The Daily Grind: How many ‘mains’ can you juggle in MMOs?

    
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I’ve been thinking about the concept of alts and mains a bit lately, inspired by Guild Wars 2. I’ve got 10 characters there, and one slot yet to be rolled. But the reality is I don’t play most of them. I mean, I played them all to 80 and got their set with builds and gear, but six of those characters really just never get played.

I’d assume it’s down to the types of characters that appeal to me. I main a Berserker, followed by a Ranger, Holosmith, and Daredevil. If I’m honest, I don’t really give all four of those main cast toons the attention they deserve either. But I do consider them “mains” and not alts. And three or four turns out to be the most I can juggle without losing the plot. That was my situation back when I played World of Warcraft too. I mained a Shaman, followed by a Warrior and Hunter, but my fourth toon, my Priest? She seldom got played. And my other toons fell off even more.

How many “mains” can you juggle in MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Neurotic

People who have all their alts at max level must be really highly motivated. 😄 My alts are just an army of has-beens, wanna-bes, mules, and sad losers, in every game. 😂

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Really motivated, or they’ve just had the alts for a *really* long time. Most of my captains in STO are at or close to max level just from randomly rolling through them and doing Duty Officer missions once in a while. They’ve just been around *that* long. (And hitting the level cap in STO is that easy.)

Warframe doesn’t really count – each Warframe is kind of a separate character, but you can hit level 30 on one in an hour or so if you really try. Then reset to level 0 as part of the customization and upgrade mechanic – you’re *meant* to level them over and over. I just have a few more than most players because I never delete any of them. (I get attached…)

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Neurotic

Interesting about Warframe, I didn’t know that. I must have another look.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Warframe – from what I know, the three main places to “speed level” a Warframe (or weapons, or pets, anything you can equip in a “normal” mission) are

Sedna defense mission (I think it’s Adaro?) It’s relatively easy to get to, at worst you’ll need to ask for someone to taxi you there via the Recruit channel. Lots of enemies, none of which are super hard, and the node is populated almost all the time. Groups tend to be pretty self-centered though, so it’s not uncommon for someone to bail the instant *they* get to max on whatever they’re trying to level. You’re only at level 10? Too bad for you.

Sanctuary Onslaught, Elite Sanctuary Onslaught: I don’t remember what the requirements are, but these are both available from Cephalon Simaris some point after you get his attention. The enemy density is *crazy* high, but the only thing you get from enemies is XP – loot drops are completely disabled. Any other rewards are a result of surviving a specific number of rounds.

Railjack – Veil expanse Skirmish or Exterminate missions. I haven’t used it for that (I avoid Railjack stuff) but it’s apparently possible to get decent XP because of something about the way it gets split between your equipped items when the Railjack / turrets take out enemies.

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Neurotic

This is solid advice Ember, thank you for taking the time to write this all down!

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Jim Bergevin Jr

I have over 20 between two accounts in Guild Wars. Not much of an issue for me as I cycle through each one in a given zone/quest until they have all completed it, then move on to the next. I do that for every MMO I play, up to the maximum number of characters (or primary professions) that are available.

For me, the leveling process is the main game, so I tend to never reach end game in any MMO. There’s just not much content worth doing at end game.

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Johnny Quantum

Too many! I get bored easily, so play many games and have at least one of each class per game. Not an endgame player, usually go with what is fun to play, fits a theme for my character rather than worry about what is best in slot etc.

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Anstalt

I don’t know what I’m capable of as I’ve only ever wanted one main.

I live at endgame, that is where I have my fun, plus I love getting involved with the community. Not to mention usually either leading a guild or at least an officer. All those things benefit from having just a single character, easily recognisable to the community and who I have maxed out as far as possible. I also really hate the leveling process, so it is a big chore to get another character up to endgame.

That said, it does depend on the mechanics in the game.

In LotRO, I had a captain as I main, but at various points I had a guardian, champion, loremaster and burglar at endgame, raiding and pvping. I only did that because the combat mechanics were so deep and every class played very differently, so it was fun to be able to switch. Not to mention it was nice being able to provide a needed class if someone couldn’t make it that night.

By contrast, in SWTOR, I couldn’t get past level 30 with an alt because the mechanics were so shallow that every class seemed to play exactly the same. It was so boring!

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Paragon Lost

My standard is a trio. I can keep a trio running well gear, mastery etc well enough. More than that and everything suffers from skill, to gear and to what I can get done.

I do tend to play and cap all the classes in every mmorpg I play, it’s just that only three are my main trio at any one time in regards to focus.

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Toy Clown

I tend to be a one-main type of player, but on occasion I’ll try something different. I used to keep two FFXIV characters on separate servers roughly at the same pace, but quickly grew tired of that. In GW2 I managed to level 5 characters to 80 and played 2 as mains until HoT. I had a 3rd and 4th that I made effort to equip and get points for. I gave up on playing them because of how much effort is involved and would be taking away from the effort I expend into my Real Life. Now they sit as B-day gift receivers.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I’m not sure I correctly understand the question. I don’t have “Main” characters. I might have a “first” character, and I do have ones that I might be currently playing more than others for various reasons. But none of them is a “main” that I devote all of my time and attention to.

In Warframe, my starting frame was Mag. She’s still my favorite Warframe design, and the one I’ll play if I don’t have any reason to play a specific frame. But I’ll switch to another frame without hesitation for missions where the other one is more suitable, or just because I want a change of pace. Such as Ivara for doing solo runs of Spy missions, Nidus or Inaros if I want to do a Nightmare mission with the “No shields” modifier, Hildryn or Lavos if it’s a “No Energy” mission, or just because I haven’t played a given Warframe in a while and it seems like it might be interesting.

In Star Trek Online, I might focus on one character because of how their “make a new themed character and get stuff!” promotions work. Right now I tend to spend what time I am in the game using my “KDF Recruit” Ferasan. That’s because one of the objectives to unlock account rewards requires earning a completely absurd amount of “Endeavor XP” on that character. The daily personal objectives for doing that are chosen randomly, and are bounce randomly between “tedious and/or impossible” and “stupidly easy to finish by accident.” So I have to log in with her first to make sure and clear out any of the latter that I’ve gotten, like “do 50,000 points of damage with Disruptor weapons in space.”

More generally, I seem to enjoy creating new characters more than actually playing them. I had completely filled Justice server in City of Heroes on one account and gotten a second account to make more characters without changing servers before the devs ruined the game for me with the Incarnate system. (Anything even slightly adjacent to “Raid” content sucks, and any system based on grinding those to progress can bite me.) I have over 35 captains in STO, probably at least that many characters in Champions Online, and 15 in Neverwinter. In Warframe, I have multiple copies of most frames so that I can play with the Umbral mods (which are incredibly costly to equip and pretty much require a dedicated build) and still have a functional general purpose or augment build for each ‘frame. One of those is probably also the Prime variant for frames that have one. And I don’t consider a single one of those to be a “main” in any game.

All of that is on top of the part where I might get bored or fed up or suffer an attack of “Real Life” and stop playing entirely for months at a time, so that when I come back I have either forgotten what I might have been trying to do or simply have a new set of personal goals for playing at all. R’rousu is only my most active character in STO until I get fed up with trying to earn 50 million Endeavor XP and stop trying to do that at all. Then I’ll switch to someone else, for some other reason that doesn’t actually matter.

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Tobasco da Gama

I usually go through a bit of alt-itis when I’m starting a new MMO, but generally I settle on just one to take past the midgame.

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MesaSage

22 as it turns out. The only caveat to that is that some classes are not really suitable to that sort of play time. In Lotro, I can’t go a long time without playing the Warden before I forget too much to be very effective for a short play session. Something like the Warden, or any advanced character needs to be a main-main in order to play it well. A Rune Keeper, on the other hand, I can pick up almost any time and be effective because the rotations are few and simple.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

When I was full-timing GW2 from launch until HoT came out I played everything sans thief in PvP. I played 4-5 consistently in PvE.

Speaking of GW2, I find it interesting we aren’t getting or they haven’t yet revealed a new profession. Is fishing the mounts/gliders of this expansion?