Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eye on the Blog: Dune Buggy and Exclusive Racer's Gulch Zone For Premium Members

In the latest blog entry from last weekend, Linden Lab is going from "Fast, Easy, Fun" to "Fast Action Fun."

A new Premium gift is now available! Go Premium today and jump behind the wheel of your Premium-only interactive dune buggy for some fast action fun. Pop wheelies and take on obstacles as you dodge sand dunes and put the pedal to the metal with your buggy’s NOS boost system.

Start your engines and compete against friends in Racer’s Gulch, a Premium-only slick racing zone.

The dune buggy is available to Premium Residents only. To access the exclusive Racer’s Gulch, you must be a Premium member, so don’t delay! Additional Premium benefits include a private home, currency payouts, as well as expanded support. Put the pedal to the metal and take advantage this limited-time half-off promotion today.* Already Premium? Get it here.

Not being a Premium resident, I can neither get to Racer's Gulch, nor get the dune buggy to try them out. But there was a thread in the Second Life forums about the vehicle. A Hugsy Penguin tried it on his runway using a speed HUD, finding it's top speed was 68 kilometers per hour, or 42 miles an hour. As for it's performance, "There doesn't appear to be any gears. Handling is pretty bad." He didn't think it was designed for use outside Racer's Gulch, and even there takes practice, "It's difficult to maneuver if you get stuck. I've had to use edit mode. This is NOT a touring vehicle. It's useless for exploring the roads on the continents."

Most people didn't think much of the 58 prim mesh vehicle, one commenting wryly, "I wonder if this was intended as some kind of very bad joke: the gift is a buggy, and so is SL." Another remarked, "And we again see Linden Lab's inability to do the simplest marketing correctly." The SL Universe Forums also had a thread on the subject. Reaction there was a bit different. One resident reminded free players there should be freebies on Marketplace they could drive instead. Another reasoned that if the vehicle performed poorly, it could have been by design as to give the driver a taste for racing, and after interacting with serious racers with higher performance cars, would eventual buy Linden dollars to spend on one on his/her own.

One SLU poster identified herself as Bay City's Marianne McCann, whom cautioned against trashing a freebie gift, "The folks who made these are contractors to the Lab, developers whom may or may not be known by others … They work their butts off for not much money. They don't get advertising out of this. They are not employees of the Lab, or any of that. Just schmoes like the rest of us trying to do a job." She called the buggy "a nice little something," but by themselves these "goodies" were not a reason she pays for a premium account.

Bixyl Shuftan