Friday, February 27, 2009

How to be a Noob (part one of two)

So, hey, I cracked and created an alt.

Honestly, I think I'm the only one I know who didn't have one before now.

People have different reasons for creating alts. I know a few people who have a ton of them just for lucky chairs. I never got the point of that, actually, except I guess to flip the chair? It can't be to get the item because then you'd have to change your whole identity any time you wanted to wear it.

Some people create alts so they can hide from other people or live another lifestyle and not damage their main SL reputations.

I didn't do it for ANY of those reasons, even though I can't tell you my alt's name right now. (We'll get to why in the next installment of this two-part series.) But if you're Emerald's friend, you're my alt's friend as far as I'm concerned. Just holla on this blog and I'll send you a friend invite if you want. And even if you're not Emerald's friend . . . well, why the hell aren't you?

(All readers of this blog are embraced with my friendship -- unless you read this blog to mock it. And frankly if you do, I don't blame you. If I didn't know me, I would.)

I created my alt because I don't like to talk the talk unless I can walk it. Wait . . . "I like to walk my talk." Uh, that doesn't sound right either. The saying eludes me at the moment. But you know what I mean.

After I wrote that last preachy "You don't need no damn money to live in SL!" post, I wanted to see if I could actually DO IT. So I tried it yesterday, starting from scratch. I'm calling it "Project $0 Lindens." I didn't do it because I'm cheap and don't want to contribute to the SL economy. I did it to . . . fashionably protest against SL panhandlers and make sure it's actually doable so I can continue to curse and scorn them.

I created a new identity and YES, this time I picked a first name with a rare and in-demand Lucky Chair initial. You know, one of those initials that makes you curse a chair and think, "Damn, I wish I had a friend whose name starts with [initial]."

That's me now. Since then, I've learned that I should've picked a name that starts with O though. Honestly, if you want to really score with lucky chairs, O is the way to go. Or Z. You can't beat Z.

I'm still trying to get used to this alt's name. And last night I accidentally jumped in a lucky chair with an E in it. Ha ha and oops.

OK. So it's been almost exactly a year since I logged on as Emerald and, wow, things have really changed for noobs. Orientation Island isn't the same or even the primary starting point anymore. In fact, as some of you newer residents know, during the sign-up process you can now choose a "starting community" -- and there are several pages of those starting-point choices.

I picked a community suitable to my interests, but the owner -- to whom I talked extensively while researching Part 2 of this series -- asked me to refrain from mentioning the location. They're having a problem with griefers, of course, who love to pop in and harass new people.

So yeah, there's no more trudging through a big ugly castle, completing a bunch of tutorials and then getting your profile picture snapped before they let you leave. Instead, you "wake up" in the location or country of your choice, surrounded by a group of babbling people crammed into the main TP point with you -- in my case, most of them were alts. I know this because they were all talking about WHY they were there as alts. (laugh)

It took a whopping four minutes before a) one guy asked me for $278L and b) another guy asked me if I wanted to have sex. *rolls eyes*

Once I got my bearings, I waddled around to check out various information stations that offered notes on "how to do things." I was delighted with a girl who proclaimed, "OH WOW, I'M FLYING!" and seemed totally sincere in her amazement. 

There were walls of free clothing for new residents, and even that aspect has improved greatly -- I even found this fantastic free Coco Black ensemble from one of my favorite favorite favorite designers, House of Nyla (!!!):


YAY!! Thank you, Nyla!!!! (And hey lovely readers, if you're really, really itching for this outfit, drop me a note or comment here and I'll get in touch and tell you where to go. Meanwhile, I'd like to honor the location owner's request and not publicize it here.)

When I signed up as my alt on the Second Life Web site, I discovered that there are new and better "starter AV" options now, which I know is old news, but it was a pleasant surprise to me. They're way the hell better than what my AV looked like when I finished editing my appearance for the first time as Emerald Wynn on the old Orientation Island in March 2008:


HA HAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Nice headset!!!!

. . . and then, about 15 minutes later I further "edited appearance" to THIS cover-girl look:


WOOOO! That was SO SEXY! (I'm laughing so hard in real life right now.)

Awww, that picture makes me miss my RL friend Jon, who was waiting for me in SL when I got done "orienting," took one look at me and said, "Please let me help you." (He had already been an SL resident for a while.)

Of course, he transformed me into this:


. . . but hey hey hey, look at the sexy action I was getting back then!

Speaking of, that's House of Nyla lingerie, BTW! It's SMOKIN', ladies! Look at the back shot:

(wow, skin textures have really improved since back then, too.)

/me wonders what Jon is doing these days and if he ever got rid of that freakishy tan skin and bright yellow hair.

Ha ha ha! Who's the makeover artist now, huh? :D

Um . . . what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, the noob experience. On $0 lindens.

It's been said a million times, but the DEFAULT DUCK WALK HAS TO GO! Frankly as soon as I rezzed, I didn't even care what I looked like, I just desperately wanted an AO FAST. I couldn't find one at my starting point.

So here are the steps I took to get from noobish to presentable in about two hours:

1. I quickly TP'ed to Sylvia's Animation Factory and grabbed the -- actually REALLY DECENT -- free AO for females. (There's also one for men.) The walk isn't too over-the-top and the stands are normal. I really like it! I need to get Emerald over there to grab it!

2. I found a box of free female shapes at Sylvia's too, so I grabbed one and modded the living daylights out of it. The modding is a work in progress. As with my main SL identity, I still tweak it every 10 minutes. I used my friend Meara's most-awesome tutorial over on What the Fug for the major adjustments.

3. I joined the Gala & Rita Design Announcements group (easy to find in Search, thank God) and quickly put on one of the high-quality new Curio skins (gift in Notices), even though it made my AV look a little worried. (See the post about that skin HERE on Freebie Telegraph for a pic.) I also grabbed the free hair gift in the group notices (shown HERE on Fabulously Free in SL) and put it on.

*and momentarily breathed a sigh of relief*

4. Clothes: I needed to get out of that polka-dotted noob dress!!! Keep in mind, the goal is to find high-quality, non-"freebie-newbie-looking" stuff. Although to clarify, I'm not bagging on the great people who create all those big boxes of free stuff for new residents. I'm just trying to prove that you CAN do the brand names with absolutely no money.

-- First I joined Shiki Designs, a group I will never sacrifice, and dashed to the main store and grabbed my still-favorite dress that was the December group gift and is still out. To see it, check my previous post: Me, Obama and a Slightly Annoying Fetus. (The SLurl and a link to a better pic of that dress is over there too.)

-- Then I zoomed over to the Peppermint Blue FS City location to snag one of the free Newbie Assistance Packs and realized they don't call them that for nothing. Life savers!! I didn't take the silly (sorry) sailor outfits that are all over the freebie blogs right now. I picked the cute gothy Splendor Light set, the lingerie set and the sandals. The "assistance" sets also contain skins, hair, eyes and, thank God, boots/shoes, because that was a momentarily lacking item that was totally stressing me out. And you don't have to be a newbie to buy those sets, by the way.

-- Next I went to Silent Sparrow, which also has a great box of cool starter clothes for new AVs.

-- I wanted a small collection of formal attire -- every girl needs a few ball gowns -- so I joined Sascha's Group, went to her main store and scooped up all the ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS free gowns that Sascha so generously bestows on her group members. Not only does she give out a free group gift gown a month, but she also keeps out the past several gifts for members who may have missed a month. (I cannot believe this group is free.)

Counting a gift called "It's Always Christmas" that Sascha currently has out on a table and the Greatest Love Hunt Box that's there (that hunt ends tomorrow, BTW!), LADIES, I picked up 11 SMASHING ball gowns for NOTHING. You have NO EXCUSE not to go dancing now. 

Well, except for the lack of a man. That's my excuse.

-- I'm still sort of stressing about decent free shoes though. Meaning FREE, not even $1L. And I'm not talking shiny, over-the-knee boots or latex. I'm talking quality, versatile shoes from good designers.

<-- snob

4. Skins: I needed decent skins! I ran over to Fleur and grabbed the (thank you!) free skin for new AVs 30 days old and younger. Then I ran to one of my favorite skin designers, SoftTouch Skins, and grabbed that starter pack for new residents as well. Then I ran to the Journey sim and grabbed the Treasure Chest Hunt prize box of Tuli skins in the sim hunt that's going on. (Or at least it was last night.) Then I ran (ha ha, note all the running) over to Belleza and snagged the Greatest Love Hunt gift box, which has a skin in it. THEN I went to Rockberry and watched the lucky boards for a whopping six minutes before my initial came up on three boards at once. Then I went to Laqroki (um, I guess they want to be called LAQ) and got the current free Liv skin, hair and shape that's on the easel in the back corner, by the shapes.

So there you go, kids. Skins from seven of SL's top designers (counting the Curio group gift) for $0L. WIN!

If any other designers have free "new resident starter kits," I'd love to hear about them. I'm working on a notecard for the panhandlers. 

5. Hair: I needed a few more hair options. While I was at Laqroki, I also went to the hair department, where you'll see a row of free hairstyles. I added those to my hair folder, but only the ones that really appealed to me. My goal with this AV is to NOT clutter my hair folder with 9,000 different hair styles. I went to House of Heart and Bewitched and picked up the current free new-releases-of-the-month hair packs. Same styles, but different colors in each and I swear I swear I swear I'm going to try them on and toss them if I hate them and not let them pile up in this inventory like I usually do.

<--- pack rat

And honestly, that's all the hair I need right now. I just can't handle a ton of hair. I want to travel light this time.

6. Money: I don't have the RL time for an SL job. Seriously, I don't. After today I REALLY need to pack my RL apartment, move to Memphis and find a job in real life. I hit the road next Saturday with two cats, a seven-year-old pet hermit crab named Mr. O'Bannion, and a bunch of plants crammed in my 10-year-old RAV4. Wish me luck.

But this alt needs some sort of income and I hate camping for money. My lame suggestion is pay-for-play Picks locations. PrimOptic, for example, will pay you $50L every week to put the store in your Picks. (The store currently has a few pairs of free glasses out too.) And you know what? I have no qualms about doing that because I love the glasses and Emerald owns several pairs, for which she paid many lindens.

(I really, really, really cannot write about this alt very often or I really WILL start feeling like someone with Multiple Personality Disorder.)

So there's my $50L-a-week allowance. For $25L, you can join the PPRS -- Profile Picks Rewards System -- group that alerts you to all the places that will pay you for your profile picks spots. Conceivably you could make about $300-$400L a week this way. Or maybe not. When I looked for the group in Search, I found it . . . but I also found some ranting PPRS protest groups. So join at your own risk.

7. Groups: I added the aforementioned ones as well as the essential (in my opinion) Vain Inc. and Fashion Consolidated. I also added a few of my favorite stores. AND HOOORAY: Today Alady Island sent the FashCon group a gift box with a free LorAla (Pulse) skin in it (among other things), so I'm back in a skin I love:


Ha ha ha! I accidentally modded my shape to look almost EXACTLY the same as my other "self"! (Although there is something really weird about my torso -- hey, maybe it's the MELON BOOBS -- and the chin, as usual, looks like a sharp weapon.)

8. Um, then I cheated, logged in as Emerald Wynn for a sec, and tossed my alt the Sn@tch Punk Rock Girlfriend outfit in the photo above. But I swear that must have been free or won at some point! I love Sn@tch, but Emerald Wynn doesn't usually buy it. This girlie here, however, is gonna be a little bit more punky/gothy. 

That hair is the free Camelia hair at Laqroki. That skin is the LorAla skin FashCon gift from Alady. The eyes are a profile pick gift from SkinWithin. Put them in your picks, return to the store in about 24 hours and you'll get two free skins, a number of free eyes and a folder of "manicures and pedicures." They make fantastic ethnic skins -- I have a friend who is a SkinWithin loyalist for that reason.

And we're all exhausted. If you're a man and you made it to the end of this long damn post, well, you deserve a standing ovation.

Part Two of this series will be a helluva lot more exciting. 

I swear on a New Toulouse Cemetery grave that it will be a harrowing tale of PIMP VAMPIRES.

Until then . . . be safe!


Asthenia said...

I think you should have made a boy! My boy alt doesn't get any of my lindens (he don't need to be stealing from the Asthenia shoe fund!) but boy stuff is haaaaaaard! I finally found him some semi-decent shoes in one of the last big hunts (the one with all the prizes, yeah i don't remember sorry :D )
Oh and E.Watkins also has a free AO (one for boys & one for girls) that I have been using since forever. LAP also has a free AO for residents under 30 days! Snatch has a package for residents under 30 days. While your alt is still young you may want to check out these places :)
Woa, how much am i talking here?

Meara Deschanel said...

Great post Em! I thought of a few more things while I was reading it too. There are free eyes at Miriel's that are gorgeous. Also, recommend that people make an account on Xstreet ASAP and look for free items there - you can occasionally find some really nice things. For free shoes, I think Adam and Eve has a newbie policy where you can get one free pair of shoes. And there was a shoe store I found a while back that had some nice, free sculpted heels - I'll have to dig through my inventory and try to find the store name for you.

Emerald Wynn said...

Oh cool.

And I can't believe two people actually read that epic blog post!

*runs to Snatch and Adam and Eve*

Thank you!! <3

Alicia Chenaux said...

I was going to suggest the Sn@tch starter pack too, because there's a notecard in there for places to go while you're still new. Lots of stores have "Noobie specials" that can only be used while you're in your first 30 days. I used to have a big notecard of places, I'll have to see if I can find that for you.

Learning Teacher said...

Slash! also has a free starter pack for people less than 30 days old and Nyte & Day has a starter pack (but any resident can grab it). For shoes go to Tesla and grab the black Mary Janes, join Maitreya's subscribo as there is a pack of pumps in different colours there, and Truth's subscribo might still have the free boots. Once you get L$ you can look for SKG shoes, they have a number of L$1 shoes, good quality.

Get hair vouchers for newbies less than 30 days old from Gurl6 and Diversity. Goldielocks has hair lucky chairs (well, last I went, they did) and there used to be one in Zero Style too (and a freebie, but I can't remember if it costs L$1 or is free).


V said...

I did the same thing as you :) I wanted to live money free, and with only the basics (no monster inventories, and my inv right now is about 7000, but I haven't cleaned up after several hunts, I'm sure I can knock it down to 5000). I Created an alt, and was determined to not charge my credit card.

I currently live on very little L$'s as well (I think I have L$42 right now). You only need enough to purchase dollarbies and some of the lower priced items (like L$10).. It can be done! I signed onto Earn2Life- which gives you L$s for Pay Per Visits and Picks, and it isn't very time consuming(I tried their survey thing, and hated it, so I just do those two).

I will admit that in the beginning I caved, and I transferred L$s from my ex-main account (my alt is now my main), b/c ETD had that L$30 sale, and there were also a few items I was dying to have, but besides that, I haven't injected anymore money into my account (So I think I transfered L$2000 total). I bought some Zaara jeans, ETD shoes and Hair on sale, and my 2 favorite hairstyles and belt from Magika (and a few base item clothes here and there, I'd say somewhere in the ball park of 6 tops). I haven't given myself anything more since then (Oct. 31st I believe), so that almost 4 months... of course now I'm really dying for an AO and some dance anims.. but will see how long I can hold out.

It's really tough when you see something you really really like and know you can't afford on your low SL budget.. but it's kind of fun to make pieces work for you, and extra fun when people are shocked that you're pulling it off for (almost) free.

Just don't cave!

Eevie Lemon