Altitis isn’t about Uber Alts
In any other gaming environment, changing characters means starting the game over. In MMOs, you get lots of opportunities to assist your new characters: BoA gear to level faster, the ability to provide your other characters with money, items, or raw materials.
Lots of people complain about “having to” do this or that thing on their alts. I think that’s a whole lot of hooey. You don’t have to do anything on your alts. If you want to do something on your alt, like, say, raid, then certain things are expected of you, yes. But one presumes that very few people have the time in a week to devote to raiding with more than one toon at a time. And those few people choose to raid on more than one toon. I don’t have sympathy for people who say you have to do anything on your alt.
Having alts does not have to mean that you pursue the same content on all of your alts. Let’s take a look at all of my toons.
There’s Shoryl. I’ll call her my main for this exercise, because she sees a significant portion of my dedicated play time. I make decisions about what I’m going to do with her for long-term goals, and I pursue those goals. She has some milestone achievements, like Loremaster of Kalimdor, Easter Kingdoms, Outland and Cataclysm. I’m still pursuing Northrend, but I also have other goals for her. I’m spending a lot of time on Outland reputation achievements right now, and just recently got Leading the Cavalry.
There’s Breige. She’s an 85 hunter, and I enjoyed solo leveling her, but I’m not a very good hunter player – I don’t understand half of what she can do, I don’t understand 2/3 of what her pets ought to be able to do either. She’s got maxed skinning and leatherworking, and is honored with the guild, to provide my little tiny guild with those two professions for Working as a Team. Right now, she’s my auction house toon because I don’t have any particular goals for her.
There’s Taoiseach. You’ve heard the stories about Taoi and Shoryl. Taoiseach has a few achievements under her belt that Shoryl may never attain. I play her when Sonaira isn’t available, as Sona and Shoryl are a pair and only occasionally pursue separate activities (usually revolving around profession dailies). Taoiseach doesn’t see much play time, but she’s an alchemist and is currently my cash cow with her truegold transmute.
There’s Kerridwen. Kerridwen is level 67. She already has Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. I rolled her to run through the brand new 1-60 stuff. She’s also got skinning and herbalism over 300, has just reached 300 with cooking skill, and is working on 300 skill in fishing. Next up? 300 skill with archaeology. I’m guessing she’ll be near 70 before setting foot in Outlands, but that is where she will go next. She’s not about playing hard content. She’s about seeing the game. Maybe not “as it was designed to be played” but seeing it, and taking the time to savor it. She’s also a solo toon.
There’s Sveala. Sveala is my third attempt at a shaman, and she’s leveling primarily using the dungeon finder. She’s a healer, which is helping her queue times. I’m working on her to eventually give our guild’s only other healer a chance to bring his warrior out to play once in a while.
No, I realize none of my toons are particularly uber. Back in the day Taoiseach (then Shoryl) was somewhere in the middle of the pack of raiders, which was a smaller group of people than it is today. I got burned out. I would be 100 times more burned out if I had to spend all of my time getting all of those toons up to level 85 post-haste, then get them geared in the current gearing system and then also try to find time to raid with them.
Yes, I get why people don’t want to do that with all of their toons. But they don’t have to. Because it’s a game. Not a job.