Friday, February 27, 2009

Blog Banter - It's my party, and I'll alt if I want to....

Link Kirith I was forgotten this month, but like him I am still inclined to post about this months blog banter.

Edit. Turns out CK sent the email the day of the gmail outage, so many of us didn't get the mail. No doubt this will spread the posting over several days, but that may be well be a plus.

- oh and I retitled the post.

Welcome to the fifth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter

This month’s topic comes to us from Mynxee of Life in Low Sec. She asks "Alts and Metagaming: Is playing two accounts who are logged in at the same time and work together (hauler/miner, explorer/combat associate, trade alts in trade hubs) a form of metagaming that is 'ruining the game'?"

Firstly, as is no doubt to anyone who even just read my last post, I am a dual boxer (well to be exact I am now a triple boxer).

There is no doubt, in my mind that it is a form of metagaming.   However it isan accepted form, and is indeed encouraged some what by the publisher (power-of-two anyone?).

However you would still expect a clear 100% "No, it doesn't ruin the game", but to be honest I don't think it is as clear as that.

I myself started dual-boxing 6 months into my Eve career, though it was never my intention in creating the 2nd account to do so. Indeed my intention with Mollernak originally was to be able to try out piracy, while Gormn remained safe (with a positive sec status) in high sec.

However quickly the idea of using Moll to haul ore back to station, while Gormn would continue to mine, became appealing. In less than a month the original plan to keep them separate disappeared, and instead I was dual boxing.

How I came to triple box was covered in my last post, so won't cover that again.....

So why multi box?

For me the multi-account playing, from a PvE and isk making perspective, has allowed me to:
  1. Rat or Mission run - with one account shooting rats, while another salvages and collects loot
  2. Mine - with one or two mining while another guards against rats, or does hauling

In both cases the result being a vasty increased efficiency and effectiveness.

For PvP though I generally do not multi-box, the only exception is that when I do field Gormn in a carrier I have sometimes also fielded Mollernak/Kahamahl (either as a cyno pilot or fighter bombing in a fast mover).

However the risks of losing one ship, while playing the other overwhelm any potential benefit of trying to fly two ships in combat at once.  It can be simply to difficult to keep track of two during PvP, or even too risky in laggy environments.

But back to the original question, is multi-account playing ruining the game?

The short version is still no, it's not ruining the game.

With the increased revenue of two or more characters, comes also the expenses incurred by that number of players (i.e. you have two sets of skills, ships, modules, etc to buy).

In addition this is also ignoring the additional cost of the account (be it in isk or $s) to the person in RL...

The only real tangible issue with multi-accounting is when people use it to gain an advantage that is not available to some one with a single account (and hence main), i.e. spying, corp thefts, scamming, etc... Now that's not to say I against these types of actions (well okay I usually am), but it's the fact that by using a separate account to do this allows someone to do it with no risk to their real "main"..  

By using an alt account to spy, the enemy has simply no real in game way to detect, or track, you down subsequently for vengeance or payback.  In short it creates the means for the "perfect crime".

Myself, have always been up front that I have multiple accounts, well at least if challenged. 

Separate accounts, and hence multiple mains has allowed me to experience so much more of the game, than would have otherwise been possible.  

I can field a carrier or dread, but then on the other hand I can also put some one in one of six possible recons, or in one of 6 interceptors, and so on....  This is BECAUSE I was able to specialise my two mains down two distinct skill paths. 

With a single character I would probably have ended up struggling to ever achieve what I have done in the game.  

For that reason alone, I am in no way inclined to ever give up my additional accounts.

However often people make snaky comments about multi-account players, that we "cheat" that we have an unfair advantage, etc... and it is the creation of this attitude itself that is why, potentially, multi-accounts could ruin the game (however unlikely that may be).

If I had my way, I would like to see CCP institute some method to link a person's various accounts, so that others are made quickly aware they are dealing with a single (rather than two) people.

Obviously it would need to be something that would not be so obvious to give other people advantage either (sorry pirates), but in engaging with someone for recruitment, contracts, etc you can see they are a dual-boxer...

That would IMHO resolve the worst negative of dual-boxing... 

Final answer - no it is not ruining the game, the impact is over exaggerated, and in reality it is peoples money and time to spend how the like.

Adapt or die, and you you just have to accept some of us just choose to adapt by having multiple accounts.



Mynxee said...

There is NO WAY I'd ever support the reveal of the fact that my alts were linked to a single player in-game or out. Subterfuge and deception are key ingredients in many play styles, so it would break the game (IMHO) to do that kind of hand-tipping.

Hell, I can't even PvP on one character very well, much less try it with two! Anyone who CAN do that, has my respect and more power to them.

Mynxee said...

Let me clarify my above statement--While I myself may choose to name my alts (and have done in some of my blog posts), I would be violently opposed to some in-game mechanic that made a connection between them.

WTM said...

Valid point....

IMHO the link would only be determinable when you are supplied the limited API key...

i.e. not determinable from within the normal in-game UI

An indicator that this is one of 'x' number of accounts - Nothing more.

That way it does not give away who the alts are, but simply that they could, and very well may, exist.