On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

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Rias
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On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by Rias » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:30 pm

This is a post about having multiple alternate characters, or "alts", and some of the troubles we as a GM team experience related to them. To clarify from the beginning, we're not saying "don't make alts". We all do it. Trying out new things is fun. But if people continually "alt-hop" (switch from character to character) it can cause some significant frustration to the GM team.

Once again, there's nothing wrong with trying out different things and finding out what's neat and fun. We do, however, encourage players to find a groove and a specific character to really dedicate to playing. Here are a few reasons why:

- If a player continually alt-hops to different characters, we (and other players!) are going to have a rough time getting to know any of those characters and their story.
- If you don't concentrate on any one character and as a result your alt army are all fairly unskilled, you won't have someone with exceptional skills, talents, and reputation to be called on when big things happen!
- Even the best and most disciplined of players are going to have trouble keeping straight all the combined knowledge their alt army has accumulated. Once you know something, no matter how good a roleplayer you are, you then have to make a conscious choice to specifically act as if you didn't have that knowledge (and also have to resist making conveniently coincidental rationalizations as to how your character might just happen to act on that OOC knowledge, but supposedly based on other factors that you invent).
- We're less likely to give particular attention to your alts if you already have another character who's involved in things. We like to spread the love to different players, rather than making multiple special events and other things keep happening to or for the same player just because they have a lot of alts.
- We are actively making storylines for some longer term/well-established characters (not players - characters). This takes time, and we don't like to have to give people a heads up to switch to their other alt - we would prefer to surprise them with unique and unusual situations fluidly without needing to resort to OOC communications and indications that something is about to happen.
- We get particularly irked when people hop alts continually as events unfold so that they always have just the right character to be involved in every aspect. It's especially bad when players hop alts who are involved in different sides/aspects of the same event - we really, really don't like this. It also means that if things happen at the same time, we can only depend on one of your involved characters to be present.
- It's hard to keep track of all those alts! Sometimes we do plan events with the expectation that certain characters be involved, and it's not good when some of those characters are alts of the same person.
- Making an alt just to see all the secret abilities, facilities, and perks of a guild is super duper uncool.
- Dedicating to a specific character really helps flesh that character out, and the GM team gets to know them better and can better tailor events to have them specifically involved. Having a dedicated character will also likely result in that character being well-known by the community and will result in that character naturally being more involved in various goings-on. This will also help us flesh out our later life aspect of our game for more experienced heroes and villains.
- It's frustrating and even sad when a GM gets to know and depend on a character, and then the player abandons that character for an alt. We get attached to the characters you guys play!

So if you really, really like constantly switching around to different alts, that's not strictly prohibited, but just know that you significantly reduce your chances of being involved in larger events, due to the above-mentioned frustrations and concerns. Also know that we will be implementing some hard policy and mechanical restrictions on alt-swapping in various situations and circumstances in the future.
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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by preiman » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:28 pm

As one of those with an army of alts, I can understand the frustration. That's why most of my alts are retired at this point. I'd say i have three that matter, I'd also say i need them all. Granny Sarint got depressing, So I whent through a few characters and stumbled upon Viridiana. Viridiana was a wonderful break from reflection, and pain, But playing something with the morals of a bag of cats came with it's own issues. That is why maric was born. I love Maric, but even on a good day, trying to help people and make the world a better place can feel like throwing yourself at a wall over and over again head first. It's at those moments I shift back to someone else, well until there issues start to get to me. I had a point or two in there someplace, but seem to have lost them. What i am really trying to say/ask is, how can i mitigate some of that frustration and still keep the alts that keep me sane?
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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by blindndangerous » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:38 pm

I see why the GM team has trouble, and I am trying to really only keep myself to two alts if I can. I am thoroughly enjoy playing my udemi, and he's met some really cool people in the organization, but every now and again I wanna play my utasa. I think my wyvardn and artisan are their for eithe rwhen I wanna just kill something (or rp with clarina), or craft and be left alone. I don't plan on making any further alts, I think I'm happy with what I have now. It's funny, I thought that my utasa would be my main, but it's quickly becoming my udemi, and I'm happy with that.
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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by qinweiqi » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:54 pm

So, I have two suggestions related to this. I've been really surprised in general about the set up for creating characters in clok. Most RP enforced MUDs I've played have players create a player account and then create characters attached to that player account - it allows easy tracking of alts and creates a natural separation between the concept of the player and the concept of the character. I would be perfectly in favor of such a set up, and would be happy to register all of my alts (that I remember :( ), though I know not everyone would be. I know the game has been intentionally set up with no method to delete characters, but it would be quite handy to be able to archive them at least (then all the player's files could be compressed and ignored until needed at least, maybe take up a little less room) and perhaps signal our intention to not really play them any more.

Secondly, I think the game could benefit from a secondary less RP server (perhaps a testing server). It shouldn't use the same geography, and should perhaps be limited in which guilds are available, but I know that my original character (qinweiqi) is pretty much my go-to character for testing new skills or the like. It isn't role-play-ish, but I don't want to create yet another alt just to test a skill. The clok world is beautifully complex in story, detail, and game-play mechanics. Creating a player-accessible test server would allow many of the newbies that are coming in to learn how to actually survive as much as their characters should know when they enter the game. It would also allow a better outlet for a player that just wanted to log in to bash skulls or craft like a loner or similar quasi OOC activities. That being said, I do know there is a trade-off with such a thing. It would divide how the player base spends their time between the two servers, and some of the magic with making that first character would die. But man would life be simpler if players could start out in a more OOC, easier to learn environment to get up to speed. I haven't done the tutorials recently, and maybe instead of a whole server the tutorial could be expanded to be a tutorial town that includes NPC interactions and more detailed OOC instructions. Either way, those are a couple of ideas I had, take them for what they are worth.

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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by jilliana » Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:37 am

I'm starting to really understand a certain frustration with alts, especially since I've been playing a couple of mine other than Jilliana lately.
I have been noticing more and more lately that the alt hopping between other players also creates a situation in which all the alts have a problem with one character without having had any RP to create the problem. Sure, one could blame it on a bad day, but it's really disheartening when out of the blue an alt I was friends with before suddenly develops this rude and disrespectful attitude...and oh golly! All their alts are acting the same way towards my one character!
There is a definite problem with separation here, particular character separation. I'm not complaining, just pointing out that it is a bit obvious to the rest of us and to just be extra aware and keep track of who you have problems with.
It feels like there is no OOC/IC separation and that makes it difficult for the rest of us to maintain our roleplay.
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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by merin » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:51 am

I have two categories of alts. Alts that I would like to get involved in things, and alts I want to play when I'm on clok and don't really care if I get involved in things or not.

I enjoy the roleplay aspect of the game as well as the mechanics, but ultimetly, it's still a game, and I'm going to play to have fun. If I want to get on a character that has more RP and focus on that, I get on someone more people know, and stick it out through there. if I want to take out some frustration or occupy myself for some simple stress releaf, I get on someone that either people don't know, or that will only say hello and not stick around. In thinking about it, I realize that sometimes that could cause problems. Lately, there have been events going on and what not, so, instead of just playing someone who is there, in order not to cause this very issue, I have just not been playing much. I enjoy the game for all of it's activities and all of it's players, however, sometimes, I want the activities more than the players, so, if I'm not involved on certain characters, I'm ok with that.

Also, I've got a lot going on for the next week or so, (holidays and other stuff), so I have to set aside even the RP characters that I would like to get on and play.

I do think that, if a way to get rid of some, I would cut my alts down by at least half -- more honestly -- however, I do understand the GMs thinking on this. If I delete Rilon only to have someone come back and use that name, it's going to be difficult for those that knew him previously. Hindsight is 20 20, as they say.

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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by Jirato » Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:04 am

We've discussed some things internally and have decided to implement a system wherein characters who have an excessive amount of alts will only be able to switch characters once every 12 hours. I understand there is probably going to be some backlash regarding this, but please keep in mind all the other RP-enforced MUDs out there that don't even allow alts.

There's just been too many times out there where we've seen people switch back and forth multiple times in a single hour, sometimes playing four or five characters a day, or receive some sort of out-of-game notification that there's something going on and immediately switch to their most relevant alt and attempt to participate. Some people even participate in the same event on multiple characters, which has always been a huge no-no to us.

Right now this system is manually initiated. I'll be enabling it on the most frequent alt-hopping players. As we work out the kinks and implement a method to allow multiple players from the same household to share a connection, we're probably just going to turn this on for everyone for the sake of fairness.
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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by Jirato » Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:26 am

After careful consideration of player feedback, we've decided not to implement this system as originally announced here and leave it on a case-by-case punitive action system only. Details can be viewed in the updated POLICY 4
Another concern is switching characters solely for the purpose of event participation and using out-of-character or out-of-game knowledge to affect said character's actions. In a roleplay-enforced environment, this type of behavior is typically unacceptable. Repeat offenders who are found constantly switching alts to participate in multiple events may find restrictions placed on their account to limit the frequency in which they can switch.
[GMCHAT Uyoku]: Octum is when the octumbunny comes around and lays pumpkins everywhere right?
[GMCHAT Rias]: Dimmes says "oh hai :) u need healz? ill get u dont worry thaum lasers pew pew pew lol"
[CHAT - GameMaster Rias would totally nuke Rooks]: Here's how elemancy works: The freeblegreeble and the zippoflasm have to be combined with the correct ration of himbleplimp, then you add the gargenheimer and adjust the froopulon for the pattern you want, apply some tarratarrtarr, yibble the wantaban, and let 'er rip!

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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by Jirato » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:01 pm

Several people have come forward and asked to be placed on the "AltBlocker" list. This is the name of our behind-the-scenes mechanic that checks your IP address against an initial login timestamp of your last character and prevents you from switching characters more than once every 12 hours.

While I do understand MUD addiction (and suffer it from myself), I feel moderation ultimately needs to come from the end-user. However, I'm more than glad to provide tools to assist, so you may now opt-in for this system with the new altblocker command. It will prompt you for a confirmation before enabling it for your address.
[GMCHAT Uyoku]: Octum is when the octumbunny comes around and lays pumpkins everywhere right?
[GMCHAT Rias]: Dimmes says "oh hai :) u need healz? ill get u dont worry thaum lasers pew pew pew lol"
[CHAT - GameMaster Rias would totally nuke Rooks]: Here's how elemancy works: The freeblegreeble and the zippoflasm have to be combined with the correct ration of himbleplimp, then you add the gargenheimer and adjust the froopulon for the pattern you want, apply some tarratarrtarr, yibble the wantaban, and let 'er rip!

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Rias
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Re: On Alts: A Plea from the GM Team

Post by Rias » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:24 am

Profound advice to the people who have a ton of alts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXsQAXx ... tu.be&t=51
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