Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Laugh? I Damn Near Shit My Pants!

Ok, if you have a computer and don’t have Second Life…you’re wasting your computer.

Go and get it now. It’s free, so you have no excuse.

Even if you’ve never played a game before, even if you don’t like games, get Second Life. It’s free, and it’s a hoot.

Not only do you meet some interesting people, the sheer creativity people show in this game is amazing. I’ve seen nightclubs with genius-level artwork and design, and in game objects that just beggar belief.

For example, today, I logged in and went to my favorite club, just chillin’ and listening to the music while having a bit of a chat with my online friends.

Then, one of my friends decided to show me her new magic wand.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

First my character was surrounded by a thick cloud of smoke, which followed me and refused to go away…then to add insult to injury, she cast a weird ‘spell’ that made my character float and follow her.

…and she wouldn’t let me down until I’d asked ‘nicely’.

Bear in mind that this wand was created and designed by a player of the game…not a game designer. So obviously, the first thing into my head was, like Gordon in ‘Batman Begins’ “I gotta get me one of those.”

At first it was going to be just a fun purchase, but then I realized as I browsed the spells for sale, that it could come in useful.

You see, in Second Life, I have a job as security in a nightclub. This may sounds a little stupid, but look at it this way, this security ‘job’ is the same as a moderator’s on IRC or a web-forum. If someone comes into the club and starts to get abusive, it’s my job to calm them down or ask them to leave.

Basically, the club owner has spent a fair bit of real life money to rent the in-game land (read, server space) and to actually ‘build’ his club. If he can get enough people in the club, he might make a bit of real life cash (Like I said, some people make their real life living in the game…today I had 2000 in game dollars, if I’d wanted to I could have ‘sold’ my in game money for eight, honest to God, real life dollars).

So in other words, I work as a pretty much voluntary moderator.

Also, because this is a game where you’re free to do whatever you want, the stakes are a little higher. If you’ve spent a few hundred real life dollars to build an in-game business…and someone can just burst into the club and start shooting, it pays to be on top of things. (You can’t die in Second life, but getting shot ‘pushes’ your character, sometimes far enough to where you’re pushed off that plot of land…in other words, onto another server).

Basically, you’ve got a full club of people who are spending. Someone with a grudge or someone who’s just an asshole could burst in and empty a club in seconds.

Not. Good.

Well, I bought a wand and some spells for it. One of which was the very Harry Potter sounding ‘Impellious’ spell, which simply pushes the target out of the sim…in other words, kicks them off the server and onto a nearby one. I also bought a ‘shield’ spell.

In other words, useful. This means I’m immune to getting kicked off the server by getting shot or other means and can kick anyone off the server at will. In other words, woe betide anyone who causes trouble in my club.

Permit me and evil laugh….MUAHAHAHAHA!

Of course, I bought a lot of others that just looked like fun though…and that’s where the problems started.

I found a willing friend and tried out the ‘Obscura Jinx’. The smoke bomb spell that I’d got hit with earlier. She played the part well. She could have just stood there and waited for me to end the spell, but she chose to do something ‘different’.

Watching her character running around like a lunatic, streaming smoke from her back like a crazy red arrows/blue angels display…while shouting “ARGH! MY ASS” made me laugh so hard…well, I’m ashamed to admit how hard I laughed.

Ok, ok, it was an ‘Ass on Fire’ joke…if that’s too low brow for you, stop reading and go watch ‘Frasier’.

Later, however, I found myself on my own. I went to the club I work at to try out the other spells. With it being so early in the am, the place was deserted…perfect.

So I tried the Ignis spell…which turned my wand into a torch. Pretty

I tried the Nivos spell…which created a light snowfall that followed me around. Even prettier.

Then I realized that the rest of the spells required a target. Some of which were just fun spells, like showering your target in roses…but the others were reserved for either people you don’t like, or friends who can take a joke.

For example, one surrounds the target in a physics-enabled sphere, which you can drag around, or throw…or roll off a cliff.

However, I just wanted to make sure the spells actually worked and had installed correctly. You see, in the game, you buy the wand, and each new spell in a spell book. Then you put the spell book on the ground, click it, and it installs itself to your wand.

In other words, I wanted to check the spells were in the wand and that they worked.

To cast spells, you simply ‘say’ in the chat window “Wand (spell name) (target)”

So I tried the Impellius spell, without specifying a target. The wand replied, correctly, that it needed a target. It was there and it worked.

Then I tried the Kinetos spell, the one I previously mentioned that surrounds the target in the sphere. Again, the wand replied correctly that it needed a target. Two for two, it was working.

What happened next makes me glad that magic isn’t real, and I don’t have access to a real magic wand.

I’d bought a spell called the “Vertigas Jinx”. What this spell does is launch your target about 500 meters into the air. Now, you can’t actually die in SL, but suddenly being launched can’t be a pleasant experience.

So, I’m outside the club…and I raise my virtual wand aloft and speak thusly:

“Wand Vertigas!”

There was a sudden flash of light, and I felt myself tense.

Uh-Oh.

Now, what the manual didn’t tell me was that if you don’t specify a target with the Vertigas spell, it simply seeks out and hits the nearest person.

Did I mention on the other side of the wall there was a line of dance pads? Basically, pads you set your character dancing on, and it pays them by the hour? The club was deserted, but apparently the neighbors were still there.

Well, I whirled around, just in time to see some poor unsuspecting player rocketing skywards.

The worst thing is that people often leave their character on a dance pad overnight, to earn the maximum amount of money. Hopefully this guy wasn’t one of those…or tomorrow, he’s going to find he’s considerably poorer than he thought he’d be.

I’d like to give you a description of the guy falling back down and landing with a splat…but I’d already ran away by then.

Kids, just say no to magic wands.

5 comments:

MC Etcher said...

Ha ha! Sounds like a lot of fun, but much like heroin, it sounds like too much fun to try. I have a very addictive personality, and I fear I would spend every waking moment playing.

It's free now, but what happens when they start charging?

MC Etcher said...

It was weird, all your talk about SL lately had me wondering about it this morning, even before I read your post. I wondered if you could have a playhouse/vaudeville sort of establishment, and you answered that by describing the club.

Is there a version of the Imperious Curse? You could send people's avatars out to earn cash for you. Or rent them as slaves. Are there any evil wizards that need subduing?

What about a detective agency? Is there anything to solve? Are there (volunteer or otherwise) police? Hmn, could I start a detective agency, then kidnap someone prominent to have a mystery to solve? For a sizable fee, of course, bwa ha ha!

I really should not play this game.

Anonymous said...

(Kato, who is lame and doesn't have a beta account yet, said...)

I've been tempted to try it out, but I have so many other things on my plate I fear this would ruin me (just like I'd love to try World of Warcraft, even pay for it by golly, but I know it would possess my very soul).

Anyway... with all this freedom in the world, what prevents people from massively griefing everyone through any manner of nasty thing (such as misusing the wand you purchased)?

Anonymous said...

HA, I knew it I wasn't your first victim. And no, folks...I wasn't the flaming ass. I was the retard following him around like a sick puppy!

(in his defense, he made nice and had snow fall!)

Anonymous said...

that was Misty, the retard ;O)