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Wrath of the Lich King: Alts vs. Mains

This started out as a response question for Auz’s post about Wrath Planning – Guild Landscape. Her post made me realize perhaps there’s more to getting ready for the expansion than I once realized, but I have this particular problem that has been plaguing me for the last couple of months and I don’t know what to do. I’ve brought it up to the other officers, but so far nobody’s really spent time thinking about it.

ICESTORM’s Rank and Loot System

Let me set you up with how it’s set up in our guild. We have the following ranks:

  • GM
  • Co-GM
  • Officer
  • Veteran
  • Alts Officer/GM
  • Raid Member
  • Member
  • Alts
  • Hold*
  • Applicant
  • *This is used for players we aren’t ready to kick, but haven’t logged in a while. We usually kick Applicants after 21 days without logging in (a little long, I know). Members will get booted after a month unless notifying us first of an extended absence. The hold status let’s other officers know not to kick the player.

Loot rules basically are done by a ranking system with on-spec rolling first and once everyone passes we switch to off-spec before anything is disenchanted.

  • GM/Co-GMs/Officers
  • Veterans
  • Raid Members
  • Members
  • Applicants**
  • Alts
  • **Our loot rules actually put Applicants below alts, but we haven’t been doing that. Rank also does not affect when alts roll, so officers’ alts aren’t put above members’ alts.

Reasoning Behind Loot Rules

This isn’t a discussion about the pros and cons of our system, but I think it needs to be taken into consideration for this problem I’m not sure how to address.

The guild was set up as a “start-over” guild. The officers at the time were all geared beyond Kara, but we were having trouble doing higher end raids or were unhappy with higher end guilds. As such, we decided to “start over”. We recruited with the goal of recruiting people to gear up in Kara until such time as we could progress.

There really was little to no gear in Kara that any of the officers needed, except maybe on alts. As such, our time, energy, gold, mats, reagents, flasks, elixirs, pots, food, etc. would be spent helping others get gear while we waited. Yes, some of us would benefit from badges, but the majority of us only needed one or two more badge items. It was felt that because of this, we–the officers–deserved to benefit from the first few drops in more advanced raids.

The rest of it is pretty self explanatory. We’re opposed to DKP, except for one officer that believes in it, and this was the fairest system we could come up with. It’s also important to point out that our officers are such that we often pass on small upgrades for ourselves to help gear out others in hopes of advancing faster. I myself passed on Gruul’s Eye the other night, even though it’s something I have wanted for some time. Again, a small upgrade for me, but a large one for the guy who got it. Besides, it’ll drop again (and I’ll probably pass again. /sigh)

The Dilemma

In order to make the loot system work, every player has to have a designated main and all others are alts. This generally means that when we recruit someone with multiple alts, if they do not bring those alts immediately, then the initial toon is the main since we recruited based on that.

Rather quickly, it was decided that someone with multiple alts should not benefit over those who do not have the luxury of alts.  So alts always take a back seat to the mains, regardless of rank.

So everyone has a main. Most have alts. The expansion is on the horizon. We’ve got new content to look forward to! Every raid will have a 10-man and 25-man version!! Although we don’t have the 25-man issues we once did, we’ll be able to make sure that fewer people sit out on raids and more raids can happen if we have the interest!! Man are we stoked!!!

    Ummm….hey Ky! This is your brain. Remember me? HEY YOU!!!
    Wha..what? Sorry, I was day dreaming about Wrath.
    Yeah, pull your head out of the clouds for a sec. We got a problem!
    Problem? What are you talking about? I don’t have time for problems. I just finished heroic slabs last night. All I got is Mag’s to do and I’ve got my title.  I’ve only got one more care and that’s to get my bear mount.
    Forget the title! Forget the bear! It’s just vanity stuff anyway. No one really cares
    Fine, killjoy. What’s the problem?
    What are you going to do when Wrath hits and everyone starts leveling to 80?
    We’re going to start raiding. Wow, I don’t remember my brain being this dense. Maybe I need to take you in for a scan.
    OK, let me make this simple for you. Which toon are you leveling to 80 first?
    Well, Ky’s my main. Probably him. Although leveling Maedchen would definitely be easier without respec’ing. Besides I don’t really know Ret all that well…Oh! I see your point…
    ‘Bout time.

What do you do when players start leveling their “alts” before their “mains”?

Guaranteed at least one person is going to do this, if not a majority. There seems to be a feel that a lot of people’s mains were leveled because they didn’t know what to go with first and once they tried another class, they liked it more.

Personally, I love my pally healer. I always will. I love healing. I leveled Maedchen with the idea that she’d be heals too, but a couple of Co-GMs convinced me to keep her shadow spec’d because we only had one at the time (who later got herself kicked from the guild). I’m leveling Erdkrieg and Saebelzahn with the idea of going Resto on both when I get there. But right now Enhancement’s pretty fun!

We’ve recruited, generally speaking, with a focus on mains. If we level alts first, this may really put a hamper on our initial raiding until everyone catches up. So here’s our options:

Option #1

Allow people to change their mains once the expansion hits. Everyone picks, we adjust ranks accordingly, and start leveling.

    Pros: As a casual guild, we aren’t forcing people to play one way or the other. People are more likely to devote a lot of time leveling the toon they really want to play. This in turn should get us raiding new content faster.
    Cons: For those that stick with their current mains this Introduces new competition for raid spots and loot with a sudden influx of “new” mains. May require additional recruiting and in general we’re pretty happy with where it has gotten. (Ironic turn that a guild that once had to spam trade chat for recruits, while being ridiculed, now has people banging down our door on a daily basis. Seriously, are there any other toons out there besides hunters?!)

Option #2

Ranks stay the same regardless of what toon you level first. We pull in those we can use and need as the situation dictates, but if you’re an alt, you roll as an alt.

    Pros: Mains and alts are already familiar. No need to re-juggle and re-learn who’s who. Those who stick with their current mains need not put up with a potential increase in competition from “new” mains. Those who stick with their mains may wind up benefiting for sticking with it, if others do not.
    Cons: May slow down getting into raiding if a lot of people don’t want to level their mains first, concentrate on the Death Knight, etc. Potential to lose players that want to refocus their mains and look elsewhere.

As a whole, I think Option 1 is fairer to the individual and Option 2 is fairer to the guild. Because I believe what’s best for the guild will benefit me individually a whole lot faster than not, I’m leaning towards Option 2.

Is this an issue any of your guilds have thought of? What are your guilds going to do?

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3 Responses

  1. Just my view on this but I think option one looks better.

    Option two might seem fairer to the guild on paper but a lot could happen in those ten levels if you aren’t flexible. As you say, people could leave. Or, if you don’t allow people to offficially change their main, what’s to stop them levelling an alt and neglecting their main anyway? They could potentially be in a position where they’re be ready to raid on an alt before their main. Or would you ban alts from raiding?

    Option one is the better option for invidividuals, but it could also be the better option for the guild. If you allow people to declare new mains, you get to ensure enthusiastic raiders when they hit 80. You may also be plesently surprised by the mix of classes you end up with. Even if it does leave you with an imbalance in roles, by getting people to declare up front you’ll have ten levels of recruiting to fill the gaps.

  2. Thanks for the input, not sure I saw it that way, but I do see your point now. Will definitely bring this up to others.

  3. Hi Ky,

    A little slow on the response but I’ve only just found your blog. 🙂

    The way that the guild I’m in is approaching the expansion is similar to your option 1.

    Basically, everyone is free to level up whichever of their characters they choose to. However, it has been made clear from the start (well before then really since the start isn’t here yet!) that the current members of the raid team have their raid spots saved for them as long as they are levelling up their current raid character (confused yet?!). Anyone that chooses to level up an alt first is free to do so, and to switch that character to their main at the same time (after all, as you’ve correctly identified the gear disparity will be pretty much reset at 80), however, anyone that does so will need to re-apply for their spot on the raid team.

    Essentially, in my case, I’m a mage. I will level up my mage first which means I get to keep my raid team spot. If one of the other mages decides to level up their rogue first then that mage spot opens up and they will need to apply to the raid team as a rogue.

    There are no guarantees that the application will be successful, although there is quite some discussion on the forum threads with people effectively arranging to ‘swap’ roles with each other.

    I hope this helps, and good luck with whatever you decide to do. 🙂

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