Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dual boxing guide

What is Dual Boxing?
Dual boxing is playing two or more characters at one time. You've probably seen characters running around in World of Warcraft following each other and you maybe had the hunch that one person was playing both of them.

Here's another example. You've probably taken your higher level character into a low level zone and saw a high level character just following around a low level character while it does quests maybe helping or healing him when in trouble. It looks like a high level player is helping a low level player and you are jealous that you don't have someone helping you, but you won't be surprised to learn that it's not a someone, it's the same guy he's helping playing both.

Or yet another example, how about the time you got into some PvP action with your level 80 or any character really and you beat 2 or as many as 4 players really easily, and you went off to celebrate thinking you are a really good player. Well, I don't mean to spoil your fun but you probably just killed one person playing 2-4 characters at a time which then makes it really easy for you to pick all four of them off. Don't feel so hot now hey?

People use dual boxing for a ton of different reasons, from making gold doing quests and farming, to soloing old world raid bosses or doing instances, to just plain old using them to protect their low level alts. Either way, you'll be surprised to learn that a large portion of the World of Warcraft player base is already dual boxing and that you are missing out.

So Blizzard recently claimed they had over 11.5 million subscribers, while it may be true that there are 11.5 million accounts, I would say the player base is somewhere from half of that to maybe 75%. At one point all by myself I had 5 accounts!

Why Should I Dual Box?

So why should you dual box?

The better question is why shouldn't you dual box. Yeah it costs extra money every month and you may need a better computer than you currently have, but things can literally go 2x as fast for you in WoW and enable you to do things that you wouldn't be able to do by yourself.

Ever heard of the dragon called Onyxia? Well if you haven't, its a 40 man raid boss from the original World of Warcraft. It used to take 40 or so level 60's to do it, but now with Wrath of the Lich King guess how many you need to beat her? Well, it's been done by just 1 character, usually a Death Knight, but it does take awhile.

What I'm getting at is if you were playing 2 80s you could easily duo her, especially if one was a healer. She drops a decent amount of gold and a bunch of epics and other things you could sell, but it's mostly just for fun. Even better yet, play a third character that IS level 60 and let them get all the loot and use them as a twink in Battlegrounds or something. There are no limits because you become your own group.

How about that alt you started that is having a hard time leveling up? Why not dual box and power level yourself through instances. I often times take my level 80 and group with my other characters and level them in Scarlet Monastery, Zul'Farrak, and more. The experience is less per kill but the speed you're killing at makes the experience you get unobtainable through a regular group.

You can also use your high level to just follow you around and protect you that way you won't get corpse camped as easily. Sometimes I use my other 4 accounts that have level 80s on them and follow around just one of my low level character's in the 30s. Sure I've been attacked before but most of the time I have enough characters to go through to win and think of how many people are staying away from me compared to if I were just there with only a level 30?

Here's an option that's popular too. Bring multiple characters with to do daily quests together. Think of all the quests that require you to kill some enemies that count for the entire group or that require you just to loot a few things. You could finish a daily quest across 2 or more characters without much more effort but still get all the gold for doing dailies

What Do I Need To Dual Box?.
Depending on how high you like your graphics settings will determine what type of computer you need to dual box. Most likely though, if you have a computer that is running WoW fine already then you can just turn off most of the graphics and run a second copy. To run 2 copies of World of Warcraft with any amount of graphics on will require you to have a much better computer.

My computer's specs that I've used to 4 box before are, 6GB of Ram DDR2 800mhz, 512MB Geforce 8600GTS, and an AMD Dual Core Processor 4600+ @ 2.41GHZ.

Now if you don't know what all that means I will translate it for you. My computer is 2 years old and it's kind of okay, but its by far not the best computer out there, there are already 9000 series graphics cards and even newer than that they've made it into the 100 series and 200 series at the time of this writing. So my graphics card is not even close to the best, my processor is old it's only a dual core, and my ram is also not as fast as it could be, although I have a lot, I usually dual box from a 32bit operating system so all of my ram doesn't even get used. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say...

Anyone with 2GB of ram, a graphics card similar to mine, and a processor similar to mine will be able to dual box, but like I said, no guarantees.

The other important factor is, you need at least 2 accounts, or as many accounts as you want, but you need an account for each copy of WoW that you are going to open up. You can't run 2 characters off the same account, that's not what this is about doing. So that's another $15/mo subscription, but you'll be getting the most out of the time you spend on WoW.

I prefer to run dual monitors too but it is perfectly acceptable to run it off one, I did it for many years. I explain optimal setups below.

You will also want to be running WoW in Windowed Mode. See the next section if you don't know what that means.

Windowed Mode
To dual box efficiently you'll want to run World of Warcraft in Windowed Mode, you can do it in full screen but switching between screens can take longer and sometimes even a second delay can get you killed depending on what you are doing. So keep WoW running in Windowed Mode while you dual box and the switch will be almost instantly when you want to switch between screens. Here is how you can put it into Windowed Mode.







Optimal Setups for Dual Boxing
As I said above, I play on dual monitors because I can actively monitor what is going on at all times for each character and easily access each of the characters' screens. When you start 4 boxing will probably really want dual monitors, unless you have a super huge LCD because you will probably want to keep all 4 screens up at the same time which means you'll have to make each one smaller. So I do 2 on each screen or sometimes 1 big one on the left and 3 smaller ones on the right. Below are some screenshots to show you how you can setup your configurations.

This is the best configuration for dual or multi-boxing.



This is probably the second best setup if you don't have two screens.
All you do here is grab any corner of your WoW window and shrink it down just like any window on your computer. Then you slightly overlay or you don't even have to do that you can make them small enough so both of them are able to be seen at the same time. It might be hard to see if you have a smaller monitor but this is a good way to make sure you have quick access to both accounts at the same time.



This is the alternate way if you can't do or don't like any of the two above.

This way isn't bad to do with two full screen windows on top of each other, you just lose visibility on one screen at all times but it's doable.



Dual Boxing Macros
This isn't a macro guide, but I want to give you a basic understanding of what type of acros are efficient in this setup and give you an idea of how to create your own custom macros. These are going to be basic things.

How to Create a Macro
Some people who read this guide aren't going to be able to create macros. If you know how to do this then skip this section.







Basic Maneuverability Macros
The first macro you want goes on the character you aren't going to be playing the most and it is.

/target whatevercharacter
/follow whatevercharacter

Let's say I have two characters, Fred and Bill. Fred is the character I'm going to be playing the most, so on Bill's hotbar I'm going to create a macro called follow and type this into the macro box: /follow Fred. When you're dual boxing your characters will come off of follow for random things and it's very convenient and easy to make a macro so all you have to do to get Bill to follow Fred again is to switch screens and press the number on your hotbar, say 1 for example, and it will put him back on follow.

Basic Action Macros

Remember the following commands because they will be useful when creating macros to help automate your play.

/target
/cast
/assist

Most of your macros will use these type of commands. For example, let's say the character you are boxing is a mage, so you want to create a macro that will assist your main character and cast a nuke.

The command would look like this:

/assist charactername
/cast whateverspell

Let's say that you are boxing a healer, it can be easy to lose targets so you may be casting heals on the wrong character and not realizing it. The way to solve this is to do something like this.

/target characteryouwanttoheal
/cast healspellofyourchoice

Also if you have any macros you like to spam all you have to do is add /assist maincharacter to the top of any of these macros to make them target the same enemy before they begin doing whatever it is you're telling them to do in the macro.

Keyclone
Keyclone is a piece of software that you can buy that will link applications together. For example, you could configure Keyclone so that when you press 1 on your hotbar it sends it to all your wow screens. So all your wow screens will hit 1 when you hit 1.

I'm not entirely sure it's legal to use in World of Warcraft. It's not a hack or cheat and you're not modifying the game. All it's doing is emulating your keystrokes to go across multiple copies of WoW, but use this program at your own risk.

This is a common tool that multi-boxers use, it was designed just for them, so it wouldn't really be a good Dual Boxing Guide if I didn't mention it.

However, I am not affiliated in anyway with Keyclone, so use at your own risk.

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Conclusion
Dual boxing can be very beneficial for a variety of reasons that were listed above. It may be hard at first but if you setup your macros, characters, and computer properly it will come as easy as playing one character. Below are some resources that can hep you further your dual boxing career

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