I think most of us have been in this position.Â Few gamers that I know play only one game and only one character.Â I suffer from two main forms of Itis:
This is also referred to as: altism, altoholic, altoholism.Â It's having the urge, nay, the need to roll another character in a game.Â It doesn't matter how much you love your main or countless other alts, you just want to explore another.
Those who are familiar with this particular affliction may affectionately refer to themselves as being polygamerous.Â It's the desire and/or urge to explore multiple game worlds. This can manifest across gaming platforms and genres.Â For one reason or another, you want to play with 'em all!
What Causes Them?
From my experiences, I have narrowed it down to three causes:
1 – Fun/interesting character creation screens
I'm guilty of spending way too much time with great character creation screens. If there are a lot of options offered and high customizablility, I will spend hours using it.Â In fact, I will use it so much it is a detriment to my actual playing time.Â Yes, I have spent more time creating characters than actually playing them.Â I've even spent time creating characters for a look and name I like with absolutely no intention of ever playing those characters.
2 – Marketing
Lots of money and promotion goes into marketing games.Â Sometimes the ads are misleading or even offensive.Â But they catch our attention. They make us curious about what the game world has to offer.Â Sales promotions are quite helpful as well, Steam does a great job with this… “Oh, I've got to try this now that it's only ten bucks!”Â And let's not forget other shiny incentives…special items, bonuses, etc for pre-orders!
Marketing doesn't apply just to gameitis, y'know.Â It applies to altitis as well.Â I mean, I'm sure you've heard of World of Warcraft's “Recruit-A-Friend” and bind on account items, yes?Â Now, “Recruit-A-Friend” is also a point for #3 of my causes, but it also entices you, the veteran, to roll an alt for the sweet experience bonus, so it applies to marketing as well.
3 – Friends
Despite the stereotypes of basement dwelling gamers, we are a social sort; even if our social butterfly selves come across better online than in person.Â We like to play games with others (hello MMOs!) and we like to talk about games with others (hello blogs, forums, podcasts!)Â If our friends are playing something we are not, we're more likely to try it.
Take Aion, for instance, I got interested in it due to friends that were playing the closed beta.Â This heavily influenced my decision to pre-order it for the open beta and headstart days.Â They also have started a referral program now.Â Taking a step in a different direction… look at iPhone and Facebook games.Â Those are all focused on getting your friends to play with you.Â And what is easier: to start a new FB game that no friends are playing and try to recruit all of them, or to join up a game a bunch of them are already playing?
What about alts? Besides my own deep-seeded need to roll a new character at odd time intervals, friends have been a cause of this too.
Find out some friends play on a different server? Roll an alt.
Hooked someone up with “Recruit-A-Friend?” Roll an alt.
Meet a bunch of awesome people and decide to create a special guild? Roll an alt.
Your dad favors the opposite faction than you, but you still love him with all your heart? Roll an alt.
What about you? Do you suffer from either of these itises? Have you been led astray from your main (character and/or game) due to reasons other than the three I listed here?
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