*pounces* Aha, another player!
Is player the right word? It's not a game. "Lifer" just sounds horribly depressing, given its colloquial meaning.
The only gambling machines I've looked at are the ones in shops that give you free stuff if your name starts with a given letter. So far I've apparently got like 1,000 Linden's worth of shoes from them.
What should I look for if I'm buying a new shape for my avatar? Is there like a guide or something?
Resident tends to be the term, but... really... anything works. xD
As for advice on what to do...
Well, I admit my activity dwindled a bit since the rp sim I was managing went over...
If Final Fantasy RP is your thing, there are places to go, just be aware they can be absolutely infested with drama; not to mention furries. Nothing against furries, but there are a A LOT of them in the FFRP circles, and its basically impossible to run an FFRP sim without allowing furry characters in, so if you're looking for a sort of authentic experience they're probably not going to really deliver on that. I've too much of a drama history with that community to enjoy it anymore, but if you think you can deal with the furry characters, or... hell, if that's your thing, then those kind of sims could be great for you.
Other than that... there is, or was Mystara last time I checked. I can't promise its still there, but if it is its a pretty nice fantasy rp sim. There's also a ton of modern dark fantasy rps, and while I'm sure some of them are good, they all sort of blur together to me xD
Naruto rps used to be big, but I don't really think there's too of them around anymore. There might be some Star Wars rps, but the ones I went to were a tad disorganized.
Its also worth noting that a lot of the rp sims I've been too don't allow the level of adult content you'll find on this site.
Most of the places that do... I dunno... weird me out xD I can't really go to Gor sims, the people there seem to take it so seriously. I feel like you get two main breeds of 'adult' communities in SL. You get the really trashy kind with people who, frankly, aren't that good at rp and just want to cyber... which, hey, if that's your thing, cool, but it's not really mine. On the opposite end, you get people who can rp well enough, but take the whole fantasy waaaaaaaaaay too seriously, and have a way of creeping out new people.
All in all, there's a lot to do in SL, and I would hardly discourage anyone from trying it out. I met some of the best friends I've ever had on SL, and some really great people. Just a heads up that its kind of a minefield of weirdness, crazy people and drama. But if you can navigate it and find something you really like to do in a community you really like, you'll have the best time in the world.
Also, get a third party viewer. I've always used Firestorm/Phoenix, the standard SL viewer is just... meh.http://www.firestormviewer.org/
Edit: Just realized how old this thread is... ah well, advice for anyone else interested in checking it out xD