Ask the Editors
Hello all, and welcome to Episode 4 of our little series. By now we are getting pretty good at answering your questions and are quite enjoying it. Well, some of us are anyways.
This weeks questions comes to us via email and generated some excellent responses.
“Like them? Hate them? Confusing as all hell? What's your opinion on alternate characters?”
Lets get us some answers!
Lani “Gwen” Grayson, what say you?
“I think alternate characters are a mixed bag. Some people have very rich alts with distinctive personalities, national ties, and motivations. I think that those characters can add to the game and make the playing experience richer for those individuals who choose to play that way. Alternatively (pun intended), alt characters can give players an excuse to play a character who never has to face the consequences of their actions, because they can easily slip into an alt for certain player experiences, and then slip out in order to avoid troubling consequences for their choices. I think that if a player is going to have multiple characters, each should be played regularly and developed enough to add to the flavor of the game.”
Alex “Lucas” Newbold?
“Hi, I’m Alex and I’m an alt-o- holic.
It started as a simple thing, I made a Rogue and he was fun. But that Cleric had some neat skills, plus armor, so I wanted to give that a whirl. Then there was a Mage with some explosions, and you know how it goes. Start one toon, get bored, move on to the next, and never finish any of the storyline…
But that was in a computer game where it was pretty much Me playing alone, or occasionally in multiplayer mode.
Larps, are a different situation. Especially ones with Nationality, loyalties, and being able to depend upon your nation being there for you. Nations are more than just a crew with matching tabards, they’re folks working together who are like minded and depending upon each other. Lets face it, in the Realms we blur the OOC/IC line a lot when it comes to our nations inner workings. When NationXYZ throws an event everyone from that nation shows up to write plot, to craft, and to staff the event. Except for Jane, because she’s playing her alt that day, because she needs to defeat 7 Golden Droogs for a squirely task that her alt has. Nation123 is gearing up all hands on deck to win the Team Tournament, except for Marcel who is playing his healer alt, who is in Nation456.
Sure, it’s the characters that are different that day. But, we all know that Jane isn’t helping run the event, and we know that Marcel won’t have his pike on the line that day, plus he’ll be healing the folks his team is killing. Your friends see you and see what you’re picking as your priorities. These are two extreme examples, but they’re both ones I’ve witnessed in play.
You want to mix things up and play around with different spell concepts or role playing styles? NPC. Write up a role you’d love to play. If you’re not going to throw an event, ask an Event Holder (weeks before their event, possibly months, this Editor is not responsible for any damage done to you by an EH who you asked the night before their event if you could play LordHighPants the Death Knight because you thought it would be fun.) if they’ve got a role that fits your idea
Considering the fluidity of our game mechanics, and the openness of many an Event Holder there are limitless options out there. Feeling stuck in a rut playing JoeSeff the Bold? Maybe he’s about to have a profound experience during the night quest and decide he needs to learn spells to understand the dark things he saw in Gaol. Is S’shenshen the meek sick and tired of hiding in the back, time to take a bold new direction and shed the meek. Maybe there’s a plot about to be run and the EH needs help teasing it to the Realms to encourage event attendance, maybe your character is in fact the long lost sister of a foreign lord about to arrive at the next Feast?
Besides, this way you won’t have to change your boots with the new character.”
Well, that was... long.
Lets go to someone who never has a long answer, Jeremy “Nighthawk” Grayson:
“I personally don’t believe in alternate characters. The only time I’ve ever played one is when my main character was indisposed for a year.”
Lets see what Diana “Kiira” LaPierre thinks:
“Alternate characters are not something that I have a strong opinion about one way or the other. There are both positive and negative effects of alts, of which I will list below:
Pros: You get the opportunity to build a new character from the ground up and let your creative juices flow. You can, potentially, see the game from a whole new point of view. Interact with new, or familiar, people with a whole new persona and role. Escape the responsibilities of your other PC! Your character was three-ticked? Well, there's not really another option than an Alt...
Cons: People will constantly call you by the other character's name. Coming up with a wardrobe for one character is hard enough for most people, never mind two. With the amount of players in our game, it is difficult for characters to become involved in plot lines. Establishing two separate characters in a meaningful way is twice as hard. However long you spend as your alternate character is how long you are neglecting your main PC. More consistency makes the world more realistic and fluid.
Make sure that when you make an alternate character, you consider why you are making the character. If you think you'll have more fun, than go for it. We're all playing this game to have fun... according to the Omnibus, anyway.
And now, someone who is never short on opinions, Sara “Zarine” Jessop:
“I don't have much of on opinion on the general idea of alts. I have seen people do them well and people do them badly. I always have a hard time playing a character long term who isn't 'me', so I would likely never play one. What would be the point of playing a character that just hangs out with the same people and acts the same? At the same time, I do not believe in completely changing my spells all of the time either. Z is a healer, and I may change things up to be more efficient at that, but it would make zero RP sense for her to suddenly be a sorcerer. If I wanted to have a whole new concept, I would need a whole new character, but I would be unlikely to do that without retiring my main. If you really want to experience a new aspect of the game, or your character just wouldn't be at a given event, I would highly suggest NPCing instead of playing an alt. It's better for the community as a whole and creates a whole lot less confusion.”
And last but not least, Jen “Areni” DeNardis-Rosa:
“Generally I don't mind alternate characters (though I personally do not have one) but I do think that people who have alts often have a tricky line to walk. It's right there in the name - alt. This is not your main character and may not be a character that you play often. This can cause some obvious confusion for people ("Hey Bob!" "No, I just look like Bob, my name is Steve, look at my clothes, does Bob wear these colors?" "Ok, 'person-who-looks-like-Bob-but-isn't.'"). It also has the potential to create friction with others because of when someone chooses (or chooses not to) play their alt, as well as how they choose to play them. If your group is PCing or even NPCing together as a group activity, playing an alt instead could be detrimental to those relationships. There are some potential role-playing issues as well, when the alt interacts with members of the main character's group or friends. It can be difficult to compartmentalize information about which player knows what or is friends with whom in those social situations. All said and done, if someone chooses to have an alternate character, they should be aware of the potential issues that could come up, and would need to be able to balance the expectations of their main character's group or nation with those of the alt's.”
Excellent answers all around. We hope that we made you all think about alternate characters and how they add or detract from our game. How do you feel about alts?
Join us next week, when we answer what has the potential to be an amazing question: “How do you handle your in-game and your out-of-game romances and relationships...?”
Questions can be sent to Sara “Zarine” Jessop via email ( Sarajjesop@gmail.com), facebook messenger, or in person. The question box will also be making the rounds at various events. Please note if you'd like your question to remain anonymous and/or if you would like to address specific editors