Ok good (I am assuming a few of you did... I can tell these things you know).
Now raise your hand if those voices often manifest themselves by certain names! Yeah, I know, we are treading into the realm of multiple personalities here. I think at least on a subconscious level most of us have it. Think about how many of us have had "imaginary friends" as kids. Possibly the only difference between "us" and those of us whom society deems as having "a disorder", is that fine line between making the connection between ourselves in different aspects, and compartmentalizing said different aspects into their own entities. Do not get me wrong, I am not here to debate the whys and wherefores of schizophrenia, mind you... Merely pointing out my opinion as it relates to today's blog.
So let's get right down to brass tacks here:
My name is Drew, and I am an ALTAHOLIC.
For those of you who game like I do, this term is very familiar. For those of you reading who are not avid video gamers, I shall define:
An "altaholic" is a player who enjoys their game so much, that they create multiple characters in the world to explore all different avenues of gameplay. The reasons of course are varied. Perhaps some folks are just not happy with their first character, perhaps the game has different races and stories to choose from, or perhaps they like to roleplay and have created multiple characters to do so with. I generally fall into the latter category. As you are no doubt aware, I love to tell stories, and being in game with multiple characters (especially if some are related) gives me the impetus to do so.
Since Star Wars Galaxies (my first MMORPG back in 2003), I have always had one character that has definitively been my "main character"; the one I spend the most of my gaming time on, and several characters that are considered "alts"; or alternate characters that I log into when I feel for a change of pace, or have a specific story in mind I want to tell. Throughout the years, some of the names may have changed, but the underlying theme has always been the same. I have to have many characters to get the full experience of the game I am playing. I believe in my last blog I related the reader's digest version of the Druu Scandana story, and you can see in the accompanying picture (in that blog) that my alts in that instance were brothers to him. Since the Scandana brothers, I am afraid my altaholism has amped up a notch... or two... or four.
Second Life in particular has been instrumental in not only pushing me over the edge in altaholism, but virtual genderbending as well. I am proud enough, and secure enough in my masculinity to admit that YES... I do have female alts. Without you needing to go to my other blog on Stardust Enterprises, I will tell you that the virtual company was started to sell... well... virtual helicopters, hovercraft, and airplanes to the SL public. On my main character- Belenos Stardust (a name i use often on the internet and in games) I do the actual building of the vehicles, as well as the packaging and marketing. I created Alexia Ogleby to be the "pretty face that sells", since we all know that sex sells. Till recently I was headquartered on an island by the name of Yolo Island (YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once), and Alexia also doubled as the bartender and greeter to my customers, and other visitors. Anataliya was added to the lineup to be the "tech guru", and is often the go to person if a customer has a technical issue about the vehicle that they cannot figure out from reading the manuals I ship with each. (Believe me this happens from time to time) I felt it was appropriate to dress her as a mechanic hailing from Russia. Hey, don't knock it... it works. However, the crown jewel in my alt lineup is Allyanis: my pursestrings and vice president. I am going to touch on her for a moment here.
It is probably safe to say that in just about every MMORPG I play, there will always be the trio of sisters, as well as a Korenn, and of course a Bel. It goes without saying that there are other minor characters that seem to migrate from game to game with me, but they are usually less played than any of the aforementioned names. If all of this has your head spinning, consider this: I have multiple computers, and have in the past logged in multiple characters at the same time for the express purpose of playing them all. Thank Gawd for multitasking! This is where I am finding a real joy in Guild Wars. There is an in-game store item you can buy that allows you to actually use your level 20 alts as party members in whatever adventure you decide to partake in. Imagine that... an altaholic's dream. Instead of having to log in multiple accounts, I can now log in my characters on my one account, sign them up as "mercenary heroes", then recruit them to MY OWN PARTY for the purpose of questing and dungeon running! How cool is that?! Instead of having Koss, Cynn, Dunkoro, et al, I can actually play with Allyanis, Ghita, Tannia, and Korenn!
Sadly, for the successor to Guild Wars- Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has decided NOT to go with the heroes mechanic for the game, instead preferring to foster a true community feel, as well as a desire to WANT to group up with other real people (and I use the term group loosely, as there is no real need most of the time... There is no danger of kill stealing, and everyone who attacks a monster gets full xp and loot). More than likely once GW2 goes live, I will be back to buying multiple accounts so that I can "double box" (play multiple characters at once). Altaholism is alive and well in the gaming world, and I do not plan on quitting my addiction anytime soon! So what about you? How much of an altaholic are YOU?
In closing, for your listening and viewing pleasure... I present to you, Adele, with her smash hit- "Someone Like You".