Me, Myself, and I

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”?

. . .

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!

. . .

Other articles published from around the EVE Blogosphere (links will be updated here as new posts are added):


18 Responses to “Me, Myself, and I”

  1. […] The Ralpha Dogs, Me, Myself and I […]

  2. […] The Ralpha Dogs, Me, Myself and I […]

  3. […] RalphaDogs (title sounds familiar :)) […]

  4. […] The Ralpha Dogs, Me, Myself and I […]

  5. It’s only a game…

    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 wee…

  6. […] The Ralpha Dogs, Me, Myself and I […]

  7. Are alts metagaming? Yes and no. Do alts ruin the game? No.

    If your alt is an industry character to your fighter, or a fighter to your industry then no. You gain nothing over anyone else that another corp member you just hired doesn’t also give. You spend time training that character, you earn his/her right to fly ships and you put his/her ship and clone at risk when you do it.

    If your alt is a trade alt or a spy with the only intention to sit untrained and do those things, then yes, IMO it spoils the game BUT it is still not metagaming. You are gaining an advantage over others who maybe cannot do this, then again if they can’t we can assume they already have there slots filled to the brim with alts so…

    The spy alt is an exception. You make that char to sit in say an alliance or intel channel with the sole purpose of gleaming information from that other corp etc. Whilst not being out of the game at that point it is still leading to metagaming. You will also probably join the forums, this IS metagaming, pure and simple.

    Alts are not clear cut. Some alts are not alts really but mains. If I have trained a 2nd account for as long as my first account then is it an alt? Or is it my 2nd character? Personaly after some years of work I’d go for a 2nd main tag. Some opinions may differ. I can say that my personal 2nd main is not metagaming as he is in my own corp. He does not spy. He does not cyno. He works his ass off 🙂

    Now, GTCs are metagaming. Yes I know that some people do this as a last resort because they simply need some cash to get a new ship etc from too much PVP and not enough “living” but most go a lot further than this.

    I know a lot of GTC sellers who pretty much throw away ships regardless. Why? Because they don’t care, they go buy another with the billions of isk they have from GTC sales.

    GTC sales spoil the game. They invite the richer player to have a distinct monetary/ship/POS/outpost/alliance advantage over the poorer player or the player that just feels its wrong to spend RL money on a game such as Eve. RL money has no position in Eve because of this. It is not Second Life and RL money was never allowed for many years. If it had started out as such then sure, why not, I wouldn’t be playing it though. Neither would a vast majority of current Eve players IMO.

    Having an advantage over other players just because your wallet lets you is plain wrong. Morally and game wise.

    On the concept of metagaming. We all do it. If you used EFT you metagamed. You took no risk in testing your ship. You spent no money on making your ship work till it has a setup you like. If you have used a forum to look up a mission, you metagamed. Its impossible to avoid. The only thing you can do is limit the amount of metagaming you do.

    My opinions 🙂 I’m not doing the whole banter thing so thought I’d pop my replies in here 🙂

  8. The evolution of characters’ roles for players that have multiple accounts is interesting. My main Mynxee was created as a pirate alt when I thought that sounded fun to do. She hauled ore for my carebear main while training up her PvP and support skills. But you know, I fell in love with her and now she’s the main and the former main is the alt with very highly specialized skills, as once she was out of the active industry loop, she could focus on exploration goodness. Thing is, after spending so much time training that carebear (now) alt, she’s become REALLY useful in a support role, even though that was never my intent.

  9. Biomassed, you make some good points, and I will also say that those of us that came to EVE from an environment like SL (where having a freely-convertible virtual currency is basic to the entire “metaverse” concept) probably have an entirely-different attitude towards RMT dealings than people who started in EVE, or who migrated to EVE from other MMOs where RMT is totally against the rules. Personally, I think it’d be insane for someone to spend thousands of US$ a month on GTCs to fund a massive alliance, even though I know there are people who do it anyway. But the way I do it, dealing something like 2-4 a month to keep myself and the corp in ISK and allow us to have cool things like the Obelisk and the Orca, would appear to be an acceptable bargain for me, for our corp, for the people that buy our GTCs (who can keep playing without having to shell out real cash of their own), and for CCP (as they get extra revenue that way that allows them to keep supplying us with teh shiny). In the end, the argument for alts and for GTC dealing are much the same: CCP made the rules, and as long as we play BY the rules, we’re in good shape.

    Mynxee, the way your alts evolved in EVE is a lot like the way our alts in SL have evolved. In Lexx’s case, her alts are more like “serial mains” that she creates whenever she gets sick and tired of the drama around her existing ones. Lexx DOES have an EVE alt, too, but that character doesn’t get used much. Incidentally, Selena is now pressuring me to let her create another account, just so she doesn’t get bored while waiting for her main to train skills that require weeks. I may let her do that–EVENTUALLY–but I’ll want her to make it USEFUL to the corp at the same time.

  10. […] The Ralpha Dogs, Me, Myself and I […]

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