Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Friday, September 10, 2010

No, That's the Royal "We"

I don't multibox. It's not a rational decision, by any stretch. I think it's kind of a purist streak, on my part. That, and it's an expression of my copper-pinching tendencies. (Did you hear that nickel squealing just now? That was me.)

In many of the games I play, it's no big deal that I don't do it, it isn't all that common. I've played with some very good multiboxers, too, who can multibox heal their way through an instance, though not one that's brand new in a new expansion. To each his or her own.

However, in EVE it's something of a requirement. I believe I saw a recruitment ad for Pandemic Legion that said flat-out that it was a requirement for anyone hoping to join them. Everyone and their clone has multiple alts, to drop cynos, to tank the belt for them, to do hauling, or salvaging, or maybe one for industry and one for pvp. Or more. Four accounts isn't that unusual, I know of at least 3 people in our corp who do this, there might be more.

Now I run multiple toons on one account in many games. And I will cross-twink them, and use them for different, synergistic activities. To some extent. At some point I will probably start an alt in EVE and park it in Empire, train it up just enough that it can place buy and sell orders, and be my market alt. That means shutting down Mr. Fabulous Redhead's training for a while, but the training urgency is getting less. And it would probably only take a couple of weeks to get the training I would like to have.

So, is it the cost issue? I could afford to pay for a second account, I just don't want to. I could also buy PLEX, and play for "free". My (somewhat pessimistic) estimate of my ISK-earning power is that it's 10-15M ISK per hour, so that would be 20-30 hours per month of earning, just to get the right to do it again next month.

It's not out of the question. That would take about one week per month, at the rate that I play. And maybe with an alt, I could make ISK faster.

But here's the thing. I think this isn't the right way to win EVE. EVE is a gigantic military/economic sim. Economic principles apply to EVE more than any MMO I've ever played. And the fundamental observation of economics, going back to Adam Smith, is that when we trade, we both get richer.

It seems that everyone in EVE strives for independence and vertical monopolies. The game is full of "do-it-yourselfers". And to be fair, there's an intrinsic appeal to this. Skyforger is working on building a station, made entirely out of components that we gathered and manufactured ourselves. It would be done much faster and cheaper if we just focused on making as much money as we could and bought the stuff. But it's cool to do things this way, so that's what we do.

But it's highly inefficient, economically speaking. Everyone who has an alt says it doesn't double their income, the gain is somewhere less than 2x. That's because it's still only one brain at work, and attention and time online has limits.

But the marketplace can tell you what other people are efficient at, and what you are efficient at. And if you want to do something that you aren't efficient at, you can figure out how to get more efficient.

The point being that the path I want to take through the game is one where I interact with others, a path that engages collaboration rather than isolation. This is space where group mining ops take place, and gang roams, too. So I'm not the only one who likes this aspect of the game.

I like doing this in the fantasy-based MMO's too. Long ago, Phritz's ranger, Cranston, and I would try to figure out ways to kill stuff in Everquest using just our skills. With Toldain, I would fear kite, and he would dps. And with Aquino, my monk, we ended up aggro kiting, using FD to wipe aggro. It was fun learning to do this, and fun learning how to leverage our skills. And when Toldain would duo with Lobilya's druid, Pakse, the fear kiting would take a slightly different form.

So, the most successful achievers I've run across in MMO's usually do multibox. And they will find something that works, and run it and run it and run it, night after night, whether it's ratting or mission running in EVE, or running instances in Everquest. I don't think I can do that, my attention span isn't quite up to it.

But I do want to play the game with other people. It's an MMO for Marr's sake!



Blogger Magson said...

I do have an alt, but it's on the same account. I'm pushing 50 millions skill points anymore, so as you say, the training pressure is less. As a result, it really didn't bother me to take a couple of weeks to train up the PI alt. And I do have a (woefully underused) trading toon parked in Jita 4-4 as well. I could multibox, but decided a long time ago that I don't want to do that. I really don't mind not having a vertical monopoly.

Now I just need to log in more at times other than the nightly PI session so that I can start making some money myself ;-)

10:23 AM  
Blogger Toldain said...

@Magson I know the gig with the baby is rough, I've sung that tune before.

I'd love to see you on, though, should you be able to manage it.

10:03 AM  

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