Magellan Misses the Boat to Ansheland

by Alphaville Herald on 10/04/05 at 1:58 am

by Walker Spaight

Ansheland resident Iron Perth after a recent desert journey

Though he was the first avatar to set whisky-stained sneaker on the moth-eaten continent to the north of the main Grid, intrepid explorer Magellan Linden seems to have missed the boat to a new sub-continent that sprang up earlier this week southwest of the mainland. Its 14 sims are already filling up with refugees from the old country, and though it has no official name (like all of SL’s major land masses), its residents are already calling it after the increasingly Linden-like personage who owns the place: Ansheland.

With the advent of 1.6′s new land tools, Anshe Chung, one of the Grid’s largest landholders, has taken advantage of the new flexibility to create her own mini-grid — though one with many more restrictions than are found in Lindenland.

Of the 14 sims in Ansheland, 10 have come online in the last week, with four more in the week or two before that. I asked Anshe if it wasn’t risky to buy so many islands at once. “Of course it is,” she said. “But interest is strong. And I worked hard to earn money here, so I decided to reinvest and take risk. And it also was not planned like this. I placed several orders over the past three weeks. But Linden Lab was kinda slow delivering, so then they came all at once.”

But Anshe is confident that the current market — and distaste for griefer builds and patchworks sims — will have her breaking even in a month’s time.

While it remains to be seen whether themed sims can attract a sustainable population — they have not proved popular in the past — Anshe’s strategy is already attracting residents from the mainland. Iron Perth, whose castle is going up in A’ksha Dunes, one of four Arabian themed residential sims in Ansheland, says he moved to avoid the “Lego city” character of the main grid — and the often intriguing builds of members of the W-Hat group.

Iron Perth’s Arabian castle (under construction)

“I stopped paying SL [Linden Lab] because of W-Hat,” Iron told the Herald. “They really ruined my first land.”

Iron also prefers Anshe’s pricing scheme, which offers 4,096 sq.m. for L$1,600 a month with no initial purchase fee, no need for a premium account, and full access to all land functions through deeding.

With a 14-sim sub-continent and 15 sims worth of land for sale on the mainland (as well as five commercial sims she manages), Anshe has become a significant force within the land-based SL economy, holding more than 5 percent of the approximately 600 sims

Her new model may make her an even bigger force, should her themed sims and pricing model prove attractive to residents. With the Grid’s economy based largely on how fast new land is released, arrangements like Anshe’s could eventually have a significant effect on demand, one that LL will have to take into account in its land-release calculations. The reasoning behind such calculations has still not been made available to residents, however, leaving things difficult to judge.

Some residents are already questioning the effects of having what is in effect a parallel land release system that challenges the Lindens’ management of the economy. There will probably be no shortage of residents who prefer the freedom of the mainland and the security of dealing with the company behind the Grid, but the progress of Anshe’s experiment in zoning and land management should be edifying to both the Grid’s population and the Lindens both.

Ansheland is also designed with open space in mind. In the desert sims, 800 sq.m. of each resident’s land is located in a 250m.-high floating city, now under construction by Sophos Casanova Architects. Residents’ prims are poolable for use on either lot.

Ansheland’s sky city

At ground level, the terraforming and much of the landscaping has been done by Anshe herself. Taking advantage of the huge terraforming limits on private island sims, Anshe has made your Raving Correspondent envious by creating a network of underground caves that will also be available to Ansheland’s residents:

Desert bandits have already set up a few unauthorized builds in the canyons below the dunes, however:

A desert oasis in A’ksha also includes a memorial to SL resident illume Skallagrimson, who first rezzed on June 9, 2003:

Other sims are zoned along Victorian themes or by language, though some residents feel there is a lack of diversity in the area, with only a few romance languages represented. Asked why she chose the desert theme for four full sims, Anshe said, “Since one year there is rumors of desert sims coming but it has not happened, so I decided I do it myself.”

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