Virtual Adjustments

I haven’t posted here in quite a while, and it’s time to come clean. The main reason I’ve been silent in my WoW musings is because I’ve been having an affair with Second Life.

Belladonna

Belladonna Kamala, my Second Life avatar, in her formal wear.

This terrible betrayal of my beloved Lantana is not because WoW has lost its thrill, nor because I got bored, nor because Lan misbehaved. It’s because I have to bop around Second Life for a paycheck. Yes, I am now actively playing in virtual worlds for cold, hard cash.

I’m working with an amazing team doing research on virtual worlds, and the first big part of the project we’re doing is in Second Life – largely because we can build things there as we want them to be and  keep out the riff-raff when we need to. We’ve created this rather elaborate quest as part of the project, and folks come into our island to play (and be recorded while they do so).

As part of the project – and my research generally – I’ve been reading and thinking more about Second Life as a virtual space and what makes it distinct from places like WoW (aside from SL’s far, far inferior interface and rendering). In that process I stumbled across an absolutely fantastic read by Mark Stephen Meadows: “I, Avatar: The culture and consequences of having a second life.” Written by an artist focused on interactive technologies, this magnificently illustrated little book of musings is quite like my own here: rather over-intellectualized in the best sense, drawing in some others’ writing and research on the topic, but largely focused on the author’s personal stories in SL.

After I got over the pangs of jealousy that I didn’t manage to write a book like this myself (if I even could…), I became inspired by Meadow’s words and decided to re-dedicate myself to blogging. A substantial part of my job is writing, and I’ve been giving that short shrift of late. As usual, I will use this space to keep the thoughts and fingers flowing.

So Lantana cedes some identity space to Bella, her sister in virtual expression, and I-the-driver will be talking about Second Life here for a while. In fact, I created some paragraphs about my first impressions of SL that, in parallel to my first impressions of WoW on the earliest pages of this blog, I will post here to get things started. My first, second, and third entries on SL, if you’d like to just get to it.

WoW companions, I promise I will keep my WoW-loyalty alive; indeed, much of my sense of SL is in the context of my far deeper knowledge of WoW. So, expect lots of comparisons. /grin

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2 responses to “Virtual Adjustments

  1. Me and the big boss have retired from WoW and are taking it easy for a while. We’re waiting for the next generation MMORPG (FFXIV) to come out this year to continue our adventures. Ofcourse I’ll come poke you at the release.

    It’s amazing that you can actually earn the cold hard cash by playing these games. That’s a wet dream for a lot of gamers out there. Well it’s not really the same since you make your own controlled enviroment and use other players as guinea pigs… , but it’s still close.

  2. I too am eager to start FFXIV! Actually, we’ll be doing a little research in there, too….:) And In WoW. Fun fun.

    A break is good, it’s true. Although I do miss it… I’m venturing back just a wee bit of late, but Second Life is required playing at the moment, as it were.

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