Saturday, February 16, 2013

Loss in Second Life

Eventually, everything goes away.

Elizabeth Gilbert

          Recently, I read a story in James Wagner Au’s blog about the large number of sims that have closed in Second Life (SL) over the last several years.  (If you don’t read this his blog, you should.  It’s a great source of information on both SL and virtual worlds in general.) 
          This got me thinking about my own experiences inworld since I began blogging almost two years ago.  I went back and revisited several of the sims that I had first blogged about when I began.  I was shocked to find that many were gone. 
          Not only were they gone but the communities around them are gone too.  Not just the prims and the scripts but the people who congregated there and the sense of belonging that formed around them.  To return to a place where there were once buildings, crowds, noise, and who knew what going on and to find just an empty field is a bit disconcerting.  I realize this may sound a little silly but there is a sense of loss when something one is accustomed to is gone. 

          For example, some of my first stories about different lifestyles in SL were about the vampire community, a family called Nulli Secundus in particular.  They had a wonderful castle (What else would vampires have?) with great recreational facilities.  I went to my first SL wedding there.  It’s gone now and the family seems to have broken up and gone its separate ways. 
          Another sad story, when I first began blogging, I wanted to use freebies. (OK, I’m cheap.  Get over it!  I also wanted to demonstrate that residents need not spend a lot of money to have a good time inworld.)  I wandered into a sim called the Hyles Info Center which had many freebies which my original avatar.  (Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my makeover!)  I dropped by recently to find only a small remnant of what used to be there and few, if any, freebies.  This is a great loss for noobies. 

          One sim which has recently closed was the Island of Bare Naked Angels, a nude beach resort which was non-membership.  I had hoped to do a story about it for my Sex and the Single Avatar in SL series.  It was a well laid out facility with friendly guests.  I made several good friends there.  I TP’d in a short while ago to find it undergoing a change into a members only site. Recently, someone told me that even that has closed. 
          I’d blogged about breedable meeros in SL and visited several sims for research and background.  Mystic Bay Breedables, Blue Fusion Estate, Red Barn Meeros, and Lil Egypt Meeros Market are now gone.  (Although, Lil Egypt itself is still open.)  Maybe there was an oversupply of meeros.  Another old haunt of mine in the early days, Lollygaggas, Creative Junk is closed too.  

          Phideaux Mayo’s sim Esoterica where I interviewed her last year is now gone.  Flying Tigers, site of stories about air shows and V-E Day celebrations is now gone too.  Virtual Haarlem where I met Artemesia Sandgrain and Tom Bukowski for an interview has recently closed too.  (Maybe I should stop writing stories about places in SL?) 
          Why have all these sims closed?  (Besides my writing about them.)  Finances could be part of it.  Many of these sims depended on voluntary donations from visitors to help cover costs and, well, we all know how that works.  There may still be lingering effects from the Great Recession. 

          The overall community of SL loses when these sims close.  SL is a mosaic of people, their meeting places, lifestyles, and all the other things that happen when people come together.  While some loss is always expected, this steady deterioration is concerning.  Yes, new sims and communities may replace them but there always a loss when this institutional memory disappears suddenly. 
          Individual friends may disappear without warning and as hard as this may be, this is just one person.  When many people either go away or can’t come together again there is a greater sense of loss.

          As I tend to move around a lot inworld, I sometimes don’t get back to folks once I leave.  (Even in Real Life (RL), I’m very bad at staying in touch with friends.  Significant Other is amazed that I haven’t wandered off yet.)  So, going back and finding nothing comes as a bit of a shock.  I took too much for granted. 
          I’ll continue to check back on earlier stories and see where others have gone.  If I’ve predicted anyplace’s demise prematurely, please let me know and I’ll get the correct information out.       

          Below are links to a few pictures I’d taken of these lost sims.  Unfortunately, I can’t tell anyone to go see them anymore. 
          I’d be very interested in others’ thoughts and experiences about loss in SL.  Please use my contact info below to reach me.            

          As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
           I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1 Downtown Esoterica

Photo No. 3 Hyles Info Center

Photo No. 5 Blue Fusion Estates

Photo No. 6 Red Barn Meeros

Photo No. 7 Nulli Secundus Home

Photo No. 8 Flying Tigers Sim




Janeel Kharg said...

I also feel saddened when places I used to love just disappear. As for me, I said years ago that I would leave Ankh Morpork in place as long as I could afford to. I get very few tips/donations so the $250 a month is a heavy burden. And now our government is changing the disability pension to save money so, until they contact me, I don't know how I'll be affected. I just hope I can keep it going. I can't face the thought of completely rebuilding elsewhere, such as Inworldz. Too old :)

Lindal Kidd said...

Anyone who's been in SL a year or more knows how ephemeral it can be. I regularly teleport around to my landmarks, and try (but fail) to keep them up to date.

It's sad to lose the places we knew and loved, and even sadder to lose the friends we found there. But, like Real Life, loss and change is a part of SL.

On the plus side, new and wonderful places are constantly being added! Not so much nowadays, I must admit. SL has shrunk by about a third in the last two years, and it appears likely to shrink by as much again, at least. It remains to be seen whether the virtual world as a whole can survive this down-sizing.

webspelunker said...


Many thanks for reading and replying! The fees are becoming more burdensome for many residents and without the ability to raise money inworld many will be affected. I truly hope that you will be able to continue. Ankh Morpork is a wondeful example of what SL can be.



webspelunker said...


I take your comment about change, in both SL and RL, being inevitable. I think what's difficult about loss in SL is that there often no closure. We don't know why a sim left or a friend never returns. It's a mystery like the Maria Celeste.

I try to avoid being alarmist but I shre your concern about how much more can SL shrink before it is no longer sustainable.

Thanks for reading and replying!