Compiled by Avarie Parker
2009 brings a new feature to the SLENTRE.COM traffic report – ‘Worst of the Best’! Every month we will feature the sim positioned at the BOTTOM of our list of the top 500 locations in Second Life. Along with the 10 most popular destinations, we will spotlight what hopes to be a new and undiscovered location for our readers. This month’s wildcard site is a role-play sim called DarkLife and owned by Mark Busch. One of the sim administrators, Pirate Cotton, revealed a bit about the long history of this sim in a brief interview – just scroll down to read all the details.
We are lucky enough to have another newcomer to the Traffic Report this month. Wilder Islands has hit the top 10 and they are giving Laguna Beach a run for their money! Like Laguna, Wilder Islands is a nude beach that isn’t shy about promoting ‘free sex’ and enforcing a ‘no clothing’ policy. They have made their chart debut at #3. Perhaps all this chilly winter weather has avatars longing for warm sandy beaches and the arms of nude beach-goers.
Big losers this week include House of V and The Red Light District – both sexually explicit sims have fallen off the chart. Moving up in the ranks are the popular dance clubs SLeek, an increasingly popular dance club that caters to an international clientele, Badlands and Sanctuary Rock.
Per usual, you won’t find camping chairs, free lindens, automated avatars, or “bots” listed in any of the SLENTRE.COM’s top 10 sites. The weekly population data was compiled by a 3rd party source and then reviewed to exclude any sites that engage in tactics designed to boost traffic rankings. What remains is an accurate listing of where real Second Life residents are dancing, chatting, spending Lindens, and enjoying their second lives.
|Frank’s Place, Owner – Gymmy Sinatra|
|The 6th Element , Owner – Dakota Neumann|
|Wilder Islands, Owner – Gunter Vandyke|
|Laguna Bay, Owner -Martin Mounier|
|Purgatorio, Owner – Kora Zenovka|
|Badlands, Owner – Jesse Murdock|
|SLeek, Owner – Hummer Corleone|
|Midnight Reflections, Owner – Missbehavin Neva|
|Remembrance, Owner – Luxa Budan|
|Sanctuary Rock, Owner – Daisy Beauchamp|
|DarkLife, Owner – Mark Busch|
|Stayed the same||Moved up||Moved down||New entry|
1) Franks Place, Owner – Gymmy Sinatra
Frank’s Place is a 30’s/40’s style jazz club paying homage to Frank Sinatra. According to Ray Trafalgar, one of the managers, the place is packed nightly with 80+ residents. The sim also houses a mall where one can find the formal wear required to gain entrance into the club.
(Formal attire is requested at the Second Life Jazz Club, Frank’s Place)
“We try hard to keep the formal attire enforced and have a security of some 25 to keep it that way,” says Trafalgar. “If you enjoy the music of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and the Rat Pack, then this is your place.”
2) The 6th Element , Owner – Dakota Neumann
The 6th Element, owned by Dakota Neumann, is a large dance club where one can find music, modern design, parties, and live DJ’s.
(5th Element Club in Second Life offers dancing and intimate areas to chat.) The newly designed club, created by Dakota Neumann himself, evokes a sense of modern sophistication. The only complaint: lag. It is often so busy with Second Life scenesters that just getting to the dance floor can be problematic. SLENTRE.COM recently profiled The 6th Element, outlining the new design elements and getting up close and personal with the owner.
(The 6th Element’s new dance floor sprawls beneath the open sky peaking through the modern rooftop)
Mr. Neumann was nice enough to sit down with SLENTRE.COM to discuss the club’s continuing success:
Avarie Parker: Your club grows more popular month after month and when I first did an article on it, it was a topless club. Were you the owner then and if so, why did you change the format??
Dakota Neumann: I have always been the owner, yes. This club is the 6th in a row – first one was built in spring 2006. It was originally a dance-topless club. I did change it for strategic reasons and it’s been a great decision. GOL is a large company; 18 sims, residential islands and design sales. I wanted to cut any connection with sex.
AP: Do you own all 18 sims?
AP: So as you cut back on the sexual element, the success of the club increased?
DN: I have to say the club has always been successful, but now it’s consistently popular. It’s a pure dance club now with nothing – no shops or anything else – to increase traffic. We don’t have events and we don’t give out money.
AP: I love the design. Who designed and built it?
DN: I do the design and build all the projects on my sims. All of GOL was born because of my passion for the design and architecture. I build a new club every 6 months, changing styles along the way. That way we are always offering something new. So we can evolve.
AP: So why do people keep returning to the club?
DN: It’s a mixture – djs, great manager, cool environment. Many managers and staff have been with the club since the very beginning in 2006. It’s like a family.
3) Wilder Islands, Owner – Gunter Vandyke
Self described as ‘one of the best nude beaches in Second Life’, Wilder Islands is sure to deliver. The wildly popular sim offers ‘free sex of all kinds’, dancing, windsurfing and MANY ‘areas for intimate moments’. Wilder Islands has rocketed up the charts making it’s debut as the #3 most popular sim in Second Life. The sim consists of a lovely landscaped beach, palm trees and sexy pose balls.
(Sign posted to all Wilder Island’s visitors requests no clothes or swimwear only.)
There are signs posted on the beach imploring visitors to wear swim suits or nothing at all as street clothes are not permitted. Just the thing if you are looking for a quickie on the sand with a stranger. And apparently Second Life is still filled with many residents who are fixated on sex. No surprise as the platform offers complete anonymity along with free voice chat and incredible graphics and animation.
(Mactabilis Gravois discusses why Second Life residents visit the islands.)
But despite the obvious sexual lure, SL resident Mactabilis Gravois claims that visitors to the islands are more interested in making friends than hooking up: “Most people come here to find friends”.
4) Laguna Bay Nude Beach, Owner – Martin Mounier
Laguna Bay Nude Beach is an adult sim that is heavily populated with unclothed and clothed avatars alike.
There are many ocean side areas to chat, cuddle, sun bath, etc.
5) Purgatorio, Owner – Kora Kenovka
Purgatorio is home to the very popular Kingdom of Sand action role-play game. As with most Second Life role play adventures, Kingdom of Sand has an extensive set of rules and a complex storyline. You can read more about both on their website.
(Map of Ireem, home to Kingdom of Sand’s fictional storyline on Purgatorio in Second Life)
The game is based around the Arabian fantasy city of Ireem, lending an exotic and breathtaking backdrop for the virtual role play. One of the participants, Keil Ansar, was nice enough to take a few minutes to chat with me out of character.(Kingdoms of Sand Action Role Player, keil Ansar )
Avarie Parker: So how long have you been a member of this role play?
Keil Ansar: I have been enjoying this game for about 5 months now. I am a gardener and a citizen and so I don’t participate in battles.
AP: What’s the goal of the game?
KA: The goal is to have fun! Men and women joke around all day like kids and become very good friends. I very much enjoy the community and the sim itself is SO beautiful. I love to just wander around looking at the beautiful scenery.
6) Badlands, Owner – Jesse Murdock
Badlands hosts Bad Girls club, one of SL’s most popular nightclubs.Floating above the packed dance floor is an intimate private area to chat and escape the crowd.
7 ) SLeek, Owner – Hummer Corleone
SLeek is the newest club to hit the SLENTRE.COM Traffic Report. The vibe is fresh and international and there seemed to be many chats going on in languages other than English.
(DJ Janine Cummings spins funky house electronica at SLeek, Second Life dance club)
Club manager and SLeek DJ, Janine Cummings, was happy to answer a few questions about the club and why it’s so popular among residents:
Avarie Parker: Why do residents come to the club?
Janine Cummings: Residents come here to dance, talk and meet other people from over the world. A lot of people simply hangout at the beach area, which is packed with people windsurfing, parasailing, kite boarding, swimming and a wide range of activities to discover.
AP: What is the music like?
JC: We’re focused on House music and have a wide range of DJs playing here from all over the world.
AP: How long have you been DJing at SLeek?
JC: I DJ very rarely, because I am too busy with other projects in SL. I do the DJ bookings for the Club. I work in the music business in RL, so it’s interesting for me to spot new talent in SL.
AP: How long has the club been around?
JC: SLeek has existed for two years now. The actual location (Region) has been around since February 2007.
AP: Do you make good money?
JC: I guess the fact that that the club has continued running for two years speaks for itself.
AP: Why did the owner open the club?
JC: SLeek is not only a dance Club. Hummer Corleone (Owner) runs his Furniture and Gym Equipment business on the Sim and some selected shops featuring the best designers in SL (including Sartoria Traveller Bade [Men’s Clothing], Wrong [Women’s Clothing], Kalnins [Eyewear], SOREAL, Akeyo, Hyperion Studio [Shapes], Concrete [Urban Wear] and RE.ACT).
AP:What are the best nights to come out?
JC: We run events with changing life-DJ’s every Day in European peak time (12-04 PM SLT).
8 ) Midnight Reflection, Owner – Missbehavin Neva
Midnight Reflection is a sim that boasts “love and romance”. It is decorated with lush foliage and beautiful waterfalls. The center of activity is the large dance floor nestled among the high clifftops. A pathway runs along the upper ledge of the rocks making for beautiful views and a nice romantic getaway from the action on the dance floor. The owner, Missbehavin, is very friendly, accessible and willing to answer questions.(Monet Bury sports her new frock on the dance floor at the Midnight Reflection sim)
One resident, Money Bury, makes Midnight Reflections a major part of her regular stomping grounds.”I love it here! They have many dances and events. Most everyone is rather friendly and there is always someone here. Evenings they have events, contests, a live DJ, and theme nights.”
9) Remembrance, Owner – Luxa Budan
Remembrance, or NOR sim, is one of 12 islands housing a dark roleplay and combat sim. According to Savina Decosta, who has been playing for over a year, the primary goal is to defeat other players and gain power.( Savina Decosta, group leader) She is a Lycan and “fights with her claws.”
(The city and combat area on the Nor sim)
When asked if there are there public battles, Savina replied; “Yes, HUGE public battles”.
10) Sanctuary Rock, Owner – Daisy Beauchamp
Sanctuary Rock is a hardcore dance club with a very friendly vibe. Every time I stopped by, the dancers greeted me with very warm welcomes – so no pretentious attitudes here. The music varies but leans toward rock. I was able to ask Sanctuary Rock host, Kit Henhouse, a few questions:
Is this place full almost every night?
Yeah, it gets uber busy!
How often do you host here?
Currently, I’m hosting 3 times a week. When I’m not hosting, I sometimes take the role of dancer.
What keeps residents coming back??
Well, besides the good music, the atmosphere here is just fun and exciting.
The staff here are very welcoming and a lot of people have made such good friends! Ha Ha! I met most of my very good friends here.
500) DarkLife, Owner – Mark Busch
The latest addition to the Traffic Report is taking a look at the ‘worst of the best’ or #500 of the top 500 most popular sims in Second Life. This month, DarkLife, Second Life’s oldest role play sim, came in at #500. DarkLife claims to be ‘Second Life’s first and oldest MMORPG’ and as game creator Pirate Cotton has been around since 2003, I don’t doubt it!
(A super-sized mosquito, one of the monsters awaiting battle on DarkLife.)
The rules are simple and straightforward, except the no flying rule which was put into effect to cut down on lag. The only players allowed to fly are the DarkLife staffers. Pirate Cotton took the time to answer SLENTRE.COM’s questions about DarkLife:
Avarie Parker: How long has DarkLife been around?
Pirate Cotton: Since late 2003.
AP: What was the original goal of DarkLife and how many active players are currently involved?
PC: Oh, I’m not sure how many current players there are! We probably have a hundred or two active at any one time. The goal was to make some content that was fun and ‘playable’. It was something Mark Busch and I wanted to do after hanging around bored one day.
AP: Who built the items, buildings, etc. on the sim? Has it been updated over the years?
PC: Mark Busch has done all the code. Over the years I made the original monsters and items and Aurican Sunchaser constructed the very first DarkLife castle (from a kitset he made!). Since then most of the work has been done by Crash Prefect and various contractors and friends. The current look is almost entirely due to Crash.
All in all we’ve had about 3 major redos. And I can let you all know we have plans for another revamp (OK, Crash does!). Got to keep things fresh!
AP: I noticed some vendors on the sim and some were in disrepair. Do you make any money on the sim via advertising or leasing space to vendors?
PC: All vendors are part of the game and there’s space for us to add a few more for special items or quest NPCs. We make money through selling the game backpack, which contains the code to play the game, and through selling a few value-add items. It pays for things nicely.
AP: Why would a SL resident want to play DarkLife?
PC: Because it’s a solid MMORPG-like experience in Second Life. It’s simple to learn, fun to play, you can team up with friends, cast magic, bash monsters, even PVP. What’s not to like?!
AP: Final word to SL residents?
PC: Come check out Navora sim and enjoy yourselves!
*This report was compiled using the powerful mapping tools provided by Mappa Novus,http://www.mappanovus.com/. Their in-house data collection technology regularly collects population data for each region of the Second Life metaverse. The data is stored over time so various statistical analyses can be made. Any sim that offers camping, free-lindens, or bots is disqualified.