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Reader Comments (78)

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 12:02PM SergeGaltier said

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@smartstep
You can have multiple toons per account in Eve, it's just that only one can be skill training at a time.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 2:29PM Utakata said

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@smartstep

Thanks for clearing that up. But I really thought FFXIV had the one, due to the arguement by devs that because you can roll on as many professions as you want for the one toon, therefore you won't be needing any alts.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 3:20PM smartstep said

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@SergeGaltier

Yeah. But that's practically almost the same as having just one character.

@Utakata

Would have to double check that to be 100% sure, but I think it is like I said.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 3:22AM Utakata said

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@smartstep

Oh yeah...I just confirmed you have 3 character slots per account on EVE. Not one. I guess this one of the quality of life changes they've made since you left. But there they where on the toon screen as plain as the two pigtails petruding from my avatar's head.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:28AM Drakkon said

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The biggest problem with alt abuse is that the games allow it, but do not take it into account as part of their design. That you can, and in most cases MUST, have an alt to explore all the content and/or tradeskill opportunities to make for a viable "end-game" character is very bad design on the part of the developers because they didn't take it into account, or the ramifications of its implementation by players, during the design process.

What they should have done is either not limited players to a single pair or trio of tradeskills and/or character type opportunities. Instead, they should have anticipated that some people would not want to rely on other players and the insane way players try to parasitize one another by charging ridiculous prices for their crafted items. We can't blame bots or gold farmers for this, either, because people will charge insane prices for anything, if they think someone will pay it. Just watch the price of lumber before a hurricane.

If they took these things into account, designed the game around the option of allowing a single character to explore all their options, and quit using bag space and inventory management as a poor man's inducement to go sell your junk when you're waist deep in questing, then we wouldn't see nearly as many alters and mules being used.

It might even make an altoholic like me settle on one character for a while. So long as there are choices and limitations on what you can do with just one character, there will always be alts, mules, boxers and bots. As both an industry and a community, we really need to sit down and re-think our assumptions and positions on game design and the basic mechanics of MMOs. RPGs are a nice starting point for MMOs, but they are only a starting point, not the finish line. We should stop assuming that we've perfected the design. Both the industry and the community are guilty of this.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 2:03PM OutThere said

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@Drakkon

I agree with you. The restrictions on crafting, character traits, and bag space that are directly inherited from RPGs have restricted MMOs in a narrow design band.

I have multiple alts in all the games I play for two reasons. The first is that I enjoy adventuring and experiencing content I like from many different perspectives. I want to play every class to see what it is like, the challenges, strengths, and weaknesses, and how all the classes interact with each other. Regardless of the crafting aspect, I would still be an altaholic.

The second is definitely crafting. This is the second most enjoyable aspect of an MMO for me. I like gathering, leveling up crafts, etc. I do not like being stymied or held up because I can't find or can't afford a crafting component. And, just like classes, I want to explore the entire crafting side of the game. I always want one of every crafting ability. So I will always have as many alts as necessary to experience all the crafting.

Games like LOTRO that gate key crafting components behind raids are still in the Stone Age in their thinking. They are trying to control the economy and instead simply create a raiding hegemony over crafting rather than allowing crafting to find its real viability and place in the game. But Turbine, in my opinion, is a total control freak developer, micro managing things through game design that other developers leave to the natural forces of the game.

Alts and mules are not cheating. They use the normal game design in a normal way. In a way multiboxing is the gamers' response to the community having evolved beyond group-only content and devs having not quite caught up. I remember rushing my own characters through Diablo 2 on two separate computers long before the term dual boxing came into use. Both in all these cases, the player is actually playing the game. Unlike botting, where the players is decidedly not playing the game.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:30AM Matix said

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Depends:

CHEATING: If you're using a program to control multiple accounts at once, that's a form of botting because while it is you giving the orders, it is the bot programs executing them to the other accounts. While you are doing SOME of the work, the bot(s) is(are) doing the rest. That is cheating.

SO TOTALLY NOT CHEATING: If you have alt characters that you regularly play and that YOU put the work into, then I don't see any valid reason against it regardless of:

A) With a 1 or small slot limit, if you want more slots, pay for more accounts. If that doesn't seem fair, then complain to the developer to add more. If it's ala SOE and SWG, however, the devs will simply laugh and take the extra money, so GL with that one...

B) With an alt friendly environment, like WOW, you can have mule space like other players have if you do the work and level your characters or form an alt guild.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 9:19AM Reverend St Jay said

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@Matix

Using "a keyboard" to send "a keypress" to "a game client" is the normal way to interface with game, and it's not cheating.
Using "a program" to send "a keypress" to "a game client" is a different way to interface, but necessary for some, and it's also not cheating.
Using "a program" to send "a keypress" to "a game client" is multi-boxing, and because it's one keypress per pressed key, it's also not cheating.

Using "an anything" to send "multiple keypresses" to "any number of game clients" is not multi-boxing, but it is cheating like a sonofagun.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 3:38PM Matix said

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@Reverend St Jay I never used the word "multi-boxing" so I'm a bit "lost" on all "quotations" in reference to my point, but to the extent you addressed what I wrote:

"Using "an anything" to send "multiple keypresses" to "any number of game clients" is... cheating like a sonofagun."

I agree.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:39AM ephesym said

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If it was cheating, don't you think they would take it out of the games, or possibly not even allow it in the first place.

Stupid question.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:40AM dudes said

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multiboxing in WoW with shaman Death Star lightning teams is.

Their bike gangs are pretty cool though.

Just having a variety of alts allows a player to see many parts of the game they would otherwise miss so at least alts allow value for money to those that don't cheat.

The bad one, as ever, let down the good ones.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:49AM Chiren said

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Just like prostitution is the oldest profession, muling is the oldest cash shop pay-2-win item.

Go ahead and justify it as much as you like, you're still paying twice as much as the next guy for something extra.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:50AM Bhagpuss said

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Alts and mules don't exist for me. Whichever character I am playing at any given time is my "main" character.

I have tried to make bank mules on occasion, by picking a race and class that I have no interest in playing, but inevitably one of two things happens. Either I'm so uncomfortable with the character that I can't even bring myself to log it in and it gets deleted before I leave character select or I find myself playing it as a proper character and any idea of using it as a mule gets quickly lost.

As for the question, no of course it isn't "cheating" in most MMOs. It's normative gameplay. There are some MMOs that strictly disallow it in their terms of use, though, so it would be cheating in those.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:51AM Scuffles said

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Seriously whats up with the trend in self flagellation blogs?

If you aren't paying for a free to play game you are stealing from them. Then the leggo universe blog that essentially went to the tune of, no one was willing to pay them so they are closing forever. Now this .... if you have more than one character you're cheating ...........

Who cares if someone has a mule or an alt.

The only qualm I have ever taken with having a skill-alt or buff-bot or whatever they want to call it, is when they say they have solo'd something when they are dual or tri boxing with their main a buff-bot and a pocket-healer. That sir is not solo.... Other than that its a non issue.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:51AM Dumac said

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It's all fine except for multi-boxing in my opinion. I don't care that there is no actual automation software going on, if you are one person simultaneously controlling five characters, you are cheating.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:53AM FrostPaw said

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Can't believe I missed the opportunity first post....

Nice Ass Brianna ;-)

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 11:40AM Brianna Royce said

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@FrostPaw /threadwin :D
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:53AM NeoWolfen said

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Im a big fan of alts but I don't multibox or anything like that. I love alts because primarily I like to be self sufficient when it comes to crafting. If I want new gear I don't have to pay exorbitant AH prices I can just make it myself.

Plus I find Alts help prevent me getting burned out on a game, which invariably happens I find when I just play one thing over and over for too long. Playing alts lets you mix it up, keep things fresh so you don't get that burn out.

I've also never used an alt for auction houses or extra bank spaces as many I know have but thats largely because the idea of having a character I dont play just doesnt sit well with me heh

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:58AM pancho72 said

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It's a grey area that is unavoidable in MMOs, and I think acceptable because the technique is available for everyone and public known.

I sometimes avoid using alts for metagaming when I think it's cheesy or out of character. At other times I embrace the mechanic fully when the metagaming aspects open up a new level of gameplay. It depends on my mood and what I feel like.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 9:17AM Silverangel said

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I enjoy dual-boxing and spend most of my time doing it, because I like the challenge and the imaginary role-play aspect. I normally don't PvP or even recognize MMO's as any kind of competition where you are trying to "beat" other people, so cheating and unfairness does not apply. In those situations maybe things should be different. I would not go and dual-box in any PvP arena or region, personally. I don't have such a bad need to "win".

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