191: Multiboxing to Level 80 Nirvana

Multiboxing to Level 80 Nirvana

If you think the worst part of MMOGs is other players, there's a way to play at a high level without having to socialize with anyone ... if you're willing to put in the investment. Greg Tito examines the popular practice of multiboxing in MMOGs.

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Having painfully worked to level a WoW character to 70, and having run a small guild that was never big enough to consistently organize even 10 man content, I can understand the frustrations that would be resolved through multiboxing.

On the other hand, it does seem strange to play an MMO by yourself. While I suppose some people enjoy the questing and grinding, and I myself enjoy seeing the new content and acquiring the greatest gear, the basic gameplay itself seems like it is meant only as an enabler for personal interaction. By itself, the content quickly becomes repetitive and boring, but doing it with others offers unique challenges and a chance to play with others.

Mike Rozak, who maintains a blog based around video game design, provided an analysis of World of Warcraft which concluded that the gameplay itself is trivial as long as you have enough people. The actual challenge isn't in killing mobs and accomplishing quests, but in trying to organize the people necessary to do so. If this is truly the case, isn't multiboxing essentially avoiding the problem? Perhaps it could be argued that multiboxing is just another way of solving the problem (changing it into organizing several clients rather than organizing several people), but it does seem to fundamentally change how the game is played.

If not for the fact that you have to buy multiple games and multiple accounts, I would likely do the same for myself. I suspect this is why Blizzard is okay with it -- in the end, they are still getting just as much money, just from the same person instead of multiple people. In fact, it provides the opportunity to get even more money, because it provides the opportunity to sell more subscriptions than there are people who play WoW, and that's already a huge number.

As a relatively new multiboxer (started October 2008) I have found much more freedom with playing WoW. I am able to play at my own pace, devise my own strategies, and tend to real life without disappointing others (as was discussed in the article). However, that does not mean the social aspect of WoW has been removed. Quite the opposite, actually. I now have much more interaction with random players who are curious as to how I'm doing what I'm doing. I still belong to a guild, and still raid when I have time, but now raiding is actually more efficient... I can just fill the spots they need when we're missing players!

www.dual-boxing.com is a wonderful community and the first that I've joined. Multiboxers tend to be older and more mature due to the financial contraints and added complexity the running multiple toons at once.

Keyclone is indeed a popular produce for good reason. However, there are just as good (and arguably more powerful/useful) programs currently available for free, such as Hotkeynet. Regardless of the key broadcasting program I or anyone else uses, Rob from Keyclone and Ellay from dual-boxing.com have done a great service for the multiboxing community.

One final note... single-boxing well coordinated players will always kill a skilled multiboxer in PvP and PvE. However, that doesn't mean there isn't an ample supply of easy targets!

Sorry guys, but the clue is in the name

massive MULTIPLAYER online game. Not massive MULTIBOXING online game.

Multiboxing sounds like the equivilent to the dudes who play on console FPS's with a kboard and mouse. Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

wordsmith:
Sorry guys, but the clue is in the name

massive MULTIPLAYER online game. Not massive MULTIBOXING online game.

Multiboxing sounds like the equivilent to the dudes who play on console FPS's with a kboard and mouse. Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

Very few multiboxers are able to experience all content in WoW by themselves (10 boxers or 25 boxers). I 5 box which means I can run 5 man instances, but I still raid with others and do BG with others. As Blizzard has said multiple times, it's a playstyle, not a violation of rules or the spirit of the game.

Owltoid:

wordsmith:
Sorry guys, but the clue is in the name

massive MULTIPLAYER online game. Not massive MULTIBOXING online game.

Multiboxing sounds like the equivilent to the dudes who play on console FPS's with a kboard and mouse. Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

Very few multiboxers are able to experience all content in WoW by themselves (10 boxers or 25 boxers). I 5 box which means I can run 5 man instances, but I still raid with others and do BG with others. As Blizzard has said multiple times, it's a playstyle, not a violation of rules or the spirit of the game.

This is the bit where I quote myself...

wordsmith:
Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

^^ this

"Just kill the leader [character], and 90 percent of them stand there like drooling fools." The limitations of multiboxing far outweigh any advantage in focusing fire or coordinating strategy.

Probably true in Arenas, but my experience in BG's or day to day world PvP... Bleh. Nothing quite like seeing a train of Ele Shammies on ZA Bear mounts stop, turn and instagib you. Impressive, sure, but hardly fair.

And in regard to "Kill the leader", I had tried a tactic in which i cannonballed into said pack of shammies and AOE feared the sods, thinking their /follow would break, but once they broke out of it they instantly turned, reformed and I got turned into a lightning rod. So i'm willing to bet the average Multiboxing program is probably getting to (or at) the point where there is no real weakness as such.

wordsmith:

Owltoid:

wordsmith:
Sorry guys, but the clue is in the name

massive MULTIPLAYER online game. Not massive MULTIBOXING online game.

Multiboxing sounds like the equivilent to the dudes who play on console FPS's with a kboard and mouse. Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

Very few multiboxers are able to experience all content in WoW by themselves (10 boxers or 25 boxers). I 5 box which means I can run 5 man instances, but I still raid with others and do BG with others. As Blizzard has said multiple times, it's a playstyle, not a violation of rules or the spirit of the game.

This is the bit where I quote myself...

wordsmith:
Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

^^ this

I responded to your sportsmanlike comment by letting you know Blizzard said it's not against the spirit of the game. Interpret how you want, but in my opinion that means the developers of the game do not see it as unsportsmanlike.

Congrats on quoting yourself, though! This is where I hit the "Post" button.

carpenteria:

"Just kill the leader [character], and 90 percent of them stand there like drooling fools." The limitations of multiboxing far outweigh any advantage in focusing fire or coordinating strategy.

Probably true in Arenas, but my experience in BG's or day to day world PvP... Bleh. Nothing quite like seeing a train of Ele Shammies on ZA Bear mounts stop, turn and instagib you. Impressive, sure, but hardly fair.

And in regard to "Kill the leader", I had tried a tactic in which i cannonballed into said pack of shammies and AOE feared the sods, thinking their /follow would break, but once they broke out of it they instantly turned, reformed and I got turned into a lightning rod. So i'm willing to bet the average Multiboxing program is probably getting to (or at) the point where there is no real weakness as such.

Many multiboxers use a FTL (focusless, targetless, leaderless) setup which means there is no clear leader. If one of my guys goes down, my macros are setup so that I can quickly switch to another toon and they now become the leader. The best strategy against multiboxers is to disorient them in some fashion or split the group up. Fear is a popular method, though it does have limited success against shaman teams (3.1 may fix that a bit if they now have tremor totems all pulsing at the same time instead of staggered).

Your example is 1v5. If instead you ran with 4 of your friends and did BGs together, then I'm confident you could defeat 95% of the multiboxing teams with relative ease. As always, some multiboxers are better than others, and some are extremely good at PvP with arena rankings of 1900+. However, to fight an "organized" group it usually takes an organized group. Just as I would expect to lose going against 3 players with my 1, I would certainly expect to lose going against a preform party of 5.

Owltoid:

wordsmith:

Owltoid:

wordsmith:
Sorry guys, but the clue is in the name

massive MULTIPLAYER online game. Not massive MULTIBOXING online game.

Multiboxing sounds like the equivilent to the dudes who play on console FPS's with a kboard and mouse. Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

Very few multiboxers are able to experience all content in WoW by themselves (10 boxers or 25 boxers). I 5 box which means I can run 5 man instances, but I still raid with others and do BG with others. As Blizzard has said multiple times, it's a playstyle, not a violation of rules or the spirit of the game.

This is the bit where I quote myself...

wordsmith:
Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

^^ this

I responded to your sportsmanlike comment by letting you know Blizzard said it's not against the spirit of the game. Interpret how you want, but in my opinion that means the developers of the game to not see it as unsportsmanlike.

Congrats on quoting yourself, though! This is where I hit the "Post" button.

Ha ha... I'll explain if I have to?

Basically, Blizzard have said "yeah, go ahead. We don't mind", but that doesn't mean that other players who DON'T multibox are not at a disadvantage.

Imagine you're taking part in a race (car racing). The rules of the race say "you must drive a Ford Escort 1999, to make the race fair". Everyone else turns up with the standard Escort, but you've gone away and spent lots of money on customising it, meaning that your top speed is higher than theirs. Admittedly, you have had to sacrifice some control, but you DO have a better top speed. The result? You (even though you may not be the best driver out there) have a better chance of winning, simply because you can afford to throw the cash at it. Now, whilst if you're spectacularly rubbish in comparison to the other racers, you'll get your ass handed to you, if you're of level or slightly less than level in terms of skill, you have gained an unfair advantage.

wordsmith:
Ha ha... I'll explain if I have to?

Basically, Blizzard have said "yeah, go ahead. We don't mind", but that doesn't mean that other players who DON'T multibox are not at a disadvantage.

Imagine you're taking part in a race (car racing). The rules of the race say "you must drive a Ford Escort 1999, to make the race fair". Everyone else turns up with the standard Escort, but you've gone away and spent lots of money on customising it, meaning that your top speed is higher than theirs. Admittedly, you have had to sacrifice some control, but you DO have a better top speed. The result? You (even though you may not be the best driver out there) have a better chance of winning, simply because you can afford to throw the cash at it. Now, whilst if you're spectacularly rubbish in comparison to the other racers, you'll get your ass handed to you, if you're of level or slightly less than level in terms of skill, you have gained an unfair advantage.

Ok, I'll go with your train of thought and say that for a good portion of TBC warlocks were unsportsmanlike, especially when paired with a druid healer. It was within the rules, they dedicated the time to leveling, but it's not really feasible for a pally/shaman team to compete. It doesn't matter that the pally and shaman players are more skilled because there is just an inherent advantage in the druid/lock combo thereby making it unsportsmanlike.

Again, very few multiboxers can reach the top ranks of PvP (note that the ones who do reach the higher arena ranks require a soloboxing healer to keep them up... I have not seen a 5 boxer with 1900+, only a 4 boxer plus healer). I'd be willing to guess those who succeed in multiboxing would be able to reach it soloboxing with competent teammates.

You guys are really underestimating the loss of control you get with multiboxing. One successful fear will nearly wipe your team. Arguably the most important aspect of arena is line of sight and being mobile with reacting to the other team... you lose all of that with multiboxing and trade it for focus fire... something that an organized team would have anyway.

Multiboxing just appears to change gaming from a fondly, slowly crafted character to a Ford assembly line of accounts. It just seems to remove the idea of social interaction that has always made me willing to try MMOs. I agree that it seems less hardcore to play the game via multiboxing; indeed, I would also say it's probably far too easier as well.

Every individual character of a multiboxer is handicapped. In all of the game's high end content (raids/arenas), participant amount is limited. There's nothing to complain about.

Also, "sportsmanship" has nothing to do with WoW and world PvP. Some people are higher level, have better gear and more friends, and ambush you to the best of their ability when you are just about dead. That's what WoW is about. That's what WoW is like.

Wouldukindly:
Multiboxing just appears to change gaming from a fondly, slowly crafted character to a Ford assembly line of accounts. It just seems to remove the idea of social interaction that has always made me willing to try MMOs. I agree that it seems less hardcore to play the game via multiboxing; indeed, I would also say it's probably far too easier as well.

QFT

In addition.

My major problem with multiboxers is PvP servers in World of Warcraft. When you're out farming saronite, and suddenly a train of five dranei shamans make a beeline for your skull, it's in no way fair or fun.

But then again, PvP in WoW isn't fair. Eh, guess my point is moot.

wordsmith:

Basically, Blizzard have said "yeah, go ahead. We don't mind"

Of course they don't mind that's 1 person paying for 4-5 accounts, more profit for them.

Not sure if it's relevant, but very few of the multiboxers who responded said that PVP was their focus. There are some groups formed for Arenas, but most multiboxers enjoy leveling and the five man content much more than organized PVP.

That is, unless you decide to attack their shaman unprovoked... Then it's open season and you deserve the lightning.

Greg

When you say kill the leader and the rest will be like drooling idiots does that include when like the rest rest of the 4-5 DKs are beating you with your own health bar

Multi-boxing is just a different way to enjoy something for certain people.

The biggest, hardest aspect of the debate here for most people who are against multi-boxing is... there are people out there who are just different.

By different I mean in terms of everything. Some do it because they do not have the time to level X number of different or similar characters to max level. Some do it for the challenge, the list goes on.

What's the big deal if somebody does it and you don't?

Do you feel that they have an unfair advantage over you? I myself only play with one machine, with one account. I have seen my share of multi-shaman teams and get one-shotted.

But you know what? I do remember that when the opposing team finally started to WORK TOGETHER, as in rushing the 5 shamans with 5 of their own, instead of one after another in a neat little line, the shamans always go down, just like any other group of 5 well coordinated players. Except they go down much faster due to their severely handicapped gear.

It's a game, an entertainment medium. It is there to let people have fun. If some people like to multi-box, loves efficiency, and loves mmos, so what? MMOs by definition will introduce a diverse mix of people to each other. There is absolutely no reason to bash/flame someone just because they are better / more efficient / more resourceful than another.

It's just a game. Relax and have some fun :)

You know something? I completely understand why you'd want to multibox rather than find a raiding party in an MMORPG. Other players can be terribly inconsistent, and frankly, if I were an MMO player, I wouldn't give much of a damn about the so-called "social elements". I'm a deathmatch multiplayer player first and foremost, and rarely want to get into co-operative play.

When it comes to MMORPGs, my thoughts regarding other players is that they're only there to maintain dynamic content. I don't care about forming raiding parties or guilds - in fact, I'd rather avoid it if at all possible - and I don't care about making online friends. Their "friendship" is ephemeral.

One of the best reasons FOR multiboxing is EVE Online. Since you can only train one skill PER ACCOUNT at a time, alts are kind of pointless. I run two accounts simply because it allows me to advance two characters at a time. Some people would bitch about EVE's policy of one character training, but that's part of the allure.

Wouldukindly:
Multiboxing just appears to change gaming from a fondly, slowly crafted character to a Ford assembly line of accounts. It just seems to remove the idea of social interaction that has always made me willing to try MMOs. I agree that it seems less hardcore to play the game via multiboxing; indeed, I would also say it's probably far too easier as well.

QFT! I still think multiboxing is cheating, and I stick to that. It's not only cheating, it's the very lonely and socially underdeveloped people's escapism. Really now, playing an MMO game alone! How desperate and socially damaged can someone be to do that? Just logging in to a Massively Multiplayer Online game aaaaand...play with yourself.(no pun intended)

MMOs are there to play with other people, not to buy 45 accounts and play alone. I always felt sorry for multiboxers and mega-boxers (30 windows anyone?). These people need help, not encouragement! Really, no offense intended, but still... it's wrong...

Playbahnosh:

Wouldukindly:
Multiboxing just appears to change gaming from a fondly, slowly crafted character to a Ford assembly line of accounts. It just seems to remove the idea of social interaction that has always made me willing to try MMOs. I agree that it seems less hardcore to play the game via multiboxing; indeed, I would also say it's probably far too easier as well.

QFT! I still think multiboxing is cheating, and I stick to that. It's not only cheating, it's the very lonely and socially underdeveloped people's escapism. Really now, playing an MMO game alone! How desperate and socially damaged can someone be to do that? Just logging in to a Massively Multiplayer Online game aaaaand...play with yourself.(no pun intended)

MMOs are there to play with other people, not to buy 45 accounts and play alone. I always felt sorry for multiboxers and mega-boxers (30 windows anyone?). These people need help, not encouragement! Really, no offense intended, but still... it's wrong...

There are far better games out there for that so-called "social interaction". Frankly, I don't see the point in playing MMOs at all if you're required to team up with other people. As I've mentioned above, I would see the role of other people in an MMORPG as maintaining dynamic content - and that's it.

Now, a game like a first-person shooter is an ideal multiplayer game for me. It's the sort of game which I would find more exciting when you're playing it against other people, unlike an RPG, where I prefer to define the game based on my own actions, rather than those of other people. I find raiding parties to be counter-intuitive.

Fantastic article, I was interested in the stories and the hardware aspect. Good work.

A lot of people here are trying to say multiboxing isn't within the spirit of the game and for some reason think multiboxers are loners or something. This is not true from my experience. I am on Magtheridon and a member of "The Zerg". We are a multiboxing guild.

There is constant interaction between guild members and we are always helping each other out. Since most of us level more than one team (I currently have 6 5-man teams) we spend a lot of time with each other. The Ring of Blood type of quests happens at least once a week or so with someone needing help. We are also starting to Raid with some success. Sometimes we just get together for the fun of it to fight the enemy (alliance in this case). We have all professions pretty much leveled and make whatever others need in the guild as well.

I single boxed for about 6 months and was a member of a guild but it was nothing like this! I couldn't be happier. If you think multiboxing is the easy 'i win' button then go make some trial accounts and give it a shot. As soon as you start realizing the logtistics involved you may quickly change your mind. Not everyone can do this either because of finances or lack of coordination or maybe a short attention span. It is not easy to box.

Apart from glorious spending, I don't see anything wrong with multiboxing.
One thing I've always wanted to know though, is whether multi-boxer has one "main" character that they take around for fun as well?
To me, the fun aspect of MMO is not the grinding, and even conquering a dungeon with other people is trivial if there is no interaction. I like running instances because I like being stuck with 4 or 5 other people, chatting with them, or maybe even *gasp* RP! Hence my favorite part of MMORPGs is usually done in town, not on top of a dead demon. The way I see it, some multi-boxer will probably enjoy this as well, and log in especially often with a favorite character just for some single-boxing action when they do have time and feel like it too.
Afterall, most MMOs nowadays can be "finished" with just one person anyway. What's wrong if we take that a little further?

One thing I've always wanted to know though, is whether multi-boxer has one "main" character that they take around for fun as well?

Sure. I five box in PvE or PvP, but this is my main:
http://eu.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Aggramar&n=stephanius

For me boxing is just something to do when I am done with the single player options.
Check out http://www.captn-log.blogspot.com/ for more pics, links and info. =]

I always thought that multiboxing was pretty silly, but that person wants to spend all that money on some MMO that's fine by me.

wordsmith:

Multiboxing sounds like the equivilent to the dudes who play on console FPS's with a kboard and mouse. Is it legal? Yeah. Is it sportsmanlike? Hell naw.

Confuses me a bit. As a PC gamer who's gotten into plenty of FPS console ports, multiplayer or not, I've found just the opposite is true. It's far easier to play with a controller versus keyboard & mouse, especially if the port/PC support is half-assed or poorly done (like lacking keymapping, argh).

This is the one and only opinion I've ever read which implied a K&M was superior. Which FPS's were you referring to?

-------------------------------------
On topic: fascinating article, I enjoyed it.

I've never gotten into MMO's; I was the lead builder and coder for a NWN world for six years, tho'. I was a lot more proactive than any mere MMO, changing things and adding content on a weekly basis. For me, the inherent problem with them is "if everyone is special, no-one is", in other words, if you've got a community full of heroes, no one particularly shines. I've got friends in EQ and WoW, though, and they really talk it up whenever we get together.

My friend who's heavily into EQ (6+ years) multiboxes, but in a very limited fashion; he runs a merchant with one, and participates in raids on the other.

I think multiboxing should be acceptable in all aspects. It doesnt hurt anyone at all. unless its pvp. but multiboxers rarely pvp anyways. Still, 5 shammies defending a tower against a chain of failures is a little annoying....

I thought of the band before I thought of the Buddhist concept.

EDIT: WHAT THE HECK? How did I get tricked in to necro-ing this? Sorry guys :(

Drendude42:
I think multiboxing should be acceptable in all aspects. It doesnt hurt anyone at all. unless its pvp. but multiboxers rarely pvp anyways. Still, 5 shammies defending a tower against a chain of failures is a little annoying....

I agree multibox should be acceptable in all, whats the worst that can happen.

 

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