In the opening days of Second Life Birthday 20, the New Welcome HUB and Belli HUB regions went live. This was something that Linden Lab had in the works for some time, and this was definitely the time to launch, with Second Life having so much attention placed on it, due to the 20 years milestone, this was guaranteed to bring in not only New Residents but the potential to coax some older residents back into the fold.

They introduced the 9 regions Welcome HUB, and the Belli HUB which is the gateway to all things Bellisseria, but they also activated the new Mentor program. Full disclosure, I am one of the new Second Life Mentors, and honestly giving back that way has so far proven to be a really great experience personally. We trained using the Belli HUB a pathway of informational videos (starring Abnor Mole) and then the entryway into a Linden Homes display village. I am assuming very similar to what you would expect display homes to be like in real life, except instead of minor differences these are individual-themed homes with multiple versions accessible via the post box or life ring (in the case of the houseboats). Colours and other details are accessed via the security panel inside of the homes, but those are not active in the display models.

I remember when Bellisseria went live, it was an exciting time to just teleport over and roam the streets, but this experience of everything in one location – or two as the Welcome HUB also has a Linden Homes display area – is a completely different experience, and a fantastic way to be really sure of what kind of home you want. You do have to be a premium account or premium plus account holder to be able to obtain a Linden Home, it is definitely a great perk in the program and definitely a gateway into potentially larger land purchases in the future.

The Mentors are two different groups, the Welcome Area Mentors (of which I am one) and the Belli Mentors that deal with all things Linden Homes related. However, there are times that Welcome Hub Mentors can cross over and I was lucky enough to have that opportunity a few weeks back. Not only was it someone that wanted a Linden Home it was a New Resident that I had seen her first day, who was now a week in and decided to go full Premium Plus, she was not messing around.

I showed her the display area, showed her the basics of themes but there was no stopping her, she was already on the Linden Homes page of SecondLife.com and was ready to roll. Due to being Premium Plus the new Ranch style homes were on her list, with the hefty 2048 land allowance. She rolled and we went to see what she got. In my opinion, it was perfection. I could not believe how large these plots are, I personally have a home on a plot three times that size, but living in the sky, you end up losing all sense of scale that way. I love that Linden Homes have put thousands of people back on the ground.

I was able to guide her through the letterbox options, and style of build. We used the security panel to select colour and other choices she had. I also got her to set her home setting as soon as she got there, to decide whether she wanted the home setting to be inside or outside the front door – some people like to ‘come home’. She was over the moon, and it was honestly a really beautiful experience to go through that with someone.

I took the opportunity to speak to two of the Belli HUB Mentors recently, and they were able to answer some questions for me. Valerie Valentino (I do love the alliteration names) who goes by Lil Val and Starla Huntress who goes by Starla Moorlord. Both Mentors were full of insight into the Belli Hub experience.

Sasy: Have you been getting any older residents visiting the Belli HUB, or only new residents?

Lil Val: I have been actually seeing more older residents checking out the new area and checking out the new homes and considering going premium. We have a few new residents, but they are just learning what is going on.

(I can see that being the case as the Linden Homes area is an extension of the Welcome HUB so it would be a case of seeing all there is in that area, then actively seeking out display areas, whereas the Belli HUB is definitely more focused on you are looking for a potential home.)

Sasy: What are some tips you would give anyone that does get a new Linden home?

Lil Val: Shop for low-prim items. You can fully furnish a new Linden home and still have extra prims. Be respectful and mindful of your neighbors and other new people that might accidentally drop in. You were new once. Also, stick out a helping hand if help is needed in creating another person’s home. Pass out the landmarks and show them you also care and how they can furnish a great Linden home.

Sasy: What is your personal favourite of the themed homes already available, and what would you like to see as a theme in the future if you have thought of one?

Lil Val: Well the ranch styles home of course because it takes me back to when I was young I lived on one. For non-plus members, I would say the Fantasy theme ones I love the atmosphere. Also if I could have a choice maybe just more farm-style ranch homes that regular members that are not plus can have as well. I think also for the space people would be cool to have space-style homes floating in the air.

Sasy: Do you yourself have a Linden home and if so what theme did you choose? If you don’t have one, what is your favourite of the themes?

Starla: I first had a Victorian as I love those and I have an alt with a Houseboat, but I gave up my Victorian for a Ranch Home.

I followed up with… so you went premium plus for the ranch or you were already plus?

Starla: I was already Premium Plus before the Ranch Homes came out.

Sasy: What kind of theme would you like to see in the future?

Starla: I am pretty traditional but my friend would like to see Tree Houses.

Sasy: What would be some tips you would give a new Linden homeowner?

Starla: Look at the extra things that are made for the different homes to make them more custom.

I followed that up with a question… Add-ons or the included package of plants, etc that come with the homes via the letterbox?

Starla: Add-ons, some people don’t realize that you can buy them. Also that you can’t change the landscaping around the home, it’s placed by the Moles so you need to really like the theme your home is in.

These were really good points, while the add ons market has become a huge part of the Linden Homes experience, someone seeing Bellisseria for the first time at Bellisseria regions, would not know that the garage or porch someone has added to their home, is not the way those homes come, and that is another reason that the display areas are very helpful. For those that do not know about Linden Homes add ons you can search them on the marketplace, usually by the name of the theme of the home you are deciding on.

Sasy: Did you use your Linden Land allowance before Linden homes were available or did you become Premium Plus when they went live?

Starla: I had been a paid member for many years and had no idea about Bellisseria until maybe a year and a half ago or so, I was using the old-style home, and when I found out about Belli I was super excited and got a home right away. I totally love the fact that you can drive or boat for hours. I am so surprised about how many people have no idea about the homes. My husband & I own a SIM and a club and I think we are the only ones in that group that know about Belli.

We are definitely hoping that with Gather and Nest that the more information provided about Linden Homes and Linden Land, that people will have more insight into the Bellisserian experience, you can look at the options already added to this website, for Flickr groups, in-world groups and just general information that has been gathered so far.

I could have talked to them both much longer, they were both so lovely to engage with, and I am very glad that while not all hours of the day can be covered by Belli Mentors, residents should know that the mentors exist and that they actually really have a passion for the project, and are living their own Bellisserian lives. Thank you so much Lil Val and Starla for taking the time to chat with me, and I look forward to speaking to move Belli Mentors and perhaps some Moles and Lindens in the future about the Bellisserian experience and the future of Bellisseria.

Welcome HUB Linden Homes Display Village
Belli HUB Display Village

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