Everyone in the World of Warcraft knows one, or IS one, or has touched their toe to the water of altaholism. It's a very common condition amongst the Citizens of Azeroth.
For those who may not know what this condition is, or are only familiar with it in a cursory way, it is defined as:
al·ta·hol·ism/ˈæl tə hɔˌlɪz əm, -hɒ-/ [al-tuh-haw-liz-uh m, -ho-]
a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on playing alternate characters, repeated excessive use of 'alts', the development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing play on multiple characters, morbidity that may include boredom with a class or race, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally (due to obssessing over alts).
Let's discuss this condition, after the jump.
So WoW started for me in the early days of The Burning Crusade (lovingly referred to as TBC, and before MoP commonly referred to as: THE BEST. XPAC. EVAR.) I was told to play Horde (because the Alliance was "a bunch of whiny kids"), and I wanted to be a Paladin. The idea of being a heavily armored crusader of the light was extremely appealing to me (and frankly, that's all I knew about the game). Being that the only race available to Horde Paladins was Blood Elf, that's what I went with. No biggie, I was a long time Dungeons and Dragons player, and Elves are just fine with me.
I leveled that character the hard way, one step at a time. I didn't know what tanking was, healing, dpsing, etc... I just knew I had abilities on my bar, and you were supposed to do dungeons with five people. Threat, optimized damage, etc were all a total mystery to me. I had no idea where anything was. I couldn't find the mining trainer in Orgrimmar, so I just didn't level my mining past 75. I picked Mining and Enchanting as my professions (Enchanting, since Blood Elves got a racial bonus to it; it made sense to me). I wore leather, and cloth and mail and everything in between. I had intellect and agility and strength gear... I was a walking advertisement for "Noobs'R'Us." Yes, I looked for Mankrik's wife for HOURS (and never found her).
By the time I got to max level, the Wrath of the Lich King was upon us, and when I dinged 70, I jumped on a zeppelin and headed straight for Northrend. A new expansion, I thought, a new WORLD where I could learn with everyone else. I wasn't the noob anymore! I could tell people where to find things! I knew a tank was supposed to hold aggro! I had healed several dungeons (without trying to melee mobs; for that matter I knew what a mob was...)! I was among the elite, I was an ENDGAME PLAYER.
And then I thought, hey, I know alot more about this game now... I should try rolling another character! I like healing, I've heard Priests are the best healers in the game. And I've already done this HORDE thing, so maybe I should give the Alliance a try. And maybe a new server!
Suddenly the grass over on Wyrmrest Accord (at that time a brand new server), was looking pretty green.
The next thing I knew, I had a max level Priest. Then a max level Death Knight. Then a max level Warrior.
I was doing heroic dungeons and raiding on ALL FOUR characters. I was a serious WoW player, now. I was a fountain of information, opening my kind hands to the noobs around me at every opportunity, explaining boss tactics, best paths through heroics, ways to find achievements, gear, quests, etc... And all with a :)
One of my fondest memories was main tanking for a guild of French Canadians who spoke very little English as they progressed through Naxxramas (still one of my favorite raids). I remember very fondly trying to explain Grobbulus in French (let it be noted I took one (1) year of High School French).
Fast forward about three years...
I moved to Europe in 2010, and being unable to raid with US guilds due to server time differences, I started a WoW-EU account. Without getting into the gory details, I'll just say that by the end of Cataclysm I had no less than nine Level 85 characters, and a smattering of 30s and 40s, etc. I had played all but two classes at endgame (whether 80 or 85), Rogue and Hunter. I had every profession covered.
The unfortunate side-effect of this Altaholism, is I had a hard time saying which character was my 'favorite' my "MAIN." That wouldn't bother some people, but to me, it felt like I should have at least one character who got my full love and devotion. The one with the best gear, the best experience, the most achievements, etc. My breadwinner, my prize. The custom sculpture on my mantle (I still don't have one of those, but I think I'm going to get one...).
With MoP, I've made a decision to finally make the character I've been dreaming about since I first thought of rolling a new toon. I've devoted my time, energy, and money to developing ONE character throughout this expansion. Let's see if I'm successful. /crosses fingers
There are many like me, out there. My co-GM is an altaholic, too... though she's always known who her MAIN is (and I always envied that). What about you, fellow Citizens of Azeroth? Are you altaholics? Are you devoted hopelessly to your MAIN; still in love with the same character?