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Multiboxing WoW Edit

Please note, page is currently being broken down into multiple articles. Multiboxing Hardware Requirements Multiboxing Software Requirements Multiboxing Addons and Macros


The Basic Idea Edit

Using the Multibox software to run multiple copies of WoW at once.

Why Multibox? Edit

The Basics Edit

Hardware Edit

  • Vetra Keyboard Multicaster
  • X-Keys
    • Stick
    • Pro
    • Desktop
  • KVMs
  • Nostromo N52
  • G15 Keyboard

Software Edit

EULA Issues Edit

Tips and Tricks Edit

Dual Boxing Edit

What Is It? Edit

Dual Boxing Guides Edit

Xzin's Dual Boxing How To FAQ Edit

So you want to know how to Dual Box World of Warcraft? Perhaps you get tired of never getting heals, you want twice the firepower or simply get bored of playing "only" one character. If so, then this FAQ is for you.

Getting Started Edit
How do I even get started multiboxing?
Simple. If you try running two copies of WoW, the game will crash. This trips a lot of people up. It does so because you can't store all of the games information in files that would change from copy to copy (settings, macros, etc). So the simple solution is to copy your ENTIRE WoW directory (all 7.5 gigs or so). Rename it something that makes sense, like World of Warcraft Box 2 and then copy the shortcut to the desktop. Launch it just like you would the other copy. Leave the WoW.exe file alone. You now have two copies of WoW running on a single machine.
What hardware requirements are there?
Fortunately, WoW is a pretty light game when it comes to needing the latest and greatest hardware. You can run two copies of WoW at acceptable framerates on a single core processor. Make sure if you are going to dual box on a single machine that you have AT LEAST a gig of ram and you take special notice to your graphics settings. No need to go crazy here - set them to the minimum first and see how playable it is for you. WoW will even run well enough on a laptop with an integrated graphics card - but don't expect to be able to dual box on a single machine this way as the video card will not be powerful enough on any laptop with a normal integrated graphics card. On a desktop system, dual cores are perfect as Windows will automatically assign each copy to a dedicated processor. Your choice of a video card is important. I highly suggest nVidia for their windows and linux support and certain features that ATI/AMD just do not offer. In short, if you have either single computers that each can run WoW on their own - OR a dual core system with at least a gig of ram, an nVidia 6 series (6600 GT, 6800, etc) video card then you have the basics of what it takes hardware wise to multibox.
How expensive is it?
You can go as far as you would like, but strictly speaking any computer (even a decent laptop) will work as a second computer. With the right configuration and programs, no extra hardware is required.
Is Dual Boxing Legal?
Without getting into the EULA argument as to whether or not violating a EULA (if a EULA even holds up) is "breaking the law" - the short answer is that dual boxing is perfectly fine. In fact, once you start dual boxing you become Blizzards best customer. Think about it - you increase their subscriber numbers, you double what you pay them each month and you have to buy two copies of the expansion. As long as you avoid using bots or obvious third party programs then you will/should be fine. I can make no promises as they can ban anybody for literally any reason they choose but I have been multiboxing 5 characters for over two years now and despite being reported dozens if not hundreds of times by misinformed alliance, no action has been taken against any of my accounts.
What quirks will I come across?
The biggest one is the way nVidia handles multiple DirectX/OpenGL games running on separate monitors. I highly suggest a wide screen monitor with at least 1680 x 1050 resolution if you want to run two copies of WoW on a single machine. In my experience, frame rates suffer significantly when you run two games in a window on separate heads of the same video card. Running them on the same head (port) of the same video card works fine. As an example, on my quad core system with three 8800GTX video cards, WoW runs at a constant 60 fps (its capped). When I run a second instance on the same port, it stays at 60 and the new WoW also stays at 60. When I move one of the screens across to the other port, (on the same video card) then the framerate drops to the low 30s on both copies of WoW. This is despite being literally the top consumer graphics card you can buy right now. This might be a driver issue isolated to the 8800 series but somehow I doubt it. If you can afford one of the 24, 27 or 30" widescreen monitors - those are perfect for running two copies of WoW from. The 24 and the 27" models also include a picture by picture option, enabling you to run a second computers output and display two computers (two copies of WoW) on one monitor, side by side - in case you want to upgrade to that later. Note that the 30" does not offer this option.

Running two copies of WoW on two computers will completely bypass this problem.


So how do I send keys to two copies of WoW running on a single machine?
This used to be impossible to do but with the advent of dual core processors and better graphics cards it is now quite possible. Simply use an open source program called AutoHotkey. You can read more about it here: http://www.dual-boxing.com/forums2/viewtopic.php?t=17

AutoHotKey is an application that allows you to send a keystroke to more than 1 client on the same PC.

http://www.autohotkey.com/

For those planning on dual-boxing with just 1 PC this is the application for you. Being able to push keystrokes on 1 screen and it sending the same to the other greatly enhances the effectiveness.

Although it does take a bit to set up, this is an example of setting up the "2" key to be sent to both World of Warcraft clients.
WinGet, wowid, List, World of Warcraft

~2::
KeyWait 2
IfWinActive, World of Warcraft
{
  ControlSend,, 2, ahk_id %wowid1%
  ControlSend,, 2, ahk_id %wowid2%
  Return
}

If you would like a pre-made AutoHotKey script that broadcasts nearly all keystrokes, you can download it here. (Created by Zanthor of Blackhand.)


How do I send commands only to one computer or WoW instance?
Setup your macros such that one instance of WoW has non overlapping macros. For example, if you normally press 1 to cast a fireball but you are also dual boxing a warlock, you would want to change the warlocks casting bar to perhaps alt 1. That way you can avoid overlap and only cast the spells you want.
Ok, I have two computers and I am running WoW on both. But I want to be able to use the same mouse and keyboard. Can I do that?
Yes, you sure can. Use an open source utility called Synergy.

Synergy, an open source software application that allows you to control multiple PC's through TCP/IP (your network).

http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/

http://ultrashare.net/hosting/fl/97c36687b0/ (includes Broadcasting of Keystrokes, tested and approved)

I personally use this application and love its functionality. Allows you to seamlessly transition from 1 PC to another simply by moving your mouse to that screen or through the use of hotkeys. Once you've moved over to another PC your keyboard and mouse have complete functionality.

Each PC does require it's own monitor, it just enables you to control all with 1 keyboard and mouse. Setup time does take a bit, but is well worth the time spent.

Synergy by default does not handle mouse look very well. It makes you spin around so fast that you can't use the mouse to move your character by default. But there is a simple fix for that that involves changing a few options.

See: http://www.dual-boxing.com/forums2/viewtopic.php?t=392

Software, Hardware Requirements Edit

Triple Boxing Edit

What Is It? Edit

A Guide to Triple Boxing Edit

Software, Hardware Requirements Edit

Four or More Boxing Edit

What Is It? Edit

4+ Boxing Guides Edit

High End World of Warcraft Multiboxing - Five (or More) Characters at Once Edit

By Xzin - Magtheridon (Xzin, Azin, Bzin, Czin, Dzin)

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.

PvE or PvP? Edit

In general, PvE is far more forgiving than PvP. Each event is scripted, it starts when you start it and you can try the same boss dozens of times. While I still strongly suggest the hardware only route, if you ONLY want to PvE then software solutions may work for you and save you a few hundred dollars. PvP is dynamic. You never know what you will be up against and you will need to respond appropriately to everything you can imagine. PvP is intolerant of latency (even from keyboard only KVM switching) and many software options will not work well enough to PvP with. You will need more advanced macros and will need to think about and plan for contingencies that PvE will never throw at you.

Server Selection Edit

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. Server choice of PvE or PvP is up to you but I prefer to PvP so the choice for me was clear. Remember, you can always move to a PvE server from a PvP but not the other way around - so if in doubt, go PvP.

Class Selection Edit

I am a bit biased and I mainly built my setup to PvP so my class selection was based around the ability to dish out burst damage and stay alive. Hence my choice of 1 priest (aoe healing, stam buffs, flash heals, trinkets break poly/fear, shields, fear and dot heals) and 4 mages (AoEs, PoM/Pyros, instant cast DDs, portals, poly + counterspell x 4, water, range damage, etc). Other viable PvP builds are 1 priest and 4 warlocks, 5 shamans and possibly 5 priests. PvE builds are varied. It would be possible to run a holy trinity group (tank, healer, dps dps dps) without too much difficulty. Warrior, Priest, Warlock x3 or Warrior, Priest, Mage x3 would be a good choice as would 4x shamans and 1x warrior but in general the more classes the harder and more complex everything gets. Due to the game mechanics, picking two classes is easier to deal with than five separate ones, even if five separate ones would in theory be the better choice. In essence, I two box a priest and mages. I simply send spell commands to all four mages and setup the priest macros to ignore the mage ones and visa versa. This works great - but adding another class would make things unbearably complex for a beginner and would make things quite challenging for me.

Race Selection Edit

In my opinion there is only one race to pick. Undead. They have Will of the Forsaken. WOTF breaks fear. Fear is really bad when you are grouped up. Dwarfs might be a good bet but who wants to cast fear ward all the time? In my personal opinion the only real choice is male of female characters and what they look like. If you pick Tauren, you can chain Warstomps and if you pick Blood Elf, you can chain 2 second stuns (although both have diminishing returns). Of course, doing so you will lose WOTF and limit your class selection. If you want to get really fanatical about your characters, make them all look the same like I did with the Zins. It makes them blend in a bit better when they are all standing on one spot.

Spell shadow raisedead

Will of The Forsaken Edit

Will of the Forsaken (Racial) Instant 2 min cooldown Provides immunity to Charm, Fear and Sleep while active. May also be used while already afflicted by Charm, Fear or Sleep. Lasts 5 sec.

Naming Edit

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. I personally choose Azin, Bzin, Czin and Dzin for my mages names because they are easy to tell which is which. Xzin is my priest - nobody is going to confuse X with the first few letters. Some people choose A,B,D,E as their secondary characters and C as their main, or A,B,C,D as their secondaries and E as their main. The choice is up to you, as long as you are able to differentiate which is which then go for it. I don't personally see why E,F,G,H and Z could not work - but it just seems to make sense to make this as easy as possible. You will have enough going on as it is and fast and accurate recognition of who needs healing when is critical.

Physical Layout Edit

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.

Getting Started Edit

Ok, so you have the idea and the names and you know how many characters you want to box and a basic idea of if you want to PvE or PvP. Now comes the hard part. 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.

Computers Edit

If you decide to build, I suggest a MicroATX motherboard (that supports ELECTRICAL x16 PCI-E - a lot ONLY support 1x electrical but 16x physical - a big problem!), a single or dual core AMD (cheaper but still beefy) processor, at least 1 gig of memory, an 80 gig hard drive, cases, power supplies, an nVidia 6600 GT or better (avoid 6200, 7200s, etc and avoid all built in video cards).

You will need four of these machines, assuming you already have a box that is at least as beefy as these. I ran Xzin on some pretty fast hardware and the Zins on slightly slower hardware. If money is not an issue then buy five identical machines and defragment regularly and you should see them load at nearly the exact same time. Put solid state hard drives in there and short of latency, everything should match up perfectly. You can take this as far as you want to go (and spend as much as you can possibly spend) but MicroATX boards with a solid video card and processor will run WoW at optimum framerates with decent quality and max sight distance. Period. ATX mobos or top of the line systems are just icing. I may be willing to spend a lot more than the average person on WoW (as will you if but not for monthly subscription costs alone) but I am also practical. Each "bare bones" system will run approximately $500 or $2000 for four systems. You can skimp a lot and get a system for about $100 less, but I don't suggest skimping too much.

Total Cost - $2000 Running total cost - $2000.

Monitors Edit

LCD Monitors are dirt cheap these days. Do not go CRT. Any 15 - 17" monitor will work perfectly. If you want a larger monitor for the center screen that is perfectly fine but WoW can be played fine on 17" monitors and anything bigger will make it very hard to monitor your "secondary" characters as they will be out of your peripheral vision. So when one gets rooted, sapped, feared etc - you will likely not even know it. You can get a solid 17" monitor for $150. I highly suggest getting ones with as small a bezel as possible to enable them to be placed as close as possible to each other. Response time is a personal preference but nearly any 17" LCD these days is more than sufficient for your purposes.

Total Cost - $600 Running Total - $2600

Monitor Mounts Edit

You have three options here. The best option (and most expensive) is to purchase an Ergotron DS100 triple monitor arm. If you want to mount six monitors (one for websites, email, vent, etc) then buy their 24" pole, triple monitor mount and either a desk stand or desk clamp mount. Then just mount your bottom monitors using their existing stands and save some money. They have newer options that articulate and you can certainly get two triple arms if you wish but each triple arm runs about $200. These are on ebay all the time and are rock solid - I highly suggest buying used and saving a hundred bucks or so. You may (probably will) need to buy a 24" pole to go along with the triple arm. These are fairly cheap. If you cannot find one (the DS100 line has been discontinued but parts abound still) then go to http://www.onlinemetals.com and buy a 24" 1.5" aluminum TUBE (not pipe). With as thick a wall as you feel comfortable with. I suggest at least 1/8". Pipe does not have a 1.5" OD (outer diameter). The ergotrons all use 1.5" OD circular tubing.

Triple Ergotron DS 100 with Freestanding Mount


The second option is to build your own array. See (http://www.plastk.net/highres/24mon/) for an idea. Most monitors are 75 or 100mm VESA mounts. You can build your own array our of some cheap MDF board and some screws at your local home improvement store if you have the tools to do so. This is simple, cheap and easy to reconfigure. If you want plans, go make them yourself. I bought Ergotrons.

[1]

The last option is the Ellay option. [2]

He simply put his top monitors on boxes. They are recessed back a bit but hey - it works.

I DO NOT suggest a setup like these:

[3]

The monitors and keyboards are so spread out that watching them all is impossible. Reaction time will be seriously slow due to needing to physically move around to each machine. The only positive I see about this setup is the U shaped desk. Something I highly suggest.

[4] Sorry Noc, but your setup right now does not have the ability to quickly see your secondary characters and you are unable to monitor their status with your peripheral vision.

[5] Jay - I have no idea how you managed to PvP with this setup. I sense this desk is a common theme for some of you guys but it is a horrible desk to multibox with! If you have to swivel in your seat to monitor another character, you will not be able to react fast enough in PvP.

Total Cost - $250 Running Total - $2850

Controls Edit
Vetra Keyboard Multicaster Edit

In my experience there are a few hardware choices you need to make to actually control your characters. You will need two Vetra keyboard broadcasters. These will allow you to take the output of a single machine and send it to multiple computers. Make sure you match this with a PS/2 keyboard. USB is too difficult to multicast and is not a good option here. This rules out the use of the Nostromo N52, Ergodex DX1, the Logitech G15 and other USB only keyboards. Each Vetra Keyboard Broadcaster (VIP-844-BC) costs $200. To control four total boxes, you need one. To control five, you will need two. They will make you a custom model if you ask and delivery is usually within two weeks but I do not have a quote. They are usually pretty reasonable though. You will also need the PS/2 cables. I highly suggest http://www.monoprice.com. Their cables are solid, CHEAP and just work. Make sure you pick up a single short male to male PS/2 cable to link the two Vetras together as well as the five male to male PS/2 cables to connect from the Vetra's outputs to the computers.

[img]http://vetra.com/844back.jpg[/img]

Total Cost - $400 Running Total - $3250

Keyboard / Mouse KVM Edit

I highly suggest SOME form of a KVM, if only to switch from sending keystrokes to every machine to your main computer. Vetras are top notch, enterprise level units. The VIP-802-KM is what you need to send input to all or one machine. If you want to go further, and be able to send keystrokes to any single machine, you will need Y-Mice for each machine. You only need the KM option, saving some money over a full KVM - which also sends video. You just need to send the keyboard data (and perhaps mouse). KVMs switch far too slow. You need a dedicated monitor for EACH box you wish to play.

[img]http://vetra.com/802kmv_angle400_LORES.JPG[/img] 2 Port Vetra KM (KVM without Video)

Total Cost - $120 (2 port version) Running Total - $3370

Y-Mouse Edit

If you want to use a KVM, you will need a Y-Mouse. I assume you will only want one - to control your main box OR all 5. If you want to individually control them without buying a keyboard for each (or using Synergy) then you will need a Y-Mouse for each. The Y-Mouse gives you two PS/2 ports instead of one. They offer mice and keyboard versions and they can be cascaded to give you more ports if needed. They are simply plug and play - no drivers required. Vetra makes something similar but costs more - go with the Y-Mouse. They are sold by the same company that sells the X-Keys. Think of them as a little 1 port Vetra Keyboard Multicaster made by a different company.

[img]http://xkeys.com/pigraphics/grymouse/ym04-200.jpg[/img] [img]http://xkeys.com/pigraphics/grymouse/typ04.gif[/img]

http://xkeys.com/ymouse/whym04.php

Total Cost - $60 (each) Running Total - $3430

X-Keys Edit

I HIGHLY suggest picking up at least an X-keys Desktop. That will give you 20 physical keys and a total of 40 virtual keys (with an ALT key modifier). More if you setup a second alt/control key and modify your WoW macros accordingly. Make sure to purchase a PS/2 version. All of the X-keys have keyboard pass throughs - so you just attach your regular keyboard to it and plug it into the computer - nothing else is required. You can cascade several of them together. I also highly suggest printing out the keycaps in the right size (.58" square - but you will need to slightly cut the two bottom corners) in color. That way you will have an on screen version of your input system and a simple glance will tell you what key you are pressing. WoW Icons are available from [url]http://www.wowwiki.com/List_of_WoW_icons[/url]. You WILL need to resize them to .58" before you print them. The ghetto method of doing that is simply opening a Word document, dragging and dropping the icons (you can drag and drop all of them at once) then right clicking on each one and setting the size manually. Another (better) option is to do it the right way and use an automated Photoshop script to change the size and then place them with your favorite desktop program. Word will work though, but the quality will be lower. Good enough though if you lack the graphical talent to photoshop like a pro. For those who truly want the best setup they can get, go with an X-keys Professional. It costs $170 (vs $120) but it expands you from 20 to 58 physical keys. If you are running PvP or a complex PvE setup, you will definitely want a Pro. I suggest starting with the center 20 keys and expanding out from there. For non-combat uses, I personally use a Stick. They cost $100 but give you 16 keys to summon water, cast buffs, etc. They can also have a modifier key and I reserve two keys to switch between the KVM computers. (The Vetras switch with a special keyboard combination as well as with a physical button). Any of the X-Keys can be programmed to repeat when held down and of course they can store macros and not just a single keypress or combination of key presses. Whatever you wind up getting, make sure they are PS/2 and NOT USB.

[img]http://xkeys.com/pigraphics/grxkeys/xd576.jpg[/img] X-Keys Desktop

[img]http://xkeys.com/pigraphics/grxkeys/xp576.jpg[/img] X-Keys Professional

[img]http://xkeys.com/pigraphics/grxkeys/moreFnStick.jpg[/img] X-Keys Stick

[img]ZinsX-Keys.jpg[/img] Some of My Custom Printed Key Caps

Total Cost - $120 (Desktop - $170 - Professional - $100 Stick) Running Total - $3550

Keyboard Edit

My personal keyboard of choice is the Happy Hacking Lite II. It has a VERY small footprint and has the directional pads, unlike the Pro version. They run about $80 each and come in USB or PS/2. For my main input keyboard, I went with a PS/2 model and for the other 4, I went with USB. If you plug a USB and a PS/2 keyboard into a computer, windows will simply treat them as an either or setup. So if you type on one, it displays that text. If you type on the other, it displays the other. If you type both at the same time, it intertwines them. Perfect for multiboxing. Mouse control works in the same way.

A Gray Happy Hacking Shown Below Normal Keyboard

[img]http://zaragon.comedialabs.com/images-matti/hhkb.jpg[/img]

Total Cost - $400 Running total cost - $3950

Mice (Wireless) Edit

Mice input is tough. You will likely want to setup mouse input for all 4 "secondary" computers and one for your main. A wireless mouse is cheap. Get a RF mouse, not an IR. Go optical. I use logitechs but any brand should work as long as they are the same brand. Buy four. Set three of the mice aside and plug in all 4 receivers. USB mice work fine. To set them all to the same frequency, click the sync button on the mouse and then click the receivers. They should all sync right up. Every so often the mice will desync slightly (a few pixels at most). To "resync" run the WoWs fullscreen and just move the mice to any corner then to your destination. It makes turning in quests, etc MUCH easier.

Total Cost - $80 Running total cost - $4030

Mice (Wired) Edit

You will want either a dedicated mouse per machine or use the KVM to send mice input to each individual machine. The KVM has a SMALL but noticeable latency - switching is NOT literally instant. I personally use dedicated mice but the KVM option would work if you purchase PS/2 mice and a 6 port KVM (technically you only need a 5 port KM but Vetra only sellf 6 port models). Obviously with USB mice this will not work. Go optical and wired (although wireless SHOULD work too). Mice input works the same way as keyboard input. You can have multiple ones connected without any problems. Don't forget a mouse for your main (fifth) box.

Total Cost - $50 Running total cost - $4080

WoW Game Copies Edit

You need to buy four more copies of WoW. You can get a copy of WoW for $20 each but TBC is still $40 each at the time of this writing. Here's a tip. Either "invite a friend" for your main account or give a good friend 4 months of free game time. Make sure to do this BEFORE you activate your accounts.

Total Cost - $200 Running total cost - $4280

Monthly WoW Subscription Cost Edit

WoW has a monthly cost that is currently $14.95 per month. You will have to pay this five times. $74.75 per month - less if you prepay.

Electrical Costs Edit

Your electrical costs will increase as each box takes up about 250 watts of power. (MicroATX power supplies usually run only 70 or 80% efficient). Assuming a kilowatt hour cost of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, and you will be using around 1000 watts (1 kilowatt-hour) per hour, it will cost you ten cents per hour to run four more boxes. Running 24/7, this will mean an extra $75 per month.

Other Hardware Edit

As far as I am concerned, this is all you need. As for the Nostromo N52s, Ergopads, etc - you don't need them. This setup allowed me to reach Rank 13 in the first PvP system and I consistently took top rankings in AV and the like. I could solo most any 5 man instance and even run 30 minute baron runs with a little practice - at level 60. I don't mean to sound egotistical but I have put a LOT of thought into my setup and have found what works best for me. Not to say you should not feel free to experiment (and possibly even supplant my methods) but I strongly suggest using this as a solid base with which to work. It's been tested and it just works.

Other SoftwareEdit
Synergy Edit

Synergy is a great tool to use to turn multiple machines into a "single" display. It just works (most of the time) and is open source, free and cross platform. To use it with WoW, you need to turn on relative mouse movement or you will spin like a top when you try and look with the mouse. Some people have adapted the code (isn't open source wonderful) to allow for broadcasting keystrokes. This eliminates the need for the 2 Vetras but you lose flexibility in your setup and if your server machine goes down or glitches - you are dead in the water.

[img]http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/images/logo.gif[/img] http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/

WoW Maximizer Edit

Maximizer is a great open source utility that has fallen by the wayside since WoW introduced it natively. However, the WoW built in version is not as good as Maximizer. Maximizer allows you to run WoW full screen without the border. WoW now lets you do that by clicking the use fullscreen option. However, the WoW version does not allow you to set it to use a portion of the screen or a few other little tricks such as dictating what monitor to display on in a multiple monitor setup. Many people will have no use for this program but I find it useful still. I upgraded from 17" 1280 x 1024 monitors and I now run 30" 2560 x 1600 monitors and this allows me to run 2 copies of WoW on a single monitor, at 1280 x 1600, seamlessly, if I so choose. It even supports screen rotation with nVidia cards without any complaints.

[url]http://wow-en.curse-gaming.com/downloads/details/146/[/url]

Multibox Edit

Originally based on Synergy, but now completely rewritten and geared specifically towards gamers. It also supports mouse broadcasting, and hot keys to instantly jump to other screens, unlike Synergy.

From "shockbeta" - the current maintainer of Multibox -

"Micah started with a modified version of synergy to work better with games, but then he decided to write his own program as it was easier then modifying synergy. Thus Multibox arrived. I have not personally used Synergy so the differences I'm not sure on. I will say Multibox is made for gamers, and synergy seems to be more of a multi-computer use program not targeted towards gamers. With multibox you can bind keys to toggle mouse or/and keyboard broadcasting(Sending said input to all or some of the computers). I've added support to remove sending input to specific computers while broadcasting is on by checkboxes. Also added options to only broadcast specific keys to computers. Also added hot key switching. You're able to bind a key to hop to that display and control it, as opposed to mousing over to it. You're able to tick a checkbox to enable "Never Broadcast" so when broadcasting that display will never receive input."

Learn more about it by going here: [url]http://www.dual-boxing.com/forums2/viewtopic.php?t=402[/url]

Electrical Considerations Edit

You will be adding about an extra kilowatt of power use to your already in use power lines. Most houses only dedicate a single breaker per room, and most all houses only have 15 amp lines. Some have older aluminum or worse wiring and may not even be rated for 15 amps. Each amp can carry 120 watts of power (but for practical purposes, it can only carry 80% of that continually). So rule of thumb is 100 watts per amp. If you are adding 1000 watts, you need 10 amps of power. If you are using more than 5 amps already (500 watts TOTAL) then you need to plug these into a separate breaker or you will trip the breaker once the lines heat up enough. Not a good thing to have happen without battery backup supplies or in the middle of a fight. A quick and dirty solution is to run an extension cord to another room that is on a separate breaker. The better (but more expensive) option is to run or hire an electrician to run) a dedicated 20 amp line to your computer space.

Cooling Considerations Edit

Computers give off heat. A lot of heat. Consider that new 1000 watt 4 box array you just installed to be a 1000 watt heater. 1000 watts is a lot of power and in a small room without any air circulation, your room is going to get hot. Probably too hot for you to bear - over 100 degrees is not out of the question if you have other equipment running in the same room and it is a hot day out. Consider adding an air conditioner or setting up some ventilation system to counteract or remove the heat being produced.

Leveling Edit

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. Short of paying a farmer to level up new characters for you, 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.


UI Mods Edit
Button Mods Edit

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.

Anchor Mods Edit

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.

Macros Edit
Quest Accepting Edit

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.

Pet Macros Edit

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 Do I DO 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.

Advanced Vetra Cascading Edit

99.99999% of you will never care about this. But, when you cascade multiple Vetras together, you begin to impart latency into the mix. The net effect never gets THAT bad but when you are PvPing, every bit makes a difference. As a test, I hooked up 4 Vetras together, in series. Meaning the output of one fed into the first port of the other and cascaded down the line. Five Vetras refused to work. I suspect if I were to add 5v to the line then it would function but I did not test that. 4 Vetras works perfectly but due to the rather low frequency of the PS/2 protocol, each unit adds a small amount of latency to the mix. The Vetras buffer the data for a small period of time and in the end it adds up - but not by much. I tested 4 units and 4 Y-mice all attached in series and came up with a rough estimate of about 100ms of added latency. This is of course on top of any ping latency you have. So you may wind up doubling or tripling your latency if you cascade that many Vetras together. Not that I suspect many of you ever would - you only need 2 Vetras to power 5 boxes and even adding as much as 100 ms will not be something game breaking. 2 Vetras imparts about a 50 ms or less latency. Probably not enough to ever be noticeable but worth mentioning. A solution to this "problem" is to cascade the Vetras in a different manner. Instead of the output of one going to the input of the next, set the first level to output all 4 to the inputs of the next 4. This will support a maximum of 16 downstream connections and only impart a total of two levels of depth for all of the Vetras. This will ONLY be needed if you are cascading to more than 7 boxes at once - something I suspect VERY few people will ever be interested in doing.

I did further testing (eliminating human reaction time) and was better able to narrow down the exact latency. Cascading through 4 Vetras, 4 Y-Mice and about 30 feet of PS/2 cable added only about 40 - 50 ms (on average) of latency. In practice, this is something you will never ever really notice. 100+ ms starts to get noticeable but for all practical purposes, 50 ms is something you can live with. Of course, this is worst case situation too - most likely you will NOT be cascading 4 vetras and 4 Y-mice.


Other Resources: Edit

Dual Boxing Forums: http://www.dual-boxing.com/forums2/ WoW Insider Interview: http://www.wowinsider.com/2006/12/15/interview-with-xzin-the-man-with-ten-arms/ Sirlin Game Design Theory: http://www.sirlin.net/archive/the-man-who-would-solo-a-40-man-raid/ GM Conversations: http://www.imagedump.com/index.cgi?pick=setandget&tp=454222&poll_id=0&category_id=19&warned=y

Quickly Thrown Together Videos: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3697765098130473147 Quickly Thrown Together Videos: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3471302298396612214[/img]

4+ Multiboxing Blogs Edit
  • Æbox - 5 Shamans - [6]
  • Captns Log - WoW [7]
  • Q Cyber Shop - WoW [8]
  • Micah - [9]
  • Team Wizzy - DAoC [10]

Software, Hardware Requirements Edit

Well Known Multiboxers Edit

Toxicmoon also known as Bradster. Has his own website http://www.bradster.net 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 www.warcraftmovies.com

Images of Multibox Setups Edit

PvP and Multiboxing Edit

Resources Edit

Dual-Boxing.com Forum http://www.bradster.net

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