A record number of respondents voted for a record number of grids in this year’s sixth annual OpenSim grid survey.
A total of 1,006 ballots came in, of which 971 were counted. The rest were duplicates or invalid for other reasons. People rated 52 different grids, of which 22 made it past the 10-rating-minimum cutoff point.
As in previous years, the largest number of responses — 149 — came in for InWorldz, though the Great Canadian Grid, which came in third with 138 responses, was strong out of the gate. DigiWorldz was close behind the Great Canadian Grid in the number of responses for most of last week, before finally edging it out with 146 ballots cast.
Kitely residents cast 52 ballots, and all other grids had fewer than 50 responses each.
The number of responses is a combination of active users on a grid, and how excited they are to be on the grid. InWorldz, as the most popular grid, always does well, simply because of its size, while new, fast-growing grids are able to garner enthusiasm from new resident.
Another interesting statistic in this year’s survey is how many people visited other grids. Even if visitors don’t consider a grid to be their virtual home, they might still spend money there, attend events, and participate in activities, so these visits matter.
These numbers could also be considered to be a kind of check on the traffic numbers that grids release.
The following is a chart of the grids that were visited by at least 30 of our respondents. InWorldz and OSgrid obviously did well here, since they are well-established, popular grids.
Great Canadian Grid was a surprise, with 445 respondents — or nearly half of all voters — saying that they had visited the grid. This is an extremely high number given the relative youth of this grid. DigiWorldz, with 332 visitors, or 34 percent of the population, also had a very strong showing, for a grid that was only launched earlier this year.
PNA Grid, formerly Sunshine grid, reports high traffic numbers, putting it in the top ten most popular grid, but the French grid had only three residents rating it, and only 13 people who said they had visited it. This could be because it is a new grid and has a very niche population that isn’t aware of the rest of the OpenSim community.
Another surprise was Avination. Although 291 people said they had visited the grid, or 30 percent of all respondents, only seven rated it.
Write-ins Nara’s Nook, Tangle Grid rule the charts
With hundreds of OpenSim grids out there, I list just the top most popular ones in the survey and allow respondents to write in other grids of their choice.
Every year, one of the smaller grids is able to have a write-in campaign — and do extremely well.
This year Nara’s Nook, a small grid for writers and their immersive fiction projects, gained a perfect score for the overall quality of the grid, and a perfect score for community.
“What I like most about Nara’s Nook is the educational and inspirational qualities of it,” said one respondent. “Nara [Malone] and her crew often push the envelope and figure out things that ‘can’t be done’ just so she can show they can. Plus she often has classes for learning hypergrid techniques. Great place to visit and learn.”
“In the two full years we have been established we … are closing in on our biggest dream,” wrote another. “To merge books and virtual worlds into one immersive experience. None of this would be close to possible if not for Nara and the talented builders, scripters and designers who share their knowledge with us. If not for the nurturing environment of OpenSim and it’s nurturing environment we would never have made it this far.”
Nara’s Nook also had just enough responses to make it past the cut-off level for this grid, and the fewer responses, the easier it is to get a perfect score. However, there were also many grids with the same number of responses — or fewer — who had very low scores, so a low number of responses does not necessarily improve the the rating.
Tangle Grid, DigiWorldz, Littlefield and Lost Paradise all got excellent 4.9 scores each in the overall category, but Tangle got higher marks for content and community, putting it slightly ahead.
Tangle, Littlefield and Nara’s Nook tops for content
Tangle Grid, known for its regular themed expos, scored a perfect score for content, with Littlefield and Nara’s Nook tied for second place. Littlefield is a grid known for its strong community of creators, while Nara’s Nook is unique in the immersive fiction content that it offers.
“I love that so many talented and enthusiastic people come to Littlefield and share their creativity,” wrote one Littlefield resident.
OSgrid, the largest and oldest of the open non-profit grids, scored lowest for content.
Nara’s Nook, Tangle tops in community
Nara’s Nook and Tangle Grid tied for community, with a perfect score each.
FrancoGrid and OSgrid tied for last place in this category.
DigiWorldz, Tangle, Littlefield and Virtual Highway all get perfect support scores
The commercial grids DigiWorldz, Tangle, Littlefield and Virtual Highway all received perfect scores for support.
ZanGrid, Lost Paradise, Kitely, Refuge Grid, YrGrid all tied for second place with a 4.9 score, followed by 3rd Rock Grid and Nara’s Nook with 4.8.
OSgrid’s support score was the lowest that any grid received in any category this year. OSgrid allows self-hosted regions to connect to the grid, however, so some of those support issues could have been region owners rating themselves. OSgrid is also a test grid, running cutting-edge code, a non-profit with support — if any — provided by volunteers and peers, and, on top of that, suffered a severe months-long outage a year ago.
“By its nature of being a test grid OSgrid it becomes difficult to answer some of the questions and the scores will seem skewed towards unsupportive,” said one respondent who rated the grid poorly in this category. “It’s also a grid that on the surface seems difficult to cope with or get to grips with because it requires a a different attitude to that which people are used to.”
Refuge Grid gets high technology score
Refuge Grid scored a perfect score for technology this year, followed by Nara’s Nook and Lost Paradise at 4.9 and Kitely, Tangle Grid, DigiWorldz and Littlefield at 4.8.
ZanGrid scored a relatively low 4.0 — “pretty good” — for technology, as a result of a couple of respondents ranking it poorly in this category — even though they rated it well in support. There was no explanation in the comments of why the grid received lower scores in this category in particular.
Residents would ‘absolutely’ recommend their grids
Almost all — 92.2 percent — of all respondents said that they would “absolutely” recommend their grids to others. Just 2.6 percent said they would “definitely not” recommend it, and 5.2 percent said “maybe.”
This makes sense because people who don’t like their home grids are likely to pack up and leave for congenial communities.
The few people who said “definitely not” seem to be residents either on the verge of moving out, or who had recently moved out but decided to rate their old grid, which they knew best, rather than their new grid.
The following are representative comments about the grids. There were 325 comments in all, some of them quite lengthy, and if anyone wants to see them, just email me at [email protected]. In addition to leaving out some of the repetitive comments, I’ve also skipped those that had negative personal attacks or that seemed libelous and edited out any personally identifying information.
3rd Rock Grid
“The people who are active on a regular basis are stellar folks, very nice group over there.”
“Over the years they have helped me with several tough problems. I am impressed with their service and super communications with the people using the grid. They also do a lot of charitable work. That also is above and beyond!”
“Very helpful volunteers, and nothing seems to be a problem, all you do is ask. Lots to do at weekends, a bit quieter during the week but normally somebody to talk to. Seems to have a nice community spirit. Land prices good. Community meetings every week . Lots of mainland to explore with walkways and mountains.”
“AviWorlds really makes an effort to attract and keep its customers. They would just be perfect if they reached a better degree of automation and functions panel.
“Counter Earth is a new grid for Goreans… The group is a stable group and has been working together for a long time. The things I am most impressed with is that if you are looking to have a sim that gets to pick the way Gor is for you, they allow it and with autonomy. It has a lot of events, a university for training and much more. The main city right now is Turia but there are more coming! Exciting times for this grid. Check it out!”
“This Grid and its owners have demonstrated their ability to manage in such a way an excellent event, which saw the simultaneous presence of 70 avatars: the inauguration of the Museo del Metaverso, on 7 March 2015.”
“DigiWorldz is a nice grid, I am here often. Nice people, great help and awesome land capabilities. Although I still am struggling with rezzing stuff I picked up from other grids, I am a satisfied person. The struggle has to do with not exactly understanding the difference between regular inventory and my suitcase. But eventually I get the hang of it.”
“For a grid that is only six months old, their content and resident concurrency rivals closed grids after being open to the public for a year. The grid is very forward thinking when it comes to creator rights and content, which I find most refreshing and reassuring.”
“I recommend DigiWorldz to everyone I run into. It is the most comprehensive and thorough grid I’ve experienced in a virtual setting… Support there is fantastic! never had an issue that wasn’t resolved within minutes!”
“I like also that the owners are known by their real life name, with a company with real address… When I submit a ticket or write an email suggesting new features, they do not try to evade them giving me pseudo reasons. They tell me what they are doing to achieve that that feature is implemented. Always very friendly, they thank me for submitting such suggestions.”
“Their prices can also not be beat and the availability of variable-sized regions makes it even more worth the price. I look forward to a long lasting relationship with DigiWorldz as I am now able to build my dream that I could never do — or afford — on other grids.”
“A real friendly grid, many of the grids I been too recently either no one was around or they just ignored you. At DreamNation, I was bombarded by help from the get go. There are scheduled things to do everyday and people show up for them! The help I got was nice since I been walking the grids for a while and really needed more about where to get stuff and help about some of the things only found on DreamNation.”
“[DreamNation is a] protected grid based on invitation. The benefit of protected is that we do not have many bad or nasty people but only nice and friendly people.”
Great Canadian Grid
There were more than 50 comments from this grid’s residents, two of which complained about support tickets and the rest filled with praise for the grid’s support, community, and low prices.
“For a new grid that is growing I would recommend it strongly. The upside is the support. The grid owner is quick to sort out problems, community is very good without the sleaze that can be found on other grids, a mature grid with respect for others. The downside is that the grid is a newer grid — just over two years old — so businesses are still setting up, also a little more fine tuning needs to be done on the code.”
“I keep telling my friends about it and have brought some in so far.”
“I have visited other grids and found friendly people on all of them too, but my heart lies in the Great Canadian Grid.”
“It’s been the friendliest grid, truly living up to Canadian hospitality and it feels like a family more then a grid.”
“Odd that you didn’t ask about pricing. The cost of living at The Great Canadian Grid is very reasonable; that includes how residents price items and the region pricing as well. Right now pricing is a great motivator for me. Also it doesn’t feel like a commercial grid yet I have great retail sales there.”
Note: I don’t ask about pricing in the survey since pricing isn’t really a matter of opinion — you can look up the prices of all the grids in our hosting directory and compare them directly.
“[Grid owner] Roddie Macchi actually cares about the people that use his grid, he is not selfish, I have seen selfishness in other grids. With Roddie it’s about community and a sort of peace you don’t feel to many other places. No matter where you’re from it’s about belonging.”
“The friendliest grid out there with support in a class far above the rest, and its modestly priced too! Easy to see why GCG is attracting residents from other grids without an once of advertising, just word of mouth from other happy campers eh :)”
“The GCG has virtually exploded in growth since December of 2014. There were fewer than 500 residents then and now the grid boasts over 2350. The owner’s honest, open attitude is infectious and is the baseline for the helpfulness and community spirit the rest of the grid residents offer to each other and newcomers alike. If you need it and ask for it in grid chat, someone will either give it to you or help you find it.”
“Well run by an individual who really cares what his residents want. He sets up polls for any major decision. Constantly asks for input. Does whatever he can to make the grid run smoothly.”
“If they get the export fix implemented, and a gambling licence, the grid will double in size in two weeks. Sims might not be so cheap then, just a word to the wise…”
About forty responses, most praising the grid’s stability and community. But a few people took the opportunity to vent about issues such as missing features that other OpenSim grids have, a lack of Kitely Market deliveries, and problems with forum moderation.
“Best scripting engine, best physics engine, great land offers on high grade servers, inventory self-backups, six official sandboxes, not a asset loss in the four years I made it my home. Great devs and infrastructure.”
“I do absolutely enjoy everything about InWorldz and I have been there for five years now. It is built on a solid foundation and the people in there are great too, always helpful.”
“I put a lot of time and effort in that grid and they just slammed the door on me without any consideration or hesitation.”
“I went to copy a comment I read on the forums that described my sentiments exactly. The thread was deleted. I swear this is true. In a way the deleted post says the same thing about them as I was wanted to say anyway. ”
“Inworldz did a major overhaul on their physics engine… and it is absolutely awesome! Great stable sims the smoothest sim crossings I have seen on any grid including Second Life.”
“The grid has lost and continues to lose its merchants. It has a nice community in terms of interactions between people, but the economy has contracted so much that it is not possible to even partly offset the costs of being there. I can understand why there is an exodus to other less expensive grids… It is rapidly falling behind to the improvements made in other places.”
“You can build amazing things in InWorldz, things you can’t begin to build in Second Life. And I love the community spirit and its support of the arts and events.”
“I love this grid because of the personal attention from the founders and the staff. I remember how I felt when I joined some of the other grids — a lonely outsider noob shamefully begging random people for help with small things. ”
“As an ex-Second Life user, it would be nice if search listed all sims with accurate traffic, I would also like to make a suggestion, since many users be new with little to no experience of virtual worlds, maybe have a web page with how to guides, locations to get free gifts to start with, but overall a fantastic OpenSim grid with great staff.”
“Events calendar with lots of events, great prices on land sales, free land for life of membership. Owners very personable and accessible.”
“Have worked, played and created on many grids. I can honestly say hands down Island Oasis has the best tools of any grid I have ever been on concerning land ownership. I love that I can set my own recurring restart schedule — or restart it whenever I want on a whim, save up to five different copies of my region and restore it whenever I want — saves countless hours of work and recurring effort when being able to restore to a holiday theme with just one click then put it back to the former status once the holiday has passed. I also can’t begin to express how much I value the inventory back up feature.”
“I have moved all of my business to Island Oasis. They have the best customer service and the technology exceeds any other grid I have seen.”
“They do not tolerate trolls, and that makes for a stress free environment, which I most definitely love.”
Japan Open Grid
“For Japanese people , it is the only grid in Japanese. They provide support in Japanese. That is worth a lot for me, because I am beginner in OpenSim server and Linux.”
“I’m excited to see this grid develop, They are working on something radically different from other grids.”
“Beautiful grid, each place is different and full of its own creativity. I like it there.”
“I already voted on InWorldz but when I saw a second home could be voted on I chose to also vote for Kitely. I am an active member there, I have a home. I log in regularly, attend the weekly town meetings and consider it
my hypergrid home — and InWorldz my non-hypergrid home.”
“Kitely has the best web-based marketplace design and experience offering delivery to hypergrid enabled grids whenever a product supports that option. For now it’s only lacking an inviting destinations page and some advance mesh and scripted products like mesh bodies and comprehensive sitter tools.”
“Kitely is fabulous for cost, resources and reliability. Social life still needs to develop more.”
“Kitely is stable and gives great customer support. I can build and not worry about the underlying technology. [Founders] Ilan [Tochner] and Oren [Hurvitz] are very responsive to the community. And if you have a question about anything, you can always find an answer in the forums.”
“Everything seems good except more traffic is required also more to be done regarding advertising. The main attraction is every thing is free at the same time it is a disadvantage as there is no economy which gives no incentives to creators.”
” I like to build and enjoy using this grid and the spirit of sharing resource and information.”
“I love the grid, my friends and family, and the educational opportunities.”
“Littlefield Grid has a lovely family atmosphere and the admin ensures that everyone is carefully screened to ensure quality participation over quantity of members. The Admin Team operates on a very open door policy and are always very prompt with any requirements to keep the grid running at optimum performance. Fabulous content creators and an amazing choice of modern, high quality content.”
“I love this grid. It by far has the best support I have ever seen. And you have access to support via instant messaging as well as email, which I find very personable and efficient. Everyone here is super nice, I have yet to run into someone who is negative, mean or anything other than nice. Pricing is excellent, service is excellent, community is awesome and you’re not harassed for sex from anyone.”
“This is a wonderful grid with a very friendly helpful atmosphere. The support is fantastic and virtually no lag at all.”
“The community is unique and very great. Everyone is welcome, regardless of origin.”
“I have enjoyed being a resident of the non-commercial, no currency, non-profit grid of Metropolis. It is a German-based grid but they have embraced us all. It makes for a good base to go hypergridding throughout the hyperverse.”
“The Summer of Arts is great! The support for the artists was really good.”
“The Mobius Grid is a fun and friendly community, with G-rated sims and M-rated sims so that those not looking for more mature content can still come in and have a great experience, the moderators keeping a close eye to make sure things stay safe and fun. The shops are still in development, but there are some really cool items and freebies.”
“We’re slowly getting there; already we have the kind of community I’ve wished to see for a long time. If it weren’t for this grid I may not have been in the hypergrid at all yet, it has raised my faith in what OpenSimulator is capable of.”
“Naras Nook is led by enthusiastic trailblazers who are dedicated to getting the most out of the tools available, pushing for improvements in those tools, and having fun in the process, while helping others do the same.”
“OSgrid has become my home and where most of my friends are. I visit other grids but always come home to OSgrid.
Metropolis was a temporary home when OSgrid crashed and they were fantastic to us refugees so I have kept my land there too.”
“OSgrid is a free test grid running bleeding edge versions of OpenSim, so we expect to sometimes run across bugs… that’s what the grid is all about… making OpenSim better for everyone. That being said, OSgrid tends to be very user friendly and they normally respond quickly if a bug is found… If it were not for all the testing that goes on in OSgrid, the OpenSim software all the other grids are using would not be nearly as stable or reliable.”
“Sanctuary is a small but very well kept grid. It contains various museums and (under construction) a new and beautiful version of late Lumiere Noir’s well known Ivory Tower of Second Life.”
“Sanctuary is an extremely well cared-for grid. Though the comunity is small, the grid has some really great features:
1. The region Eld with hypergates to practically every grid in OpenSim that is connected to the hypergrid — the gates being constantly updated and showing at any time if a grid is online or off
2. The vast Arcadia Asylum museum, the largest of its kind in virtual worlds, managed by Virtual Christin and Brian Landar, covering almost 16 regions — The Spirit of Arcadia 1 through 16
3. A neat replica of the Tadj Mahal on the regions Liberty and Freedom and last not least
4. Ivory City, Lumiere Noir’s dream of an extended Ivory Tower in Second Life, well known to thousands who have acquired their first building abilities there. After Lumiere Noir’s sudden and unfortunate death, his long time partner, Tosha Tyran, is finishing this huge work, wanting Lumiere’s dream of a combination of beauty and learning to become true on the regions Ivory City 1 through 4.”
“Simvalley is a very nice, stable and relaxed grid. There`s always some kind of help from the helpers of SimValley or everyone online. It`s nice to be in Simvalley, to build, just to shop or meet other people.”
“Virtual Brazil is a great place to play.”
“A wonderful small community of very friendly and helpful people. Free land, free uploads, what’s not to like?”
“Virtual Highway is a diverse and enjoyable place to be.
“I love this grid. The support staff are friendly and they always are there to help.”
“This grid offers Bitcoin as in-world currency. It offers casinos and gambling. It also offers everything else you want from a grid. The support is excellent, quick, and friendly. And they are open for ideas and improvement. I see a great future for this grid.”
“A very kind community welcomes you and stays in contact with you if you want to. They have nice freebies, good shops and a lively social life.”
“ZanGrid provides amazing support for the community, no matter how big or small the issue is, ZanGrid support gives over 110% service that you can not find on any other grid.”
“This survey comes on the heels of a major move and upgrade to the ZetaWorlds servers and web interface. It really is good overall, even if it has been down for a time due to the upgrades. The community is small but friendly and for building, it is a great place.”
Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now.
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