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Improving SL Economy By Killing It?


MaukaShowers
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For those who don't know, Linden Realms is an old-school adventure game the Lindens built within SL, and is accessed via Portal Park. Completion of the game rewards the SL resident with L$50, and this reward can be received once per week. Over a year this amounts to L$2600 that residents can spend on clothing, tier fees, whatever they like. This has been particularly handy for new residents, and for anyone with no payment info on file.

Recently LL changed Linden Realms rules to now require that residents who play the game have payment info on file, and must use that to buy L$, before the game will provide that L$50 reward. This cut the number of players significantly - and presumably then the amount of funds spent by the impacted residents.

Now another change. Several days ago LL halved the game completion reward from L$50 to just L$25. The effect on Linden Realms has been chilling: the place is now essentially a ghost town, as lonely as most of the rest of SL.

I suspect that LL may have changed these rules for three reasons: 1) to cut losses created by the massive number of game exploiters / cheaters; to force an increase of the Tilia user base, and 3) to increase the amount of funds being handled by Tilia. Maybe this fiscal clean-up operation will allow SL's new owner to reinvest, and we'll see improvements inworld. My fear though is the other impacts: residents with no credit card who are now shut out of a way to make L$, residents with payment info on file but who cannot buy Linden Dollars during the pandemic economy, and the negative impact this indirectly creates for those who normally would have received those funds: the makers, sellers, landlords, etc.

SL's new owner already increased the SL MP commission charged to retailers, forcing increased prices. Some shops have closed; others advertise reduced prices at their inworld stores.

I hope this all works out for SL in the long run. But in the short term providing residents less money to spend, and squeezing more out of makers/sellers, may make SL less attractive to residents, makers, and property investors. So much of SL is already a ghost town; I hope that turning Linden Realms into a ghost town too will be the end of their cull. The impacts of these steps taken by SL's new owner will likely be felt widely by the inworld economy, and I have to wonder what's next? With any kind of luck these efforts to increase SL profitability don't end up killing it.

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I figured the Linden Realms payouts work something like the stimulus checks we're getting these days: they prop up a slow economy. Maybe all these recent moves by the new owners are showing how unhealthy SL's virtual economy truly is. A business model in which SL's builders and property investors survive because SL reinvests in its own economy can't survive for long. BUT - what if SL's economy is healthy now because of new and returning residents, so SL no longer needs to provide its "stimulus checks?" Time will tell. 

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Has the Linden Realms payout for crystals gone down too? I made a "rainy day fund" by not redeeming until I have a need for the L$. It would suck in a huge way if the value of my savings has just been cut in half too. Grrrrrr.

 

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LL is a business. As all businesses their goal is to make money.

Their cash registers only start ringing when a member leases land, becomes a premium member or buys L$.
LL doesn't gain anything if Realms becomes the new camping for newbies and people who think that there is such thing as a free lunch.

Giving away money isn't really a smart long term business model.

Edited by Sid Nagy
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Yes, LL is definitely a business, and the new owners are making this clear. It does seem a shame to make things more difficult for both residents and retailers during a wider economic downturn though. This is what leads to income disparity, and an SL only for wealthy people sounds like no fun. 

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BTW AlohaShoyu that's a good question. I know others that do this too. All the Linden Realms documentation still shows the old payout rates, so it's hard to know. In the real world that difference between payout rate listed on documentation and the real, lesser payout would result in class action lawsuits 🙂

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I suspect that all the new and returning SL residents made Linden Realms an unsustainable cost center.

The official Linden Realms rules state "Use either of the Weekly pads on the right side to claim your L$50 reward for completing all four quests." Sad to see LL running behind on updating this page, but everything in the world seems to be running behind these days.
 
Those same official rules also state:

"The daily payout pads redeem crystals according to the following schedule:
1 Blue crystal = L$2
1 Green crystal = L$1
10 Orange crystals = L$1
25 Yellow crystals = L$1
50 Red crystals = L$1."

To test this I just redeemed:
8 blue crystals = L$16
19 green crystals = L$19
700 orange crystals = L$70
700 yellow crystals = L$28
700 red crystals = L$14
...for a total of L$147. That means that the "daily payout" value of crystals hasn't changed. Your rainy day fund is safe :-)

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1 hour ago, MaukaShowers said:

I suspect that LL may have changed these rules for three reasons: 1) to cut losses created by the massive number of game exploiters / cheaters; to force an increase of the Tilia user base, and 3) to increase the amount of funds being handled by Tilia. Maybe this fiscal clean-up operation will allow SL's new owner to reinvest, and we'll see improvements inworld. My fear though is the other impacts: residents with no credit card who are now shut out of a way to make L$, residents with payment info on file but who cannot buy Linden Dollars during the pandemic economy, and the negative impact this indirectly creates for those who normally would have received those funds: the makers, sellers, landlords, etc.

SL's new owner already increased the SL MP commission charged to retailers, forcing increased prices. Some shops have closed; others advertise reduced prices at their inworld stores.

I am confused about a couple of things.  The Marketplace fees increased long before the deal with the new owners finalized.  I just checked and it is the same fee now as it was back then.   Google says it was well before any rumblings of new folks were heard publicly.

image.png.ba37b679a6545e56303598c1d160eb15.png

 

So I don't think you can blame the price increase on the "new guys" :D.   There were plenty of signs  of money  problems for The Lab around that time -- the fee increase was just one of them.  

 

I agree with your assessment of the nature of changes at The Realms.  That is just one more step in limiting that weekly  loss.  First we saw the old Happy Land Realms of cartoon colors turn to gray and fiery lands. Patch did a great job of wanting us NOT to visit LOL.  Then the new Realms opened and I was excited. I loved the old Realms and the new ones were very creative and well done. BUT  -- of course there was a 
"but". THEY WERE HARD.   I went over three times and accomplished little. I couldn't see any way that I could make any money -- not that money was the reason I was there; I just wanted to play.  

 

And, unless I am remembering incorrectly -- only Premium people were allowed in when it first opened and 25 a week for the quest WAS the amount given out. Only after you completed the quest could you turn in your OTHER crystals.  Put that all together and yes, it was very empty on opening.  Obviously some things have changed over time. 

 

I haven't been back since it opened. I just couldn't figure out how to do some of the things you needed to do, this from a seasoned player.  So it was fairly obvious that this wasn't really for new folks.  

 

I said long ago that having a STORE associated with the Realms where new folks could buy things like hair and clothing and AOs etc would be a better plan.  Sort of like a "company store".  The game of course would need to be way easier for people who were actually new.  But then they could get things that they needed AS THEY LEARNED TO NAVIGATE THE WORLD.  While the REALMS originally were meant to entice folks into SL, I think that stopped long ago.   Too much money going out and not enough reward most likely.    

 

It is very obvious (or at least a lot of us outsiders agree that it is obvious :D) that the new owners are focused on Tilia. And yes, this could increase (maybe) some customers for Tilia. At the same time it may turn a lot of folks away which certainly isn't good for the platform overall. 

 

So yes, not good news. 

 

 

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I guess the new accounts are the ones most likely to be playing Linden Realms, and just generally trying to figure SL out :-)

You really have to enjoy the game, because Linden Realms is a terrible waste if you you go there strictly for the payout. That L25 weekly reward works out to roughly $0.25 USD. The game takes about a half hour to complete, so anyone going to Linden Realms for the payout is making about fifty cents an hour. Yikes. Shame to think that $1 per hour seemed like so much more, but it was a lot more in SL Marketplace buying power. Bots, speed/fly enhancer HUDs, and other exploits can reduce the amount of time spent completing the game, but can't do anything about the payout being L25 once per week. Maybe they get more crystals too, who knows.

Hey LocalKine, thanks for testing the crystal payout. Nice to know that hasn't changed... yet. But I'm tempted to cash in my "crystal savings" now (before the redemption value likely changes) and not bother with Linden Realms anymore.

Rowan, thanks for the look at that previous discussion. That one resident mentioned needing a passport; that requirement may be specific to that country. Requiring payment info on file may make things really difficult for people not just in certain life situations, but also in other countries too. 

Hey Chic, that's a cool look at the past. Linden Realms wasn't a part of SL when I was first here a long time ago (I came back to SL about two years ago).

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7 hours ago, MaukaShowers said:

For those who don't know, Linden Realms is an old-school adventure game the Lindens built within SL, and is accessed via Portal Park. Completion of the game rewards the SL resident with L$50, and this reward can be received once per week. Over a year this amounts to L$2600 that residents can spend on clothing, tier fees, whatever they like. This has been particularly handy for new residents, and for anyone with no payment info on file.

Recently LL changed Linden Realms rules to now require that residents who play the game have payment info on file, and must use that to buy L$, before the game will provide that L$50 reward. This cut the number of players significantly - and presumably then the amount of funds spent by the impacted residents.

Now another change. Several days ago LL halved the game completion reward from L$50 to just L$25. The effect on Linden Realms has been chilling: the place is now essentially a ghost town, as lonely as most of the rest of SL.

I suspect that LL may have changed these rules for three reasons: 1) to cut losses created by the massive number of game exploiters / cheaters; to force an increase of the Tilia user base, and 3) to increase the amount of funds being handled by Tilia. Maybe this fiscal clean-up operation will allow SL's new owner to reinvest, and we'll see improvements inworld. My fear though is the other impacts: residents with no credit card who are now shut out of a way to make L$, residents with payment info on file but who cannot buy Linden Dollars during the pandemic economy, and the negative impact this indirectly creates for those who normally would have received those funds: the makers, sellers, landlords, etc.

SL's new owner already increased the SL MP commission charged to retailers, forcing increased prices. Some shops have closed; others advertise reduced prices at their inworld stores.

I hope this all works out for SL in the long run. But in the short term providing residents less money to spend, and squeezing more out of makers/sellers, may make SL less attractive to residents, makers, and property investors. So much of SL is already a ghost town; I hope that turning Linden Realms into a ghost town too will be the end of their cull. The impacts of these steps taken by SL's new owner will likely be felt widely by the inworld economy, and I have to wonder what's next? With any kind of luck these efforts to increase SL profitability don't end up killing it.

I think if you like a game you’d at least selfishly hope it’s profitable so that it continues being a game you play. I don’t think they ever intended free linden games to be a main source of income for new players. It’s more of a way to introduce players to the game who will ultimately invest in it. Whether that means buying lindens to buy products from creators or purchase land or creating products that entice other people to buy lindens.

There’s always been doomsayers with SL. I’ve quit a few times myself for varying reasons ranging from real life to just deciding I’d rather play another game. It was never because I felt it was a bad game or that I somehow got duped into believing I could play for free. But every time I’ve come back the game is significantly better. And my understanding is that LL is quite successful. It was valued at half a billion back in 2017 and I’d have to assume the sale last year was probably at or around a billion since they weren’t actively looking to sell as far as I know.

New players are the life blood of every game. Some one has to replace us old farts who get bored or have to leave time to time. But that doesn’t mean they target every new player. They have demographics and hope to bring people in who will contribute one form or another. Secondlife has never been a give-give or a take-take game. It’s give and take. You get from it what you are willing to put into it. That could be providing the many forms of content in SL or being a consumer such as myself.

(sorry for long post. Electric company cut my power due to some “clerical error” won’t be back on til tomorrow AM. Literally sitting in my car charging my phone lol).

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From the things said, I don't think they ever intended the games to be gold farming places... they hoped people would play the games for fun and a bit of money was a bonus. It turned into bot land instead. It wouldn't surprise me if they cut the money reward completely at some point or replace it with special items, because zero is the only value you can use to stop the bots.

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Giving out a special Linden Bear or a nice reward shield to hang on the wall of my house boat would increase the chance of me trying to solve the puzzle more than the 25 L$ reward. That's for sure.

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SL needs something that allows new users to get small amounts of L$ by spending time, to get them used to the system. Requiring payment info for that is counterproductive. It's widely recognized that SL has a tough onboarding experience. Adding more obstacles does not help.

Now, having a setup where you get 2x as much reward if you provide payment info - that might work.

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8 hours ago, Sid Nagy said:

Giving out a special Linden Bear or a nice reward shield to hang on the wall of my house boat would increase the chance of me trying to solve the puzzle more than the 25 L$ reward. That's for sure.

Yes. A good example for new users is the pair of new walk-through tutorials at New Resident Island. There's a male and a female path, and you're guided through getting and wearing the Roth and Ruth open source avatars. At the end, there's some free clothing that fits those avatars.

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23 minutes ago, animats said:

SL needs something that allows new users to get small amounts of L$ by spending time, to get them used to the system. Requiring payment info for that is counterproductive. It's widely recognized that SL has a tough onboarding experience. Adding more obstacles does not help.

Now, having a setup where you get 2x as much reward if you provide payment info - that might work.

Agree fully with the first part and mostly with the second.  BUT there are still viable possible long-time citizens that would fall through the cracks. Let's say you are eighteen and don't have a credit card and (smartly) your parents won't let you use theirs.  You could be creative and clever and all sorts of things --- just "money challenged".  Some people have no way to add payment info because they have none. Others NEVER give out their payment info on the web (I have a good friend in that category).   So this imaginary  person "could" conceivably go on to be the top making mesh head maker on the grid in a couple of years, but they can't do that because they can't get started.  

 

With zero lindens anyone can, with some effort make a very good looking female avatar; I proved that with my latest blog series on current onboarding experience.  From there they could get  some SL experience under their belts and then get a menial  job waiting tables or pole dancing or the like --- but really someone needs to be VERY committed to build a life from scratch these days. You can't even make simple products that would cost nothing and have a Marketplace store (not true in the past). 

 

image.thumb.png.4dde1fa4d606b8c07c6c8943e87a8c4e.png

 

So it is MUCH harder in the olden days.   It should be noted that I have never bought any lindens  or taken any lindens from a "family member" or friend. From the start thirteen years ago, the plan was always to do everything inworld.  I finally broke that deal when I did the Premium thing to get one of the first Belli houses.    

So just starting out broke, doesn't mean that you are an unproductive citizen.  

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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People who could, but won't buy L$ on principal is something else entirely.

 

14 hours ago, Sid Nagy said:

Giving out a special Linden Bear or a nice reward shield to hang on the wall of my house boat would increase the chance of me trying to solve the puzzle more than the 25 L$ reward. That's for sure.

Every part of the SL experience needs some collectable tat. Hundreds of little mini achievements with a rezable little trophy. 

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On 3/17/2021 at 12:08 PM, Sid Nagy said:

Giving out a special Linden Bear or a nice reward shield to hang on the wall of my house boat would increase the chance of me trying to solve the puzzle more than the 25 L$ reward. That's for sure.

I got their special mug reward 😃 You don't have to play games for it, and it is well made gift :)

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I agree that it would be nice to have an initial amount for new users to start their journey. I also agree with Chic that you can have a decent avatar and a decent sl with little to no investment. But it is also very much possible to finance SL with your SL if you put a little effort in it. There are plenty of small jobs in SL that can make you a nice amount to buy the things you want. That is the beauty of Second Life. I haven't been able to upload any money to Second Life since 2015 due to rl circumstances. I had to look for other ways to finance my SL and managed to get several income streams going. It takes a little effort but nothing comes for free. Want money? Go make it.

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How much do you think LL saved by cutting the Linden Realms quest payout in half?  I estimate they saved about $500 USD/week.  Minimum wage on the US west coast is around $600/week, for 40 hours.  LL is a 1/2 a billion dollar company, and they are worried about saving $500/week?  Of course thousands of players have quit the game now, and some were newbies, some were people just unable to put their dollars into LL.

I asked Patch Linden if he was planning on ending the Realms and Paleoquest last week.  He said of course not.  But that still seems to be the plan.

The Realms has been around for 10 years, and every change has made the games less desirable to play.  And NO ONE would play such a repetitive game that takes up your time, for no reward.  So they hand out a teddy bear?  Once.  Can you resell them?  That's no reward, and 25L once a week is not either.

You can still collect crystals all week.  It takes about one  hour of frantic running all over to collect 25L worth of crystals.  Fewer crystals if you are new to the game.  And the other changes they have made, by cutting the number of Linden Realms down to two, from the prior six  estates of last year, has also reduced the collection rate.  Clearly their plan of killing the games is working - fewer players need fewer regions.  Regions cost them real dollars, as AWS does not accept Lindens for server fees.

The official reason for devaluing the games was too many cheaters.  What per cent of players were cheating?  I think about 20% at most.  So lets devalue the games for everyone, based on a small minority of cheaters.  Perhaps all the highways should be changed to horse trails, to reduce the auto accident rate ...

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jaylinbridges
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9 minutes ago, Jaylinbridges said:

How much do you think LL saved by cutting the Linden Realms quest payout in half?  I estimate they saved about $500 USD/week.  Minimum wage on the US west coast is around $600/week, for 40 hours.  LL is a 1/2 a billion dollar company, and they are worried about saving $500/week?  Of course thousands of players have quit the game now, and some were newbies, some were people just unable to put their dollars into LL.

I asked Patch Linden if he was planning on ending the Realms and Paleoquest last week.  He said of course not.  But that still seems to be the plan.

The Realms has been around for 10 years, and every change has made the games less desirable to play.  And NO ONE would play such a repetitive game that takes up your time, for no reward.  So they hand out a teddy bear?  Once.  Can you resell them?  That's no reward, and 25L once a week is not either.

You can still collect crystals all week.  It takes about one  hour of frantic running all over to collect 25L worth of crystals.  Fewer crystals if you are new to the game.  And the other changes they have made, by cutting the number of Linden Realms down to two, from the prior six  estates of last year, has also reduced the collection rate.  Clearly their plan of killing the games is working - fewer players need fewer regions.  Regions cost them real dollars, as AWS does not accept Lindens for server fees.

The official reason for devaluing the games was too many cheaters.  What per cent of players were cheating?  I think about 20% at most.  So lets devalue the games for everyone, based on a small minority of cheaters.  Perhaps all the highways should be changed to horse trails, to reduce the auto accident rate ...

 

 

 

 

 

Although I understand your frustration, 25L for an hour of time a week isn't as bad as before Linden Realms.  Before that, you could run around all day looking for the trees that gave you 1L.  There was also camping which paid generally 1L/hour which was fine if your ran tons of bots.  At least with the Realms, if you collect all the crystals, you can expect 25L/week.  There was no such guarantee with the older things.  Those other things eventually went away too because of cheaters.

I don't have a solution but thousands of players didn't leave the game because they lessened the reward for Linden Realms.

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On 3/17/2021 at 2:08 AM, Sid Nagy said:

Giving out a special Linden Bear or a nice reward shield to hang on the wall of my house boat would increase the chance of me trying to solve the puzzle more than the 25 L$ reward. That's for sure.

So you are suggesting every player should only play the game once in their lifetime?  It takes about 30 mins max to solve all 4 quests.  With practice, 15 mins, and no cheating. Why even have a game if the purpose was for a newbie to play it once, and move on, with their pixel bear and shield.   The success and popularity of the Linden Realms and Paleoquest was entirely because you could earn a few lindens every time you played.  That was once a bragging point for LL.  They were also surprised that residents would be interested in getting lindens this way.  Classic case of not knowing their entire audience.

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