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Toxia

February 2, 2007

Demon

I don’t think my appetite for corruption will ever be completely satisfied. While Midian City is a gorgeous build, I’ve seen it’s boundaries and borders. I want more. Maybe I always will.

Now I find myself in Toxia. Both game masters and residents have been sending me messages ever since I wrote about Midian. Most offered their services as guides, but today I decided to arrive without telling anyone that I was coming. If it really is a place worth visiting, it needs to stand on its own.

So here I am standing on a dock. A rusty sign sits on the ground nearby, having fallen off of a collapsed booth. It warns that I’ll be searched and contraband items will put me in jail. Anybody who might have enforced those laws is long gone, although I discover many pro-fascist posters in my later travels. There may be an attempt at a comeback.

At the bottom of my screen the Music control is available. I punch the play button and the air is filled with Wumpscut gothic metal. A yellow mist fills the distance between tall brown buildings, making me wonder why, specifically, they called this place Toxia. It’s only a few paces before I’m presented with a notecard giving me the sim’s rules, and a detailed backstory for the environment.

From a nearby newspaper box I catch up on the latest Toxian news involving vampires, demons and scientific anomalies. In the dark Information Center I can find out about these and several other factions, and confront the choice of whom to pledge my allegiance. Restlessness overtakes me before I can make a decision, and I decide to explore and meet the locals.

As a build, Toxia is spacious, dark, and dirty. Film covers the warehouse windows, and dirt covers the roads. Set at a permanent dusk, the shadows are long and dramatic. It’s the eerie feeling of a ghost town, despite the fact that the sim is dense with players. There are pockets of brutality to it as well, like the abandoned hospital filled with blood-splattered furniture outfitted with sex balls. That speaks for itself, I think.

A Ryder

Outside Haven, the local bar, I speak briefly with a few players. They’ve never heard of Midian, but spend most of their time in SL right here. One of them tells me that she’s pretty new. As she talks about the learning curve, I begin to realize that it’s not the DCS number system she’s referring to; that part of the Toxia RPG is self-explanatory. The real learning curve here involves the ever-evolving story between the residents. As a newcomer, if she says the wrong thing or wanders into the wrong area, it could mean real trouble. While in other games people stick together because of game mechanics, here people group up for social reasons: the darkness holds many threats. Only the experienced players know about most of them.

By this time I’m having a harder time seeing myself as an out-of-game entity. The players in Toxia are all very active role-players, and overheard snippets of in-game conversation as I walk through the streets make it harder and harder for me to remember that I am not a part of this. When I eventually enter Haven, a vampire’s glare gives me pause.

Vampire

Xulltana Lowell: Are you up to something mortal?
Onder Skall: You never can tell.

I engage her in IM and ask about her experiences here. Again, she has never heard of Midian but says that this is her home. She claims to be a true Transylvanian, and that she’s most comfortable when playing in Toxia than in any other place in SL. It becomes clear that there’s something validating and freeing about the place.

This sentiment is echoed over and over again here. People feel comfortable in this place, with the consensual confrontation between factions somehow making everything fall into place. Despite the obvious similarities in overall theme, nobody I spoke with here even knew of Midian. This place had everything they needed.

As I leave Toxia I’m left wondering what secrets are left undiscovered. There are locked elevators I never managed to hack and a densely-populated area above a tunnel that I never managed to figure out how to reach, as well as a number of buildings that didn’t seem to have doors but still contained residents. There is mystery here, and maybe that’s the most compelling thing about Toxia. For somebody like me, who is never satisfied, the most important thing one can offer is the promise of something hidden.

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10 comments

  1. Xulltana Lowell’s true home is considered to be with her family in Transylvania.


  2. Toxia also gets quite expensive, once you get sucked into the storyline you wind up feeling the “need” to get better weapons and upgrades so that you’re not an easy target. Soon enough you’re buying better guns and katanas and gear for your character. But the GMs are a little tricky, not everyone can get involved in the storylines, most people are just bystanders with only a few key players doing anything of any worth at all. Sometimes people forget that it’s just a game and make mistakes, take things too seriously, which is why I consider Toxia to be a dangerous sim to be in. It can quickly become addicting, disrupting your real life and costing you money. If you have a lot of time and cash to burn, then hop in, Toxia is a horror novel brought to life with plenty of characters to get to know and friends to make…but if you’d rather not waste your time and money on a fairy tale, then avoid the sim at all costs.

    Most of the RPs that I’ve participated in have all lead to the same results as the Stanford Prison Experiment….which is very scary.

    Sorry for the long comment Ondar, but this is just in case any of the Toxia GMs pop by and see the article…didn’t know how else to get a hold of them.


  3. Actually, its very easy to be involved with the storys. The only time ive seen people get banned are when they are griefing or disrupting play. As any other game people do make mistakes, and the expensiveness is only as dep as you want. according to the sim.. its a rp first. The city itself is as dynamic as the players and the story lines i have seen have been caused by the players.

    I think it was yesterday the tower that was there exploded. http://video.google.com/videoplay?d…826814636&hl=en

    Was a awesome event that happened.


  4. I wandered in last nite to take a look. After a few minutes of wandering, I witnessed a poor soul who thought he was being taken to a bar, become someone else’s coctail instead. I decided it best to remain uninvolved, so I walked the other way. Quickly. A few moments later I found myself caught in the crossfire of a gunbattle raging down the block. I ran for cover, and decided to get out while the getting was good. I was definatly impressed with the action going on, with even a casual observation. I’ll be back. And I’ll be more carefull this time, this is a dangerous place.


  5. These Toxian folks, they sure got a good marketing department. Lets talk turkey. The build is shit, the combat system is designed to milk people of money, the RP is thinner than american pilsner beer and the owner is a total egomaniac that thinks hes taking over the world. Do yourselves a favor and avoid this place, stay in Midian or go to CoLA, both provide far better experiences in build, gameplay and the people involved.


  6. I’ve been poking around Toxia for a while, and I think it’s worth mentioning a few observations for the curious. Keep in mind I’m not a terribly dedicated SL gamer, and that I haven’t been at that sort of thing for long.

    These folks are all about rough-housing. I ran a mostly harmless character for a couple weeks, not causing any trouble, and I tried to rub a few the wrong way and found myself the sole focus of some five players’ weapons. I didn’t stand a chance, and they didn’t care. Dying here is just getting a good beating, and I ended up dead three times in one night without once threatening to do the same.

    Second, the role-play is totally free. Every gang and race seems to go by whatever rules they please. It seems as if they chose their specie based on aesthetics, combat opportunities, and who it would align them with over the role-playing potential. Getting bit by a vampire doesn’t mean you’ve become one. See point 1: these guys don’t take violence seriously unless everyone agrees to. No preference means you’ll end up “dead,” lest a friend or cyborg help you up.

    It’s a very tight and active community, but if you’re looking for structure, this isn’t the place to find it. It’s a more casual role-playing community in certain ways, but they take the community seriously.


  7. I am the demon in the very top picture. I am also a long time toxian roleplayer. The city has a certain feel and dynamic to it that gives me the ease in being a “bad guy” there. I warn you though, the place isn’t for the faint of heart. Speaking from my point of view, If you see a demon or a vampire…stay away. The rp terms can get you gutted, maimed, mutilated or even raped. Well, at least with my character. Out of character, the people are generally great. As evil as one person may be in character many are just as nice out of character.

    The systems, the weapons…they do cost, but all things considered, the price is well worth the tight community of people who return to the relatively low lag area for combat.

    Anyway, its funny to see myself on a website about toxia. if you are curious to the place, just instant message me in game and I’d be glad to show you the ropes…then hang you with them


  8. I’m a longterm roleplayer, and have been roleplaying for more than thirteen to fourteen years.. I’ve been roleplaying in Tox for all of a few weeks, and honestly I keep going back for the experience which started me off.

    My first fateful night of really stopping in and taking a walk around, I stepped out into the street into what looked like a gang war, bullets flying. I ducked into an alleyway which lead me to another street which seemed worlds apart from the previous.. the gunshots still rang in the air, and I moved on. Passing by demons, vampires and the like, I made my way to the Haven and found friendly conversation in the midst of battle strewn streets and random attacks from Toxian NPCs. Honestly, it was the most eventful night of roleplay I’d had in a long time, and I barely had to participate in it myself.

    Since then I’ve taken a character from another sim and further developed him there, I’ve met alot of strange new people, and have started to see more and more stories unfolding. The roleplay is far from thin, and the dark attitude of Tox is part of that roleplay. I’ll admit it is addictive, but the money isn’t an issue if you know what you’re doing. I’ve got a good arsenal of high powered weaponry, and I’ve never spent a real life dime on Second Life.

    Whether Tox is for you is really all depending on what you’re looking for. It’s not a sim for everyone, and no amount of complaining is going to change that. If you’re not happy with what you see, then move on, but don’t insult something because it’s not up to your expectations of what a “good” sim should be. My only complaint is the lag, but there’s no heavily populated roleplay sim on the map which is lag free.


  9. Some of the people are really assholes both ic and ooc, they can attack you illegaly and GM’s will back them up, especially if they are old at the sim, and you are new, there are rules yes, but only to the newcomers… The rules are really too thin for olders… Just a bullshit, there are plenty of better sims at SL…


  10. i am a long time rplayer in Toxia so i might be a bit imparcial, but from the other sims i’ve experienced roleplaying it is the one more complete in storyline and support for new players.
    Once you arrive to the city, you’ll be guided to The Shelter, which can be your home until you reach level 5, this time is used basically to help new players to get a view of all factions before applying or even having to chose which type of character they will build. In there you will get help to develop your own story and basic know-how on roleplay, to avoid tag reading, do not speak OOC in open chat unless you place it between brackets or the function within your dcs hud. There are also neutral zones that are pointed out at the entrance, where you can engage rplay in safety, like Haven bar. i recommend it, most of my Sl is spent there and i couldn’t imagine being in any other sim.



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