Wizardhat: dance, explore, contemplate, admire

Rati dAlliez is a Homestead region operated as a part of dAlliez Estates. It is home to Wizardhat Studios and the creation of Karencreek Melson and WizardHat Mornington. It is open to the public for visits, and offers plenty to see and do, from dancing with a partner, through admiring the work of the artists, to taking a trip out in a small sailboat.

Wizardhat Studios

It is a region which has both atmosphere and whimsy, mixing reality with a dose of fantasy. There is no windlight preset on the estate, but given the design, complete with a storm threatening, I felt that the Fine Day windlight preset helped give the region an additional depth, with deep blue skies which (to me) blended more smoothly with the offshore storm to the north than the default SL blue sky. Which is not to say other presets don’t also work.

Wizardhat Studios

Sweeping vistas of sky, land, and ocean together as one. Tranquility reigns over a land of dreams. Wander, dance, sooth the eye and soul, magic happens here. A living painting and a work of art where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

So states the Destination Guide write-up for the region, and truth be told, Rati dAlliez is a living painting, one which encourages your participation, whether it be wandering through the flowers, dancing across a meadow or in a floating tower, swinging under the boughs of a tree or sunning yourself with the polar bears enjoying the beach – themselves very much the mark of an artist’s touch of humour.

Wizardhat Studio

It’s a place I’ve been spending a bit of time at of late, sitting and pondering on matters such as the question of my premium membership, as well as on Second Life and my place within it as a whole.

When it comes to thoughts about Second Life, the island might be seen as something of a metaphor when it comes to the bleaker outlook some ascribe to SL’s future (and which I do sometimes feel myself). On the one hand, we have the wonderful build of the island itself, yet looming on the horizon are roiling storm cloud split by lightning, almost personifying the issues SL does face is terms of falling region numbers, high tier, retention issues, all of which present a potentially stormy future for the platform.

The calm before the storm?

Yet walk just a short distance across the island, and it all does become much brighter and calmer, and a reminder that Second Life has weathered many a storm without the sky falling in completely; and while it cannot be denied that some things will have to change over time, all is not yet lost.

I love the eclectic mix of expression the region offers, from the storm-crowded horizon to the north through the mountains to the east and south-east to the little habour itself, nestled between the two tall towers. It is a place where thoughts do come easy, whether high in the mountains or lying on a hammock.

Wizardhat Studios

Of the two towers on the coast, one offers places for couples to enjoy a dance. The climb to the top might require a little patience as the ramp is a little tight, but the seat and the top offers coupled the opportunity to just sit and chat or enjoy the view. The second, slightly larger tower (castle?) forms a studio for Wizardhat Mornington’s artwork as well as also offering places to sit or to dance with a friend or loved one.

Wizardhat Studios

This is perhaps the beauty of Rati dAlliez; whether you want to enjoy a little romance, have a little fun exploring, share a swing with a friend or just sit and contemplate the world (or worlds), there is something here which is likely to appeal. If you visit, you may well bump into one of the Wizardhat Studios group members; if so, don’t forget to say hello; they may not all be as they seem, but messages do reach the right people!

And if you find me sitting atop a mountain and I don’t reply to your call; it’s not because I’m ignoring you, it’s probably because I’m wrapped in thoughts I can’t always articulate very well on these pages.

Wizardhat Studios

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Thoughts on my own second life, premium membership and blogging

The end of October marks a year since I returned to Premium membership. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been mulling over whether to renew again or not.

My reasons for re-upping to premium came about as a result of a renewed optimism about SL, particularly following last year’s SLCC-2011. A lot has happened since then.

It is fair to say that, particularly of late, there are elements of my premium package I’ve come to appreciate. I’m spending far more time in my Linden Home now than I am at my “main” home. Even with just 117 prims, the Tahoe offers comfortable and flexible living space. Shop right, and it can easily be furnished for a very modest prim count.

Linden Home, modified and furnished for 19 prims, including loft conversion and scripted lighting

Yes, the build quality is very 2007, it may even be cookie cutter (although im my opinion a lot less cookie cutter than other Linden Home offerings) but the fact is that it works. The real art in getting a good Linden Home is picking the model you want carefully (including going and seeing them in-world) and being prepared to hop around with multiple applications (bearing in mind the 5-in-24-hours rule) until you find a location you like. In this I was lucky. I hit the bullseye first time.

I’ve also only recently discovered the full freedom of sailing due to one of the premium gifts.

Enjoying my time sailing aboard “Exotix”

I have a new appreciation for places like Blake Sea and the ability to sail around coastlines and across water from continent to continent. All this is to the good; but there is still a problem. When all is said and done, premium membership really only has strength of appeal to incoming users to SL and / or those who have yet to establish themselves. For anyone who has been here a while, particularly if they’ve invested in a decently sized parcel of land on a private island, the benefits of upping to premium are perhaps harder to quantify.

One can actually understand why LL bias the premium offerings towards newer users. Getting people to pay for something they can otherwise a enjoy “for free” and be as much a contributing member of the economy as anyone else, is a tough nut to crack. So to make the package more attractive, LL aim for enticements which will encourage those signing-up to opt for premium directly. My only real objection to them doing this, as I’ve covered elsewhere, is the elastic nature of some of the descriptions of the premium benefits. More privacy? More land? A personal and private home? These are all things anyone can enjoy regardless of account. Sure, the last one costs – but it will even with premium if you want something bigger, prim-wise than a Linden Home.

Premium membership benefits, as defined by Linden Lab

Continue reading “Thoughts on my own second life, premium membership and blogging”