There Can Be Only One… And then another one…

Since my playing time is curtailed at the moment, I’ve spent some time thinking about gamey stuff (and I don’t mean venison) instead.

Like, for instance: what if I couldn’t have alts anymore? What if, instead, I had to retire character A(lly) before I could make character B(essie)? Bessie would have some advantages Ally didn’t have (skills, stuff, buffs, whatever, the specifics aren’t that important), but Ally would be gone forever, or at least inactive on my character select.

clancybrownYou can gussy that up in various ways, like having subsequent characters be descendants of the first, and so on. I’m pretty sure that if this doesn’t already exist in a game, it’s been suggested many times by bloggers and others. I’m not claiming originality of ideas, here — I’m just wondering what I, as an altoholic, would do. Would the lure of “better stuffz0rz!!” be enough to convince me to retire the first character? Or would I just continue to play that character, pining for the ability to have alts?

In all likelihood, if the game was good enough, I’d probably do what we had to do in SWG back in the 1-char-per-server days, which was to get another account — but it’s another account, not the same account, and therefore not one where you can easily hand out “heirloom” style goodies the way many games do now. Having multiple accounts has its perks but in some ways I find it unsatisfying (not to mention more expensive under the standard subs model) — the characters on one account form a sort of gestalt, a family, even if they’re on different servers and even if they’re not related in terms of backstory. My first EQ2 (and other) account characters are definitely very distinct in my mind from the second, more recent account characters — who to me are definitely noobs who have to prove that they’re as fun as the first lot before I’ll take them seriously.

Course, none of these altoholic issues would be issues if one could only have one character at a time.

Personally, I think my head would do a Linda Blair and then explode. Once an altoholic, always an altoholic…

6 responses to “There Can Be Only One… And then another one…

  1. In WoW, I didn’t do much with alts. I only had one character at level 60, and in TBC I only barely got an alt up to 70 but did very little with it after getting max level.

    LotRO is another story. I’ve almost got max crafting on all my alts, even though few of them are over level 25; only my Tailor remains. Something about LotRO’s crafting sucked me in, even though I’m finding it to be a rather limited use in general. My GF also liked building different characters, so her altitis may have rubbed off on me.

    So, in WoW, I probably wouldn’t have cared about only having one character. In LotRO, I’d probably not be really thrilled, especially since it took me a while to find a class I really enjoyed. I was lucky with WoW that my first class choice happened to be my favorite.

    I think that original SWG could get away with the “one character per server” thing because characters were flexible and you could learn or forget skill sets with ease. A class-based game is going to have a harder time since picking a class is harder to just reverse without having to delete the whole character.


  2. I’d be happy with one alt, but I’d want it to be able to switch roles or classes I think. Like Brian says, I often don’t initially start off with the class I end up liking best. (Or rather, I start off with what seems most fun and then find out it’s underpowered or unwanted in groups or something like that.)

    But really it would be interesting with tradeskills. The whole notion of limited tradeskills per character gets blown out of the water with alts, since people with more time have alts with all skills anyway.


  3. My name is Forjador and I’m an altholic.

    Seriously, at this stage of my gaming I doubt I could play a MMO if I’m limited to choose one class only.

    I like to play different roles depending my mood or the necessities of my guild. I normally level to end-game at least a tank, a healer and a dps class. Also I favour hybrids as main class (Lotro’s Captain comes to mind).

    Another thing, I like to be self-dependent when crafting and this is only possible by having multiple characters.

    Saying that, I like the idea of retiring your character or passing the torch. But it would only work for me depending on the game mechanics.


  4. I play alts primarily because the game forces me to to see all of the game mechanics. If I could switch around whenever I chose, I’d probably not have a stable of alts.

    …that said, there are other functions for alts. Sometimes it’s nice to go underground. Puzzle Pirates doesn’t have “classes”, but I play alts for RP reasons, or just to get away. They can also be force multipliers in offline crafting labor on green oceans. (I can earn more money in aggregate with a handful of alts than I can with one character.)

    Also, what about alts on different servers, for those games that have significantly different communities on each server?


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