GM Conversations

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Forum Conversations

  • "Multi-boxing is not a violation of the Terms of Use, Sincast. On the contrary, it's a fairly common practice and extremely fun to watch. "
Syndri, Customer Service Member
  • "Badkarma, we do not stop players from owning and playing multiple accounts...There are all manner of ways to use two accounts that are not outside of our in-game policies and legal documents..."
Berghe, Customer Service Member
  • "We do not prevent people from owning multiple accounts, nor playing those accounts simultaneously as long as they abide by our Terms of Use and EULA."
Vrakthris, Customer Service Member
  • "multi-boxing,..., it's not considered a violation of policy." "[It] is viewed simply as a clever, yet tedious play style, but not altogether counterintuitive to the spirit of the game"
Syndri, Customer Service Member
  • "Nah, it's one person using one keyboard to simultaneously control more than one account. There's no automation in that case.
If there is, then it's against policy.
Dig?"
028&pageNo=1&sid=1#3 Belfaire, Customer Service Member
  • "Totally legit." in response to a post about multiboxing software
Belfaire, Customer Service Member
  • "There is no problem with you playing multiple characters, as long as you are the owner of the accounts and are in control of them..."
Eilanai, Blizzard Poster
  • "Multi-boxing is not in violation of our current policies, Varlex." ...
"Unlike the forms of botting you mentioned, multi-boxing requires user input and does not automate any aspect of gameplay. Each time an action is performed it is controlled by a real player sitting at their computer controlling multiple accounts. "
Aradek, Customer Service Member
  • "It's cool as long as the person's not automating their actions. If paying for five accounts and playin' em simultaneously on one or more your systems capable of running the game or multiple clients thereof is how you roll, then we're not gonna hate on it."
Belfaire, Customer Service Member
  • "Most, if not the absolutely vast majority, of multi-boxing is done with a fairly simple wireless keyboard setup or a number of simultaneous client windows.
As long as the actions aren't automated, then this sort of practice is perfectly within our policy, as the account holder is playing each and every account his or herself. "
Belfaire, Customer Service Member
  • "...you can consider this to be our official stance on the matter. If a player has paid for 5 accounts, then they are allowed to play with them within our own rules, which also includes the allowance of multi-boxing. A player multi-boxing still needs to maintain and gear up five characters, and it does not matter if they do this all at once or separately. Any gold earned while multi-boxing also would also need to be split between these five characters."
Issuntril, Blizzard Poster
  • "Multi-boxing = fine (assuming that none of your critters is running in an automated fashion. Each key-press should result only in a single action for each character)."
Malkatorix, Blizzard Poster
  • "Don't accuse people of wrong doing here, and it's Multi-boxing, not botting. It's fine."
Reythur, Blizzard Poster


Yup, needs to get done away with and you know it.
  • "If cheating constitutes activities that fall out of line with our Terms of Use and in-game policies you're wrong."
Zarhym, Blizzard Poster
  • "That's perfectly fine, Killerofevil, what you describe is called multiboxing. As long as the person wasn't automating the other character he/she may control as many characters (that he/she is registered to) as they can."
Vrakthris, Blizzard Poster
  • "I apologize for any confusion, but playing multiple accounts simultaneously is not currently in violation of our policies, friend."
Aredek, Blizzard Poster
  • "Multiboxing isn't something that we have an issue with. ^_^"
Reythur, Blizzard Poster
  • "This is absolutely, positively fine so long as both accounts are in your name. :)"
Belfaire, Blizzard Poster
  • "As has been made abundantly clear, multiboxing is not in violation of our policies. If you feel multiboxing should be prohibited please feel free to visit the Suggestions Forum."
Aredek, Blizzard Poster
  • "At present, we believe the practice of multiboxing—so commonly termed—is not antithetical to the spirit of the game."
Syndri, Blizzard Poster

Spirit of the Game vs Multiboxing

Karazhan is the beginning of endgame. Today it is soloing 5mans and duoing 10 mans. Tomorrow it is something different. 
Are you actually admitting that if multiboxers were further progressed that the issue would be solved?
  • "I have absolutely no idea how you got that from my post. You are a true master of post alchemy.
Your argument, though, is like saying that because you say a PVP video where a mage was able to solo 4 other players after the rest of their 5v5 team had been killed, then it follows that of course they'd be able to kill ten players. Twenty players!"
Belfaire, Blizzard Poster
Considering the raid dungeon was designed for 10. I would say it violates the spirit of the game.
  • Too bad that's not your call.
Belfaire, Blizzard Poster


Defining Automation

  • "Allow me to set your argument to rest. This:
Add in a 3rd party program. You press ONE button and all 5 screens react. How exactly is that fair/legit? It's not. The ability
to control 5 computers at once with 1 single keyboard and 1 single press of a button is automation. The ability to make your 
characters cast their individual spells and skills at once by pressing 1 button is automation. 
Is not automation by our standards. This is why multi-boxing is just fine.
The moment that single keypress initiates a string of actions not normally possible via our base macro system for an individual character, then that is a different matter. It is also a separate offense.
Multi-boxing, currently, is not a violation of our policies.
That is all."

Malkatorix, Blizzard Poster


  • "We have drawn a line. You're talking about automated behavior. Multiboxing is not automated. There is no automation. There is no great advantage, there is no illicit behavior, there is no overwhelming benefit, there is no automation."

Belfaire, Blizzard Poster


  • "As a soloist, you push a key and one thing happens on your account. As a multiboxer, you push a key and 1 thing happens on each of your accounts.
Automation would be timed macros, synced pathing, etc., not having the 1 key bound to Flash of Light on your Paladin and Fireball on your mage.
Clearly our definitions of automation differ greatly."

Belfaire, Blizzard Poster

  • "Here's the thing - that's not 5 actions. It's one action, per character.
It would not be okay, if, for example, you had those macros set up so that you had one button to cast frost nova, wait out the global cooldown, blink, delay for global cooldown, then cast blizzard all in a single button press. That is, of course, several button presses.
So, to expand your definition: 'safe' multi-boxing commands are one button press = one action per character."

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

  • "Think of a single key-press as a lever. You pull the lever, and something happens.
Think of multi-boxing as simply attaching 5 levers to a single handle. You're still only pulling one lever, it just affects more than one something.
Now, think of automation as a lever attached to a set of gears and pulleys. You pull the lever, and a whole slew of bits and bobs start working, gears whirring, pulleys spinning. You might pull a lever, but it sets a process in motion that would be impossible with an ordinary pull of the lever if those gears and pulleys were not in place. Automation can apply to a single character just as much as it could with multiple characters.
The point is that the 'something' that occurs spools out without direct human involvement aside from the initial pull of the lever. That is automation. Even if it's only a single extra step.
In multi-boxing, every action taken by those characters has its source in a human command. Each individual action. Thus, it is not automation."

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

so hitting 1 key and have it do 1 action in each game window is fine?
"Absolutely!"

Belfaire, Blizzard Poster

Regarding Delays & Timers in out-of-game Macros

Another example is a custom command I have called Buff Group. I say “buff group” and Dragon sends the following key presses: 

Ctrl+Shift+Q ‘Priest Group Fort 
Ctrl+Shift+W ‘Mage Group Int 
Wait 1.3 seconds 
Ctrl+Shift+E ‘Priest Group Spirit 
Wait 1.3 seconds 
Ctrl+Shift+E ‘Priest Group Shadow Protection. 
Wait 1.3 seconds 
Ctrl+= ‘Priest drinks 
Alt+= ‘Mage drinks 
  • "I believe that there may have been some confusion during your conversation with the Game Master in question.


The custom command you cited, for example, is completely unacceptable, and for a couple of reasons. I am still gathering information on the legality of the voice command software at the moment (by itself, I fully expect that it's just fine), but you may not, via any method, circumvent our automation or macro rules.


Multiple key presses/uses of abilities from a single command, spoken or typed? Not okay.
Inserting pauses? Not okay.


A single key press or command that issues a command to several different characters? Okay.
For example, you could use that same verbal command 'Buff Group' to trigger a single key-press macro (say, keybind c) which for your Mage is Arcane Brilliance, and for your Priest is Prayer of Fortitude. You could not include a step to have them rest. You could not make them drink. You cannot include more than a single step in that command.


If you were hoping to accomplish more than that with this program, then it is a very good idea to revert to more traditional multi-boxing methods immediately.


You can always refer to our policies here:


http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?articleId=20309
And this post regarding the G15 keyboard may include some information that is useful to you:


G15 Keyboard Legality
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=1371550895&pageNo=1&sid=1#4 "
Malkatorix, Blizzard Poster


  • "I use a G11 myself. Just don't use the macro keys to do anything a normal wow macro could not do in a single press. Think of them as extra storage for normal macros, and you're fine. "
Malkatorix, Blizzard Poster


Am I to understand that making an in-game macro using the macro window that does the following: 

/cast Nature's Swiftness (makes next heal spell instant cast) 
/cast Oshu'Gun Relic (my healing trinket boosts heals by 200-something for 15 seconds) 
/cast Healing Touch (my long 3.5 second heal) 

Is illegal? 

Please respond.
  • "Nah, that's fine - Nature's Swiftness is a modifier and does not trigger the global cooldown, your trinket does not trigger the global cooldown, and more importantly, there is macro functionality built in to allow this to kind of command specifically to occur within the bounds of the default command language. Given those factors, this kind of macro is fine.


Basically, since this can be accomplished organically according to our macro rules, it's not a violation - make sense?


As a Rogue, you could


/cast Cold Blood
/use 13
/cast Mutilate


This would trigger the Rogue ability Cold Blood, use the trinket in the top slot on your character sheet, and then use the Mutilate ability, all in a single press."
Malkatorix, Blizzard Poster


  • "If you are using the allowed base UI macro functionality and manipulating global cooldowns to make this kind of thing happen, then that's probably fine. After all, many Hunters sequence their shots using macros.


If, on the other hand, you're using a G15, or anything else capable of utilizing macroed 'delays', then that is not okay."


Malkatorix, Blizzard Poster


  • "As Arrch has described, the general rule is one action (either single ability or allowable in-game macro) per keystroke per account."
Belfaire, Blizzard Poster

Keyclone

Basically, im wondering if using Keyclone to send the same signal to multiple clients with one keypress is acceptable. 
Im looking for a solid yes or no answer here :P
  • Yup, keyclone is fine.
Just make absolutely certain that you're not making more than one keypress (for the purposes of the word 'keypress' this includes a single key press AND release with no delays), or including delays between key-presses with each action.
Essentially, if you could legally create the command as a functional macro within the default user interface, then it should be okay.
Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

Mouse Movements

  • Currently, using pre-recorded x,y coordinates (a function not supported by the default UI at all), to target or cast a spell is functionality outside of our Terms of Use.
I would strongly advise shying away from this program, if it is causing mouse moves (even simulated mouse moves) to occur in response to user inputs.
Mouse moves are the purview of the user, not a program.
Malkorix, Blizzard Poster
  • This isn't really a different issue from what has already been discussed before in various multiboxing threads; the same principles apply whether we're discussing distribution of keyboard or mouse commands. As long as each action for each character is taken manually, with no automation involved, we don't have an issue with it. I'm not familiar with the particulars of the software you have at your disposal though, and answering your examples in detail would require knowledge of how the software operates and obtains various information. All I can suggest is that you review our policies once more to ensure none of its workings actively break any of them.
Xemafir, Blizzard Poster

PvP Balance

  • "I will give you a purely anecdotal example that I have experienced personally, (perhaps because I love facing multi-boxers).
I happen to play a rogue - a class that excels at sowing confusion and disrupting opposing teams. I was facing a team in Warsong Gulch, half of which was composed of a multi-boxer controlling five characters. I encountered the Warlocks individually, and proceeded to sap them to break up his formation. This forced him to maneuver around in an effort to retain cohesion - something a normal player would never have to do.
I continually would delay and harass him in this fashion. I would often manage to kill one of his characters by sapping one of his group, cheap shotting one, gouging one, then blinding another. Even if I failed to land a kill, his characters were so scattered and disorganized by my efforts and the occasional fear, sheep or other CC thrown by a teammate, that fully half of their team was disabled for most of the battle. We won that match very swiftly.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this player would leave battlegrounds when they saw my name on the opposing team list, or after our first encounter in the field.
A unique situation? Perhaps, perhaps not. Knowing how to fight a multi-boxer, and having the tools do so, means that one character can effectively cripple 5 or more. After all, one mind is simply not as efficient at running those five characters once cohesion is lost, or if 2 of his group have been slain, leaving him with characters scattered across the field. Of note, this is not much different from learning how to effectively fight a particular character class or spec. Knowledge is power.
All of the above is irrelevant though. Ultimately, this isn't about what one player can do vs. another (or even 5 others). This is about the number of characters in play. Five characters can defeat 5 characters. 5 player run characters actually have a very substantial advantage over a multi-boxer in most cases. That a single player is controlling them offers limited advantages compared to the disadvantages it can present.
Since battlegrounds are a sealed environment, it is always a question of x players versus x players. How many actual players are behind those characters becomes a non-issue.
Essentially it balances out so well in the end that it functionally isn't much of an advantage at all, and merely becomes a play style choice. As always, we'll continue to monitor multi-boxing and other in-game behaviors.
If this practice should ever present a truly exploitative influence you can be sure that we'll make appropriate policy modifications in response."

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

  • "Here's the thing though. That multiboxer queues, and waits, just as a 5-man arena team would (to use an example). They take up the same queue time, and the same number of slots on the opposing team. There is nothing to differentiate them from one of the very common groups of 'pre-made' players, aside from slightly more effective focus fire, and less strategic flexibility in dealing with threats, much greater vulnerability to crowd control and that being 'split' by resurrection is devastating.
The less organized battle ground participants you describe will typically have a much harder time facing that arena team or pre-made than they would a multi-boxer.
Aside from which, occasionally running up against more organized opposition is simply a fact of the battlegrounds. Just as is facing more skilled or more well equipped foes. Factually, while we do our best to structure the queuing system such that players will meet equivalent opponents, there are limitations on that system if we still want to keep the queues at a reasonable length. As a result, sometimes a team will run up against a 'superior' opponent (please note the quotes), and have a greater challenge, whether in the form of a pre-made group, multi-boxer, or merely highly skilled or knowledgeable opponents.
Simply because an opponent is 'superior' does not mean that a 'pug' team isn't able to adapt and overcome. Having a pre-made group or a multi-boxer doesn't even necessarily mean that a given battleground team truly is superior. There are a great many variables to take into account."

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

  • "Players, as individuals matter.
Here is why characters are more important for the purposes of this discussion though.
What happens when 6 players controlling 6 characters join a battleground? 6 character slots are filled. Then 4 others are filled with 4 other players controlling 4 other characters. Why?
Because battlegrounds are filled on a character for character basis. They are a closed system that only recognizes characters, and wherein characters ideally are matched against other characters.
What happens when 5 players and 1 multiboxer join a battleground? 10 character slots are filled. The results are identical to a situation where each character is controlled by a single player. We can run over the relative merits and disadvantages of multiboxing til the bovines return to their abodes, but factually, that's what we're dealing with:
10 characters vs. 10 characters. The raw ability of those 10 characters to accomplish their goal (winning the battleground) is identical within reasonable assessment of individual class abilities, gear and skill."

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

  • "Instead of World of Warcraft, let's look at chess to draw a parallel.
What is the factual difference (assuming no time limits on turns) between 5 chess players versus 1 player moving across the boards to play against all 5 of his opponents and 5 players facing across the boards versus another 5? Think of each chess team as a 'character'.
In both cases, you have 10 'characters'. 5 White characters and 5 Black characters, each composed of multiple pieces.
Though, to extend the analogy, the 1 player facing 5 would be forced to make the same move on each board. Not something that 5 individual players would need concern themselves with.
For better or worse, World of Warcraft isn't quite a chess match, but I think the analogy holds.
That being the case, if player is the ultimate concern, then multi-boxers are at a permanent disadvantage. It would, after all, be ridiculous to assess chess around 5 sets of pieces all attacking 1 set of pieces regardless of how they were controlled, would it not?"

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

  • "I think I might see your concern, so, please allow me to ask a question.
What is the objective difference between 1 player directing 5 characters to attack a single target, and the leader of a team slapping an assist train on a target and telling his other 4 teammates to attack a target with him?
A slight gain in efficiency for the single player/set of characters at an extreme cost in flexibility to deal with exterior threats compared to the team of players?"

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

  • "From a certain perspective, the strange thing about this stance is that the multiboxing player has the least advantage in a battleground. A battleground is a closed system, the teams are ideally even, the multiboxer is more prone to disruptive assaults from other players, and the numerical advantage is wholly nullified in this scenario."

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

Multiboxing and $$$

Verdict from Blizzard: Keep the cash coming in and you can multi-box with up up to 200 characters! 

Just don't buy any gold from any 3rd party vendors because well... we didn't get our cut. Just like 
like everything else in life that is illegal when the Govt. doesn't get their cut. 

We don't care about fairness. I'm so disappointed... What did Saddam Hussein do to his people that 
Blizzard hasn't done to their own? Hint: That would be us the customer.
  • "This is really tired rhetoric. One person with five account is the same as five people with one account. There's no difference in our eyes and it has no effect on the game economy. Buying gold does."

Belfaire, Blizzard Poster


Yeah, because you ( Blizzard) are getting rich off it.
  • "I can't hear you over the sound of my Mercedes.
Feel free to suggest changes to policy on our Suggestions Forum. Go with the blessing of the Antepope."

Belfaire, Blizzard Poster


It's not "just fine;" it's "perfectly legal." There's a difference. Just because it's perfectly legal
to buy an advantage over other players doesn't mean it's fine. It means you're ruling in favor of people
who pay you extra money.
  • "Not really. I meant exactly what I said.

You are correct in that it does not violate our policies. You are incorrect in that we are ruling in favor of it because it enhances our income.

Let's be logical about that for a moment; if we really made rulings based purely on potential income, we would have allowed PvE to PvP transfers as soon as the transfer system became available. We did not do so for a variety of reasons. (Though, if you feel that they should be allowed, then you may post on the Suggestion forum to that effect).

The only way 'income' factors into our decisions is obliquely. Our first concern is "Is this bad for World of Warcraft?". Multi-boxing has proven to be a rare, and relatively easily countered practice. While it has its advantages, it has huge vulnerabilities as well, and most players engage in the practice for the challenges it offers, not for any kind of 'easy' victory. For example, a single determined rogue, or any class with fear, can actually completely destroy a multi-boxer's effectiveness." - Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

Faction Trading through Neutral AH

Q: Is it against the rules to transfer gold between alliance and horde on a PvE server using the neutral auction house? I've seen it done a lot, but want to be sure before I ask someone to help me do it in case it affects their account.
A1: What you speak of is perfectly legal Seijin, and we already have a development solution in place to discourage this kind of cross-faction trade, in that the cut for using the neutral AHs is quite a bit more than the regular ones. If you are happy incurring such costs while transferring your gold over, then you are of course free to do so. [1]
A2: To reiterate - cross-faction trading like this is not considered to be exploitation, and players are free to do so if they do not mind incurring the costs associated. [2]

Will Multiboxing be banned in <insert patch number/expansion name>?

  • The rumours are false, Soulseekerdr. Our policies are always subject to change so no one truly knows what the future may hold but at this time I know of no plans to change how we address multi-boxing.
-GM Vrakthris

Belfaire answers all

Automation

Semantics issue #1: 
Is using one keyboard to send signals to multiple instances of WoW automation? 
In other words, what is the definition of automation as it applies to WoW?

"Using a keyboard setup like what you're describing? Not automation.

Setting up a macro with said keyboard that would, for example, automatically press Fireball each time it was available? Automation."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [3]


3rd Party Software / Hardware

Semantics issue #2: 
Software (such as Keyclone, Octopus, etc) to emulate a keyboard multiboxing solution is, 
by nature, "3rd party". Is "3rd party software" synonymous with "bot" or "automation"? 
Are all types of "3rd party software" bannable? 
Likewise, hardware, by nature, is "3rd party". What kinds (or uses) of 3rd party hardware are bannable?

"Is it sending an identical signal to all client windows or switching between them to send commands? Not automation.

Is it playing the game for you, or rather, for one of your client windows? Automation.

All hardware is considered neutral as long as its commands and features are not being used to automate gameplay."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [4]


In-Game Advantage / Exploiting

Semantics issue #3: 
Does multiboxing give a player an in-game advantage?

"Yes--and so does grouping."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [5]


Therefore, can multiboxing be considered an exploit?

"No. We consider it be an alternative playstyle; not everyone can do it, but if a person is willing to devote the concentration and capital to such a venture--legitimately--we're perfectly fine with it. Five multiboxed accounts can be feared and CCed just like five solo accounts."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [6]


Either money is your driving force in supporting this or you just don't give a hoot
about fair play in this game.

"I've already pointed out that money is not an issue. I've already pointed out that this practice does not impact fair play. We've monitored the practice, and we have a rather large pool of data to draw from regarding its impact on fair play. Which is to say that it doesn't have an impact on fair play."

Malkorix, Blizzard Poster

Spirit of the Game

Semantics issue #4: 
Multiboxing can be considered by some as "against the spirit of the game" or, at least, 
"against the spirit of the game the way I want to play it". 
Is multiboxing against the "spirit of the game"?

"See above."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [7]

Blizzard + Money = ?

Semantics issue #5: 
Multiboxers provide Blizzard with a significant amount of extra income, and that, 
and only that, is the reason why is it currently allowed. 
True/false?

"Patently false. All accounts should be allowed to be played as they see fit provided that they're playing within our policies. In cases of mulitboxing, all accounts involved are playing the same as any other account, only simultaneously."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [8]

Undetectable, therefore allowable

Semantics issue #6: 
Multiboxing is only allowed because there is no reliable way for Blizzard to find, 
identify, and catch them. 
True/false?

"Almostly hilariously false."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [9]


Cake or Death?

Unrelated issue #7: 
Cake or death?

"I'll have the cake, please."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [10]

Keybindings

If the signal is identical but you have a different keybinding for the signal is that automation. 
Eg. If I push a button and one character moves left and another moves right.

"Fine. :)"

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [11]


Raiding Multiboxers

"It looks like the point of contention...is the amount of loot that someone could earn in this way. [Multiboxing]

...this is reconciled by the fact that, no matter what, the loot is still being divided between ten characters. While you could, in theory, get one character quite a bit of gear this way, it works the same as in every other instance group--if one person gets the loot, the other nine don't.

Ten people, ten characters, doesn't matter. Somebody wins, the others are just along for the ride until it's their stop."

-Belfaire, Blizzard Poster [12]

In Game Conversations

Media

Eurogamer Interview

Eurogamer: The new recruit-a-friend initiative has some pretty amazing incentives for fast levelling, 
both for new players and veterans. Isn't it just a multi-boxer's delight, and ripe for exploits?
  • Tom Chilton: [Laughs] Well, we actually are perfectly content to endorse multi-boxing to some reasonable degree.
If a person wants to go out and buy a second account and power-level themselves, we're okay with that.
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