Blofeld: James Bond. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro Blofeld. They told me you were assassinated in Hong Kong.
James Bond: Yes, this is my second life.
Blofeld: You only live twice, Mr. Bond.
MMORPGs – or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, are immensely popular. Many of my friends have fallen casualty to the beast that is World Of Warcraft (WoW), and are nothing short of addicted to this virtual world of goblins and magic spells. This is something I've managed to avoid so far, as I've seen what it's done to their social lives.
One of the problems with WoW, is that it takes a lot of time to get anywhere in the game. One of my biggest gripes with modern games, MMORPG or not, is that it's getting harder and harder to just pick up a game and go. The learning curves seem particularly steep to get anywhere at all – let alone make the most out of it. That's why more and more, I find myself playing retro games, and as such, I quite enjoyed the GP2X Console.
In the Massively Multiplayer Online scene, the virtual world that is Second Life has been causing a lot of stir recently. Since removal of the subscription fee, popularity has risen dramatically. As of writing, there are 1.7 million residents, 688,000 of which have been active in the last 60 days. In the last 24 hours, over $650,000 US dollars have been spent inside this virtual world. That's some impressive figures.
The hardware grid on which Second Life is run, is made up of some 3,000 servers and that doesn't pay for itself. For a monthly cost, you can become a premium member, which comes with a small piece of land you can call your own and do what you like on. You can buy quite a bit of land if you see a need, and the more you buy, the cheaper it gets. However, one of the beauties of Second Life is you don't need a house, you don't need to eat, sleep or even require a job to lead an active lifestyle.
Second Life, is vastly complex and there is so much to it that there is no possible way that I can write about it all in here. All I can do, is talk about my experiences, and give you as much of an idea as I can of what it is like to help you decide if it is something you want to pursue. For the past week, I've been experimenting with a free account, while also reading through a copy of the Official Second Life Guide, published by Wiley at a price of £22.99.
The book does an excellent job of talking through the history of Second Life, explaining all the concepts involved in the game, introducing you to places that you should check out, and people who are particularly well known in this virtual world. It tackles creating your own objects, making money, changing appearance, scripting and many other factors to Second Life. Although much of this information in available on the Internet, even through the official Second Life forums, somehow having all this information in a single place, written in a tidy, verified, “official” manner seems worth the money. It's generally quite a good read and feels more like a book than a manual. It has definitely helped me in places, but I wouldn't deem it an absolutely essential commodity to anyone attempting to enter the world of Second Life.