Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A short note: impact of alts

I'm in the midst of finalizing a longer post but there's one point that I want to make as a separate short post. It's kind of important to a series of posts I find I'm in the middle of whether I intended to be or not. But I'd like to have this particular point as a separate post so that if people want to argue it with me in comments, they won't get distracted by the bigger points I want to make over the next week or so.

Ready? Here goes: the more alts you have, the more impact you have on the game.

"Impact on the game" of course easily applies to main accounts and the actual number of separate EVE players (whatever that is). A fleet of ten ships has more impact than a fleet of five, both while they are in space and while they are being built and fitted out. Bigger corps and bigger alliances have more of an impact on the game than smaller ones because they mine more belts, buy more mods, buy more ships, buy more implants, et cetera. I'm stating the obvious: more players = more impact.

But the more I think about it, the more I realized this premise applies to alts as well: alts need ships and implants and mods and skill books. They fly around in space and can be shot at (and often are). Therefore, logically, they're having an impact on the game and on the economy... which is of course the same thing.

To net it out, one main and one alt have more impact on EVE -- even if it's the same actual person playing both characters! -- than if the same person plays one main the same number of hours. Therefore -- logically -- one main and several alts have more of an impact on the game than if the same person plays one main the same number of hours, or one main and one alt the same number of hours.

And if the main and the alts are flown concurrently, that impact is multiplied and magnified. It increases the risk to the player, increases the logged-in player count, and increases the potential impact more than the "sum of the parts". To use the simplest example a larger logged-in mining fleet -- even made up of alts -- will have more of an impact on the belts because the larger fleet can have fleet boosts and a dedicated hauler if needed.

So, overall probably not a really insightful point but one I wanted to make separately so that those who want to argue it can do so. You'll have a tough time convincing me otherwise, though...

Anyway, back to the main event.


  1. Just keep in mind that's not totally clear-cut, black and white. An industrial horde (we've all seen them - fifteen guys named MyMinerAlt #) are going to have 15 times the impact of a single miner. I spread my resources around/between/through my alts on a pretty regular basis, mostly in the form of ISK or modules that can be used in a number of different ways (deadspace armor reps are good for missioning, just as they are for exploration - different skillsets, same item).

  2. Unfortunately, your entire premise of numbers = impact is flawed. The Mitani has much more of an impact than a multi-boxer with 15 accounts (as an easily understood example).

  3. impact? you mean pvp. i think you just invalidated your own argument there. it's an online game where a single player has a [pvp] impact on others, even if they're hardcore carebear - and you know this Jester.

  4. the more alts you have, the more impact you have on the game.

    It's true, but it is subject to drastically diminishing returns.

    (Parenthetically, I dislike your choice of the word "impact", which is a modern weasel-word. Do you mean "effect"? Or do you mean "power"? There are subtle differences. I infer the former.)

    Your effect in EVE is a function of at least three things: how much you play, how many accounts you do play concurrently, and the well-suitedness of the particular account(s) you play to the task you are doing.

    How much you play will basically give a linear increase in effect. But of course this is not affected by alts.

    How many accounts you play concurrently also gives a more or less linear increase in effect, but only up to a point. I cannot play more than one character in PVP effectively; I can do several in PVE; I suppose one can multibox quite a few effectively when mining. The effect one has fairly rapidly tails off as you add concurrently-played accounts, because you are still one person and your attention and ability to multiprocess is not affected by your number of alts.

    Because characters are different, just by having more of them you can raise your effect somewhat. I have my PVP character (also PVE), a PVE character, but then also PI alts, market traders, a suicide ganker, etc. Another example: Gevlon uses alt traders in each hub; each has scummed up standings with the particular hub's NPC corporate owner. So he pays marginally smaller trading fees than my one trader does and can run with slightly thinner margins. He also does not have to commute around highsec to set prices, as I do. More characters, more effect. But again, the effect you get tails off considerably with the number of alts. Adding more and more alts gives increasing little effect, because the distinct roles they can fill are taken. Gevlon has, I think, four specific market alts, and not more. He could theoretically run 100 of them, getting the ability to have excellent margins in even the least important NPC corp. But obviously this is a very marginal increase in effect, since one rarely sells anything outside of the major hubs.

  5. I have three alts because I can succeed with three accounts at things I can't even try with one.

    I used to fly orcas in lowsec: try doing that without a scout. Watching two gates at once? Best of luck doing that solo. Running L4s in a low-skilled drake and don't fancy dying of boredom? Try two drakes for double the DPS... then drop some tank off them because things die sooner and dead ships deal no damage, and you end up with 2.5 times the DPS and run missions so much faster for it.

    Need four combat ships and two logi to clear a Sleeper site, and only have three players online? Well, let's see...

  6. What is KSB ?? I dont understand

  7. Spot on. And one of the big reasons I'm losing interest after 4 years. I refuse to pay for more than 1 account in order to be "more effective" in the game. What you've basically got is RL elitists with multiple PCs and monitors running several accounts/characters simultaneously who multibox and play at a level no single-account player can hope to match. It's probably not feasible to do, and CCP probably wouldn't do it anyway because of money, but limiting people to a single account online at a time would make EVE more enjoyable for a lot of people.

    Since I won't shell out for more equipment and accounts, I am limited by how effective I can be in the game. Once that ceiling is hit investing more and more hours in EVE to accomplish anything 'significant' (for whatever definition of 'significant' one wishes to employ) becomes a futile exercise and gets into diminishing returns as far as how much fun you can have goes.

  8. I've considered alts on the same account, but the cost was just too high in terms of skill training loss (mitigated somewhat now with mct - which I would consider, but have better things to spend my RL $ ) and time. I have a life outside Eve and it's hard enough to find time to log on, meta-game / CEO and actually fly a ship around for an hour or two. Splitting my time is not a force multiplier - it is a divider, making me less effective with each too instead of more with one.

    As for multi-boxing? What a hassle. I can see a lot of live footy/soccer for the price of another computer..if Eve is your only thing, sure. But there is a lot of life to live out there and only so much time in the day.


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