I know. I have a problem! I'm weak! DON'T STARE WITH THOSE ACCUSING EYES!
I always start out in games with the best of intentions: I'm going to stick with just one character, at least until I hit the level cap. I'll only make new characters to reserve names I like. I won't get class envy and wonder what's on the other side of the fence. I'll stay strong! I'll be an oak!
And then I turn out to be a willow tree, blowing about in the winds of whimsy, and suddenly I end up with alts staggered all over the leveling track. It's all right; I've come to embrace my altoholic tendencies because it really is who I am as a gamer. I like to sample everything, to try out different approaches to the game, and if I don't end up with a maxed-out uber-raider, then I can live with it.
If you follow this pattern and are prone to rolling up a lot of alts in LotRO, there are several advantages you can gain over the monogamous players out there. Today I want to take a look at how you can make your alts work for you, if only to give you an excuse to keep rolling them!
My first level 65 character took me close to four years to achieve due to my taking time off from the game, moving servers, rerolling alts, and general putzing around without knowing what exactly I was doing.
My second level 65 character took me two months.
This demonstrates, at least for me, how useful alts are in refining the leveling experience. Sure, any fool can level, but knowing how to level best, what goals you should be striving for, and what path to take requires practical experience. It wasn't until I got my first character up to the cap that I figured out better ways for my alts to progress, resulting in my helpful roadmap self-guide.
Alts simply make you better at the game as a whole because you're not just going through content once but over and over until you become an expert on it. Even an alt you're not serious about leveling can teach you a trick or two that will help on the characters you are serious in playing.
I have a level 41 alt, a Burglar, who will probably never see level 42, and yet she's still a character I play every day. That's because she's hung up her adventuring hat and become my money manager, preferring to stay in safe Michel Delving while the rest of my roster goes out to meet Sauron on the field.
Bank alts or mules are perfect to help you manage your money and excess inventory without constantly sending you back to a city hub. All of my characters send my Burglar their auctionable items, and every week or so I sit down and put all of it up for sale. Without even trying hard, I'm raking in fistfuls of gold constantly just because I've dedicated this alt to making me money.
It also helps that she's there to quickly look up an item I need in the AH or to hang on to a few extra items if my bags are overloaded. Sure, shared storage is all well and good, but that costs real money -- an alt is free.
Another terrific way that alts can expand your coffers is through the My.Lotro lottery. Because you can enter once per active character you have, more alts under your wing will result in better chances to win money and items through this system.
One of the best uses for alts is an exchange program of useful goods and barter items. If you're into crafting, you'll definitely notice that some vocations require goods or services outside of their three professions. So if Alt A has a gathering skill that accumulates mats and Alt B has a crafting skill to use those mats to make goods for them both, you've created a symbiotic relationship that benefits everyone.
I know many players who have a dedicated scholar or cook so that they can provide potions, scrolls and food for their alts. Never underestimate a good food buff in LotRO, especially since it's something that every class can use.
I've also designated one of my alts to be the odd reputation grinder, which means that he's the recipient of any reputation item that other characters find. You'd be surprised how easy it is to max out reputation when you have a small army of finder-gatherers funneling barter items to just one character. The best part of that is any cosmetic outfits that the reputation alt unlocks can be shared with the rest of your alts via the wardrobe.
The variety show
Finally, alts can provide a welcome variety of roles for when you feel burned out on your main character. You can create alts specifically for roleplaying, music-performing, crafting, experimenting, or skirmishing, all without feeling as though you're "missing out" by not doing everything else. I've seen some alts who've never left the starting zone because their owners prefer to "live" there with that character. I think that's kind of cool.
Of course, a hodge-podge of alts can provide you with more choices when it comes to teaming up with friends and kinmates. Sometimes a certain class or character in a certain level range is needed, and thus it's obvious that the more of those you have, the more opportunities you'll make for yourself to be part of the team.
I'd love to hear from the LotRO altoholics out there: How many alts do you have and what do you use them for?
When not enjoying second breakfast and a pint of ale, Justin "Syp" Olivetti jaws about hobbits in his Lord of the Rings Online column, The Road to Mordor. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.