Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's the Endorphins!
The Endorphins, I tell you!!

There are people who play primarily a single toon or a single class/style/archetype of toon.  There are also those who may have a main yet tinker around, never feeling truly satisfied.

And then there are the altoholics.

I used to boggle at the people who had no qualms about leveling one of each toon all the way to max level.  I knew how long it took me to level one toon, never mind a dozen, so for the average altoholic I used to take that and multiply it by 8-9-10.  All I could do was simply shake my head.

How could someone actually level so many alts?  What about exploring other things in-game?  What about raiding or PvP?

Well, I figured there was no way I'd ever find myself bitten by the altoholic bug when I was staring at the grind from L1-L90.  For me, there simply weren't enough hours in a day to level a full stable of toons to max level before the next expac came out.  Besides, the WoW story is pretty much the same with all toons on a faction; with the exception of the two weapons quests, Blizzard has removed the old class quests from WoW.  If you want to see pretty much everything outside of the intro zones these days, all you have to do is level a toon on each faction.  That's it.

While I was confident that altoholism wasn't going to afflict me in WoW, I hadn't counted on the bug in another MMO.

LOTRO and Age of Conan also suffer from the overly long leveling process (L85 and L80, respectively), but TOR has a much lower level cap at L50.  TOR also has something that the other games don't have:  an actual class quest chain.  I presume companion romances are a bonus, but I'm sure that there's a significant portion of the playerbase out there that doesn't care about that sort of thing.

The TOR class quests are something that keep the game interesting.  Just like there are only so many times you can enter the Amani Tombs before wanting to claw your eyeballs out, there's only a limited number of trips into the Chemworks Factory in Taris before you start throwing in the towel.  But when you throw in a class quest chain into the mix, you find yourself wondering what might come next.

I'll never forget when I leveled Quintalan and received the class quest chain that ended in the Thalassian Charger and the Blood Knight tabard.  Sure, due to changes in the game I was able to get the Charger "officially" at L40, it was only when I finished all of the side quests, accumulated all the mats, and showed the Scourge, the Scarlet Crusade, and the Argent Dawn who was boss that I finally earned my place as a Blood Knight.  I'll also never forget the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when Lord Bloodvalor chuckled maniacally as he gave me my tabard; it was then that I realized just how far the Blood Knights had truly strayed from the Light.  Although not part of the class quest itself, Lady Liadrin's appearance before the Sha'tar was intensely personal, signaling the beginning of the end of the old Blood Knights.

Likewise, I'll never forget when I leveled my Gunslinger and he finally got his starship back.  "Where... Is... My... Ship?!!" he demanded of the flunkies that Skavak had thrown in his path.  And then, when he finally boarded the ship only to find someone else inside...

While the Blood Knight class quests were great, for some reason I never had the urge to try out other WoW classes.  Other TOR classes, however, beckoned.

So I've found myself with a complete stable of classes on both factions, slowly leveling them all.  Given my rate of gameplay, I'll probably finish them sometime by the end of next year at the earliest.  But you know what?  I don't mind.  I'm just along for the ride.  Perhaps that's the enduring legacy of the altoholic:  the desire to learn everything about a game, manifesting in an urge to just follow the story to the end.  ALL of them.

EtA:  Got bit by the editing bug and replaced a "while" at the beginning of the seventh paragraph.  That's what I get for being in NaNo mode and skipping editing.


  1. Altoholics are probably completionists in a sense - and those of my mates that had many alts, were usually jack of all trades types rather than specialists. I guess it's asked a bit much to know every class to the bottom, when you play that many (although few have been known who do!). certainly would be for me, which is one reason I don't 'really' do alts. too much perfectionism paired with time restrictions.

    given from your observations on SWTOR, I wonder what GW2 could do for you. :D in terms of experiencing different stories and playing at your own pace it's quite a great game too (although no doubt SWTOR has the better dialogues). don't make disk space your reason not to ever try it out ;)

    1. It's on my to-do list, but I've got to get a network drive to move my MP3s and stored pictures/movies to first. Once I do that, I get back a few hundred GB of space and can then add games again.

      Although a newer motherboard would be nice....