I love Elder Scrolls. That’s just a fact. Like many of you, I have sunk 550+ hours each into Skyrim and Oblivion. I have played many races and many playstyles. But, there is one thing I absolutely flat out refuse to do – create Alts.
Alts, or ‘alternate characters’, are simply that. Many times, players will have a primary character that they use. In addition to that, they may have 2 or 3 alts which they use to explore different play options. For instance, your primary character may be a sneaky Bosmer thief-sassin, but you might create an alt which is a heavy armor, two-handed Nord. To explore the pros and cons of each, I’ll be dividing this article accordingly.
Why Alts Can Be Good
If used correctly, alts can prove to be very useful and helpful. For instance, say I am playing as a Bosmer archer (primary character) and I’m on a certain quest in which I’m required to clear out a dungeon. Well, unfortunately for me, my Bosmer is too low-leveled for this dungeon so if I enter it prematurely, I will get totally pwned. However, my alt character, jacked two-handed Nord chick, is more than capable. Therefore, I enter the dungeon with said Nord and come out victorious.
Alts can also be a great tool if you just want to explore different areas of the map due to guilds. Again, let’s use our Bosmer archer and two-handed Nord to explore this use-case. My Bosmer may be focusing primarily on the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood. Because of this choice, she’s not going to do too much (at least not initially) with the College of Winterhold nor the Companions of Whiterun. However, my two-handed Nord could be spec’d for heavy armor and the like – perfect for helping out the Companions. What this allows me, the player, is the freedom to partake in different quests at (relatively) the same time.
Finally, let’s look at a use-case dealing with player choice. If, like my buddy Evarwyn, you want to take the ‘good guy’ route, you may want to use your two-handed Nord paladin chick to do just that. This means that you’ll always take the moral stance on quest objectives and generally be a good dude. You may even bury a dead Nord girl you find next to a troll cave just because you feel that bad for her (just saying).
However, with your archer Bosmer, you choose to take the ‘bad guy’ route. With this play-style, you’d probably pillage, plunder, kill innocent NPCs, and generally cause chaos and mayhem. In this use-case, you may even do the exact same quest with both characters, but make different decisions as the quest progresses.
The benefit of this is that you see how your decisions panned out. For example, do I kill Astrid, thus starting the quest to eliminate the Dark Brotherhood? Or do I accept her offer and mercilessly slaughter all who stand in my way? Same quest, different choices, different outcomes.
Why I Don’t Use Alts
I will start off by saying I have played different characters (except Argonians), explored different play-styles (mage, warrior, stealth, etc) and explored (nearly) to my heart’s content. Thus, I think I can safely say that in both Oblivion and Skyrim, I’ve explored and done pretty much everything. Phillip G.
You guys with me so far? Good. You guys know me by now. You understand my play-style. You might already have a pretty good idea of why I play like I do.
The reason I never roll two characters at the same time is simple: I want to take my time doing everything with one character before moving onto another. This allows me a couple different things:
- The opportunity to fully explore everything in one go, and not piece-mailing bits and pieces from various characters.
- Uninterrupted journey through my character’s story-arc, allowing me to take my time and make choices that really matter.
- Finally, complete and total immersion in the game by allowing me to be 100% vested in one character at a time.
So you see? I have my reasons. It’s all chill. Alts aren’t for everyone. I’m not saying they’re bad, but I’m not saying they’re good either. Alts have their uses, plain and simple.
So, time for you guys to chime in. Do you guys use alts? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below.
Shadow hide you.