Welcome to the fifth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
This month’s topic comes to us from Mynxee of Life in Low Sec. She asks “Alts and Metagaming: Is playing two accounts who are logged in at the same time and work together (hauler/miner, explorer/combat associate, trade alts in trade hubs) a form of metagaming that is “ruining the game”?”
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Erbo Evans, speaking for the Ralpha Dogs.
Alternate characters, or “alts,” form an important part of many MMO environments, and those of us that have come to EVE from Second Life, in particular, are no stranger to them. I have two alts in SL myself, plus a third, “shared” alt that is primarily used for managing the collection of rent for our land business there. Both Lexx and Selena have more than that. 🙂
Alts may be created for many reasons, both serious and frivolous, and, in fact, their raison d’etre may change over time. One of my SL alts, for instance, was created to be a “third” in a land-ownership group (before Linden Lab changed groups to only require a minimum of 2 members, rather than 3), but has since evolved into a much different role. Many of Selena’s alts represent different facets of her RL personality; one of them, in fact, was created to be my companion in SL, around the time we fell in love. (That event is described here.)
On a practical level, the creation of alts can represent a substantial investment of resources. Creating Selena’s “Erbo companion” alt in SL, for instance, required expending over L$10,000 (which is around US$37) to properly outfit her with all the goods required to give her the right image. (For those of you who know SL, you know about all the stuff you need for your avatar. For the rest of you, just take my word for it.) In EVE Online, the main investment required in creating an alt is the time to train his/her skills up to the point where he/she is actually useful…and, to do so, one must either suspend training on one’s main character, due to CCP’s restrictions associated with multiple characters on the same account, or pay for a second account. Most alt-creators in EVE, I’m given to understand, do the latter, as limiting your main for the sake of your alt is generally considered undesirable.
Then, too, in order to make effective use of an alt, you either have to run two instances of EVE on the same machine, or have a second machine capable of running EVE. Again, the former is often a suboptimal solution, as it can cause unacceptable lag, so I gather many people opt for the latter.
But is it “ruining the game”? I would argue that, if someone has the RL resources to invest in a solution like this, it’s not “cheating” per se, any more than my financing the Ralpha Dogs by dealing in GTCs/PLEXs is. (Of course, some people, such as Biomassed, do view GTC/PLEX dealing as “unfair,” to a degree. It’s a matter of opinion, I suppose, and made for a lively back-and-forth on Twitter.) Does it give some people advantages other people don’t have? Well, yes, but theoretically, the other person could do it, too. And, if there’s one game whose philosophy is to let players do whatever the hell they want so long as they don’t exploit bugs to gain unfair advantages, it’s EVE.
That said, as far as I know, no member of the Ralpha Dogs currently uses an alt on a regular basis. Some people with our friends the Hauling Hogs, however, do, and, in fact, I’ve supplied GTCs for those alts on occasion. Would I, speaking for myself, do it? If I had the resources, sure, I’d consider doing it. Part of it is, I currently pay for two EVE accounts already (mine and Selena’s), plus supply GTCs for more ISK for the corp, and I don’t quite have the money to support an alt at this time. I’d also have to come up with another computer that’s capable of running EVE, and since the only machines in the house that aren’t currently running EVE are Linux-only, that could be a problem…
But if someone else wants to use an alt, I wouldn’t want to stop them. That’s not the EVE way. The EVE way is to do the best you can with the resources you have to work with. And we’re doing pretty well with our resources, I’d say. One day, we may employ alts to do better still, but that is for the future to decide.
Wrought in deepest Hell, our vengeance is freedom!
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Other articles published from around the EVE Blogosphere (links will be updated here as new posts are added):
- Epic Misadventures, This is my Alt – There are many like it but this one is mine.
- Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, I Missed This Month’s Blog Banter!
- A Mule in EvE, Meta what? Is it hurting EvE?
- Morphisat’s EVE Online Blog, Me, Myself and I
- One Man And His Spaceship, Me and My Shadow
- Ombeve, Blog Banter edition 5
- Diving into PsycheDiver’s Psyche, CK’s Blog Banter #5: Everybody Needs Somebody
- Dense Veldspar, Blog Banter
- Ecliptic Rift, OOC: Blog Banter #5 Metagaming
- The Ralpha Dogs, Me, Myself and I
- Mad Rant, “Blog Banter – It’s my party, and I’ll alt if I want to….”
- EVE Chick, The Handicapper General
- The Wandering Druid of Tranquility, “…you see mate, it’s a matter of leverage, savvy?…”
- New Eden Diaries, It’s only a game
- Oz’s House of the Evil Dead, If You Can’t Ride Two Horses At Once, You Shouldn’t Be In The Circus
- Diving into PsycheDiver’s Psyche, Everybody Needs Somebody
- CrazyKinux’s Musing, Leave what you know at the door please!
- Diary of a Pod Pilot, [OOC] EVE Blog Banter #5 Metagaming
- Roc’s Ramblings, February Blog Banter – Meta Me
- Zero Kelvin, Are alts running the game?
- I am Keith Nielson, EVE is All About the Metagame
- X1376’s Space Odyssey, Army of One
- Drunk in Space, Metagaming….so that’s the name
- Everyday EvE, Two Accounts Edition
- Blogging from inside the Pod, Arletta and I
- Speed Fairy, Meet Paul
- more to come, probably…