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Reader Comments (21)

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 8:06AM Mikkhail said

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My alts are generally known to my friends/guildies ... but I always like to be able to have one or two anonymous alts so that I can have a little privacy sometimes

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 8:55AM meancheez said

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@Mikkhail

Agreed. It's nice to let guild members you can perform a few different roles, but you also want to play without those pressures sometimes.
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Posted: Jun 9th 2011 8:18AM Dumac said

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Would prefer to have control over this. It's one of those things that i think i should decide for myself, knowing that anonymity has it's positives and it's negatives as well as public alts.

It's okay if a game wants to reveal my alts and justify it with features like shared storage, guild membership and friend lists and that sort, it's not okay though if a game wants to reveal my alts without my knowledge. That's a breach of privacy.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 9:03AM Alluvian EstEndrati said

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It is hard to think of a universally compelling reason to make all alts of a player knowable in such a fashion.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 9:08AM EndDream said

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I really don't care now in all of the games we play where we can't really effect the world. In UO I was extremely closed lipped about my alts. I played such different characters than even close friends didn't know all of my characters.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 10:35AM Controlled Chaos said

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I doubt it's that they can't fix their page, but that they are being lazy about it. Seems like a pretty consistent problem with them as of late. Personally, I don't want anyone knowing anything about me or my gaming habits without being the one to specifically TELL someone about those particulars. I prefer to play in peace without having people bothering me all the time.

Honestly, I had no idea that they actually did this, as they obviously don't want a breach in privacy to be that well known. I find that quite annoying though, to say the least. In any game, no matter which one it is, you always manage to find that one person who clings like a leech and won't let go, to the point of wanting to strangle them. It does not fill me with confidence that they can apparently just search my bloody name and find me when I try to hide from them.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 10:42AM SnarlingWolf said

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I think it is universal that everyone tends to like to have a couple unknown characters. The reasons are simple. Sometimes you want to just do your own thing and not go on whatever guild task people are currently working on. Sometimes you want to get away from the guild drama/annoyances. Sometimes you may even want an alt out there to check out other guilds to see if you want to swap to a better one.

It is silly to have all alts viewable by default. They should always default such things to invisible and have people who want to show go click a button.

I am concerned with these MMO companies trying to force more and more player information out there. First it was the Blizzard debacle of their proposed changes to bnet that they quickly decided not to do when everyone revolted and now it is EQ trying to release all of your alt information by default.

Do companies not understand respecting peoples' privacy anymore?

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 11:11AM Space Cobra said

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Like most folks, I do like to keep some alts anonymous. Sometimes, I just want to solo and do a one-player thing. Sometimes, it's just a crafting alt, but I do adventure a bit with it.

It's one of the reasons I don't like the Cryptic server/name system of tying your account name at the end. It can be too easy to reach me, no matter the alt I am on in that case.

Admittedly, I am old-fashioned and remember when we didn't have mobile phones, which this sorta is but in an MMO game. I can leave my mobile phone at home when I want some alone-time, but it's hard to do so when people know your alts or when you are on and can reach you by your account name.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 1:20PM Sente said

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@Space Cobra

The main problem with the Cryptic system I think is that it is actually the _account_ name by default. That same name is used in forums and as well as your global name in-game.

You can change so that your global name and forum name is different from your account name (need to open a support ticket for this), but you cannot get your account name changed.

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Posted: Jun 9th 2011 11:52AM cowboyhugbees said

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I try to keep my alts anonymous. I think everyone needs a break from their kin once in a while.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 12:02PM Nucleon said

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I'm gonna get flamed for this but, I'm all for my alts names and everyone's alts names being known. Heck, I'd kill for system in major MMOs like FFXI where you didn't need alts and only had one character which changed classes in the city and level each independently.

The more our identity is hidden the bigger jerks we become. For every nice guy who wants to some quiet time away from the guild, there's 5 complete jerkbags who troll trade and act like completely ***** because they know they can log on their main later and no one knew it was them. We complain endlessly in these comment threads about how community is awful in MMOs, yet at every turn, when given a choice we always choose the option that further erodes community. I can understand not revealing information external to the game in the game (Real ID e-mail). But if once inside the game we still have the need for anonymity within the game itself, then we'll simply never have the community we desire. To get the community we have to give up some of that privacy.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/3/19/.

In real life when you don't wanna talk, you stop answering your phone, or tell people that your busy. That's not enough?

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 2:14PM Daelda said

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@Nucleon Actually, I agree with you. I support an "Account Handle" where you /ignore an entire account when you /ignore any character on that account. In addition, such a method works to create more accountability and allows players to build "reputations" across all their characters and can't, say, ninja-loot on one character, only to switch to another character later to get away from that reputation.

For privacy, players should be able to log on and select a mode similar to most Chat programs - "Online", "Do Not Disturb", "AFK" and even "Invisible". "Invisible" would hide you from being online from your friends/Guildmates, but you would become "visible" to anyone you either PM'd, or Grouped with during that log-in session. This, I believe, strikes a good balance between privacy and accountability.
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Posted: Jun 9th 2011 2:16PM Daelda said

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@Nucleon Although, as an Alt-O-Holic, I LOVE having lots of Alts.
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Posted: Jun 9th 2011 2:20PM Nenene said

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@Nucleon
It's none of your business who my alts are, or what I'm doing.
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Posted: Jun 9th 2011 2:41PM Irem said

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@Nucleon
Secret alts are not the source of asshole behavior. Assholes are. Almost everyone I've known in any game I played had alts I didn't know about, or that I knew they used for alone time, and that's a pretty big group of people compared to the handful of real trolls I've come across. Someone determined to behave badly is going to do it on their main or their alt, because jerks usually consider their behavior justified and don't really see any -need- to hide it.

The game with the best community that I've ever played was one that had incredibly robust privacy features (FFXI). Community should grow from gameplay, and it will if the game is designed to support it. No amount of trying to force people to play with their virtual blinds open will accomplish that, because all that does is frighten away people who value their privacy and leave you to deal with those who don't care what others think of them and now have easier access to anyone they'd like to harass.

Saying "I'm busy" is not enough; if it were, people wouldn't have been asking Blizzard for years for the ability to appear as offline. It bothers me whenever a company seems like they're trying to develop for what they think -should- happen when people interact, rather than what actually -does-, and it's really none of their business who I share my ingame time with. If they want to improve the game community, they should start by making sure that players need each other and have the tools to interact with each other easily, because I guarantee that a game with total transparency that rewarded being a ruthless jerk with no social skills would still breed ruthless jerks with no social skills.
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Posted: Jun 9th 2011 12:46PM tooright said

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I like having a secret alt for the purpose of selling on the Auction House in game.

I usually post between 100-500 auctions everyday in games that have an auction system. I don't want players messaging me trying to sell an item for 5% less than I'm asking on the AH (I usually say no and they usually buy it anyway).

Having an anonymous alt prevents me from being hit-up for free stuff by guildies. I'm all for being "friendly and helpful" but there is a limit to my generosity and I prefer to set that limit.

Also my alt privacy is good for the economy. I am free to undercut anyone I want without having to get "hate-tells" from randoms who
can't tolerate competition.



Posted: Jun 9th 2011 2:19PM Nenene said

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My identity online is my business and no one elses.

Any company that tries to interfere with my right to remain anonymous online does not get my money, period.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 2:56PM Lateris said

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Honestly its the only way I can play without having any demands is with my alts

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 5:50PM Ordegar said

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I'm not sure why one would need to "protect" alternate characters, but my answer is no, I am not protective; in fact all of my character names begin with Ord (e.g. Ordegar, Ordren, Ordoth, etc.) so I'm pretty easy to spot.

One of the best innovations in mmos is in Cryptic's mmos, wherein you have an account name and a character name. This has a few advantages; one, a friend can always /tell you if they know your account name even if they don't know what character you're on because they can /tell to your account name; two, your character name is tied to your account name, so you don't get locked out of a name just because someone else in the game has used it, that only happens if YOU already have a character with that name; three, if someone adds you to their friend list, they are friending YOU, not your character, so when they look in their friend list and you are online they will see you no matter what character you are on and what level/class your character is that you're playing at the moment. Brilliant! If you have a strange paranoia about your alts, then don't bother playing any Cryptic games; you would have to make separate accounts for each alt ;P.

Posted: Jun 9th 2011 6:20PM Graill440 said

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In the end its personal preference and their money, time.

I really cant see a reason to make alts, thats just me, whether for storage, because the game is lacking proper mechanics, or going through the same game twice, regardless of which faction/race is available, nothing changes, so let alt taps make their alts, makes no difference to me unless it were to affect my gameplay, which to date hasnt happened. (smile)
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