More than 300 valid responses came in for the Twelfth Annual OpenSim Grid Survey, and Wildwood Bayou received nearly perfect scores in all categories, with Utopia Skye, Enchanted Grid, Craft World and Kitely close behind.
Wildwood Bayou, Utopia Skye, and Enchanted Grid were all write-in grids. Most years, there’s at least one smaller grid that does well in the user surveys. We currently follow 1,709 grids total, of which 468 were active sometime this year, so only list the most active grids among our default choices. The full list of currently active grids is here.
Where do OpenSimmers live and visit?
Between them, this year’s respondents had visited 77 different grids and named 40 different grids as their primary homes.
We also asked our readers about the grids that they had visited.
OSgrid, OpenSim’s largest and oldest grid, was the most visited — 74 percent of our readers had been to that grid. The next most visited was DigiWorldz with 54 percent, followed by Kitely, with 53 percent.
The numbers add up to more than 100 percent because most people have visited more than one grid. In fact, the average OpenSim users has been to almost five different grids — that they recalled during this survey. Many users said “too many to mention” or “I’ve been to 33 different grids” without listing specific grids, and are not included in the average count.
Most residents said they were very happy with their grids — 93 percent would “absolutely” recommend them to others. Fewer than 2 percent said that they would not recommend, with the rest responding “maybe” or “I don’t know.”
Technology, support, community, and content
I did not ask people to compare different grids and tell me which one is better. After all, nobody out there has visited all the grids and tried them all out. Instead, what I do every year is ask people what they think about the grid that they spend the most time on.
Typically, people rate their home grid highly. And that makes sense — after all, that’s the grid where they decided to spend their time. That’s why most grids had average responses of “very good” or “excellent” — which I scored as 4 and 5, respectively, when I tabulated the numbers.
As grids get larger, however, they also get more people who are generally discontented. In addition, larger grids may have problems maintaining their technology or support. And, as a result, smaller grids often do very well in these rankings.
You’ll notice that the difference between grids is often a fraction of a percent, so please do not take these results as pure gospel. Plus, with the relatively small number of users we have in OpenSim, the margin of error is high — one highly dissatisfied resident can skew the results quite a bit. So please take all of the following as “food for thought” as opposed to “absolute truth.”
This year, when our readers were asked how they would grade their grid’s technology, Kitely came out on top, with Wyldwood Bayou, Enchanted Grid, and Discovery Grid all close behind.
Kitely has a unique, on-demand region hosting system that allows them to offer better performance at a lower price than many other grids. Plus, it is also the home of the Kitely Market, OpenSim’s major online marketplace for virtual content.
Those who live on their own personal grid scored their grid the lowest for technology, which makes sense since these grids often run on personal, home computers and connect to other via grids via slow, residential Internet connections. Plus, their have to do their own tech support.
These survey results also only show how users feel about the technology — not about the effort that the grids have put into their platform. OSgrid, for example, is where the OpenSim developers do their testing. This contribution is not necessarily reflected in the poll numbers.
In support, three grids received perfect scores from their residents — Wyldwood Bayou, Utopia Skye, and Dorena’s World — with Kitely very close behind.
OSgrid scored lowest, but, again, the grid is all volunteer-run and regions are hosted on home computers. And there’s only so much that volunteers can do to help since everybody’s home computer and networking configuration is different.
For community, Wyldwood Bayou had a perfect score, followed by Enchanted Grid in second place and AviTron in third.
Small, close-knit grids and startup grids with early and passionate residents typically have high community scores. It doesn’t mean that larger grids don’t have community spirit, but rather that it’s easier for someone to feel lost and alone on a large grid unless the administrators and other community organizers make a very concerted effort to get people involved.
“My personal grid” had lowest score for community, for obvious reasons. Okay, if it’s not obvious to everyone, then let me explain. You see, a grid that you run yourself, on your own computer or on your own server, will only have the community that you yourself can gather together. If it’s a one-person grid for, say, creative building, then you’re not going to have much of a community at all.
In content, Utopia Skye, Tangle Grid and Dorena’s World tied for perfect scores, with Wyldwood Bayou in close second place.
Again, “my personal grid” scored last, since these typically come with just free public domain starter content such as Linda Kellie OAR regions files.
Additional comments from the respondents
The following are representative comments about the grids. There were more than 80 comments in all, higher than last year, some of them quite lengthy, and if anyone wants to see them, or use them on their websites, just email me. Again, I won’t include any personally identifiable information.
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, of course, I also edited out any personally identifying information. The comments have also been very lightly edited for spelling and grammar.
“3rd Rock Grid is the third oldest grid in the metaverse and that says something. Many grids have come and gone but 3RG remains. We are stable, we have a great group of people that live here, great entertainment and great content.”
“3rd Rock Grid: so much integrity in this world, great entertainment.”
“Simple homemade grid. It’s a simple grid in a very simple but growing server. I would recommend it for availability, but they still have a lot of work to do. [There’s] land that can be purchased with Gloebit and resold and free land. Usual free content for OpenSim and regions from DreamGrid. Simple but available.”
“Alternate Metaverse has an amazing community and are a friendly and active bunch to hang out with. The technical side of the Alternate Metaverse grid is more than super and the owner really knows how to solve all issues in a professional manner .”
“Alternate Metaverse is one of the best grids I have ever had the honor to be on when it comes to virtual worlds and I will never leave”
“I have already recommended Alternate Metaverse to others”
“I have found Alternate Metaverse to be the most welcoming grid so far. I have set home to there.”
“I love this place.”
“It’s the best.”
“Living in Alternate Metaverse is an absolute dream for me and my girlfriend”
“Nice fun community, with lots of entertainment, amazing places to visit and staff. Technical, and most friendly grid”
“One of the most welcoming and kind people around OpenSim”
“The only grid — apart from Kitely — that offers automatic saves of OAR files, and automated uploads of OAR files, from their website. Amazing people and community.”
“This is an awesome grid with awesome people and events.”
“A fantastic staff. Well done. I have to be honest, until a few weeks ago I didn’t know any of these [other] grids … now I’m meeting and visiting them.”
“Among all I know is the one that has the most advanced technology and based on Linux system, which is more secure.”
“De todos los grids que he visitado AviTron es el mejor.” [Google translation from Spanish: “Of all the grids I have visited, AviTron is the best.”]
“Excelente servicio y muy buen sistema de soporte.” [Google translation from Spanish: “Excellent service and very good support system.”]
“Is clear that is just beginning and to be honest so far is doing OK, but I know there’s a lot of work yet to be done. It has lots of potential.”
“Wonderful owners who get things done. Amazing young grid. They will go far.”
“At Craft, I have been carrying on my project, the Museo del Metaverso, for years, I feel at home.”
“Definitely a wonderful grid with lot of content and people without being too crowded.”
“I love Craft.”
“In the past year there has been a growing number of artistic events of outstanding quality on Craft.”
“It is a great grid and the owner, Licu Rau, is more than just friendly — he is a friend! One notices, that he loves the grid and the work he is doing there!”
“DigiWorldz is a good grid with some technical problems. Of course all grids have technical problems… and I’m not sure how many of those problems are in OpenSim itself and Firestorm.”
“DigiWorldz is a great community to be a part of. The grid owner is honest and trustworthy. I feel at ease and trust that my information, data, and creations are safe!! And have no fear of the grid closing or ripping me off. Thumbs up for DigiWorldz.”
“DigiWorldz is more home to me then other grids.”
“Extremely well-run, quick response — ten minutes or less — to problems. High performance: 95 to 105 frames per second, 103-ish ping. Great for vehicles with uBODE physics option on sims, nightly backups to multiple servers, and a real relaxed vibe where you don’t have to worry if the grid is online when you want to log in.”
“I have recommended it to many people!”
“I have to go to other grids, like Discovery Grid or Kitely Market get products not available on DigiWorldz. I really like Discovery Grid, but it does not have the active population size I need for what I am building.”
“The best community IMO of any grid. Dedicated staff, talented creators and friendly people.”
“I’ve been in DigiWorldz for over four years now. I have learned so many new things over the years from so many of the awesomely creative creators here in DigiWorldz! As I learn more and more I only find that I want to learn even more and more! It’s so much fun learning, creating different things… what one can create out of a simple square prim is astounding. As I learn each new thing my mind soars into outer space and I have so many infinite ideas of more ways to create more objects and such. It’s only because of DigiWorldz that I have been able to express myself in such unique ways. I am in Second Life for over 16 years now and in DigiWorldz for over four years. In the quarter of the time that I have been in Second Life, I have learned so so much more here in DigiWorldz. I want to express my sincere gratitude to each and everyone of you people who have taught me what I know. I’m not taking away from anyone else in OpenSim that has taught me a host of everything… I do so appreciate the time and effort that everyone has taken to teach me different things. I am so blessed to have the privilege’s of learning from all of you! Onto my next note which is last but note least, are my love for my horses here in DigiWorldz! They all have such unique personalities and I love all of the beautiful coats they have, too. It’s amazing to me when I get a super rare coat! I just get so excited to see such awesomeness! Noxy! You’re doin’ one heck of a great job with them horseys! Keep up the great work! I commend you for the extremely hard work that you have put into your horses! Keep on keepin’ on! Huggelz!”
“Grid owner is always working to update the grid and make it better. Water connects all regions unless you don’t want to be. People are friendly and welcoming.”
“Myself and my business split time between Discovery Grid and Utopia Skye Grid — two of a small handful of grids I actually trust, where grid owners aren’t giving region owners god mode and aren’t rife with stolen content like several grids listed above. Discovery Grid and Utopia Skye Grid owners actually care about vetting stolen content and run high-end tech servers my business requires in order to run.”
“Enchanted Grid was a great surprise, my first day there I went to an event with a huge turn out and we had a lot of great conversations. There are lots of really creative regions, and many engaged friendly creators – some of my favorite InWorldz folk! — so I decided to get a few regions. I especially love the sailing in a Halcyon grid. Very awesome.”
“A closed grid, so most content created by its own residents.”
“No copybotted [stuff]. It’s a great grid with excellent creators.”
“No drama here, great tight community that welcomes new people.”
“This grid utilizes the same physics as InWorldz did and overall the grid is very similar to InWorldz. There are quite a few old InWorldz residents and I highly recommend this grid for anyone that was from there.”
“Sadly I fear this grid is losing attraction.”
“Any problems are quickly dealt with by the grid owners and greed and drama are rare.”
“Best tech support of any OpenSim grid. The Kitely Market grows steadily and is the easiest place to sell stuff to nearly anywhere — legally — in the OpenSim grids.”
“Grid is excellent, support is super good, pity that the avatars are very poor which is a comment for OpenSim in general. Quite some people I know left for this reason. Impossible to attract good clothing makers for OpenSim in general for this reason. Quality of avatars is super important as long as this issue is not handled OpenSim won’t get the real influx of people. I know that an effort has been done to get this up to date. With all respect go and look at the place and check objectively. It’s seriously substandard.”
“I have spent more time on this OpenSim hypergrid-enabled grid than any other. I’ve had land here for a few years. The weekly meetings are a good way to find out what is going on and the community itself is very drama free and there are many wonderful, magical places to visit. The technology is definitely top-notch for any OpenSim grid. It’s a very active grid which is sort of surprising since you can’t cash out money — but maybe that’s part of the charm. The regions you visit aren’t just shopping and clubs — they are virtual expressions of residents’ imagination.”
“Ilan Tochner’s support to Kitely users is beyond exceptional. Absolutely amazing. I believe he never sleeps.”
“Kitely continues to expand its range of offerings with its megaworld on a dedicated server and is now offering megaworlds with 24/7 uptime service, which is a major change to Kitely’s business model but has apparently paid off. [CEO] Ilan [Tochner] and [co-founder and VP of R&D] Oren [Hurvitz] consistently provide excellent support to fix bugs and respond to user needs and do so with expertise and professionalism I do not see on other grids. Their focus on stable service and excellent backend architecture is unmatched.”
“Kitely is fast, economical to use — i.e. have sims — and has a super supportive community. Additionally, the Kitely Market is the most powerful and well stocked one of the metaverse I believe. Not only that, but it connects to the whole hypergrid so that you can shop it from anywhere. Now that was super smart!”
“Kitely is the best at OpenSim. However, OpenSim is yesterday’s technology. I wish Ilan and Oren were inclined to create the next generation in a virtual worlds platform.”
“Kitely values in land are great. Tech support is very helpful.”
“Let’s face it, we all came from the same place. They offered small plots of land at a huge cost and had absolutely no customer service to speak of. They nickel and dimed us for every upload and honestly, the lag! How many years in and there’s still lag? I did a lot of research before hanging my hat in Kitely. I wanted a low cost, large land mass with stability. I wanted customer service, good customer service. I wanted a marketplace. I wanted community. Kitely has all of that, they checked off all my boxes and then some.”
“The robust servers Kitely uses, and the personal hands-on from their support team is par excellence!”
“We used to be in Second Life — but found Kitely is, in so many ways better — and getting even better.”
“This is a rough rating, butI was once a big fan of Metropolis Grid. But my feeling now, with no news over months, no answers from support even on tickets, I consider it slightly as dead. Sad!”
“Great gamer community that welcomes everyone. Cutting edge grid tech and excellent support for my main hypergrid store.”
My personal grid
“Been with DreamGrid for about two years, with this year hypergrid open.”
“I make my princial home on my personal DreamGrid since I don’t trust ANY third-party grid to manage my inventory.”
“Committed admins and a strong, caring community make this the grid to call home.”
“I love OSgrid. It’s the best grid in the universe.”
“Nice place to be…”
“OSgrid is the best, in my opinion.”
“OSgrid offers many options, from rented regions to nearly-free self-server lands. It’s main, serious downside is no community group announcements, which makes hosting events difficult. It is an experimental grid, not a community grid — and that is its weakness. But if you want 110 percent control over your lands, host your own server on OSgrid. Or… build your own grid.”
“I choose to make this grid my second home SOLELY because it’s population is by far the largest, and movement and communication is easier within a grid rather than outside of it.”
“Why is it so hard to teleport to go places?”
“Although my grid is non-commercial, I provide many 24/7 activities for visitors alone or with others. I also give out some very nice freebies that I make myself or know to be legal to give away.”
“This grid is my family, never had such wonderful friends.
“This grid is not open to public registrations, rather, it is invite only.”
“Tangle Grid tries hard to keep updated with the newest OpenSim software. They also keep it’s residents updated via Facebook, MeWe and their own news website. Overall, they one of the best grids I have ever lived on. They go out of their way to make you feel at home. Most grids I have been on you never see the owners — with Tangle Grid this isn’t the case. They’re always there with any problems you may have. They even help with non-grid problem like computer setups, if you are having problems logging in. They been around for nine years and have very little down time. Region prices are also fair and they offer free land to try them out.”
“As an artist/builder/videographer, it is a grid I trust. Unlike some other grids listed, I am absolutely sure that my intellectual copyrights are respected there.”
“Small but friendly grid, only drama comes from the Golden Touch Theater and amazing particle shows.”
“Utopia Skye grid is a consistently progressive technology grid. It’s a holistic, artistic, creative space where people can enjoy events and building. The codebase is maintained by Mike Chase who is one of the creators of the Sasquatch version of the OpenSim codebase — a version that proves to be very reliable with zero downtime in over three years! While the grid may not boast some of the numbers others do, the numbers reported here are true numbers and the people who are here are loyal and enjoy a warm community. Plus the Golden Touch Theater performs here and the shows they put on are worth everything.”
“Utopia Skye is a small but professionally-run grid. We welcome residents who want to build a home and create in an environment that respects creator IP. You will never find a ‘freebie’ store that offers botted content that’s been ‘liberated’ from Second Life or anywhere else and we work closely with creators to protect their work.”
“The community here is the most welcoming I’ve found on the hypergrid.”
“This grid is made for visitors who love music, roleplay and exploring.”
“Wyldwood Bayou grid is non-commercial, so no shops or rentals. It is a destination grid, open to hypergridders so that they can visit, explore, participate in medi-fantasy roleplay at Brigantia or Ravenquest, and attend events at the superb music venues–Rockin’ The Blues, Hot Daddy’s, etc.”
“Wyldwood Bayou is a destination grid with a small but wonderful community. The grid offers sailable oceans, beautiful regions with role play and successful clubs which are based on friendships, and inclusivity as well as music. Very great places to visit here and wonderful people to meet.”
“Wyldwood has the best community in the metaverse. The music and the roleplay are outstanding and you will not find a warmer welcome anywhere.”
‘Wyldwood Bayou runs well and has a welcoming and kind community. They have weekly music events with different DJs and roleplaying events in fae lands.”
Note to grid owners
You are free to use any of the information from this article on your grid’s website or in any other promotional materials, including the quotes from survey responders. A link to this article is appreciated but not required. You can also request the raw — anonymized — data for your grid by emailing me at [email protected].