Friday, November 14, 2008

Multiboxing, Fair or Foul?

Multiboxing: Playing multiple accounts concurrently using multiple computers or application instances.

First, it should be noted that most major MMO's allow multiboxing, so it is not against the rules. It may be against the spirit of the rules though.

I think the issue of multiboxing falls into many gray areas. For example, using it in WoW PvE seems perfectly fine to me. The thought of running some small group content, by myself, is actually pretty attractive. Since it is PvE, you are not really hurting anyone else, unless you are just being a jerk.

PvP is where I start to get unsure about the issue. Multiboxing seems to offer the advantage of no need for communication and ease of focus fire. That same advantage may also be a disadvantage though, as you are limited to how well your software does in allowing you control of the other characters. I recall Xzin doing pretty well in PvP. Still, I lean towards multiboxing in PvP giving to an unfair competitive advantage.

With more and more MMO's coming out the player population is getting spread out too. MMO's require cooperation, but what happens when there are not enough players and it just gets tedious? Multiboxing is one answer to that, although not necessarily the correct one.

So what do you think about Multiboxing?


I'm a hypocrit. I'm annoyed when others do it because they could be forming a group and doing something with other living people... but back in the EQ1 days I loved it because a friend would two-box a shaman and cleric for my warrior.

But come on, how could anyone get upset with having a shaman and cleric healing you?

Really, I don't mind it as long as the person can handle it and they're not monopolizing content (i.e. invite people to group and such).

I don't like it, for totally irrational and visceral reasons. It feels like cheating to me, but clearly EULA-wise it's not, since they pays their money for all their boxes just like I do.

To a very large extent it depends on who's doing the boxing. I met a very nice 6? or 8-boxer back on the Vanguard Test server, who was actually able to find bugs with great efficiency just by running all those people around together (course at one point in VG, you'd find bugs... just by running around :P). He told us about his setup (horseshoe of 6 or so machines) and we all gasped and chuckled. I know I couldn't do it.

I know lots of people who two-box and again, if I like the person I don't mind the behaviour as much.

My problem comes from having seen it done too often to gain unfair advantages or to farm (farmer group-trains in EQ2, for instance).

Like I said, I'm not entirely rational about it. I really, REALLY object to macros in games; I most recently encountered that in SWG just this year, where since the new Beast Master pets are a PITA to level, people just tell you "Oh, level them AFK"

If you're playing one char and dragging 6 along on computer-controlled strings, or if you set up a macro and go to work while your char levels up... How is that playing? I don't get it.

Not to be a rules lawyer:

According to the EULA a player is not allowed to own/operate more than 5 accounts.


@left: I guess that is from WAR's EULA? As I saw the same on Syps post today.

@ysh: 6+ would seem a bit much to me. But I would think running a 2 or 3 would be no different than how you could control your party in single-player rpg's.

@smaken: yea, just think if you knew someone who dual'd a tank and healer... You would have the base for any 5 man group that is always the toughest to find.

I should have said, unattended macros. Macros themselves are like guns -- it's how they're used (assuming they're allowed).

To me it's almost on the same level as botting. It ruins the spirit of the game, but also ruins alot of other things.

The main offenders I saw wer in WoW, why would someone be botting 5 shamans up at the same time. To sell?

Well I wouldn't think it would be unfair, until that group of 5 shamans ganked me. Then I was a little miffed.

I'm kind of a hypocrite about it too. I don't like it in theory, but I have a friend who 2-boxes in EQ2, and that extra character can help us out when we're a little underpowered, and I'm fine with that.

I think 2-boxing is different from 6-boxing, though. If you run enough characters to fill a group, well, you might as well be playing a single player game, so you're not really contributing to the gestalt of the game you and I are both playing in. So that I don't like...

Meh, if people want to play their single player game in my game thats fine with me, because they will help keep the company in business and so on. However, it reeks of anti-social issues so these people need clinical help. And they are wasting money too for an inferior experience IMO.

I dual box in EverQuest II, so I'm obviously ok with it. To me, its no different than a hireling/hero, like Guild Wars and a few other games have built in. Personally, I'd be happier if it was built in to the game. In a PVE game, I don't see a problem since it doesn't really affect anyone else.

In a PVP/competitive game, it could easily be used for cheating, especially if you use a boxed alt to spy on the "opposite" faction's side. On servers where you are restricted to one faction per server, that's an unfair advantage.

@lars: I am of the same mind that they are 'party members.' I just think it would be very interesting to manage 2 classes, rather than one.

I enjoyed RPG games when you had a party to put together.

As for social, sometimes I like to be social, other times I just don't have the time.

@Werit - came up with too much to fit in this comment box, so I put more thoughts on my blog as to why I multibox. But yeah, I'm with you; I grew up on games like Wizardry and Ultima 3-6, and Bard's Tale and Might and Magic and you always had a stable of characters.

I hate it. I once saw a 4 warlocks being boxed by one person in a Battleground once, it was the most unfair thing I have ever seen in my life. They could pretty much pwn anyone on the map and did just that. If they or rather that single person controlling 4 warlock's wanted to defend a postion, it got defended. The potential for being over powered is more than I think the game should allow.

Meaning, if someone could buy everything they need in the game with real money, would that be fair? How about spending real money for in game money, is that fair as well? Then why should someone with more resources outside the game be given an advantage because they can afford several accounts and several computer stations, is that really fair too?

So put me down as not liking multi boxing please.

Hey Werit and Lars, totally off-topic but if you have access to a Nintendo DS, check out Etrian Odyssey 2 ( It's got that old-school Wizardy thing going, 1st person. step-based exploration and a party of various classes, all of whom you create. Good stuff!

Thanks Pete, alas I do not have a Nintendo DS. Good to see they are still making games like that though.

@oak: PvP multiboxing is not something I approve of either.

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