- You can’t put on or take off clothes, or adjust your appearance. You can only switch to a completely different avatar.
- You can’t buy anything, accept items from anyone, or give something to someone
- You don’t have a Search function
- You don’t have a Map. You can only go to destinations in the Destination Guide.
- You can’t IM anyone who is not physically present with you
- You have no build or edit tools
- You can’t even see your inventory!
The very first thing most newcomers ask me is “how do I change my appearance?” And so the first thing I have to tell them is that they have to log out of SL to switch to Advanced mode. But, logging out is the LAST thing Linden Lab wants a new resident to do! Major fail here. (And by the way, we need a better term than “log out”. When I tell a newbie that, very often there is a long pause, and then the plaintive question, “How do I log out?” But “Quit Second Life” sounds so final!)
I can’t give Basic mode users a landmark to get them to where they need to go. Instead, I have to go there myself, and send them a teleport offer.
Many newcomers have the idea that the Advanced viewer mode costs money. Sometimes it’s hard to convince them that it’s OK, it’s free.
Basic Mode is Linden Lab’s latest attempt to use software to fix something that is really a social problem. People who come to a new world need personal help. You can design the world’s easiest interface, you can write all the tutorials and manuals you want, but there are times that the best, even the only solution, is a live helper, one-on-one.
It’s not just LL who’s guilty of this. The depersonalization of the whole helping/teaching field was made painfully clear to me by one newcomer’s question: “Are you helpers, or are you real?” We’ve come to the point where we expect assistance to be provided by a computer, not a live person.
That’s very sad.