When looking back at my World of Warcraft experience, I came to the conclusion that when added up, I've been playing this game for over 3 years already. I've even participated in the very first beta ;)
Over time, a lot has changed, I took a few breaks, leveled plenty of classes to the max level, had my days of hardcore end-game raiding (pre-TBC, Naxx), Reputation grinding, Honor grinding (pre-TBC, Warlord), war effort grinding (our guild opened the gates of AQ).
After a year and a half, I took a break from what had become a huge grind, before TBC came out. I returned a while later with some colleagues on an RP realm however.
I've seen the introduction of Blood Elves, the change in faction balance, the faster leveling, and the lack of instance groups at lower levels due to this, combined with the lack of understanding of game mechanics by an ever increasing number of new players (no time or groups for them to get the experience at a low level). I've also greatly enjoyed doing all new TBC quests a few months after it came out, with less crowded zones, and now I'm liking the casual side of WoW :)
As part of staying on the casual side (casual meaning no hardcore raiding/grinding) I've given the geek in me more freedom to fool around with anything WoW related. One of the first result of this was the C# World Of Warcraft Armory Library 0.1 I recently released.
The next thing I'm on, is trying out Multiboxing, which is the subject for today's post. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of misconception and taboo around it. Hopefully you'll have a better view on the concept after reading this, as well as an easy to follow guide to try it out.
First things first, what is Multiboxing?
Multiboxing is the action of controlling multiple accounts from a central point, where each key press results in a single action or macro on all your accounts.
It is important to note this 1 to 1 relation. It's this relation that seperates multiboxing from botting. Bots combine multiple actions into a single key press, which is not allowed and will get you banned.
What is allowed is for example pressing 1 on your keyboard and having one account perform Frost Nova, while another account has Flash Heal bound to 1.
Creating in-game macros and binding these to keybinds is also allowed, since you are using the existing macro system. (e.g.: Popping a trinket and then casting is perfectly fine when you play on one account, therefore it is allowed)
Lots of people think that multiboxing is a bannable offense and report it.
This is one of the greatest misconceptions out there, because multiboxing is allowed by Blizzard, illustrated by the following collection of GM and CM responses: Dual Boxing - GM Conversations. As you can see, there is no doubt about the legality, various blue posts have shown it is acceptable.
There are two main rules which have to be respected however, to stay legal.
First of all, all accounts used to multibox with have to be in the same name.
And second of all, the one to one relation between a key press and one actions, as described above, can not be violated.
As soon as people accept the fact that they can not get a multiboxer banned simply for the fact they are multiboxing, a new argument gets raised, about how multiboxers gain an unfair advantage (mostly used as a PvP argument).
While this may hold up on a PvE realm, for PvE actions, GM Belfaire strongly counters this argument by suggesting grouping gives the same advantage. On a PvP realm, or for PvP action (PvE or PvP realm), Malkorix writes several blue posts stating that it might even give a disadvantage for PvP.
Blue posters are objective on this matter, and clearly see that 5 good individual players are still better then 1 good player controlling 5 accounts and having to think a lot more on coordinating them all together, while also being more limited in dealing with various actions.
Opinions on Fun
We've seen multiboxing is legal, does not give an advantage someone else couldn't achieve, yet there are still arguments, which I categorize into opinions. One of these arguments is on the aspect of fun, people believing it can't be fun to multibox.
This is an opinion about multiboxing, you are free to have them, but what does it matter to you if you think I'm not having fun multiboxing? These arguments are the hardest kind to argue with, because they are subjective instead of objective.
You might not like multiboxing, that's fine, I don't mind, nobody is forcing you to multibox, no multiboxer is making you do something against your will, so I would politely like to point out the following as a counter to all subjective opinion-based arguments:
Different people have different definitions of fun. Let each have it their way.
As you can see, multiboxing is legal, provides a real challenge, enables you to learn more about the game (macro's, game mechanics), eliminates dependencies on others when looking for groups at lower levels, and is a great way for a geek to spend his time tinkering with World of Warcraft.
In the next post, I will go through all the steps I performed to set up my multiboxing setup (5 shamans on 2 physical machines), stay tuned!
Some of the sites I used to learn more about multiboxing: