Linden Lab Locks Up Players On Orientation Islands

by Pixeleen Mistral on 14/10/07 at 2:25 pm

Compulsory orientation tutorial broken since April
6 months of gross incompetence – or stealth population control for Second Life?

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Welcome to Second Life! broken in April, still critical and unfixed in October

On April 17th, the first reports of a borked metaverse orientation appeared: Six months later, in spite of Torley Linden’s intermittent interventions, new players are still being trapped on Orientation Island – the most recent complaint is from October 5th. Is this by design, or because the Lab is too unfocused to actually fix bugs?

We will probably never know how many hopeful new citizens turned away in disgust after being frustrated by an orientation test that fails to credit players when they finish the how-to-move tutorial. As Androo Biedermann said, “It’s frustrating and has put me right off this ‘game’. I mean.. you cannot go anywhere else until you complete this stage.. and I’ve viewed the Island a gazillion times!! PLEASE fix this”

Second Life observers have noted slowing population growth over the last 6 months, with explanations such as the in-world gambling ban, seasonal doldrums, crashing clients, and a media-induced hype hangover. However, it appears that some new “residents” of the metaverse simply cannot escape the Lab’s orientation area because the orientation is broken. Who wants to play a game that cannot even get the orientation right? First impressions count – could this have something to do with the growing indifference to Philip Linden’s garden of cyber delights?


The chronology of the problem is illuminating – and depressing. Months after the initial reports of problems, it appears things had not really changed:

September 23 Forest Noyes: I DLed the install program on Sept. 21 and as of yesterday I was having the same problem as everyone else – a disappearing first star for the MOVE tutorial and retrying it doesn’t give me the star. I am glad I decided at the last minute to “try before I buy”….

September 4 Underneath Infinity: Stuck at orientation island, can’t complete. Attaching another screenshot in a short time.

August 3 Pastel Indigo: Same issue. Stuck on Orientation Island – I never saw the Orientation Guide, Nothing seems to work, I cant complete tasks, I can’t retry them. Views in appearance editor dont update. I have tried re-installing, makes no difference. If this isnt sorted PDQ I am off to spend my buck on something in which the basics work!!!

July 7 Gar3th Shepherd: Exactly the samefor me. I can’t teleport out. Stuck and bored!

July 7 Torley Linden: Argh! My apologies for the slow response on this, I didn’t know it was still an issue until I got pinged… :\

June 19 Henrick Karas: Has anything been done about this yet because im stuck on this crappy first island, ive done everything else

April 18 Torley Linden: Sorry about this, and thanks for using the Issue Tracker so early in your Second Life. I’ll forward this to our OI team.

April 17 Gnascher Graves: This shows me standing on the target, but not getting credit for the ‘move’ required tutorial. The “sub-tutorials’ are not completed because this is my second time around on this…


Of course, Torley and the other Lindens are busy with more important matters – project managing pretty skies apparently takes precedence over keeping the trains running on time. Residents are left with the impression that much like the “escorts” at Lolita’s Whorehouse in Yongchong, the Lab loves virtual bling – and sometimes neglects more basic needs in the pursuit of being “teh sexy platform”. I can understand all this – up to a point. But really – it is getting embarrassing to talk with the WoW players I know.

But perhaps the Lindens have a secret plan – is this some sort of stealth population throttle? Are the Lindens trying to use natural selection to improve the bug tolerance of residents?

As Sirius Hartshon said when he pointed this situation out to me, “It’s probably a good training for later, figuring out how to deal with SL bugs, or maybe selection of the fittest, but it’s still leaves me speechless”. For a game company with a shaky infrastructure, perhaps biasing “new” account growth toward people creating alt accounts is wise. New alt accounts make it appear that the population is continuing to grow, whiloe placing less stress on the world since most people only run one avatar at a time.

The Lab’s apparent apparent indifference to the Ben & Jerry’s advertisland orientation – which doesn’t even attempt to tell new players how to teleport and escape – makes a bit more sense now. So this could all be a cunning plan. Unfortunately, it is more likely that simple incompetence is to blame.

16 Responses to “Linden Lab Locks Up Players On Orientation Islands”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 14th, 2007

    Of course, people stuck on the OI could abandon their foolish effort to get a few $Lindens to complete some retarded tutorial, go to the big kiosks marked with signs like “ready to leave” and get a landmark randomly generated that takes them to one of dozens of locations on the mainland, from where they can pick what they want to do using SEARCH or the map.

    What’s trapping a lot of people here is their desire to get these Lindens for finishing the orientation — and both those things are at root stupid, and were put in because the Lindens thought they could force people to learn the basics with a small monetary reward.

  2. 1Time Daehlie

    Oct 14th, 2007

    I quickly teleported a newbee friend/coworker over from Orientation Island, while I was on the phone with him. He kept mentioning a tutorial thing on his screen that was in his way. Hmmm, I really hope that this doesn’t stick with him until he returns to Orientation Island to complete their mandatory stuff. I usually teleport my friends over quickly so that I can show them the ropes. Orientation Island might be nice for those who aren’t signing up at the bidding of a friend, otherwise their friends will help them catch on. :-)

    - 1Time Daehlie

  3. Unhelped

    Oct 14th, 2007

    I’ve been in SL for years. One day I decided to create an alt and found Orientation Island utterly excrutiating. I eventually found out that you can click on a sign to obtain a landmark to the mainland and skip all the buggy tasks with their blurry textured notices that take minutes to appear.

    The reason for Orientation Island is that people were arriving at Help Island and asking the mentors the same boring questions over and over. Well I suggest that the stalking mentors can go screw themselves if they don’t like answering the same questions over and over. What kind of questions were they expecting?. Help Island wasn’t designed to be an area for chatting up bewildered noobs.

    It all reminds me of LL and their overly helpful support team that understandably got burned out from the same tiring questions and eventually ran away to some obscure webpage never to be seen again. If people don’t like answering stupid questions then they shouldn’t put themselves in that position in the first place.

    They should scrap Help Island and just let people enter Second Life without all the torture and the lecherous mentors. New residents will find their own way around. I managed quite fine without having some asshole using a mentor tag to try to get me into bed.

  4. The Grid Live

    Oct 15th, 2007

    Second Life News for October 15,2007

    Linden Lab Locks up Players on Orientation Islands On April 17th, the first reports of a borked metaverse orientation appeared: Six months later, in spite of Torley Linden’s intermittent interventions, new…

  5. Day Oh

    Oct 15th, 2007

    Oh… my… god…

    I gotta say, I made an alt recently and tried Orientation Island, and I couldn’t find any damn sign to click. I eventually gave up and used Search to escape, though the solution was not obvious!!

  6. Ann Otoole

    Oct 15th, 2007

    most likely the plan is to eliminate orientation island totally and require new residents to enter sl via ben & jerry’s island where they have taken the gulag principle to a higher art form.

  7. Anonymous

    Oct 15th, 2007

    heh, first thing I did when I regged was searched and left that damn island.

  8. SqueezeOne Pow

    Oct 15th, 2007

    Yeah, I created an alt a few months ago and just searched for the “leave now” button. I ended up just using search, I think.

    Ironically, it’s what I did when I first started SL back in 2005. The search button is pretty self-explanitory. In such a game it’s best to figure the functions out as you explore. Just like RL!

    The way I see it, if you can’t figure out how to get off the island then you aren’t ready to go into SL. That’s just one less new guy stopping at my land, rezzing a bunch of cubes and asking “how do I make this fly?”

  9. Kunoichi Dagger

    Oct 15th, 2007

    I just wanted to comment that while there are glitches sometimes that prevent some of the Orientation Island stations from issuing out stars, it does not “trap” them on OI. There is a sign in the center of the island that allows them to teleport off of it, plus you can tools like the Map or the Search to exit off.

    Unhelped – Since the day Help Island was created, I’ve been helping out there for about 2 hours everyday, and while I have run into Mentors who did not live up to my standards of answering questions in a clear and profession manner, I haven’t really run into any I’d consider lecherous. Who was this that you ran into?

    You are right though.. Throughout the years, I have seen a lot of Mentors come and go, with the exception of die-hard volunteers. Volunteer burn-out is common is you are not altruistic, which would explain why I see them rotated so often. To those Mentors who seem to burn out on answering those commonly asked questions- I recommend keeping a Notecard with answers to the Top 20 commonly asked questions. This way you can easily cut&paste them without boring yourself, or the new resident who is standing around waiting for his/her answer.

    I disagree with you, however, in regards to scrapping Help Island. There are so many new residents who choose to go there, that it necessitates 11 sim copies of the island for load-balance purposes. At first, Second Life is very confusing to most people, and that feeling of being lost and out-of-place drives people away quickly if there’s nobody around to help them out. While there was no OI or HI when you and I first started, I feel the inclusion of them these days is necessary to further the proliferation of Second Life.

  10. Missdrr Alderson

    Oct 15th, 2007



    They’re making a new orientation system based off of MeltingDots.

    Stop bitching.

  11. dick burns

    Oct 15th, 2007

    no you can’t find nothing at all, if there was nothing there all along…

  12. Zera Pera

    Oct 15th, 2007

    Funny, this seems to correspond with my SL time. I started a little bit before that was reported and I had my own issue. Instead of starting on Orientation Island, I started with that HUD thing telling me to do stuff and get stars, but I couldn’t find a way to achieve stars as I was already on the Mainland.

    Fortunatly for me, SL was intuitive enough that I could remove the HUD from blocking the left side of the screen and I could change my appearance to not look like I had just spawned there within 10-30 minutes.

    I do wonder though, if my bug, starting on the Mainland, and this bug are related somehow?

  13. Patch Lamington

    Oct 15th, 2007

    Right in the middle of OI is a sign which gives out landmarks to allow people to jump to HI. But its strangely invisible… without a floating arrow, a lot of people just don’t notice it.

    Meanwhile, most of what is covered in OI (not all) would run better if it ran offline. But that would mean re-writing code in the client to support on offline tutorial experience… so don’t hold your breath.

    I do think the new OI is much better than the old one – but only when it works and too often it doesn’t. Having the tutorial guidance via a HUD coded in LSL is just too flakey. As well as what has been mentioned so far, if you change outfit, you can ‘lose’ the HUD, and then might struggle to get it back. Its a good idea, it looks great, but it does need some fixing.

  14. Aya P

    Oct 16th, 2007

    I remember the time where Orientation was mandatory in order to get onto the main grid.

    Now my second AV could just open search and tp out. Its worth it.

  15. ZigZag Freenote

    Oct 23rd, 2007

    I am ‘two weeks old’, and I was stuck on the Orientation Island too. I don’t remember how I got out, either someone offered me a teleport or maybe I found that sign. And I kinda regretted later that I didn’t complete all the tasks to learn some things. Well, can’t go back to that one, OI Public is different (hmmm, at least it works).
    And as if that was not enough, Help doesn’t do what one expects. You press F1 and get all sorts of support stuff, but no help. Then there is In-World help, which takes forever to load so I closed it long before it loaded thinking it doesn’t work either. OK, Help Island it is, I get the idea that everything should happen in-world. Good idea, unless someone is stuck, or just too impatient. And … can’t push that idea too far. The second world is a graphic, 3D oriented program, one can’t expect it to contain its own internet with all the text features. It just doesn’t make sense, at least not at this point. The existing infrastructure is simply too clumsy to contain even a small, let alone a full blown help system.
    And I couldn’t understand it, how can this be? Aren’t they aware that they are losing customers this way? Hmmm, population throttle, scary idea. Yup, it’s a cruel world, they both are, the first and the second. Who knows what kind of manipulations are going on…

  16. Toddles Lightworker

    Nov 2nd, 2007

    I’ve introduced three people to SL in the last couple of weeks. Orientation Island has been wonderful!! No problem at all. Much better than when I started :-)

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