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Posted: Feb 20th 2011 8:39AM FrostPaw said

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I have always made alts in mmo's, I seem to enjoy the promise of what a character could be rather than what I actually have time to make them. More often then not I never have time to level more then one alt past say 10 or so. However I probably make 4-5 depending on how interesting the classes for the game are or how good the character creator is.

I think alts tend to dilute the personality of players however I also feel alts can make players more patient since they can associate better with why another class may be having trouble or difficulty in a situation by association. Not to mention better players simply by understanding another classes abilities and mechanics.

I have never played a single character server, sometimes I wonder if I would enjoy it. I like the regularity of seeing friends and guildmates logging on with recognisable names. I like always knowing which people play which roles and how good they are at it.

I think it depends on the game, if I feel the need to make multiple alts no desire to level any of them I think thats a bad sign that the gameplay is not engaing me enough. I.e. its more fun to play with character creation then it is the game i.e. city of heroes and possibly champions online (I haven't made up my mind on the second one yet!).

All In all, I think alts extend the life of a good game, if you don't ever feel like making an alt I think thats a sign the gameplay is too ardious or dull to make you want to do it all again.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 3:07PM DancingCow said

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@FrostPaw

"if you don't ever feel like making an alt I think thats a sign the gameplay is too ardious or dull to make you want to do it all again"

With this I disagree, because I think there's more to it.

I tend towards altaholism in class-based MMOs. Playing different classes helps you learn about them, which can improve your main character's performance in both PvE and PvP. It can also help to keep things fresh if you start to feel bored with your main.

But I NEVER create alts in MMOs with flexible character development systems where one character can theoretically learn everything - eg. Ryzom, Eve, Earthrise.

Taking Ryzom as an example, working on lower level skills does mean going back and re-doing content - basically as if you were doing with it an alt.

The only difference is that you don't have to split yourself across multiple characters. You don't need to manage multiple inventories. and your guild doesn't need to recruit half a dozen of you and remember all of your names.

I have a very strong preference for such games.
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Posted: Feb 21st 2011 5:11AM FrostPaw said

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@DancingCow

Clearly the context of my quote signifies games in which alts are a viable option which make a difference to the gameplay. Since a classless game based on universal skill choice would mean every character has the same options having an alt isn't going to provide you any kind of alternate playstyle thus cannot really be considered as an "option" for the game.

I can't speak for the other games you mention but I remember when I played EvE during the first 6 months of launch they actively discouraged alt making by preventing you trainng more than one character at a time hence it was never a viable option to have an alt. Which has nothing to do with the desire to make them.
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Posted: Feb 20th 2011 8:48AM Irem said

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For me it depends on the game. If a game isn't designed to support or encourage altitis, it's easy for rolling an alt to feel like I'm wasting my time, and then I get frustrated because I want to play my new character, but the design of the game makes it a pain in the butt. I had alts in FFXI, but they rarely got past level 20, because I'd spent years working on my main and not only did playing on another character feel like neglecting my main's upkeep, but starting a new character was basically starting the game over. My better half spent years playing her tarutaru white mage, only to fall in love with her first character, an elvaan dragoon, all over again, and it frustrated her that she'd basically gotten stuck by that point as the white mage. Getting the DRG to the WHM's level of preparedness would have taken a very long time and a lot of effort.

In WoW, though, or PSU, we would just roll up other characters for kicks and giggles/to test out RP concepts/because we missed a particular leveling area/so on. And at least for me, it did give the game way more staying power.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 8:53AM aillas said

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Alts help retention for me. The games I play the most are the ones I have a large number of alts. The games I no longer play, or rarely play, are ones where I really only like one or two classes.

If I'm not enjoying a game enough to have alts, I'm not going to be playing for long.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:17AM Heraclea said

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Having viable alts is key to keeping me as a player, largely because I tend to dislike the mechanics that make you knuckle down and play a single character to the exclusion of others.

Part of it is social. If your friends are missing a tank, a healer, or what have you in order to take on some bit of content, it helps to be able to fill in the missing puzzle piece.

Mechanics that create bottlenecks that force you to play mains are discouraging. Progression raiding, where you have to bring your gear up to the first raid's standards to progress to the second raid, essentially requiring the farming of one after another, is something I dislike. Eventually I will run into something that exceeds my limited patience, attention span, and twitch reflexes. When this happens, odds are I will be bored with the character and the game. And sooner or later these systems will lead to an encounter where *your* character is specifically disadvantaged by the gimmicks and mechanics.

Even more daunting is the prospect of having to do reputation grinds to unlock instances, gear, and other perks. This gets old fast on one character; having to repeat the same grinds on different characters is more than I am prepared to endure.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:18AM Mistdal said

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find that I enjoy games alot more if there is no alts, love to achieve things, in games where people have alot of alts it just wears me out to help everyone doing the same thing for the 100th time, and if going in the other direction where people need no help at all, it gets too boring since there basicly isnt anything much reason to group in the first place, imo running the same 10 instances 100s of times is not an achievement at all, and just plain bad design and boring - not that I mind doing instances several times but need to be for another persons achievement if not for my own.

hate alts but somewhat is an altoholic by now meself by now, can hardly be prevented after 6 years in the same game

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:21AM cowboyhugbees said

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With the seemingly endless variety of MMO's being released or in beta stages, I find it nearly impossible to stick with my main game and create a bunch of alts.

Sure, an alt can present a game in an entirely new light, but at the end of the day it just feels like eating the same flavor ice cream with a fork instead of a spoon.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:23AM Dumac said

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If an alt can help you experience something new, whether thats a new starting zone, a different side in the conflict (horde/alliance etc) or a different style of play, it enriches your experience. Well that's how i feel anyway.

But some games hate alts, those are the games that don't help you do anything new with an alt, just give you the same experience from a different angle, and this is where i get annoyed and bummed out because it suddenly hits me that im playing a one dimensional game that i will eventually be bored of, and this mere realization accelerates the process greatly.

So it depends on the design of the game...

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:33AM (Unverified) said

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My habits are very much like Irem's. If the game is designed for it, I love making alts and building them up. If the game doesn't, then naturally you make a main and play him instead. My three major MMO's are really good examples of this:

Star Wars Galaxies was NOT an alt game. It really wasn't even an alt game unless you had your whole life to pour into it. I tried running a combat character and a crafting character for a little while. If loved ones and a job are important to you, you ultimately have to make a decision before the end.

Eve is even more alt-unfriendly than SWG, but isn't nearly as alt account unfriendly. EVE discourages alts due to the real time skill training; only one toon may train skills at a time. Everyone who plays EVE wants that next big skill for their main, so alts are relegated to low-skill jobs like hauling, spying, and watching markets in unhandy regions. Because the client is set up to allow multiple instances however, its a great game for alt accounts. Nearly everyone I play with has at least two accounts. The flexibility and extra avenues this doing this creates makes it worth the extra account payment if you take EVE seriously.

My last major MMO is Guild Wars, of which I have a character for each profession, with only the Mesmer suffering much neglect. Sure, I still have two or three favorites that carry a majority of my game play, but most of the others have finished at least two of the campaigns and have nice gear.

So it really does depend on the game, and whether they have made it accessible and fun to make alts.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:35AM Addfwyn said

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As others have said, it depends on the game.

In FFXI, obviously there is no point to having alts, cause I can do everything on one character. This was the best of both worlds to me, cause I can always switch jobs, but I still have that developed affinity with one character.

Same goes for classless games like say EVE, where unless you want to dish out for extra accounts, an alt isn't strictly necessary.

In more strict class based games like WoW or WAR, I spent a lot more time developing alts, cause I wanted to see a lot more content. Especially games where there are a variety of factions or starting areas, so it's a different experience each time.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:36AM Silverangel said

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Game design and player preference are two many-fanged puzzle pieces that are always butting heads. I think there is a pleasure principle--players naturally gravitate to what they most enjoy. It then becomes a matter of whether the game allows them to have fun doing that (multiple start zones and leveling paths, for example.) The longer players are allowed to enjoy what they enjoy in a given situation, the more longevity and game retention.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:47AM Rialle said

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I think that this is a per-player question.

I am not an alt person, as I prefer to find the class that suits me the most in a game and stick with it for the long haul, building up that character as much as I can. I will usually have one other alt I bring to maximum level but never do much aside from crafting with it, and the type of crafting is usually chosen such that it will benefit my main in some fashion. Once in a while it's fun to switch to doing some dungeons on my alt for a change of pace, but I never seriously focus on gearing them up.

I think that the massive amount of time I put into my main in WoW is why I have a hard time ever leaving for good. I am very attached to the achievements I've collected and old school gear I've kept in the bank. I have a fleet of mounts to choose from and a ton of reputations maxed out. It's hard to leave behind. Not to mention that this is the character with some of my fondest MMO memories attached to it, such as downing Nef in BWL and doing Baron speed runs. I think I am more attached to the character than I am attached to the game itself.

On the other hand, I know lots of people who like WoW because the leveling curve is so easy that they can build an army of alts. They swap between characters frequently, and enjoy switching up their play style. I know players like this who have played the game as long as I have. I have to admit that sometimes it does annoy me just a bit when they want to keep swapping in who they bring to raids to gear them all up, but I think that's because I have a differing mentality towards alts.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 10:13AM Bottleskup said

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When I first started really getting in to EQ2, which was just after KoS even though I had played since DoF, I was literally getting up every morning and rolling a new character, playing them to 10 or so, then switching back to main for the rest of the day, then the next morning i'd roll another one. I actually did this for long enough to have played all the classes to lvl 30 at one point or another.

I always would end up deleteing them to make room for another 'experiment' but it was good fun, and tbh It taught me a lot about how other classes work in a basic way, from a beginners viewpoint, which I pretty much was.

And come RoK I had my main, and one or two max level alts that I would poke about on if a friend needed a healer or a bard or w/e, or there was a need in a raid, but I wasnt interested in rolling too many alts anymore. And now? Now I don't do alts until im max level, I have no interest in doing alts until i'm max level. Maybe this is because it's fairly rare to come across a class within [insert mmo here] that hasnt been played if you've played all of EQ2's 24 classes, I know the playstyle i want, I choose it, game on.

As for does it help in the long run, well I think it *did* help as a new player to know what kind of thing other classes can do, and it definetely kept me playing for longer, because I ended up leading raids. Would I have been doing that if early on I had no idea what other classes were capable of? Who knows.

But yeah, now I just get my main to the end, then piss about on alts when theres nothing to do.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 10:41AM MMOaddict said

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Alts and a game that encourages them are needed more than games that only encourage one character. Only one exception to that is FFXI. But that's due to a plethora of other reasons plus the sub job effect.

Anyway, I LOVE my alts and if a game doesn't have enough starting areas or leveling options, like AoC, then the game has very little longevity for me.

On the other side of the coin, games like WoW, Vangaurd, EQ2 offer TONS of leveling and starting area choices and I've played those games longer than any MMORPG to date because I can play so many and have a different experience with each.

So it helps. also, a game that encourages Alt play doesn't hurt those who like ONE character, they still have that option.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 11:06AM Ergonomic Cat said

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I can firmly say "Yes" to answer your question. ;)

In some games, it helps a ton. I've played CoH for so many years because there's always something to fit whatever gameplay style I want, and whatever mood I'm in.

I quit WoW because I got tired of rolling new toons on different servers, different sides, etc.

So it depends, I guess. But this is a question I've been wondering about too, so thanks for it!

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 11:08AM hami83 said

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It entirely depends on the levelling process.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 11:11AM (Unverified) said

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I used to be an altaholic and because of that I never got as far as I should have in the MMO's I subscribed to. Anytime I hit a tiny bit of boredom with class A/char A I would log onto class B/char B.

That is until FFXI...

When I first read you were given 1 character slot I cried "murder!". Then I learned about the subjob system, and my oh my what a revelation. You had ONE guy, who could do anything in the game. I became soooo attached to my FFXI char, more attached than any other videogame char in my life.

I wish more MMO's would adopt this system, it is definitely one of the things FFXI got PERFECT. The idea of having to create an entirely new character just to play another class seems silly to me now.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 11:21AM TheModernMajorGeneral said

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Whenever I play an MMO I usually find that my first character doesn't turn out right. Maybe I didn't fully understand a mechanic or maybe I see something else that I like better. Whatever the reason, my first character usually gets ditched and I make another one with a better understanding of the game and then I feel much more satisfied with the new character. So I definitely like having alts from the perspective of freely trying options without continually deleting a character to do so.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 11:23AM Barri said

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I don't really like alts, I find they dilute the game. They just get all mashed together and ruins the story since your basically doing it over with another character. I guess it turns into more like playing The Sims than building a character.

Also when people have so many alts the community is not as tight since no one really needs another person.


I'd only make an alt if I screwed up my main beyond repair or I did all I could on my main but a game shouldn't let that happen.

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