After hearing about Second Life multiple times in the news and academics, I decided to check it out to see if I could have some sort of meaningful virtual experience of my own. As I entered the virtual world into the new user area, I found the players' abilities to be pretty open. I could interact with almost everything in the environment, and there were tutorials on how to do things. The tutorial showed me plenty of things that I could do, many features similar to Lucasfilm's Habitat; you can change player appearance and gender, you can read signs and even are able to create new areas. The starting area shows you how to jump to new areas of the world as well. There are rarely actual physical links between different areas of the world in Second Life, however, but like Habitat, there are items that can teleport you from one to another, or players can also bookmark a favorite location to simply teleport back to it later.
The world is also filled with tons of virtual stores where the player can buy clothing and different models for your avatar to use. Linden Lab allows players to transfer real money to in-game currency in order to purchase things for the player or their land. Unlike some place like LambdaMOO, the real-world ramifications of real money and the scope and size of the world mean that it is basically governed by Linden themselves. Compared to something like a text based community, Second Life has much more legal issues to deal with due to the monetary link to the real world. Many shops in real life also have instances in the digital world, and many locations have been recreated, which is unlike many other virtual worlds that are centered more in fantasy or alternate worlds.
With all the features in Second Life, there seemed to be one thing that the game was missing; in twenty minutes, I only encountered one person who was online and at their computer. Searching through the featured locations didn't help very much. The first place I went to, a user-created roleplaying world, seemed sort of interesting. I saw a few people(all with pretty mature names and costumes), but within a minute of walking in a building I had been teleported out of the world to some other town because my account was too new. I teleported to and looked at other featured locations, but I didn't see anybody who was actively participating with the others or the world. In places like LambdaMOO, the most memorable things to users have been based on interactions with other people within the community, and unfortunately something like that did not come close to happening in my experience with Second Life. There was plenty of user-created content, but although I was not in the world for longer than a few hours, the player interaction was so incredibly low that in order to find some sort of meaningful experience, it would take large amounts of effort on the part of the user to even start meeting others. Maybe I was just unlucky or impatient, but despite its features, Second Life seemed to lack the thing that makes virtual worlds.