Greedy Goblin

Friday, March 25, 2011

If you can't beat them, join them

Almost everyone supported alts in the comments of the discussion post. Of course a project guild is not a democracy, especially not for non-members. However it's not just numbers, lot of good points arrived:
  • Having an alt can be like an extra off-spec. You can't have a holy warrior, but you can heal as a priest alt if you want to. If dual specced druids are OK, why not warrior-priest duos?
  • While having an alt is may or may not motivated by social reasons, the existence of the alt is not social per se, unlike lolling or gz spam. So the alt (even if created for social reasons) does not put social pressure on anyone (except maybe the owner, but hey, damaging yourself is your problem).
  • I can't stop them existing anyway. If the player wants an alt (for whatever reasons), he will have it. I can only decide if he'll be in the guild or not. Just because I ban the alt from the guild, he won't play more as his main. So there isn't really "no alts" option, just "alt in guild" and "alt outside". Closing my eyes doesn't change the World.
  • I want a-social people and not characters in the guild. The alt of a person will behave just like his main. He won't start lolling just because he is now a priest and not a warrior.
  • /guildinfo command is bugged. So currently if you ask for invite I can't tell if you are alt or a new player. There can already be several ninja-alts in the guild. Of course the command will be fixed one day and then I can hold a cleansing.
  • pug-simulation: It all started to simulate how pick-up group raiding would look like on a server without anal-spamming M&S. Most pugs run with alts of raiders. So they should have a place here.
  • we are already doing a completely social thing: guild achievements, as advertisement to social people, in the hope that the ones who can be salvaged join, the others make drama. However having alts in this region is very common, banning them make us look not an option.
While I still believe that alts are mostly created for social reasons, I have to accept that I can't get rid of them, only sweep them below the carpet and that's no good for anyone. So I'm convinced that alts must be allowed to the guild in some form. If you are in the guild, you can ask for invite for an alt.

However the numbers and rules of alts are under discussion. The questions and my answers (which are discussion-openers and not verdicts).

One alt or many? If we allow one, why not allow more? On the other hand we could reach the guild size limit in no time if we allow lot of alts. My answer is one for several reasons: with a main and one alt you can cover every single role in the game, so other alts are really serve no other than social reasons. Also, one alt just doubles the guild size even if everyone brings one. One alt can be geared up decently without playing 24/7.

Shall the name of the main listed on the alt's note or shall it be anonymous? My answer is listed for clearly practical reason: the only way to enforce any alt-related rules and prevent the guild from being size-capped if we know who are alts. While one can sneak in an alt as main, but /guildinfo will be fixed one day and I can just kick suspicious characters, check /guildinfo and re-invite them instantly if they are OK. Also it allows the full cleansing of someone who broke the guild rules with terrible chat or begging. Anonymous alts would allow the person to linger on.

Shall mains have priority on raids over alts? The rules are clear: the raid leader can decide. In my raids people will be allowed to come as any able characher. The reason why raiding guilds have a strict "mains first" raid rules is to prevent perpetual alt-gearing farmraid-fest without progression. However that's just a symptom and not the problem: some people prefer farm raids for "gear progression" instead of real progression. However the same people will simply not raid if their main can't get more gear. The solution is not forbidding alts but to have more progression raids. The progression-oriented people must organize progression raids and stop running farm raids. Let alts and newbies handle that. In this case the alt of the "gear-progression" guy becomes useful as he let newbies go farm raids while we go progression, while without him the newbies may can't raid as they are not 10. I will spearhead this idea by extending BoT to next week. I won't do more Halfus until Cho'gall is down. The new lockout system allows you to join a farm raid and kill him, then come to my Cho'gall.

Limitation to the alt: the alt must be lvl 50 to join (65 for death knights). It prevents random bankers and bad decisions to join.

While I still afraid of this change, as it can be a first step into becoming a dime-a-dozen guild, I think we must do this step simply because we can't stop alts anyway. Note to inviters: if you invite an alt please write "alt of X" into the officer note. Also, before inviting ask him to log to his main and verify that it is his alt to prevent griefers from "Hi, I'm the alt of X, inv me", then get X kicked by lolling.


skeddar said...

You should also write the name of the alt in the mains note. Thus, a raid leader can have a fast look-up for available classes. Just in case a specific encounter strongly favors one class (even if it may not be geared as good as the main) over another.

Antze said...

I have never considered alt herding to be a "social problem". I've seen a lot of intelligent non-lolling people who had and played alts. Some of them also had strong raiding skills. I can't say for them, but (hopefully) being one of such people I know that my reasons of having alts were neither about e-peen contest nor about avoiding raid progression and challenges. I mostly play alts when my main is ideally gemmed/enchanted and has all needed consumables for raiding, so I don't lose any effectiveness potential once it comes to raid.

This is not an "alts are good" post, because alts have a problem - they take precious time, and for people unlike me (or sometimes for me when I'm a bit absent-minded) they CAN reduce their mains' effectiveness. I speak of people who should still go gear up in heroics to be more useful in raids, but slack with alts instead.

But if a person is bored with his main who is still crappy geared, and goes to waste time with alts, you can do nothing to stop it, he'll do it inside or outside of the guild.

Still, I'd like to ask a question. Do you think the reason "I want to have a change of my character's playstyle and game mechanics sometimes" is a social one? That's my reason to play a mage instead of a death knight. I just want to throw fireballs instead of death strikes, just for a change, while not refusing to experience raid content of my skill level.

And I think, in my situation, having alts in the guild would be good because I can see raids that are going on in guild chat and quickly switch to my main if I want it (I'm not a member of "The PuG", just to be clear).

energybomb said...

here's my suggestion about the rules:

up to 2 alts. There is no need for more than that.

You MUST be serious about the alt. Alt inactivity will be 2 weeks instead of month and NO alts below 30 (40?) levels should be accepted.

and, I was thinking about this, what if you payed a one-time to have an alt? It is goblinistic, goes straight to the bank for repairs and it doesn't have to be a huge amount- like 1000 g should be enough.

With that, you
a) ensure you won't have 400 useless level 3 alts
b) achieve your aim of "raiding alts"
c)make some profit

ps: a reason to have alts in the guild you didn't list there is because of the guild perks. People DO have alts and many times they are the main crafters. Why waste all these thousands of "potions made/ X good made" achievements that could be completed?

I would suggest that you allow crafting alts in for free. Crafting alts contribute to the guild via the achievements AND take from the guild via the guild perks of "working overtime", "happy hour somewhere" and of course "bountiful bags"

Neophyte said...

I would prefer this changes. I like tanking, healing and damage dealing, but a warrior can't heal.

One alt or many?
One alt in the guild is enough as you said with 2 charakters it's possible to fill up every single role in the game.

No anonymous alts. There should be a own rank for alts and a main note who is the main char, not only a officiers note. Also your talent role should be in the officiers note for every alt.

Shall mains have priority on raids over alts? - This should be a raid leader decision.

Your last paragraph let me estimate that it's now allowed to invite alts before changing and set up the rules?

Many comments in the last discussion post recommend only invite alts which can provide an other role as the mainchar. per example no 2nd dd alt for a dd. I would recommend this rule.

Furthermore there should be an exact activity controll for alts.

Leveling alts (below 85) should get date and lev in their officiers note and if there is no weekly improvement in leveling or weekly guild experience they should be removed.

Every lev 85 alt should make at least 400k weekly guild experience until he made total of 15M guild experience, then there is only a log in once a month required.

For easier controll maybe more different guild ranks are necessary.

Also "Away until date" should be allowed for alts, if they player is also with mainchar away.


Ðesolate said...

"up to 2 alts. There is no need for more than that."

I personally have 4 lvl 85 chars raidready. 1 CHar is the main, he is focused. Why do I "need" more than one alt?

a) lining up theorecrafting for comissions with "practical" experience.
b) practicing every classrole (could be achieved with a druid constantly respeccing)
c) learning the weaknesses and boons of my most feared pvp enemys.

So, how do I keep theese Chars raidready without playing 24/7?
I just geared them up by doing the daily per day. At the moment I paused due to my main student research project.

If you can find reasons for 2 alts you will find reasons for more also. I personally prefer one alt.

I am in The PuG to get relaxation. To feel fully free. I liked the no alts rule. it kept everything quite open. And it kept me from spreading my so called "army of twinks" to another server.

In raids alts should have the same priority as mains. Who cares anyway, I could kick out Ðesolate any day and rejoin with any charakter anytime and join raids the same priority as Ðesolate. I could kick the new Char instantly and rejoin with Ðesolate.

Katka said...

There is one more reason to have alt - sharing account with more real people. We - me and my son - have only one account to play. We play in different times, so another account should be just wasting money. We play in different way, we behave different, so only reason to be marked as "alt" is that we can't play together in one time.
Is it also alt or no? We have two characters in one guild and I decided to mark one of them as alt, but it's pretty confusing for guildies.

The Gnome of Zurich said...

One easy way to keep from ending up with a million endless alts is to only accept raid ready alts. You must be 85 with spec appropriate gear that would get you into a heroic, gemmed and enchanted appropriately.

Then you go by guild activity. any char who's activity is below some threshold over any given month gets the boot. This way you can't bring an alt of every class even though you only actually play one or two.

The guy who has 10 characters and actually plays enough to do guild relevant stuff on all of them every month, seems like no problem. Well, you might be happier if s/he played and progressed one or two of them more, but pressing that would be a lot like pressing people to raid a firm schedule, and seems against the spirit of the PUG.

The only reason to have lowbie alts in the guild would be social, so I'd skip that, as no compelling reason has been offered for lowbie alts.

Anonymous said...

one thing I really don't like here is that if someone is online to raid on his dps, but there is a healershortage, and his guildinfo says that he has a healer alt, there will be people saying "log on the alt, so we all can raid" - which is one of the things you said you wanted to prevent with the old alt rule.

You should at least put a system in place where the person who logs gets huge (monetary) returns in these situations.

Gevlon said...

@Many: text changed to include a level limit for alts.

@Anonymous: since in our guild a healer can be online and MUST NOT be bothered by begging (and I never heard complaints that anyone was harassed), I doubt if anyone would pull it with a main/alt.

aedvalson said...

Gevlon - I'll bet you'd like my alt policy!

We DO allow alts. We also allow alts to raid *at the discretion of the raid leader*, no questions asked.

HOWEVER, as soon as the alt raids once with the guild, that alt becomes an asset of the guild as well as the character's main. Our rule is that the player who wants to bring an alt is now required to bring the alt if the raid leader requires it as well.

We go out of our way to gear up a players alt. The player is now required to bring the alt if we tell him to. Player gains raiding gear on his alt, We gain the versatility of having his alt available. Players that are not willing to make this sacrifice are not permitted to have alts on raids.

Zelmaru said...

There are two considerations here. The first is filling out raids so all the roles are covered. The second as you correctly point out is loot dilution by allowing non-mains to cycle in and grab up loot.

Here's what we did in a former guild of mine:

(1) You may have ONE raiding alt.
(2) That raiding alt must fulfill a *different role* than your main. I don't mean like... melee dps/ranged dps. I mean if your main is melee dps, your alt has to be a tank or healer to be considered to raid.
(3) Mains before alts. If the raid can be filled with all roles played by mains, then it should be done.
(4) The alt may only be brought at the raid leader's request, not because the person would rather play the alt on that day.

pippen1001 said...

gevlon what about the addon you announced some daysa ago, couldnt the possibility of a M&s that is going to get kicked change his alts note so he can remain anyway under his new alias the alt that he now changed to his main via the note changing addon

Gevlon said...

@Pippen: that's for public note, not officer note.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why you'd care? Isn't the division between "alt" and "main" an entirely social convention anyway?

If the criteria is "if you fail, you pay or you leave" why would you care if someone calls the character he brings his "alt", his "main", or his "third accounts second alt on this server?" If he's useless, boot him... if he's better than your alternatives, why worry?

I now raid with my most highly geared character, my hunter. Is that my "main?" Or is my "main" the character I played for five straight years, that everyone knows my name? Why would it matter that I change my words?

Anonymous said...

I don't see any need to not allow low level alts. Your 2 week inactivity boot will suffice to thin the ranks of dead alts. If a member wants to start a new alt, why not allow him in the guild for access to the guild perks that he helped earn on his main? Many of which are specifically leveling bonus perks.

Lupius said...

My reason for having alts is to simply understand the game more and be able to effectively gauge the performance of others in a group situation. If members of my group are underperforming and happen to play a class that I play, I can immediately tell them to either play right (and how) or get out. If they play a class I'm not familiar with, I wouldn't be able to do that.

Anonymous said...

your toons are like your tools...and if you take care of them (in the meaning of gearing enchanting etc) they will be always in good if theres a job take that tool what will do the job.

so main and alt thinking is a pretty social thinking, like someone said above.

Anonymous said...

My personal experience has been that two alts are a good number, rather than one. Most people who play alts at all have more than one they're at least semi-serious about, but rarely more than two they focus on at any given time. Allowing two at a time would decrease the number of people switching alts around and help focus people more on The PuG, as opposed to having alts in other guilds which might divide their raiding attention. In general if a person is happy with the various characters in their main guild they'll just leave any now-and-then alts unguilded.

blachawk said...

Is there something I'm missing? What makes you so sure you don't already have alts in the guild? All one would have to do is log on his alt, ask for an invite, and act as if he were newly joining the guild.

Anonymous said...

@Anon: Leveling perks require a fairly low guild level, so it'd be trivial to get into a trade chat guild for a quick grind to 50. Also, leveling with dungeon finder and new quest structure already zooms by to the point where on forums people complain you can see such a limited amount of zones at the appropriate level. Level 50 is probably pretty trivial /played compared to what it used to take.

@Gevlon: While you CAN cover all roles with 2 toons, if your first was a DD-Only, then you need to pick paladin or druid alt to cover all roles. I'm not sure you want to encourage a flood of paladins and druids, already the most popular classes in WoW. Also, you might want to reconsider melee DD vs. Ranged DD as different roles.

Direhawk said...

If I was making a policy based off your philosophy this is what I would implement:

1. Raiders may declare a 2nd main.
2. If the player wishes to raid they must be open to raiding on either main.
3. Raid leader will take the players preference when possible.

This allows you to maintain your no alts policy. You gain the benefits of alts, but it allows you to hold those alts to the same standards as mains. I think the social perception of alts is one of the things your concerned about. "It's my alt who cares." etc..