Main > Alt ??

Casualties of War just put a Roster module in-place. As has happened in just about every guild I’ve ever been in, I was asked to specify a Main character. People talk about Mains and Alts all the time. But I don’t really understand what the term Main means, and I’ve yet to hear a really good, consistent definition.

Don’t misread me, I’m not condemning CoW or any guild for using the term. Heck, I talk about being an “alt-aholic” which infers that I have Alts. And having Alts in turn infers that I have a Main. So I use the term too. But what does it mean?

Is your Main your highest level character?
Is your Main your character with the largest /played value?
Is your Main the character that you find the most fun to play?
Is your Main the character you can most naturally role-play as?
Is your Main the first character that you roll on a server?

And from an external point of view, what significance is it that Char A is my Main and Char B is my Alt?

The only theory I have is that your Main is the character that you personally identify as Most Important, and since its Most Important, the Guild is going to give priority to helping you equip/level that character over the Alts of other players. So if a nice juicy loot drop for a Priest appears, and Player A is playing a Priest that is his “Main” and Player B is playing a Priest that is his “Alt” then Player A gets the item (all other things being equal).

In the same way, if there’s one slot open in a guild event, and the group needs DPS, and two DPS characters want to come, the Main gets preference over the Alt.

So assuming all this is true, I can see why a guild as an entity would want you to declare a Main. But why do individuals do it? You see it in chat all the time: “My main is a {insert level cap} wizard!” In this case is it just bravado? A way to prove that you aren’t a noob to be pwned just because you’re a low level character?

I need to pick a “Main” in Warhammer, and suddenly it is becoming a dilemma. My highest level is a Shadow Warrior but I haven’t touched him since Sunday since I’m having so much fun playing various Alts. I guess I need to do some navel gazing and decide what class I find to be the Most Fun, which will make that character the Most Important to me. This is going to be tough since I enjoy them all so much.

And oy! I hope the Alts don’t resent my Main and start accusing me of playing favorites. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Main > Alt ??

  1. “Main” is a term I use to reassure the mono-character players (as opposed to altoholics like me) that I’m not utterly insane. It’s just gibberish, but they seem to like it. 😉

    From a practical, guild management point of view, there are several reasons for it (especially in CoW). Loot distribution is certainly part of that, since on a very broad level, “main” tends to mean “the character you play most.” Even as an altoholic I would give precedence for an item to a character that’s played a lot over one that’s played maybe 2-3 hours a month. In most cases, anyway.

    The problem many of us altoholics have with WAR right now is that the careers are SO much fun, all of them, and that it can take a few levels — in some cases a dozen or more levels — before a given class really matures and you get a good idea of how well that class fits your playstyle.

    I suspect in a few months this will have died down to much more manageable, less confusing levels.

  2. When I’m asked that question in WoW, my reply is “well, Lithe is my main duo-huntress, but Sylea is my main draenai solo huntress and Rainthe my main solo elven huntress. Then there’s Dhaemona, my main witch, but she’s pretty evil so you may wish to steer clear of her.” In other words, I hate that question, and maybe for “casual gamers” (another label of which I’m not all that fond) there just plain isn’t such a beast? It so heavily depends on my moods and whims and which friends are around to play on which avatar gets my attention, from a core group. I also have “alts” or genetic experiments, to be sure.

    Now in Warhammer, I’m not feeling that love you guys are feeling. I think I have an aversion to the avatars or something — only the dark elves are appealing to me. The rest, I can’t get past character creation to know if they play fun or not. 🙁

  3. I don’t have a main in WAR, yet. I’m trying out a variety of classes until one just simply “clicks”. Then that one will be my main, until I get bored, and try something else. A “main” for me is very fluid.

  4. I always have a ‘main’ and an ‘alt’. Usually only one alt but sometimes a couple. There’s not enough hours in the day for me to have a variety of alts so I do create a main with the view at creation that it will be the character I level ahead of any others I create. It will be the class I enjoy playing the most and the race I most like looking at. It is the one character I care about reaching the end game, the one that will best suit our play style, the one that I will equip the best, spend more in-game money on, and level in tradeskills.

    I think you have nailed the explanation regarding the importance of mains in a guild too. It is important for some guilds to know how to award items because members can become very irate. Some people get angry if they think an alt is awarded an item ahead of a main. For some of the more serious guilds it is also a requirement in terms of raiding – that is the character that is expected to attend raids (and sometimes the only one that can attend raids) and it is the one who will be given items. And for the guild officers/raid leaders of raiding guilds I think they find it frustrating to equip characters that would be considered ‘alts’ only to have them leave or never raid again when an item could have benefited a regular raider and made the raid force stronger – I think that’s pretty much where the more serious guilds are coming from. I think though that more casual guilds don’t place so much importance on who is a main and who is an alt.

Comments are closed.