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  1. #1

    WoW & “Alts” in 2020

    When we first played the game our sole purpose was to make our “main” character as strong as possible. Questing took a long time, farming reputation took a long time, and gearing your character took a long time.

    As expansions started to come out the leveling process and gearing process became easier (arguably). Today in 2020 we almost ALL have “alts”. In some cases some of us struggle to play the game because we can’t even decide what class to play. We look at logs, rankings and tournaments to help us make decisions as to what class to “main”.

    Now almost every WoW related forum is littered with “Blizzard killed alts” with set change. Alts are huge now because metas exist and the meta shines bright early on in a new expansion and patch.

    My questions are these:

    Would the game/community be better today if players went back to focusing and MASTERING a single class? Maybe 1 “alt” is all we need. Maybe what the game really needs is the player base focusing on their favorite character and not our meta favorites. Maybe playing an “alt” should be hard? This way the game is not littered with mediocre players?

  2. #2
    I think expansions like Wotlk/Cata but especially WoD really helped to push the 'alt' mentality because the earlier slow painful grinds of classic and TBC were either simplified in those expansions or if we're being perfectly honest there wasn't that much to do outside raids or arenas and so on. Now with Legion and BFA trying to add more things to keep people occupied on their mains it's all of a sudden a negative because they want to maintain alts as well. I enjoy alts as well so I know the feeling.

  3. #3
    eh the biggest issue with sticking to a main for me have been the constant changing of how they play with every expansion.. i know it's appealing to some but for me it's a pretty big chance i'll end up hating the new way and instead of sticking to something i don't like i try to find something else to play.
    I had fun once, it was terrible.

  4. #4
    The devs just do not simply understand why people play alts. They want you to commit all your lifetime to play one char only, and build their whole univese around this bias.

  5. #5
    To infinity and beyond det's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mexh View Post
    Would the game/community be better today if players went back to focusing and MASTERING a single class? Maybe 1 “alt” is all we need.
    With millions of players (even under a million) people are just different. If you force them into something, they might just fuck off.

    And catering to everyone - from the guy who plays just 1 main to the guy who thinks he needs to be able to do Mythic+15 and raids competitively on 20 alts is just impossible.

    As I like to point out "bla bla bla killed alts" is just hyperbole again. But also "bla bla bla killed the game / or mythics / or anything" is a recurring thread...so I wouldn't worry.

    I could focus forever on one specc and I would still not be able to be a mythic raider in 2020. I like to do the stuff I do, get one toon geared as best as possible, do all the quests, do my assaults and then eventually level alts...and currently I am fine when they have their Benthic gear and an epic in every slot.

    People crying how their alts are dead on day 1 of a patch are making me facepalm. Also they do it for every patch and every x-pac.

    If anything, the time where I had no time for alts was in Classic...and in TBC (but there it already got better...well...except how I couldn't get them into raids with the bloody attunements)

  6. #6
    It's a balancing act on several levels:

    A) If there is too much stuff that you "have to do" on your characters, some people will get annoyed and feel like the game isn't casual friendly or alt-friendly (so they might not play alts or feel happy playing them).

    B) If there isn't enough to do on your characters, some people will complain that there isn't enough content. - However people will also generally feel then that the game is more alt-friendly.

    The best example for me was WoD.
    There was very little to do outside of raiding... so I ended up having a max level of every class and I even raided on a handful of them.
    In BfA however I find it really hard / too time consuming to have more than 2-3 max level characters.

    On the other hand, I probably would've gotten annoyed if there wasn't enough stuff "to do" on my alts in BfA too, because I might not feel like investing in too many characters at once right now. I'm kinda satisfied that I -had to- refarm some of the essences and reputations. It kept me busy and engaged with the game... But other people clearly are getting annoyed with having to do it all over again on a second character.

  7. #7
    To infinity and beyond det's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagganoolin View Post
    The devs just do not simply understand why people play alts. They want you to commit all your lifetime to play one char only, and build their whole univese around this bias.
    Well, as somebody who has 1-2 character(s) of each class at 120, and some more coming up - I can't wait that you share your insight (that devs don't have) on how we all who have alts like to play them.

    With the catch up mechanisms since TBC, they seem to be erfectly aware that thing like alts and returning players exist. Personally I think my alts should not be where my main is, the moment they hit max level.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by det View Post
    Well, as somebody who has 1-2 character(s) of each class at 120, and some more coming up - I can't wait that you share your insight (that devs don't have) on how we all who have alts like to play them.

    With the catch up mechanisms since TBC, they seem to be erfectly aware that thing like alts and returning players exist. Personally I think my alts should not be where my main is, the moment they hit max level.
    Well, i have a char i leveled in korraks revenge and did not get the nyalotha quest. I have no idea how i get there.

    I think that is the situation many players are in with their alts. They have no idea what to do to get there.

    And i do not think you should do all the war campaign stuff to get there. Progression should not need that much linearity.

  9. #9
    8.3 is probably the most alt friendly since WoD. Shadowlands will probably make it even better.

  10. #10
    It's like flying or lfg, people invested in alts and got used to it. Taking those things away hurts and people will get vocal about it.

    Personally I think Blizzard does to much flip-flopping on this topic. Some patches feel like they encourage altchars, some patches feel like they discourage it. I left out the essences because I couldn't imagine that they will keep them per character in 8.3, but they did it.
    While I really could like having only one main, I think the community of WoW doesn't support that anymore, since min/maxing is so present that having a low ranked class could be a blocker for finding groups. Additionally if you don't like a rotation change on your class, you still need to stick to it with main-only.

  11. #11
    Bloodsail Admiral CrawlFromThePit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagganoolin View Post
    The devs just do not simply understand why people play alts. They want you to commit all your lifetime to play one char only, and build their whole univese around this bias.
    Lol what?

    Alts are just something to play when you run out of things to do on your main, alts are not something you should focus on or even care what they become. They are supposed to be weaker and behind your main. You seem to expect your alt to be on par with your main by quitting your job, sell your kids and never see the sun because you have to farm AP and shit. That's not how the game is supposed to play at all.
    Cure cancer, delete factions.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rochana View Post
    It's a balancing act on several levels:

    A) If there is too much stuff that you "have to do" on your characters, some people will get annoyed and feel like the game isn't casual friendly or alt-friendly (so they might not play alts or feel happy playing them).

    B) If there isn't enough to do on your characters, some people will complain that there isn't enough content. - However people will also generally feel then that the game is more alt-friendly.

    The best example for me was WoD.
    There was very little to do outside of raiding... so I ended up having a max level of every class and I even raided on a handful of them.
    In BfA however I find it really hard / too time consuming to have more than 2-3 max level characters.

    On the other hand, I probably would've gotten annoyed if there wasn't enough stuff "to do" on my alts in BfA too, because I might not feel like investing in too many characters at once right now. I'm kinda satisfied that I -had to- refarm some of the essences and reputations. It kept me busy and engaged with the game... But other people clearly are getting annoyed with having to do it all over again on a second character.
    Why not both? Say, if rep related activity progress was account-wide, it could be made so that both options were equally viable. I obviously agree that the gearing part of the process should be largely specific to each character, but Blizzard's current take, pretending that altoholics enjoy redoing the same long unrewarding grinds multiple times is not the solution.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by zlygork View Post
    Why not both? Say, if rep related activity progress was account-wide, it could be made so that both options were equally viable. I obviously agree that the gearing part of the process should be largely specific to each character, but Blizzard's current take, pretending that altoholics enjoy redoing the same long unrewarding grinds multiple times is not the solution.
    They probably could've just solved it by giving alts a +100-150% rep gain bonus or something, if your main is exalted.

  14. #14
    I'm never going back to one toon. If anything, with the level squish, I might have up to 36 level 60's by the end of Shadowlands.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by babyback View Post
    8.3 is probably the most alt friendly since WoD. Shadowlands will probably make it even better.
    7.3.5 was far more alt friendly than this.
    Hell, I'd even say the legendary acquisition in general on alts was more alt friendly than essences are.

  16. #16
    Old God Grimbold21's Avatar
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    My opinion and answer to your primary question is: I cannot make the decision of truly focusing on a single character as I did from vanilla to cata because, personally, I find the existing class design philosophy and its ramifications to have butchered what I enjoy playing.

    I do enjoying playing some specs here and there, but not to the extent that, among the 6 characters I have, I'd ditch 5 in favor of a single one.

    That coupled with the current game systems (and philosophy) is gradually diminishing interest in playing the game.

  17. #17
    The Lightbringer Nurvus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mexh View Post
    When we first played the game our sole purpose was to make our “main” character as strong as possible. Questing took a long time, farming reputation took a long time, and gearing your character took a long time.

    As expansions started to come out the leveling process and gearing process became easier (arguably). Today in 2020 we almost ALL have “alts”. In some cases some of us struggle to play the game because we can’t even decide what class to play. We look at logs, rankings and tournaments to help us make decisions as to what class to “main”.

    Now almost every WoW related forum is littered with “Blizzard killed alts” with set change. Alts are huge now because metas exist and the meta shines bright early on in a new expansion and patch.

    My questions are these:

    Would the game/community be better today if players went back to focusing and MASTERING a single class? Maybe 1 “alt” is all we need. Maybe what the game really needs is the player base focusing on their favorite character and not our meta favorites. Maybe playing an “alt” should be hard? This way the game is not littered with mediocre players?
    I think you are trying to put 2 completely separate behaviors in the same bag.

    On one hand, you have the perfectly legitimate and healthy desire of wanting to enjoy the game to its fullest without being punished for it.
    That does not mean wanting things easier.

    I want a challenging game, but once I have done all content, reached Exalted with all Reputations and obtained the highest gear, I don't want to be forced through ALL of it again with the exact same intensity on every alt...

    That's where alt-friendliness comes into play.
    It's not about adjusting the game difficulty so you can play multiple characters, but rather making the more boring aspects of progress easier on your 2nd playthrough and beyond.

    On the other hand, you have an unhealthy game design that encourages players to have alts - not because they enjoy it, but because it's useful!
    Useful because it accelerates gold-making or lets you fuel your main somehow.
    That sort of behavior reached its peak in Warlords of Draenor with the damned Garrison.

    So we need more of the healthy alt-friendliness, and less of the unhealthy one.

    So the simplest changes Blizzard should consider are:
    1 - Remove any sort of direct or indirect means of using alts to accelerate progress on your main, like Gold from Missions and Emissaries
    2 - Reputation and AP gains increased until you catch-up to the highest character.
    3 - Alt-repetitive content like Emissaries become Account-Wide
    Example: Drustvar Emissary -> Complete 4 different Drustvar WQ with any combination of characters (i.e: 2 on DK, 1 on Mage and 1 on Rogue).
    You can then collect the reward with all characters.
    Last edited by Nurvus; 2020-01-17 at 10:56 PM.
    Why did you create a new thread? Use the search function and post in existing threads!
    Why did you necro a thread?

  18. #18
    You are missing one key thing. The game basically pushes you to level alts these days, there are objective, measurable and tangible benefits from having as many alts as possible. From moneymaking, through mount and transmog farming, to raiding with multiple classes and of course split raiding for the cutting edge raiders. The whole game design pushes people to keep alts relevant.

    Btw, the people who are blowing the issue of 8.3 out of proportion probably don't realize how much you can actually skip on alts in 8.3. Maybe if you include making alts relevant for raiding it becomes a problem

  19. #19
    I've been playing the game for 10 years. I've mastered multiple classes. I don't have a 'main', I have characters that I love playing and I want to play those characters at a level that I find enjoyable and exciting. I don't want my character to feel gimped, I don't want my character to have to rerun old content for weeks in order to be ready to do heroic and mythic, mythic+ beyond 15+s, or arena beyond 2.2k, that isn't fun.

    If you're going to cry and whine and say that essences shouldn't be BoA, you'd better not use a single piece of heirloom gear or even own any. Using heirloom gear on toons that did not earn it would be the same argument you're making for not allowing essences across max level toons.

  20. #20
    The Insane Aeula's Avatar
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    Alts are the main reason I play this game, if I was limited to just my Paladin or my Warrior then I'd probably only play about a quarter of what I play right now.

    Things need to be made more alt friendly. Account wide essences, the 8.3 intro should just auto complete for alts so they can start picking away at assaults and horrific visions as they see fit. Stuff like that.

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