Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dual Boxing is so last year. Learn to 5 Box, or GTFO.

Ahh, dual boxing. The practice of playing a game on more than one computer simultaneously. It's hardly something new; people have been dragging a healing class around behind them on a 2nd account since the dawn of MMO's. You know it sucks trying to find a pocket priest or druid to follow you around like a puppy all day long just showering you with hitpoints, so why not just play an extra one yourself? It's not very difficult to reach over and hit 5 or whatever every once in a while for a heal, and there are plenty of tools available to make the job even easier. Plus, you get all the loot that drops between 'the two of you', and it's totally legit.

From what I understand, there are plenty of addons for WoW that do a check every 8 nanoseconds or whatever to make sure they are still executing a '/follow Fred'. Other tools like Whispercast can be used extensively. Whispercast allows you to send a whisper to a toon, and it makes a big button pop up on their screen, which they click to cast the spell. During raids, it's handy to be able to "/whisper BobTheDruid MOTW" and he doesn't need to even find me in the group listings. He just hits 'OK' and I get Mark of the Wild. The process cannot be automated to having him cast it for me, or else it becomes botting. As long as he is sitting there clicking YES then Blizzard is totally cool with it.

Another tool for running two toons is an app called Multiplicity.

I use remote desktop functionality on my home server. The server has no monitor, keyboard, or mouse; I dial into it using a program called Radmin that allows me to see the desktop of that box in a window on my main box. I can click the Start button, make folders on the desktop, whatever. Multiplicity takes it a step further in that if you have two monitors, each screen can be a different box, with the mouse sliding seamlessly from one screen to the next. One keyboard and mouse can control two different PCs... just slide the mouse off the edge of one screen onto the next one and hit the 5 key to heal on your priest, slide it back to Charge the next mob on your warrior... back and forth, rinse repeat. I have a buddy named Rorch that had a Rogue main and a Mage alt, and he used to use it. We'd usually take one or the other on a run, but sometimes we'd have an extra slot, and he'd just bring both. He kept it pretty simple (watching sheep, making water or whatever... tossing out a nuke once in a while), but only because playing a rogue is pretty non-stop.

You're paying for two accounts every month. I'd imagine it gets expensive to build two boxes that can keep up with each other, buying an app or two to run the operation, and then just teaching yourself the mentality it takes to remember to keep an eye on both of 'em, and still be using each one effectively. Personally, I wouldn’t get much more complicated than a priest following around a warrior, but that’s just because I’m stupid*.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I stumble across an article on about some fucking fruitbat doing it with 5 accounts at once over on the Magtheridon server. This guy apparently has a priest as his main (Xzin), and 4 mages (Azin, Bzin, Czin, and Dzin) that follow him around. They all look identical, and they all sport rank 13 gear. Look at the picture below, and tell me it doesn’t scream Shit Hot. Imagine seeing these clowns marching towards the little flag your little hunter is ‘defending’ in AB. I imagine it would go something like “Aspect of the Cheetah, Run Away’. Four bubbled mages casting back to back to back to back POM pyroblasts within a half second of each other every 3 minutes? Four sheep at your disposal? A priest on the main toon backing each of them up? Hot Damn.

Personally, I think the guy is crazy, but you gotta admit… you think you’re pretty good on your little mage or whatever? Let me put it this way:

You roll like this:

He rolls like this:

He apparently got the idea from someone in DAoC that called himself Team Wizzy. The Wizzy link will take you to where you can read all about Wizzy, and see Wizzy’s setup. The interviews you can dig up with Xzin are worth a read, but they don’t really go into his setup. He said he’s got 5 identically built machines so that one doesn’t run faster than the others. People have theorized he has a wirless keyboard linked up to 4 extra transcievers, or some custom USB love going on that links one setup to all five boxes. Whatever it is he’s got going, it seems to work.

He gets reported almost every day, but the GMs insist that ‘quin boxing’ is totally legit as long as there’s someone sitting there to push all the buttons to make it go. He even gets random tells from GMs that just want to line up to have his weiner in their mouths for a second.

"Duel" boxing? "Trip" boxing? Aren't there some basic spelling or English comprehension tests involved to becoming a GM, seeing as how you'll spend the day representing Blizzard using chat? The full screenshot is a wonderful peek into a child's mind. At least the mystery to why my fucking GM tickets take so long to be replied to is solved.

When confronted with the inevitable ‘living in mom’s basement’ routine, he just responds with some fluff about ‘being in his early twenties and owning several businesses’. I’m sure it’s none of my business, and I guess if I owned a business and 5 boxed, I wouldn’t advertise which company it was, but the vagueness sounds pretty well honed. On the other hand, I’m sure he’s been asked the same question many times, and maybe just has a canned response for it by now.

At any rate, you have to respect the sheer determination to get something like this to work… some slob with five iMacs and a spindle of Cat-5 wouldn’t be able to do it, so he’s probably got a lot more know-how than a large portion of the subscriber base. He’s obviously not as smart as ME though (duh), but then again… who is?

* - Yeah, I lied about being stupid.

[edit: P.S. Sam Deathwalker (or something)]

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