Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Free stuff for avatars

Goddess Couture hair freebie from hunt for your inner slut
Many people are reluctant to spend money on Second Life when they first arrive in the world.  For some, it's a reluctance to invest in something if they aren't sure it is for them, and for others it is a matter of necessity because they can't afford to buy Linden dollars or aren't able to verify their account for some reason.

There are quite a lot of shops which offer special freebies for people with an account younger than 30 days old.  There are a variety of blogs which outline the best: FabFree in Second Life maintains a list of 30 days and under freebies.

If you are more than 30 days old, there is a lot of free stuff in Second Life, but much of it is pirated or of poor quality.  It can be a depressing experience to trail from freebie place to freebie place looking for something good.  The best ways to get good quality free stuff are to join groups or follow a grid hunt.

Joining Groups

Nearly every creator in Second Life will have a membership group for their brand, and most are free - but check what you are clicking on when you join a group.  Some of the designers ask for $50, $100 or $150 Lindens to join, but that's a minority.  Most realise that a good freebie will speak for them in ways they can't necessarily predict.

Normally there will be a board in a shop which you click and which will speak the name of the group in local chat.  Open up local chat, click on the name of the group and the group joining window will open on the screen.  Click the button to join the group which is about a third of the way down the window on the right, and confirm that you want to join.

Once upon a time you would automatically be wearing the tag of the group you just joined, but I've noticed that this doesn't happen for all (I'm not sure why).  You will normally need to be wearing the tag for the group before you will be allowed to pick up freebies.  If you aren't wearing it automatically, open up the groups window (under contacts, groups) and then click on the group you wish to activate and choose "activate" in the right hand list of actions.

There are usually boxes around the store with "group gift" on them, which you can click and collect if you are a member of the shop's group.  You may need to be somewhere where you can rez items in order to unpack the boxes, although many creators make their boxes wearable nowadays to overcome this limitation.

The best way to find the sorts of groups you'd like to join, is to look online.  SL Universe, for example, includes a very long Fashionista thread, which lists the names of the creators featured in the pictures.  You could try using the links often given under the photographs for the things you like.  Some of my favourite freebies are from CoCo Designs (clothing), Pink Fuel (skins).

Grid Hunts

Amazingly good quality items are often available exclusively in the course of grid hunts inside Second Life.  Creators band together to create a themed hunt which takes hunters from shop to shop, finding a grid hunt object, which remain the same for every shop in the hunt.  Usually nowadays, the search item will be displayed with a poster for the hunt at most of the venues.

The convention for how a grid hunt works is that you start off with an easy find in the first shop, which gives you a prize from that location and a landmark for the next location, and familiarises the hunters with the object they are hunting for.  You then click the landmark in your inventory, to take you to the next location and find the same object there.  Hunt often publish a list of locations and hints for the next location to help anyone who has failed to find an object at a particular location or who is lazy!  Currently the annual "Hunt for your Inner Slut" is running, with a golden model of male genitalia as the hunt object, and the list of clues is here.

Some hunts charge L$1 or 2 to collect the items, but most are free.

It makes sense for participating creators to give high quality items for the grid hunts, as customers who later decide to bring money into Second Life are certainly likely to remember the quality of those creations they like from a hunt... and they will generally have an inventory full of landmarks to those shops as the result of having done the hunt.  The hunters will often turn into walking advertisements for their shops, if they wear the items they have found.

One word of advice:  sort the folders from a grid hunt quickly, and assess whether you are likely to use an item, then file those you will, renaming the folders to identify the contents to you, and delete those you don't want.  Keep the landmarks for the places you like, and discard those for the places you don't.  You'll thank me in the end - there's nothing worse than vaguely remembering a really lovely shop and having to visit 60 locations to identify which one it was!

Different hunts have a range of items, but the "hunt for your inner slut" hunt which is ongoing includes a hair with a variety of colours, shoes, clothing, furniture, jewellery and skins and makeup.   There are a couple of objects which include couples sex animations, too.

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