Double Take: Dual-boxing and
For as long as I have played massively-multiplayer online games
(MMOGs), I have met people who like to dual-box.
That is, they play two
accounts (or more!) of their MMOG at the same time. Sometimes they run
two instances of the game on one machine. Sometimes they literally use
two boxes, or computers. I intend to examine the why and how of
dual-boxing. Then I want to explore the ramifications of dual-boxing
before I take a look at dual-boxing in Dungeons & Dragons Online:
Why #1 – No Healers
It's every group's nightmare: you can't find a healer who is LFG
(looking for group). You've spent thirty minutes getting the group
together, but now it looks like you'll have no healer. You start
discussing places you might be able to adventure without heals without
losing too much XP when a cleric pops up on the LFG. Bam! You invite
him—even though his name is “Ihealforu”—as fast as your fingers can
fly. Maybe he will be cool anyway.
Now that Ihealforu is in the group, you suggest some a tougher area to
hunt. But I healforu doesn't want to go to your cool spot; he says the
loot there is no good. You can't do much about it. Healers are the
belles of the ball. It's either go to the spot of Ihealforu's choice or
hunt spiders in the newbie area. You and the party coach/ride
mounts/run/teleport to the designated area and begin the night's
adventure at last.
After the first 6 monsters are dead, Ihealforu tells the group: “gtg
[got to go] mom wants me to clean my room.” With the healer gone, the
tank says, “Well, sorry guys. I need to get some sleep. I work at 6am
tomorrow.” The ranger announces, “Oh man! My aunt just fell off of the
roof while playing ping-pong,” and drops from the group. The pet caster
leaves without saying a word. The rogue asks if he can have some of the
loot from the six kills even though you know he pick pocketed more than
the loot is worth.
Alone now, you gate/ride your mount/run/teleport back to a city and add
your name to the LFG. You've been online for 1.5 hours, and you have
killed a total of 6 monsters and lost 2000 coins in repairs. If
anything, you XP bar has moved back toward your previous level. You
can't believe you pay $15 per month for this. If only you had a 100%
Suddenly inspiration hits! The next night, you buy another copy of the
game and install it on your old computer. A dual-boxer is born.
Why #2 – The Treadmill
You already have two characters at the level cap in your favorite MMOG.
Between the two, you have mastered all of the useful trade skills. Your
raid of the night finished early because of a wipe (everybody died)
because you didn't have enough bard present to debuff (lower the
effectiveness) of the enemy, but you still feel like playing. You think
about creating another alt. You sure could have used a bard tonight.
Maybe you could level one of those.
Now you've created that bard alt and started running the newbie quests.
You forgot how tedious travel was without mounts/teleports/spells. You
forgot how boring the level 14 armor quests are. You think you'd truly
like playing a bard, and your guild could really use one for raiding,
but you don't want go through the level grind again. You've ridden that
treadmill twice. Isn't that enough.
Then you recall that your roommate has a max level tank on his computer
over on the desk next to you. Your roommate's at work, but you know he
wouldn't mind if you used his tank to power-level you or one of his
free character slots to make another character to travel with you bard.
A dual-boxer is born.
that I have established a couple of the scenarios that drive people to
dual-box, let's discuss the logistics of gaming this way. Dual-boxing
is no small feat; it requires coordination, alertness, and real life
dexterity. The execution of dual-boxing varies in relation to the
method used—that is depending on whether a person runs more than one
computer of just multiple accounts on a single computer. Regardless of
your method, you'll need two copies of the game or two CD keys and two
subscriptions to the MMOG.
A. 2 Computers
A person with two computers will want the second computer close to the
first. The monitor will need to be visible from the primary computer,
and having the second keyboard within arm's reach is essential.
Frequently used functions for the second character will need to be
mapped to a cluster of keys on one end of the keyboard to make life
B. 2 Accounts on 1 Computer
In this situation, a dual-boxer must get used to switching back and
forth between screens to perform functions for both characters. This
can be accomplished by running the game in a windowed mode or by
pressing Alt+Tab to switch to the other instance of the program. In
some cases, a person may need to run a virtual environment that
simulates an operating system (OS) for the second copy of the game to
run. It can even get as complicated as running one copy of the game
each from two different OS logins. Then the gamer must switch between
the logins rapidly in the middle of gaming!