Why do I play alts?
To experience the different races & starting zones — though my menagerie of Mages that represent my “one of each race” set of alts stalled out in the 30s a couple of years back and I doubt that I’ll ever seriously play with any of them again. I keep them around, though, just in case I want to do a MogIt mock-up of a Transmogrification kit idea using a model of a particular race.
To experience the Alliance perspective of the world, given that I mostly play Horde — though this proceeds only in fits and starts, too.
To play all the different classes — though there are some classes that I enjoy more than others, and some classes that have a class fantasy that I have trouble getting into.
To play all the different specs of the classes that I enjoy the most — I have two Tauren of each of the classes that Tauren can play because for most of those classes, I wanted to try out all three specs. So I have a “primary” character with two of the specs, and a “secondary” character with the third (or third & fourth in the case of Druid).
To ease wardrobe overflow — by having two characters of each class, I can spread out my Transmogrification ideas for those classes/armor types over more characters and potentially reduce inventory crowding somewhat. This hasn’t entirely worked out in practice, as there are some items that I like so much that every active character of the appropriate armor type has to have them.
When Legion comes, will I still “need” all my alts?
With the account-wide Wardrobe and the tease of tri-spec (I’ll believe that when it shows up in the beta), Legion seems poised to negate the last two reasons listed above for why I play alts… the reasons why my Tauren class-double alts exist. I began to ponder if I’ll want to keep them around, once their original reasons for existing have been nullified. After I’d thought about it for a bit, I realized that the account-wide Wardrobe might even increase my desire to play some of my currently lower-level alts, and that tri-spec (if it really happens) would only affect a few of my doubles.
For a few classes, I’ve kept the different specs separated cleanly enough that I think I’d still want both characters of that class.
My secondary Shaman is my Enhancement Shaman; it would feel wierd to play that spec with my primary Shaman.
My secondary Monk is my Brewmaster Monk; it would feel wierd to play that spec with my primary Monk.
My secondary Druid is my melee Druid; it would feel wierd to play the melee specs with my primary Druid who has been a dedicated caster.
I could easily go tri-spec and rotate between the three specs with my primary Mage (the Blood Elf, despite the fact that the Human is currently higher in level), or with my primary Hunter, or with my primary Warrior, or with my primary Paladin.
My secondary Mage is safe because she is my Alliance character.
My secondary Hunter is probably safe because she has the RP role of being the mother of Kamalia & her sisters.
My secondary Warrior and my secondary Paladin are potentially expendable.
Of the classes for which I’m not interested in playing all of the specs, my secondary DK is safe because I want a blue-and-white Tauren.
My secondary Priest is in jeopardy; although the notion of a Tauren Shadow Priest seems to me to be pretty antithetical to who the Tauren are philosophically, I thought that shadow orbs (or ravens) looked kind of cool and I could imagine a Tauren Shadow Priest who was a Grimtotem (the first iteration of that character) or a Yaungol deliberately walking in the Shadow to better understand and defend her people against the Sha (the second iteration of that character). With the way that the class fantasy of Shadow was described at BlizzCon, though — that idea of becoming more shadowy and growing void tendrils and eventually morphing into a void creature — I can’t see myself playing a Tauren Shadow Priest anymore.
Whether the secondary Warrior and the secondary Priest get deleted will ultimately depend on whether only Transmogrifiable quest rewards are added to the Wardrobe, or if all quest rewards are added to the Wardrobe. Specifically, I originally rolled the secondary Monk, Warrior, and Priest (the three characters with the “Yaungol” RP description on my Characters page) as Pandaren, then race-changed them to Tauren after reaching Orgrimmar, so that I could have Tauren with the Wandering Isle clothes for RP-wear.
As for Rogue, Warlock, and Demon Hunter… I could potentially get back into Rouge because the “Outlaw” rework of the Combat spec sounds intriguing and those Artifact rapiers sure look cool. I’m not sure I could get into the new description of the class fantasy for Destruction, even thinking of it as a (very) corrupted Fire Mage. I don’t really dig the Demon Hunter class fantasy, but I’ll probably roll one eventually and play her through the starting experience just for the story of it and to scratch the collector itch of wanting to have my “one of each class” set of alts be complete again.