SL2: Some thoughts about moving

I'll start off by pointing out what I hope is the obvious: what follows is based on almost zero facts -- nobody who's saying anything has any hard facts about what the Lab is doing and plans when it comes to "Second Life 2" and what little I've seen in terms of timescales appears to be little more than speculation or not-quite-attributed reporting. What this is, like I said in my first post about this subject, is me jotting down the thoughts that occur to me as I think about how this'll develop and evolve. Please read it as that and only that.

Following on from my first post about my personal reaction to the news of the Lab's work to create a new virtual world (I keep wanting to say "grid" but that might really not be the right term for it) I've been thinking more about how and when I'd personally be likely to make the move and why I'd make the move, or not. Here's what I've thought about so far:

It's about who is "me": I'll happily admit that I'm heavily invested in me as Antony. The name Antony Fairport exists on a couple of other grids, where I've gone and had a look at what's there over the years, but I've never viewed either of them as me. I also have an original account in Second Life itself and, while he's another aspect of me (albeit one who's seldom logged in when compared to Antony) I very much feel that, when in a virtual world, I'm Antony. Antony is me. There's no difference.

I feel that I can only really support one world, one grid, as being "my" home. I don't mean that in a financial sense (although that's obviously an issue), I mean that in an emotional sense. When I log into Second Life, as Antony, and rez on Raven Park, I feel like I'm (virtually) home. A move to another grid/world would be like a grand house move, like emigrating, like leaving behind an old world and old possessions and starting, as me, with a fairly clean slate.

It's about who I want to be with: Just as important as the above is what happens to the relationships that are important to me. It should go without saying that the most important person in my virtual life is Zardia/Miss Vila (ditto in my real life too but that transcends any virtual worlds). Any move, any "emigration", could and would only happen together. I can't even begin to imagine doing it any other way. That's not to say I wouldn't create an account at the earliest possible opportunity to explore -- given the chance to have early access to something and potentially help test it I'd jump at the chance -- but that'd be done as a purely technical exercise. It wouldn't be me there yet.

Another factor would be where my close friends are too. I'm not the sort of person who has a huge circle of friends that I hang out with all the time -- I have a very small circle of friends who I seldom see in person but who I chat with lots in IM and/or get together with for music and laughs every couple of weeks. A new world would seem a little too empty without them.

It's about who we all want to be with: Building on top of the two issues above there's the whole business of the wider communities we're part of. I'd say I identify with and feel part of at least three different (and somewhat overlapping) communities in Second Life. In no particular order:
  • The RLV-using BDSM community
  • The Femdom community
  • The content creator community
A new world would need to be fairly well populated with those communities before I could really feel like it's home (I'm going to ignore for a moment the issue of the availably of a technology akin to RLV in any new world). Again, any inertia in any of those communities moving wouldn't stop me from exploring a new world, but it would temper and inform my willingness to finally say "this is where I virtually live".

Something that's fascinating me at the moment is what process would be involved in such communities moving. It goes without saying that the first two I mention above would heavily depend on how welcome adult content is in any new world (you'd really hope it would be welcome -- adults like to have fun and explore adult themes and Second Life seems to have done okay off the back of that fact). The last would naturally happen anyway, at least for content creators who are curious and get a thrill out of exploring new things and developing new skills (I can't even begin to convey just how excited I am at the prospect of seeing and learning any new scripting language).

The part that fascinates me, and I'm genuinely intrigued to see how it plays out, is how the first two communities would migrate. It's obvious that they wouldn't just up and move as a group, they're not communities in that sense, but I'd imagine that something would happen to create a tipping point where a real migration begins. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what happens there.

There's a side issue to this too: many communities in Second Life are made up of sub-groups that relate to and are based on strongly-themed regions. I guess it could be said that a region is the most basic sub-division of community on the grid (okay, sure, would could divide up at the parcel level, or the Second Life group level, but my experience is that themed regions tend to be the strongest basic level). I'm really intrigued to find out if the new world that the Lab is working on has anything akin to the concept of a region. I imagine that that decision alone would have a huge impact on how people organise themselves.

Conclusion: Well, really, there's no conclusion to this. Like I said at the start, this is simply me thinking out loud, documenting my thoughts as I process the news and read the facts, gossip and rumour. One thing I do know is that all of the above would be trumped by events on the Second Life grid itself. If the economy tanked because of Ebbe's "announcement", or if our landlords pulled out because of it (with no affordable way of us taking on our region), or the end date of the grid were finally announced, that'd change everything.

But, assuming the best (which I am at the moment -- I fail to see how the Lab could successfully develop anything new without the support of the income from what they have right now), the above is playing a large part in how I'm looking to the future.

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