Mar 132012

Diablo 3 Multiboxing: Possible Or Not?

In short, yes! Controlling 2 to 4 characters in Diablo 3 is possible with 2 to 4 seperate accounts, game purchases and free mouse replication software, but is it practical?

Unfortunately, the answer is no for the average gamer, including me at this time.

I just tried this using Input Director and Desktop + Laptop (on board graphics) running at same resolution (1366 x 768) using two beta accounts (wife and my account) and created two new characters.

The reason multiboxing Diablo 3 Beta is not practical is the systems become unsynced with relation to each other very quickly. In town, moving around is fine. Either “clicking” each move or holding down the mouse button (though clicking seems to work better) functions as expected. However, when getting into a fight and waiting for the resources to load (sound, spell effects, etc) the systems become unsynced and the characters start to run off in different parallels in relation to the master. With no follow command, getting them synced back up is as “easy” as running into a corner wall and waiting for them to stack on top of each other, but upon moving from that spot, the characters will still be just a little bit off. A pixel here or there adds up quick and they will become out of sync again. Let us not even factor in the latency as, regardless of systems, it will not be the “same” across all computers at the exact same moment for any extended period of time, once again making the characters not synced. The character in game also goes “just beyond” where clicked to move. As a result, the characters may not sync up due to different angles of arriving at the same location.

Even with the laptop running minimum GFX settings, it could not keep up with the desktop. This should not come as a surprise, but a current high end gaming PC with 4 virtual machines may struggle keeping everything synced up (I would say an I7 EE, 16GB RAM, SSD’s, 2 or more nVidia 500 series probably would work) and completely stutter free at all times. I do not have a system with such high end specs to test, so I had to only test what I have available. As such, unless 4 systems have the same high end specs (or at least way beyond what is required to run a single instance of Diablo 3 very smoothly), quad-boxing or even dual-boxing, is and will be, difficult to pull off for the average gamer. I would venture a guess that multiboxing is beyond average to start with, though. 🙂

With loot not being shared between party members (drops only show for the character that can pick it up), this makes looting difficult through trash monsters but still feasible for boss drops. Money (gold) is automatically picked up if the character is in range, but that range is still pretty small and gold does not drop in the same spot for all characters.

I really looked forward to multiboxing in D3 as I enjoyed it in WoW. I also spent a lot of time to run D2 on 8 systems over 10 years ago just for the “extras” it offered. However, having mules sit in town (level 1 characters going to Hell difficulty) is very different then controlling all those characters at the same time. For a good laugh, here is a guide and my findings I drafted in 2001 for Diablo 2 Muling.

When I dual-boxed for a long time with WoW, I used in game macros and was accused of “botting” often. It was fun for me overcoming aspects of the game while still controlling all characters… and that is the key.

“Botting” is mixed in with multiboxers more often then I can stomach. What is the difference in pressing one key on a keyboard and having it replicated across 4 computers verse having 4 keyboards very close to each other and stretching my fingers to hit “1” at the same time? “Botting” is automation! Having a character complete multiple tasks (traveling, killing, looting, crafting, vendoring) while the person “controlling” said character is at school/work/beach/sleep/etc. When I did not tell my characters to do something, they did nothing. That is not “botting”, that is multiboxing.

Hardware macros are not really “automation” unless it is doing much more then mashing three buttons. Using my G-19 keyboard to “macro” actions is pretty trivial. I played a (fairly) recent MMO that did not monitor hardware macro actions (like WoW does). As such, I made a macro button to constantly mash “1 2 3” every 15ms. The game lasted right around 7 days for me as it made things extremely easy. How was I killing monsters before I macroed that action? Using three fingers to mash 1 2 3 and thus using those actions every cooldown anyway.

The interesting aspect (and general thought) about multiboxing is that the person somehow becames super rich in game. That is not correct for me as I purchase the standard stuff that everyone else does (example being epic flying, enchant them all up) and, in effect, I had 4 times the loot and 4 times the in game cost (as well as the wallet MMO monthly fee drain). As far as I am concerned… that makes single character controllers and I even.

People also do not understand that, as a whole, multiboxers are still behind the power curve as far as game content is concerned. Sure, in any given time period, Diablo 3 multiboxers would have “4 times” the chance that a good item drops, but 4 people have that same chance and probably completing content above the level of the multiboxer anyway (hell vs inferno for example) and getting items “worth more” and also much easier…

Multiboxing is work… hard work. 🙂 Even though it may not be practical, I wish that I could find a way to make a single high end gaming system capable of running D3 in 4 VM’s manifest as I still want to do it upon Diablo 3’s release. 🙂