Just the other day I was pulled aside by a Linden (no details … let’s leave all this as hearsay for now) and given some news. The Lab knows about about some issues with Linden Realms (LR), the fun in-world game I like to visit and write about. I don’t note these issues often or too publicly, though my friends Hexapoda and Kennylex often document some of them on My.SecondLife.com. I posted about a particular issue – inaccessible crystals – in February 2014 and collaborated with Hexapoda at about the same time on a blog post with general concerns and suggestions.
Aside from knowing about the issues, I was also told by Anonymous Linden that they are working the issues, too. While I wasn’t given specifics, here’s what I hope to see:
1) More challenges. Once the initial quest is done – without any clear sign that it is over – the only thing to do in the game is to run around and gather crystals to turn in for cash. I wind up making my own little games or just exploring.
2) The campers (as Hexapoda dubbed them) are breeding. They’ll simply sit within range of a valuable crystal or cluster of crystals and zip to harvest them before anyone else can. Hexapoda calls it blocking and I’m sure I haven’t explained it well, but I’ve seen it and the practice is unfair. Go to the LR portal in The Portal Park (SLurl) and you’ll see them bunched up, waiting for an instance of the game that they have memorized (and some have more high-value crystals than do others).
There are Clouds that sense if a resident is using scripted speed enhancement or tools to aid flying. These clouds (or some new entity) should be able to boot a resident if they sit still or stand still for too long. Make it like residents are prey for something, not just the rock monsters when in range.
3) It looks like some of the crystal rezzers have been moved (each instance of the game is slightly different but if you visit often enough you learn some patterns) but some scripting is needed so that the patterns are broken. This will not only foil campers but eo;; make the game more interesting.
4) Building on #2 and #3 – Use some lessons learned in The Cornfield. This means using more of the Experience tools that have been implemented since LR was built (look at some writings on the subject by Master of SL Games Loki Eliot ). And if The Lab is serious about Occulus Rift, create a version of LR for this device.
When Ebbe Linden spoke at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 18 March 2015 (see the video) one of the points he stressed was that Second Life was far from dead. In fact, growth and some positive changes are expected. Maybe Linden Realms will be a part of that. I hope so.
[Update 11:45 AM SLT] Hexapoda sent a detailed notecard to me in-world just now and after brief discussion she said I could append it to this post. She’s more of an LR expert than I am and a genuinely good person so I respect her views.
Linden Realms and the bad within.
There is still much bad things going on in Linden Realms even Linden Lab has manage to get rid of the most dirty cheats as speed collecting that was able to take most crystals in just a few seconds and it was long time then I did see any obvious bots even I think bots still exist in The Linden Realms, so here I has made a short list of things that I see as bad in the Linden Realms.
When you come to Linden Realms for the first time you may not think about it, but there is many users that seldom run and just stand in one and same spot during long periods of times, now I do not talk about users that may be AFK for 5 to 10 minutes but folk that stand still longer than one hour.
I think some of this users are scanning the area and in some way sending the information back to another user that can keep track of how many users there are in each popular sim and when green and blue crystals are rezzing, but this is just a speculation based on that many campers often stand in same areas where there is plenty of crystals.
Crystals does not rez if any user are standing close to the object that is putting out the crystals, this function is there to prevent bots from standing close the rezzer so they can collect 3 Oranges every second minute without need to move to far, but some use this to prevent the green and blue crystals from rezzing and when no other user are near they move away a bit so the crystals rez and they can take them without risk that other users takes the crystal. There are some areas in Linden Realms where you can block two green and two blue crystals and in this spots you can often see a user standing (or siting) on a rock without moving under 30 minutes, then they move to take the crystals just to return to the rock to keep waiting.
In the most popular sim with 40 crystals you can often see up to 5 campers that sit so they block most of the green and blue crystals, but here they also block the orange crystals and they do so just to make the sim less attractive for other runners and when the other users seek a sim that is not blocked the user move his alt and get the sim for himself.
Some users are only out for green and blue crystals and when it is time for green crystal to rez you can suddenly see several users run towards a sim that has been almost empty for 30 minutes, they stay some minute to all green crystals are taken and then they run off to another sim, this kind of users do not earn much and are not a big problem but it is annoying and make it harder for new users that “play the game” to find green crystals for some of the quests.
The Sun Gods:
It some time happen that you can see users on top of the Sunspire and they do not die when the sun is exploding, this users do so to be able to take the crystals that rez on top of the spire just for it is a high concentration of crystals in a small area that also rez a green and a blue every 30 and 60 minutes. I has talked to some of the Sun God users and they claim this is not a cheat even it over ride the games attended functionality.
Some users can still use speed boost and do so just short periods of time to overtake other runners without be kicked out of the game or to get hunted by a cloud monster, but users that use this kind of cheat know that they you just need to be killed by a rock monster or run over to another sim to fool the cloud monster.
One thing many users in Linden Realms notice is how popular skates or skating are there, some has roller skates while other just has normal shoes with a skate script in them and it not to unusual to see folk that skate with sandals or high-heels. I can not say why this is so popular but some say that they give the users a slightly higher running speed while other speculate that the script give users a timer for green and blue crystals or even a HUD to locate crystals, but the skates are still a mystery for me.
Some time you can feel ma massive amount of lag fall over you in the Linden Realms and when this happens there are often a user that has a GXF or Client Crasher, it is often a huge transparent thing they wear and that they activate to get rid of other users in popular areas, this kind of evil users can be hard to abuse report just for you crash before you can identify them and that you need to remember what realm you where in to be able to go back to get the user name and maybe a good snapshot for the Abuse Report.
There are still bots, or at least folks with big bladders or thick diapers that can run non stop for several hour without any stop, that are also very fast and can turn very fast to avoid other users or to get to the next crystals. This bot (if it now are bots) can often be found in flat rather flat sim where they get get teleported within the sim if they do get taken by a rock monster.
Now I has hear the rumor that Lindens are working to fix some of the problems in Linden Realms and that make me me happy, but I has some own ideas and suggestions for Linden Realms.
The first fix is to make it more game like with quest you need to solve and that give you $1L, the quest can be “run to the green canon and see if it works” or “Run back to the base camp and feed the pet rock”, if the user not manage to do the quest he will get sent back to the main camp or to the portal park.
The second fix is to make so that you always get teleported to another (or random) sim if taken by a rock monster, now many bots can run forever in a sim (or area) just because they just get sent back some meters from where the monster took them and that is a save run a bot can handle, but if a bot is sent to another sim it will get harder for it to run back and also do so that user not run in to a rock monster just to get to the other side faster.
See if it is possible to do so that users are burned by the sun if they sit outside to long time (5 minutes) and do areas for relaxing and to be AFK in, for an example near the moles, in the base camp and in the resurrection platforms.
Set a 250 L limit per day in the Realms and let folk be able to save crystals that they later can use to get “portal parts” or gifts in form of pet rocks, stone or mud monster avatars and so on if they want to, I just would love to have my own portal that can be used to teleport me to a place where I can rez a teleporter landing pad 😃
I also want to see better monsters that can cover larger areas so campers not can be sure to sit on safe spots, different rez times between crystal like 2 min for red and yellow and random between 2 and 4 minutes for orange crystals. Smarter functions for cloud monsters that some time can start to hunt you for turning to fast on a hilly area or for running down a steep hill while they not hunt cheaters and stop hunt cheaters that know the trick for fooling them.
Things to be fixed in LR are:
The HUD do not get detached when you leave the Realms.
You do not get sent home when you remove the HUD.
You shall get a reminder to read the rules when entering LR.
Update the rules to include “overriding the games intended functionality are not allowed”.
Crystals need script that delete them if not taken within 60 minutes.
Ratio between red, yellow and orange crystals need to be adjusted.
All quest need to be played before you can start to convert crystals to Linden Dollar.