A first-look at Bloodlines, a sim game within the SecondLife world which is a bit complicated, but I will go into it — or at least my take on it — this is where you become a vampire. I will take some text from the original game site, The Thirst : Bloodlines, which is your source for most of the information about the game. I say most, because this is constantly evolving and there’s stuff you will find inworld on SecondLife that don’t appear on the website.
With the book series and movie Twilight along with other Vamp/Goth subculture, a lot of people want to be a vampire. It’s a bit dark since it borders between the horror genre and romance, but I am sure people of whatever walk of life may choose (or not) to be involved in it, since it’s pretty cheap to get into this sim. More on that later.
Oh, first, I am going to clarify something you will see in this article. SecondLife is a grid, sort of VR world, and uses its own curency called “Lindens” (created by the creators, Linden Labs, naturally..) at a real word exchange rate of somewhere around 260-ish lindens for $1 (it is exchanged virtually within the game like real currency, well, it is sorta). You use these Lindens in the game to do stuff that costs piddly amounts of cash. Keep that in mind when I start quoting prices.
Now, Bloodlines I should note isn’t the Activision game with a similar name and theme.. that’s a mature rated console/pc game and as far as I know, not a MMORPG based sim, which is what Liquid Designs has created for our sim pleasures and of course for their profitability.
I should mention there is always a “anti” anything to a fun game, and major cons that people say of the game or in being a vampire, as an anonymous yet aggressive sari-wearing avatar pointed out to me at a place titled something like Love Park — where I was kicked out for being a vampire — you can look at this game as someone’s greatly crafted multi-level marketing scheme.
To the spiritual, some people of a magickal idea may think of this darkness as sympathetic magic, to be a vampire in the virtual world does something to you in the real world. Or this may be against your religious belief, and it also comes down to, how strong is your spirit and mind? Are you a dark soul? How will the roles play out in your mind? Are you taking this all too seriously? All too light-hearted? You decide. Liquid Designs has heard this also, since there are many places in SL (like Love Park) that ban people for biting or offering to bite.
Here is an excerpt of what they say on their FAQ about that, is it a Pyramid or Ponzi Scheme?:
As a matter of fact, NO. A “Ponzi Scheme” is an investment fraud scheme where an individual promises high returns to investors, and pays initial investors back with money from subsequent investors. Bloodlines does not have investors and does not pay dividends, so is not anything of this sort. A Pyramid Scheme involves the exchange of money for bringing others into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Bloodlines is a web application that runs a vampire game in Second Life. This is both a product and a service that is delivered to the people that join. Players can achieve status in the game for being the first one to bite a new player, but they receive no monetary compensation for referral of new players.
Ok, back to the “game” (muhahaha..) The premise is, vampires have 5 liters of blood, but the curse of being one makes you loose .25l a day, so you go around hunting and biting people, which gives a Vampire the blood you need to survive, as well the person you bite gets a free bitemark object, a notecard about it and a landmark to the Bloodlines store. How’s that for successful viral marketing?
That’s the first stated objective of the game, to be a Vampire. Once someone is bitten, they are ‘tagged’ and their virtual soul goes to the person that bit them, well, maybe.. if they too decide to be a vampire and by the Bloodlines game HUD, which costs 599 Lindens (or about $2.50 USD), otherwise your soul is in limbo until they do something or have someone else bite them (but there’s a catch.. I’ll explain later)
So, if the person you bite doesn’t want to be a vampire, they can still buy the HUD and become what is known as a (non-vampire, human) blood doll. That is, they feed vampires but haven’t been drained to the point that they become one themselves.
So in either case, once you’ve been bitten that’s it. Nobody can bite you again unless you become a vampire or blood doll, you see, and if you don’t buy the Bloodlines HUD (aka ‘The Thirst’) then your soul is in limbo until you do. There’s a workaround though. If someone else really wants to bite you and claim your soul, then they can give you a Wormwood potion which will take your soul out of limbo, then giving it to the next person to bite you. The wormwood costs 899 Lindens (about $4 USD). Worth it? Wait till I talk about status later on in this post.
Still with me?
Ok, beyond that, well if the person you are biting doesn’t care for Vampires or Blood Dolls and doesn’t mind if their soul is in limbo and never intends to play or what not, then, well, on to the next fresh victim because there’s lots of people in SecondLife, and blood is a commodity. Better yet, if you want to forget about being bitten altogether then get a free garlic necklace (the only thing besides bitemarks that is free) so people won’t bother you about it.
Now, back to the HUD.. aka Heads Up Display, in SL — these are things you can attach to your SL viewer in your screen, like a pop-up control panel, to enable whatever items you are wearing on your virtual person to interact in strange and amusing ways with yourself and/or those around you. Extra body appendages like wings or things below the belt or weapons or what not. Use your imagination, they have HUDs for everything in SecondLife.
In this case, the Bloodlines HUD refers to the fangs that Vampires have.
Now about using those fangs. Well, it’s just not nice to bite people without asking though some in their quest (or thirst, or hunt, whatever) for blood do. That’s against the rules of the sim, which is supposed to be fun and not a pain in the arse. Someone named Euphrasia Qunhua, an Impaler of the Vlad Tepez clan, just walked up and bit me. Out of the blue. I didn’t realize it was the Bloodlines game at the time but was interested for fun. No instructions, no Role Playing, no nothing, just bit me. Well, needed a Wormwood for that. Thank Goddess Satoria Exonar (whose name means Salvation in Greek), she saved me and turned me in a wonderful ceremony which I will treasure forever! That’s how its suppose to happen, done rite (er, right) with ceremony and great role playing by someone who truly cares and makes it special.
Ok, back to the game.. First off, if you want to be a victim and be bitten, you can do that, and its free, as well playing SecondLife is free too, but to play within the confines of the sim, you need to buy stuff. You don’t buy it from people, you buy it from Liquid Designs, they make the game and own the sim areas associated with the game.
Right, so logistically you want to be a Vampire or Blood Doll, then you buy the HUD, and the person that bit you (or someone else for that matter) drains your human blood (or percentage of humanity. 1L = 20% humanity). You then must bite that person back or use other means to fill yourself with 5L of royal Vampire blood.
Liquid Designs doesn’t want to be a pain in the arse, they want to make money. They do this quite well by selling useful add-ons to play the game and make it more fun. Like Korean company IJJI, there’s a benefit to buying stuff or appeal to hard core fans.
For one, biting people just isn’t the most efficient way to drain 5L of blood. You ever have a beer at oktoberfest? Those are 1 litre. Imagine drinking 5 of those within a short time. Hoo boy! In this sense, each bite is a sip of about .25 or so litres. Got time for 20 bites?
So there’s a more direct way, you can wear a cuff on your arm that has a intravenous tube conveniently machined into a spike which you may insert into a willing victim to speed up the process. ‘The Spike’, as it is so appropriately termed, can take up to 1L at a time for example, or a percentage of the person’s blood. If you’re a human, you can eat magic apples (14 lindens each) that restore the blood. If you are a Vampire, you can buy blood tanks or casks, empty or filled, depending on your needs to store or use blood. The spike, by the way, sells for 499 lindens (or about $2 USD).
If you’re not feeling like all the blood stuff, well, there’s other things you can do. You can mess with souls instead.
The second stated objective in the game is to gain rank or status as a vampire, and you do this by collecting souls. When you bite someone who becomes a vampire or otherwise buys the hud, you get 1 soul. You can also trade souls with other vampires, swap a soul for a soul, buy, collect, and sell them on some sort of adhoc Vampire market, that sort of thing. Here’s where a pyramid idea comes into play, but its really for vampiric fame if you so desire. Each time you bite someone and they become a Vampire and start biting people, they are one of your minions. As the protege excels in rank, so does the vampire that bit them. Who is cashing out on this? Not other vampires. Liquid Designs, in selling more games and items, is getting some good lindens for that, but the costs of setting up, running and maintaining multi-area sims is expensive in SecondLife. Go to secondlife.com and you’ll see.. anyway..
You can buy a nifty attachment to collect souls, called a Soul Reaper, it sells for 599 lindens. Not sure if it’s needed, but it glows and has spikes that extend out, so it looks cool wearing one on your other wrist. When you wear both a spike and a soul reaper, along with your fangs, well that just looks damn cool.
What else.. well let’s get back to the curse. As a Vampire let’s say you start with 5L of blood. Hopefully, best case scenario, you bite people regularly and don’t run out of blood. Otherwise, you must realize that you’re going to use .25l of blood per day. Do the math — in 20 days you are out of blood and even more cursed.. since your soul then goes to the Abyss and all your claimed souls go back to who knows where because of it.
Hemlock cures that, but it would cost you 249 lindens to rescue your sorry Vampire self — yes if you screw up then you need to pay to play. $1 for every 20 days you don’t play, thats way less than what you’d pay Blizzard to play World of Warcraft or Disney for Pirates of the Carribean Online MMORPG, but let’s get back to blood.
The third stated objective of the game is to gain blood wealth. Since your body can only hold 5L of blood at a time, you can store the rest in containers for later. You buy the casks, tanks, or bottles as you wish, either empty or full. Who knows where they get the blood to fill the pre-filled one, but I won’t go there You can but them in various sizes from a small take-away snack bottle to a 100L canister, depending on your need to amass it or your thrist for blood. Blood is power, he or she who holds the blood will be saught out by other vampires for feeding, blood doll or vamp as it were. You can even buy a siphon for exchanging blood between said tanks or vessels (399 linden).
Well, with all these vampires and humans and minions and what not, some sort of organized structure forms out of it (just like the families from Romania..) called clans. I happen to be in the #1 bloodlines vampire clan in Second Life, Crimson Republic, with over 2300 members. The very lovely Queen and Priestess who bit me, 6th degree Satoria Exonar, is about 70th position (bloodlines rank) player in the game but holds the #7 spot in societal status. That doesn’t fall into perspective until you realize there are over 12,000 people in clans who are ranked throughout the game, as well at least that many players with no clan affiliations at all. Here’s something else, our clan’s Queen, the beautiful avie named Jadebelgie Wylie, is the #2 bloodline status person, #2 in collected souls and #1 royalty and #1 societal status in the game overall. There is something to be said about having the right connections.
Leading the game is great, but not all the clans that are high ranking are good, and conversely in fact many smaller clans are quite good people and have wonderful regions setup for their members, take for example, 6th gen NINJA Ashdene, Impaler of the Nosferatu Dead, who has a complete castle, dungeon, club, arena, and one of the largest sims of fun vampire people in SecondLife. He opens the club to all vampires and other people. Crimson Republic has an area with clubs and stores and an arena and what not too, but it’s different, and I can’t gather which one holds more but they are both pretty cool.
But I digress…If you get tired of it all, you can throw in the towel. And, shucks, if you decide you just no longer want to be a Vampire and just want to be human again, Nightshade (for 249 lindens) does that, to the loss of all the souls you’ve collected and those of your minions (or people you have made vampires). So if you do that to you, you do it to others to some degree don’t you?
Well, if you just want to remain a vampire but transfer your soul to someone else, we have Electrum potion to do that, as long as they have something (well, another soul) to exchange 1:1 with whomever owns it. Since this costs 999 lindens, I wonder if it behooves you and said exchanger to just get soul reapers and forget the potion? Ok, this goes beyond my knowledge and I don’t want to make a easy game sound so complicated, there’s just a lot going on other than biting and annoying people or having vampire sex or whatever your passion is (sex is not a part of the game, by the way, there is nothing in it about that, just that goth people seem to be sensual creatures who enjoy adding that to the role play on their own).
Other fun stuff… the badge — if you want to show off your Vampire status to the world, you can get a wearable badge that does this. They cost 199 lindens.
If you don’t want to hunt, you can either buy blood, use a blood doll (or bite other willing vampires that give you blood), or get an amulet. Amulets protect you from the curse so you won’t lose blood for x amount of days. A 5-day amulet is 249 lindens, but there are others (progressively more expensive) up to the infinite protection amulet, most expensive of all. But then you’re not really cursed if you don’t lose blood ever. Then you just hunt for sport, I gather 😉 Looking online I see some more pricing… 14 day protection for 499, 30 day protection for 999, infinite protection for 7999. I think thats the same price for a 100l tank full of blood, but maybe I am mistaken, they dont list everything clearly on the website.
So, I don’t know if that was a good or fair assesment of the sim, but there you have it. I have the support of a great clan who there is always someone on to give me answers or playful smart arse remarks when I ask something silly, and a Preistess who is always there for me in spite of her very busy schedule with this and other RP in SL, so I am lucky in that sense.
Where will I go with it? Now that I’ve gone and entered the game, where will it take my adventures? Sure there are other games within SL that have vampire themes, and they may cost less or more than this one, but this one seems to be the most well known for better or worse. Let’s total my expenses to date so you know how much I’ve spent over time since I began playing. It will give you a good idea of the investment required to really get into it:
599 – The Thirst (Bloodlines HUD)
599 – Soul Reaper
499 – Spike
249 – Wormwood Potion
70 – Apples (14 x5)
2016 lindens, or about $8 US.
Gosh, I spend more than that for lots of stuff without batting an eyelash. I haven’t even used my soul reaper yet, will I? I don’t know. I thought maybe I’d do that objective instead of blood, but now I wonder what I will do next. Maybe become a blood doll, that sounds funny.. a human blood donor for vampires.
Of course, one of my avatar characters is an alien elf looking guy, quite often in the vampire sim. What do aliens have to do wih vampirism? Hmm, anything is possible in SecondLife. There’s another sim along the alien lines that I should check out.. And I hear werewolves may be coming. When you have vamps, you usually have werewolves and zombies.. But now I am way off topic again..