Once I make up my mind, I’m full of indecision.

Melmoth’s rules of altitus:

  1. You can only ever be satisfied with your character’s appearance or class, never both.
  2. If at any point you consider yourself satisfied with both your character’s appearance and class, it is guaranteed that in the next five minutes you will see another player whose appearance or class appeals to you more than your current one.
  3. During the pre-launch hype for a game, the more certain you are that a class is right for you, the more certain it is that you’ll end-up playing an entirely different class altogether come launch.
  4. Finding yourself happy with both your character’s appearance and class for any length of time is a strong indicator that you’ve picked the wrong faction.
  5. It’s never too late to re-roll for the superior beard option.
  6. Nobody is playing class X until you switch to it, and then everyone is.
  7. If you’re a tank, then your guild is ninety percent tanks; if you’re a healer, then your guild is ninety percent healers; if you’re DPS, then there are no tanks or healers in your guild. Any attempt to rectify the situation automatically invokes rule 6.
  8. All classes are the best class ever for the first twenty levels.
  9. You’ll always think of the perfect name for your character after you’ve been playing for quite some time, but well before a paid character rename is justifiable.
  10. Altitus is an affliction in the same psychological family as inveterate shoe shopping, trying to pick the fastest line at the checkout, and deciding which sweet to pick from a tin of Cadbury Roses.
  11. New race or class in an expansion? Alt. Hit a bit of a levelling hump? Alt. Logged-in to the game today? Alt.
  12. The secret gateway to altitus is opened with the magic phrase “This is definitely going to be my main character, guys”.
  13. In the extremely unlikely event that you’re entirely happy with everything about your character, you will invariably make the mistake of reading the official forums, thus learning all the myriad ways in which your character’s class, faction and beard choice suck horribly compared to everyone else.
  14. Altitus is most often contracted when receiving the seventy fifth incremental upgrade to a rarely used utility skill.
  15. Alternativa, Goddess of Alts, is a harsh mistress who will only grant an extra character slot upon the ritual sacrifice of one of your existing stable of characters.
  16. They’re not alts, they’re the pixelated vahana for my chronically fractured personality.

10 thoughts on “Once I make up my mind, I’m full of indecision.

  1. ArcherAvatar

    #7 and #12 were especially chuckle worthy for me. These will of course be printed out and posted next to my monitor.

  2. darkeye

    Some games are worse that others, there should be some sort of scale for the likelihood of developing altitis, or at least warning labels if developers have mentioned that there may be alternatives to endgame.

    Having a hard time with GW2 and the game is not released yet. On the other hand the only big decision to be made in TSW is which faction, and I’ve managed to narrow that decision down to Dragon or Templar.

    The True Reincarnation system in DDO is interesting, but would rather chew my arms off that get caught up in that endless grind in an odyssey for the perfect character. There’s a special feat for (levelling all classes to 20 on the same character) very special people.

  3. Ettesiun

    I have never been an althoolic. I always have one character, and play always the same.
    I have created 5 characters in the first Beta Week-End of GW2.
    The Second Stress Test starts in some hours and I dont know which character I will play or create a new one.
    Arena Net, I hate you ;-)

  4. Moridir

    I’ve had a horrible altitus-related experience yesterday.

    After several months absence, I found myself (once again) resubscribing to WoW.
    Having logged in and feeling all warm and fuzzy at seeing the familiar faces of my family of characters once again, I noticed something was wrong… two of them were missing, the warlock and the shaman.

    My first thought was that I must’ve deleted them during my last stay, so I openend a ticket and requested to have them restored.
    Within the hour a GM contacted me, informing me that he had no record of either character ever having existed on my account.

    For a moment I thought myself in some Lovecraftian twilight-zone, hopelessly clinging to my sanity while the whole world conspires against me, eventually driving my over the edge into stark raving madness.

    Then he mentioned there had recently been a database wipe, explaining the total absence of information on the characters, to which I said “Oh, well that’s a shame then.”

    So they’re gone, after having sat there at the login-screen for years, both in their late twenties at best.

    Worst of all, all my caster heirloom gear was on the ‘lock. BUGGER

  5. Rizamp

    This is definatly me. I rarely lvl just one toon when playing a game, I see some other class being awesome and I just HAVE to try it out. Although recently I’ve also had gameitus, reading about a game on a blog, and having to go try it out.

  6. Telwyn

    I’ve been alt-mad since I started playing MMOs, they’re grindy games all of them, so alts give me a fresh perspective or playstyle to mix things up a bit.

    Lots of points I recognise from your list. I will add that I only have ‘mains’ in two games, my Balance Druid in WoW (a game I no longer play at all) and my Champ in LoTRO – I think in the first case a completely uncustomisable appearance helped avoid many of your points, and in the second case in LoTRO my champ’s beard is so awesome that he just stuck as my main character ;-)

  7. Vic Sandman

    I definitely recognize every symptom on this list. I’m an insufferable altoholic, and have made and deleted at least 10 characters within 1 beta weekend and 1 stress test on GW2. And it only seems to happen on MMOs, as well; I never have an issue with constant rerolls in a singleplayer RPG.

  8. Attic Lion

    According to #14 I must be extremely unusual. I always find the alt itch gets me once I reach that inevitable part of the game that sucks balls.

    I can’t finish Skyrim because of that fact. I always get to the bit where every non-boss enemy is trivial and then I stop caring about everything. Make a new character, install some new mods, and endevour to go do some shit I didn’t do before.

    In WoW I ended up rolling more than 7 DKs because of how obnoxious I found the endgame PvP, but didn’t want to put up with vanilla zone crap or stop playing with my friends. Each one of them is over 74.

    Curiously I’m having a hard time picking any character to play in GW2. Before I got to play I wanted to be a guardian or necro, but the lackluster nature of their support options have left me adrift. Need to try Taugrims shouty healing warrior build tonight to see if that grabs my attention.

  9. nugget

    T_T It gets even worse when dual-clienting is allowed.

    And it gets even WORSE when dual-clienting is not only allowed, but any interactions between your characters not expressly prevented via code are allowed.

    =P No no, not that kind of interaction. Sheesh.


    (Though I must admit it feels incredibly good to get my DPS-talented version of my bard to kill things for my healer-talented version of my bard, because she literally does at least 10 times more damage.)

  10. Melmoth Post author

    @ArcherAvatar: Glad you liked it. I was hoping there would be a few fellow sufferers who recognised some of the symptoms.

    @darkeye: City of Heroes was the worst for me. I think I had a billion characters over the course of playing that game, with many sacrificed to Alternativa. I had to leave when they started selling extra character slots though, lest I bankrupt my family.

    @Ettesiun: M’colleague is much like that: picks one character and generally sticks with it for the duration. I think I drive him a bit bonkers with my frequent alts (in fact I wrote about it back in the mists of time).

    I’m having trouble with GW2 too, but mainly because no particular class has captured my imagination, rather than having too many classes that I really want to play. I like a little bit of the Guardian, a bit of the Ranger, a bit of the Mesmer, but no one class stands out as being ‘me’. Maybe this will be the game where I’ll throw my hands in the air, pick one at random, and then stick with it because nothing looks any better. Maybe this will be the game where I don’t have alts!


    @Moridir: Ooof and blargle, that’s a crying shame. Alternativa is indeed a harsh mistress when it comes to the deleting of alts.

    Alternatively, perhaps it was punishment for returning to World of Warcraft. Be strong, resist the game of Original Alt Sin!

    @Rizamp: Gameitus is definitely where altitus sufferers go when they level-up. You’ve reached the ‘dissociative gamer-identity disorder’ big league when you start playing multiple alts, across multiple MMOs, with multiple accounts in each game.

    @Telwyn: It’s the law that a character is always a keeper when they’ve got an awesome beard. My problem is not that I don’t have mains, but that I have multiple mains. I think I had three characters at the level cap in both LotRO and WoW, and was progressing them equally. I definitely miss out on the completionist aspect –where m’colleague usually has just the one character but with all the achievements– but fresh perspective and variety is definitely the spice of my MMO gaming life.

    @Vic Sandman: That’s a fine point – I might have an early re-roll to change character appearance, but after that I generally stick with just the single character in a single player RPG. How curious!

    @Attic Lion: The grind is definitely another key moment in the development of altitus, you’re right. Those first twenty or so levels are often as crack cocaine to the semolina pudding of later level content.

    I’m with you on the Guild Wars 2 class dilemma. I love the concept of many of the classes, but none of the implementations capture my imagination; it’s not that they’re bad, but they just don’t seem to have that hook which amuses or delights to the extent that it invokes in me a passion for the class.

    @nugget: I have, so far, managed to resist the siren song of multi-boxing…

    “Don’t… tempt me nugget! I dare not do it. Not even to keep me playing. Understand nugget, I would use this multi-boxing from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”

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