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Tastes Gamey

This blog is about stuff. Sometimes that stuff has to do with MMORPGs.

Author: neschria

I wish I could have alts in real life too.

Posted by neschria Friday August 17 2007 at 2:21PM
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I have a confession to make. Throughout much of my MMORPG career, I have been She-Of-Many-Alts. A quick trip to EQplayers reveals that my main EQ account has 72 characters on it, spread over many servers. That number is after the server merge that wiped out all the ones under level 10 that I hadn't played in 6 months at the time of the merge. Many of those are still very low level, made to take a little vacation from my usual server, or to try out a particular class or race/class combinations. Still... That's a lot. What's really surprising is how many of those temporary characters are over level 30.

I hit the cap on characters across all servers (50, was it?) in WoW. Some of those were my kids' characters. Apparently they have inherited my Altism.  I ended up deleting some of their created-but-never-played characters to make room for more of my own.

EQ2 put a stop to my out-of-control alt addiction. I have to admit, it ripped out my little heart to lose the extra character slots in EQ2 (and EQ1) when I cancelled my all-access Station Pass. They just don't allow you all that many characters in EQ2. I guess that's when I started to get over having alts. When there's a limit to how many characters you can have, you tend to make your choices count.

Sometimes I make alts with the intention of quitting my main character and taking up the new one, but that is really hard to do. People work against you while you're trying to level. "Can you log your high level character on just for this one group?"  If you do that enough, your new character doesn't make a lot of progress. Perhaps the easiest way to switch is to play your new character without telling anyone it is the same person who plays the old one.

Which brings me to another benefit of alts: you can be a new person any time you want. If you've really made some stupid mistakes and want to turn over a new leaf, if you want to avoid people who are getting on your nerves for a while, or if you just want to try on a new identity, as long as you have a free character slot, you're a few clicks away from having a whole new face. This can be misused and abused by people who are just out to cause trouble, but it also means that when you suddenly realize you've been an arrogant jerk for a couple of years, you can have instant redemption, and if you're careful and wise, you can avoid being known as "That Buttmonkey" for the rest of your time in that game. Beyond avoiding who you were, you can add new aspects to yourself by switching from tanking to healing or from healing to damage-- change your face and change the way a game plays for you in one shot. Or you can try out being a male or a female, whichever you haven't done yet.

I think my tendecy to have many alts has kept me from fully developing any one character. It means that I know a little about a lot of classes, but with the exception of the EQ1 shadow knight, I haven't really gotten that far or that deeply into any of them. (The EQ1 shadow knight is an exception because I have played 2 of them to high level, another to moderately-high-level-for-the-era, and many of those 72 alts are shadow knights on other servers... Sometimes more than one on the same server. I <3 SKs! ) Honestly, how much time can you devote to any one character when you have even as few as three alts you're grooming and raising up? You do have to go back into real life once in a while. (...as far as I know. I haven't found a way to avoid it yet. ;) )

Each time I have played EQ2, I have played one character more than all the others for the duration of that stint, changing each time I come back. I played a wood elf warden the first time, a fae conjuror the second time, and a ratonga inquisitor the last time. (A healer, a pet caster, and another healer! Totally out of character for me, if you'll pardon the play on words.) I still had alts, though.  If I ever go back, I may take a few days to mess with different characters, but I will pick one, and I will probably stick with it, for the sake of making some progress for a change. There's a dark elf bruiser that was fun, and the ogre wizard was a blast too. It would probably be one of those.

After leaving EQ1, WoW, and EQ2 for a while, I started playing some other games. I played one single character in Lineage 2. I created a bunch of other characters, but they never really got played. I think a couple got to level 4 or 5. I knew going into the game what sort of character I wanted to play, and that's what I made. Since then, I've played a few free games here and there, sticking to one character in each. I didn't even make more than one character in some of those.  I think I am cured.

If I go back to EQ or WoW or EQ2, or move on to LoTRO, I will probably play one single character. As I've noted elsewhere, we're leaning toward EQ1, and I am inclined to play from a fresh start, myself. I already know what kind of character I want to play. I am certain I can stick to that one.

I haven't touched at all on one player playing multiple characters at once. To me, that's a little different than just having alts. For all intents and purposes, your group of characters is your character, if you're actively sitting there and playing the group. I've done that, too, in my time. But that's not the same, and that's not what this entry was about, and I think I hear a burrito at Taco Bell calling my name. Late lunch, time to go.