I don’t generally consider myself to be an altoholic. I maintain a healthy number of alternate characters, but mostly for the purpose of crafting cross-dependencies. For many games, LotRO included, this still is somewhat limited due to the need to level a character past a certain point in order to achieve the higher levels of crafting ability; crafting proficiency and character level are tied together, as access to higher tiers of materials often necessitates a higher level character. For LotRO, there is the added gateway of crafting quests that unlock the higher tiers, and these quests are meant for certain level characters (and often involve claiming items from specific level monsters).
Still, I keep a good number of alts fairly active; at least, as much as time permits (which isn’t nearly as much as I’d like!). Sometimes I just want a change of pace. I tend to try every class to at least level 10 or 20, and those I stick with tend to be on farther ends of the spectrum; my main is a Burglar (melee and debuff) so my primary alts are a Minstrel (healing/support) and a Hunter (ranged damage). This way I get a good feel for many of the ways the game can play. However, I almost always stay away from caster classes. They just aren’t my style.
Over the last few months I’ve had a growing sense of ennui with my alts. I still log in from time to time, and try to knock out a set of quests or a few levels. Especially on alts that have supporting crafting professions – my Minstrel is my highest level alt that can mine the ore needed by my main, a Historian. But it’s gotten harder and harder to find the motivation. There are a few tricks I’ve picked up recently that help somewhat, such as Syp’s planning out his progression specific to his build. As a Completionist, it really never occurred to me to only target specific Deeds that would further my chosen Traits.
However, as the list of things I want to accomplish grows, and as my interest in other games increases, I’ve begun to come to the conclusion that my Burglar will be the only avatar with which I complete certain achievements. For example, I finished Helegrod for the first time two nights ago (a great time with the kin!). Let me say, killing that dragon was one of the best times I’ve had in LotRO. But I’ll probably only ever do that with my main, which also means that that avatar will be the only one to complete the meta-deed for Eriador. It will likely be the only avatar which I keep at the level cap; maybe the only one to ever reach the level cap.
Merric recently posted his thoughts on why we need zone revamps; I couldn’t agree more. But his argument also brings up another reason I find it so hard to advance my alts – there are just a few too many parts of the game I don’t want to play through again. And hanging over every moment I play an alt is perhaps the biggest hurdle in my mind – Moria. As much as I loved the Moria environments, and many of the mechanics it introduced (Legendary Items in particular, though they could use a revamp of their own), I just find it soul-crushing to think about slogging through that content again. Moria was a grind. It really wore me down. Which is oddly fitting, considering the role it plays in the lore; that of an dreary, oppressive, haunted kingdom of lost and fallen glory. But I really don’t think I can do it again.
None of this is to say that my love of the game is diminished, nor that I will spend any less time playing. I love my Burglar. I love everything about him; the skills, the animations, and my most favorite – the audio. I hear those sounds in my dreams, and even three years later, the sounds of dropping into stealth still bring me a smile. But unless I become independently wealthy in the near future, or someone invents a way to play in my sleep, my main will be about it. There just aren’t enough hours.
Which is a bit of a shame. There are definitely some parts of the game I would love to revisit as a different class. So it goes.