What is VRChat? VRChat is not like a normal video game. VRChat is a game of virtual worlds where you socialize with other real people using avatars and your voice. You can do some pretty amazing stuff in VRChat, all for free.
Want to go dancing at a New York Night Club with your friends? How about taking a virtual IMAX worthy ride underwater? Play some laser tag? Visit a museum in Japan? Play some games at a Chuck E Cheese restaurant complete with all the animatronics, Skee ball, and pizza? There are a million experiences to be had in VRChat, so let’s get started on exactly what VRChat is, and 8 Getting Started in VR Chat Tips.
8 Tips for Getting started with VRChat
1) You do not need VR to play VRChat
You absolutely do NOT need VR to play VRChat. You can install it for free from their website or Stream on any desktop computer and try it out yourself right now. VR makes VRChat better, but VR is not needed. Create a free account and login.
If you are a parent, I fully recommend you install VRChat and try it out yourself, before letting your kids play this game.
Once installed, the first time you open VRChat and visit some worlds, you will likely be pretty overwhelmed. It’s a weird thing entering a virtual world, with virtual avatars for the first time. So let’s break it down.
2) Starting Off in the VRChat Starter World
You start VRChat in a very plain “starter world”. There shouldn’t be any other people in the world. Get familiar with moving around and read some of the information around. The VRChat starter world has a basic mirror and a few different avatars you can select. These avatars get switched up, but usually are very generic characters like a robot, a bunny, or a plain anime girl. Pick anyone you like.
Behind the mirror, there are some portals to other places like “The Black Cat” which is a virtual bar. Yeah, a bar. So let’s pick that one. Portals are how you go between worlds in VRChat.
If you are a parent, you should now be aware that from the main screen of the game, is a link to a virtual bar with other random strangers, who are in random avatar costumes.
3) Entering a Real VRChat World with Other People WILL be Overwhelming
As you move past the first starter world, into a place with other real people, there will likely be chaos in front of you. There will be a bunch of cartoons, memes, and ridiculous characters running around. Maybe even a few rather sexualized anime girls. Many of these characters will be grouped together and there will likely be talking, laughing, writing, joking around, flirting, and insulting each other. Just like they would at a real bar, in real life.
Because you likely don’t know anyone in this room, you have basically walked into a bar by yourself. Again, in real life, walking into a bar by yourself is likely a pretty weird and uncomfortable experience for many people. In VRChat, you also add in the fact that all these people are in crazy, different, usually non-human, avatar characters.
Unfortunately, depending on the room you are in, some people might be being mean to each other. Maybe they are even being mean to you. You are currently in a default “I just started the game basic avatar” after all. That’s a big target that tells people that you are new to the game. Some people like to take advantage of the “newbie” and give you a hard time. There are also many people in VRChat who are super understanding, kind and nice. Every time you play VRChat the experience will involve real people, so you never know what will happen. Figure out how to use the mute and block button and USE IT OFTEN.
You may notice many people sitting and staring at a blank wall. Everyone is likely loud, talking over each other and it is a lot to take in. There may be screaming young kids, or it may just sound like there is screaming young kids (What do drunk adults in a bar sound like?). Is this really what VRChat is? Why would anyone play this?
Breath and remember that almost everyone feels this exact feeling when they start the first time. It will pass and there are great experiences to be had.
Still with me? Let’s keep going.
4) Picking your first Real VRChat Avatar that represents you – ie. Actually Starting VRChat
The experience up to this point is what most people experience with VRChat on their own. It’s a big reason why people say “VRChat is all kids and it’s dumb”. Since you are reading this article, you’ll now know what to expect. If this happened to you, know that it is not all VRChat is. There is so much more to explore! Like I mentioned, being one of the default avatars is usually a pretty bad idea. People will know you are new.
One of the first things you want to do is take some time to find yourself an avatar that you feel represents you. Many people choose to be their favorite video game or cartoon character. Many like being something they could never be in real life, like a unicorn, a hot dog, or an alien.
In the real world, you might be a 6’4 manly dude, but in a virtual world, maybe it would be fun to pretend to be a tiny, 2-foot high, fluffy cat for awhile. People treat you differently when you are a tiny, fluffy cat. You don’t have to be a tough guy. Random people might come up and virtually pet your head. If you are 6’4 in real life, you might never have experienced that type of “You are tiny and cute” interaction. It can be pretty fun to pretend to be someone else for a little while. This is the pull for a lot of people in VRChat. You can be whoever you want.
Picking your “New You”
To get started selecting a new virtual you, simply visit a few VRChat Avatar worlds and try a few on. Try big Al’s Avatars from the starter world for some basics. See if any resonate with you, but definitely explore some other Avatar worlds. You can save up to 16 of them to switch between at any point in time.
This avatar hunting will be an ongoing part of your VRChat experience. As you get more comfortable with the game and you see more avatars people use, you will have a better idea of avatars that you “want to be”. Many people even pay to have custom, unique avatars made just for them.
Sexualized VRChat Avatars and NSFW VRChat
Many people also like being a very sexualized version of themselves. With the click of a button, you can have ripped 6 pack abs and a beautiful face with perfect hair or you can be a tall girl in a skimpy bikini with a huge chest. You will definitely see and hear NSFW content in this game. Some people act out sexual experiences. Constantly. Just like you would at a bar.
Parents, in case you haven’t noticed already, In my opinion, VRChat is really not for kids. Is this something you really want your child exposed to with random internet strangers? These are really tame photos, but an idea of typical sexualized avatars people will be using.
5) How to Talk to People in VRChat
Now that you are not the basic avatar, try going back to the Black Cat. If you are an introverted or shy person, it can be really difficult to walk up to a group of people you don’t know and start talking. The first thing to know about VRChat is that most people talking in the room in front of you, likely do not know each other either. Some of them might be real-life friends, but most people met in the game, or most likely, they just met a few moments before you showed up. It is a normal part of VRChat to walk up to people you don’t know and start talking to them.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea, just mute yourself, stand to the side for a while and watch other people talk. You will quickly see that most people probably don’t know each other and they are likely talking about random topics that you can contribute to. Having a unique avatar means people might come up to you and start talking to you about it. Asking someone about their avatar is also a great way to say hello.
If you don’t find anything interesting in that room, join a different one. Picture yourself walking around a bar or networking event in real life. You walk around the room, walk up to a group of people, listen for a bit, see if you like the topic, contribute if you do, and move on if you don’t. Not every group or room is going to be a fit for you. Many, or even most, will not. This is all part of the VRChat experience.
6) How to Make Friends In VRChat
Eventually, by doing this uncomfortable random introduction process a few times, you will start meeting some great, awesome, cool people! This is when VRChat gets really fun.
Anyone you connect with in VRChat, you should send a friend request so you can find them the next time you play. Some people might not accept your friend request and that’s ok too. It is a social experience, so everyone will deal with these things a little differently and at their own comfort levels. If you want to improve your ability to make friends and be social in real-life, VRChat is a GREAT way to practice these skills.
Of course, if you have friends who you game with you can invite them into VRChat and make this process a bit easier. By doing this, you may also be making it hard to meet new, cool, people because you won’t bother meeting new friends if your friends are around.
Tip: Remember as you continue to play the game these new and scary feelings when you start out. When you can see someone is new, be a good person and try and welcome them as best you can. VRChat is a community and it takes everyone to make it an awesome place.
When you start getting friends in VRChat, you will be able to see them online and join them in whatever virtual world they might be in. It’s much easier to walk up to a group when you see a person you are friends with already. These people will also likely introduce you to their other VRChat friends and your circle will grow.
Now VRChat turns into an experience where you are hanging out with your new virtual friends doing fun activities or socializing. There are now a million experiences like I mentioned in the first paragraph you can try out together. Have a search for the Chuck E Cheese world and go spend a few hours hanging out there with your new friends. Or….
7) What types of Worlds are In VRChat? What can you do in VRChat?
The amount of virtual worlds is never-ending. VRChat says it currently has over 25,000 community-made worlds. There are really 2 types of Worlds in VR Chat. Gaming/Activity worlds and Chill/Hangout Worlds.
There are so many awesome gaming worlds! From completely remade versions of popular video games like Among Us, Phasmophobia, or more generic games like Pool, Laser Tag, or Bowling. There are super spooky horror games, complete with jump scares and puzzles to solve. Some take 6+ hours to play and finish! There are lots of game worlds where random people will get together and play classic drinking games like “Never Have I Ever” or “Murder”. These are helpful to break the ice in a group setting with people who likely don’t know each other either.
There are also many “chill worlds”. These are generally beautiful locations that are designed for groups of people to gather, hang out and socialize with other people. An example of a “chill world”, would be a one-room, expensive winter mountain cottage, in the middle of nowhere, with a nice fireplace, snow, and soft music. Rain rooms and comfy rooms are these types of chill experiences.
There is nothing to really “do” in these types of worlds but look at the beautiful scenery and interact with other people who might be there. Many users enjoy these types of experiences for a low key place to get to know new people.
There are even sleep rooms where people go to sleep in VR. Yes, some people sleep in VR! Some just go to these rooms knowing they will have a very relaxed environment. If you are finding the random public bar worlds to be too much, try giving one of these “sleep worlds” a try. Because these are not loud drinking bar areas, you might be more likely to find some nice people to talk to.
All VRChat worlds are completely free to go and experience, alone or with your friends, at any time. I recommend taking some time to search for some new fun worlds on your own. You can favorite any worlds you like, so you can return to them in the future. It’s a great opener with friends to say, “Hey want to check out this new world I found?” Or “Have you been to the drive-in world yet?”.
Depending on your personality, you might find it easier to make friends in a world where there is an activity to do, instead of a chill world where socialization might be more forced. See which options work for you, but definitely take some time to explore the endless worlds of VRChat. That’s one of the best parts of the game.
8) Why do people look in the mirror in VRChat?
When you start VRChat, you will see many people in a world sitting in a certain area, just staring towards a blank wall. This is actually a mirror (look for the button).
But what is with the mirror? Why do people just sit there in VR for hours in front of a mirror? This is a very popular activity to do in VRChat because it allows you to see “virtual you” interacting with everyone else in the room. This creates a more immersive feeling because you can see yourself moving and at the same time, you can see others interacting with “you”. You also don’t really need to be doing anything. The extra ability to see yourself in the mirror just adds to the “I’m in VR” experience for many people.
A real-life comparison is people sitting along a bar, staring straight ahead. They don’t really have to be doing anything to be present and socializing at a bar this way.
Many people also say they can “feel” experiences that happen to them in VR, like someone touching their arm or patting their head. This is called phantom touch. The mirror helps many people have that experience or “feeling” of someone touching them. All these reasons, are why you see one of the more popular activities on VRchat, is sitting in front of the mirror.
Final Thoughts on What is VRChat? 8 Tips for Getting Started In VRChat
I hope this post helped you to get over that first, uncomfortable and overwhelming experience that happens when we all start VRChat. VRChat is not like most video games and it is a social experience unlike any other. If you take your time and slowly meet some VRChat friends, it can be a great experience.