Soon we’re going to be introducing a new, even easier way to try There!
They’re called “Silent Trials”, and they’re designed to let people easily sign up and experience There, with a few limitations.
The good news is that it’s free, you don’t need a PayPal or Stripe account, and your trial can last forever, if you wish.
It’s called a “Silent Trial” because while you’re free to explore the world, ride buggies, play paintball, and to use text chat, or IMs to communicate with “Phoenix Stars” (formerly known as “Island Guides”), you won’t be allowed to communicate with anyone else without moving up to a subscription of some sort.
(The advantage of this is that if a minor accidentally signs up for There, the chances of them running across offensive or unsafe content will be minimized until they realize this is an 18+ World and they should go elsewhere. Of course, the same applies if they didn’t “accidentally” sign up, or if its’ their parent’s or There’s staff which has to discover they’re under 18).
With this in place, there are now three ways to enjoy There:
- Free “Silent” Trial: Enjoy all of There’s Features except for voice chat, text chat, and IM’s, forever. No PayPal or Stripe account required.
- $.50 “Basic” membership: Like a “Silent” trial, but unlock the ability to chat with other members via text, IMs, and World Chat. PayPal account required (Stripe will be supported at a later time). This is exactly like the current $.50 Trial.
- $10/month Subscription: Enjoy all of There’s Features without restriction including Voice Chat and all Commerce features. PayPal or Stripe account required.
Because they’re so inexpensive, there are a couple of limitations on Silent Trials and Basic Memberships, mainly to keep people from “gaming” the There Commerce and Skilling Systems. These membership levels can not:
- Exchange Therebucks (T$) with other members (prevents T$ “money laundering”).
- Use auctions to purchase things from other members (another kind of T$ laundering).
- Join the There Developer Program.
- “Level Up” in the There skill system.
I’m sure we’re going to get some of the same questions we always get with these kinds of things, so let’s try and answer them in advance:
- Q. Why don’t you make There free again like it was before?
- A. When There was free, even with sponsors, and advertising, There lost money, every day. At some times, There lost twice as much money as it made. “Free” is not an option for There. I know some of you are “tired of hearing this”, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
- Q. Why don’t you allow people under 18 in There?
- A. In today’s world, we don’t feel safe allowing people under 18 in There without having a full-time support staff to help protect them from unsafe activities and people. Since There is trying to spend less money, we can’t afford that, so we’ve made the world 18+.
- Q. But don’t teenagers spend most of the money in world?
- A. No. We have data from There’s prior years of operation which proves that teenagers don’t spend “most of the money” in There, or even close to 1/2 of it. Sorry.
- Q. Does having a PayPal or Stripe account really prove you’re over 18?
- A. Of course not, but it makes it just that much more difficult for a minor to use There in a way which is potentially dangerous to them or others. It also means that the minor would have to knowingly violate at least two companies Terms of Service (TOS) to sign up for There.
- Q. What if I think someone is a minor? What should I do?
- A. You should send us a copy of the chat log, or, even better, a screen capture or movie which proves it. It’s very hard for us to moderate someone when all we have to go on is “I think this person is a minor because they act really immature” (for example).
- Q. Does this mean the end of Free There Weekends? (FTWs)
- A. No, but FTW participants without a subscription will be “Silent Trial” members.
- Q. If you’re using a Silent Trial, do emotes work?
- A. Yes! If you’re using a Silent Trial and type ‘lol (for example) your avatar will “Laugh Out Loud”. Similarly, if another member types ‘LOL’, you will see them “Laugh Out Loud”.
- Q. Can I tell if someone is a Silent Trial member?
- A. Yes! There will be a special icon in their name tag which will alert you to their “Silent Trial” status. That way, you know they’re not ignoring you. They can still see emotes, so remember a ‘smile goes a long way!
- Q. Do Silent Trial and Basic members still get Welcome Walkway Awards?
- A. Yes!
Thanks for reading!
Edited to change “Island Guides” to “Phoenix Stars”.