Altoholism – a totally invented word to describe an addiction to making more characters in a game. To the uninitiated ‘alts’ are ‘alternative characters belonging to the same player’. Apparently the word ‘toons’ is a word derived from other MMOs, but I find it a strange word!
However with my change in family I may need to reign in my altoholism, which led me to think: Is altoholism bad for your (virtual) bank balance? If I focussed on a handful of characters could I suddenly work towards buying something stupidly expensive? So I thought it’s time to explore!
Advantages of Altoholism
There are advantages to having many characters in a game like SWTOR:
- Crafting: if you have characters covering all aspects of gear creation then you need to buy much less from other players.
- Variation: In SWTOR, each class has a unique storyline (so 8 stories in total) and in both SWTOR and LotRO each class has a different fighting style. SWTOR goes one step further with any one character being able to choose 3 different ‘skill paths’. So having a lot of characters gives you scope to explore these styles.
- Screenshots: re-playing characters gives you a chance to capture screenshots or video snippets which you missed before!
- Testing: I have sometimes rolled a new character purely to see what the outcomes of certain decisions are, so you don’t accidentally spoil your favourite characters’ lives!
No doubt, players making more characters is great for game creators – you come back for more without them needing to speed up the development of new content. Not that it’s an excuse, but that’s a discussion for another time.
Disadvantages of AltoholismAs it currently stands I have about 20 Active Characters on SWTOR spread over 2 servers. As I can’t settle if I try to play more than one character in a day, I tend to play one a day. And I still play LotRO about once a week (I have more friends on SWTOR so I’m drawn to that mostly at the moment). So if each character comes out once every 3 weeks that’s about it. Other reasons having too many characters could be bad:
- Character Astrangement: As I prefer, where possible, to connect with my characters, only playing them once every 21 days hinders this connection.
- Obligation: I’ve struggled with this for ages. The guilds I’m now in don’t require certain activity levels. However I still feel like I should play some to remain active. It’s just how my brain works. But playing under obligation can lead to lower enjoyment.
- Trade Time Increasing: I’ve almost stopped crafting gear and trying to sell it on GTN (Galactic Trade Network). Mostly because I’m nearly always priced out and I lose time relisting things. I used to use GTN as my primary income source when missions paid poorly. But since Level Sync was introduced, mission rewards all scale accordingly, so the credits paid out are better. So I don’t need GTN Income as much – plus I find competing against others in a market with precisely zero differentiation kind of stressful.
So, SWTOR Experiment Time!
Over the next 7 gaming days (which may not be 7 consecutive days, but often are) I am going to be playing one character. Or at least I am going to be enriching one character. The aim is to see how much I can increase one character’s credit balance in this time period by mostly focussing on repeatable missions. This is excluding Heroic 2+’s which I find too hard to play very often.
- Daily / Weekly Locations: Black Hole, CZ-198, Yavin IV, Oricon, Section X, Rishi
- GSI Missions: probably at the end of a session to relax. GSI Missions are available on: Tatooine, Hoth, Makeb and Alderaan.
- Exploration Missions: this test takes place in my ‘real world’ of pain and family role. So if I’m on a bad pain day I may roam the galaxy to planets finding ‘side missions’ I have yet to do.
- Allowance: I may choose to play a different character but I will send the credits to the character who is the subject of this test. This is because sometimes I need to play ranged fighting, and sometimes melée depending on pain levels.
I will also aim to spend as little as possible. The major exception will be when I am able to use Glowing Crystals to purcahse 216 gear, I’ll need to re-augment it. But I’ll try to minimise expenditure.
Feel free to track my progress via the Google Doc Below:
Discoveries & Conclusions
As this test runs I will add my discoveries/conclusions here!
- Average Earnings: If you have a normal day where you might get an evening to game, you can earn 300-500k from Dailies/Weeklies. If you’re on holiday, or a weekend day, then 1m Credits is a very achievable take away. When the level cap increases to 70, expect these figures to rise.
- Rishi Dailies: these aren’t on the Priority Terminal so you have to pay the fuel to fly there. And then the dailies aren’t on the Missions terminals, so you have to go and find them. If you’re after credits, don’t bother with these. If you fancy a relaxing hour wandering a beautiful planet, go for it!
- Weekly Missions: appear to reset sometime on Tuesday. So if you time it well, you can increase your earnings by including two Tuesdays in your “week”.
- There are loads of dailies! The average person surely can’t manage all the daily locations in one day. Even when I tried I didn’t manage it!
- GSI Missions: Although I didn’t get around to many GSI Missions, I calculated that if you did 10 GSI Missions one day (for the weekly) and 5 the rest of the week, GSI Missions could net you 500,000 credits in a week, which averages to around 71,000 a day, so the figure below isn’t far wrong.
- More to Gaming Than Credits: I have already split my ‘week’ up by playing other characters. I’m not a consistent “grinder”, I still want to play story, I still want to do other things. We can so often be trapped by wanting to afford things, like in real life. But enjoyment comes in various forms. Buying treats is just one of those things.
An interesting side-outcome of doing this exercise was to see which location yielded the average take-home pay! This takes into account repair costs, travel costs and selling scrap from defeating enemies. So which SWTOR Dailies earned the most credits? (figures rounded to nearest 1,000 credits)
- Yavin IV: 179,000
- Section X: 144,000
- Oricon: 142,000
- Black Hole: 142,000
- Ziost: 104,000
- CZ-198: 101,000
- GSI: 74,000
- Rishi: 61,000
TL;DR Testing Altoholism
In-game as in life, there are two ways to become richer: spend less, or earn more, ideally a combination of both. There are some SWTOR treats I really want but cost a lot of credits. And as I don’t spend real money in-game (apart from my subscription….*cough* sorry, Premium Membership), credits are the only way I can buy things.
By running this experiment I found out that earning semi-respectable credits is achievable without the stress of Operations, or running lots of Heroic Missions. I actually really enjoy these now, so probably won’t be removing any characters. I’ll just alternate between KotFE/KotET, Class Stories and Dailies. It also means if I want to buy 500k mount, I can do so after a few hours of dailies – enjoy the benefits of working for your money.
Altoholism is bad for each individual characters credit balance. However, one player suggested making one character in your legacy your ‘Legacy Bank’. Earn credits across characters but leave a modest amount in the individual character’s bank. That way you know how many credits you have in your legacy. I think I’ll be taking that idea!
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