One of the most striking communities in Second Life is up for sale.
The steampunk community of New Babbage is numbered among the vintage and steampunk sims that we cover in The Primgraph – and indeed, some of The Primgraph’s writers make their home there.
Numbering six sims altogether, New Babbage escaped the Open Space debacle, preserving its tightly knit, prim rich entirety, under the very capable stewardship of its Mayor, Shaunathan Sprocket. It’s a fascinating community – probably the most determinedly steampunk on the grid – with amazing industrial builds, with ingenious steam and clockwork machinery. There is a distinct urban feel too, in a good Victorian sense (which means that there are municipal parks attached).
But now, after two years in charge, Mr Spocket has decided to step down – and move on to other projects. Not a unique event on the grid, you might feel – although one that frequently occasions much upheaval and often unhappiness, as the new owner injects policies that alienate new residents – and often inadvertently destroys the thing that made a themed community special. I lost my first home in such a transfer, when the new owner decided that my fantasy castle was no longer the regulation medieval style of castle that he wanted to see. In the long run, I needed to give up that parcel, but long-time readers will doubtless recall the fun I had with decorating my first home – and the Banana Palm Saga! – so I did regret leaving.
Mr Sprocket is well aware of the problems that such a transfer can cause – and if he wasn’t, he would have been once he read the wails coming from the New Babbage Forums! But, rather unusually, he has decided to to let the residents have a say in who will be their new Mayor (i.e. owner).
What he has done is to put the community up for sale for a fixed price. This is a long-term investment – some people have calculated that, in its present form, it could take a year for a buyer to recoup that purchase price. But whoever can meet that price will be a candidate for Mayor.
And then … it’s up to the people of New Babbage to choose.
There are currently three candidates and they are … well, campaigning – at the moment by answering residents’ questions and holding meetings to give residents a chance to connect with them.
Each candidate has put forward a manifesto of intentions – and is now responding to more detailed questions on how they would support roleplay (stronger in New Babbage than in many of the vintage and steampunk sims, but not mandatory), their attitude to the existing covenant, their plans for tier …
There is, of course, nothing to stop the new owner buying the community and then blitzing it (although it would be a rather expensive way of acquiring real estate). However, the manner of the takeover has drawn candidates who already have reputations within the community, and it is fascinating to see how they are beginning to develop their differing agendas.
The election will be held in early February.