

  7. Marianne McCann Says:

    Woah – what a reply!

    And I agree, One of the constants of the mainland is change. Yes, some things are as “permanent” as it gets in SL. You can see prims on the mainland that have been right where they are years before I got to SL, and may well be there for years into the future. but everything changes. My neighborhoods have changed dramatically over the years, and will again and again. It’s the very nature of the place.

    Like Is aid above, I don’t much “get” the Linden Homes. I do think that the infohubs (which have never actually been a true part of the hub system, best as I can tell) do have some fun stuff (especially Elderglen), but beyond that it feels like some sort of virtual Levittown. Perhaps even more so than LL’s original virtual Levittown, Shermerville (out in my neck of the SL woods!).

    I tend to agree about the sheer amount of space. I tend to think that, at the boom times for land, a lot more got built out than was ever needed. the unfinished continent of Geata is a good example of this. But I’m sure it’s home to a great many, and they would defend their home to the (virtual) death. I remember the Zindra move, after all!

    One of the difficulties, too, with shrinking the world, is that speculators will see this as an excuse to gobble up land and raise the cost of it, hoping to make a buck off of those who *need* a parcel. This is one of the issues we have had in Bay City, for example, with land speculators inflating value due to the relative scarcity of the land. Still, that may be a roadbump rather than a roadblock.

    In the end, I don’t know. Much to consider either way. Thanks for much good food for thought!

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