It is no big secret that one of my alts in Second Life is named Zyx. For many reasons she’s a lot of fun to “play” in-world, but mainly because she lets me convey a part of me that being Uccello doesn’t let me express. As with my other alts, I treat her like a different person. Me, but different. Me, a bit more child-like in this instance. Perhaps because Zyx is so much fun she, unlike my other alts thus far, has really come alive. So when I needed a character name for Lego Universe (LU) (Web) I instantly thought of her. Here she is in Avant Gardens, one of the many worlds to explore in this new MMO:
Sadly, she can’t be a wee blue pixy, so I made her a redhead with lots of weapons. Here she is talking to a scout about a new mission (bottom right insert) to destroy some fierce spiders. Earlier she met up with one of the few other female avatars (top left insert) in the team outpost. Maybe there are other females. Hard to tell the gender of a Lego Minifig* because helmets remove hair, most uniforms hide the nod to cleavage that some civilian outifts allow, and most players seem to have stuck with the system-suggested player names like Lefty Weasel Popcorn.
And there are lots of clothes, just like Second Life. Many missions result in getting a new shirt or pants or such, some of which provide extra game abilities and some are just cute. Other Second Life comparisons can be made. For example, you can also tame virtual pets, but in LU they become your companions, help with missions, and eat up your resources. And you can get land. I haven’t done this yet as I’m too busy collecting money and “points,” but I’ve visited my RL brother’s parcels (the first is “free” and the next ones require rent) and it’s cool that you can use all the collectable building bricks and “models” acquired in the game to make whatever you want. Space is limited so don’t expect to build a huge castle, but it is still fun to play.
Unlike Second Life, LU isn’t very social. The publisher is certainly trying. Players can “friend” one another, the word teamwork is often used in missions, and you can visit the properties owned/rented by others if they allow it. But the dialog system is cumbersome, the emotes are hard to use, and the worlds are filled with children. Its easy to pick out the adults. They are the ones trying to organize. Well, if you have the dialog window open you can see that, but there is a lot to see and the chat is so small. Otherwise, it is a chaos of Minifigs dashing about (they are all running or jumping … no walking here), smashing things and collecting the stuff that spills out.
To put some order to this rambling post, let me say that Lego Universe is tiring and stressful and uber-competitive. And its a blast. I’m having lots of fun and when Zyx has done it all I can make another character to do it all again. That might be a while, but that’s okay. This game is a keeper.
*Minifig is short for Mini-Figure, the little Lego people.