Monday, January 8, 2018

Premium Benefits Creep

Happy New Year, gentle readers!  Today's post is on an upbeat note.  Usually, when one talks about "creep" in a program, it's bad.  For example, "requirements creep"...the continuing changing and adding of new performance requirements to a design project...can lead to enormous cost growth.  "Schedule creep" is another bad thing in projects; it's the tendency of things to always take longer than planned.

But today I want to talk about the almost-unnoticed "benefits creep" that's been taking place in the Second Life Premium membership program.  Bit by bit, Linden Lab has been adding new benefits for Premium members.  I'll review them in a moment, but first let's talk about cost.

A Premium membership can be paid for on a monthly basis, or you can save money by paying quarterly or annually.  The costs are:

  • Monthly:  $11.99 per month
  • Quarterly: $32.97 per quarter.  LL often puts this plan on sale for half price for the first quarter.
  • Annually: $99.00 per year. (But, on sale for $89.00 until January 2, can get this discount even if you are currently a Premium member, by paying for another year before the deadline.)
You save money on the quarterly plan, and even more on the annual plan.  However, if you think you will want to cancel your Premium membership any time soon, stick to the monthly plan; Linden Lab will not issue you a refund for any unused time.

Also, keep track of your payment due dates.  LL will bill your payment method automatically to renew your membership, unless you step in and cancel your membership before the due date.

And make sure your payment method is still good.  If your credit card expires and LL can't charge it, you could find yourself in a delinquent status.  If that goes on too long, your account may be canceled.

Now, on to the benefits!
  • $L300 weekly stipend, paid every Tuesday.
  • $L1,000 one-time bonus, paid after you've been a Premium member for 45 consecutive days.
  • A free Linden Home.  These are located in Mainland "subdivisions".  Maturity rating is M.  Homes are on 512 m2 parcels, and have a land impact capacity ("prim count" for you old-timers) of 175.  (The prims of the house don't count against the parcel's capacity, a nice little bonus.)  Some newer Linden Homes are on 1024 m2 parcels and have an LI capacity of 351.
  • Or if you don't care for a Linden Home, you get free tier on the first 1024 m2 of Mainland you purchase.
  • Access to a higher level of technical support.  If you have inventory issues that you can't fix yourself with the usual procedures, this can be very useful.
  • Access to Live Chat for faster response to support requests.
  • Premium gift items.  LL issues these on an irregular schedule. 
  • Access to Premium-only sandboxes.  This cuts way down on the chances of griefers bothering you when you are building.
  • Access to certain Premium-only regions, such as the Premium Wilderness adventure, Magellan's Grid Hunt, and Racer's Gulch.
  • Free voice morphing.  (Basic members pay a subscription fee for this service)
  • Increased number of groups.  You can belong to as many as 70 groups, vs. 42 for Basic members.
  • Better access to crowded events.  Basic members are told that "the region is full" if it has 100 people there...but Premium members can get in until the region reaches 110 avatars.
  • Better $L Transaction History.  Basic members can see transactions for the last 30 days.  Premium members can see up to 90 days of their transactions.
  • Higher "cap" on offline messages.  Basic members' IMs are capped at 25.  Premium members get 50 IMs and notices before they're capped.
  • Coming soon (early 2020):  You can change your user name.  (This will require an additional fee of, we think, $39.99 USD).
In my view, the annual Premium subscription is a stone bargain.  You get all the above for $99.00 per year...that's just $8.25 per month.

(Edited Dec 20, 2019 to reflect the latest costs and benefits)

No comments:

Post a Comment