Monday, February 18, 2008

In defense of the altoholists

They jump from tussock to tussock, impatiently, never satisfied with what they already have. I'm speaking about the altoholists, who time after time start new alts, desert them (at least for a while), and start it all over again, rather than spending all their game time on one character.

The concept of "altoholist" has something prerogative in it. It suggests that those people can't control themselves. They let themselves be led by their alt lusts, they don't torture themselves in a Lutherian way, but rather they play out of mood and what's fun for the time being, how awful!

No, let's instead look at those people who with blood, sweat and tears, concentrated grinding and an endless amount of wipe feasts slowly build up their main character! Those kind of players always get the admiration of the audience, when you when thinking closly about it should wonder if they shouldn't rather be pitied. Dedicated - or completely insane? That's the question.
We all know how much of work there's behind every well geared toon. Especially if the figure has some crafted pieces, maybe a spellfire set, where the very thought about the amounts of mats that are required make any normal person turn pale. What is really motivating you to stand like frozen at Elemental Plateau, throwing ice bolts on fire elements popping up on the same place, over and over again, hour after hour, only disrupted now and then by a little crash into another player, doing the same thing?

The urge of perfection evidently is strong. But also the longing to see new content, to find out what kind of imaginative monsters Blizzard have invented in the next undone instance, instances you can't enter unless you have that insanity-related gear. The fact that the monster to 95 percent resembles to a monster in another instance doesn't matter. After all it's a new monster! And if it will cost you days, evenings, nights of grinding or for that matter running in BG to collect honour points for a missed gear slot - well then you're perfectly willing to pay the prize.
Of course the altoholists seem a bit irresponsible in comparison. But thinking about it closer - is it really fair? Aren't things just the opposite.

I'm thinking about my own behaviour. I've never been able to pull up any alt. You have to consider me a main hugger. It's Larisa all the way, and there's always another project around the corner to develop her further. It sounds good in one way, but you could easily turn it around and see this as examples of laziness and comfort.

During the year I've played her, I've after all - though I'm far from capped when it comes to knowledge - learned a few things about mages. By reading forums, asking other players and trying things for myself, I've found out what kind of talent build that suits me, what stat's I should be looking for. I know pretty well which gems I want in my slots. I've found the addons to support my playing and macros which make my daily living in the game a bit easier. I've got control of my spell rotations and know (at least in theory, sometimes I tend to be too optimistic I must admit) how to stay close under the aggro limit, to make maximal damage without stealing the mob from the tank. To put it short: I've got the picture pretty clear.

To pull up a character form another class would be a huge step. Of course I know a bit about the abilities of other classes, whatever I need to know for us to be able to cooperate in a group. But to take the step from standing in a distance throwing spells to like a tank stand close to the mobs, deliberately building aggro... that step is gigantic. Not to speak of complicated classes like paladins and shamans. I shiver at the bare thought of understanding and keeping track of all the strange buffs and totems. It would be like starting the whole game over again, to start out the huge curve of learning.

And how on earth could I motivate myself to kill first ten ordinary tigers and then ten a little tougher tigers and then ten weak panthers, followed by ten mean panthers in STV? I hesitate to do it a second time, but just think about the altoholists, doing it for the seventh or eighth time! Speaking of endurance!

The altoholists I've met are just the opposite of lazy. They've got a much broader knowledge of the game than main huggers like me have. Maybe they haven't reached so far when it comes to end game if they've levelled up several chars at the same time. But when they actually come there, they know everything about the different classes and are absolutely amazing to have in a group.

For guild purposes they're a big asset, being som flexible. Oh, we needed a healer today, but we've got a surplus of dps? No probs, I'll switch char, problem solved.

To all of you altoholists out there I just want to say: you're doing a brilliant job! Without any fear you throw yourselves into the game, exploring all the different perspectives whithout getting trapped into one single class. That takes true dedication and is worth at least as much of admiration as any main char decked out in epics.

You deserve our respect!

No comments: