Multiboxing is a term used to denote one user playing multiple accounts simultaneously. This can be done using one or more machines. Solutions exist for both the PC and Mac. There are also solutions for using both PC and Mac at the same time. The following pages contain more detailed information than presented here, Multiboxing hardware, Multiboxing software, and Multiboxing macros.
For some players there is not enough challenge in playing only one character at a time. Others look to recreate the feel of old time Computer Role Playing Games where a well designed team was used to adventure together. There are also some who don't want to rely on others to play the game when one character is not enough.
NOTE: Posting to Blizzard's Customer Service Forum to debate the 'legality' of Multiboxing is likely to result in a swift threadlock. The topic has been discussed numerous times before. Please refer to the following threads, linked from the Customer Service Compendium sticky discussing the legality - Bots in BG Multiboxing, rules, and semantics, and finally, an explanation as to why it is not automation. If you wish to see a change in Blizzard policy, please post to Blizz's WoW Suggestions Forum.
Terms of ServiceEdit
The multiboxing solutions documented here do not violate Blizzard's EULA for the World of Warcraft game. None of the solutions modified game files, programs, or interferes with the data stream between the World of Warcraft Client or Server. See the Additional Resources section of this page for links to discussions with World of Warcraft Game Masters on this subject.
Depends on how far you take it. Many computers today are quite capable of running multiple copies of the game simultaneously. Given the low system requirements it is very possible to run five copies at one time on some machines. Some of the solutions provided involve multiple machines and additional support hardware. Depending on how reliable you want your setup to be and how many accounts you wish to run simultaneously will determine your final costs. A single box solution is the cheapest route, a multibox solution the most expensive yet offers better protection from the standpoint that if the machine your playing on crashes you can quickly switch to another and continue playing.
How complex of a solution do you want? A software-only solution using one machine and multiple copies of the game is pretty straightforward. For many, the real complexity is in writing macros that allow each character to function properly in the group. Because characters are sharing hotkeys, a lot of care must be put into what effects each hotkey activates. The end result is that you can become very knowledgeable in using the game's Macro language and available Addons.
This section will cover the basics of multiboxing. While hardware and software requirements will be mentioned, more extensive detail will be found on either of the following two pages Multiboxing Hardware Requirements and Multiboxing Software Requirements
You will need to purchase the game, and depending on needs the expansion as well, for each account you wish to run simultaneously.
A minimum of one installation of the game software must be present on each computer.
A single installation directory can be used to open multiple instances of the game client. It is not necessary to have multiple WoW directories on a machine to run multiple WoW Windows.
The single directory installation option saves hard drive space and simplifies setup and maintenance of your user interface and add-ons.
Some users prefer to maintain several copies of the game files on one computer. It is widely believed that multiple installations of the game client will improve performance, however this is only partly true. Multiple installations will improve performance only if each installation is on a different physical drive.
If the multiple directory method of installation is chosen you will need to maintain add-ons and user interface changes for each installation separately.
Users of Mac computers can symbolic link the Data directory to save space when running multiple copies on one machine.
Users of Windows XP or newer with NTFS can use Junction Links for the same effect, but have to resort to a third party program (e.g. Junction Link Magic).
To run two or more copies on the same machine, it is recommended that it contain a dual core processor, discrete 3d graphics accelerator, and at least one gigabyte of memory. Additional copies on the same machine will require faster processors and more memory. When using multiple machines, try to keep all of them identical.
Key/mouse broadcasting softwareEdit
There are multiple methods of broadcasting keystrokes from one client to another, either on the same machine or across multiple machines.
Mouse broadcasting is the method from which you use and activate your mouse from 1 main game window and it has reflected actions upon other game windows. While this is not needed for all forms of multiboxing, it is a boon to those who play Mage / Warlock / Druid classes due to the requirement those classes have to target area-of-effect type of spells.
Keyboard, Video, and Mouse, switches (KVMs for short) are an option when using multiple machines. A Vetra Keyboard Multiplexer is one example for controlling multiple machines. Additional monitors may also be needed, note that the the secondary characters do not need to be on large monitors and there benefits with using smaller monitors to view their actions.
Some of the choices you make are strictly within the game. From server type, character types, to the races of the characters.
PvE or PvPEdit
Player versus EnvironmentEdit
Player versus Environment is the easy solution. Even if the eventual goal is to play on a Player versus Player server getting practice with multiboxing will be much easier on the PvE server. PvE is very forgiving. Events are scripted, generally start when you start them, and allow for as many tries as you want.
Player versus PlayerEdit
Player versus Player is dynamic, as such you do not always control what happens or when it happens. PvP is intolerant of latency and many software options will not work well enough, so it is suggested to use a hardware solution. It will also require more advance macros and more thought put into contingency plans that would never be needed for PvE.
Scout out the server and see what kind of ratio it has. Is it an old server or a new one? Old servers tend to have established PvP and knowledgeable players. It can be harder to find groups, not an issue if you are five boxing, and they tend to have a more vibrant auction system and economy. All told, go with an established server over a new one.
Class selection. This depends on both your playstyle and the type of server you play on. For the ability to heal and dish out burst damage choose a Priest and four Mages. Other options are to replace the Mages with Warlocks, replace the Priest with another healer class like a Druid, Shaman, or even a Paladin. A very popular one-class choice is to have multiple Shamans. Due to the macros, one set of shamans in a battleground can simultaneously cast Chain Lightning, which can effectively destroy even the hardiest of twinks. Due to game mechanics picking two classes is far easier to deal with than using three or more classes. Even if five different classes is more appropriate being able to direct it is another issue. It comes down to how consistent the actions between the classes are and how the hotkeys can best be shared between them. When you are beginning multiboxing it is recommended to limit the number of classes.
Some consideration of racial abilities for PvP is warranted. Undead have Will of the Forsaken which breaks Fear which is very bad when grouped up. Other good racial abilities are the Tauren Warstomp and Blood Elf who have the ability chain two second silence effects. Race selection also limits class selection so some choices will not be available regardless.
Believe it or not, the names you pick for your characters make a difference. By picking logical names you will be quicker to react and it will be easier to tell your characters apart.
An example, where you have four Mages and one Priest. Choose a unique multi-letter name and then prefix it to identify which character is which. Naming the first four characters mynameA, mynameB, mynameC, and mynameD, makes it easy to remember they are the the mages, whereas naming the priest mynameX provides enough distinction to separate him out. Why the last letter? Simple in PvP your opponent could say /target A and get the first character whose name starts with an A! You could also name them for their role in the party. Recognition of which character is which will come over time, using a naming strategy speeds up the process.
Conversely, if PvP is your primary objective, you may wish to pick names that all sound alike so that opponents using voice communication (e.g. Ventrilo) cannot easily designate one of your targets. Changing letter combinations (e.g. Aellii, Aellei, Aellie, Aelli) or substituting certain vowels (e.g. Boylston, Boylstun, Boylsten) may cause a slight delay in one of your characters being focused-fired upon in an Arena.
Play area layoutEdit
Once again, this small detail makes a difference. If you run 5 or 6 monitors, I strongly suggest some logical order to how your characters are arranged and which computer runs which character. Your "main" is generally in the middle and the secondaries flank your main to either side. My personal choice is A in the lower left, B upper left, C upper right and D lower right. Clockwise with X in the lower middle. The upper middle is for browsing the internet, looking up quests, vent, etc. My key arrangement mirrors this and the X-Keys Desktop and Pro are perfect for this kind of setup as they have 8 keys wide and 5 vertical. Making your physical interface as intuitive as possible will speed the learning process and make far more logical sense when playing.
If you choose the hardware method the hard part is paying for it all. You will need four identical machines. Literally, identical machines, down to the revision numbers on the components. I build my own machines but buying them is certainly an option. This project, done at its most basic hardware level, will cost $4280, not counting tax and shipping. Done right, it will push $5k, plus monthly fees. Depending on your perspective, this may be a lot of money. Nobody ever said multiboxing at this level was cheap but I can certainly think of far more expensive hobbies.
Powerleveling does not really work in WoW, so leveling up is tricky if you already have a level 60 or 70 and want to add more characters. The best way to level is to level them all at the same time. You can do so with questing alone, questing and instances or just instances. Questing is a good bet as the experience is great, the mobs are easy and you get faction. However, you will want to avoid every single collection quest as you will need to do them five times. Not fun. I personally suggest instance grinding. Elites give great experience and about the time you get tired of an instance, you level out of it. The only downside is the time wasted learning the instance and at the lower levels, learning just how to multibox. One solution to the issue of learning of the instance is to download a dungeon map addon, so that you may become familiar with the dungeon you will be constantly running.
Usually constrained to arranging the bars as you need them and letting you view the state of each of your characters. Pitbull and Bartender are two very good mods.
There are button mods out there that allow you to physically represent the buttons you have on your X-keys on your UI. There are even some out there that will change the buttons when you hold down your alt modifier key.
You will likely want to set it so that you cannot move the windows on your "secondary" machines. If you move one, they get desynched and clicking on them with your wireless mouse will not activate all of them.
There are quest accepting macros out there. They work pretty well for accepting quests on the "secondary" characters. Right click, hit the quest accept macro and you are done. Sharing quests is another way to do this but not every quest can be shared.
This macro will make your pet attack your current target if you have a target. Otherwise, it will attack the focus target. For example, if you have multiple warlocks and assign each one a target, their corresponding pets will attack those targets or assist your main and attack your main's target instead.
/petattack /stopmacro [target=target, exists] /petattack [target=focustarget]
What happens when my main dies?Edit
You need to setup your macros to allow for transitioning to another "main". This will mean physically moving to another mouse and changing your /assists or /focus to another character. This is doable with custom LUA scripts or simply a dedicated keyboard (or X-Key). I will leave that up to you - usually when my priest dies, I am out of mana and going down anyway. Often times it is faster to do this in battlegrounds as you rez with nearly full mana and health - but there are times when you will need to continue fighting and not just stand there. It took me quite a while to figure this one out - and I will leave this to you.
Xzin of Magtheridon (Xzin, Azin, Bzin, Czin, Dzin)Edit
My name is Xzin and I am (to the best of my knowledge) the only serious 5 boxer who was highly successful in PvP before the first WoW expansion came out. The reason for this is simple. I designed my setup from the beginning to support ultra low latency, maximum spell synergy and high burst damage dealing. Everything I did was carefully chosen to maximize my DPS and reaction times - even if there were other, slower or less reliable methods available. I took great pains to design a system that would work for me from the ground up and I had the resources to make it happen. Building bits and pieces will work but nothing is as good as doing it all at the same time with the exact same hardware.
While I am not the first person ever to box (people were doing it in Dark Age of Camelot http://www.teamwizzy.com and other prior MMORPGs such as EverQuest and the like), I achieved rank 13 on all five characters at the same time and am well known on my server and battlegroup as a player who knows how to play and was nothing to sneeze at in PvP. At times, I have singlehandedly changed the course of AVs and was able to "solo" every 5 man dungeon - with only cloth characters and a single healer.
Below, I present my views on multiboxing and lay out a guide to what I did and where I obtained my hardware. My focus was PvP from the beginning and I never started with two or three characters and expanded to five. I started with one, decided the game was too boring that way and moved straight to five. Not to sound egotistical but if there was a better way to do this, I certainly would love to know. Seriously. I would like to add it to my setup. Lastly, my setup is expensive. There are somewhat cheaper ways to do what I have done but not too many corners can be cut. Be prepared to lay out at least $5,000 or more to do this seriously. The setup I have listed below should be considered the bare minimum needed to do this. If you have decided that this is what you want to do - great. Read on. If not then well.... go back to playing normally or dual boxing. There is to the best of my knowledge no way to do this (well) for under two or three thousand US dollars.
So you want to four box (or more?) WoW? This is a serious decision and needs to be thought about BEFORE purchasing hardware or setting things up. To be done successfully, first identify your target goals. Do you want to PvE, requiring a more balanced group and a less time critical interface, or PvP, which requires maximum flexibility with somewhat more limited class selections, minimal latency and the full gamut of specialized hardware?
Hopefully you are coming across this guide as a Wiki. If so, please feel free to modify it and improve upon it. I am sure there is more that I could add here but I eventually tired of spelling this all out. I spent literally months figuring all of this out and quite a bit of money deciding on what works and what does not. I hope that the community will add on to this and potentially come up with something better. If nothing else, I hope this guide helps you out and makes your five boxing that much easier to do. Make sure you understand why you are doing things the way you are doing though - I set this up for myself and I know how it all fits together. Your success will depend greatly upon your ability to thoroughly understand your setup and improve upon it.
Before you begin, please be aware that increasing capabilities of graphics cards, processors, software drivers and software utilities are making it possible to multibox two (or potentially more) copies of WoW on a single machine with the same feature sets as my hardware method, described below. I am still a bit new to those options so I will not speak to them just yet, but I have tested a "low" high end processor (around $180) dual core system with a 8600 GT graphics card and 2 gigs of ram - running around the bank gives 55+ fps on both screens (minimum settings, except terrain distance, which is set to max) at a resolution of 1600 x 1280 per account. So, the hardware is able to make it happen without making huge FPS sacrifices (yes, I know you can play at 20 fps with huge graphics lag spikes but that is not acceptable for PvP). The hard part is how to send two mice to two copies of WoW on the same computer as well as broadcasting keyboard entry. If I am able to figure out how to do this, I would be able to theoretically use 6 computers to control 10 accounts.... meaning I can shave off $2000 of computer costs as well as remove the need for as many (possibly any) Vetras or KVMs. The only downside is this DOES require the use of "third party" programs. I cannot make any statement as to if Blizzard would consider banning somebody for using these programs but the fact that it has to hook into mouse and keyboard functions does put it in the "somewhat gray area' category. That said though, many other drivers, common network admin utilities and other simple things like the G15 keyboard do the exact same thing..... and none of the programs are bots or in anyway automate gameplay in a way to allow unattended gaming. I suppose Autohotkey could be scripted but then again I am not sure exactly how that would help you.... it is not like you could walk away and smash face in the BGs or have your character leveled for you. You still need to send input to the keyboard and move the mouse around.
If you are going to four box, you might as well five box. You get the ability to run your own group, can enter 5v5 Arenas, fill out an entire group yourself and the hardware costs are not too much greater to buy five over four. I personally suggest going for all five instead of four but you can work with four. However, if you are going to do four (about $850 more), you might consider only doing three. You get the benefits of being able to do a 3v3 arena team and three is much less complex than four.
- Community forums
- Dual Boxing Forums
- French Dual Boxing Forums
- Mutliboxing Forums
- Dual-Boxing Wiki
- French guide about software, macro and hardware
- Vyndree's Guide to Guides
- WoW Insider Interview with Xzin
- Multiboxing to Level 80 Nirvana
- Game Theory
- Sirlin Game Design Theory
- GM Conversations
- V-boxing Multiboxing FAQ including official blue forum post links
- Dual-Boxing.com GM Conversation links
- Xzin GM Conversation
- Blizzard recent post on subject
- Mousecloner.com GM conversations and Blizzard forum postings
- Toxicmoon also known as Bradster. A five box gamer that has released many boxing videos. Two of his PvP videos was placed in the feature moved section of the popular site Warcraft Movies.
- Dual-Boxing.com video links
- Xzin Video #1
- Xzin Video #2
- Ellay 2k Arenas
- Konnichiwa - S4 Arenas
- V-boxing Videos
- Multiboxing Live and archived
- WeMultibox Multiboxing Blogging Community
- Konnichiwa Blog - (5xShaman)
- Æbox - (5xShaman)
- Captns Log - WoW
- Q Cyber Shop - WoW
- Lightning Overload (4xShaman)
- Team Wizzy - DAoC
- The Twenty Totems of Argent Dawn (5xShaman)
- Vyndree's V-boxing Blog (5xShaman, 1xPaladin, 1xPriest)
- Dual-boxing.com blog links