Let’s Go Alt

April 25, 2011

I think I used to consider myself an altoholic…that is, until I realized just how bad I was at being an altoholic.

I create alts, sometimes. But ultimately I always fail at maintaining more than one character at the same time. I’ve always prided myself on being a multi-tasker, but in this regard, I am determinedly single-minded. The only way I seem to be able to stay interested in a game is to concentrate on one character; the emotional investment that comes with it helps me get into the lore and gameplay.

Also, a completionist at heart, being able to do all the “important” stuff with my main, like special events and earn her all the achievements, loot, etc. gives my goal-oriented self something to focus on. I try to make an effort to play my alts, but gaming time is limited; if I have a choice, my preference is often given to improving my main. My alts inevitably fall by the wayside and very rarely make it to levelcap, and even if they do, they still eventually get busted down to either farmers or auction house mules.

I have a few questions to any card-carrying altoholic readers of mine, especially those who level multiple characters in tandem. First of all, kudos! I would have some sort of breakdown if I ever attempted that. Do you find yourself comfortable with switching and playing between your characters? What are your motivations for leveling more than one character at the same time? Is it to try out other classes, crafting, or something else? Do you often find yourself getting any or all your characters to end game?  Or do some get abandoned along the way?

I started thinking about all this when I created my first Defiant alt in Rift last week. A Rogue, by the way. To see what the fuss is all about. I also skipped Moonshade Highlands and Iron Pine Peaks completely on my first time through with my Cleric, and I thought what a shame it would be not to experience those zones properly.

Here’s hoping I even stick with my alt long enough to make it there. Not sure how well this is going to go given my bad track record with alts, but I only did it because my main has reached 50, and I figure now I actually have a realistic chance in hell at leveling a second character.


  1. I have two reasons for creating alts.

    First is to mix up gameplay. I get tired to bashing things with sharp objects and feel like shooting a bow or casting fireballs for a while.

    Second is for crafting. I like to be self-sufficient and so create alts to fill in crafting gaps that I can’t fill with 1 character.

    I almost never get to cap. When I do, it’s game over. I play MMO’s to level. When I can’t level any more it means “Game Over” for me.

    Heh, I really should quit playing MMOs I think. 🙂

    • I know what you mean, I play MMOs to level too… but I do try to set a goal for myself to get to cap if I can. I like to do endgame content as well once in a while, but get much more joy out of simply leveling.

  2. I do it because at least initially i like to explore what a game has to offer in terms of game play mechanics and the feel of all the different classes. I also like to try out the different crafting professions as well but to a lesser extent.

    I don’t end up getting all if any of my characters to level cap before I move on. That’s the curse of it though. Sometimes depending on the game doing the same things in the same zones multiple times drives the will for me to play any of them straight out of me. Rift not so much although I do really want to level one without distraction.. i get torn about what kind of play I want on a certian day sometimes.

    Leveling the different characters though is useful from time to time. For instance my warrior Phentara who has been getting the smallest fraction of my play time caught up this weekend unintentionally when a guild mate wanted a tank for IT. I didnt plan of playing her or catching her up in levels since shes probably one of my least favorite characters for solo PvE (which i’m stuck doing mostly) but … that’s how alts keep going I find. If i did dungeons all the time to level I think she’d be ahead because I do enjoy tanking for people.

    Really though Samehdi is my main because i end up playing her the most and enjoying it the most she just levels and i don’t realize it. That’s the only way i can even dare say I have a “main” 😛

    I’d have to say I wish it was easier for me to commit to a character and not have the urge to play Alis. I’d be lvl 50 by now or close and I find my lack of discipline frustrating.

    • That’s why I hesitate to make alts now too, because in the past those games where I’ve made a lot of alts are those I never make it even close to level cap, and I feel like I end up missing out. I began to wonder if I would get to see more of the late game if I started to only concentrated on one character.

      The repetition of the zones is a good point too. I think that’s another reason why I find it so hard to level multiple characters at the same time, because I tire of going through the content again and again. It’s to level one character from 1 to cap, then begin anew and have more time between experiencing the newbie zones again.

      Ah, so you do have a main! 😀 That was what I started wondering too, that if a player has a lot of alts they work on at once, is there even one character that distinguishes itself as a “main”.

  3. I am absolutely not an altoholic. Like you, I like to focus on following one character’s adventurers instead of spreading my attention around. In the two games that I have many alts (WoW and GW) it was because I played so long that I wanted new challenges or to see content that I could not on my primary character.

    • My only game that I have a lot of alts is WoW as well, and that’s mostly because my husband is an altoholic and I get roped into leveling new characters with him whenever he starts one. In the end though, they were mostly abandoned too, even the ones that got to cap.

  4. You think you’ve got altitis now? Just you wait until SWTOR. Afraid yet? As Master Yoda one told young Luke, “You will be.” 😉

    • Oh god, I don’t know what I’m going to do when SWTOR comes out. That game will probably make me throw everything I’ve come to think about alts out the window. At some point I want to play all the classes.

  5. I am a rested XP whore. So, I actually have all callings as alts. Thanks to Rift’s soul system, it is really fun to see how each class plays.
    But, like pasmith…I like to be able to craft what I want, when I want without relying on others…so, alts do this.

    They also help me make cash..While one is resting, I can go gather or kill to earn that much needed plat..

    And did I mention rested XP, thus allowing me to ignore quests a majority of the time and just grind away at what I want to kill, do rifts, and explore…as questing just gets to be a drag in this game.

    All good reasons to alt it up!

    • Oh yeah, I guess crafting can be a huge motivator for me too…I might not be able to give all my alts equal attention, but I like being self sufficient, so sometimes I will make an army of alts just to level their professions to be covered in any crafting situation I find myself.

      My new Rift alt though, she’s just a harvester. The thing I find I need most now is money, so selling raw mats should help 😛

  6. I am a severe altoholic for several reasons. First off, knowing at least some of the basics of how all the classes work is a major part of exploring an MMO to me. I’m kind of a junky for delving into the mechanics of different games, and “How the classes work” is a big part of that. I also tend to enjoy having a fleet of interconnected crafters, particularly in games where you can power level crafting to the cap regardless of your chracter’s level. For example, in LoTRO I have maxed out Scholor, Metalsmith, Tailoring, and Jewelcrafting. Any new character I start is going to have very good gear for their level.

    My usual mode is to start several characters of different classes to see what class I enjoy the most. The charcater I have the most fun with becomes my “lead” and levels up using a profession that is as profitable as possible for the least effort (for example, in WoW a lead will always take two gathering professions, in Rift my lead is Tailor+Miner+Butcher, miner chose specifically because it doesn’t feed into tailor and I can auction all the more I gather). This guy hits the cap first, and finances the activities of alts that are free to focus on less easily profitable crafting activities.

    All that said, LoTRO is the only MMO where I’ve hit the cap more than once on the same server.

    • Yes, I love a crafting system’s like LOTRO’s…I was so irritated with what WoW did, putting level restrictions on crafting. Really put a damper on my plans of creating an army of crafting alts to cover every profession.

  7. Like Elementalistly, I started alts in WoW inorder to take advantage of rested XP. And It’s a good thing, too, bacuse it was my fourth and fifth characters that ended up being my “mains” in the game, the only ones that reached max level in bothe TBC and WotLK. Interestingly, I have played neither since Cataclysm came out. I also like the crafting independence, of alts, again like Elem and also Pete.

    Here’s a question, do toons in other games count as alts? I don’t just alternate between toons, but between Rift, WoW, and STO. Captain Rowan is still not at max level well over a year after starting. And I don’t think Ochroma or Rowan in Rift will be max level anytime soon. Something will have to give when SWTOR hits the shelves.

    • No, I probably wouldn’t count characters in other games as alts 😛 Because if I am playing multiple games, I alternate between them too, I guess. My mains.

      Looking through my MMO history, the pattern generally looks like this — one main at cap, one or two alts in the teens or low 20s, that I’ve never touched again. WoW during WotLK was the exception, I had like 5 characters at cap…but in Cataclysm, my main was the only one I took to 85.

  8. tall purple hottie with surprisingly average bust size.

    • Only because there was no bust size slider 😛

  9. In Wow, vanilla wise, it was such a damn grind to get to 60, i started a rogue, and ended up jaded with leveling by 33, so i started a night elf hunter and traveled all over the world to learn guns, and immediately Hunter, my alt, became my main for about 2 or 3 years, or until BC came out, which is when my Shaman alt, that took so much more time and energy and endeared itself to me, because the end all be all main for me.

    Alts to me are super projects, like in the lull doldrums of BT, i would quit End Game, preparing for Wrath, and just level an alt. Why? Because i wanted to try Warrior, to learn the class, beef it up in good blues from every good dungeon and AH, create advantages in it’s profession and basically level it top notch to the time it could get to end game, run with my guildies undergeared, welfare badge up and create….basically a perfectly leveled animal.

    That’s always my motivation for alts, to 6 million dollar man them up. To that end, i have alot of care and love for all of my alts, my project pally, pvp warrior, ole faithful hunter, and even my rogue that never hit ANY cap :/

    To me though, i don’t ever put a premium on crafting or the like, for me it’s the advantages of a different class and switching things up if things get stale, but i always pour my heart and machismo into a true blue main…..which was so difficult in WOTLK, but will definitely be impossible in SWTOR >.>

    • I pour my heart and soul into a main, that’s how I play too. As much as I want to do the same with my alts, my time is just limited, so yeah I do play favorites. The mains get all my attention, all the achievements, participation in the world events, rep grinds, farming for rare items etc. Sometimes going through all that once is plenty enough for a life time, so I couldn’t even bring myself to do it again for an alt even if I wanted.

      I had a lot of alts in WoW back in WotLK, but I pretty much stopped playing them all once they got to 80. I was already pretty frustrated with the tedium of heroics and raids at endgame even on my main, so there I was no way I was going to do it for the alts. They became profession alts, the only action they saw was when I got on to burn their crafting cooldowns 😛

  10. First of all, it’s an abomination you skipped Moonshade Highlands! It’s more beautiful than Silverwood in places, definitely a must see 😀

    I had 5 80s in Wrath, all geared. Because I get bored really really fast. My main, a mage, had everything already. A massive completionist, once I basically did it all with her, I had to test the waters with my other characters. I’ve gotten 2 alts to nearly finish every World Event (that’s on top of having it done on my main 2 years ago).

    That game sure took a lot of dang time 😀 Anyway, daytime player here while my kids are at school, so I had a lot of time to kill. Killed it with alts.

    • I know, I know, I’ve been through Moonshade for crafting dailies and harvesting and oh my goodness, it’s BEAUTIFUL! I can’t believe I chose a place like Droughtlands over it…but that’s why I want to make an alt and experience it properly this time. Iron Pine Peaks too, that place may be all white and blustery, but I love winter and snowy zones. 🙂

  11. I’m a bit of an altaholic, usually my gamer ADD kicks in at some point though and I lose interest. I roll alts to cover crafting professions and as a way to experience alternate playstyles. That’s one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about LotRO: a guardian plays much differently from a hunter which is different from a warden, etc. I’ve never managed to get an alt to level cap though, and my initial main is the one that I make sure I get all of the titles and such on.

    I do have four characters in Rift, I’m not sure that I’ll get them all to the level cap, but I do intend to get them all into the teens or twenties and see if I prefer some other Calling than MAge.

  12. I generally focus on one toon for myself and one for leveling with my wife. I’ll get mine to cap and the alt to cap if my wife does, too.

    The most I had was in WoW. Started with a Hunter, started a guild, got tired of lacking a tank or healer so rolled a Druid to fill both those roles (gogo, Team Hybrid!).

    I pretty much stuck to those two until BC came out. Then had to give Shaman a try and in doing so got a new main.

    After getting The Druid & Shaman to the new cap I started a mage for some silly reason and got her to cap, too.

    In WLK those three made it to cap as well, just not all at the same time.

    In the end I generally focus on one toon or another for a few weeks at a time and then switch out to one of my other toons. Or I’ll get a toon to cap and then farm with that one to fund playing on the others. I think the main motivation is to learn the different aspects of how different classes play. I think having a passing familiarity with other classes makes me a better tank/healer/dps.

    One thing I don’t do, which many of the other people who replied do, is diversify their crafting. Since I really dislike crafting in most MMOs I tend to end up making all my alts gather spec. For some reason in Rift I went Outfitter/Butcher/Runecrafter on my main. A break from my pattern and one, in the mid-40s, I am coming to regret. 😦

    • Even though I start an alt to play outside my leveling contract with my husband, I always end up getting too attached to my main and it’s hard to find the motivation to play anything else. Hence, my constantly bugging my husband to play Rift while I was leveling up my Cleric 😛

      The most I ever had was in WoW too…that game’s just the exception though, since I played it the longest, plus it was my husband then who was the one who was constantly bugging me to play.

      And ouch, I can sympathize. As soon as I saw “Runecrafter” in your crafting skills, I felt your pain.

      • Runecrafting isn’t that bad, actually. It’s what I’m hearing from my guildies about crafting at high end. It is the same old, same old. Crafted gear doesn’t match what comes out of dungeons. Which, to anyone who thinks on it for 2.2 seconds, is to be expected. Hence why I rarely ever like crafting since I know between me and a crafter, when we get to end game, we’ll have the same gear. 🙂

      • Cripes. Should have tried Warrior first. Having a blast. Was smart this time, gather only!

  13. Hi I’m new around here, hope you don’t mind if I answer though!

    I have two primary motivations for alting, the first is gameplay based — I want to try a new class or a new race. I also tend to enjoy questing and leveling much more than raiding/gear grinding, so my army of alts lets me do that longer.

    The second is story-based. The vast majority of my WoW alts have some kind of backstory to them, it makes me more attached to them, even if I never roleplay them with anyone else, it’s important to me to get into their head to an extent.

    I do, however, designate a “main” (though this will and has switched), which is the character that I do all my exploring/dungeoning/achievement-chasing on. It’s simply too time-consuming to give everyone equal attention. I sort of have my “first tier” of alts who get more attention, all the way down to ones who I’ll get around to playing someday.

    • Don’t mind at all, thanks for dropping by and commenting 🙂

      I guess I too have alted for those reasons, and you brought up a good point with your story-based reason. I have developed backstories for my characters too, though I’ve only ever done it for WoW. And I’ve switched mains before too, still remember when I started out with my WoW hunter and made a druid just for kicks…ended up liking the class way more than I expected, and it became my new main 😀

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