When I began my Second Life experience, I knew very little of how real these virtual worlds are to some people. I knew nothing of the functions, rules and role plays, or the characters’ abilities to communicate and interact with one another. I nonetheless decided to find my way around the Second Life ecosystem.
After traveling to several new dimensions and exploring deserted worlds on my own (due to time difference, I guess…), I finally arrived at the beautiful virtual world of “The Kingdom of Sand“.
The Kingdom of Sand is an Arabian paradise of sand dunes, palaces and markets, canals and moats, tribes and princes, warriors and undead, servants and inn workers, slaves, and beautiful belly dancing music. Life happens quite slow in this hot and dry world, and people do not speak much. Watching wondering warriors looking for opponents gives a sense of sad and lonely atmosphere that is sometimes shaken by a few residents and visitors who eat, sleep, steal, fight, dance, and form alliances. From what I gathered, KoS used to be a lively part of the Second Life universe until a real life alliance broke and ate at the plot, slowly turning the Kingdom of Sand into a quiet and lawless place where old residents come to take a break of their real life and float down the canals reminiscing of days long past.
I spent a few days exploring this interesting world. Here is what I found at the Kingdom of Kos:
Once I bought my 3-day pass tag I was overwhelmed to see the number of weapons available for purchase. Since I never took part in a virtual world role play, I was unsure of what to expect. First, I did not have enough money to buy any weapon. Second, I was quite unsure about what this world was about, and third, being seen with weapons did not sound like a great idea, especially when some tall, sworded and mean-looking warriors were walking around and guarding temples…
So I decided to skip the experience and walked around and explored the beautiful landscape.
After enjoying the music, dense alleyways and endless dunes, I found a way to teleport myself into the Arena. I was not sure what to expect, and found a lone tall and muscular warrior. My 4-feet pink haired alien identity was terrified of the long axe he was holding, and my inexperience as a player caused rapid heart palpitations. Is he going to charge at me? Can he decapitate me if he does? What would happen to my character? Is there blood? Am I going to feel it? I had so many thoughts, and realized that without even noticing, I was slowly getting dragged into this magical world.
I spoke to the warrior who turned out to be a kind one, who provided me with some basic details about what it means to “fight” and how it takes place (some impressive cut-and-kill high jumps he had!), and about some of the roles in this VW. After asking for the weapons I held (what weapons? These are extensions of my body… :-/) and graciously not chopping my limbs off, he probably realized he won’t get to see my strange figure getting sliced. He thanked me for my interest, and he teleported away…
On my next trip to KoS, there were more avatars around, although they seemed to be ghosts passing through the world without my noticing. After exploring with no one interesting or interested around, I eventually identified a moving figure in a boat, so I decided to teleport myself to them. It was a very pleasant experience in which I learned so much about not only the kingdom, but also about the world’s designers and the relationships among them that brought the Kingdom of Sand to its current decline. I was impressed by this kind-mannered and melancholic old-timer (over 4 years of KoS existence…) who was apparently a prince in disguise, thanked him and wished him well.
The long day in the hot sun got to me. I was ready for a break. After taking a quick bath I decided it was time to lay down and digest this crazy new experience…