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Army of Alts: Time Management

March 8, 2009

Every once and a while on AAM, I try to write a post about the challenges and benefits of having multiple characters. This could be anything from what it’s like having a small corporation worth of professions to how-tos like transferring items and money quickly between accounts. This week, I’m discussing the most important skill of maintaining an Army of Alts: time management.clock_screen012

Having multiple characters can be quite a challenge. Everything in WoW demands time and lots of it. Reputation grinds require instance runs and dailies, professions require farming and crafting time, it takes time and practice to learn your character’s abilities and how to play them well, and it takes time to run instances and raids.

If you feel daring, type the command /played in your chat window the next time you log on your main character. It will tell you exactly how much time you’ve spent playing that particular toon. My main character from Burning Crusade has 140 days played. I don’t even want to think of how much time that is! If you look at her profile on the Armory, you can see the payoffs for spending so much time on her, particularly in Burning Crusade terms. Raid achievements, reputations, professions, even weapon skills all reveal that at one time, I invested a lot of effort in perfecting my shaman.

It takes a lot to be a friend of the frost giants.

It takes a lot to be a friend of the frost giants.

In WotLK, I’m playing several characters regularly. There are good sides and bad sides to having multiple mains. It is very convenient to have multiple professions and sources of income. Versatility is nice; I’m always available for friends, whether they need a tank, healer, or dps. The same things that make an army of characters handy can also make it difficult, though. It’s expensive to level professions, to get multiple characters epic flying or dual-spec capabilities. Reputation grinds like Sons of Hodir can be painful when you have several characters. And sometimes, just because you can fulfill every role for your friends doesn’t mean that you will be asked to do so.

Setting goals is one of the best ways to navigate the pitfalls of having multiple characters. It makes prioritizing your time more efficient because you know what needs to be done on your various characters. As you level, decide what role you want them to fulfill (i.e. farming alt, tank, extra healer, dps for guild raids, role-playing character, arena pvp, etc.) and decide what they need to be successful. Maybe certain professions are important or certain reputation factions. Those should be your primary goals. Once you have those goals accomplished, then you focus on secondary goals or even move on to another character. Always set goals!

Goals make prioritizing your time easier, but there’s one more important thing to remember. Learn to say no! If you are trying to earn money for epic flying and someone wants you to hop on one of your healers for some heroics, don’t be afraid to say no. When I’m asked to do something but I don’t feel like it, I have a little formula for declining politely: apologize, decline, explain, and

For example, if I’m leveling my mage and someone asks me to tank some heroics, here’s what I’ll say: “Oh, I’m sorry! I’d rather not right now. I’m 3 bars from level 60 and I want to finish tonight. If you still need a tank when I ding, I can switch then.”

I like to think that declining in this fashion doesn’t turn people off of asking me to do stuff (because I really do like to tank and heal heroics), but still lets me finish whatever goal I set for the night. Or maybe I’m just blessed with forgiving friends!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anea permalink
    March 9, 2009 6:05 am

    Ah, goals. I’ll never be on the same level as you and other people that have a veritable army of alts. But you know, this entry is good for more than just alts – it’s good for mains that don’t have goals either! Like mine. Ahem. And the Oracle rep she still hasn’t gotten. *cough*

    • Salanthe permalink*
      March 9, 2009 4:29 pm

      @Anea: Sometimes it’s just not worth having goals. I mean, it is a game after all. πŸ˜‰ I like making little goals while I’m playing, so I make sure I get at least one thing done. Every once and a while, I’ll throw those goals out and just do whatever I feel like.

      Oh, it also helps the guilt-factor. I always feel guilty if I’m not working on something.

      • Rohachi permalink
        March 11, 2009 10:13 am

        I’m going to enjoy identifying those four stages of refusal the next time I bug you to help with something inane. πŸ™‚

        Great blog!

  2. Fahnsu permalink
    April 7, 2009 2:10 pm


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