Alts… Gotta love my alts…

Alts.

There’s always some kind of alt drama in Second Life. I’ve always been a little confused and baffled by it. I came to SL because MMOs weren’t doing it for me. I came to MMOs because MUDs weren’t doing it for me. I’d found MUDs because I’d been invited to one of those table top role-play things and found it… alienating (we could have a blog post here about the inherent race and gender problems in RPGs, but you can find that plastered all over minority gamer blogs elsewhere by people who didn’t just give up like I did). I’d been invited to that because, akin to many fellow “race-minorities”, I enjoy writing fiction.

So…
Alts are normal in MMOs
What all that means is that its natural for me to relate to different aspects of myself by creating lots of ‘characters.’

But that makes me something of an oddity in Second Life. If you’ve come to my blog from reading my Getting Started guide – then one more piece of advice I have for you is that in SL your avatar is your account… and each avatar is her own account… and much of the community has issues with people who have multiple accounts.

No matter how many times I see the drama wars over it on various forums and blogs, I am just not capable of understanding how anyone could have a problem with an alt. Its just like trying to explain equality to a Republican – they can’t grasp it, and I can’t grasp this. ๐Ÿ˜€

My mind isn’t wired that way.

Now… some people make alts to explore different characters. Some people make alts to role-play in different role-play operations in SL. Some people make alts just to hold their land or business groups together without going nuts. Some people make alts just to go through the account creation screen again. Some people make alts just to get a name they like.

Some people make alts because its Tuesday and that’s what they do on a Tuesday (its actually Sunday while I type this – so I didn’t make any alts today just so you know).

Some people make alts to explore different aspects of their ‘inner self’ while keeping these compartmentalized.

I’ve done all of the above. Except for the Tuesday thing, I think.

Some people make alts to stalk another user. Some people make alts to hide from another user. I have to admit that I’ve done neither of this yet. If I want to stalk someone I usually IM them asking them where they are (I’d make a bad psycho-stalker that way…). If I want to hide from somebody I just don’t tell them where I am.
– This coming from someone who had a rough upbringing and so knows what ‘drama’ can lead to in RL… I’m the person here who -should- be paranoid, I’ve been hospitalized from a violent attack before (only once because I chose not to go the other times), and yes I have used a knife on someone, once. And I know what its like to wake up to the sound of gunfire.

But I’m just not paranoid… so none of my alts come from this kind of drama (and actually sometimes experiencing RL drama can chill your paranoia by instead teaching you to judge a situation – this is why veterans become so much more effective if they survive even one conflict).

Ok…

So back to alts. I’ve got lots of them. If not for deleting old accounts I’d probably be in some kind of trouble with the lindens.

I also tend to be pretty open about having alts, and about who they are. In fact I’m thinking I might as well out a few of them and show why I made them.

First:

Pussycat Catnap.
Pussycat Catnap Dancing at Irie Vibes
Yep, by some people’s definition even this is an alt. Pussycat was made in 2009 about a month after I got ‘back’ to Second Life. One of the things that caused me to leave in 2006 was not liking the name I’d picked. At the time I’d read that you only ever got to have that one account, could never change the name, and if you even asked the lindens would send somebody by to kill your dog. So when I made a bad choice, I just figured that was it, and I left.

I know that must sound amazingly absurd… but I was a noob back then, and I read that -somewhere- (probably a blog because I’ve never found it again, not even on outdated linden pages, and I probably misread it too – but it stuck in my mind anyway)… so when I had to choose between ‘name I don’t like to stick with some weird MMO I don’t get’ and ‘shrug and move on because its probably just as bad as those MMOs’ – I chose the second.

Came back in 2009 when bored one day and forced myself to use that bad name again. Then I read the ToS and saw something about alt accounts… So I spent a week thinking hard to make one I’d like… and made a second one I didn’t like instead… but then I found a neko kit, and inspiration hit me. Those other two accounts are now gone. Well the 2006 one exists because I thought I might need that old date for something, but I’m not sure if I have the info on how to use it anymore. Oh… and in making Pussycat I made a long list of names, and went looking through the list of surnames for every catty choice I could and mulling over the combinations. Some of my possible choices were pretty bad… Lets just say I wrote down a few that didn’t have the ‘cat’ part in the first name… because like every newbie, at the time I was stuck in the pron clubs (the guide I’d read on starting said to go camp there for stuff… considering the horrid stuff I got, I ought-a go smack that guide’s writer upside the head)… thank goodness I rejected those almost as soon as I’d written them down. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pussycat is not the go-to account for me. She’s an exploration of the core of my inner self. As a child on a trip I once looked into a campfire and saw a lion staring back at me. As an adult I suspect I’d had a close encounter with one of California’s many mountain lions. As an inner-city child though, wondering about my half-native ancestry and having no points of reference but pop culture, I thought it was my totem animal… Resulting in me having a very close affinity to cats which holds even now as I’ve grown up and met many native people and learned more of what that means. So Pussycat is my ‘me’ alt. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bunny Gearz.
Bunny Gearz
Not long after making Pussycat I decided I wanted to explore steam-punk, and I was sitting in the shop ‘Hybrid’ (that has since gone away and been replaced by other businesses using that same name now). Hybrid sold neko kits, but also kits for other human-animal blends. One was a bunny-girl: Usagi. Double inspiration hit me and Bunny Gearz was born. Though I was still a cheap-newbie at the time and not willing to spend 300L on the Usagi kit… so I spent a month on freebie bunny ears and tail I’d cut off a ‘playboy bunny’ style outfit – it looked horrid… ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally got the usagi kit and was happy. Until I got into furries. Then I spent about 4 months seeking an indigo-black bunny – the shiny black look, inspired by the Black Rabbit in Watership Down. I failed in that search but eventually just got a ‘gray black’ – the black that everyone in SL uses to avoid the loss of good highlights that true black gives (unlike in print and web where we use blue-black blends to make a shiny black look).

Older image of Bunny Gearz
Oh did I forget something here? The steam-punk… yeah… I kinda lost track of that early on with Bunny. As soon as she got her basic usagi look down, she ended up with dreadlocks on… and she just hit me as reminding me of my ‘hardened self’ – that survivor part of me somewhat mentioned above about my upbringing. Bunny is where I end up when exploring my roots and how I didn’t let that reality drag me down. She’s an optimist from a place where she shouldn’t be one.

Reggae.
Reggae in front of her Jet bike and Bunny's Steam bike.
Outing a new one here. None of my friends know of reggae. But not for any bad reason. Reggae was made almost purely to capture a name when the single-name accounts came out. She had no other purpose for quite a long time. I bought her a raven furry, and a Twi-lek (Star Wars alien) avatar – and maybe 3 outfits plus AO, mostly because it felt weird to have a ‘blank’ account.

But I think anyone reading anything from me by this point might know that I have an affinity for Reggae, and in fact my theological views are close enough to call me a Rastafarian-sympathizer. So an account like ‘Reggae’ is the sort of thing, when in the hands of a person like me, that will just keep calling out until it gets attention.

Reggae forced my hand. ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s the little account that would not go away. After deleting a couple of other one-name accounts that I made and quickly regretted (and even more now I know that those names are still gone, new users can’t get them even though they were deleted…)… I couldn’t delete Reggae.

And that’s just a recipe for trouble for me. Because if the account’s there, I’ve got to explore it.

When I saw a skin shop with some really nice African female skins ([LS] – Lyrical Store), but had no human account… yep… I dug up my login info for Reggae and took her there.

And of course, skin ‘in hand’ now she needed good hair, and good clothes, and a vehicle, and… oops, she ended up with a better vehicle than my other avatars, so now she’s the one I drive around random exploration points in SL with…

And of course with a name like Reggae, she needed a dance HUD, which of course means needing dances…

A -LOT- of people have already seen Reggae. Her image is first on my Proportion Guide blog entry. Because well… I wanted to do my first test of good proportions on a full-human avatar to ‘make sure’.
Reggae in a science fiction leotard
Actually finding Reggae kind of fun to be on… What does she ‘explore’ about me, I’m not sure. But its something.

So that’s some alts for you.

None of them made for drama, none of them made to hide. And now everybody knows them so I can’t hide with them anymore even I wanted to.

Its all just about exploring different aspects of a virtual world with varying virtual selves. Imagination, use it, don’t lose it.
Pussycat Catnap on Shermerville Bridge

Why’d I post this? Well, I just kinda felt like it was time to throw my alts out there so I could more easily be social on them. Frankly I think there are a lot more people like me on this than many suspect – people who have alts just to enjoy them, and not for any silly drama. Sometimes its more of a pain to have them not interconnected by default.

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