I’m going to attempt to blog on virtual living in Second Life. I’ll focus on how to enjoy exploring & creating in this virtual world without spending a bunch of money. If you can afford to spend money on playing in SL, please help support the creators, artists, or other lovely people who use it by buying their products & donating to their sims. If you can’t afford to spend money on this recreational platform however, I’m going to show you ways to enjoy it without spending more than you would on an occasional cup of coffee or other treat.
# 1. – Try not to spend any money for your first 2 weeks.
You can have fun exploring SL for free, since the interface is free to download and there are plenty of free things inworld and on the SL Marketplace. There is so much free & inexpensive stuff that collecting too much stuff is actually a problem for most users.
Start by choosing a free avatar at the Second Life website. Choose a Classic Avatar, since this type is easier to modify. Then download the SL viewer & access the virtual world with that. You may want to use a Third Party Viewer (TPV) later, but those are free to use too.
New users start at an orientation area to help them get used to moving their avatar & communicating in SL. This is not a game with simple instructions & rules though, so it takes a while to get comfortable using it. Second Life is an open-ended platform filled with creations and activities made by other users – just like you, except they’ve been using it long enough to know how to make stuff. This means you can find all kinds of places and things. Some are aimed specifically at adult interests, though most places expect you to behave with the same kind of maturity and decorum you would in real life.
Be polite, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Other users may be busy, might not speak your language, or may not want to be bothered with helping a new player, but usually somebody will help a new user with simple problems.
Here are some videos of what you might see & do when you’re new in SL:
Second Life – What is this game? <- When you have no idea what to do
Ace Plays: Second Life??? [SL Part 1] <- How to get free game currency
Second Life Tutorial Part 2 <- How to get a free furry avatar on Marketplace
You don’t have to become a Premium member to enjoy using SL, but if you do there are some added benefits. New users sometimes think they have to become Premium members, then regret that later, so wait until you know for sure that you’ll spend enough time in SL to make it worth spending money on it too.
# 2. – Use the inworld Search function to find places to explore.
Search on the word “Orientation”, “Help” or “Newbie” to find places meant to help new users. Search on the world “Sandbox” to find places where you can open packages or try to make stuff yourself. The Build button default creates a plain box that looks like wood, but this can be modified in all kinds of ways to create more complex objects. Building schools can teach you how to make stuff & also connect you with a community so you won’t feel alone & bored.
Pretty much whatever you can imagine, you can find somewhere in SL or on the Marketplace. If you have a favorite Roleplay genre, you’ll probably find places that do that kind of RP. Famous places in real life, popular TV shows and movies may be recreated so you can explore them. If you like dance clubs, live music, art exhibits, or museums, there are many such venues in SL. If you like online combat games, there are places where you can shoot zombies or fight other players. If you like shopping and dressing up, you’ll find plenty of stores, many with free group gifts. If you like finding hidden objects, there are hunts where the hunt objects have free stuff inside them.
Some more places to see & things to do in SL:
# 3. – Try not to spend more than $ 11.25 for your first month using Second Life.
If you think you really like SL, you may decide to try a quarterly Premium package when it’s on sale for half price. Linden Lab (the company that owns & runs SL) has half price sales on upgrading to a Premium membership every 2 or 3 months, so it’s worth it to wait for one of those sales. For the sale price of $11.25/ 3 months, a premium membership more than pays for itself in game currency. Premium members currently get $L 300 (worth about $ 1.25 US)/ week for spending money, which goes a long way when you know how to get stuff for free. A first time Premium member gets an additional bonus of $L 1000 (worth about $ 4) about 45 days after signing up for the Premium package. If you later decide you don’t want to pay $ 22.50 every 3 months, consider getting an annual Premium membership or downgrade to the free Basic level before your renewal date.
If you don’t want to upgrade to Premium, you may still want some spending money. There are a few games inworld that give you a few lindens (game currency) or you can buy them with real life money. The easiest way to buy currency is with a Bank or PayPal account, in which case $ 10 – $ 12 worth of lindens is plenty for a new player, even if you want to upgrade & personalize your avatar.
– I’ll explain in more detail in my next posts how to get free avatars, skins, hair, clothes & more in Second Life, even places where you can basically hang out & live for free.