There: Well there’s an email from the past!
Umpteen billion years ago I was a beta tester in There, an online 3-D uni/metaverse, which lead to me being a paid newbie helper for quite some time. Actually, according to Wiki the beta ran from July 2001 to October 2003. Won’t argue that as it’s been so long, I don’t remember the dates. I do, however, remember the fun I had while there. When Kate Paiz came in to LotRO I immediately started thinking about my time in There and I think, but could be SO wrong, that she may have been one of the devs I dealt with a lot either with the beta or the newbie helpers. Dunno, but I can’t think Kate without thinking There for some reason. My oldest was also in There and we’ve had great memory shares about our experiences over the last few years.
One of my favorite things to do was round up a group of “newbies” and take them on a tour of the islands in my hoverboat. I was paid to help in Therebucks (the currency in There) and instead of trying to convert them to real world currencies (was an option) I bought extra vehicles and fun gear to loan to my newbies. Oh, and paint ball! If I remember correctly I had Tommy gun paintball guns and had a pretty mean aim back in the day. I hosted a few events, mostly dune buggy races and satisfied my itch to ‘write’ by designing quests in game or just dropping a poem in a book somewhere on the islands for anyone to pick up and read. There was a pretty hopping place and it wasn’t far-fetched to come across a sea of name-tags that stretched as far as the eye could see at the more popular areas.
Another thing I dearly LOVED about There was the ability to level up your skills.
I’m all about pixellated pips of glory and in There, if you opt for your profile to be visible, everyone can see them! Thing is, my skills got stuck. They simply stopped advancing no matter how much time I put into this or that activity and I found that to be very frustrating. The problem with stuck skills wasn’t just affecting me, though, and the devs said they were aware and working on it. Problem solved, right? WRONG. They pushed a fix and then told us the stuck skills were no longer stuck.
My skills never “unstuck”. I even had friends who were screenshotting my profile to compare with future profiles to see if I was really having a problem since the devs said I wasn’t. But, I was. This went on for a few months … lots and lots of activity (ok, TONS, I may have been a little addicted back then) yet no new pips. If the devs hadn’t been so quick to dismiss me and the (few?) others still complaining, I probably wouldn’t have left when I did. It’s maddening to be told you can’t be having a problem that you are in fact having because they fixed it already. I missed There but I felt I’d made the right decision in leaving.
There eventually shut down a few years ago. Yesterday I received an email inviting me back to There. Was super out-of-the-blue for me as I hadn’t realized they reopened a year or so back. Since I was a lifetime member they said I could come back and not have to pay the (monthly?) fees and I’d get all my inventories back. I waited a whole day before downloading the client and recreating my avatar. I’ve been in a bit today, traipsing all over old memories with a big goofy grin on my face. I haven’t found the island of Tyr yet (my bookmarks were restored but the one I had set for Tyr takes me out in the middle of nowhere and the map can’t locate me) but I’ve been up Nene’s Peak, ran the hover race in the crater and done a lot of general porting around to see what’s what.
I’ve only laid eyes on maybe two other avatars though. Very lonely place not seeing a bunch of brightly colored name-tags!
Many moons ago I wrote a poem, inspired by There, about a gnome. People who read this poem asked me to continue writing it, to turn it into a full-fledged story. I had my hands on this poem a few months ago and trashed it thinking I’d never see There again. Now I wish I could pull it out, go back round the bottom tip on Caldera Island and sit down in the spot I sat years ago as I wrote this poem … and read it again. Oh wells. I don’t know how long I’ll visit There but, for now, the nostalgia is working overtime in the feels department and I’m having a good time revisiting old memories.