Friday, August 12, 2011

The Meeroo Mess

In May, we took a look at the new hit breedable pet on the Second Life Grid: The Meeroos. Being more interactive, having more personality, and slower reproducing than previous breedables, it looked like the company behind them had a sure hit. Nothing it seemed could go wrong.

Unfortunately, trouble did come. The Meeroos blog stated that “since the beginning of July,” someone “had been committing a series of exploits with the Meeroos.” Then a counterfeit store was built in the Twas sim, which began selling fake food. It was traced to two day-old accounts whose names were variants of “Meeroos Resident, the asset manager of the Meeroos’ company staff. Besides depriving the company of Lindens, the phony food contained unknown scripts with unpredictable effects that could be fatal to the virtual critters.

Linden Labs soon stepped in to ban the griefers. Unfortunately, they blocked the wrong account. They blocked Meeroos Resident from the Grid, as well as shutting down the Twas Sim. The result was the company unable to sell food, and pet Meeroos going hungry. New world Notes described Meeroo owners as tweeting Linden Lab’s Rodvik Linden, pleading him to let them feed their pets.

Fortunately, unlike some other breedables, Meeroos do not starve to death. Instead they’re described as running away in search of food, able to be recalled by a “whistle of return.” So there apparently was no danger of pets being lost through lack of food. And eventually, the Meeroos Resident account was released, as was the Twas sim.

It's been quite a weekend here, for all of us at Malevay Studios and our wonderful community around Meeroos. We know this has been a challenging time that has been both frustrating and often discouraging, but I am pleased that we have weathered this storm and have arrived on the other side. Linden Lab and Malevay Studios have been working together to remove fraudulent content from the grid in order to restore confidence to Meeroo Parents. As always, you are our number one priority, and with Linden Lab we have taken the required steps to reduce the threats that have been plaguing us.

Second Life Newser contacted the Meeroo owners Grey interviewed, but they had since given up on raising pets. Dropping by the store in the Roo sim, residents were dropping by to get food and other goods. In once corner was a big pile of grain, as if to advertise there was now plenty of food. One lady told me she was getting her first Meeroo. Others, however, told me of troubles, “... all of mine and the stumps vanished and still are missing, I had 24. So now I have to buy a new stump and food. Gone, vanished. I’m so angry because I just bought a snowpaw. Now I have nothing and lost my $400 and Meeroo people have not found them yet! Now I’ve just ordered berries and again not delivered. This is the 4th time this week I did not get delivery as well.” He was filing reports to the Meeroo website at support. Apparently, this resident was still having some problems.

A few days after the Meeroo troubles, another virtual pet company, Petables, announced plans to eventually close it’s operation in the Second Life Grid. While their turtles will still be running for now, “At a future date when the turtles are no longer paying for their server costs and the tier for the store in Shark, we will give a week or two warning, and then shut them down completely.”

Petables went on to explain the reason for this was an exploit left unresolved, “There is an issue on Linden Lab's end that was reported in 2006 that Linden Lab has never addressed. This issue allows people to steal whatever they want from vendors, and there is nothing that we can do to stop it. ... We have done everything short of go to the Linden Lab office building and refuse to leave until they at least talk about this problem, and have been ignored or dismissed every single time. For us to see something that we have poured thousands of hours into treated like that by the platform provider is probably the most de-motivating thing that I have ever experienced.” They explained one person in particular had stolen “thousands of US dollars worth of product from us,” and could no longer deal with Linden Lab’s refusal to solve the problem.

Second Life’s most popular pet remains on the grid, but another has given up due to the same kind of trouble that apparently the danger of will be around indefinitely.

Sources: New World Notes, Meeroos Blog, Petable's Blog,

Bixyl Shuftan

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