The Day the Tourists DiedImportant Notice: On February 6th, 2002, ActiveWorlds allowed tourists back in, although only for AWGate and any other worlds like This Is It (I've sinced moved my world out of AW) that wanted to pay the extra money to enable tourists to enter. Welcome back, tourists! Anyway, the following is kind of null and void, but it lets the tourists know how much they were missed. Well, by me, anyway. :-) And yes, when I heard the good news, I couldn't help but howl!!
Because of ActiveWorlds' (the company) treatment of its users, not just the tourists, but also their customers (those who own not only citizenships but worlds, as well), many people think that ActiveWorlds must be destroyed, or have this odd urge to scream "delenda est ActiveWorlds", if you want to say it the old way... Sometimes I have to agree with them. It's hard not to when AW doesn't reply to e-mails, claim they're 'neutral' when it comes to slavery, and treat their customers as nothing more than something to squeeze more money out of. How can you reason with someone who only seems to have a cash register for a heart? Oh, well. I'll keep recommending other 3D chat programs to people on the Internet and in the real world. Will they figure out their mistake before they go bankrupt?
Exactly how much did I miss my tourist friends? Let me put it this way, the very same day I learned that I could pay AW to allow tourists to enter my world, ThisIsIt, I paid them to do it, putting my money where my heart is, so to speak. :-) It took AW almost two weeks to finally get around to doing it, but tourists were eventually able to enter my world, again. Thankfully, my world, This Is It, has moved to a better place, now.
This page is dedicated to the memory of the tourists who lived and played in ActiveWorlds.
Who were they? For the most part, they were just people trying out the program until they purchased a citizenship. Some of them were people who could not afford a citizenship, and others were children. The latter in particular we will miss the most and were the most confused and hurt when they were eliminated from ActiveWorlds with little or no warning.
They came to ActiveWorlds and after seeing what it looked like, their hearts filled with joy and happiness and their eyes went wide with wonder and awe. Quite a few of them needed to be told how to use the program and we gave them the information they needed, and they were happy to learn. After they got the basics down, they went exploring and with each click in the worlds list, they felt more and more like modern day explorers. Seemingly around each and every corner was a new and wondrous sight to behold. Amazing creations awaited them patiently until they were discovered. From houses built on a budget of kings to castles built in the very skies themselves. Hidden caves behind waterfalls filled with amazing treasures to parks with beautifully paved walks and towering trees from which sounds of nature's abundant life echoed and gardens brimming full of magical flowers that vibrantly bloomed setting the ground and hills ablaze with a multitude of colors. Seemingly after each marvel was found, they wanted to share it with everyone they knew and small groups of them would travel from world to world and from one build after another. They were enthusiastic and energetic. They smiled from their hearts and those of us who were fortunate to give them the help they needed were usually rewarded with hastily typed words of thanks and a heartfelt :-) before they went out into the universe to explore and to create new wonders for themselves to share with others.
But that was the past and those days are now forever gone. On the third of January, 2002, with little or no warning, ActiveWorlds forced an upgrade upon the users, and after it was finished, tourists could no longer enter ActiveWorlds. People either had to already be citizens and could log in with their user name (called the citname in the program) and password, or if they weren't a citizen, had to have a credit card and enter their credit card number along with a lot of other information that most of us would never give out to strangers on the Internet. Since many tourists either didn't have credit cards because they were children or they didn't have good credit, they were not able to return to ActiveWorlds. Did ActiveWorlds issue warnings to the tourists? Doubtful. It's far more likely that it was done as quickly as possible so there would be little public outcry in the ActiveWorlds community. They were not even given a chance to say good-bye to their friends before they were eliminated en masse.
This is the credit card form we were presented with when we logged in after the forced upgrade. Please bear in mind that I was in one of my moods when I took this picture. When this came up, I kind of felt like I was in Hell. Most of the info in the fields are fake, trust me. ;-)
Many of us saw this as a rather cruel action by ActiveWorlds, and almost like an execution of sorts, with no trial for the victims, and no warning. ActiveWorlds told us that they did it because they could no longer afford to do version upgrades and keep the 'pricing plan' the way it was. If they had bothered to ask, most of us (and I'm sure the vast majority of tourists) would've told them that we didn't care if they ever released another version of the ActiveWorlds browser.
Did the tourists who were children deserve such a 'virtual death'? They saw AW as their home. It was to them a place to play, make friends, build, learn, and chat with people from all over the world, and share experiences in a 3D chat environment. No longer will we see their like in ActiveWorlds. No longer will there be children in this universe so eager to learn that they seem impatient, and no cherubic smiles to reward those who happily sacrifice what little free time they have to teach them.
Gone now, is the heart of ActiveWorlds. Ripped out of our body, our community. We are still a living organism, but now we exist without a heart, with little joy, and we have almost no hope to survive. Our body is in shock after having our heart ripped out of us and in a very short time we will likely die.
If there is a virtual afterlife, it may exist for us in other universes like OuterWorlds and Dreamland Park or other programs like WorldsChat which don't use the ActiveWorlds type of browser. AW came out in 1995, so it's likely there is something even better out now or will be soon! Perhaps there we may find happiness and joy once again and thrive in a friendly and caring environment.
As for me, I mourn the loss of what once was. Those days were for me, some of the happiest I have had in my life, and ActiveWorlds was my home.
But when ActiveWorlds falls, which many are certain it will, I will not shed any tears for the business. After all that my friends and I have suffered through at their hands I do not feel I owe them any loyalty. My e-mails have gone un-answered, the company has eliminated a great number of my friends or driven them off with their uncaring attitudes and in time I will join them. From my experiences with them and many of those the company has given authority and power to, I have learned that they are not fair, use double standards, and the only thing they seem to care about is the 'bottom line'.
Now I sit here watching the world count fall and the number of users logged in decrease day after day. The death of ActiveWorlds will take some time, but it seems inevitable.
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CyberWoLfman's Pix #1.
CyberWoLfman's Pix #2.
CyberWoLfman's Pix #3. Pictures taken in the ActiveWorlds 3D chat program.
CyberWoLfman's Pix #4. Back to the real world. Includes Halloween pictures, party pictures, more pictures of Bloomington-Normal Illinois including events, people, theaters and bars.
CyberWoLfman's Pix #5. Mostly pictures taken in bars, but also other places.
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