The renaissance of the generalist

I respond to Jester who proclaims that alts are required in EVE for older players, leaving younger players behind.  At least that’s what I think he says in his three posts (so far).

1.  The unusual mechanic of offline-learning basically allows alts to be useful

EVE is nearly unique in gaming in that you are rewarded for time not spent playing. Jester

Well, thats a no-brainer.  During my WoW days, virtually nobody had a second account since you could only level one toon at the time.  Sure multiboxers existed but they were stared at.  EVE’s mechanic is – accidentally, I am sure – a commercial masterstroke.  No argument.

2.  PLEX mechanic allows multiple accounts without financial stress and therefore forced players into having alts.

“The ability to skill up characters that you’re not actually playing makes alts possible. PLEXes, though… PLEXes make alts inevitable.” Jester

I may be an exception but I have never used a plex for anything.  The reason, I don’t want to be in the position where I have to farm in order to be able to play.  Farming is what drove me out of WoW (among other things) and I can’t see myself getting stressed over ratting at the end of the month to make my Plex.  Not plexing means, I have fewer accounts than virtually all players in my “age group”.  It means that I don’t have specific characters for specific task.  My few active characters have to be able to do everything required.  For all else, sorry, not my game.

3.  Alts are required to play the game competitively

“if you want to have a single character that is well-rounded to every aspect of EVE Online, you are going to need about 270 million skill points. It’s certainly possible to have more! But that’s what you’re going to need to be comfortable in every single category.” Jester 

The player chooses his playing field.  I don’t know anything about industry and trade and choose not to play this part of the game.  Same for caps, I can’t fly any capital ship and have neither desire nor need to do so. After all, I have never even seen a capital ship fighting anything, so there is really no reason for me to train for months for one.  The same is true for many other segments of EVE.  I take it as given that I will never see or experience in EVE.  So what?

4.  Core skills need to be removed as they do not add to the player experience.

“What about those core skills? That represents the basics: Engineering, Navigation, Rigging, Targeting, Armor, Shield, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” Jester 

Jester defines what core skills he means and as a WH resident, I may add all scanning skills to 4, fly a CovOps, fly a Tengu (for C4 PvE), have all PI to 4 (income), fly a large hauler (for corp fuel runs), fly an Orca or battleship (for hole closing). See what I did there?  I added core skills depending on what game I play.  Core skills are not absolute, they are relative to the environment.  A trade toon certainly does not need Targeting skills.

So what is the role of alts?

CCP has designed a system where alts are highly desirable to have and therefore creates a demand for accounts on the higher end of the player base.  Young players do not have multiple accounts for the simple reason that they cost more ISK than they can make.  Also, by nature of specialization, a young player can do everything needed with one toon.  Alts are a veteran’s tool in the attempt to be able to do everything simultaneously in EVE.

Is this good?  Well, financially for CCP, sure alts are good at the moment.  Somebody is paying for the subscription and more active accounts make investors happy.  But the notion that alts are required for all players to be useful is overstated.  Most players can go by with one account if they set their goals accordingly.  I happen to live in WH space where a second character is useful to keep eyes on holes or scout ahead.  That’s a luxury, not a requirement, plenty of WH pilots fly solo.

In summary, alts are dangerous for CCP and player.  The player is given the illusion that he can play at the highest level in all New Eden which is clearly not the case. Alts generate negative situations where people must play to fuel their Plex-hungry accounts.  Alts bloat the subscriber numbers and mask the reality of dwindling new subscriptions.  CCP currently has a game whose subscriptions are growing or falling slower than the market average.  They are deluding themselves. Without alts, new subscriptions would crash through the floor and EVE would failscade hard.  CCP must address this urgently or face the consequence once day very soon.


7 responses to “The renaissance of the generalist

  1. You say “Not plexing means, I have fewer accounts than virtually all players in my ‘age group'”. Given that you have at least one account, you are basically saying that virtually all players in your age group have at least two accounts. That means virtually all players in your age group have alts.

    If you disagree with Jester’s that alts are basically required how do you explain your own observation that virtually everyone has alts?

    Is your view that alts are totally optional, and it’s pure coincidence that virtually everyone in your age group has alts?

    • Crap, my own fault for not reading a few times before posting a response. Sorry for completely missing your point and then arguing with you.

      You are more than welcome to kill/moderate my ill conceived comments away.

  2. I created my first alts because the first rule I was taught is ‘Don’t trust anyone’. So I needed to be my own scout. Also helps that I really don’t like to depend on others for anything so I want to do and understand everything myself if possible.

    • exactly. That was my only reason to roll a new account at first. Keep eyes ahead of the main boat. I would have loved to clone my main character and use him as a new toon. The point is, I didn’t need a character that has different skills. I just needed a second character with the exact same skills. Same for ships. In WH space, there is limited storage space. So, all my chars need to be able to fly the same boats…

      • That was exactly my experience. My two mains (I don’t view either one as an alt, really) need two extremely-similar skillsets. A year into playing Eve, I only just recently began specializing one into Carriers and the other into Battleships. Wormholes tend to force that; you will want your multiple characters to all be able to warp cloaked, all be able to fly T3 cruisers for maximum effectiveness, etc.

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