Alting I will go

Massively OP had a post asking why readers play alt characters a few days ago. At the time I was focused on which game I could play more than which character. I’ve been playing alts almost as long as I have played MMORPGs. In answer to the Massively post, I play alts for two reasons: firstly, to fill party role gaps for startic groups, and secondly for crafting self-reliance.

I played a couple of sessions of Black Desert Online, and by pure chance I manage to find the quests to unlock farming, which I’d quested past many levels before without noticing. I started farming with expectations that I would really enjoy this aspect of the game. I had several cooking quests already, so being able to produce more of the raw ingredients myself appeals to me.

Sadly, I’d forgotten one of the major gameplay aspects of BDO, the game is designed around keeping you logged in for long sessions. Like many “life-skill” aspects, growing crops takes time, hours in fact, and the crops only develop while you are logged on. That had me leaving my PC running while I was playing games on the Playstation. Yes I could be playing other BDO content while waiting on this, but this is my holiday week and I want to spend a good amount of time away from my PC.

Then, I had the idea of just popping into Lord of the Rings Online to do some farming there. Down the proverbial rabbit hole I went. This is how alt-gameplay gets me every time, at least in certain MMOs. I logged on to my Minstrel, who happens to be my highly skilled farmer/cook alt. He lives almost exclusively in the Shire – hobbits make the best cooks after all. So, I did some farming and then some cooking and ended up with some rather nice buff food for my champion main character. As I was farming, it occured to me that this character isn’t so far removed from the level 45 new content that is coming. I remember Minstrel as being rather fun and a pretty good solo class, perhaps I should actually take him away from his fields and oven and do some adventuring for once…

Then I looked at his quest log and equipped gear and realised just how long he’s been a “crafting alt”, his gear was mostly from the mid-teen levels, and he dinged level 30 while cooking the buff food. LOTRO is arguably the game that I have alted in the most, specifically for crafting. This game kept the interlocking dependencies between professions that other MMOs removed, over the years. So it pays to have crafting alts, or good contacts in the server community.

All the grey quests belong to this alt

On a tangential note, by coincidence when I logged, the biweekly Michel Delving Market was underway as I cooked. This community event has music, trading and roleplay. The organisers camped near the crafting area to set up ‘stalls’ and other players came and went. As a crafter I’ve benefitted from this a few times, in terms of obtaining good quality crafting tools for alts, or for obtaining some rarer materials. It’s also nice to see a starter zone so busy with other players.

I then logged between several characters to check for what I could craft to gear-up my Minstrel for some levelling. That quickly led deeper down the rabbit hole since I realised I would need to go mining for gold and iron, and likely leather-gathering if I wanted fully upgrade his woefully out of date attire. So, the session vanished to checking crafting recipes, bags and vaults. Just what I enjoy doing on a lazy Monday evening.

There’s gold in these here hills

Even better, the next couple of sessions are mapped out now that I know what to gather on which alt…

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