i just let go of my guitar and came over to desperately seek your help!! ive been playing for 2 years,and mostly ive been using directional picking (i.e moving in the direction of the next note) other than alternate picking,,im self taught so i didnt realise this till after a while and i had gotten used to it!

now what happened is,ive been jamming with other lead guitarists too,and they all use alternate picking all the time,and theyr all faster pickers than i am!(im relatively good at sweeping though..)

im getting advises from everywhere to switch to alternate picking,and its haunting me everywhere,whats worse is,ive started workin on speedpicking by countouring scales,and the only patterns i can seem to run through are those involving alternate picking!
itd would really take time to get used to (not) move in the direction on the next pick,but the question is,to do it or not to do it, i really wanna get faster at picking and thats the only advice ive been getting (strict up-down-up-down)
what do i do??
Directional picking as you call it (the common term is economy picking) is actually seen as a step up from alternate picking by most guitarists. Since you always choose the 'easiest' way to play the next note you're not doing any unnescesary movement. I'm not really good at explaining this but you might find this article usefull: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/guitar_techniques/economy_picking.html

read it and all your questions will be awnserd
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My suggestion is start learning proper alternate picking. I am self taught too, and there were some stuff I didn't realize until later, but it's never too late, so just start learning now and u should be fine. Alternate picking is ur way to tremolo picking and also pentatonics and other scales will seem easier and nicer to play once u've mastered alt picking. And it won't take long, cuz it's a coordination that's already in u, u just have to find it and speed it up.
okay,now im confused,i got a post and an article telling me to go on with economy picking,and another post telling me to learn to alternate!

so i dont know,every time i try to alternate it feels bizarre! moving in the direction of the next note feels much more natural,after all,i dont have to cross to the other side of the string to keep the up-down motion,but i dont get faster than the other guys...!

can i get to massive speeds with economy or do i only attain this by the constant up-down motion of alternate??

are there any virtuosos using economy picking?
does anyone here use it?what do you guys recommend me to do?i swore not to touch the guitar again before i get this straight..!
Is all about preference in my opinion, there are guitarist like John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert which encourage to use alternate picking because of consistency and more efective way to keep the rhythm. And others like Frank Gambale and Yngwie Malmsteen who uses economy picking because take less effort, hence more speed. Anyway, you can learn both and figure out by yourself when is better to choose one or another for a determined situation.

About the speed issue, with enough practice and correct technique you can achieve any speed (humanly possible) using any of these techniques.
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They're both the same thing, economy picking is just an evolution of the alternate picking style that makes it more efficient.

There is absolutely no point whatsoever in "strict" alternate picking...if the next note is on the string below then and you just played a downstroke then it makes sense to continue that downstroke on. Obviously if you're playing on the same string then just alternate, but as soon as you switch strings then take the path of least resistance.
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Shawn Lane economy picks I think, and he's amazing.
Then again, Petrucci's amazing too. I'd say it's all preference.
To me, it just seems a waste of movement to only use alt picking.