How Many Alts Would An Alt User Alt If An Alt User Could Use Alts


  • Pitcrew

    @SunnyJ I love that you only allow one alt. Never change this. Ever. EVER. Thank you.


  • Politics

    @Haven said in Fallen World MUX!:

    @SunnyJ I love that you only allow one alt. Never change this. Ever. EVER. Thank you.

    That's pretty much the best thing I've ever heard.


  • TV & Movies

    @VulgarKitten said in Fallen World MUX!:

    @Haven said in Fallen World MUX!:

    @SunnyJ I love that you only allow one alt. Never change this. Ever. EVER. Thank you.

    That's pretty much the best thing I've ever heard.

    Word.


  • Coder

    And yet, on every WoD game I've seen open for more than six months, there is a push for more alts. Yes, even the single-sphere games, what few of them have existed.


  • Pitcrew

    @Thenomain said in Fallen World MUX!:

    And yet, on every WoD game I've seen open for more than six months, there is a push for more alts. Yes, even the single-sphere games, what few of them have existed.

    Kingsmouth - Despite what you may think about some of their other issues, they've maintained a one-alt policy and that's something that works well for them and breeds activity.


  • Admin

    I don't care about alt policies either way personally since I never could pull off having more than one active alt at any given time. But I never found restrictive policies to serve the purpose they were supposed to on paper.


  • Politics

    @Lisse24 said in Fallen World MUX!:

    Kingsmouth - Despite what you may think about some of their other issues, they've maintained a one-alt policy and that's something that works well for them and breeds activity.

    They have supplemented this with the use of "redshirts," which are player-objects that be used as puppets/proxies, so that you can RP in two (or more) places at once. The restriction on redshirts: scenes using redshirts must occur a few hours before the scene you are engaging in with your main alt. And, obviously, you can't use a redshirt to alert another PC IC to something bad happening to your main alt.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel

    I've also never been able to mentally support more than one active PC on a game, and though I have PCs on many games, I'm usually only focused on one at a time, and letting my others idle. So here is why I like a restrictive alt-policy: It means that the players I see on the grid are as invested in their characters as I am in mine. I think it cuts down on having alts idle away in bedrooms and apartments because people who want RP only have one char to do it in. It cuts down on conflicts where a PC with one char is ducking me because they want to play with me on another alt. It stops PC-churn, because people are less likely to create a neat concept just because when they know they'll have to give up on their other concept.

    Like Theno, I've seen games start with a restrictive alt policy and then have players start to ask for more alts. In my experience and perception, this happens when there are other, underlying reasons causing a games player base to flag and increasing alt limits is often seen as a panacea, under the reasoning if there are more charbits on grid then surely, RP must follow. It's also an easy fix to make, and typically much easier than finding underlying causes of disengagement and directing a fix at them.

    I think that RfK's solution that @Ganymede brought up is a good one for people who need more than one scene going on to focus, but I think that it's also important to remember that part of the reason redshirts are needed there is because some people have too much RP going on, which is often opposite of what you see happening when people start clamoring to up the alt limit.

    For the record, when I speak of a restrictive alt limit, I don't necessarily mean a 1-alt limit. I would count this as any game with a limit of three or under. I generally do not play games that allow higher limits than that, not because I haven't tried, but because when I do play those games, I find it hard to find and form relationships and difficult to find random RP. Since I rarely join a game with a group, if I can't have my char wander the grid and find RP, it's difficult for me to integrate into the game as a whole.


  • Admin

    @Lisse24 said in Fallen World MUX!:

    @Arkandel

    I've also never been able to mentally support more than one active PC on a game, and though I have PCs on many games

    A fellow one-alter! We should have a club (and only allow one account per person in it).

    I'm usually only focused on one at a time, and letting my others idle. So here is why I like a restrictive alt-policy: It means that the players I see on the grid are as invested in their characters as I am in mine. I think it cuts down on having alts idle away in bedrooms and apartments because people who want RP only have one char to do it in. It cuts down on conflicts where a PC with one char is ducking me because they want to play with me on another alt. It stops PC-churn, because people are less likely to create a neat concept just because when they know they'll have to give up on their other concept.

    But that's what I meant before - I'm not convinced mandates on the number of alts achieve the goal of people investing in their characters like we do simply because that's not how other people necessarily like to do it. Not everyone is enlightened like we are. :)

    I mean I know people who want to try a couple of different things - they like say, Demon but they also like Werewolf. They have friends in one sphere but they also have buddies in another who're looking for a packmate. So either way they'd need to give something up or they'll scratch the extra itch somewhere else as well; does it truly matter to you if the awesome RP partner you ran into is distracted because they're playing another character on the same MU* or on a different one? Hell, the character you ran into might be their second alt - meaning if the game didn't allow for it you wouldn't have met them in the first place.

    Like Theno, I've seen games start with a restrictive alt policy and then have players start to ask for more alts. In my experience and perception, this happens when there are other, underlying reasons causing a games player base to flag and increasing alt limits is often seen as a panacea, under the reasoning if there are more charbits on grid then surely, RP must follow. It's also an easy fix to make, and typically much easier than finding underlying causes of disengagement and directing a fix at them.

    That's also true - spheres stagnate, important people stop logging on causing momentum to die, folks roll characters into a different faction and suddenly there're exciting things happening there... but artificially restricting people from playing what they want doesn't solve these issues, it compounds them. You can't force life into a sphere if their roster is tired and their players want something new over the summer when things are slow or whatever, so letting some new stories to be told somewhere else in the mean time is a good thing. It sure beats people walking off to find a different MU* - that sure as hell won't help activity on the first MU*, you know?

    For the record, when I speak of a restrictive alt limit, I don't necessarily mean a 1-alt limit. I would count this as any game with a limit of three or under.

    Oh, three alts should be fine. People who need more are monsters.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said in Fallen World MUX!:

    But that's what I meant before - I'm not convinced mandates on the number of alts achieve the goal of people investing in their characters like we do simply because that's not how other people necessarily like to do it. Not everyone is enlightened like we are. :)

    Investment isn't the only reason for a restrictive alt policy. It's also a matter of roles. Games where all the available "roles" are filled by a small minority of players who have 3-10 alts each are considerably less welcoming to new people, and more stagnant, in my experience, than games with much more restrictive alt policies. Personally, I love games that are one character only, largely for that reason. Also, because I like playing with different people, and it does actively bother me when the "fun new person" I've met turns out to be Yet Another Alt. (I have also been kinda stalked in this way, with certain other players taking every character type I thought sounded interesting to play off of, creating an alt, and then approaching me with the character without being honest about its altness. Largely, as far as I could tell, to keep me from playing with people other than them. It was kinda creepy.)

    It also helps to keep staff load more efficiently aimed at making things fun for the largest group of players possible, when newly approved characters are definitely new players. You can more easily address issues of plot and activity by directing plots to different classes/factions without having the same players (with alts in every faction) taking over every plot or dominating every faction. It also helps (does not STOP, but HELPS) the character-explosion staff-burnout factor, because at least when you only add a character (and thus the work associated with that character) when you have a new player, rather than one enthusiastic player creating and putting in work for 5 characters.

    It did work really well for RfK, and I think that the way it forced people to engage with new players was a part of that. You could not just make "you and your buddies" RP spheres in every single covenant and keep to yourselves. Instead, because every new character was a source of IC power and was less likely to have been made "just to play with my friends in this covenant", you really needed to reach out to new people, and figure out how to play with them if you wanted to fully engage with the game. That was an important part of the game's success, I think.

    I mean I know people who want to try a couple of different things - they like say, Demon but they also like Werewolf. They have friends in one sphere but they also have buddies in another who're looking for a packmate. So either way they'd need to give something up or they'll scratch the extra itch somewhere else as well; does it truly matter to you if the awesome RP partner you ran into is distracted because they're playing another character on the same MU* or on a different one? Hell, the character you ran into might be their second alt - meaning if the game didn't allow for it you wouldn't have met them in the first place.

    It matters to me! Because if they're "scratching their itch" in two+ ways on THIS game, then that's one (or more) fewer roles for awesome new people to fill, and ultimately, fewer people for me to play with. And, hell, if we're honest, it's a lot easier to avoid a player who you just don't play well with, if you only have to know about their one character, and there's little chance of them trying to create a secret alt and cozy up to you. And yeah, it means that you might not have the opportunity to play with everyone who looks interesting (there were some people on RfK who I really would have liked to play with, but couldn't because of IC circumstances), but "more people to play with than I can" is a GREAT problem for a game to have - and you can mitigate that somewhat by facilitating a positive and interactive OOC culture.


  • Admin

    @Pyrephox said in Fallen World MUX!:

    Investment isn't the only reason for a restrictive alt policy. It's also a matter of roles. Games where all the available "roles" are filled by a small minority of players who have 3-10 alts each are considerably less welcoming to new people, and more stagnant, in my experience, than games with much more restrictive alt policies.

    Oh, I agree with you there.

    But I think any game that has a political environment where ranks/roles are in somewhat short supply (as they tend to be) needs a system where only active, involved people can maintain them - which is a separate problem to solve.

    You don't want that guy's third alt to be a Sheriff, you're absolutely right, since he'll never be on. But you don't want the Sheriff to not ever be on, period, no matter what the reason is; I understand RfK had a good system to handle ascension as well as keeping what you already have - and if that exists then alts won't be an issue any more.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel I think it's more than explicitly political games that have roles, though. One theory in community psychology talks about the differences in engagement in role-rich vs. role-poor environments, and they're not talking about political roles. Basically, every human activity has a set of roles - whether that's a political structure, an adventuring party, creating a play, etc. You have a certain number of niches that you need to fill, whether it's "we need a Sheriff" or it's "we need enough shooty people to keep the monsters away, enough smart people to break these codes, enough social people to get us inside the fortress, etc." When there are fewer people than there are roles, then that social structure actively recruits new blood, and it gives "newbies" a chance to try out roles and acquire new skills and competencies. When there are more individuals available than roles, however, the system becomes more insular and performance-oriented, with fewer chances for new people to enter the system, and less tolerance of new people mistakes and of putting a role into (subjectively) sub-optimal hands, meaning that what new people can join end up being pushed to the bottom of the hierarchy (the least demanding, least desired roles), until the new person is able to successfully fight their way up to a desired role. In our game environment, "people" are characters, and alt characters already have a leg up, because they're known/have insight into the game and its needs that a totally new player can't match.

    While this may be true to life, it's less great for making a game fun for new people. We're already a pretty insular hobby, and it only gets worse when a shiny new person fumbles their way to a MU*, logs in, and realizes that the game already has 50 characters, who have filled every possible niche they're interested in...but, really, there are like 20 actual players, and at least 15 of those characters haven't been played in weeks (but will immediately be brought out the moment someone tries to challenge their niche, until the competitor is driven away).


  • Admin

    @Pyrephox See, I guess I don't quite see things this way - that in order to enjoy playing one must fill a niche, as such roles tend to be relatively few and on any semi-popular MUSH they are inevitably going to be filled early on. Plus the mindset itself of requiring uniqueness leads to exclusionary tactics - I remember (and I've often used it as a cautionary tale) that Family faction on TR who rejected a newbie because she wanted to play a chef and they 'already had a chef'. I get where you're coming from, no one wants to be Clawy Savage Gangrel #4, but in practice it turns ugly real fast too.

    I think distinction comes through ability and activity - the first can be present for an alt, of course, but the second can't. The last character I sank a lot of time on Eldritch in was rather formulaic on paper - he was a fighty werewolf. But I got pretty good scenes out of him and interacted with PCs from different walks of life because, other than what's on his +sheet - that very finite number of things that can be on there - what matters is how the concept is played, how it's angled to engage others and ultimately how it's received. I was active, too, which stood on its own out way more than someone who only showed up once in a blue moon; that's the alt edge right there.

    As usual people's mileage may vary though.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel Actually, your cautionary tale is a good example of my point - when you have more people than you have roles, you're more likely to reject and exclude a new person. Now, if there were fewer alts, maybe the chef-player would have had a niche that they valued more highly, and their one character would be in THAT role, leaving the chef space open to be filled by a shiny new person. Or, with less character-pressure all around, the family might have been more willing to say, "Hey, we actually already have someone who specializes in cooking monsters, so you might not enjoy that as much with us, but we could definitely use people with X, Y, or Z focuses. Do any of those interest you?" Because if you don't have enough characters to fill all the niches in your system, you're going to be actively trying to pull people in, and more accommodating to them. Because you NEED them. Otherwise, it's Applicant #25 of 450, all applying for the same data entry job - you're looking for a reason to REJECT them, not to bring them in.


  • Admin

    @Pyrephox said in Fallen World MUX!:

    Because if you don't have enough characters to fill all the niches in your system, you're going to be actively trying to pull people in, and more accommodating to them. Because you NEED them. Otherwise, it's Applicant #25 of 450, all applying for the same data entry job - you're looking for a reason to REJECT them, not to bring them in.

    (I like this topic :) ).

    I dunno. It seems like a very specific way of looking at roleplaying to me - the idea that you're defined by your concept, and if you can't have a unique role the character is redundant.

    It just doesn't mesh with me - PCs are more than hackers, warriors, chefs, aspiring writers or car mechanics. These are plot devices that might be invoked in different ways or degrees by char A and B:

    • A is always broke since he's trying to become a writer and stubbornly refuses to get a 'real' job. B is obsessively trying to improve, willingly making deals with the devil to buy himself some talent.

    • A is a chef so she opens a restaurant which serves as a hangout for the sphere. B is a Crone Acolyte searching for ways to find enlightenment through rarefied food recipes.

    • A is a retired US Marine suffering from PTSD and tries to escape a life of violence but it keeps finding him. B is a cocksure arrogant Rahu trying to get that perfect, glorious death to exonerate the shame on his family.

    And so on... the same very general concept can be played in a bunch of different ways, some of which will become tired, predictable cliche and some may be brilliant depictions because of they way they are done, not what they are.

    And on top of it there is a pretty specific number of useful 'roles' available to begin with... and the prototypes will be taken very quickly in a game of any real size. The week after a MU* launches there will be hackers around, and at least a few people will play the 'hangout' concepts (brewers, bar and restaurant owners, etc); in most systems there are also only so many powers; a few Arcana, a few Disciplines, and someone is getting specialised in them. That doesn't mean the ones coming after that don't have a place.

    Oh, before I forget - you know how every time staff is asked "hey, what kind of character should I make? What's needed?" the stock response is "whatever you'll enjoy"? That's absolutely the right answer. The beer brewer who rolled two weeks before you might not even be logging on two weeks from now so your concept is rare again, but if you pick one you won't thoroughly find fun you're stuck with it.

    In other words: In a RL company you have every reason to reject Data Entry Guy #11 if you only need 10, you're right, but in RP there's no such thing as a redundant character role.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel See, I think our fundamental disagreement is that you're talking about player characters as individuals, and I'm talking about the system. Individually, a "good enough" player can make ANY character concept fascinating and fun, and will draw people into play with them, regardless of their niche/usefulness/etc.

    This is, however, not a good basis for design choices, in my opinion. Excellent players will always be excellent. Most players, however, excellent or not, want to be able to SEE how their character "fits in" to the larger whole, including their degree of "this group/faction/game NEEDS my input/expertise" as well as their ability, as characters, to impact the greater narrative. And you're right that, inevitably, as a game grows, those roles get filled up (unless staff are GREAT game designers, and respond to growth with creating and opening up new roles for people to fill) - and as those roles fill up, new people have to rely less on being needed, and more on Being Awesome as players.

    My argument is that this is a bad thing, and a thing that we want to put off as long as possible in the life cycle of the game, because new players (not new characters) are one of the big ways that a game continues to grow, change, and remain exciting. Letting 5 players take up 25 character slots means that's 20 roles that are now gone, without any increase in ACTUAL PLAYERS. Any new player is going to have to compete with those five players (especially in an unlimited alt environment, where I have definitely seen Old Player hear New Player talk about their cool new concept, and then Old Player quickly makes a character (because they know what staff want and the lay of the game) that fills that niche while New Player is still trying to figure out chargen) for any role they want to fill.

    And about "whatever you'll enjoy" is just flat, flat wrong. Terribly wrong. I weep for the wrongness of it. It's one of the things that will flat out make me walk away from a game, because it says to me that staff has no idea what kind of game they're actually running, no coherent theme, and no interest in drawing new players into the game in interesting, fun ways.


  • Pitcrew

    @Pyrephox This is personal preference, not fact. Your way is not objectively better, nor are the 'truths' you're spouting universal. It's great that you recognize it's opinion, but this topic is a lot more nuanced than you're treating it.

    If I tell someone to play what they want, it may just be because that's exactly what I want them to do. If I'm running a vampire game and end up with twelve former policemen Nosferatu, this... isn't a problem. Not for me, not for my players.

    I say it's bad storytelling if you can't be creative enough to give similar concepts things to do.


  • Admin

    @Pyrephox said in Fallen World MUX!:

    And about "whatever you'll enjoy" is just flat, flat wrong. Terribly wrong. I weep for the wrongness of it. It's one of the things that will flat out make me walk away from a game, because it says to me that staff has no idea what kind of game they're actually running, no coherent theme, and no interest in drawing new players into the game in interesting, fun ways.

    I wanted to address that last part real quick. You missed out on the (theoretical but pretty frequently asked) question it was answering: "What's needed?". Since that sounds similar to what you're talking about in regards to roles. "Something you will enjoy playing, nevermind what's already on the grid right now" seems like a valid answer to me - it's not a complete one, but I wasn't going for that in my example. :)


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said in Fallen World MUX!:

    @Pyrephox said in Fallen World MUX!:

    And about "whatever you'll enjoy" is just flat, flat wrong. Terribly wrong. I weep for the wrongness of it. It's one of the things that will flat out make me walk away from a game, because it says to me that staff has no idea what kind of game they're actually running, no coherent theme, and no interest in drawing new players into the game in interesting, fun ways.

    I wanted to address that last part real quick. You missed out on the (theoretical but pretty frequently asked) question it was answering: "What's needed?". Since that sounds similar to what you're talking about in regards to roles. "Something you will enjoy playing, nevermind what's already on the grid right now" seems like a valid answer to me - it's not a complete one, but I wasn't going for that in my example. :)

    No, I get it. I just think it's wrong. "Something you will enjoy playing," is not a useful answer. ANY character I create is going to be something I enjoy playing. I don't make a policy of playing characters I don't find fun. It's like me asking, "Hey, is it better to take a right turn or a left at this street to get to this address?" and someone answering, "You should really drive to that address." It is not an answer that in any way addresses my concern!


  • Admin

    @Pyrephox said in Fallen World MUX!:

    No, I get it. I just think it's wrong. "Something you will enjoy playing," is not a useful answer. ANY character I create is going to be something I enjoy playing. I don't make a policy of playing characters I don't find fun. It's like me asking, "Hey, is it better to take a right turn or a left at this street to get to this address?" and someone answering, "You should really drive to that address." It is not an answer that in any way addresses my concern!

    Ah, but now we're getting into the 'a good player won't have a problem with that' argument. You know better than to create a character you're not excited about but others would, and have; I've had people come to me in the past a few short weeks into a PC going 'well, I was told/promised by that pack/coterie they needed this but I never see them and now there's no point in it, I just wanted to play it for them'. This is a thing that happens!

    To get back to the matter of alts though, my one issue with them (past the ever-existent one where people in my scene are taking forever to pose because they're playing three of them at once and argh) is that more or less the same group, rather than just one player, can monopolise +events. By showing up for them (which isn't difficult, especially if they are being ran by the same ST) they take up 'spots' that could have gone to legitimately disconnected, idle players looking for something to do, which is a tricky thing to fix without extensive hardcoding or strict policies. That's because it's far easier to +event/signup and be online at 20:30ET than to show up on the grid with your third alt consistently enough to have a strong presence.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said in Fallen World MUX!:

    Ah, but now we're getting into the 'a good player won't have a problem with that' argument. You know better than to create a character you're not excited about but others would, and have; I've had people come to me in the past a few short weeks into a PC going 'well, I was told/promised by that pack/coterie they needed this but I never see them and now there's no point in it, I just wanted to play it for them'. This is a thing that happens!

    Oh, sure. But I was talking about asking STAFF that question. Never ask PLAYERS that question. Rule One of MU*s is that players are flaky as hell, and you should never, ever make a PC that depends on another PC being around or interacting with you in order to remain viable. But directing that question towards staff should get a useful response. Even something like, "Right now, it's pretty open for a lot of concepts and characters. This game is oriented towards investigating Mysteries in an urban setting, so it's going to be easiest to get involved with characters who are high on the Mental skills, and now that I think about it, we could really use a dedicated technowizard or three for stuff that's in the works." That's a response that tells me that staff is open to diverse concepts, knows what their game is about and what sort of play they're angling for, AND has plots and events in the works that are fun to get involved with.

    To get back to the matter of alts though, my one issue with them (past the ever-existent one where people in my scene are taking forever to pose because they're playing three of them at once and argh) is that more or less the same group, rather than just one player, can monopolise +events. By showing up for them (which isn't difficult, especially if they are being ran by the same ST) they take up 'spots' that could have gone to legitimately disconnected, idle players looking for something to do, which is a tricky thing to fix without extensive hardcoding or strict policies. That's because it's far easier to +event/signup and be online at 20:30ET than to show up on the grid with your third alt consistently enough to have a strong presence.

    On this, though, we agree entirely. And I wish more STs were willing to say, "Hey, I'd like to give other people a chance to get involved with plots. Please don't sign up for this one unless you haven't been in an ST'd scene in a week or two - if we get up to time, and all the slots aren't filled, then I'll put out an open call."


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