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The 10 Commandments of Altitis

April 30, 2008

Alts — “alternative characters” — are a staple of any dedicated MMO gamer’s life (although some far more than others). The next time you decide to roll another character on a whim (or to stave off boredom), keep in mind these ten commandments:

1. Thou Shalt Pick A Main, And Stick With It To The End

Before you go all alt-crazy, make sure you’ve ended up with a “main” that you play through to the level cap. Not only will you learn a lot in with that first, primary character, but you’ll find that your focus on the gameplay will hinge upon that toon more than any other.

2. Give An Alt A Chance To Impress

Characters usually need a running start before you get a good feel for the class — yet it’s easy, as a higher level player, to grow impatient with a lowbie toon who has only basic skills, few (if any) class-defining abilities yet, and not even a single mastery point to help differentiate your alt from the pack. Reserve your judgment until you’ve given that alt a fair shakedown.

3. Alts Deserve Real Names Too

So for the love of Pete, don’t slap it with a generic or stupid moniker just so that you can get through the character creation screen faster. You never know when that toon might end up being a beloved fave, and wouldn’t it be a shame if you spent 200 hours staring at — and hating — the name “SnuggleSlasher”?

4. Spoil An Alt, Spare Your Sanity

Part of the fun of having an alt is to pimp it out with money and gifts from on high… your higher level main, that is. Embrace the ability to fund your lowbie and by doing so cut down the annoying money and gear grind.

5. Make It Easy On Others To Identify You

You may know each and every alt by their name, and have composed a song utilizing all of them, but your guildies and friends lack the eidetic recall that makes identifying you possible. Use either similar names or clear guild note tags to help them in this failing.

6. Go Off The Beaten Path

Alts aren’t there to be carbon clones of your previous characters, stomping down the same exact path that you’ve already explored. Try something different — after all, that’s the POINT of an alt! Try new zones, new classes, new roles, and you never know what you might discover in so doing.

7. Supply Your Demands

A clever gamer will realize that multiple alts can create a supply chain for crafting. Toon A is a metalworker, Toon B can mine ore, and Toon C does a bit of both. Why not use Toon A to send crafting recepies to C, and Toon B to supply C and A with ore instead of having to purchase it?

8. Park Your Alts, Don’t Deep Six Them

Don’t forget that alts are there to be experimental, and it’s okay not to like them or to shelve them for a while to try other things. Just keep in mind that you don’t know the future, and you may end up coming back to that alt with a fresh perspective (especially if a patch buffed them!). So if you’ve spent any good amount of time on an alt and don’t need the spare character slot, don’t delete them.

9. Alts Can Cause Burnout

I know this first-hand: as much as I love making alts, too many of them dilute my focus and goals in the game, causing me to feel overwhelmed with duties and “to do’s”. If you have six alts you’re devoted to playing, then you have to eventually face six separate end games, six leveling paths, six series of similar quests and gear searches, and six trips through the Tome of Knowledge. It might just be too much of a good thing and end up pushing you away from the game entirely.

10. Embrace Your Altitis

Don’t be ashamed of it when a guildie moans “ANOTHER character?” after you re-join the guild with an alt for the tenth time. Just grin, emoticon a grin so they know you’re grinning, and embrace the fun and joy of being diagnosed with one of the most enjoyable diseases an MMO gamer can have!

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13 comments

  1. A very good article!

    I too had a lot of alts in WoW and enjoyed it to the fullest. Alts after all give you a different view on everything, even about your main character.


  2. A very good article!

    I too had a bunch of alts in WoW when I was still playing it and did pretty much all of the things mentioned here.

    Alts do give a different perspective on everything ranging from the gameplay experience (for example the most annoying quest in the world might be the most fun on a different character) to even your main character.

    Also if you absolutely hate a class, or career as they are known in WAR, based on your experience fighting them on the battlefield, try rolling one and you might change your mind. If nothing else, you will learn their weaknesses and how to beat them.


  3. Oops, posted the anonymous comment by accident while figuring out what to say. So a double post of sorts :P Sorry about that.


  4. [...] Anyway, if you are suffering from altitis, you may want to check out Syp’s newest post over at his Waaagh blog. He shares with us his 10 commandments for anyone suffering with altitis, and his best tips on how [...]


  5. [...] Read the article @ Waaagh! ] 30th April , [...]


  6. [...] The Waaagh blog, despite technically being about some other dirty little game, keeps churning out some pretty good posts. The latest is Syp’s 10 Commandments of Altitis. I’m a recent convert to altitis myself. I pretty much stuck with one character on all my previous MMOs, with perhaps one additional alt I played once a month. However, on WoW, I’ve been bit hard. With 3 70s, 2 60s, and 61, and various random characters in the 20-60 range, I know how the alt game goes. [...]


  7. Agree totally with the Alt advice here; especially the burnout factor and bad names. I have a small village of alts and I keep at it in bursts on each of them. Sometimes that means parking one alt for a month or so, so I can play another.

    Imagine if us alt-a-holics tried multiboxing…several alts at once! (drool)


  8. Great one Syp! :P

    #8 is my favorite. I have a friend who would continually delete his alts when wanting to make another because he liked to use the same name. Craziness!


  9. And this is why I formed a guild on my server called Altoholics Anonymous. We all had max server slots filled with 10-49 level alts and had to decide each night what combos to play.


  10. [...] read the 10 Commandments of Altitis yesterday and thought perhaps an 11th ought to be something along the lines of “if you plan [...]


  11. I agree with #5, wholeheartedly. As a GM of my guild on the WoWLegion server, I’ve figured out firsthand how confusing it is to keep track of alts. The worst part is that guild notes don’t save, so we’re basically stuck trying to remember things. Of course that’s where addons come in. ^^

    I know about #8 also, a lot. I have guildies that are constantly DELETING their characters instead of just leaving them alone and not playing them for a while. I’m like WTF but they don’t listen.

    Number 9 is also well known, as I have a guildie with way too many alts, so much so that I don’t even allow them to be invited into the guild, to either encourage him to spend time on them or discourage him to keep making and remaking yet more alts. Did I mention he has multiple accounts and they’re ALL filled? That’s like 30 characters man…talk about Altitis!


  12. [...] under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Leveling, AltsThe Waaagh blog, despite technically being about some other dirty little game, keeps churning out some pretty good [...]


  13. [...] Rules for Alts [...]



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