Originally published June 20, 2003, here.
So, one weekend away from the gates opening wide to a paying public, here's what some of the Beta residents are saying, about the new wave of immigrants that are about to hit the Ellis Island of their very comfortable world:
Charlie Omega: That everyone is big enough to let the bullies, clowns have their fun and let 'em move on in boredom.
Ope Rand: That the current map will become a small speck on the future map.
Si Money: I hope people realize that we're in this game to be free, and to let people build what they please, and be what they please. I think our ultimate goal should be to overcome the things which people can't seem to in 1st life. Possible? Yes, but I have a feeling human nature will prevail in the fear category before the hope.
Second Life will become a staple for creative minds to come and utilize their skills and show the world what they can do with a few simple cubes and cylinders. The map will be infinitely larger, with groups of all kinds (yes, even a place for the normal people... in a corner somewhere, frightened and alone).
That the world will plummet into Chaos and despair. As we saw with the increase in attacks on other users and other such negative activities when we had a population boom before.
That more people will come into the game who are not tolerant of others, and will do everything they can to make sure that they get their way with everything... Unfortunately, this is how the world in first life is, and the more people that come in, the more of this will come with them.
Liaison availability and issues with technical support and customer communication will make the Lindens feel more like gods then regular SL people, and that they will no longer function as friendly as they are now.
My fear? That I'll be forced to find a way to make a living in SL. I don't wanna. Like many here, I'm sure, my real life is very complex and I have a lot of people dependent on me. Here, I'm a happy wanderer. I'm slowly learning to make things, but this is one place I *don't* want to feel a pressure to produce. I hope Linden Lab keeps a place for people like me here.
That as the player base grows it will become more like a cross section of the rest of the world... 5% creative and cool people who are worth knowing, and 95% morons you wish would get the hell off your lawn.
My expectation is that the Linden folk will advertise as necessary in magazines, on G4, etc. to be sure that the word is out there, and that they will be there every step of the way to manage the growth and to ensure that the Second Life experience remains a good one.
I feel as if we're a big family, and I hope this will always be so.
People looking for another typical shoot 'em up, leveling and violence-oriented game may stay a while and cause some problems, but I think the majority of those will leave as they get bored.
When we go live, I actually don't think much will change…The world will continue to be the wonderful chaotic jumble of structures and objects that it is today; there will just be more people and more stuff. Occasionally there will be some semblance of order, but it will only be on a sim to sim basis, there will not be some over- arching theme that dominates everything in SL. There are too many people with too many ideas.
My hope and fear are the same: There will be more users signing up than the current infrastructure can support and the whole thing will grind to a halt.
Add to my hope that I hope there is a "game plan" in place to cope with this eventuality.
I must weigh-in as the older, non-gamer who just happened to drop by SL one day and then never left.
My prediction? When the doors open, there will be more like me arriving.