Altaholics Anonymous

I know the topic has probably come up at least once over the past few days with all the Cataclysm previews going live. An expansion is a great time to switch to a toon who has maybe been left by the wayside but is still at level cap. I find it increasingly difficult to switch my main (or even consider it) while we’re in the middle of an existing expansion pack or even work on alts in general. Any time spent leveling or gearing up another character feels like little more than a complete waste, I could be using that time to work on my main raiding toon after all. I suppose depending on what has you excited about Cataclysm you may or may not have issues shifting your focus. Irregardless of your situation or interests I still think there are a fairly standard number of advantages and disadvantages to spending a notable amount of time working on alts.

Looking at some of the positive reasons to shift your focus to a new or pre-exiting character for any amount of time there are a few things that stick out. Whether we’re at the cusp of a new expansion or not there’s no reason why you should keep playing any given character simply because of time invested. The reason we have alts is to have something to play when our current class of choice becomes stale or boring. It’s not like you’re deleting your current main when you decide to start playing an alt more regularly, nothing’s set in stone. It is also possible that you may be in a relatively serious raiding guild and it might be more productive to re-roll or work on an alt to fill a raid spot. Another VERY viable reason for alts is crafting. Those of us whole seek to excel at the auction house realize that it’s nearly a requirement to have multiple alts to fill additional crafting professions, exponentially increasing your daily gold intake. Finally, alts are a great way to stay interested in the game. More often than not I find myself burning out on the game after focusing intently on my Paladin, a few hours here and there spent leveling an alt can quickly break up the monotony of our day-to-day WoW lives.

While there may be a number of positive reasons to work on alts I can easily see how people would disagree. For people who have issues focusing their time, any number of alts can spell disaster. It is definitely easier to direct your time more efficiently when you only have one character to worry about but once you hit level cap you need to quickly start looking at everything you can be doing to stay busy. If you are trying to work yourself into a regular raiding schedule I would definitely shy away from playing alts regularly. Once you commit to performing at your best in a raiding situation it’s far more important to spend your extra time making sure that you’re prepared for challenges ahead, not working on that level 18 rogue you rolled last week. One more thing that comes to mind is how much of a gold sink alts can be. If you’re planning on actually playing your alts at max level you will quickly fine that a ridiculously large amount of emblems and gold will start vanishing from your main(s). This is something I struggled with early on and why I now only plan to level my alts far enough to reach the max level of their respective professions.

All in all I’m sure there’s more I could go into, there are entire blogs and podcasts dedicated to alts and how they affect our game play. Hopefully this will at least get some gears turning upstairs and give you all something to ponder as you go about your time in WoW.

– Cornelious

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