Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of the Girls Gone WoW podcast. They have great discussion topics and are fantastic to listen to. For episode 211 EJ and Raven were joined by Leeta to discuss “How alt-friendly is WoW”? It’s a great episode – have a listen here.
There was great input from everyone about what would make WoW more alt-friendly, or what already is alt-friendly in the game, what’s almost there but not quite. But it really got me thinking – why do people create alts in the first place? Answering this question will probably make it easier to figure out how to make WoW more alt-friendly. So I undertook some “research” and asked twitter:
Ok Twitter friends, please answer me this: if you have alts in WoW, why do you have them?
— cinder (@cinder_tweets) February 2, 2016
I was overwhelmed (and grateful!!) by all of the responses, and really loved hearing other people’s reasons for having multiple characters. I’ve broken down the general themes of everyone’s thoughts below. (I was going to link to everyone’s tweets, but there are SO many and you guys covered different thoughts in each tweet, so if you would like to see everyone’s tweets, check them out here.)
So let’s get started!
Provide services (i.e. materials/gold etc.) for main character or account as a whole/be self sufficient
This was a pretty common sentiment, and is also one that I share. I have a mentality where I feel that if I can make an item, I don’t want to pay extra for it on the Auction House, so I’ll make it myself. There’s also something very satisfying about making your own gear or enchants or glyphs etc. For me, it adds to the fantasy of the game. I imagine my characters all know and interact with each other in the world to give each other the products and materials each one needs. And this way, I don’t pay any extra to buy what I need. Sometimes I’ll even have extra mats that let me make extras to sell to make gold – win win!
To make gold
This can sometimes tie in with the point above (but often not). Having alts gives you great opportunities to make some extra gold – especially now with Garrisons and Shipyards. There’s a little work involved in getting yourself set up, but once you have everything built, you can sit back and watch the gold pile up. There’s also the gold generation from levelling your toons, as well as the mats they collect and the items they make.
I have one bank alt who has her own guild that I use to make gold. She posts (mostly) transmog pieces and extra pets/bits and pieces my characters pick up. I like having her as the one to look after all the gold – it makes it easier to keep track of what I have, rather than having to switch between a dozen toons trying to remember who sold what on the AH. Works well for me!
Able to play/raid with friends on other servers/in other factions
I think this one is pretty important. There are some limiting factors to WoW that make it impossible in some instances to play the game with your friends. If you play in a different faction to your friends, there is not a lot that you can do in game with them. Also, if you play on US servers, you’re never going to be able to play with those on EU servers. Even more than that – you have to have a completely separate account and subscription to have access to the other region’s servers. Which is how we end up with random alts scattered about – friends are in different places and we want to play with them.
Try out different classes/specs
This one resonates most with me. There is so much more of the game that can be experienced by playing a different class. The most obvious is Death Knights, and Demon Hunters will also have this in Legion. But more than that – if you play a hunter, there’s almost a mini-game in collecting all of the pets and capturing them in different ways, as a mage, getting portal around the world at your leisure, and druids shape shifting at will – taking off to fly above the world or shifting in to a seal to swim. I makes for a different experience.
Also, just playing the game as a melee dps as opposed to a ranged dps – you see the world and interact with it differently, giving you quite a different experience.
To understand other raid roles/dungeon or raid as a different role
This one links nicely with the previous point, but I felt it deserved its own section because it goes a bit beyond just trying out different classes or specs. Raiding as a healer is a very different experience to raiding as a dps, and different yet again to raiding as a tank. Raiding as a different role can make a tired raid zone feel very new again!
“Leftovers” from previous mains
Ah, the result of changing your mains. I’m guilty of this (though can’t see myself doing it again). When I first started playing WoW I mained a holy paladin and a mage – at the same time. Which is why I switched to Shaman at the end of Mists of Pandaria – so that I could have 1 character who could play the 2 roles I wanted to play most – heals and ranged dps. It means, though, that I have 2 characters, with a decent amount of history and reputation, sitting on the sidelines. They do both tend to be the first “alts” that I level because I have a very soft spot for them!
To have all professions
For the completionists! Having alts lets you have the ability to get all of the professions, which can help with the crafting and the gold making etc. I personally need to do an analysis of which alts have which professions and look at streamlining them a bit. I have 3 toons with alchemy (from the days of specialisations), which I’m not sure is relevant any more. Anyway, the point is, the more alts, the more professions you can have!
To see more of the story in WoW – see the other faction’s story/other races’ stories
Another one I strongly relate to. I have enjoyed seeing Warlords of Draenor through the eyes of both Horde and Alliance – I didn’t really get to do that during Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria. Especially in Mists, there was content that I will never get to experience because I played Alliance at the start of that. I’ll never see the Horde’s involvement in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, or Theramore’s Fall (pre-MoP event). Now that I have max level toons in both factions, I’ll make sure I can see both sides of the story.
To farm old content/Multiple chances for mounts and rewards
For those who like to collect things, having alts is almost essential. Mount farmers especially appreciate being able to run [insert current raid/dungeon on farm] on multiple toons, though it’s not limited to mount farming.
Having alts makes it easier to farm old content without impacting on your main. For example, if your main has no bag space at all, it can be very difficult to farm old dungeons/raids/zones because you are constantly having to stop to sell what you pick up. Giant pain in the butt (can you tell I’m speaking from experience here?!) I’m now in the habit of gridning out achievements etc. on alts because they just have the bag space! That and some classes are better suited to farming – I’m glad I’m farming Tol Barad rep on my mage because she can run around casting scorch as she goes, making the process a whole lot faster!
There are actually a few achievements in game, especially designed towards having alts, such as Double Agent (for reaching max level on both an Alliance and Horde character) and Master of all (for levelling all primary professions to max level – can only do this if you have alts!)
For something different to do/it’s fun
As you can see from above, there’s actually quite a lot to be gained from the game by having multiple characters. And it IS fun!
Addicted to the game 🙂
Well, aren’t we all?
So, there are a lot of reasons to make and play an alt (or 2 or 10!) I really enjoyed hearing other people’s reasons behind creating their alts. Some are more attached to them than others, and that’s ok. It does help shed some light on how Blizzard could make WoW more alt-friendly, too. A step forward is to support these activities here.