I’ve played a lot of MMOs over the past 15 years, and one thing always tends to hold true for me: I’m a major alt-aholic. I can’t tell you what it is that I enjoy most about rolling a new character. Maybe I like playing around with the character customization options the game offers. If there’s many races and starting areas, I like to see them all.
Most of all, I tend to suffer from class envy. I’ll just be questing along on my happy way and suddenly see some guy storm into the area and clean up all the mobs like a solo whirlwind. I’m so impressed that I check out what class he is. Then I have to go roll one to try it for myself.
Do you do that, too? You’re in good company, then. That’s why it’s so odd for me to play a game like Final Fantasy XIV where game mechanics discourage rolling alts. Well, maybe “discourage” is a bit too harsh a word, but it certainly doesn’t encourage alt rolling.
In FFXIV, you can play all jobs, crafting classes and gathering classes on one character. This is actually the feature that got me interested in trying FFXIV in the first place. Overall, this works well. There really is no need to have extra characters because you can be all things on one.
In fact, you can get a little price break ($12.99 vs $14.99) on a monthly subscription fee if you choose the Entry membership tier. This tier allows you to roll only one character on a server for up to eight servers. So, you can have alts, but they just can’t be on the same server.
So should you roll an alt in Final Fantasy XIV? As a player who has a few alts, let me give you some pros and cons.
There’s no doubt that FFXIV has some good looking character customization, with a variety of races to choose from. Though the Fantasia potion is a robust way to change an existing character’s… everything… it can get IRL costly.
It’s pretty obvious that rolling a new character gives you a clean slate when it comes to aesthetics. So, if you just need a change of character scenery, or you’re a roleplayer who wants to write up a whole new backstory, this is one major perk of creating an alt.
Main Scenario Questing
How long has it been since you revisited characters and locations from the early main scenario quests? Did you ever play through each of the starting locations to see the differences in the story?
Rolling an alt gives you the opportunity to go back and do these things. Once you complete a part of the main scenario in FFXIV, you can never go back to revisit it… well, beyond watching it on YouTube. Though it may not be for everyone, I personally enjoy the main scenario, and find it very interesting to play through it again and see all the things I missed the first time. It’s also very useful to roll an alt if you want to quest along with a friend who is new to the game, which is exactly why I rolled my first alt in FFXIV to begin with.
For some people, however, being forced to play through the main scenario quests and dungeons again is a big turn-off and the reason they won’t roll an alt. So this could be seen as either a pro or a con.
Faster and More Engaging Leveling to 50
While you can level every job on one character, and there is bonus experience to help you do this, there’s only so much dungeon running and FATE grinding a person can stand. The main scenario quests got a big boost in experience and gear rewards since the Heavensward expansion was released, and are only available on a new character once you’ve completed them the first time. So rolling an alt feels like a faster and more engaging way to get a character to level cap.
More Inventory Space
Heavensward brought us more classes. It didn’t bring us more free inventory space. The lack of inventory space, especially for gear, is one of my pet peeves in FFXIV. There’s just not enough room for all the gear, especially if you are leveling several jobs, crafting and gathering.
One way to get past this is to create a role-based alt. I know several folks in my free company do this. You can roll a character on which you will only level the magic-based classes. Or make that character just for your tank jobs. Then you only keep the armor associated with tanks on one character, and only keep light armor on the magic-based character. This helps free up a lot of space in your inventory in the long run.
More Daily Levequests
Leves are useful quests to help supplement leveling, and are especially useful for crafters and gatherers. Each character is limited to up to 100 allowances at one time. As you use these allotments, you earn 3 allowances every 12 hours. So this means, if you burn through them, you have to wait a while before you see them return.
Rolling an alt allows you to earn and use double leves. I know one fellow in our free company who was very eager to level his crafting classes. He chose to roll an alt in order to have leves for his crafting on one character and leves for leveling gathering on the other.
Rolling an alt can be both a good and bad thing when dealing with free companies. While our free company welcomes alts, some do not. In a game where you can do all things on all characters, some free companies may prefer you to focus on building one character and may have a no-alt policy.
However, when you roll an alt in FFXIV, that alt is in no way tied to the free company your other character is a part of. If you’re discontent with your free company, or if you’re uncertain if the free company is a good fit, rolling an alt may allow you to meet new people and experiment by joining other free companies to find one that better fits your play style.
End Game Juggling
The biggest con for rolling an alt comes when you get to end game. Reaching max level on multiple characters isn’t so much the problem, and may be faster than leveling many jobs on one character. It’s the gearing up of several end game characters, especially if you don’t have time to dedicate to it, that can become frustrating and bordering on burn-out.
One daily roulette dungeon run turns into two or three daily roulette runs. What drops in a raid on one character can’t be shared with another. Those Tomes you earned on one character can’t buy gear for another. Hunt seals can’t be shared. So, you’ll basically be multiplying the things you have to do to gear up by the number of characters you’ve rolled.
Sure, you can just ignore all this and not gear up or level alts to play end game. Some people may not care about end game or gearing up, and that’s totally cool. But if this does matter to you, that’s a big thing to consider before you roll another character. Chances are, you’ll end up favoring one character more than another, leaving them to languish. Which is what ended up happening to me.
Still, what did I do during this lull between major FFXIV patch releases? I rolled another alt. Ooops.