Exploring the Premium Wilderness

The other day I got an email about the Linden Lab-produced Premium Wilderness sims available only to those of us who have paid memberships in Second Life.  My first thought was something like "here we go again. LL is trying to do something that makes business sense and it is going to at best disappoint and at worst anger users."

I purposely have not read anything and I have kept my conversations about the Wilderness to an absolute minimum.  I wanted to go and explore and not be predisposed to like or dislike what I saw.

My understanding is the Wilderness sims are an incentive to get people to buy Premium memberships at a discount and a way for LL to show off some of the new building tools that will be available in the near term.  So tonight with about an hour to spend I teleported to Tapir.  I took a few photos and have a few observations to share.  All of these photos are completely untouched to give you a clear sense of exactly what I saw.  Please click on the photos for a larger view.

When I landed on the dock I noticed the sim around me loaded very very quickly, which I appreciated.  I have been having a heck of a time running SL lately with slow rez times really being a problem. I have done some work on my computer and I also was running the new Firestorm viewer so I can't say if it was my tuned up rig, the new viewer or a well built sim that made all the difference.  But, my first impression of the sim was "wow that loaded super quickly."  I was off to a good start.

The "good stuff" and where I show off my Wackadoodle street cred is after the break

I began to wander around and cam all over and suddenly my view landed on something that surprised me.

This frog is really something, no?  I mean I stared at it for a while wondering if it was not fully loaded or what but eventually I realized that flat vintage 2007 texture is the skin on this little guy.  I won't even comment on how he is sort of floating above the rock.  Oh damn. I guess I  just did.  My happy bubble about how the Wilderness might be great was burst just a little by the frog.  I decided to forget about him and move on.   I followed the paths that meander through the jungle and was struck by the movement on the sim. There are lots of birds and dragonflies that buzz in and out of the scene.  I liked the dragonflies especially.

I had to stop and collect myself when I saw this plant.  I mean really?  Could that be more phallic?  And could the texture be more lame?  I don't know guys.  At this point I started to think about how such a thing would look to someone who had spent about 175 hours playing Skyrim recently.  Someone who perhaps didn't already love Second Life. If I were that person what would I be thinking about when I saw this plant?  I might be thinking this is pretty lame as compared to the games I am used to playing.

I found some more pathetic looking animals who were completely static and I started to get sad.  It began to be clear to me where the court of public opinion was going to come out on the Wilderness.  

There are a few campsites that look like a great place to hang out and chat.  There weren't a lot of people around but I could imagine it would be lovely for a group of friends to have a conversation here.  There appear to be other spots to socialize, a fishing game and a cave to explore.  There was some kind of race going on but I had to leave before I had a chance to figure out what was happening.

Just as I had to leave I ran across these folks.  I happened to be wearing my Wackadoodle tag and grabbed this picture because it amused me to no end.  What are those hairy animals? They look like tribbles with horns to me.  I really have no idea and I did not dare ask Maestro Linden.  

I don't know what to say about the Wilderness.  I have many more questions than answers.  Why is LL building sims in the first place?  Isn't SL about user created content?  If this place is supposed to show of the new build tools I am left wondering why the build isn't more dynamic and frankly better.  

Sigh.  I wanted to love the Wilderness.  I really did. 


Miso Susanowa said...

Based solely on your photographs, I'd guess you have to kill the Horned Tribbles, find a Tanning Rack to make leather out of their hides,then find a Forge to make Hide Bracers. This shouldn't cost you any Lindens. Hopefully they are not very aggressive.

After that, try eating some of the dragonflies & birds to find out their primary effects.

The frogs look like an easy way to sharpen your Archery skills. I wouldn't eat one though; they look toxic.

Indigo Mertel said...

Of all the comments I have read about The Wilderness, I think that most people - including myself - forgot one detail: time ago Rod said the Lindens had plans to play with some ideas, experiment, even build in order to understand how things work. Essentially brainstorming and getting their hands dirty. My guess is that this and other projects are parts of those plans.

Chestnut Rau said...

I was very tempted to put some of my skyrim pictures side by side with these photos from SL but I decided it would be unfair.

I wish Skyrim was multiplayer so we could kill some dragons together Miso!

Yoshiko Fazuku said...

to be honest if thats to show off new stuff i cant see how it being worse than what users create now makes it so new

Chestnut Rau said...

Indigo that makes sense. However, they are also using the Wilderness to try and sell Premium accounts. I cannot fathom why they would couple experimentation and brainstorming with a marketing effort to increase sales.

Miso Susanowa said...

PS: I'd leave the Cheerleaders/Whackadoodle's Quest line for later; no use getting embroiled in the Civil War sideline until you've done some of the radial quests.

Mr. Crap Mariner said...

Miso -

During the Civil war, packing a picnic and watching the battles was a source of great entertainment... until the battles got a bit... out of hand.


Yordie Sands said...

"Sigh. I wanted to love the Wilderness. I really did."


Ditto on the 2007 observations too.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think you've captured why SL is slowly fading from peoples interest. Graphically, it just can't keep up, AND maintain speed at the same time. SL has the ability to look as good as any other game out there, but at the cost of extreme lag.

Cicadetta Stillwater said...

I dropped into the Wilderness very briefly tonight. It's late. I need sleep. But you piqued my curiosity. Assuming the form of a Grendel's macaw turned out to be a mistake, as the Wilderness is a no fly zone. Your photos are accurate, no question. The games might be fun, when I have more time to play them. But no flying? I haz a sad...