Thursday, March 24, 2011

Alts and Raids

Gevlon is debating weakening his guild's "no-alt" rule in order to make it easier to create raids.

In my personal opinion, I don't think that alts really help a lot with raiding. Raiders much prefer to play their main character. The alt is invariably geared at a much lower level than the rest of the raid. Consistent raiding gears a character up, and improves their skills. If you're consistently raiding on an alt, you have question whether that's really an alt.

It also breeds a little bit of resentment among the people who don't bring their alts. Everyone has alts, but why is Jane allowed to get gear and improve her alt, while Vanessa (who doesn't need anything from the raid) has to carry her?

The only situations where I would use alts in a raid is if the fight absolutely depended on one class ability (Mind Control on Instructor Razuvious) or you're a Royalty guild raid-stacking for the cutting edge of content.

For everyone else, it's extra complexity that doesn't really add anything. Indeed I think it weakens the raid if you get into the habit of bringing in alts. The best progression comes with a stable core of characters, and bringing in alts cuts against that.

The only real solution is to recruit for the roles you are missing, including bench or reserve slots and rotating people. Perhaps try a system like Pods to guide your efforts.

Note: I do think the no-alt rule in general is excessive. After a while, you generally "finish" a character, and can only improve them through raiding. A lot of people like spending the free time on playing a new character. I'm not really sure what keeping those secondary characters out of the guild actually accomplishes. But I stand by my rule of "no alts in the primary raid."


  1. Given that (for reasonably geared alts) the success of a fight comes from knowledge of its mechanics and not the extra stats a character has, I really doubt in a guild such as Gevlon's alts are a bad thing.

  2. I think that gear is not a factor.
    If you bring an alt to raiding he'll be decked out in heroic gear, which is just what the main chars started with.
    It's the playing skill and experience with the bosses that matter.

    But you're absolutely right about the social problems this can cause.
    Ideally you'll separate the alts in their own runs.

  3. On a functional level, how is bring in an alt any different from people switching to an second spec? (Where the spec change is a role change. dps to healing, for example.)

  4. Gevlon does not have a "stable core" of raiders. He tries to prove that a guild of competent players can achieve some progress without enforced attendance.
    This is of course turning against him as completely random, unsheduled attendance can lead to unfeasibility of raid at any given time.
    The latest form of unfeasibility is absence of healers, which made him turn to alts.

  5. What frustrates me in my own particular situation is that my guild doesn't have enough for two 10 mans (let alone 1 25 man). We're SUPPOSED to be alternating, but that hasn't really happened. So, those of us constantly waiting have been told "Wait until the weekend and we'll run alt raids so you patient mains can come then!"

    Unfortunately, this means a) people not bothering to show up because it's the weekend and they're tired, b) people when they do bother to log on then have to relearn certain fights from another POV (usually folks with healer alts) & c) certain people then not taking seriously BECAUSE it's "just an alt run" to them so my MAIN then gets no progression forward.

  6. I absolutely LOVE having altaholics in the guild. Especially when alt runs in BWD and BoT help gear them so they are available to help our 2 progression teams out.

    We had several people out this week on vacation, and without the main (experienced) raiders with geared alts, we wouldnt' have had full near full clears (normal).

    We run tight rosters (and different raid days for our 2 teams), but make sure to support raid geared alts who can fill in if the need is dire.

  7. I should think the appeal of keeping alts in the main's guild should be obvious: you the player being visible to guildies when not on your main.

    I don't want to try to nag people to friend me on my alt, I don't want to add all my guildies to RealID and I don't necessarily want to be incommunicado just because I'm farming herbs for a while on my herbalist. Do I need EVERY alt in my main's guild? No. But I love having ones that I spend a lot of time on there, so I'm not left out of the social aspect while I do other things.

    In addition, I think there's some appeal to having alts in the guild for guild progress purposes these days. I know my guild has a lot of alt-alchemists churning out flasks. We're a ten man crew, we're going to unlock the guild cauldrons slowly anyway, why make it slower by only relying on mains who have alchemy when we have so many alchemist alts?

    You referred to Royalty-level guilds class stacking as one of the only situations where having alts in the raid makes sense. I think probably Aristocracy guilds are the only ones where it makes sense to eliminate alts from membership. Guilds on the less progressed end are more alt focused in general, and sometimes smaller, relying on alts both as the bench and as guild crafters.

  8. Durr durr, I read through this comment as proofreading and realize I read your original post wrong.

    I thought you were saying you're not sure what keeping alts IN the guild accomplishes, but what you actually said was that you're not sure what keeping them OUT accomplishes.

    Oops. Sorry! Consider that comment as a very long way to say, I agree with you more than Gevlon. :P

  9. One interesting thing I've noticed, is now that I'm only doing 10-man raids there is no longer any resentment over people bringing alts. We're 4/12 hard modes and generally bring half the raid of alts to the non-hard mode bosses. Some people have just one alt, some have none, some have 2-3 and they bring whatever we need for the fight. I haven't heard any complaints about people with alts not being able to bring them, nor people without alts complaining about having to carry alts. Even with half alts, every normal mode fight is pretty easy and the only ones we sometimes have a wipe on is Nef and Cho'gall.

    I do think allowing players to occasionally play alts is important to the health of a large guild. Players who are getting tired of their main may burn out faster if they're forced to always play the same class. It also gives players a better understanding of the fight by playing a different role. As ranged dps, being able to heal helped me realize when the stressful healing times were during a fight and to use cooldowns to help the healers out.

  10. In our raids I have found that the extra flexibility that alts bring is a good thing when you're having problems with roles rather than numbers.

    A little common sense on whether to include an undergeared alt is required, of course, but as has been commented before me, most of the encounters in current raiding content are more dependent on being in the right place at the right time rather than sheer gear level. An experienced raider on a slightly undergeared alt filling a missing role can often make a raid that otherwise would never have happened.

    Is it ideal? No. But in these dark times of guild recruiting, ideal may be something that is unattainable.

  11. The core reason for the anti-alt animus is that it divides people's time and forces the rest of the raid to make up for their lack of personal effort on either character.

    In theory, a character can gear themselves in about 75% iLvl 359 epics before ever stepping foot in a raid - and that means more epic loot for everyone who shares loot with them as well as an easier time for the raid.

    But 'altoholics' usually don't bother with such gearing and instead just rely on the guild for gearing - and that annoys people because they have to share loot with a larger pool.

    In terms of dual spec vs. alts, keep in mind that most dual specs share gear to some extent. About the only time dual specs don't share gear is when it involves a melee role change (tank vs. dps specs and healer vs. melee dps specs). But your Shadow Priest and Destruction Warlock are using 60% of their gear from their other spec.

  12. We've not done the excessive alt switching in Cata, but in Wrath and TBC we've had really positive experience with it. I've lost track of how many firstkills it were where I was on my alt Shammy instead of main Rogue because we were lacking healers. Or people standing in as Offtank.

    The problem mentioned with envy is something that's never come up, really. Either you're geared enough and can carry or your own weight or you won't be taken along again on your alt.
    This is true for everyone, so it rots out the badly geared alts and we also have a lot of players who don't even want to bring their alts to the main raid. Those of us who were prepared usually got their chance. I'm also not much of a fan of switching out alts for certain fights, unless it's a single piece of gear you need that would be disenchanted.

    All in all I really like the alt-switching as long as the raid doesn't suffer from it.

  13. I dunno about the 75% epix pre-raid (that one of the Anonymous people mentioned above). While it's *technically* possible, it requires a ridiculous amount of money, a ridiculous level of luck in archaeology, and the ability to do a heroic every day without fail.

    Note that, if you have limited playtime, this becomes pretty much impossible, as you're theoretically raiding and doing heroics on your main, etc.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with alts in raids. Not only can they soak up gear that you'd otherwise DE, but they can spread capability and let the healers/tanks play DPS, etc.

    Back in ICC days, I'd switch between my rogue and my paladin based on group composition and needs. Like, if we had no competent rogues, I'd bring mine to disarm traps and do TotT. My paladin's my main, generally, but my rogue got Kingslayer first.

    Hell, right now they're making me bring my rogue.

  14. I've always felt bringing alts in is a sure sign you've given up on progression as your focus.

  15. I agree that for your primary raids, mains should be the absolute priority and focus. The way I phrased our alt policy for raids was, "We only bring alts when we NEED to."

    So, your main is geared to the gills. Good! Keep bringing them and kicking ass while everyone else finishes gearing up. We need your full gear set, well-practiced skills, and your wealth of experience at performing your role, in these fights, with your *main* character.

    Anything else dilutes the raid.

    Gina, I appreciate the value of alts in the circumstance you describe, but that is a different scenario. In that case, the alts are needed and the mains are already locked. So, I think that you might be comparing apples to oranges.