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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Alt-ism

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74 posts found

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/14/13
Posts: 1

8/14/13 7:49:51 AM#41

Honestly. To me City of Heroes was always about Creativity.

Creating your story, creating your unique look, creating your style.

That "lack of choices" in other games does get me to Max Level (sometimes). And then I want to quit the game. City of Heroes was one of the two  MMOs that kept my attention for multiple years (the other was EVE, because of the massive player interactions), and the only one that kept me coming back sporadicly (until it was cancelled).

Altism was a way to explore my personal creativity. In the golden years of CoH/CoV there was always the lure of yet another costume contest, yet another story to play out. Honestly I wish CoH had focused more on that. Made story not just content to be experienced, but something to be lived by the character. I wish the game had really embraced altism to its fullest with different choices influencing your character and the way you were recieved. Something like "milestone missions" that had a drama effect (even if it didn't influence gameplay).

Altism in CoH wasn't a flaw. It was a feature.


P.S: People weren't complaining because you were adding content. They were complaining because you were adding GRIND (and event-based grind too. So you can't spread it out over time. Would have been a lot less complaints if they knew with certainty that the event was coming back next year and the year after that). Not all new content is new grind, and MMO creators (or game creators in general) often seem to be unable to tell the difference.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/06/13
Posts: 6

8/14/13 7:57:47 AM#42

Hi everyone, My name is Davo, and i'm an Altoholic! For me the biggest thing for alts, especially with CoX, was i'd get an idea, an idea of a hero or villain, and then end up developing a character and so forth from that.

It's not limited to CoX, I end up doing it with others, like EQ2, GW2, SW:ToR etc. I'd get an idea of what I want a toon to look like, behave like, and end up developing from that. Problem is, my moods vary, so do my characters, so more alts come along.

lately the multi-class trend has come along, games like FFXIV:ARR and EQ:NEXT are allowing me to have multiple classes on the same toon, but I fear that it still won't feel the same, and my mood will shape what I want to play. Not just class but looks aswell. Time will tell I guess.


Great article btw, and I miss CoX, was an awesome ride while it lasted!


Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6496

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

8/14/13 8:02:42 AM#43
Originally posted by fiendishrabbit

Honestly. To me City of Heroes was always about Creativity.

Creating your story, creating your unique look, creating your style.

That "lack of choices" in other games does get me to Max Level (sometimes). And then I want to quit the game. City of Heroes was one of the two  MMOs that kept my attention for multiple years

^^  Devs'll get the right message, eventually.

We've just been seeing an awful lot of clearly very lazy coding for the last decade. They want their games smaller, faster, easier to support, cut the staff costs, cut them again.

Sure you can cover a server with a single CS gm-on-rotation shared with two other servers, sure you can. Players won't notice that their services have deteriorated. They won't notice that no one worries about Character Customization any more, because it's one of the Expensive things your game cut from it's budget.

Huh. Why doesn't anyone play our game past six months? Who cares, Cash Shop, a few mules will carry the rest!


Can you say Self-Defeating? Pyrrhic victory for the Beancounter department?

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/06
Posts: 6

8/14/13 10:09:35 AM#44

(TLDR: I like alts. Alts = Good. Many Alts = Many Good.)

I loved the encouragement to Alt in CoX.  I played since November 2006, to the end, with a couple of month-long breaks in there, but nearly continuous otherwise.  It was in my mind that I would enjoy my retirement with some version of COH, with my long-time friends playing right alongside in the nursing home, lol.  


I started with my focus on one character, an Archery blaster.  I played that character nearly all solo, for the entire 50 levels (and that when the archery AT was considered VERY subpar.)  I sat down to play and felt akin to the character – vulnerable to attack, but powerful when I set the stage – I played to establish set piece encounters, performed a ritual of buffing before my attack, then unleashed cataclysmic devastation on my enemies.  Heady stuff.


I enjoyed participating in group content more and more the longer I played, then learned the very basic ins and outs of stuff like Hami raids, and later enjoyed the more extensive endgame stuff like ITF, LRSF, etc.  But being a glass cannon kept me on the periphery of understanding as well as the actual periphery of combat.


But then I decided to try the Brute AT.  TALK about eye-opening!  I went from Squishy to Nigh-Invincible! (Well, ‘semi-nigh’ – Dark/Fire Brute was one of the squishier Brutes to be had.)  But where before I stayed as far as possible due to safety, this character thrived on being punched!  It was GLORIOUS!  I found visceral joy in thumping the badguys.  And it gave me an understanding of how things actually worked in combat that I hadn’t had before – ‘nova’-attack timing, aggro-generation, focus-attacking…  I never would have understood these things without firsthand experience.  And I really started gruping and making friends, and I also started to see the value in other aspects of the game.  This gave me great ideas for other alts…


I started to look around and wanting to experience what I considered the (forgive me) “Archetypal” archetypes of CoH – the ones that defined the game in my eyes.  At the end, I had a number of them:


Rad/Electric Defender – love this character.  Claims to fame:  Part of a 6-man Rad/* team that beat Lusca PRE-IOs.  (I missed the 5-man effort.).  Also, when people asked this character to heal, he told them in essence “to get another runt, I don’t heal.”  His debuffs made healing all but irrelevant in most cases.


Ill/Rad – My Stephen Colbert homage character.  I had always thought this AT was super-tough, then when I played him, I felt it was like playing on Easy mode. 


Stone/Stone tank – this, besides my Archer character, was my most played character in the whole game, though I played him mostly toward the end of my career.  He was my Hami raid character, and I went from Hami-plinker with my archer to Mito-Raid leader and Hami-Tanker when I began playing him at the raids.  This guy is the guy with whom I learned the intricacies of COH raids.  As strong as my brute felt, this guy was almost literally invincible.


Fire/Fire blaster – FAST damage!!  As much as I loved my archer, I had to give my Fire/Fire credit for just impressive ‘burnination’.  I even got rid of the nuke – it just slowed me down! (To be fair, the crash was the culprit – after literal years of Archery’s vastly underappreciated crashless mini-nuke, I was spoilt.)


In the end, I wanted to try more of these iconic types (I never tried the Spines/Regen scrapper of Lore, and I regret it, as well as the Plants controller, no stalkers)  But every time I tried something new, I learned a lot about the interrelationship between the characters. 


I didn’t have stories for all my characters, and I feel like I enjoyed them nearly equally whether they did or not –but I usually had a basic ‘reason’ or ‘feel’ for the character.  The Rad/Elec was a stumpy guy with a stogie and an attitude.  I had a Mastermind who was a deposed royal.  My archer was a slight female character who was like a compact nuclear warhead with her arrows.  My brute occasionally went shirtless and reveled in his violence.  My Ill/Rad was very sarcastic and self—contradictory.  (more, omitted for time) I had a character for nearly every contingency to group – except when a Healer was required – I loathe healer ATs – which is one reason to love CoX.  It was all great fun.


So Alting was great.  I wish the games I enjoy (Until recently, SWTOR [Star Wars]; now, STO[Star Trek Online]) were more alt-friendly.I think being alt friendly (and delaying endgame until later) may cost you the ‘power’ players in the short run, but gain you loyalty and longevity in the long run.  (And I am dubious about the value of those power-players in the first place.  They’re the exploiters, the ‘race-to-50-NOW-what-do-i-do????’ crowd, the ones who have better things to do than read and comprehend the story, the ones who demand new content when there are megabytes of content already there.  I’ve seen enough of those in SWTOR to last me a while.)


The people who complained about needing to collect all of the badges on all the characters that you mention were either OCD (no help), or just silly (polite word).  Either way, it’s a nice problem to have, providing players with more stuff to do.  They probably only felt that way because they wanted each and every character to be GREAT.  You guys accomplished the goal – to make your players WANT to play the game.  NCSoft missed that clue.  More, please!


Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/05
Posts: 2197

8/14/13 10:15:24 AM#45

i gave up on having a 'main' quite some time ago and i actually never played CoH for anything longer than a trial.


i still don't see the need to have a 'main'. i play games for one reason only: fun. if im not enjoying it, why am i doing it? there are plenty of things IRL that i have to do which i do not enjoy.


what this means is if having a single main and remaining focused creates a fun experience in your gaming, then by all means do that. if not then don't.

"There are at least two kinds of games.
One could be called finite, the other infinite.
A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse


Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 2621

8/14/13 10:37:38 AM#46
Originally posted by galadiman

I wish the games I enjoy (Until recently, SWTOR [Star Wars]; now, STO[Star Trek Online]) were more alt-friendly.

In STO's defence I'd like to add that its non-alt-friendly, quasi-classless setting is backed by the lore... Any captain can fill any "role" (as in tank, heal, support, dps) with the right ship and crew. True, min-maxers will choose the best fitted captain for themselves, but it's not mandatory at all.

And while STO is not encouraging alts, it doesn't hinder them either, I have numerous captains roaming the quadrants :)


Novice Member

Joined: 8/14/13
Posts: 4

8/14/13 10:49:31 AM#47

This turned out to be a little long-winded, but hopefully it's vaguely interesting.


I don't think alt-itis is a problem at all - at least not in CoH. Maybe in other games, but it was a HUGE strength of CoH.

You seem to make the argument that alts are antithetical to end game (or vice versa). Maybe in the current iteration of "end game",  but maybe that can (should) be changed. And why the love for this magical "end game" anyways? Yeah, I have mains that I level to cap, and many alts that sometimes languish, but that's more a result of games that don't have variety than a lack of desire to play alts, and the fact that PvP is often so dependent on high-level gear that it would be terrible to get it on more than one character.


The big question I have is this: is there a monetary or some other incentive for MMO designers to keep people on only one character? Is server space at that much of a premium that you can't afford to allow it, or is there some other reason that alt-itis is a problem? Or is the only problem people complaining about doing something too many times? Because that's a problem in MMOs, period. The grind and repetitiveness that have been a hallmark of MMOs is a bad thing whether it's on one character or many - it's just exacerbated when a player has many alts.


As far as CoH is concerned, the reason I made alts was largely because of the character creator. The combination of ultimate costume freedom and the many powers allowed me to explore TONS of super hero concepts.


Several things I like about alts, particularly in relation to CoH:


1. CoH's character creation was amazing, and supported tons of different ideas and costumes for characters. Alts made creating them all possible. You say that sometimes people make alts because they are "bored" - maybe in some games, but in CoH, it was often just to play with the character creator. If I wanted a super speeder, I could make one. A knight? Made one. Mystic warrior from another dimension? Made one too. Sure, I could have given one character all three costumes, but that wouldn't have made sense except with a very particular set of powers.


2. The powers. Even in a game like STO, where half the combat (space) is largely dependent on gear (ship) rather than character abilities, there's still three alt-ing options. Having alts is a great way to try out the different powers, and give my gameplay some variety. If I don't like one particular class, I can roll an alt and try a different one - and once I learn the game a bit better, maybe I'll go back and try the class I didn't like, with a character I've already started. Some games don't offer the same variety as CoH, but in CoH at least that was a HUGE draw for making alts. Different archetypes and power sets offered completely different styles of play.


3. The story. One of the great strengths of early CoH was the fact that there were ten (TEN) different starting contacts. Yes, it was only five different story arcs, but it really made each character feel like a different experience. One of the reasons it took me so long to make a villain was because I had to do the same exact two contacts over and over and OVER as I tryed to find a powerset I liked.

That's one SEVERE weakness of STO - every single character of a faction does the exact same missions. I'm sure it saves time or resources or whatever, and the circumstances of the license's time frame probably didn't help, but it would certainly be VERY nice to be able to do some missions that weren't escorting Ambassador Sokketh again (and relying on UGC like the Foundry shouldn't count or substitute for MMO developers making their own missions). Part of the reason Romulans and Klingons after Legacy of Romulus were great for me is the fact that they were new and different - but I'm discouraged from making more of them since i know it'll be just the same stuff again.


4. Speaking of story, alts give people a chance to have different stories. This is obviously more for the RP type crowd, but since some MMOs still have "RPG" attached to them, it should be important. Remember how in number 1 I said it wouldn't make sense for all those costumes to be on the same character? That's because of story. One of the great things about CoH was that it allowed people to create multiple characters with multiple backstories. Each costume in number 1 goes to a different character with a different story. The amount of costume slots meant I could make variations on their costume, without completely erasing the original, or even give them civilian clothes, which is a great thing. The amount of character slots meant that I could actually make all these characters, without being forced to put a knight costume and a super speeder costume on the same character.


So that's why alts were great! Because of the costumes and the sheer volume of content, alt-ing was definitely one of the STRENGTHS of, and NOT a "problem" for, CoH. What I don't understand is your fixation on "end game" content. In many MMOs, "end game" consists of doing the exact same high-level raid or dungeon or whatever over and over and OVER again. Players figure out the most efficient way to do things, and go through them as fast as possible. Have you seen the Paragon Wiki articles on the Incarnate Trials? They have NO story content - it's all about the mechanics. Most people didn't even bother to read the dialogue pop ups in the Incarnate Trials, because they were busy trying to keep up with the group as it tore through enemies to get to the gear as fast as possible.


Why should this be the case? Why are so many games fixated on having players run through "difficult" content over and over again? Rather than creating something at the level cap for players to aspire to doing over and over and OVER again, why not focus on creating stories for players to go through at earlier levels? That was one of CoH's strengths - the amount of different story missions as I leveled up. What passes for "end game" doesn't appeal to me as much as actually playing and reading mission stories - because going through the ground map in STO's Khitomer STF as fast as possible for the thousandth time is kind of boring.


That's the thing about "end game" and repetitive content - even if I can make hundreds of different characters, like I could in CoH, the thought of facing the exact same crap yet AGAIN actively discourages it. Is there some reason for this? Is there a monetary incentive to keep players on just one character? I just can't fathom it.


In regards to your question, I tend to take one character to max level, and have many alts that I gradually level up. Part of that is emotional investment - I tend to be attached to my "main". Part of it, however, is the above mentioned repetitiveness of content. That's probably the biggest turn off for leveling up alts. When new content is released, I'll do it on my main, and then as I get around to it on my alts - I don't want to get burned out on it right away by doing it however many times in a row (not to mention the fact that I have limited time to play games).

As far as events go, I'll grab whatever reward or accolade is available for my main, and depending on the reward on some of my alts. In CoH, there were badges for logging in - I grabbed those because all it took was a log in. The other stuff (in CoH and STO) was way too time intensive to do on multiple characters, so I grab the items on my main, and figure I'll do it on my alts eventually. One of the nice things about event items is that other than badges or whatever for being there in a specific year, the actual items are going to be available year after year, so that players who weren't there can get them too.

Of course, it would certainly be easier if the rewards were shared through an account - I was there, after all, wasn't I? Why should I have to do the same exact holiday event umpteen times just to get a bauble on all my alts? The answer here isn't "Don't make alts" - I like making alts. The answer is apparently "because MMO creators want you to spend time in their game, even if you're doing the same thing for the hundredth time and don't necessarily enjoy it." Or perhaps it's "because gear is the most important thing in an MMO, and can't be handed out on an account-wide basis, even if it's some sort of holiday gear that doesn't affect normal game play." Playing through normal content on every alt I can understand (although it would help if there was actually variety in it, like in early CoH). But I don't get why events are character-limited. Given their time-limited nature, people should get credit for being there, on any character.


Another part of the reason I tend to have one main is PvP. Because PvP is often so gear-centric, and gaining the best gear is really only feasible on one character, it makes it hard to create PvP alts. I like to PvP, partly for the challenge, and partly because it represents something different from the PvE grind. Once I've exhausted the PvE portion of a game, PvP is really all that's left in most games. And even then it's often not enough to hold me.


I think more people should read the article about EVE and its end game: If you read that article, you'll note that it has a different idea on what "end game" is than most MMOs currently have. Rather than focusing on traditional "content" such as raids or bosses or quests, it notes that EVE (and other games) have a sandbox and feature-centric endgame. A game that allows people to keep exploring and experience new things is certainly going to keep players more engaged than a game that requires the same rote high level dungeon running over and over and OVER again.

Of course, it's possible that the sandbox end game is even more antithetical to alts than traditional MMO gameplay. In traditional MMOs, you make an alt to experience a different class, a different style of gameplay, even if you have to run through the same missions again. In a sandbox, you don't need to create an alt to experience new things - so why create an alt at all? In CoH, the answer was "the character creator's ability to allow for many different character concepts." In other games, if you enjoy the end game, whether its sandbox or traditional, maybe there's no reason to create an alt. And perhaps that's where your thinking has gotten messed up - alt-itis may be a problem in other games, but it was a HUGE strength of CoH.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/01/09
Posts: 2045

8/14/13 11:03:35 AM#48

I think alts are great.  If the class system, character creation, and leveling content are all fun and robust, you have an MMO foundation that will drive players to create and play several different characters.  Ideally, this will greatly increase the longevity of the game.  There are two other factors that must be present for this to be true, however.  

First, leveling must take a long time.  It doesn't have to be grindy; players should be able to engage in a multitude of gameplay modes and encounter real challenges while leveling - that is, that shouldn't all be reserved for end game - it's just paramount that max level cannot be obtained within a mere few weeks of casual play.  If leveling is too fast, you will find players may blow through all the alts they wish to create within the game's first few months, leaving them with nothing to level years down the road.  

Second, there must be some truly riveting stuff to do at max level for all player types.  While I love alts, I also agree with the concept of a "main."  Players should feel driven to play lots of different gameplay modes at "end game" in pursuit of some kind of relevant, but non-alienating progression (ie. not a super steep vertical gear treadmill that immediately renders all previous progression obsolete.)

If leveling takes a long time, but is still always fun and not grindy, and if players are given a ton of content to play at end game and are driven to do so, then the game will hold players attention for a very long time on just one character.  Then, when all that stuff starts to wear off a bit several months down the road, creating an alt to change things up can reinvigorate the player's game experience; but once again, leveling this alt should take considerable time, and the player should still want to log on and play his/her main character throughout the process, which would make it last even longer.  

I think if you find players level three, four, six characters to max level within the first half year of the game's release, the game may be in trouble in the long run.  The game may have its work cut out for itself if it wants to continue to give players enough content to play for years to come.   


Novice Member

Joined: 4/24/12
Posts: 3

8/14/13 11:34:57 AM#49

First, let me start out by saying: don't ever beat yourself up about any design choices for CoH.  It was my favorite game of all time - not MMO, not video game, game.  It combined the best of every single hobby I've ever participated in in my entire life, and it was still getting better when it closed.

On the alt-itis subject, for me, it was the journey, not the destination.  I had loads of alts in CoH, and - as has been said - no two of them played the same.  That's something which is just not possible to do in most games, where two characters of the same class will always play more or less exactly the same, unlike the stark differences between a Super Strength/Invulnerability Brute compared to a Staff Fighting/Super Reflexes Brute (or, for a more dramatic difference, a Defender with Storm Summoning compared to one with Empathy), and that's before incorporating Power Pools, Ancillary/Patron Power Pools, and Incarnate powers to mix things up even more.

And then add to that the two different sides worth of content (yeah, I know Heroes were far more popular than VIllains, but I was primarily a Villain player), and the fact that you really couldn't do EVERY mission arc on a single character (at least, not without heavy dipping into side-switching and Oroborous), it meant that even going from 1 to 50 again a second (or third, or tenth, or fiftieth) time was a different experience even aside from the actual character you were playing.

I have always had alt-itis, even when playing tabletop D&D with friends or freeform IRC RP.  CoH just let me express that alt-itis better than any other format.

This article just made me remember once again how much I miss CoH, even nearly a year after the announcement of the game's closing.

  User Deleted
8/14/13 11:53:02 AM#50

if i have to make an "Alt" in a MMORPG in order to get my hands on all the features and things the game has to offer the game is broken and if i have to make an alt when i want to change my appearance the game is broken

and if the game is so easy that i reach the end of my characters progression in 3 months and have to make an alt in order to have new things happen the game is broken

the ability to make multiple characters should never be considered as a "Fun factor" or an actual in game Feature that grabs the attention (selling point?)

sure the game can allow it but please dont advertise it as a Feature or a game mechanic like  that is supposed to make the game unique

 when your alts can serve as a NPC helpers for the main char or some other similar mechanic maybe then i will agree that making alts could be fun

and what comes to maple story i can accept what they are doing since the skills of the characters get pretty boring quite fast so why not roll an alt for a change of pace and reap the benefits from it for the "main"

please dont start raging this is just my opinion and therefore feel free to ignore


Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 1126

8/14/13 12:41:21 PM#51

Have to disagree about Rift not being alt-friendly. You can have up to 12 characters per shard now, though it will cost you to add anything more than six. And the primary reason to have alts in Rift is crafting, because your characters are limited to three of nine unless you buy more (having more than three is a new feature since patch 2.3 and quite expensive).


In my experience, the reason to level alts is curiosity about how other factions and races start out, and their newbie zone experience and lore.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/04/13
Posts: 8

8/14/13 2:01:07 PM#52

I create alts simply because I have so many ideas, concepts, and backstories that come into my mind - especially in a Superhero MMO.  These ideas can come from a variety of different things, but rarely come from boredom or having to play whatever is flavour of the month.  Generally the one thing I do if either of those things set in is log out and uninstall!

I think that City of Heroes not having what most would call an "endgame" was actually one of its biggest strengths for me.  The game was always (at least initially) set up about having as an immersive and of course fun time in the JOURNEY from 1 to 50 and not all about getting to 50 as quickly as possible.  I am still yet to find a game that has the depth to its NPCs that CoH had.  How many of us would enjoy right clicking on a mob to read its back story within its own villain group?  How many of us would be baying on the forums for new issues, not just because of additional power sets, but for developments on the on going story lines?  I still remember watching a twitch broadcast in which you were talking about the Kings Row revamp and how you were going to develop the Skulls - to the level of including the grizzly ritual of what prospective Skull members have to do in order to join the ranks.

That is what made alting fun in CoH, because you had an incredibly rich framework in which to craft your own characters stories.  And this in turn is one of the reasons why we all got so attached to our characters, and why we miss CoH so much.  The characters became tangible as individuals, beyond just an animated bunch of polygons in a computer game, simply because you were able to imagine them as part of that living world instead of just a way of letting you, the player, interact with it.

Unfortunately with radio / paper missions, the early sewer revamp and one or two other features designed around getting players levelled, and not getting them to enjoy that tapestry of story telling, many newer players just skimmed through some of the real gems and then got upset when there wasn't an awful lot to do at the end.

Ultimately, I think alting better suits those of us who make and play "characters" in a game, rather than just "avatars".  If you're the kind of min / maxer who strives to be "the best" (and there's certainly nothing wrong with that, incidentally), then alting probably won't suit you in the same way, simply because the character side of it will be of less relevance.

  User Deleted
8/14/13 2:18:30 PM#53

Hi. My name is AlBQuirky and I am an Alt-oholic.

It started with EQ back in 2001. They had a couple dozen servers and a player could roll 6(?) characters per server. They also had 14 races (at that time) and 16 classes to choose from. Of course, not all classes were available to all the races. There were so many starting areas, too. Since I was new to MMORPGs, I wanted to try them all to see how they played. I ended up with 3 servers full of alts (24 characters) by the end of 3 months of time. Some I scrapped, many I played quite a bit.

When WoW released in 2004, I gave that a try and did not get into it right away. A year or two later (Blood Crusade?) I went back and repeated my alt-itis with their many servers and 6 slots per server. It was fun seeing all the varying starter areas and doing their differing quests learning about the races.

After my uninteresting time in WoW, I picked up CoH on a whim and my alt-itis went full-blown. 8 Characters per server and about a dozen servers, I was in hog heaven. I'd be playing a character and see another with an interesting costume idea. Back to the character creator! Or another "concept" would hit me while playing and again, back to the character creator! I think I filled up 3 servers worth of characters within the first few months. I also deleted a lot of "bad concepts."

Back then, MMOs had different areas for the character races to start in (with the exception of CoH). Lately, everyone starts in the same areas, or very limited ones and once you go through one character, you pretty much have done it all. MMO companies may be trying to steer us away from creating alts, but for me, alts are why I stick around, not the vaunted "end game" that most players seem to crave from day 1. For me, they have made my time in game so much shorter by doing this.

Wizard101 had a buggy system for me. There were 7 schools of magic to choose from and a player chose their major school and minor school. They gave you SIX slots, not even enough to try out all 7 schools with no option to add even one more slot. I still had all six slots filled at all times and had to delete many characters to make a new one in my couple of years playing.

I have found that many players become experts at the end game area. Because of my alt-itis, I felt I was somewhat of an expert on starting levels of an MMO :)

  User Deleted
8/14/13 2:46:53 PM#54

Originally posted by Pretndr01
Im surprised no one even mentions champions online. the game is still going and I feel has twice the customization cox did because of the free form class system and all the new costume pieces that keep coming out. coh is dead, champions online is still active, would love to have it get some more love.

It is a "principle" thing for me. Champions Online is nothing like the tabletop "Champions" I know and love. No disadvantages to help give a character depth, no power pools like Elemental Control or Multipower to help with a character's concept. There is no manipulating of powers to make them different from others with the same powers (power advantages/disadvantages). Where is my dependent NPC that gets me into so much trouble? Where is my Arch Villain that hunts me non-stop?

No, this is NOT Champions. (I still have my original store bought copy if anyone wants it.)


Novice Member

Joined: 4/24/12
Posts: 3

8/14/13 5:24:26 PM#55
Originally posted by Pretndr01
Im surprised no one even mentions champions online. the game is still going and I feel has twice the customization cox did because of the free form class system and all the new costume pieces that keep coming out. coh is dead, champions online is still active, would love to have it get some more love.

The Freeform system ultimately means that everyone picks and chooses the same basic utility powers from the same Frameworks, because nothing else works as well.  For example, every single one of my characters had Resurgence (and maybe Bountiful Chi Resurgence), because there's no other decent self heals, and no defensive buffs powerful enough to not require a heal (like there were in CoH).  It's not like CoH, which had different heals and different buffs with different sets.  It's Resurgence, maybe Chi Resurgence (much weaker and imposes a damage penalty, but its up more frequently), and that's more or less it, unless your concept works with having giant angels or robots following you around healing you.


In fact, that's much of the problem I have with Champions - that whole "If you want X effect, you have to take power Y."  CoH had loads of ways of bringing you similar effects that matched up with multiple concepts.  Not in CO.  If you wanted Crowd Control in CoH, you could do it with Fire, Ice, Stone, Psioncs, Gravity, Plants, Electricity, etc.  If you want Crowd Control in CO (which nobody does, because CO's CC is gimped to heck and back), then you take Telepathy.  That's it.  That's your only real option.


And that carries over to every set.   In CO, "I want my character to use fire and nothing but fire" limits you to one character, and that character is "I shoot fire"  In CoH, "I want my character to use fire and nothing but fire" was merely a starting point to build a character from, with all sorts of options like Fiery Melee, Fiery Armor, Fire Control, Fire Assault, Fire Manipulation, Thermal Radiance, or what have you.  If you want to use nothing but fire, that still left you with a choice of powers and playstyles.  In CO, it gives you no choice at all.


In other words, CoH not only divorced powers from appearance, it also divorced power effects from playstyle.  Champions does the former, but not the latter.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3675

8/14/13 5:28:13 PM#56
I've always enjoyed playing alternate characters...To me it is more enjoyable to level several characters slowly than one quickly.....I like to see what different classes can do and if the game allows it even multibox them......I'm hoping though we dont start seeing more and more of these MMOs wehre one character can do everything...To me that ruins imemrsion and isn't really roleplaying....Thats everyone is superman.

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 45

8/14/13 7:43:53 PM#57
Originally posted by Pretndr01Im surprised no one even mentions champions online. the game is still going and I feel has twice the customization cox did because of the free form class system and all the new costume pieces that keep coming out. coh is dead, champions online is still active, would love to have it get some more love

If you feel Champions Online (CO) has twice the customization as City of Heroes/Villians (CoX), I cannot believe you ever played CoX.


CO is the redhead bastard stepchild of CoX and always will be.


Now having said that I play CO to scratch the superhero itch, but the game doesn't stand up to what CoX was.


On CoX I had about 25 characters on three different servers.  And I never saw it as a problem.  It's okay for a game to be social.  Being social was about all I did in my later years playing CoX.  I never got a character to max level in CoX and that was okay.  I was still having fun.


Advanced Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 520

8/14/13 7:50:05 PM#58

There are lots of reasons to play alts other than being bored.


Sometimes people just like a little variety.  Like to try new things out.  Maybe a little nostalgia.  etc... etc...


I had tons of alts in WoW.  The reason I cancelled was because it became so alt unfriendly.  Even though I had tons of alts I still had a main, and keeping my main current required a crap ton of time.  The big problem was that it wasn't time spent having fun, it was time spent in queues doing boring repetitive daily quests.


Adding new end game content in itself isn't a problem for a alt friendly game.  Adding boring repetitive end game content, and making the player feel like if they don't do it they are falling behind is the problem.  I doubt anyone would complain if the new content is fun and rewarding.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/04/04
Posts: 78

8/14/13 10:40:26 PM#59

I began my MMO journeys with the launch of EQ1. For a long time, I had just one character. (Well, plus a bank alt, but she was never actually played.) Eventually, I had 2 alts. One was created as an 'escape' from my main, who was guildleader of a top tier raiding guild. A few people knew who she was and could contact me, but she was mostly for roleplaying. My other alt was created to level up with a couple of friends, when we had time to play together with no raiding going on.


After EQ1, that's pretty much how things would wind up for me. I would have a main, and an alt, perhaps two, created for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I would wind up with two 'mains', each fulfilling a different, specific reason for being a main. The 'level cap' situation really has nothing to do with why I create an alt. I have never once created an alt specifically because I'm 'at the level cap with nothing to do' as I can always find something to do, it was always for different reasons.


And then there was CoH. CoH/CoV, which I played from beta until it shut down. CoH/CoV, which I had a grand total of FOUR max level characters, after all those years. FOUR. Two Heroes, two Villains. Oh, and my first 50 was a Villain, so I had many, many alts made before I ever hit the cap with any character.


But I had pages and pages of alts, on three servers (Champion was my Villain server (highly populated as I absolutely LOVED CoV), Guardian was my Hero server (with the shortest character list), and Virtue was my Roleplay server). Alts I made for a wide variety of reasons: to try out different  archetypes. To try out different powersets. To level specifically with one or another close friend, and then later to level pact with a close friend. To roleplay a different character (that was a big one for me). And I loved my characters, each and every single one. Some more than others, sure, but still, I loved them. I miss them. I mourn them. But I still love that they existed, and I will treasure the memories always.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/20/04
Posts: 5

8/14/13 11:55:03 PM#60

 I didn't just play City of Heroes, I played my characters in City of Heroes, and the distinction deserves more thought than "Meh, semantics", because I don't believe any feature of City of Heroes made a greater contribution to its subscriber retention than its wide array of character slots. We didn't just have tons of powers and costumes; we had tons of characters who looked, felt and played in slightly or even widely different ways.


In this way, City of Heroes became many different "games" or at least experiences. It was the variety show of MMOs. My nights playing Captain-Electric or Moravec Man or Hercules all had a very different feel. This would not have been the case if I had possessed only one character with many different roles. In 30 years of gaming, no other game has gotten thousands of hours of playtime out of me--but in City of Heroes, I gave thousands of hours of playtime to multiple characters each, and I'm not an outlier. 


You didn't stumble upon a "problem", Matt; to use an apt analogy, you stumbled upon the MMORPG industry's Well of the Furies. You unleashed that Well, and it led to the development of something much bigger than you could have planned for.  "Bad"? No. Every new door comes with a few problems of its own.


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