Monday, November 17, 2008

"RAF" Should Really Be Called "BAA"

Not because "OMG WOW PLAYERS ARE TOTAL SHEEPLE", but because for everyone I've run across doing it (including myself), it was more realistically "Buy Another Account" instead of "Recruit A (n honest-to-God new player) Friend". This is an easy way to grind up an alt (or two at a time), but one has to wonder where the logic in buying an entire second account just for 3x leveling speed is leaving us.

For myself personally, I only roll Horde, and 99% of the time it's an undead female with the exact same skintone, face, and haircut. I just roll "another Isobelle", and pick a new class. For my druid I had to choose a Tauren, which was seriously distressing for a good two hours before I finally just hit go and started grinding. In that case, I actually even named it something different... it was a japanese word for someone who can shapeshift, I don't even remember it now. I ended up xferring servers with it, and changed it to Issobelle because it was weirding me out.

What this all basically means is that 'I've done Brill to death'. Yes, I know you can go to the Orc starting area and begin a new level one there. I've done that too. And the Tauren zone. And the Blood Elf one, too. I even rolled some Alliance Hunter a while back to play with a friend on some PVE server, and Stormwind was interesting for a few levels, but in essence, I would much rather just pay Blizzard the 80 or so dollars a battlechest cost me to buy 4 or 5 premades. They wouldn't need to be in Season 3 epics or anything, I'm just sick of leveling from scratch.

Eventually the day will come when Blizzard gives up on the old world content, and level 55 becomes the new level 1. They've done it with Death Knights, and why wouldn't they? They want rolling a Death Knight to be something fun, not a bleak reminder that the first two continents are basically class trainers, Auction Houses, and nothing else. Until that day, there is Recruit a Friend. Assuming you are like me, and running yourself up an alt, let's look at the process...

1) Set up RAF. Basically, you log into the account you already have, and under Acct Mgmt, you send an email to yourself.

My first account used the name Ramona Quimby on a whim, so I had to make the RAF-ed account use the same name (in both the email AND acct creation, later), so that I could xfer toons off the old account onto the new one. I don't permanently want two accts, and will let the old (non-Wrath) one die eventually. Whatever. Then you just make a new acct using the code from the RAF email, and are good to go. I recommend activating your retail key on the RAF account so you can make it through the fucking queues. >:(

2) pick classes that compliment each other. I've made two sets of alts, and have started actively leveling a Warrior / Priest combo. The other combo will be Mage / Druid. Basically, pick one of what you actually want to play, and then a healer backup. If you intend to play a healer as your new main, use a mage or something for the secondary. You basically want something that can DPS (and take a bit of a beating if needed), and somehting that can stand back and either chuck you heals or pew pew over your shoulder without too much interaction. A class that can rez is golden, because doing one sided corpse runs is lame.

3) Get (and use) KeyClone. It sends keystrokes to multiple copies of WoW, be they running on the same box or on different systems on a LAN. OH BUT IXO! WOAH WOAH WOAH! 3RD PARTY APPS?! AREN'T YOU IN THIS SITUATION IN THE FIRST PLACE FOR GLIDING?! Touche, and point taken, but KeyClone has a very different distinction, and one fully recognized by Blizzard as being legitimate: it won't do anything FOR YOU. You're still pushing the number 4 key, it's just going to two different locations now. Multiboxers use this program, and Blizzard has said on many occasions they support multiboxing as long as no AUTOMATION is taking place. It's also possibel to do this using wireless keyboards synced to multiple PCs, but KeyClone just makes it that much easier.

I personally set up KeyClone to ignore every key except for Shift, Alt, Ctrl, and 1 thru =. I don't know how your keys are bound, but I use a Belkin n52, and have my action bar set to 1thru =, with modifiers for Shift, Alt, and Ctrl. Those 'actions' are what I want sent to the other window. At first I only ignored WASD, but every time I would speak in gchat it came out like:

[Ixobelle]: yeah, me too, that's what I was asking you about earlier
[Izobelle]: yeh, me too, tht' ht I king you bout erlier

it would replicate every key, except WAS & D, and so it would open chat on both terminals, and begin to chat, omitting those four letters. If I opened my bag, they'd both open. It was too much. Since I'm running two copies of WoW on the same box that has two monitors, it's easy for me to drag the mouse over five inches and open the bag 'over there' if I need to. You COULD have it replicate every key (including WASD), but if you turn with your mouse, the other box will keep walking straight, and eventually it's a huge pain in the ass to realign them back up. I *think* you can broadcast mouse clicks and crap too, in which case having like two mages would just be ridiculously tandemized attacks, but I really don't care, and didn't look into it, so there!

My Warrior (Izobelle) is on my main screen, with the Priest (Ixobelle) over to the side, and I've basically got it set up like this (currently level 23 or so).

1 - attack
2 - rend / shadow word pain (dots)
3 - charge / "/assist Izobelle" macro on the Priest
4 - Heroic Strike / Smite (i got another DPS spell for the priest, forget the name)
5 - Hamstring / nothing
6 - nothing / Wand
7 - Revenge / nothing
8 - Taunt / Fade
9 - Sunder / nothing
0 - nothing / "/cast [target=Izobelle] Renew" macro
- - nothing / "/cast [target=Izobelle] Lesser Heal" macro
= - nothing / "/cast [target=Izobelle] Power Word Shield" macro

I also have an extra button on my mouse bound to "/follow Izobelle". The mouse is actually broadcasting a keystroke (tilting the scroll wheel left = "]" set thru my mouse software, Logitech Touchpoint), and I set KeyClone to not ignore that key, so I don't even need to be in the other window to activate it. Tilting the scroll wheel sets the priest to follow Izobelle, and for my Warrior it just does nothing.

... so basically I run up to a mob, and Charge it (having my Priest automatically assist me), rend it (Priest DoTs, too), and start spamming Heroic Strike (with the Priest DPSing, too). The one change I actually made was to have the Priest require CTRL-4 to cast its DPS spell since I found it was out of mana when I needed heals. Now I tend to just charge, rend, and tell the Priest to cast wand until I need a heal. If the Priest needs a heal, I use Clique for spot healing, and just reach over to the other window and heal him while the Warrior continues autoswinging.

You notice there ar ea bunch of buttons where one does something while the other does "nothing". That's by design. I already know how to play a Warrior inside out. I'm not going to need to learn any of his moves. Some of his moves are nice, but are not totally needed for leveling. I'll just use a few choice abilities, and a few from the Priest, and if some of them overlap (rend and shadow word pain) awesome. If not, I'm going to lean towards simple vs 100% effective. It may be kind of sloppy, but I'm not trying to 40 MC alone.

4) choose quests that make use of one toon. "Kill ten rats" are the best. "Loot 12 rare drops" suck. If the drop is common enough, I don't mind doing it, but I'm finding it's hard for me personally to break the habit of just "doing Brill". Each quest gives you 3X XP, so you don't need to grab every quest. I had to force myself to abandon a bunch of quests, and just move on prematurely to the next zone. I also have to remind myself to "loot that dude's head" on both toons, but it's coming easier after a day or two of doing it. Hatch has a good guide up on the process, too, showing where you should be at certain level ranges.

So far so good. I'll keep you guys posted on progress, and what's going on with my Warlock in Northrend, as well.


Hatch said...

Nice idea with the daulboxing keybinding thing. Fighting with both characters at once will get you leveling even faster than I did. I had no previous experience with those programs, so a quick look at what was out there left me with the impression that I would lose more time setting up and learning the program than I would save in leveling. Most mobs died very quickly to even one hunter or warlock anyway. Since you already know how to use it, it should really pay off for you though.

I'm also glad you brought up the fact that you need the new account to be in the same name as your main account so you can transfer your characters over and close down the 2nd account after the 3 months are up (which, btw, is another $50 for Blizz)

And I agree, RAF definitely is BAA. In my first post about RAF, I said:

"I had previously dismissed the program because it just seemed like cynical attempt by Blizzard to wring more money out of you. At 11 million subs, they really must have exhausted every target demographic they can think of, so now they're targeting the only market that they know is a guaranteed sell: all the people who already have subscriptions."

Rich said...

that's the thing, i had no idea how to do it before trying, and it took all of about 3 minutes to set up.

once installed, it already recognized two windows named "world of warcraft" were open on my desktop, and to exclude keys took puching the one "do not pass" button, putting the cursor in a certain window, and just typing QWERTYUIOP ASDFGHJKL etc...

fully functional DL @

i dunno what the demo restrictions are (if any)...

Hatch said...

Nice! Wish I had known that before I leveled. But I will definitely be using it in the future. Instead of paying $20 or whatever each for the character transfers, my girlfriend and I are going to keep the recruited account open and split the cost. This has 2 benefits:

-we can dual-box whenever we want, and play different combinations of the characters more easily (I can sit on my main and monitor guild chat while leveling another character on the same machine, or run myself through an instance with my main). Definitely will try out that program you suggested for this.

-My girlfriend has always wanted a hunter, but hates leveling. I have a 42 troll hunter that I never plan to level. Before, since our accounts are under different names, I couldn't give her the character. Now I essentially can do so by transferring it over to the new account.

Thanks for the tip.

Cap'n John said...

I dual-box with my son's account in Wizard 101 but it's a no-brainer. Semi-turned based combat and basic, cartoonish graphics means running two copies of the same game on one machine and Alt-Tabbing between them is a snap.

I've even duo'd the lowest level Instance with our two toons (max. party size is 4). It helped that my Healer mage is almost 10 levels higher than when you get the quest to defeat that Instance's Boss.

Completely off-topic. I love how clicking the "Continue..." link on your Blog's main page opens that article in a new Tab. Seriously! I'm a multi-Tab surfer so I like to open lots of Tabs as something catches my interest, then read it all at my leisure, and your Blog lets me do that.

Tesh said...

I'm still annoyed that Atlantica Online won't let me run two instances, "multiboxing" on one machine. Its slower paced combat is well suited to wanting to do so, and the Shadow dungeons that almost require multiple players are exceptionally annoying if there's no party to be found and you have to tackle it solo.

I almost did the RAF program as a real, honest and true new player. (Ten day trials notwithstanding.) I wanted to help a friend get a zebra. Even so... I still couldn't justify the cost. If it was a Guild Wars model, I'd be all over it. Subscription? Not so much. It's not about the triple XP and other benefits (nice), it's about my limited playing time.

Hatch said...

Ixo, it's your first stretch of days on the new blog with no posts! Is it Wrath, the baby, or some combination thereof?

By the way, grats on the tyke!

Jerwin said...

My first post here since I feel somewhat obliged to thank you for this well written guide.

I'm returning to WoW to try the latest expansion after being away from the game for a long hiatus and also found myself in the position of starting over from scratch so this RAF dualboxing is exactly what I needed to motivate me to get through vanilla WoW again.

Instead of KeyClone however I use AutoHotKey, a freeware program I had already been using, that will work as long as it only involves one PC. Thanks to a sample script file I found on WoWwiki I was up and running in no time so as of yesterday have begun leveling with a Hunter Duo.

My game time is limited so I don't expect to set any records, but I'm making faster progress and having fun at the same time so I figure that's what matters most.

Great blog btw, as a fellow American gamer living and working in Japan I can empathize a lot with your topics.