Monday, October 27, 2014

A Look at Avination

By Baron DeSantis

Second Life entered my own real life after having seen a television 'techie' show that mentioned it. I created an account, just out of interest, and then began a journey that is still ongoing after nearly 8 years. Much has changed since those early days, the graphics have improved as has the ability to build almost anything you can imagine. My rather dull ‘avi’ has turned into something resembling an actual person. Prices and costs too have changed. No longer do we need a ‘premium account’ to own land and many other things. The terms and conditions have changed almost as much, mostly slid in through the back door. Has anyone actually read ALL the hundreds of pages that the full TaC’s and ToS  entail? I’ll be honest…. I  read about half before my brain dissolved into a gray mush.

Nowadays, rival services have sprouted up so I was intrigued as to how a few would compare to my beloved SL. After a conversation in-world with a friend, I chose to try out Avination. Once having completed a very quick and simple ‘joining procedure’ I entered this new domain. Immediately I felt at home, the controls and graphics were the same using my installed Firestorm Phoenix viewer and so off I went to explore. At the ‘landing point’ there are a number of signs to help orientate you, but if you're from SL you can turn right and click on one that takes you to the main welcome area.

 My main interest was in land prices and the value of your ‘buck’ so after teleporting to an available sim, I was amazed at the difference in both the cost and what you got for your money. Land is sold/rented in the same sizes but the prim allowances are far higher. The sim I was on for example was your standard 65536 square meters but cost less than US$60/month with a prim allowance of a staggering 45,000. Compare that to the same size in SL and it proves the difference in value, a homestead for example allows a paltry 3750  prims fo 7850L$. Now, the currency used in-world at Avination is different, called the C$ and appears more expensive to buy if comparing straight forward amounts. 2000 C$ = 5.98 US$ or £3.88 Sterling. The same amount in Linden Dollars would cost 5.52 US$/£3.58 Sterling (Rates at time of visit). Not a huge difference I agree, more on money later.

As I was comparing this information I received an IM from a guy called Chad. At first I thought he was a salesman for the land, which he was, but he did not go into a sales pitch at all. In fact he was welcoming me to Avination and offered to show me around. Gratefully I accepted and within minutes was given a lovely house to live in FREE for two weeks. That was a bonus I suppose to all the great information that Chad was able to share. This article does not permit me to tell you everything we talked about, much of which was minor chit chat, but the main points I’ll tell you about.

Chad joined Avination, from Second Life, three years ago and “never looked back.” As I did, he found people far friendlier to ‘newbies’ than SL now seems to be and a great deal cheaper to ‘live in.’ Although Avination will run on the viewer I was using, there has been some ‘glitches’ when uploading files so he recommended I download the dedicated viewer instead. Yes, it is possible to get an ‘allowance’ of 10K C$ to transfer certain files, such as textures and yes you can have the same avatar name as SL if you wish. Within SL there are terminals all over the grid where you can arrange all the required ‘transfer details’. You can also transfer Linden Dollars to your Avination account at an exchange rate of approx.. 1000L$ to 800C$. Chad also shared some notecards detailing, in full, how to arrange the ‘allowance’ and avi name (For a copy ask me in-world at SL via a notecard and I’ll send on to you).

It appears that not only is there a mass, and I do mean a massive amount, of free useful (and funny) items available for the newcomer, but there are online advisers 24/7. Called “A-team,” these advisers will help you with any problem you may have and regular meetings are held in-world to discuss/inform about issues or upcoming events. The longest Chad ever had to wait for a problem to be resolved was 24 hours…. compare that to sending in a ticket to Linden Labs!

What had started as a quick ‘compare’ visit lasted over two hours, in which not only did I gain a place to live, some free stuff but most importantly I gained a wealth of really useful information and made a new friend. More on the differences between SL & Avination next time.

Quickie notes:

Avination is based in Germany but uses the Second Life system of time so no scary time comparisons to get used to.  Although much fewer users than SL, this is bound to grow rapidly, so don’t lose heart at thinking there are not enough folk about as this is a great chance to start fresh, but knowing how and what to do without the original ‘mistakes’ we all made when starting on SL.

Simple to arrange transfer of SL name, or create a new one using the well known ‘make own first name and pick a surname’ system.

Land is cheaper to buy/rent with much higher prim allowances.

Extremely ‘newbie’ friendly.

In-world help 24/7.

Many familiar names for businesses etc. There is no Avination version of Market Place as they believe it is better for people to actually visit stores in-world and thus build a rapport with each other and make for a more personal experience.. I agree on that point, though can be a bit frustrating at first.

Controls are almost identical to that of SL and many are easier to use. (if using the specific Avination viewer  recommended).

Now would be a great time to ‘get into the ground floor’ for buying a sim or creating a business base as things will only get busier.

Baron "Baz" DeSantis

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