The 10 Commandments of AltitisApril 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!