The promise of being able to level at least eight different alts, have it be a totally different experience, and then receive continued updates for all of those unique class stories sounded absolutely amazing. That those plans ultimately weren't sustainable is another matter, but the amount of content to play through at launch was huge. And yet the game ended up with loads of players who just speed-levelled one class to cap and then complained that there weren't enough raids. I don't even know. Though speaking as someone who did raid once I hit the level cap, the first few months were good times for me too. While there was only one operation at launch, Bioware had added three more by the end of the year. It was a golden age of constant content additions.To me, the SWTOR's experience leads me to believe that alt-based design--design which expects players to play multiple characters--is a losing strategy. I've mentioned this before in the context of SWTOR:
It really looks like alt-based design is not a good strategy. The Old Republic greatly rewards playing alts, with eight different (excellent, in my opinion) class storylines and the entire Legacy system. And yet, judging by the timeline, I would wager that the largest group of people who quit only had one max level character, and the second largest only had two.
To me, this strongly looks like encouraging alts is a losing strategy. The better strategy for MMO design might be to assume that most people play a single character all of the time. I mean, don't go out of your way to stop people from playing alts, but just design the game assuming that everyone focuses on one character.With that in mind, let's look at Battle for Azeroth. BfA is an example of alt-based design, with a lot of changes aimed at encouraging people to play alts. The biggest example, of course, is the separate Horde and Alliance stories, with a full three zones for each side.
But there are more examples. For example, there is no Paragon reputation, which would keep people doing World Quests on their mains. There are no Legendaries, which again encouraged play on mains in order to increase the chances of getting one. Allied Races are a big thing, and are implicitly alt-centric. Professions are much simplified, and it's a lot easier to have a stable of alts with fully-maxed professions compared with Legion.
Now personally, I don't mind a lot of these changes. I quite liked seeing both the Horde story and the Alliance story. But I do notice that I am playing my Paladin, less and less. I pretty much raid with her now. And I am less enthused when on an alt.
I think a lot of problems with BfA can be traced back to the decision encouraging alts instead of expecting people to focus on a single main character. BfA has a ton of content. But maybe it would have been better with six common zones that all characters level through.
The pro-alt crowd is very vocal, and constantly complaining about thing like reputation, and locked content, and difficulty of gearing up. But catering to them seems to make the game less satisfying for the majority of the population.