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. 🙂

Getting to know you…

My Warhammer guild has turned out to be an interesting social experiment. Usually when I join a guild in an MMO, it’s because I’ve run into the same people a few times, grouped with them, and have some idea of what I’m getting into. Not so with CoW. I learned about it through reading the blogs of some of the founders, but once the guild was formed (and it grew very rapidly) I was in this group of total strangers who nevertheless shared a common interest: blogging. And, well, Warhammer Online. 🙂

Things are going pretty well and so far the guild drama quotient is pretty darned low. A lot of people assumed a guild made up of a group of (by nature) opinionated bloggers was doomed to fail. But I can tell you that so far at least, there’s no sign of pending collapse. Quite the contrary.

In any group of people this big, you’re going to meet folks who have values that don’t coincide with yours. I’m working through that issue right now, in fact, and I keep expecting this to turn into major drama (given that the person in question is an officer) but again, thus far its been very much a “You do your thing and I’ll do my thing and we’ll both respect the other’s personal choice.” kind of situation. No harm, no foul, everybody having fun.

Granted there are people I don’t actively like: the constant complainer, the “I know more than anyone” dude, etc. Any reasonably large group has these characters. I still get along with them, but I don’t seek out their company, if you know what I mean.

But mostly I’ve been having surprisingly enjoyable experiences. For instance, y’know I’m a voice chat hater. But I’ve been running Ventrillo when doing RvR in CoW groups just because I can’t deny that it is easier and more efficient. Generally I just listen even though I have a mike set up. And I have vent coming through the speakers (I run it on a 2nd pc).

Saturday night I was in a CoW group, getting our arses handed to us in a Tier 2 scenario (we were pretty badly out-leveled), and one of my guild mates had his Vent on ‘handsfree.’ He was being pretty chatty, which should have driven me bonkers, but instead he was doing a grand job of keeping us entertained and keeping the ‘sting’ of losing at bay. Not only was I in stiches, but so was Angela, who was next to me playing EQ2.

To make things even better, someone in another group shouted “Why do all Shadow Warriors suck in RvR?”. I was the lone Shadow Warrior in the scenario. I just ignored the idiot because I didn’t feel I was doing particularly badly, given the circumstances. I’m usually the first one to come down on myself if I’m screwing up; I hate letting down my group mates.

But I digress. As I said, I just ignored the comment, but my guildies came to my defense, which felt pretty damned good. It wasn’t a big deal and the shouter never said anything else, but its the thought that counts, y’know?

So yeah, being in CoW has been a very rewarding experience so far. Would it be going over-the-top to say its even been restoring my faith in people, to some extent? I always expect the worst out of any group situation, and my expectations are generally met. I expected CoW to be an awkward experience; I’m not very extroverted and tend to hold myself apart from groups. But so far, its been a joy to get to know this group of strangers bound together by a love of gaming and a love of writing about gaming.