Coming back into Second Life, I found many noticeable changes to the virtual world, but one struck me as particularly perplexing: that even after so many years, merchants have yet to settle on a single, unified method of delivering purchases to their customers. Back in the day, a resident could expect a virtual item purchased in-world to be delivered to their inventory in a folder, with its contents neatly organized and ready to be worn or otherwise utilized. But with the rise of the Marketplace and ongoing issues with SL’s asset delivery servers, it seems that receiving your purchases in boxed “object” format is now the status quo.
This is excellent in theory; surely it helps to cut down on incomplete item deliveries and gives members the option of storing the unopened box as a back-up in case they lose or mistakenly delete the item later on, or any other issue goes awry. But it also means that these boxes have to be opened, and that’s where the confusion kicks in. Not only do most new members have no guidance when it comes to utilizing boxed items, but merchants may use a variety of methods when it comes to the rezzing or unboxing of their virtual goods:
- Some items can be attached (essentially “worn”) on your avatar, whereupon you’ll sometimes may a prompt asking if a script can animate you. Whether you allow the animation or not, the item may unbox itself and go into your inventory directly, or you may have to touch it to activate the item delivery.
- Other boxed items may not open if attached; these need to be dragged from your inventory and “rezzed” (placed on the ground) in order to be opened. Once again, some of these items are scripted to deliver their contents immediately after being rezzed. Others need to be touched with a single left mouse click to activate.
- There’s yet another variation of boxes that don’t have any kind of auto-open functionality. For these parcels, you need to rez them on the ground, right-click on them, choose Open in the resulting menu, and click Copy to Inventory.
- Finally, a new trend seems to be the delivery HUD. This means that instead of receiving the goods directly after purchase, the customer receives a HUD to “wear”. Once attached, it appears on your screen, you click on it to request delivery, and then the item arrives (generally unpacked into a folder) inside your inventory. Whew!
I’m genuinely amazed that new users don’t wind up overwhelmed with confusion when it comes to receiving and opening their purchases, freebies, group gifts, etc. Because to top off the fact that the customer rarely knows which method of unboxing is going to be required, if they discover that their purchase must be rezzed to be opened, they now have to find a place which will allow them to do so. Holy frustrations, Batman!
Thankfully, there’s a fairly good article on the official Second Life wiki which offers some guidance on unboxing and even provides a couple of video tutorials, but per usual they’re several years out of date by now. So I wasn’t at all surprised when I happened to see this question pop up in the Answers section of the Second Life Community portal:
This particular member’s interest was in building, but sandboxes are very commonly used for rezzing purchases, particularly by new members. Senior Helper Rolig Loon offered these helpful suggestions:
The best places to build, in order of decreasing desirability, are
1. Your own land
2. A friend’s land
3. A group’s land (assuming that you are a member and have building permision)
4. A Premium sandbox (these are all griefer-free and usually very quiet, but you have to be a Premium member)
5. Sandboxes at managed building areas, like Caledon Oxbridge University or NCI or Builder’s Brewery
6. The beta (Aditi grid)
7. An unpopular sandbox (look way down at the bottom of the list on Search for “sandbox” and avoid any place that says “weapons”)
Option #5 was intriguing to me; I was surprised (though in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been) to learn that some of the leading newbie-friendly areas in Second Life offered temporary rezzing to visitors. These areas would most certainly would be more desirable options than any old (potentially griefer-addled) sandbox. And following my freebie & group gift extravaganza the other day, I had nearly 200 parcels in my inventory that craved immediate opening. So off I went to investigate!
Stay tuned for Part II (Electric Boogaloo?): The Newbie Guide to Sandboxes in Second Life.