Do you actively portray more than one character? Is your character login page brimming with inspiration, often treated to a new face every few months? Then maybe Altoholics is for you! The support group article that takes a crack at the ins, outs and purposes behind the madness of portraying several roleplay characters in an MMORPG.
6 Reasons Why You May Need an Alt
(clickbait title alert)
Roleplayers are a diverse lot -- that tidbit goes without saying(unless you’ve yet to notice). Many of us prefer to cling to one of many styles of play and these often stick to us like habits. Keep in mind that these habits aren’t necessarily bad, especially if it keeps the player behind the screen happy, as that is of foremost importance when jumping into roleplay. With that said, the contents of this article aren’t intended as instructional -- but as advisory or thought-provoking, though I do hope that it attracts an audience with the similar experiences to relate to my words, and if not, to argue otherwise; because opposition to a point best serves to broaden our understanding.
That said, I can think of several reasons why not to play an alt, because it isn’t necessarily as easy at looks. The most popular opinion heard concerning the reason why players don’t play alts is that they can only focus on one character -- which is a very valid point; especially as alting isn’t as easy as it may seem from the outside.
I think that every altoholic at some point in time consciously begins to struggle with vocabulary and issues of perspective. If you’re like me and can only seem to remember the majority of your vocab 30% of the time, then you’ll know by now that the pain is real(just look at my work on this website!). I’ve come to find that my limited vocabulary is becoming a severe and growing issue when several of my characters start to sound so similar to one another that it becomes difficult to set them apart based on their dialogue.
I once shuddered at the very idea of focusing on more than one character during my months as a newb to MMORPG roleplay. Though at the time I’ve heard legends of daredevils who were actively playing three or more characters and thought this madness; because a, levelling two characters in an MMO sounded like suffering, and b, where would I ever get the time?
It took awhile for me to break the ice on making my first alt and when I did, I didn’t quite get into it. Thinking back, I actually dumped the character after only a little while. Any character aside from my main felt like a distraction to me, but this was a feeling that faded in the coming years as I eased into the idea of different characters being better fit for different settings, different circumstances and different roleplay.
1. Your Character is Everywhere
There’s no public event or party you’ve missed, even if your character didn’t seem altogether a keen fit-in for the setting or theme of the event itself. You’re standing out like a sore thumb in a room of people who are anything but like you or of the likes that you get along with and this has started to become a common thing. The problem here is that one might begin to consider whether or not their character would want to attend all of the places that you’re taking them for the sake of getting in some roleplay, when you could have an alt who is undeniably better suited to benefit the setting.
2. You’ve Done it All, You Have it All
Power, fame, fortune, status and experience. Your long-term character has seemingly experienced it all and it’s gotten to the extent wherein you as a player no longer know what route to go with them. Many players take fresh excitement and adventure as a valuable and motivating aspect of their roleplay and after you’ve seemingly done it all, you can no longer find that inspiration required to keep your roleplay fresh and exciting without thrusting your character into some drastic changes to their concept or vast evolutions in their story. As a player, one may view these changes as the next step for their character, but remember that there are only so many different toppings that you can justifiably order on your pizza without it leaving your taste buds absolutely baffled as to what you’re sticking in your mouth.
Every story has a conclusion - perhaps once your character has accomplished everything they’ve set out to do it is time to bring them to that step. It’s bittersweet, but sometimes is the better (and more rewarding) course.
3. Your Character Has Died
What? Unless you're keen on actively playing a ghost or revivals, it's self-explanatory!
4. You Want to Try Something New
You’ve a bad case of spontaneous inspiration and you get new concept ideas every few days, weeks, or months, but you keep pouring your creativity down the throat of a single character, rather than creating a fresh concept to fill that role. Characters change, that’s true -- but before doing so, it may be wiser to ask yourself if this new, exciting idea was better purposed into a new, exciting character. Many ideas sound grand and fun in theory, but the experience is a different thing; like deciding to pool dive from your house roof to impress your mates, only to belly flop the landing or discover that the water was too shallow when you wake up in the ER. You may not like your idea after it's been tried and tested and having integrated it into your main character means that they may be stuck with an idea that you aren't enjoying very much once the sparks have faded.
5. Creative Fatigue
Have you ever logged in and felt that you had no inspiration to get into your character? Then you may be experiencing a case of creative fatigue and it may be related to that specific character. Having a backup character might be just what you need to get the ball rolling and your inspiration juices flowing again. I believe that every player at some point or another may have found themselves losing motivation to portray their main; taking a break from the character may benefit you creatively, especially as some characters require more effort to portray. Consider it a recharge period and is in that way similar to writing. When I lack the inspiration to work on my main article series I write something-- you get the point.
6. Character Plot-locked / Tied From Frequent RP
Is your character familiar with that damned hospital bed that keeps them away from interacting with other characters? Having an alt to fall back on while on your main makes their recovery will benefit you in the long-term rather than rushing your character’s medical recovery. The same goes for characters who frequently travel the galaxy and spend much of their time either in transit or locked in plots that keep them away from casual roleplay when you just know you’re going to want a casual roleplay fix. It’s better to have an alt than to roleplay your character in a hub while they’re actually travelling the galaxy with other characters whose players are offline.
Though it may strike as a distraction from your main character, having an alt as a backup can grant you your roleplay fix while your main is out of the picture for a time. Some concepts simply don't receive much roleplay and compensating for those lost opportunities with a spare character will keep playing with your friends or strangers at the local hub. It may seem daunting for those who don't do it, but the first steps are often the hardest and adaptation takes its time. Some concepts fail to take our interest, but others succeed and to apply all of these ideas to a single character rather than several is the cause of many inconsistent characters and stories.