Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Altoholism Ahoy!

The author of The Angry Alt spent a little time blogging about Alotholism to which I responded to. I wanted to take a few minutes to share my thoughts on alting.

The benefits of alting:
I believe there are six perspectives to PVE raiding in WOW. Main Tanking, Offtanking, Melee DPSing, Ranged DPSing, Raid Healing, and Tank Healing.

In my years of playing I've raided from every one of the six perspectives and I honestly think I'm a better player and a good raid leader because of it.

I can tell people in the proper language what they should do. I know what rogue poisons do what and where they're applied, I know what stats benefit what class roles the best and how to utilize everyone in a manner that will make them shine the most. I know that hunters don't need expertise so that pug hunter wanting an expertise dagger over a rogue can get a kick in the shin.

I've been the main tank. I've been the offtank. I've been the tank that has to chase after the mob that just got pulled by the DPS who's not attacking the right target. I've had the other tank taunt off of me with tank envy.
I've been the bored ranged DPS in classic waiting for the warrior tank to get his sunders up.
I've been the melee dps having to interrupt the casters and run out of the whirlwind.
I've been the group healer throwing my chainheals, wild growths, circle of healing, and even prayer of healing around. I've been the tank healer. I've endured "OMG HEAL ME" from tanks untrusting tanks and bad DPS.

I try not to yell for heals (though I may be like, 'omg altoholic is frost blasted' because I know people zone out sometimes), I try not to pull agro, if I do pull agro I run to the tank, I try to hurry up and threat faster and harder so the DPS doesn't have to wait, I get out of the stupid. I don't taunt off of other tanks.

I've found that other players have had changes in their playstyle after playing multiple classes. People that pull agro frequently getting to try being a tank and dealing with the other side of things curbs such issues. People yelling for heals learning to play healers has a similar effect. It's made my players far more patient and capable of stepping up their game without stepping on people's toes.

And thanks to badge gear (doubly so come next patch), there is icing on the altoholic cake in the form of flexibility. A pack of altoholics have the flexibility to mix it up and keep it fresh by changing up roles. If a key member of the pack is missing, someone else can fill in and a person can be pugged.

I don't want to be that guy:
Several of the players on my Ventrilo server speak less than kind words about a particular member of one of the top raiding guilds on my server. This member has a variety number of level 80 characters, just like me and the members of my guild.

Word is, that this guy is a jack of all trades, master of none. He's got a lot of characters but he sucks at playing most of them, but they're all geared because he's an officer in his guild.

I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to be viewed as someone who sucks or who's using his guild for gearing out a personal army. Because of this, I focus on gearing one character out at a time and I'm generally not insistent on which character I take. I take what's needed to help the group progress.

People tell me I'm not like that guy, and my guildmates tell me to not feel bad for going on heroics with them on characters other than my main (or secondary main), but I still worry about being viewed as greedy.

My shaman is pretty much done with badges, 13 more then all I need is triumph stuff and raid stuff. I'm reluctant to switch to my druid or hunter for badges because I feel greedy.

I decided I wanted to get my DKs, who have been sitting at 74 for a very long time, up to 75. I succeeded in doing so last night and am starting to get my leveling groove back once again, I've figured out how to effectively dualbox DKs, which I will probably explain later.

But I'm left unsettled from a remark from a member of my guild's left ringing in my brain: "Do you really need more 80s?"

Solitary Activity:
Alting is a solitary activity. I mean, I can group with other people, but I spend a lot of time just grouped with myself. I may spend quiet time letting my mind wander as I zone out and watch my eyecandy twin belf DKs kill things while smashing my 'assist focus deathgrip' button (-) then pounding 123345123345 until the mob is dead then pounding follow focus (=). I may listen to whatever really obnoxious song is stuck in my head on repeat over and over again.

The content we can clear at this time is being cleared in under 2 hours. People groan at the idea of Ulduar10, a series of unfortunate (in one case) and dickish (in another) circumstances will prevent us from TotGC this week. What can I really do?

I need things to keep me busy and alting is something I can use to keep busy while working towards a clearly visible goal (leveling). I need something to do when I need a break from cat herding and being the defacto leader for everything.

Alting is that thing.

Now's the time:
If you want to get one or several alts to 80, now's the time.
I'm leveling my DKs to 80 and then I may shift to push the other four (Priest, Mage, Warrior, Rogue) to 80 as well.

Get alts to 80.
Stockpile crafting materials.

Here's why:
With the next patch Blizzard is doing the following:
  • Shifting all badges in heroics and raids to Triumph.
  • Adding a better LFG system that will build groups.
  • Enabling cross server LFG.
  • Giving achievement awards and non-combat pets for people who group with 100 different random people.
This means you can take your fresh 80 alt, provided it's got tolerable gear (craft some stuff), throw yourself into the random heroic system, and get heroics. With several servers for each battlegroup, the likelihood that there'll be heroics running at any time of day or night is pretty high. If your character is capable of being a tank and a healer, put on your tanking/healing pants and you'll likely have a never-ending supply of heroics.

This will be especially true in the first few weeks where people running heroics will be trying to get their non-combat pets.

People probably won't mind your lack of gear if you:
  • Are polite.
  • Don't stand in the stupid.
  • Know basic game mechanics/the instances.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of playing your class.
When I go into an instance on a character that I'm new to playing, I tell people that my character is new with sub par gear, I tell them I'm a "long time player, fairly new to this character." I ask them to evaluate me, to give me feedback. Constructive criticism is how you learn. (I usually get positive feedback.)

Skill and knowledge is greater than gear. Someone with 245 gear will still die if they stand in the stupid.

Good times ahead.


  1. Ok, so... where did u get/how did u make the chart thingy for ur alts levels in the sidebar? I want one.

  2. Fallout: I chopped up some code. I'll see if I can tweak it up some.

    http://pastebin.com/f70bc2edc is a version that supports character names.

    http://pastebin.com/f27eda465 is a version without names.

    I can't make them work together. I'm all out of patience to try.


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