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Kate goes grid hopping

I have been grid hopping in the past two days for my own edification and thoughts about future projects. I visited Reaction Grid, 3rd Rock and InWorldz for about the same time periods 2-3 hours and all with the latest Imprudence Viewer release. I am Kate Miranda in all of these grids. I have no business connection to any of these grids. This is one avatar’s experience.

In Reaction Grid, I was met by no one and saw not a single avatar in my journeys. There were some basic freebies lying around the welcome area in boxes. I was able to outfit my avatar acceptably from the box contents. There was a monorail in the welcome area but it didn’t seem to work. Things not working was my overall impression. I found the Content Creator’s group that I had logged on to join (16 members), but couldn’t find groups with basic search terms like “events” “music” “education”. I tried to visit several regions but crashed on tp most of the time. I did get to Chilbo but when I tried to tp to another region, I crashed in tp again. I didn’t find anything that told me land prices. I’m not saying that information was not there but I didn’t stumble across it, and there was no one around to offer it to me or point me to the information. I saw less in Reaction Grid than the other two grids as I wasted a lot of time watching the teleport progress bar and unsuccessfully looking things up in Search.

In 3rd Rock I was greeted by one avatar I knew from attending concerts in SL and one of the founders was online and I got pulled immediately into a friendly discussion group in a conversation pit with about 6 folks. People were steadily coming and going. The founding member who was in the conversation group was wildly enthusiastic about a classical music series on his grid. Pricing for land and other information was readily available. Pricing was not bargain basement low but very reasonable compared to SL. There were basic good freebies arranged on walls similar to the NCI set up in SL and I quickly outfitted my avatar with decent skin, hair and a simple walk AO and a business pant suit. There was nothing sleezy in the freebie walls. The mood was upbeat and optimistic and everything worked rather well. I was given some landmarks of interest and all the teleports worked. One sims I visited was a replica of Lunenburg, NS and the building was on a par with the best in SL. One of the governance features of interest in 3rd Rock was that residents were able to suggest and vote on the development of public lands.(I’m fuzzy on the details of that). I was very impressed with the plans and performance of the grid. My sense was that I would get helpful support should I choose to locate a project there and that the people in charge knew what they were doing technically and from a business perspective.

The last grid I visited was InWorldz. Like 3rd Rock I was greeted by friendly people and the welcome portal was quite busy. My starting avatar was the most primitive of the 3 grids. Basically people arrive as Ruth. There are two large freebie stores to get your avatar looking okay. The stores look impressively glitzy. The greeter showed a group of us who arrived together (about 4 females and 2 males) to the freebie store. As we walked, we were sometimes sinking into the ground and other times getting that bendy knee avatar bug that used to happen a lot in SL. Prims turning phantom seems to be a problem, at least in Imprudence. I sank through stairs and couldn’t walk on the second storey of the freebie store as I kept falling through the floor. Although the freebie store was huge, there was a lot of sleezy clothes and one AO I tried was Gorean in design and poses. One dress came packed with sex animations. In all, not giving me a sense that this welcome area was set up to reflect a businesslike attitude. I settled on an elven princess dress with ballet flats as the best I could do to not look sleezy. Land prices in InWorldz seemed lower than 3rd Rock but so far it seemed a lot less stable to me and overall gave me a bit of an ickey feeling that was hard to define. Although the greeter was very friendly in InWorldz, she was fielding questions from many people and seemed more comfortable talking about hair and clothes than grid development plans. When I asked about music, I learned that it was only recently possible and the only name that came to her mind as being involved was a German rock promoter I have met in SL in his vampire mode. Someone knowledgeable in SL music had recently told me there were “a lot” of musicians going to InWorldz … which was why I wanted to check it out… so I expect I just ran into a greeter who didn’t know.

If I had to locate a project in a grid based on just these single experiences, 3rd Rock would win hands down.


  • talia fournier
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Kate, I'm surprised by your reaction to you Inworldz experience and invite you to visit again. I had been in SL for 3 years, and a venue owner and musician manager for a good deal of that time. I can assure you that the glimpse of Inworldz that you saw is not consistent with my experience there.

    We have a reputation for being warm, welcoming and inclusive. Our grid thrives on community.

    Our music scene is up and coming and there are performances nearly every night of the week, and I've never seen a crowd less than 10 avatars and normally there are 20 an up! Better stats than many SL venues. Not bad for a grid a fraction of SL's size.

    Performers in Inworldz include Euterpe Queller, Annan Dreamscape, Arimo Teixiera, Zoree Jupiter, Anek Fuchs, and Ichie Kamachi.

    Drop me an IM. And I would be happy to show you around! :)

    Talia Fournier
    Owner of Equinox

  • Anonymous
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Kate I must disagree with your comment about the freebie store in InWorldz being filled with sleezy clothes, you appearantly viewed the place with tunnel vision. Most of my clothes in my inventory are from that store and not one of clothing item is sleezy. I have long dresses, short dresses (ones that do not show my tushi at all), jeans and t-shirt outfits from there. The AO I use is also available from the freebie store, it called InWorldz AO. NO that is not the Gor one. As for the bending knee thingy, I deal with that daily in SL, not so much in InWorldz. The bugs of sinking and falling through the floor, really are no different than other grids, it happens. You must remember too, that IWz is in Beta and those bugs are going to come and go till it all worked out. It is expected when you are in Beta and their are improvements that you will not know about or understand because you have not been around long enough to know them. To judge a place on just a 2-3 hour visit only, is not right for any grid, not even for SL. If I made my judgement on that time frame on each grid, I would choose InWorldz over SL anyday. Why? My first 5 mintues in SL 4 years ago, I was sexually attacked by 4 male avis, who were privately IM'ing me tell me how they would rape me in real life. I reported it, did anything happen to them, doubtful.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Talia, I likely will visit again, and thank-you for stopping by and commenting. I believe have conveyed that my experience of InWorldz was very warm and welcoming. Where I found InWorldz objectively didn't perform as well as 3rd Rock was in technical stability. Subjectively, my impression from conversations and the freebies offered was that there was more emphasis on the adult entertainment aspect of virtual worlds and social fun in general. Nothing wrong with that but it isn't what I'd be looking for as a fit for my series and audience–that includes partnerships with educators and a focus on classical music. Actually one of the artists you mentioned told me about InWorldz a few days ago. That's why I was suprised when the greeter person at the welcome centre told me that music had only recently become possible and she couldn't direct me to anywhere to visit. The fact that 3rd Grid provided information on the community priorities, governance (the Big Picture) and people in the welcome area were able to talk about these issues gave me the impression of a more organized and idealistic environment, and that's more of a fit for my own vision. I may never extend my series into alternative grids, but in these unsettled times in Second Life, it would be foolish not to explore.

  • Marie Ravencrow
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Kate, it sounds like you encountered a fairly fresh, new mentor. Those of us who have been in Inworldz for awhile know where most of the music venues are. Inworldz has had music, live and DJd, for quite awhile.

    Also, Inworldz does not put an emphasis on "adult entertainment" and I'm not sure where you got that from. We have all kinds of things going on, but I have yet to see, say, an escort service really take off. That's not what we're really about.

    Never judge your experience by talking to one person. Also, you were obviously not directed to our forums, which are the heartbeat of Inworldz, and could've provided you with much of the information you are seeking.

  • Wizzy Gynoid
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 7:31 am

    the lesson learned by most of us in SL was not to make quick judgments based on a cursory experience. the quality that drew us to SL was only found after much exploring. give inWorldz (and other open sim worlds) a chance.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Well it seems Inworldz has its fans. I believe I made sufficient reference to the fact that this was a quick snapshot of three worlds and NOT an indepth analysis.

    People ARE going to judge grids the way I did, by visiting for a few minutes, at best an hour or two, getting an impression, and either staying or coming back. It's not the job of potential residents to visit forums or dig very deeply. They might choose to do so, if their experience is positive. If not they might never return

    Wizzy, my immediate experience of SL in 2006 was quite positive and it didn't take me a lot of time to connect up with a community I loved and people with shared interests. Since I was skeptical of the whole idea of virtual worlds at that time, I wouldn't have stayed if I had negative experiences.

    Marie, I elaborated in my comment above where I got the impression that InWorldz was more focused on the social/sexual side of virtual worlds from: revealing fashions in the Freebie store, sex animations coming packed with one dress, an AO from a Gorean animator, and the overheard chat of several avatars that came and went that was rather vacuous conversation. There's nothing bad about that. It's just not my taste. By contrast in 3rd Rock and Reaction Grid freebies were either wholesome casual or business attire and in 3rd Rock conversation I encountered was about sim development, building, etc. giving me an impression that there were people there I'd like to talk to and who might attend classical concerts.

  • Constanza
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I wonder when you did your test as much has changed in Inworldz. You no longer come in as Ruth and the feet in the ground issue has been solved with the latest grid update. All the freebies you see on the welcome area have been donated by Merchants in Inworldz and most of these Merchants know that the overall new residents want to look sexy and nice, so thats prob why you found a lot of "sexy" items. However as the welcome area is PG, you wont see nude there.

    Most new residents that join other worlds come from Second Life and know the drill on these platforms and look further then the first impression to find a whole big world in Inworldz with things for everyone.

    So i do hope you will join inworldz again as much has changed since December 2010 with the new server code and the change from Ruth to Teals.

  • Marie Ravencrow
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    The animations should not have been packed with the dress and I will be checking that out; as a Mentor (and one of the oldest btw) I am able to return things.

    As far as sleazy clothing? Um..there's plenty there that is very average and not sleazy. There is a ton of content in that store and you do have to look around. You also obviously failed to visit the gadget and home furnishings stores, which are also on IDI.

    If you came in as Ruth, you weren't here just a few days ago. We've switched to an upgraded default male and female avatar; they went active in early December. Also server code has been upgraded so you wouldn't have been sinking into things and falling through floors. We're very proud of the fact that our Master Programmer has gotten things to the point where we can manage 50 avatars on any sim with little to no chat or movement lag – and that's regardless of what they are wearing.

    You can't reasonably "take a snapshot" of Inworldz, because it's constantly being upgraded. Those that spend time there are very aware of that, as are those who may not have made a home there, but who monitor progress.

    I don't know where you got the so-called "Gorean" AO from, but the one I'm thinking of is not Gorean and did not come from a Gorean source.

    As Talia said, come back and IM me, I will give you a virtual tour.


  • misty harley
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Just thought I would point out for others reading that in the IDI Freebie area that Kate visited, the following are also available:
    Skins, clothing, hair, eyes, jewelry etc from many creators both new and old that offer a wide variety of wholesome, casual, classy as well as sexy items like Paparazzi, Elfworks, Rory's, EmoTions Alyzza Bijoux, Lana Nichols, Boaz, The Bobbysocks, Durga Designs, Hawk and Raivynn's Designs, CMC, Evies Closet, Stellar and much much more. For AO's there is the "Warm Inworldz AO by Warm Animations that is casual for those wishing for a more 'normal ao" That's just some of the offerings from the woman freebie shop.

    There are plenty of choices to fit any lifestyle that a person would like to live within a Virtual World and there is also a gadget freebie shop and a Mens Freebie Shop. This is in keeping of course with IW's "everyone is welcome" theory and the want to make all people feel comfortable and have choices available for free by the grids content creators, even if it's not something you or I would personally chose ourselves.

    Although everyone's experience is going to be different and IW isn't for everyone….I do think that this particular blogger forgot to mention all the other wonderful designers that are within the freebie shop and chose to concentrate on the select few that are fitting for alternate lifestyles should someone decide that is how they wish to live their VW.

    Kate, I'm glad you may have found an alternate grid in your limited search through both 3rd Rock and Reaction grid. Both grids are wonderful and each grid you explored offers something different so people can find a good fit.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Constanza, I visited InWorldz on January 2, 2010 and have been in Second Life for 5 years so I "know the drill". I appeared as Ruth, as did other new avatars before outfitting themselves and I was not the only one falling through the floors.

    Your comment that "overall merchants know that new residents want to look sexy…." speaks to an appeal to the lowest common denominator of resident, and that was exactly my perception. Again nothing wrong with that. A lot of SL does run on that premise.

    A decision to simply let merchants donate stuff and only screen for nudity tells me that this is a very commercial and open world that leaves it up to the market to decide, which again, may be great for some people and some projects. I have nothing against that decision. However for my project, I was more encouraged by the more hands-on style of 3rd Rock.

    I would say that my impression of InWorldz was that it was a strong second. I think it might be a great choice for business and clubs. It doesn't seem like it is positioning itself to attract education and culture.

    Posted January 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    It's always good to survey the landscape.

    Iif you're interested in exploring many other grids, I started a group called the Hypergrid Adventurers Club. Anyone is welcome to attend, and we spend time meeting inworld to discuss other grids and explore them as a group via the Hypergrid. It's always more fun to explore with others.

    You can also follow our #HGAC hashtag on Twitter!/search/%23hgac

  • Elenia
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Kate, thank you for the frank assessment. We will of course, be pulling out the animations, as that should not be included.

    We are not geared towards the EDU community, this is a fact. There are grids, of which you already mentioned, better able to handle and assess their needs and we see no reason to try and take on more than we already are.

    I'm sorry we missed your visit as I'm typically around on IDI, to answer questions the mentors can't answer such as you were asking. We have a very active music community, and yes we have some issues there on the welcome center for the entrance to the freebies area. Something I'm constantly trying to tweak and fix. Goes with the territory of being beta.

    As for "sleazy" and "ickey feeling that was hard to define", while we hold pg sponsored areas, our ToS and service is geared to the 18+, the entrepreneurs, club owners and such. That's why grids exist that are strictly PG, to accommodate those who don't feel comfortable in that environment. Wish you all the best, and thanks again for the assessment.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Elenia, thank you for your careful read of my post and understanding that I was speaking to the particular fit of a grid to my project that is arts and education focused. There are a few artists who perform in the Music Island series who also perform in the clubs but when they are at MI they tend to perform a different set: original material they are working on, or classical material that doesn't fit the clubs. They talk more about their process as artists also in a way that wouldn't be acceptable in a danceball environment.

    I will definitely watch InWorldz with interest and I complement the grid on its warm greeting and also (obviously) the passion of its residents.

    Great to see that commitment. Obviously the world is doing something right to get such enthusiastic support.

  • Lazuli Pooraka
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Kate, thank you for your analysis and evaluation of 3rd Rock Grid. We have worked very hard at making our grid more stable and to appeal to all new citizens. We would be very happy to be your host grid of any of your future expansion plans. 3RG Rocks, but as an Owner, I am a bit biased. ;-)

  • Astro Balut
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Good post Kate! I share your viewpoints on the topics you cover.

    There are indeed many reactions from IW enthusiasts. Of cause you can't get the full picture of a grid in one or two hours. But I do agree that the first impression is the most important one, and when I come to a place where I in such a short amount of time stumble over sex animations or sexual oriented items I'm outa there! Also a laggy environment, slow or non functional teleporting, phantom floors or "weak legs" and even star artifacts in the sky as I experience it, are all counting on the personal scoreboard and affect your potential desire to come back for another visit.

    I was on 3RG the day you interviewed the Greeter who btw. is very enthusiastic, knowable and willing to share the community plans and listen to your suggestions, and so are most of the other people there. I have been to community meetings there and know they put a lot of effort into creating a well structured grid that gives room for everybody with a high focus on events, especially music performance. I think you got a fairly realistic picture of 3rd Rock Grid.

  • Anek Fuchs
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Let us not confuse that my being in Inworldz meant I played shows there yet. In all honesty, I scoped it out, even dressed up the avatar and got things pretty well set up, building my own tip jars and venue and what not. When I approached the venues about performing live there, I was met with reactions of rude anger, and told I was charging double. The bottom line for my fees, in ANY virtual domain, is that when it gets to my paypal, its a certain amount. Inworldz monetary structure, is worth HALF the linden dollar, and so instead of 5000 lindens, it was 10-ish, and these venues all wanted to pay half what I would normally get.
    Many venues, have forgotten their role, and this is a direct result of a broken system. You want a good entertainer, then you pay the fees, and I have always tried to be reasonable and work with troubled venues as well to help them stay open.
    I would recommend that if you are looking for new places, keep a close eye on blue Mars, and spotON3D, and soon to come Musicajam . . . all viable structures that are working on creating a better virtual experience.

  • Kristen Mynx
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I spend time in both InWorldz and 3RG (to be up-fron, more of my time is in 3RG). Both worlds have their strengths and weaknesses.

    I think you've given a great assessment of your first visit to both. One thing about InWorldz is there are many passionate cheerleaders that you will hear from (and have heard from).

    I script and build, so I choose more than one grid to do my thing (I am active in 4 grids, and visit abut 4 others). I get bored easily, so I just jump around.

    I do like shopping, so it has been nice to see more vendors and brand new creators coming into 3RG and other grids as they begin to see potential and content security.

    Welcome to grid hopping! I hope you find what you need in a new grid or mix of grids.

  • Sunny Tomorrow
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I have been a 'citizen' of 3RG since almost the beginning. #12 to register I believe. Although there have been different owners.. and yes a few bumpy roads to get around, the current 'management team' has done everything to create a stable and enjoyable grid. We try to have someone, if not many citizens at the entrance area to help get people acquainted and 'fine tune' their avatars. I believe there are events almost every night.. some on weekends.. and a fashion show event coming in March. I must admit I have only been to one other grid.. which I think the whole time I only saw like 2 people outside their welcome area. Your views of our grid were greatly welcomed and hope others will come and see for theirselves.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks for that clarification and update, Anek. I was wondering about that.

    So far, the virtual world economy really hasn't made it possible to support musical performance at any realistic level, just as it hasn't been able to support venues and performing arts series presenters.

    I am interested in your comment about venues forgetting their role. In my experience in SL there is not one single role that venues have had. There are clubs that are built as part of commercial sims in efforts to boost traffic, raising the value of store rentals and theoretically to increase sales in stores in the sim. There are vanity venues–, cool clubs or elaborate concert halls and opera houses–built by individuals who want to roleplay as billionaires or feudal lords and ladies and impressively entertain their SL friends and then there are venues built and run by people who are actively engaged with the arts and arts education and simply are willing to provide the space, coordination and hosting needed to make the artist's performance possible.

    In all of the history of the arts only a very few very popular art forms and events have been able to survive on ticket sales alone. Most art forms rely on corporate, government, foundation and private donor support. The lack of that support in virtual worlds have affected both musicians and presenters who believe in virtual worlds as a platform for new arts and to reach new audiences.

    I donate about two full days a week to enable me to run the Music Island series. A couple of years ago I decided to work parttime because finding those two days while working full time meant no weekends or evenings to relax. But making that change led to a reduction in my annual earnings of -$25,000/year. If I were able to find funding for the series, I would be happy to share the wealth with musicians. In the meantime I am grateful for those who share my vision… and the ensuing poverty.

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