CZ Minutes: Alternative Means

Last week we discussed how we each name our alts in this fantabulous internet spaceships game named as Eve Online. One of the things that came up in that discussion was the ever-increasing need for many players to own multiple accounts to achieve what they need to in New Eden. Which brings us nicely onto this week… Xander: It’s widely considered a reality of Eve Online that to be able to achieve anything you need multiple accounts. Supers needs cynos, industrialists need haulers and PvPers need links. Is this a masterclass of working your membership from CCP or a fundamental fault in the nature of Eve? Can you play Eve with just one account properly? How many accounts do you have, how are they paid and why do you need that number? Niden: I only have one account. The main reason for that is that I simply haven’t had the time to develop a real need for a second, and don’t really have time to maintain it (i.e. pay for it). My in-client time is limited, so when I’m on I want to be doing PvP and having fun as much as possible. I’m also way too lazy and lack discipline. If I had spent 3-4 hours in client on average daily that would probably be different. My most immediate use would be for boosting in that case, but I hate OGB with a passion and hope it gets removed sooner rather than later. I believe that multiboxing in any area, but especially PvP, represents a failure. I have no issues with multiple accounts though, it allows flavor and variation. Joran: To play Eve at a high level (and I know that statement is a misnomer) you absolutely need multiple accounts. In fact, as the game ages I think multiple accounts will only become more useful, not less, because it allows the new pilot to catch up to the old in terms of overall capability much quicker. CCP is fully aware of this situation, and if the plan has not been there from day one, it certainly came into focus very quickly. With the combination of the PLEX mechanic it really is endless. I don’t think it’s a particularly negative thing. You can be a nullsec grunt with one account; you can be a highsec miner and part of a manufacturing corp with one account; you can even be a solo pvper with one account. There are areas where you can play with a solo account and do well. Xander: I would strongly disagree Joran. I think it depends what you consider ‘high level’. I’m on CSM and I am the Head Diplo of a CFC alliance on one account. Now to be fair, that number is likely to go up very soon as I am starting to get into Capitals / Supers territory now in Eve so I will need more but to suggest you can’t be an important, high-level player in Eve with one account is something I can’t ascribe to. Joran: That’s not what I was suggesting at all. This is probably where my use of high level should be changed, because it just leaves too much room for interpretation. Important isn’t the same as playing the game, there’s plenty of people who barely play the game, and I would suggest that you are one, Xander. You were a nullsec grunt who didn’t log in often, and now you’re a diplo and CSM that plays Eve through Skype. If someone puts any amount of appreciable time into the client, they will have a second account, if not more, simply because of how exponentially easier the game gets as you increase accounts. kT9qs Xander: ‘plays Eve through Skype’ Rather inaccurate but sure, most of my Eve ‘playing’ isn’t undocked in a ship these days. And none of what I would consider my ‘meaningful’ interaction with New Eden, B-Rs and such aside, happens in a spaceship. With the greatest of respect, I can probably achieve more in Eve right now on a meta-level than most FW pilots could with three or four accounts. That’s before we go meta-meta-level (yeah, I know) with this here website. Niden: The distinction between playing the Game game or the meta game has to be drawn in that discussion. Alts have little bearing on the meta game, barring espionage and such. Joran: Which was my point entirely, and why I balked at Xander’s use of himself as an example. The metagame is quite different than playing Eve, and you barely need one account to play the metagame well, let alone multiple accounts. I don’t think that takes away from any accomplishments someone like Xander has, he’s doing things in Eve only a handful of people will ever get to experience, however, that only reinforces my point further. The metagame is a niche, and things like owning a startup website, even more so. Tarek: Indeed spying is one field where you can not live without alts. Either you use one to infiltrate someone else, or you spy with your main and use alts as your “fixers” who are in contact with the people who pay you. Supercaps and Titans also practically force you to have an alt except if you trust someone else to fly that ship (yeah right) or you want to do nothing else in EVE but log in for a ping when supercaps get dropped (Yes, I mean you PL). As for everything else, alts are mainly timesavers for people who do not always have multiple friends around. Scouting a route, doing industry or PI, moving ships, modules or materials, all those activities take time you could otherwise spend in a fleet or developing other skills. An alt helps to save training time and effort. The way I play now, I could work fine with only one character. I do have another one for convenience, though, and sometimes it’s damn convenient to have that second account. I do think CCP like it that people feel like they need more than one account for certain things. I also think it is slightly dangerous. Particularly older players in larger alliances will have many alts. Those are the players who are second most likely to leave right after the disillusioned newbies. One such player quitting could mean the loss of up to a dozen accounts (yes some people are that crazy) Mangala: I used to be that crazy. 9 active accounts at my peak, that was if memory serves within my first 3.5 years or so.  I ran a ton of research and development alts whoring RP for datacores, working my POS etc, I had cyno alts for when my corp at the time lived in null, booster alts for group pve sessions – this was before I pvp’d – and as an indy guy I had market alts, hauler alts and a ton of mining alts. Over the years though I have pared down dramatically, I just do not undertake the majority of the activities I needed alts for. And as I moved into the position I think I hold within EVE, people are willing to do those things FOR me, usually at no cost to myself. So it makes sense to pare down to just a single market alt, a hauler or two and of course being in RvB a director alt in the opposite corp. Hell, I am looking at my haulage characters and contemplating removing them due to the public services out there, and the aforementioned people willing to “help a bro out”. Fun thing is, while I have sold many characters, I have still retained at least the oldest one on each account. And from time to time will resub them (thanks to hours for plex!) and tool around on them while trying to remember why I am keeping them. Many of them are fair to middling combat skilled pilots, so could fetch good amounts on the market if only I could face dealing with the character market once again.
Tags: accounts, alts, cz minutes

About the author

Xander Phoena

The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.