Before I get into the thick of this post, I just wanted to throw a quick reminder that Rift is having their half-birthday celebration, starting today and going through August 31st. That means for this week, you can play for free if you previously had an account, or if you’re just wanting to take a look you can of course set up a trial account, or you can even purchase for just $4.99 this week, as opposed to the standard $50 retail for the game. That’s a huge savings if you’re at all considering playing.

Anyhow, like the title says, I love me some alts. I’ve always been a chronic altoholic, even since I started playing WoW. I sort of blame this one on Dynasty Warriors, and a bit of a completionist attitude toward the game, and making sure I’ve completed the story on all the characters, and unlocked as much as possible. It’s mostly because I want to understand the different classes as much as possible. It’s also partly because I like to be self-sufficient and have all the professions available to me. At the moment, I’ve got two max level characters, and all but two professions at max level, too.

One of the big discouragements toward alts, at least in this game, is that things probably get somewhat stale, especially if you do all of it on the same faction. No matter your race, your starting area (Guardian- or Defiant-specific) will be the same. Short of a choice few race-specific quests, there’s very little difference in your leveling experience. Granted, it’s easier to make sure an alt is geared up if you have a 50 already, and with certain bind-on-account items (such as the source machine from the Hammerknell event, or lesser planar essences) garnered from world events, it’s a touch smoother than it would be otherwise. But, for some reason, I have zero issue with this. Hell, I leveled ten characters to 80 in Wrath, and six to 85 in Cataclysm (with one at 84, one at 83, and several between 60 and 80). Once you get out of your race-specific zones, everything’s the same, even in WoW.

This is both a bane and a boon with Rift. On the one hand, you’ve seen it all, if you’re leveling an alt on the same faction. On the other, you know what to expect, which zones you can skip, and what you’ll be doing when you do get to level cap. I actually tend to be a person that likes to have my characters raid-ready shortly after I have them at max level, whether I actually end up raiding with them or not. (In the case of my mage, I actually ended up clearing Drowned Halls last night, despite having hit 50 on that character three days ago.) An extra fringe benefit to all of this is that I can learn extra souls that I don’t have room for on my main, or certain alts, to swap around at will, by virtue of how often I do raids and dungeons.

So, currently, I’ve managed to hit level cap on a cleric and a mage, and working on a rogue, while I also have another mage, another cleric and a warrior (taking up my six character slots on Shatterbone) that I can toy around with and figure things out and learn with. Even if one does not intend to seriously play their alts, I always have been an advocate of learning other classes and what they do, and how they interact with yours, be it interacting well or otherwise. Moreover, by rolling alts, this means that you can help yourself identify things such as DPS rotations or self-buffs so you’re not gimping yourself when someone else already passively applies a buff or debuff (as an example, Vengeance of the Piercing Cold for Shaman becomes useless when an Archon is providing Pillaging Stone).

So let me ask you this: Do you roll alts? If so, why? Just to get the experience? To have the extra professions? Just like leveling characters? Something else entirely?