Virtual News Bites: Second Life Hits the Reset button with Latest Update

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In what Linden Lab calls 15 updates for the 15th Birthday, they announced many things we oldies find familiar. Among the new things like real-world adjustments to the Day-&-Night Cycle and better filters for the Marketplace you’ll find things like themed Tutorial Islands that new players will start at.

For those of you who started with Second Life in the past 5 years, or maybe haven’t started yet, here is the features LL announced as new, that we oldies have asked them to put back:

More value for Premium Members – They removed the bursary a few years ago and replaced with a monthly free gift item for those who pay for a premium membership. This was a controversial move which many felt devalued the membership. Though LL won’t say what they are going to add, they have promised that this time it will add real value to the premium membership.

Themed Learning Islands – A long, long time ago, before The Torch even started, every new player started in a hub of sorts where we got to pick a theme. Once the theme was picked we were whisked away to a Learning Island, a sim dedicated to teaching new players while keeping to the theme chosen by the player. This feature was removed, which was another controversial move. The teaching of new players were for over half of SL’s 15 years delegated to other players, but there was no way for the new players to know where to go. This alienated a lot of newcomers and we oldies have urged LL to put the Learning Islands back. Now they have!

Last Names – The only thing on the list LL admits is a returning feature. You may have wondered why so many people have a last name different than Resident, or why last names exist at all. Back in the beginning, your username came in 2 parts, a first name you typed in and a last name you picked from a list. The list would change every now and then, so that the millions of players could all have the username they wanted without fear of the name being taken already. At some point LL decided to remove this last name feature, in the same update that allowed people to change their on-screen name. But since most of the users at that time already had a last name, and many shared first names, they couldn’t just remove the last name. So everyone who registered after that update, including me, got the last name Resident. Now they will allow anyone to change their last name, as a compromise between the two systems.

Alongside these updates, there are 12 new features coming to Second Life before the 15th birthday, including the fan favourite Marketplace update, which promises to remove a lot of clutter on the marketplace and make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Is this the update Second Life needs to regain the strong user base it once had or is it too little too late? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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