-My takeaway from this post is ALTS SHOULDNT EXIST BECAUSE THEY ARE KILLING THE GAME which might be me misinterpreting, but I do believe Alts are fine and people should be allowed to use them as they are a lifestyle choice.
-What I find is the problem that needs addressing is that in some cases alts aren't a choice they are a requirement. Those cases are the ones that need looking at.-I believe this requirement is built upon a combination of restrictive mechanics and the population of the game. I do believe that if we make changes that will grow the game alts will naturally become less and less relevant. Any that do remain will be strictly done via choice and that is totally fine. There are also some mechanics that benefit a number of players rather than an effort put forth to gain those rewards which I do think should be changed as well.
-The loss here is actually all meaning to priests and any other distinctive paths for players to take. It's a slippery slope to just saying why even have restrictions for priests if people are just going to circumvent them. Ultimately leading to everyone just being expected to be a priest and the only restriction is that there are 4 religions to choose from and you'd be dumb to just be a follower. However, there is also a potential world where religion is reworked to have no restrictions with the expectation that everyone becomes a priest of some god like they would follow a path in meditation. Circumventing priest restrictions is a choice and still requires work by a player.
-Separate to the alt conversation I like the sound of some of the priest change suggestions. I would love to see priests be able to participate more in the core sandbox elements such as digging and mining. I also think that allowing priests to improve the items they get benefits for as a follower makes a lot of sense. Leatherworking for Lib, Cloth for Fo, Pottery/Carpentry, and Blacksmithing for Mag. While some skills are more beneficial than others I think already some priests are more beneficial than others and this might give them a bit more presence. Such as Blacksmithing for Mag since Mag priests aren't common. It's pretty weird that as you become more devout to your god your abilities gained as a follower become useless.
-The gain-loss juggling example with chopping trees and planting trees sounds pretty cool so that at least priests can somewhat participate in core sandbox elements if we didn't just let them have it fully. However, I'm unsure what the other 3 gods would look like.
Unique Loot: More effort = More loot
As the system currently is no matter how much effort you put into the fight everyone walks out with the same rewards. THIS is what I think is a big problem and why alts LOOK like they're the problem even though they aren't. I feel that Uniques and even Rifts should be based a point system that involves effort spent instead of idly standing around doing nothing. Based on the amount of damage dealt, recieced, and healed you would be rewarded with more or less rewards from both uniques and rifts. This would remove the whole AFKing alts at uniques and instead those alts would have to participate which would make it totally acceptable because the person is putting in the effort to actually get more rewards. This also makes specialized fighters for meaningful and have a better sense of purpose between community and trade. Currently there really isn't much difference between a level 1 fighter and a level 99 fighter versus being able to participate in private dragon slayings. At rifts you literally just run around and target everything and you'll get the most amount of points. You don't even need to attack a single thing. And at Uniques you just need to be in local. Both of these are AWFUL ways of rewarding players for participation. If this system or something like it were to implemented it would be preferable to have it be implemented for Rifts first and then later Uniques when it's deemed balanced because Rifts are currently in a much worse spot than Uniques.
Idea for Unique spawning rework
The egg idea sounded pretty cool. Unsure how to really comment on it, but I myself had some ideas for Uniques, so I thought I'd share them too. This idea can be complementary to the current system, replace it, whatever, but I thought it'd be pretty cool to have Uniques be a rare item that drops from hunting that you can then use to spawn a Unique. This would remove the need to go scouring the land looking for them and ultimately wasting time if someone else finds it before you. For example, getting a MOI when killing a troll could result in a Troll King scroll or something. I feel like this would also remove any complaints about private slayings because if someone were to get a dragon scroll as a part of a rare drop from hunting I can't imagine anybody would feel like they have the right to be apart that persons slaying if they decided to make it private. Just some food for more thought.
Bridge Surveying: Small cooperation requirements = More of a nuisance
While I love that the dev who made bridges probably thought it'd be cool to add a cooperative mechanic unfortunately I think that with the mechanic being soooooo miniscule of a task that it actually is more of nuisance than it is teamwork. Having to find someone in a small populated game who happens to be around to come over and hold a pole for 2 minutes and then leave isn't the best. So, honestly I would love to see the ability to plant the range pole and use the dioptra yourself to build a bridge. However, if the task involved more effort on both players parts and lasted at least like an hour, and we have a reasonable population in the game it might be acceptable at that point a cool feature.
This is also very valid. The game is heavily AFK and because of that you have a lot more ability to make Alts to make it less AFK and do more. THIS MIGHT BE OKAY THOUGH. A solution to this would be to shorten timers but IDK if that's the right call as that's kind of a big selling point of the game. Activities might just need more involvement either by the player or animations or whatever. For instance, if a rock wall had progressive damage to it as you mined it I know that I for sure would find mining less tiresome. Mining atm for me is just staring at walls with nothing cool to look at it and spamming my action hotkeys Wowee. In terms of shortening timers though if we do change that I think keeping the endgame timers the same and just adjusting the starting timers to be shorter and the time gained from leveling to be shorter would be good. So, instead of starting off with 20second timers at 1skill and 1second timers at 99skill it's instead 10second timers at 1skill and 1second timers at 99skill.
TLDR: I think the problem that makes Alts look like the problem is we just need to find ways to improve the New Player Experience so that people aren't just quitting in the first 2 hours. More players would bring the potential for more community and more community would probably result in less desire to have alts. Also, changing mechanics that aren't based upon effort like rifts/uniques should be reworked to do so.
Also, this was a lot to read and respond to so I probably failed to convey some thoughts, so sorry about that but hopefully I brought an interesting POV to the discussion.