Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Starting in Social Worlds: Helpful Places

The Most Helpful PenguinWalking into new virtual worlds can be an intimidating experience. After the sign-up process, you are thrown in to a new world in nothing but newbie attire. It is almost as bad as walking into a bar full of strangers with a big neon "Newbie" sign hovering over your head. Fortunately, most virtual worlds have helpful places where newbies can settle in and get useful advice. Here are a few places you can find help.

Second Life

For virtual newbs, Second Life is perhaps the most intimidating virtual world around. In the first several hours, possibly days, of my Second Life existence, my starting avatar was running around in atrocious pink clothes. Talk about painfully obvious. First five minutes and I had accidentally detached the skirt for my default outfit. After countless failed attempts, I gave up completely on trying to re-skirt my poor, silly-looking self. Even worse, my feet were sticking out of my shoes, a box appeared around my waist whenever trying to attach something, and "HUD" was a foreign word from a far, distant universe. It took me forever to figure out how to operate the camera without zooming into a perpetual abyss somewhere. Not to mention, the user interface looked like it belonged on an advanced spaceship.

For all its complications, Second Life is the easiest virtual world to find a helpful hand. A newcomer can find helpful places easily by using the Destination Guide. It takes a little perusing, but there they have listed a number of excellent helpful places. There are some places where you can find specific information, and others that have hordes of general tutorials.

New Citizens IncorporatedMy personal favorite is a place called New Citizens Incorporated. Aside from a really awesome penguin and an amusing hang-man game table, NCI offers various useful information in clearly distinguished sections, including freebies. The downside it that you have to actually know how to save and use notecards. Thankfully, there are usually other users around to ask. They also host a number of classes on clothing, scripting, building, and more. Don't know what the heck those things mean? Maybe it's time to give them a visit.


In Frenzoo, newcomers might feel pressure to really fit in, others may think that the site lacks a bit of freedom. Further, Frenzoo lacks actual 3D places.  Currently members have 3D scenes in which they can have one-on-one chats with other members. Albeit sometimes fun, this is very limiting. It means no interactive events like DJ concerts, art galleries, interactive shopping and more. Still, the coming of multi-avatar chat rooms is bound to give Frenzoo the much needed 3D virtual interaction it needs.

On the plus side,  Frenzoo is easy to use and newbie friendly. For confused newcomers, try the Newbie Club where users can post questions or introduce themselves. The forums are another area to go for help. Newcomers can introduce themselves in the Welcome to Frenzoo forum, where they can ask beginner questions and receive helpful replies.

IMVU is extremely intimidating for a new user, though not because it is a complicated platform. In fact, IMVU is another user-friendly world. Rather, members seem to have cliches, rules, and a whole culture. Joining makes a newcomer feel like the new kid in school again--you have to go through all of that work to try and fit in.

Rules, Rules, RulesVisit the chat room list and you will be bombarded by rules: NFZ, no guns, no tails, and (my personal favorite) humans enter at your own risk. As a newcomer, all of these rules can throw you off, especially if you do not know what half of them mean. I just learned what staying under 2000 kb was all about.

Unfortunately, IMVU is also one of the hardest worlds to find specific places for help. I found, at best, a fairly inactive help group and an entirely empty newbie chat room.

All hope is not completely lost, my dear newbies. Despite the strange rules and void help areas, there is one place you can go for help on IMVU: everywhere.

That's right. This is the secret, not just for IMVU but also for all the virtual worlds I am apart of, and many more as well. The members of these worlds give the most helpful advice around. Most I have met throughout the worlds have been happy to answer my questions.

Yes, their avatars might be creepy giant-spiders, or they may be dressed in some crazy attire. Just remember, on the other side of the computer is another person just like you and me.

I hope fellow newbies find this helpful. If not, feel free to contact me for more help. My IMVU and Frenzoo name is Miidasu, on Second Life I am Botan Utherwurldly. 


Maria Wingtips said...

..And if you ever need help with Twinity or Eve Online, feel free to contact me - Sered Woollahra - in world!

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