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Commonly witnessed in the online gaming community, symptoms of alt-itis usually include the creation of multiple 'alternate' characters in an online game. Alt-itis (sometimes referred to by sufferers as 'altoholism') occurs more frequently in games that provide large numbers of customization options, tempting a player to create a new character to see what odd combinations of skills, abilities and appearances they can discover.

Often invoked as a method of warding off boredom; in games such as World of Warcraft, where the player-base is divided into factions, players will sometimes create an alt of the opposing faction — that way, if the 'primary' faction isn't seeing much action that day, it's a simple matter to hop over to the other character.

Also used if the game gives supporting items to new characters, or if inventory space is hard to come by.

Some games place artificial limits on the number of characters a player can have at one time, either for game-balance reasons or because the concept of the game requires it.

Similarly used in Tabletop Games with players who get bored and switch characters frequently.

Contrast Complacent Gaming Syndrome, the opposite condition.

Not related to Somethingitis or Bedhead-itis.


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    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000:
    • Both game systems encourage you to buy models that you like the look of, rather than their playstyle. This has resulted in several players simply buying a selection of models and then realizing that none of them can be used in the same army. Due to sunken costs, most players instead make minimally playable armies out of the models he has and purchasing the necessary HQ and troops to fill out the rest.
    • With the advent of 7th Edition and Unbound Armies (basically armies that have no requirements beyond "no two of the same unique character") this is becoming less of an issue.
    • Competitive players often juggle around most of the armies, as the meta always favours the newest one until the next book comes out (with very, very few exceptions. I'm looking at you Tyranids). This is because inevitably the newest army (in order to move products) would have the latest flavour of the month that has an ability so out of context that it will sweep most people in the first few tournaments. Veteran competitive players often own working armies of each of the factions in the setting. The Allies system of 6th Edition practically made this mandatory, as each army was designed with a flaw in mind but could be easily filled by another army. The best example was the Tau, who basically became the town bicycle when it came to ignoring cover and providing range support, and any army half-decent at close combat would be a good pairing for them (as the Tau is only above a grot in terms of melee prowess). Given that 1/4 of the turn is dedicated to melee, almost all armies could be paired with the Tau and worknote , unless they can't be allied to them.
    • Because of the many ways to play some armies (Haemonculus Coven, Wych Cult, Goblin Army, any flavour of Empire Knights or Space Marine Chapter, Death Wing, Tomb King Chariot army, Chaos Cult Armies, Legion armies, etc...) many players will diverge into variants within their own faction. A full goblin army plays very differently from an All-Savage Orc army, and likewise Ravenwing and Deathwing are pretty much the opposites (one is fast and hits hard, while another one can teleport in and hold the line) despite coming from the same book.
    • Apocalypse is actually created for Warhammer 40K both to encourage the sales of rather obscure models (especially Forgeworld Models) as well as to get older players to dig out their full collection to play with. The game is large enough that most drawbacks are insignificant (normally you'd be afraid of your Grey Knights dying in droves, but that doesn't matter when most weapons can make tanks die in droves) and most overpowered stuff rather toned back (Abaddon is horrifyingly powerful in combat, but at the scale of Apocalypse he can't really move fast enough to kill most things). It was the precursor to the various expansions such as Formation Dataslates and Unbound Armies, which would slowly see this attitude bleed in to mainstream 40k.
    • The Space Marine Codexes, after making each one stand alone and coming up with Chapter Tactics, ended up inverting this for many marine players; there is effectively 10 different (in-game) types of Space Marine armies, 11 if you count the Grey Knights (but they're excluded as they often have unique wargear normal space marines don't have) and 12 if you count the Chaos Space Marines. And very rarely do they have consistent rules between them. This meant that most Marine Players, and especially Dark Angel and Blood Angel players, would often paint up all their marines in one chapter's color scheme, but change rulesets and books whenever they wanted to field something different or if their book hasn't been updated in a while (Dark Angels suffered the worst of this in 4th and 6th edition, as their book were not given the new updates other marines got).
  • BattleTech. Oh god, Battletech. Setting aside the Canon unit list, which contains over 6000 units across 15 different unit types(warship, dropship, jumpship, small craft, aerospace fighter, VTOL, Wi GE, tracked vehicle, hover vehicle, wheeled vehicle, Battlemech, protomech, Quadvee, Battle Armor, and infantry), there are build rules for all of them. Taking just mechs, there are two tech bases. Looking at only the Inner Sphere tech base, there are 7 different engine types, 5 different internal structure types, 7 different armor types, 4 different gyro types and 17 different weight choices. That's 16660 different possibilities, and we haven't even gotten to how fast the mech will be or what weapons it will carry. Taking those into account allows for literally billions of unique designs. To give some perspective on just how extensive this trope is spread in the game, the Thunderbolt is a 65 ton mech that's been in the game since the beginning. It has 26 different configurations across the game's eras.
  • Invoked in the Dark Sun setting for Dungeons & Dragons. When the setting debuted in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, one of its selling points was its hyper-lethality, so players were instructed to not only begin play at a higher level than first, but also to create a small "stable" of characters to switch between for different scenarios or to easily replace a slain character.

    Video Games 
  • The first 3D MUD/MMORPG, avatar on the PLATO system, started in 1978. Most players developed several alternate characters, of different races and guilds, often shuffling possessions between active and inactive characters and changing to a "bank" character to give a few million gold to new players to help them get started.
  • This was a common complaint with City of Heroes. note  The superhero game allowed for a mixing-and-matching of primary and secondary powersets among their Archetypes that a player could create a small army of characters on just one AT alone with different powers among them. When the game added its City of Villains expansion with even more Archetypes, that multiplied the number of mixable powersets and playing styles. It is rare to meet a player on Heroes who does not have at least one build of each available Archetype.
  • The company that developed City of Heroes, Cryptic Studios, also developed Champions Online which offers even greater customization options, with the player able to mix-and-match abilities from every power set in the game as well note  as a vast array of options when creating a character's look.
    • A "demo" version exists which consists entirely of character creation (with only two character slots) and the tutorial level.
  • DC Universe Online users tend to suffer from Alt-Itis as well, for largely the same reasons
  • Furcadia is well-known for this among its players, since the game allows ten characters per email address. However, alts expire if left inactive without a paid item on them, because many people claim alts just for the sake of "owning" a cool name or word.
  • Final Fantasy XI has a treatment program of sorts, allowing one to choose new classes with a single character.
    • Another factor is that each additional character costs an extra dollar a month. Still, due to gear and items taking up ungodly amounts of space, most players have alts solely to be mules to store their excess gear and possibly to check different auction houses on demand.
      • They can also dedicate their entire inventory space to crystals and synthesis materials, making crafting mules is a very viable option. It also gives you 7 more Auction House slots to work with, allowing you to move twice (or more) as much product in the same time as a single character, which is very handy when mass-producing consumables like food and potions.
    • Seemingly enforced by the game, as subjobbing will often lead you to leveling classes that you hadn't quite anticipated to in order to play the main class at its full power. Having multiple jobs at max level only compounds this.
      • Though some players with money to spare will create the maximum number of characters allowed per account in order to circumvent the 10-pots-per-character gardening limit, resulting in large amounts of income every 5-6 days with little effort beyond "plant seeds, water after a few days, harvest a few days later." However, a character has to have existed for 3 months before they can receive the maximum gardening yields.
    • A minority of players pay for more than one account, and play both at the same time using third party tools. While the prospect of having a "pocket white mage" to follow you around and obey your every whim has obvious advantages, many players regard the practice as cheating. Square Enix have never adopted an official stance on the issue, which isn't too suprising.
  • Final Fantasy XIV for the most part, has managed to subvert this better than most so far; each individual character can max out all available classes/professions/gathering levels with enough time. Crafting items stack up to 999 per slot and crystals are relegated to their own nigh-unlimited inventory and active time events, here called FATEs, make leveling up without traditional questing actually possible. Consequently, legitimate reasons for having an alt are reduced to (a) playing on multiple data centers without paying the Home World Transfer fee note , (b) having Specialists for different crafting classes note , (c) the need for more inventory space due to the growing amount of items in the gamenote , or (d) playing past the one-week clear limit for Savage raids note .
  • Various Iron Realms MUDs seem to cause this reaction.
    • This is the case with just about any MUD without re-morts.
      • And with many that do have re-morts.
    • A great many MUCKs and MUSHes as well.
    • ThunderDome MUDs were designed for multi-play with the use of client-scripted bots. There's no policy against making as many alts as you like, but logging on more than 3 at a time is one of the ways to attract 'attitude mobs' — NPC's that hunt and loot players. Some of those can be rewarding if you're ready for them, but some of them also cause permanent damage, eat corpses, and require a party of 20 even before equipping some hapless player's best gear.
  • A strain of alt-itis develops in single-player games as well; RPGs like Morrowind or Neverwinter Nights, for instance. Or Avernum or Fallout or Oblivion or...
    • On the official Morrowind/Oblivion forums, this trope strain is usually called Restartitus.
    • Games with plugins or mod packages are particularly prone to this. Install a few nifty new mods, roll a new character so you can experience all the mod content. Then, repeat forever and never finish the main plot.
  • With the near-infinite number of character creation options available, this is unsurprisingly common throughout The Elder Scrolls series. Fans have taken to calling it "Restartitus" on the official forums.
  • R.O.H.A.N. Online, Shaiya, and most other Korean-made MMORPGs.
    • This became a pandemic within Ragnarok Online, which allows 9 characters per server (3 servers for the International variant) by default. This was not enough characters, so you got to seeing players with two, three or more accounts - many of which would be running at the same time, on one computer. Efforts to fix the 'multi-boxing on one comp' problem were quickly shelved when the playerbase nearly rioted.
    • Similarly, multi-logging has become permissible (instead of against the rules, but ignored) in FlyFF. This has led to a situation where one of the most common pieces of advice given to newbies is to make a second account with an FS assist on it, so the assist's buffs can help them level.
  • Retro Mud has a reincarnation system, which allows people to start over with a whole new race and class (there are 1400+ combinations, though not all of them are really viable, and that's not even taking into account secondary groups), as well as several people having alts as well.
  • World of Warcraft
    • WoW caused Penny Arcade to coin the term altoholism. With tweld classes, twenty-three playable races (as of patch 8.3) split across two factions, three customization paths per class, and ten eleven primary professions (of which any character can have two), many players have hit the limit of 18 11 characters per realm (or worse, 50 per account). Some players never get a character to max level, preferring to constantly reroll instead. And then there are the players who own two, three, five, or sometimes even more accounts... and play them at the same time.
    • The inventory system encourages this as well, as it's cheaper to make alts to store excess gear than to invest in the largest bags in the game. Early on in the games history, nearly every serious player had at least one if not more "bank alts"; the addition of guild banks in Wrath of the Lich King merely encouraged players to replace multiple bank alts with a single alt who is in a guild by him/herself. Players who make extensive use of the auction house also frequently use a bank alt for all their bids and auctions.
    • According to Ctrl+Alt+Del and their unique spin on The Divine Comedy, Altoholics are condemned to the third circle of MMO Hell, where they have to create and recreate the same character over and over again, the end point in that character's existence triggering as they hit level 10.
    • The above term has been latched onto by a mod developer; there is now an add-on for WoW entitled Altoholic, designed to make keeping track of your numerous characters easier by allowing the player to easily monitor inventory, quests, achievements, guild memberships, and the like for multiple characters on the same account.
    • As of Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard is now giving achievements for this condition. Having maxed characters on both factions will net the achievement "Double Agent", having five separate characters with different classes at max level gives "Quintessential Quintet" while having maxed all eleven professions via alts will award "Master of All".
    • In 2015, during Warlords of Draenor, WoW podcast The Darkmoon Herald held an "Eleven by Eleven" contest, which was centered around creating one character of each of the then-eleven classes and getting them all to the then-max level of 100 by the end of November.
    • Legion added in even more incentive toward altoholism by giving each class a special single-player campaign, and giving each of the 36 class specializations their own unique artifact weapon. Many players have reported leveling alts or picking existing ones back up for the primary purpose of seeing the class hall campaigns and artifacts on each.
  • One of the things that make Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited so unique is the amazingly deep character customization available to the player. With 24 distinct races, 15 classes, and the ability to take up to three classes per character, there is so much variety from multiclassing, to special enhancement dictated character pathing that some people who have been playing since headstart in March '06 have NEVER managed to level a character to cap.
    • Longstanding issues with storage in the game have also made "mules" a requirement. The game allows for, at present, 39 characters per server. It is not unusual for players to have 20 mules.
  • EverQuest 2 actually changed the game for the sake of people with alt-itis. Initially, choosing your character class was spread over 18 levels. You started as your race (lvl 1 human), then chose your base class (fighter, priest, rogue, wizard) a few levels after that, then a specialization after that (a priest could become a cleric, shaman, or druid), and at level 18, you picked between good and evil, and the good/evil versions of a class had somewhat (and sometimes extremely) different abilities. Anyway, this whole system was thrown out, allowing characters to start as their final class from level 1. The reaction was generally negative, as many players actually liked doing the class choosing quests.
  • Alts are an essential component to EVE Online's vast and foreboding metagame. Trade alts, hauler alts, cap alts, logistics alts, forum alts, scam alts, the list goes on.
    • What's really funny is that the game disposes of most of the traditional alt needs - there's no class system or skill cap, so one character can do everything(eventually), and there's no storage cap, so no mules necessary. And yet, most serious players have at least two paid accounts, with numbers as high as half a dozen not being unheard of. Eve players really are altaholics.
      • Part of the reason for multiple accounts is that, although an EVE account can have three characters, only one can be in-game or training at any one time.
    • A character who gets into a supercapital in EVE can't ever dock that ship and can't use the game's stargates, pretty much necessitating at least one cynoalt for moving the supercap around.
  • This happens a lot with RuneScape. This is odd, since RuneScape doesn't have a class system (I.E. you don't have to be a mage/archer/what-have-you, so if someone says they are then they are a "pure").
    • Back in the days when Player vs Player combat was allowed in the Wilderness, it was common to have "pure" alts, which were characters with levels carefully optimized for PvP combat. PvP matchups were determined based on "Combat Level", which is a formula roughly based on total levels in combat related skills. Since not all skills are created equal, a pure character that carefully managed which skills they leveled in and how much would vastly outfight any normal character of the same combat level.
    • This happened a lot more in the earliest days of the game, when you could only carry thirty items at a time and banks didn't store items. "Mules" for item storage purposes were generally accepted even with rules prohibiting item transfer between two characters owned by the same person.
  • Laughed at in Ding! webcomic.
  • This is quite prevalent in Aion. Players often need the additional storage to stash all their equipment. Also, there's a quest at level 30 which gives you one piece of an awesome six-piece set. To get the other five? Get five more characters to 30, and put them in your account-shared bank!
  • The Sims invites this, what with the detailed character and house design and its aimless open-endedness. How many times have you spent hours figuring out whether your character would wear his hair differently with a tuxedo than with jeans and which trash can he'd have in his kitchen, only to become irredeemably bored with him as soon as he's got a job and some friends and keeps asking for a nicer TV or a trip to the bookstore?
    • This is actually the entire point of the game for some people- there are many people that do not play the "game" portion at all, and do literally nothing but design items, clothing, hair colorations, houses, etc. The Exchange, the online hub that allows players to upload their creations and downloads those of others, is practically built on this concept.
  • Many MMOs, such as Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft, and now Aion, have a variation on this: the crafting system in these games only allows for mastery of one or two professions. If you wish to be self-sufficient (particularly in games where professions require materials from other professions), you're going to find yourself making crafting alts. Unfortunately, given the money/material requirements for crafting, combined with the need in some games to be a certain level before you can reach the next tier of crafting, often these alts get abandoned when the player rebels against these requirements.
    • Aion don't restrict mastery, but with so many crafting professions requiring so much money, it's generally recommended to focus on one discipline. Final Fantasy XI touches a median of sorts, as a player can level all craft skills to a certain point but only one to its max level.
  • Multis are fairly common in Kingdom of Loathing. The fact that the game is free and there is no limit to the number of characters you can play means that many players have at least 3 multis. This is a little odd, given the prominent Anti Poop-Socking of having a limited number of "adventures" per day.
    • Alt abuse is a problem the KoL devs have been trying to combat. Early in the game's life, it was easy to create an alt and run it through the early quests in order to shuttle the valuable quest rewards to a primary account, then abandon the alt and repeat. In recent days, there are specific rules against players trying to abuse the clan raid dungeons with their own alts.
  • A staple of BioWare RPGs:
    • Since the vast bulk of Dragon Age: Origins is the same in every runthrough of the game (barring party interactions between your active party) it's common for people to replay the origin stories repeatedly.
      • Plenty of people also play the rest of the game repeatedly, with different dialogue options, active parties, character builds, romances, quest resolutions, and endings. The same goes for Dragon Age II.
    • Many players of Mass Effect suffer from this, with 6 different classes, multiple love interests (3 in the first game, 8 /9, including hidden character Morinth in the sequel), multiple endings (Well, technically multiple ways your party members can die), multiple ways actions in one game can affect events in the next game and a Karma Meter.
      • Mass Effect 3 actively encourages Alt-itis in the multiplayer game's scoring system. Many of the challenges depend on playing lots of different character types (as well as maps, weapon loadouts, etc.)
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic shows that it grew out of a series of traditional RPGs as it seems to be designed for people with this affliction, from giving each class unique fully voice acted story, unique companions and ships for each class, and a legacy system that for maximum effect requires and entices people to keep a full stable of alts to unlock all it's advantages. The quest to obtain HK-51 as a companion requires creating an alt of the opposite faction and going to the ending portion of the faction's capital planet (so you have to play them up until level 15-20 at least). Special events like the Gree visit and the Bounty Contract weeks have quests that are locked to one faction or the other, so you have to play at least one Imperial and one Republic character to get full benefit. The most intelligent exploit BioWare put in for it is by having so many of the stories and characters overlap with one another; getting the full story almost requires playing through all eight storylines.
  • Many Forum-Based, or Livejournal-style based RPG games can lead to Alt-tis if the game allows for multiple characters. The average is said to be five, some have managed to get up to fifteen semi-active characters in games without a character-per-player cap.
  • A form of alt-itis can even occur in non-MMO games... witness players of Wrestling Games, who often build up huge rosters of Create-A-Wrestlers.
  • Altaholism is rampant in Guild Wars, where due to the large number of free character slots (8, if all the campaigns are purchased) and low level cap (20, easily attainable within or shortly after the starter area) many players have multiple characters. Having a character of each class is the norm, and many players reserve a slot to create "disposable" PvP-only characters of whatever class they're needed as by their team. Players with multiple accounts are fairly frequent, and spare accounts being used solely as "mules" are not unheard of.
    • Note the nasty feature that, no matter how many extra campaigns you bought, there's always 2 less slots available than character classes, since they introduced 2 new classes whenever they gave 2 new slots. New slots may be purchased from their website. Hey, they don't ask for a monthly subscription, they need to keep the cash flowing somehow.)
    • The new (October 2010) update to the game which provides a web-based "calculator" that shows the tangible and intangible (i.e., titles) rewards that a player can expect to get from his or her account-based Hall of Monuments might put a slight crimp in this, as it graphically demonstrates that a player need only obtain a particular item - whether suit of elite armor, weapon, title statue, or miniature pet - once per account, not per character, and put it in the Hall of Monuments to obtain the reward for that item.
    • The sequel might very well be an even stronger drug than the original. In addition to the eight character classes, there will be 5 races to choose from. Each race gives a different set of optional skills, much like the secondary professions in the original game. The difference is that secondary professions could be changed at will. In the sequel, you may have to make a second character with the same class if you want different skills. Let's hope the developers make good on their promise, and their dynamic event system really will provide you a different experience every time you play through it (which is of course another incentive to play through the story several times).
    • Chain-creating alts is a well-known strategy in the sequel Guild Wars 2 where Black Lion chest keys are rare to get by using game resources if one is unwilling to purchase them with real money within the in-game Black Lion store. All characters automatically gain a Black Lion chest key for reaching level 10, meaning that entire strategies have been designed for reaching this milestone as quickly and efficiently as possible to farm the rare keys, creating and deleting alts as they reach level 10 and outlive their usefulness.
  • Averted in eRepublik by permanent bans to any one found with multiple primary accounts and the way you're allowed to make as many stripped down secondary accounts as you want. Doesn't stop some people.
  • Second Life only allows 3 characters per user, but clever people will avoid the extra fees and end up with hundreds of alts!
    • This has varied over the life of SL and is no longer true. At one point people were allowed one free account, and a token charge for further accounts. The official ruling is currently no more than 5 accounts per household. Alts are extremely common and used for privacy, maintaining groups (groups of one are dissolved) or providing a distinction between a different personae (business and roleplaying, for example). They are known to be abused as an anonymous means to grief other residents. There was also a point in SL's history when the in-world currency earned by an annual membership was worth more than the real-world subscription fees.
  • Heavy heavy aversion: the closest Cyber Nations comes to this is letting you just delete your nation and make another. The admins of the game at one point in the long past allowed alts; now even sharing a server with another player can trigger anti-alt sanctions.
  • Pokémon:
    • Once you pick one of the three starters, you're stuck with it; you have to either trade with another person or start a new playthrough if you want to try a different one. If you have an extra copy of a game and want all three starters, you'll have to play through the whole intro section with each of the other two, since it's not possible to trade right away. If you also care about other one-off choices such as fossils, you pretty much have to play through about half the alt-game at least once to get every Pokémon. The online trading functions available in later games such as Pokémon Diamond and Pearl has helped decrease this issue, but it's still present.
    • A wide variety of Self-Imposed Challenge playthroughs (such as releasing any Pokémon that faints, only using Pokémon obtained via online trades, or specializing in a certain type) are popular among players, and anyone who wants to try any of these challenges in addition to a normal run will inevitably have to create an alt to do this.
    • Unfortunately for players who want to have alts, extra cartridges tend to be required since no Pokémon game has ever had multiple save slots, which generally forces players to either erase their old save, or get a new cartridge. Alternatively, players can resort to unofficial options such as emulation, cheating devices or flash carts, which allow for multiple saves. The only main-series games with an official means for doing multiple playthroughs are for the Nintendo Switch, and even that requires having additional user accounts on the console itself, due to the complete lack of additional save slots within the game itself.
  • Animal Crossing tends to have this for players. Towns can have multiple human residents, and due to the sharing nature of the game, any special visitor to your town will have multiple copies of their unique item so everyone can get one. Which gets kind of silly when the carpet seller loses her map 4 times in a row in a day just so everyone can get a rare carpet. Aside from getting more items, alts can also be used for additional item storage and (in Animal Crossing: New Horizons) to have additional characters available for in-game photography. Some players even create alts just because they want their town to have more buildings in it.
  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune plays this straight. Until 3DX+ any given serious player was very likely to have multiple fully tuned cards, which contain one car each. In WMMT4 and up, the game switched to an IC card system similar to Initial D Arcade Stage, with a whopping 100 cars per card capacity to boot. This doesn't stop some players from having multiple cards anyway, usually because they're in multiple teams and/or because they really have that many cars, but it is nowhere as bad as it was. 6 expands the capacity to 200 cars and allows players to use their own "discards" (partially tuned copies of a fully tuned car, which formerly could only be given to other players), increasing the scope of alt-itis even further.
  • Initial D Arcade Stage, meanwhile, downplayed this to a degree; not only is the card (since 4) much more expensive than MT cards (and lasted much longer), it also contains up to three cars. Not that it prevented hardcore IDAS players from owning more than one card.
  • Warhammer Online had grand ideals, but their grasp seemed to exceed their reach at the start. Now, however, it's free to play! Well, "endless free trial." Which means that you can level a character up to 10, one level shy of the talent trees. And you can't leave the starting zone-pairing, except to go into Scenarios. And there's only two servers (down from four) to choose from. End result to keep from getting bored? A lot of characters.
  • Averted in Grand Chase, where 3 base characters/classes (they're essentially the same in the game) are available at the start, and additional ones are unlockable by special quests. Not to mention that profession promotions can be reverted simply by equipping the appropriate weapon. There's even a cash-shop item to change your in-game name, if you don't like it. Virtually no need to have alts at all!
    • Not the case anymore as of Season 5. Now all characters are playable without having to go through quests to unlock them. However, now you only have four character slots and you have to buy more.
    • Elsword, its spiritual successor, plays this straight. There are currently eight different characters and each character has up to 3 different classes that all play differently.
  • Otherspace MUSH has several separate factions, three different settings, two dozen races and a classless system, so players often make alts to try out different kinds of roleplay and gameplay.
  • Acknowledged by Rusty Hearts, which gives you four slots for characters per player character.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Since the introduction of the Mann-conomy to the game, enabling trading of items, many players have purchased multiple copies of the game to exploit the drop system, allowing them to idle on each account until they have their maximum amount of items, then trade them to their main account and make a killing in the trade community. The cap on item drops per week per player (meant to reduce idling), combined with the game's brief sale at $2 a copy and the developers' complete disinterest in stopping multi-abuse, led to an explosion of alt accounts.
    • With the advent of Free To Play, the game also experienced a negative(r) version of this. Hackers previously were few and far between, usually only using the best, undetectable hacks to toy with the game as if you were caught, you either had to play on servers with several other hackers (most likely better than you), fork over 20 bucks for a new account, or wait for it to go on sale again. Now hackers can make free accounts and abuse Valve Servers as they wish, as the VAC system takes an upwards of an hour or so to actually process bannings, which is more than enough time to make another account. And since Steam keeps the base game on your computer while never actually IP banning you (or really have any way of proving you actually own the accounts on your computer) it's literally as simple as making a new steam account.
  • Mabinogi's cash shop appears to have been designed around Alt-itis. Each account has a limit of up to 80 characters, almost limitless customization, new character cards being released frequently, the ability to move items across each character's individual banks, and has the Advanced Play feature given with the VIP service which allows every character on each account to obtain a randomized free daily item. It's not unheard of for some players to have bought enough characters to fill their account's character limit with only a handful of the character slots being used for pets. In addition, there is a free Beginner Service granting access to having a shop open when you are below level 30, and if you have two computers, you can keep a stored up on one computer, and play a main character on the other.
  • Dark Souls can fall into this at times. Although it is possible to max out all skills, given time, choosing to buy more Soul Levels can put you out of the PvP range for most players. As such, some players make specific characters for specific themes: A pure STR based melee, a DEX based ninja, a FAI cleric, an INT caster and hybrids of these. That said, a well-balanced character can switch between giant axes, curved daggers, miracle talismans, sorcery catalysts and pyromancy flames with ease.
    • Not to mention themed characters, PvP characters, PvE characters, characters to join each Covenant...
    • Taking this to a logical conclusion, some players would take advantage on a low level build and curbstomp new players with late game gears.
  • MapleStory has this in a couple ways. First, a single character has a very limited inventory, so creating mules to keep spare items on is very common. Also, due to the sheer number of character classes (28 at last count) many players have more than one character. The game has several character slots per server to support this, and more are available during events or in the Cash Shop.
    • It doesn't help that the game encourages this. Each class has a character card, which provides a bonus to all characters in the world, and they get stronger the higher level the corresponding character is. Up to 3 can be placed in a deck (with bonuses if all the characters are of the same "class type" (3 warriors or 3 hero classes)) and there are three decks, meaning that a minimum of 9 characters need to be created in order to fully exploit the character card system. Also, certain classes have link skills, which are skills that can be shared with another character on the account. A single character may receive up to 12 different link skills and they also get more powerful if the character the skill comes levels up. A veteran player probably has one of most of the new classes all at least at level 70 just to get the link skill on their main character (assuming they don't use one of those characters as a main).
  • Saints Row 2, in particular, allows the ability to replay missions as well as customize looks, voice (with different lines and quotes in gameplay and missions), mod cars and cribs, ect. So you could have one save devoted to a muscle bound Japanese Dark Action Girl who races souped up sports cars, a mammoth bald possibly transgender Spicy Latina who drives a jeep with mounted machine gun, or anything in between.
  • The WWE video game series is the standard bearer of character customization in fighting games. Want to have Buffy fight Faith? Simply create or download the characters. Want last year's John Cena? Make him up. Wish Goldberg or Lita were in the game? Choose from the odd fifty versions of them online.
  • This can happen in Fallen London. While it's usually possible to go back and re-do sidequests (often involving a payment of Fate), some content is Permanently Missable; if you want to do that sidequest you missed, or take a different route (or if you simply don't want to cough up the money) then creating an alt will be your only option. For example: If you don't romance the Starving Artist's Model - or the Starving Artist himself - you won't be able to marry them later on. The storylet in question is part of the very early game and disappears somewhere in the low two-digit range of Persuasive. Similarly, many stories have mutually exclusive Multiple Endings. Finally, you can only follow one Ambition at a time, the cost for switching is really high and if you do, you lose all the cool Ambition-exclusive equipment.
    • Controlling both sides of a Socialization Bonus is also possible, which can be nice for experiencing the full content or bringing a new character up to speed, but using alts for Griefing, exploiting free Fate, or gaining a competitive advantage on another player (like in Knife and Candle) can get you banned.
    • One of the most common reasons to create an alt is for Seeking Mr Eaten's Name. Given that this utterly obliterates your character, players who wish to experience SMEN without destroying their painstakingly created character are advised to create a Seeking alt.
  • Much of the appeal of the Diablo series comes from taking its simplistic gameplay style and sprucing it up through constant character customization. Shifting between characters and character builds are a sure fire way to fall prey to the game's infamously addictive nature.
    • Diablo III actively discourages this. At the maximum level, all characters of the same class have the same stats and abilities. The only thing differentiating two level 70 characters of the same class is their equipment and active abilities. The only incentive to making another character of the same class is for achievements.
  • Facebook games are a common one for this. However, some games have caveats about it. Kabam (Kingdoms of Camelot, Dragons of Atlantis, etc.) allows multiple accounts, but each must be on a different domain, and creating an alternate account and getting caught will get you banned. However, numerous players have several different cities in different worlds on these games.
  • Expressly banned under threat of account deletion in Imperium Nova, on the grounds that it results in a number of abandoned accounts and the game is almost entirely player-created.
  • PlayStation Home is a semi-example, because you can make many avatars, with different outfits, facial features, body types, and hairstyles, but people don't generally make multiple accounts. The exception to this is those who have accounts in different regions. This lets you, for instance, look at the Tokyo Game Show on the Japanese Home, Gamescom on a European Home, and E3 on the American Home. Each region also has region specific hangouts. It's very common for people to have at least 3 PSN accounts, and if they also play Home, they're likely to take advantage of this at least occasionally.
  • With six playable classes, three skill trees each, and no rules on either mandatory skill progression or what constitutes a 'proper' build in the game, Borderlands 2 is a great case for Alt-itis. Since all six classes play extremely differently from each other (the Glass Cannon Cold Sniper, the Guns Akimbo Blood Knight, The Turret Master Jack of All Stats, so on, so on) and no two games will have identical equipment, it's possible to have one of each of the character classes and spend time rotating between each as your mood takes you.
    • Notably, the only real connection between different characters is a system called "Badass Levels", wherein performing actions in the game will raise the level and let you select one of several minor stat upgrades. These are connected to the player rather than the character, so starting new characters after some time of play will lead to those characters being slightly stronger than the first character was at that point in-game.
  • One of the largest appeals in the Soul Series from III onwards is making custom characters,, particularly in V given it was one of the few fully complete parts of the game and most of the original cast had been replaced by knock-offs. Many players make loads of different detailed characters based on ones from fiction and then have them duke it out.
  • Encouraged in Dungeon Fighter Online. There are eleven different base classes, including mechanically different Distaff and Spear Counterparts, and each base class has up to four different subclasses which play completely differently from each other. Together with the two special classes, there are essentially 42 different classes. And given that the game uses a Fatigue Point system, you need to have alts if you want to play after your first character runs out of Fatigue Points. Furthermore, the game gives you benefits for having high level characters, including stat and EXP bonuses for your lower level characters that increases as you gain more high level characters, an Assist Character system where your alts can run in for one attack and the ability to send high level inactive characters to explore for various rewards.
  • Quite common in Phantasy Star Online. There were nine (later upgraded to twelve in the remakes) playable character classes divided along playstyle (with Hunters, Forces, and Rangers roughly ticking the Fighter, Mage, Thief boxes) and species (Humans, Newmans, and Androids). In addition, there were 10 different Section IDs (with an ID assigned based on the character's name) and each ID had different rare item drop patterns, with some items exclusive to one or two IDs. As such, rolling multiple characters was near-universal among veteran players.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 experiences a combination of playing it straight and subversion, as with both the Final Fantasy XIV and City of Heroes examples. One character can literally do everything there is in the game, eliminating the need for alts... but the game's famously diverse character creator entices players to just make more alts, even going past the "four free characters" limit. Not to mention that alts help farm money faster. In addition, if you play the spinoff Phantasy Star Online 2es, you can use those alts to subvert the typical Anti Poop-Socking of mobile games by multiplying your effective stamina limit by the number of alts; the more alts you have, the more playtime you can squeeze out at once.
  • Onigiri actually encourages this, as having multiple characters at certain level milestones unlocks account-bound bonuses, such as extra stats, more money gain, and even special consumables.
  • Wasteland 2 allows the player to create up to four characters to start with. Since the game has many different skills, but too few skill points for one character to be good at everything, it's highly advisable to create a diverse team whose skills complement each other well. Invoking the Five-Man Band is entirely viable.
  • Path of Exile has 7 classes with 19 sub-classes, hundreds of active skills with multiple times that for support gems and unique items, and a mind-bogging skill tree containing over a thousand passive skills, so making new characters is unavoidable. Seasonal leagues also mandate this, since every league starts with a fresh economy and brand new game mechanics and content. Only a very small percentage of players play on the evergreen Standard league.
  • Open Simulator is even more extreme than Second Life when it comes to alts. First, the number of avatars one may have on the same grid is basically unlimited with no hoops to jump through.
    Second, there's more than one grid: The Hypergrid is made of thousands of independent grids between which avatars can teleport, and theoretically, anyone can run their own grid and attach it to the Hypergrid. So if you're on a grid that you think sucks, perhaps because it's your first grid, and you didn't know how bad it is until you actually made an avatar, or if the grid owners have announced the shutdown of their grid, you can make a new avatar on another grid. Since avatar names are unique only per grid, your new avatar can have the same name as your old one. This means another reason for making a new avatar on another grid is to simply have another avatar with the same name, be it because you've moved to a different grid, be it as backup.
    Third, outfitting an avatar doesn't necessarily cost you a fortune in real money, so neither does outfitting a dozen of them. In fact, you can make an avatar a home for free if you know how (and yes, it's legal). So money isn't a hurdle either.
    Fourth, unlike in Second Life, an avatar's display name generally can't be changed, and even SL itself makes it impossible to rename an avatar altogether. You often see alts that have been created because an avatar has married in-world.
    Lastly, after making new avatars, most users don't have their old avatars deleted, be it to keep them as spares, be it because it isn't worth the effort, be it because their old avatars still stay their mains.
    • It is not too uncommon for sim owners to make a couple of alts just to park them on a skyplatform on their sim in order to manipulate the visitor stats on OpenSimWorld. It's also being said that some party sim owners send quite a number of alts to parties to make them seem more popular.

  • In the days when MySpace was popular this happened a lot among the role players on the site, with a lot of people creating several profiles for each character they wanted to play. Myspace tended to look the other way.
  • Chatrooms themselves can be hit by this. In chatrooms with an RP bent, a person can make alternate characters if they feel like playing something else. Non-roleplayers may also make alts just because they want to be anonymous or play creative pranks. Some people can get addicted to this, with people having hundreds of alts, without exaggeration.
  • Alt-itis can happen on Facebook, sometimes for things like fan pages and Facebook accounts for businesses. Some people will create alt-accounts for Facebook games so that they can be their own neighbors, as mentioned under the "Video Games" section. Facebook tries to crack down on this, so it's not as common as it is on other social sites, and roleplaying mostly happens via in-character fan pages or regular accounts rather than character accounts.
  • On Gaia Online, alternate accounts are common and widespread. There are mule accounts for guild management, mules for buying and selling items (in part because there's an arbitrary limit on how many marketplace listings a user can make at once), mules for playing zOMG!, secret mules for posting potentially embarrassing stuff, and character mules for roleplaying. The staff eventually added a "Personas" feature which allows users to have multiple independent avatars they can switch between, in part so that people wouldn't need so many roleplaying acccounts, but many users found the feature to be less convenient than simply using mules.
  • Neopets has countless different pet/color combinations, with more being added all the time, and a strict limit on how many pets you can have per account. Due to this, many users create alts just so that they can have more pets. There are also other valid reasons to have additional accounts, such as wanting additional item galleries, creating a new account while trying to get into an old one, or wanting a different username (since names can't be changed). However, you're not allowed to have more then five accounts, and only one of these can be your main account, the others being side accounts. What you can do on the side accounts is restricted, the main issue being that you're not allowed to use side accounts to earn extra money or items, so resources generally need to be transferred from your main account.
  • Registering on Kongregate takes about a minute, there is no activation link to click and no limit of accounts per email address. As such, alts are created freely there, often for just a single purpose. Ban avoidance using alts is rampant as well, though.
  • Extremely common on Reddit, for a wide variety of reasons. Many users will make "throwaway" accounts to use briefly for an embarrassing purpose such as answering an awkward question, some make multiple accounts to keeps different parts of their lives separate, and some make multiple accounts to dodge pre-existing bans or because the people running a given community dislike another community and won't let people in that other one use theirs. Some users also have "gimmick" accounts which exist soley for a Running Gag.
  • On Tumblr, users can create large numbers of side blogs. Sometimes they have so many they start losing track of them all, or accidentally post to the wrong blog. And since certain things, such as notes on posts, are always attached to your main blog, users sometimes have additional accounts for things they feel should be separate from their other content, such as embarrassing things, comics, or roleplay/ask blogs.
  • Unlike commercial walled-garden services, those in the Fediverse generally don't have a problem with multiple accounts per user on the same instance. They also have several instances per service.
    • More advanced networks like Hubzilla, Zap and Misty go even further. For one, you can have multiple channels on the same account, and except for admins looking through the database, nobody can tell which channels are run by the same person. Besides, the "nomadic identity" model encourages registering accounts on multiple instances with the same channel(s) on them which are then synchronized as a means of redundancy.
    • Likewise, blog services in the Fediverse such as WriteFreely usually let users create multiple separate blogs on the same account.

Alternative Title(s): Altoholism