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General: MMOWTF: Interchangeable Alternate Lives

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Dan Fortier returns this week to talk about Alternate Accounts in MMORPGs.

While playing some of these new-fangled interweb games on my electronic typewriter, I started thinking about of some of the things we take for granted in our surreal second lives. Most MMOs share lots of common features, but usually we are too busy grinding out XP, running instances or camping corpses to really give much thought to the them and how we use them to keep the stupid grins on our faces. This time around I'm talking about alternate characters or Alts, as they shall henceforth be called. Put on your bifocals and have a damp cloth ready for your monitor during this trip.

Most games typically allow you to roll anywhere from a few to a dozen extra toons and those that don't usually encourage folks to have multiple accounts to serve the same purpose. The idea is that when you get bored of the same stale content for one class, you can jump to another and spend the next month leveling him/her up to max level. It also allows the achievers among us to thoroughly test every class to find whichever one is currently overpowered and kick ass on everyone until it's nerfed. In general, having alts lets us enjoy a wide spectrum of a game's flavor without having our old characters fall on their sword.

Read Dan's whole column here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


  • shavashava Somerville, MAPosts: 283Member Uncommon
    Dan Fourtier's alt is a troll...:)

    I think this column just exists to excite comments.

    So, putting all the possibilities aside, I'll give another perverse reason to use alts -- to cover all the crafting skills.  I had ten alts on EQII to cover all the tradeskills (which actually was an interesting thing to do when there was real interdependence), and I have five in LOTRO for the same reason.

    I do feel obliged to point out that the players may not know who is behind the griefer, but if they are reported, the staff does.  So there is only so much anonymity to hide extreme behavior behind.


  • NytemareNytemare Btfd, ONPosts: 59Member

    Bah...boring column this time...


    Maybe you shoulda had your "alt" pick the topic and write it.

  • CaesarsGhostCaesarsGhost Marietta, GAPosts: 2,136Member
    You should've added that there are some people out there who play their "Alt" as their "Girlfriend".

    ...or funny crap like that...

    - CaesarsGhost

    Lead Gameplay and Gameworld Designer for a yet unnamed MMO Title.
    "When people tell me designing a game is easy, I try to get them to design a board game. Most people don't last 5 minutes, the rest rarely last more then a day. The final few realize it's neither fun nor easy."

  • smartkidzsmartkidz Spring Valley, NYPosts: 252Member
    Originally posted by CaesarsGhost

    You should've added that there are some people out there who play their "Alt" as their "Girlfriend".

    ...or funny crap like that...
    LoL, You speak the truth. I remember reading something on the WoW forums about something that happened like that.  That writer also has a point about the alts. they can be used for everything and anything. They're WATCHING.

    =The best quote ever=
    Curt teh Juggler: our graduation ceremony was today, and right when some gamer nerd got his diploma, someone in the audience played the zelda "get item" music and he did the zelda spin-hold-out-item stance
    Curt teh Juggler: it was quite possibly the most amazing thing ever.

  • SourajitSourajit KolkataPosts: 431Member Uncommon

    I needed alts in almost all the MMorpgs I played still now. Only in the game of life played on the engine of reality that I could not find an alt to make me " The Main " find it a bit less boring and fast paced.

    Sourajit Nandi

    " Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you can't play this or that. That's nonsense. Make up your mind,and you'll never whine or repent about gaming hours anymore, then have a go at every Game. Open up the Internet, join in all the Mmorpgs you can. Go make the Guild. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible. "

    Once An Addict Always An Addict .

  • SchrohereSchrohere Winchester, CAPosts: 5Member
    I am an incredibly casual MMO player. My wookie from SWG is still a 74 from 3 months after launch. I have a couple lvl 12's and a 24 in there as well. They are for the most part on different servers and share no common connection. Only my cousin who I play w/ knows who's who. I lvled my Hunter up to 34 just the other day in LOTRO before "server wipe" too open beta. I had 3 lvl 7 toons also, but I played my hunter the most. I enjoy the fact that devs give us the option of haveing multiple toons. I'ld like to believe that for the most part people creat new toons simply to try out new class/race combos, period. Good times to all..
  • lorechaserlorechaser Austin, TXPosts: 124Member
    I personally think CoH did it right - you have a global name, and individual characters.  You can ignore globally.  And you can easily find out someone's global name.

    Prevents most abuses.

    Who am I?
    @Lorechaser on CoH
    Badjuju, Splinterhoof, Plainsrunner on WoW (Moonrunner)
    Shyy'rissk on SWG (Flurry)
    ClockworkSoldier, HE Pierce, Letnev on Planetside
    Gyshe, Crucible, Terrakal on DDO
    And many more.

  • TyrranosaurTyrranosaur Albuquerque, NMPosts: 284Member Uncommon

    I like to keep an alt around that no one I normally play with knows, just so I can get a break. If I don't have time or interest in another four hour raid....I can log on to the alt and play at my liesure.

    Alts are a great way to try out different variations. I love how WoW lets you have 9 alts per server, as you can theoretically have one of every possible combination spread throughout. I do not like how EQ2 limits you to 6 characters, and suspect that if Sony were smart they'd realize having more slots for characters might lead to more retention of players over time. But then, maybe they want player sto open up second accounts for that purpose, I don't know.

    In the end, though, I seem to find myslf with about 3-5 characters per game that I'm really "invested in" and the rest are all just experimental trash.


    Current MMOs: Rift, GW2, Defiance
    Blog: (old school tabletop gaming and more)

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