Is it time to retire?

| Friday, October 1, 2010
The trend is obvious. I mean, at least to me, as I watch the posts I've been doing. Maybe retirement is the best option.

Oh no, not my blogging or playing. I meant characters!

Why do we make alts?

I see two most common reasons:
1) To play another class.
2) To have another class at 80.

This are different if you think about them some more. The first reason will not cause a person to enjoy leveling, after all, the first few levels are often not much fun due to extremely limited mechanics. But around 30-40 when a class has filled out a bit, at that point a "to play" alt will start to be fun. The second reason, well for that leveling itself is nothing more than an obstacle, a grind, a mindless act with no clear purpose but very obvious irritation.

Let's not worry about the first reason, at least not today. What's wrong with the second reason? Well objectively speaking I see nothing wrong with it. Let's brea it up and look more carefully. Why do they want another class at 80?
1) Profession
2) Variety
3) Reroll

The first reason doesn't have leveling as as big of an obstacle, since maxed professions don't require 80. Also such a reason is independent of class, meaning that a DK alt can be used for a significant head start.

The second may not be adverse to leveling, since the experience itself is much different than level 80, and the class difference gives variety, regardless of power. Still, being level 1 may not be much fun, and therefore leveling is still an obstacle, though the level at which it ceases to be depends on the class. For example, a hunter is pretty much shit until 10 when they get pets, while paladins are amazingly boring until crusader strike which is a level 40 talent.

The third reason is why I wrote this. Yes it did just take that much time to even begin to get to my point.

I play a paladin, but my guild really needs a druid. So what do I do? Slowly level a druid and then slowly gear it up? Even with easy badges, that's still a huge amount of time to invest. Retirement could give a better option than just making a new alt. This idea is more or less taken from Torchlight, which is a great game that you should try.

A retired character would be destroyed, but it could grant an inheritance to a new characters. This would grant a substantial amount of experience, though not quite max level, since I believe there should still be some time spent learning the mechanics. All soulbound token (badges, emblems, stonekeeper's shards, etc) gear or weapons, excluding heirlooms, would be converted to some percentage of the cost, less than 100% but more than 50%, in order to allow for quick, but not instant gearing. Reputations would go to halfway into the current tier, with the tier above exalted rolled into exalted. Gold (minus a flat retirement tax), non-soulbound items, and bags (even if they are soulbound) would carry over 100% since you'd just mail them to an alt anyway. The retirement tax would go to a trust fund to provide healthcare, housing, food, and entertainment (succubi/incubi as desired) for your retired character. You never actually benefit from the retirement tax. Optionally, you can opt for the "death panel" in which there is no tax, but any character above level 65 has a .5% chance per day to be deleted. Being diseased, poisoned, or in any way debuffed, including being sated after bloodlust, at the end of the day increases the chance to 5%.


Syl said...

Actually there's another option 3): play alts because you got too much time / don't know what else to do on your main.

it's where I pull the trigger and shut down my PC to go read or do other things, but many people play alts because they need something to do in WoW, thats at least what I experience. they will of course then tell you all sorts of reasons - they play alts because they 'need' them for something or because it makes them such better players overall (or equally fail ones on all characters..), but really it's about how much time you wanna spend with wow. and it's fine to experience the game over from another class perspective, just don't make it sound like some rocket scientist's masterplan please.
I don't do alts for various reasons, but that's subject for another topic in the works.

somehow I like square-enix' approach to this in final fantasy online - only 1 character per player but give that character all options to reroll class etc. would solve lots of hassle (and QQ) in wow, just thinking of the achi debate or heirloom items etc. also makes for better immersion if you cant play multiple personas imo, but that's me. ;)

Josh said...

Just like to speak out in defense of pre-10 hunters. Their power is all for shit but the necessity to kite mobs about some and making full use of the few mechanics you have available is actually kinda enjoyable. Pre 10 hunters, unite!

Unknown said...

@Syl: I play alts because i enjoy leveling and gearing up, and i also enjoy gearing up new level 80s. I also like looking at my rich character screen.

Their professions are also useful to my main because they help me make more gold with their professions.

I keep the same main because i also like a high achievement score and i want to keep all the rare stuff on one character. If they ever implement an account based achievement system, I might consider switching mains.

Also, believe it or not, there are people that level alts solely for the purpose of getting extra professions or for some other thing. I know several people who leveled rogues and trained scribes just to help with their Insane in the Membrane feat of strength on their main. I also know a few who leveled alts to get more primordial saronites.

Please do not generalize.

Anonymous said...

I like questing, I like low-level BGs and the sense of open possibility that comes with a new toon. I like Shadowfang Keep and Sunken Temple at-level. The fun I have is not directly correlated to how many abilities I have. Playing a toon that's not at the level cap is a nice change of pace from standing around Dalaran getting stupid on trade chat.

Unknown said...

Also, one of my goals is to have one character of every class at max level at one point. For now, i have 5, and once i get my computer straightened up, i will start working on another one. Yes, this is fun for me. No, i don't do this just for the sake of doing something in wow. When I get bored of the game, i stop playing it for a while.

Shintar said...

I don't like this idea for a simple and rather selfish reason: I like my alts and don't want to delete them. I'm really hoping that Blizzard will increase the amount of character slots per server so I can actually try out new race/class combos on my home realms once Cataclysm hits. If deleting "old" characters was encouraged by the game, the argument for more slots would be weakened considerably, as people would say: "Blizzard doesn't want you to make more and more characters, you should just delete and reroll the way the game supports it!"

Klepsacovic said...

Shintar, the retirement is an optional thing for those who want to switch mains, distinct from making an alt. The goal isn't that players will be constantly deleting characters, but that for someone who 'needs' a powerful new character quickly, this gives them an option, if they are willing to make a sacrifice.

Syl said...

I cannot do anything about what you want to read into my words. if you paid attention, you would have seen that i offered a third option to other options already given by Kleps - it's up to you what option you think concerns you. ;)
'options' mean its true for some people and not for others, so there's no generalization going on per se. also, the fact that you 'like' to do something doesnt mean its 'needed' in order to beat the game, and thats what I was referring to.

Anonymous said...

I have alts for lots of reasons and many people will have a kind of story behind their alt development. My first alts were to experience different aspects of the game or come to understand a class better so I could raid/manage raids/manage a guild better.

Later I rolled on different servers for various reasons too (one to try horde with RL friends, another to join Single Abstract Noun).

As a blogger I feel the different experiences give me perspective - especially on the different servers. I'll never forget logging back to an old Horde char on another server once and being told 'this was a Czech server and I should go away'. Equally doing random dungeons in another battlegroup over the summer reminded me our server is quite progressed and I shouldn't expect the same everywhere else.

I don't like the idea of sacrificing a character to create a new 80 because I believe you learn a lot about a class in levelling it. The point of gradually learning your new spells, for me, is to give you the chance to get the hang of each one before you have to learn another. Starting fresh at the top level smacks too much of e-baying your character to me (maybe some players are skilled enough to do this - I'm certainly not).

Anonymous said...

Morrighan fails at reading - I notice you said not max level.

In that case its an interesting idea. I think, however, that very few people would think their way through such a decision adequately and Blizzard would be inundated with requests to reverse it. The section of the WoW population that goes 'OMG you killed my class QQ' would then sacrifice to whatever the flavour of the month is. Then that would get nerfed and they'd want to change it again. I don't think that would be good for the game. Also the people with more money than sense would want to be whatever the 'best' dps or healer or tank class was and those who couldn't afford a either the time or money to change their class would become second-class players. It would end up making a mockery of balance and variety.

That was depressing wasn't it?

Klepsacovic said...

I actually think this might be great for the fotm crowd; they could get to the next flavor faster and only have to give up that horribly nerfed useless class they played before.

As for money, I should have said that this would be an in-game activity, not a paid service from Blizzard. If you meant in-game wealth, the tax wouldn't be so high as to discourage the average player from using it now and then (meaning less than once a year).

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