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Double Take: Dual-boxing and DDO

C. /follow

Regardless of how someone runs her two accounts, the first thing she
must learn is a reliable method of moving two characters by steering
one. Most MMOGs have an atuo-follow command. Just type /follow while
targeting a member of the group and let that character do the walking.
This works pretty well for dual-boxing, but she'll hit the occasional
geometry snag. She'll also have to remain vigilant about letting the
second character get dragged too near dangerous monster, lava pits, and

D. Combos

Some group roles are difficult to perform while dual-boxing. Popular
choices for dual-boxing typically involve at least one class that stays
back during the fighting. Healers and casters, especially those with
powerful pets, fit the bill nicely. Tanks sometimes dual-box their
personal healer. Reread “Why #1” if you've forgotten how much a
personal healer rocks.

E. Macros

Many MMOGs allow players to create macros, a string of commands that
can be bound to one key. Need the healer on your second computer to
heal the tank, the third member in your group? Just press your macro
that tells that character to target group member 3 and cast heal. You
can invent complicated macros that involve casting spells against
enemies or for the benefit of the team followed by a rest to regenerate
spell points, followed by another spell, and son on.

F. Combat Rounds

Another key to dual-boxing is the natural rounds of the MMOG. Be it 6
seconds, 4 seconds, or any other number, most MMOGs measure rounds in a
few seconds. Every bit of timing in the game falls into these rounds. A
monster may get 4 attacks per round and then have a down time of 3-4
seconds before it gets its attacks again. Turn on auto-attack and your
character uses all of his basic attacks in their natural cycle. This
internal timing makes dual-boxing easier.


What does it mean when someone dual-boxes? Well, with all due respect
to the level of skill it requires to do it passably, I think it means
the gamer is playing both characters at less than 100%. I've dual-boxed
in some MMOGs before, and I've grouped with other dual-boxers. My
experience tells me that when the second character is the same level as
the rest of the group, it is almost always a healer or caster that gets
occasional keystrokes from the gamer. That is, the second character is
about 50% effective. In keeping that 50% on the second character, the
gamer often lets the primary character slip to 75% of effectiveness.

The result in my observations is that 2 slots in a group are filled
with 1.25 person's worth of characters. In some instances, this is
okay. If you really can't find a healer at all, maybe that 50% healer
who comes with a 75% wizard isn't the end of the world. Then again,
maybe if you had just added two damage dealers and tried a safer area,
the group could have been just as effective. Of course, don't try to
convince the group of that. They'll want that healer so they can go to
the hardest area feasible for you character level. Seeing big XP
numbers fly is the name of the game many times.

Another possibility is that the dual-boxer uses the second character
for power-leveling or outside damage or healing. This setup allows for
a full group with the extra character outside the group. While that
means the group is more effective than one with two slots filled by a
dual-boxer, some people still frown on the method and believe that
people who do not experience the journey to the level cap as intended
miss out on the nuisances of their class.

But these are community issues. People who aren't good
players—dual-boxers or not—will be shunned by the community as a
natural progression anyway. From the perspective of the company who
made the game, two subscriptions from one person are no different than
two subscriptions from two people. If anything, the dual-boxer is more
likely to reach the level cap and stick around the game longer.

Dual-boxing and DDO

href=""> alt="Mind Flayer"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 267px; height: 200px;" align="left">At
last we come to how dual-boxing works in DDO. Well, the truth is that
it doesn't work very well—not without a lot of work. Take a look back
at a few of those key facilitators of dual-boxing listed above:
auto-follow, macros, and combat rounds. DDO doesn't have an auto-follow
function, so dual-boxers will need to guide both characters at once.
DDO also doesn't permit macros. That means performing all of the moves
for both characters. Finally, DDO has active combat; no turning on
auto-combat for a melee character while switching over to a cleric to

Beyond those complications, DDO checks to see if another instance of
the program is running at launch. If it detects another instance
running, it informs you and shuts down the second one. Never mind that
the first one running is a separate account. To run DDO twice
simultaneously on the same machine, you'll need a virtual OS or a lot
of technical acrobatics.

Even if you run DDO on two separate machines, active combat will make
your dual-boxing life a chore. That's not to say it can't be done, but
I double what I said before about the effectiveness of dual-boxers when
applied to DDO. A person who dual-boxes in DDO will be occupying two
slots and can't possibly be as effective as two people would be.

Since you cannot have members outside of your party accompany you into
dungeons in DDO, dual-boxers cannot bring outside help. That means that
two slots must be filled by the dual-boxer. Power-leveling is no real
option in DDO either since XP comes from completion of quests rather
than killing monsters at any spot.

Parting Thoughts

No matter how much being without a healer sucks, and no matter how
weary we might grow of the treadmill of quests in DDO, dual-boxing is
not a good solution. It shouldn't matter to Turbine, mind you. They get
their money either way, but dual-boxing is just too hard in DDO to be
worth all of the effort.

your stance on dual-boxing? Tell us in our forums!

  • Trying to dual-box? Check out our href="">handy
    controller configuration guide.
  • Like the pictures in this article? Visit our href="">gallery
    of exclusive screenshots!
  • Or read other DDO @ Ten Ton Hammer editorials [ href="">HERE].

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016