My thoughts on #inworldz premium membership

The Inworldz team brought forth a new feature for the grid they thought out well and designed to help retain newcomers to the grid, turn inactive members to active ones, and hopefully in the end, benefit existing landowners and merchants.

As expected, there’s a lot of disagreement and fear with something new. To be expected whenever a business or head of an organization tries a different approach.

There’s way too much to go into with just one post, but I’ll try to go into the area I know the most of from a virtual world customer standpoint. And do my best not to be too long on it.

Not sure how well I will do. Still may be a novella. *grin*

First, who am I to say anything? Knowing the extent of my experience in such matters will help.

I’ve been with virtual world grids for seven years now, plus two with Myst Online players when it was with Gametap (think it was two years that it was published…I was there from birth to when Gametap dropped it anyway). Myst Online is completely different than being on a grid, but I would not have ventured into virtual worlds if it had not been for Myst Online. I thought this made it worth mentioning.

The type of player I am is probably a bit different than the greater percentage of players in one major way. Pixel sex. Don’t do it. Don’t watch it. To be honest, I don’t agree with it.

But I understand it. I have many, many friends who live the pixel sex life. Of all kinds. I’ve been exposed to things I’d never see in real life, and been around enough to not be alarmed. It’s another form of “normal” to me.

I don’t go clubbing. Think yuk about it. Most I do is meet with my D’ni family and dance with them to the great DJ’s we have once in a while.

And I’m an introvert.

And, to be honest, I’ve met a lot just like me in virtual world. So, I think what I say here is revelant.

One of the arguments against giving free land to premium members is that it’s going to hurt landlords.

First of all, the IW team has worked hard to see how they can do this and still benefit the existing landowners, with more than just offering to let them manage the sims for a return. And as new ideas on how to do this hit them, I’m sure they’ll see if they can work them in.

My biggest point: JUST BECAUSE SL DID THIS BIT WRONG DOES NOT MEAN IT WON’T WORK FOR IW WHEN THEY DO IT BETTER.

Sorry for caps…but did I express how I felt there yet? When I came to IW, I was looking for someone who could implement the good things I liked about SL but make them worth it.

And they’re doing just that. They’re following one golden rule of internet business: Find someone doing something you like and find a way to do it better.

This IS better.

When I first went to SL from Myst as a scared of the virtual world life newbie I hung out with my D’ni family on the safe Myst themed sims. It was my home.

I found a landlord who promoted SL with super cheap rentals and very well thought out themed sims. Renting there was fun.

When I learned about what land ownership was about, I wanted to have that sense of ownership in the grid. It’s a type of belonging.

Landlords lose the sense of what this means over time to a new player. They think just because they offer no cost or cheap areas to live, that’s enough.

This is what made me try premium membership. The land allowance was small, but it was MINE. This means something to people.

I played with my tiny 112 prim plot and enjoyed myself, even made a few L’s with the store I had there, and learned about the hunts and how fun it was to be in the hunts. I learned how to meet new avatars and not be afraid.

I even watched the neighboring plots and expanded when they came up for sale around me. I expanded.

Even then, that wasn’t enough for me and I took adventures into renting larger parcels. Working into whole mainland sims and homesteads. I managed rentals for the one landgroup manager I met and became friends with, besides having my own lands where I rented for stores and homes.

Would I have done that without the premium land allowance? I can assure you I would not. I would have left the grid in disinterest.

I had to be groomed to be a proper renter and landowner by the people running the grid. NOT the landowners.

Landowners should be taking advantage of this opportunity and working on ways to encourage people to go further than the land in premium ownership, rather than fighting it.

I have complete faith in the IW team to assist with this, if only those landowners would give ideas instead of fighting it.

You say many come from SL because they’re unhappy with LL. Yes, they do. It’s a big reason I went to IW too. But you’re forgetting bad business people and crooks can work any grid. (Edited for not providing the long winded proof of my experience and those I’m close to and the numerous reports on internet.)

There’s many bad landlords. I’ve had experiences with them, as many others have. Going to another grid is a cautious experience. I was cautious when I went to IW.

I tried out a townhouse for cheap rent because it was cheap and I wanted a home location. The place was full of houses…but empty. Which was okay for me, being a loner.

I then went to renting a bigger house with a good amount of prim allowance to allow me to rez and build smaller items. To get the feel of using IW tools.

Both landlords were nice and helpful, but they weren’t “there”. Sims were pretty empty. One was a way to help promote the clubs I think and turn renters into new attendees. The other, I think was something nice to do for new people with the sim excess after setting a store up.

Then, I took the plunge to go onto to renting a larger piece of land with a name I was familiar with from SL. That backfired when the land owner up and disappeared suddenly.

It was tempting to buy my own island then, but I still wanted to work with IW as it grew and make sure it was going to become stable enough to be worth owning a full sim. So I found another landlord.

Started with 4096 section until I finally rented a full sim. Thanks to my experience with my constant SL landlord, I wanted to help keep in business a good landlord who actually stayed available in world and was “there”.

Plus, I learned I prefer the freedom to choose which day tiers come out via the rental box, versus the auto pay via paying tiers directly. Works better with my game budget.

Very happy experience with renting this sim over the last few years and plan on renting another when I get this one settled in.

For people like me, the premium membership does not endanger this.

I’m not sure if knowing this does anyone any good, and it’s way too long winded. But this is my blog and I’ll blather on if I want to. *grin*

For people like me, this premium membership deal is a way to keep us in the game. It works.

Granted, there are groups it may risk. For instance, when I rented homes, the best and most reliable renters were the sex workers. I could see this becoming more attractive to them, versus renting their own land.

But the IW team is aware of this and has taken measures to take to discourage this.

Another group to get an idea is the breedables people. This may make it tempting to use this to have a corral full of horses there.

Again, the IW team can set rules to discourage this.

I regularly tour both SL and IW. Sims in both are empty a lot of the time. Rentals are standing unrented for long periods of time in both.

I fully believe this is a good idea implemented wrongly in SL that will do a world of good if implemented properly in IW.

Will it work to benefit landowners in the end and create better retention on the grid? I don’t know. But I do trust the IW team to do their best to try to make it do so.

In business, you don’t know until you’re willing to take a risk and try something. Some landlords don’t seem to get this idea. Again, just because SL did it wrong, does not mean it wasn’t a good idea and that it didn’t work for some. It did.

As a side note, I dropped my SL premium membership long ago, although I’m still there for the fundraising and breedables. (omitted comment, my own experience and observation is not considered proof, or so I find.)

I took 3/4 of my gaming allowance to IW. I trust the IW team. In IW, I rent more than I need, and I’m still thinking of doing more. My landlord has benefited from this, and so have other creators and merchants in my purchases for the sim.

I believe the premium membership will help groom new players into doing the same.

And, I think, being afraid of such a move for fear of loss of renters is not right. If people take advantage of this and settle in to not move towards renting more, they weren’t the types to do so anyway.

But it may help these types of individuals spend more time in the game itself and explore and build up that lack of traffic many seem so set on blaming others for. As one with a sim where I have businesses running, I would love to see this go forward.

Of course, the people who worry are the ones who don’t have a gaming allowance and play according to what they can make. I don’t. I don’t play more than what I can pay for. I worked the virtual system for years to make money…playing the market game, as I call it.

It was fun while I was getting my specialized training, but after I got into the market game in real life as my day job, the fun in it was gone. I’ve found it easier to make my play money in RL.

Still, we merchants do things like offer loss leaders to encourage fuller sales. This is items we either give away or offer at discount to hunters, group members, or at special occasions.

People should look at the discounts for premium members in this way. I would like to help and participate with this. I will set up a small section that is for premium member discounts.

This tactic works in RL businesses as well as VR businesses. People should not fear it, but work it to benefit themselves.

Think about it. How many freebie stores are there on the grid already? Doesn’t stop people from buying.

Oh yeah, those arguing that many didn’t know about the meetings because they don’t visit the forums…that’s not IW team fault! They provided the means, i.e. forums, for landowners to be informed. It’s the landowner’s responsibility to check notices, not IW’s responsibility to chase down everyone individually.

I would rather they pay attention to their jobs of running the grid so I can use it properly.

Okay, I do agree it should have been in events. That’s an oops I hope the IW team will take note of and be more careful about in the future.

Oh there’s so much more to say, but I have a headache now from just saying “I love the idea” in way too many words already. I’m not much of a debater. Hate debating stuff.

Just had to say something. And say thank you to the IW team for thinking this through so well and for all their effort in this and their other efforts to keep the grid going and growing.

Inworldz Forum thread on this can be found here http://inworldz.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=20411

Jim Tarber’s blog post on this can be found here http://jim.tarber.net/?p=354

(Added note on editing: I will strive to not mention ‘that other grid’ on this blog anymore. I don’t have the time or energy to provide pages of personal experiences, family member’s experiences, and research the documented proof on the grid to back up my OPINIONS of things and how it affected my decisions. I still play on multiple grids. I just don’t trust every grid’s management, for good, substantiated reasons, and I play accordingly. Any fully copyrighted creative efforts by me are only done on IW grid, for good reason. As of May, 2015, this blog is for IW and only IW speaking. No other grid talk allowed.)

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3 thoughts on “My thoughts on #inworldz premium membership

  1. Pingback: Jim's Random Rants and Raves » InWorldz To Offer New Affordable Housing Via Premium Accounts

  2. I got a message that you followed my blog (thanks for that) and so I came to check out yours. This post was a the top of the message from WordPress, it sounded intriguing, so I checked it out.

    I think your post is well reasoned from a “foot in the door” perspective. I agree that a small amount of free land is a great idea for virtual world residents (and I’ve advocated for this on both my blog and in interviews I’ve given regarding virtual world marketing). So, I agree with your points in the main – what many many of today’s land owners forget is that land ownership in virtual worlds works on an ascending transaction model – step by step – from cheap and small to big and more expensive. Your approach is reflective of my own, and many of those I know.

    With that said, one aspect of your post detracted from my openness to your argument, which started with: “LL aren’t the only crooks in SL” and continued with references to “LL and their crappy management”. I think it’s one thing to disagree with a company’s policies and to vote with your wallet (as you’ve done). I think however, that it’s a completely different thing to call someone or a group of people “crooks” and imply that they are in some way doing something illegal or of dubious morality – especially without evidence that would justify such an accusation.

    Overall, this is a good post – well reasoned and well written. I just wish it wasn’t peppered with unfounded and potentially libellous accusations.

    Like

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