• Multiboxing in Diablo III: The Why

    I. Introduction
    A few weeks ago I was questioning to myself why anyone would multibox Diablo 3. I tried to write this for anyone that may or may not know anything about D3, with some explanations around the different game/seasonal mechanics and structures.

    For some context, I’ve played Diablo 3 at fairly high levels. I have over 1000 hours logged on Diablo 3 but I haven’t played in years. I’ve broken top 100 in the Wizard leaderboards in the first month of a season. This was back in the early season 3/4/5 when seasons would last 6 months. Even though I was a college kid with all the time in the world to spare, I didn’t dedicate enough time to Diablo 3 to actually find myself on the board at the end of the season. Basically, I played the game enough to be considered a no lifer, but not enough to have any real accolades.

    And less than surprisingly, the game hasn’t really evolved much over the last 3 years that I haven’t played it. Which is unimportant.

    With the holiday seasons here two things happened. 1) I got a lot more free time. 2) Blizzard put all of their products on sale. Which means for the same as a monthly subscription for 4 extra accounts for WoW (~$60), I could get the D3 battlechest for 3 new accounts. I decided to take the dive, play around a little bit, and examine, what, if any purpose there would be for multiboxing Diablo 3.

    There are a few different purposes that multiboxing this game could provide. I will outline those below, along with how I plan to multibox for my own personal reasons/goals/etc. I’ll highlight the rewards structure of the game and hopefully this will shine some light on different ways players could leverage the multiboxing gamestyle to fit their own personal goals.

    II. Multiboxing's Downfalls
    The first thing we must acknowledge is that multiboxing Diablo 3 is not more efficient or ludicrously more rewarding than playing a single character. Rather, it's a different playstyle that offers a slightly different challenge, and some secondary/tertiary benefits if you choose to explore those routes. This is for multiple reasons:

    1. The controls are just too difficult. There’s no following, you’re broadcasting clicks, and there are too many items that modify speed or change the variables of character movement for it to be a flawless/seamless system. Not to mention in a mixed group, you could have different heroes moving and attacking through mobs differently. That’s not to say it’s impossible to multibox this game or enjoy the game as a cohesive 4 person unit, the loss of efficiency negates the actual rewards if you try to play cohesively ALL the time.
    2. MB don’t benefit from Paragons more than a single player would. While typically people will have main characters and alts, their main characters are for farming paragon. Having those points spread across accounts (since you can only have 1 D3 account per Bnet) denies any multibox benefit potential here. This isn’t a slight against multiboxing, rather as a multiboxer there’s no benefit you get over other players.
    3. XP bonuses aren’t as realizable as initially expected. Diablo offers a bonus system for partying. However, it’s ranged based. Which means if you’re not playing in a cohesive unit, you’re not benefiting. Which in my opinion is honestly ok. The xp bonus is something I thought would make multiboxing more fruitful, but it’s really not. It’s more of a nice to have when you have it. It’s 30%, by the way. It’s also a pretty small range. See:
    4. Unless you’re pushing GRs with a meta comp, you should play all 4 characters of the same hero. I made the mistake of not doing this, which is perfectly fine, but should be acknowledged.

    III. Benefits of Multiboxing
    Okay so now that I’ve talked about all the reasons multiboxing ISN’T great in D3, what does make it great?

    • Alts. In seasons this becomes more fruitful. In seasons (typically last 3-4 months) there is a journey, which is basically a series of “chapter” quests. The chapters eventually turns into completing achievements for cosmetic purposes, but the first 4 chapters are very functional. Each Hero gets 1 of their class sets as part of completing the first 4 chapters. Starting at the completion of chapter 2, you receive 2 of the 6 pieces needed for your set (determined by blizzard at the start of the season). Completing 4 chapters then allows you to have all the gear. The journey is account wide, which means each account only gets 1 set of gear. The benefit multiboxers would get is to spread this to different character types for alts. I will flesh this out later.
    • 4x Loot (Ramalandi’s CAN BE traded!) – This can be difficult to manage. I find the best way to take advantage of this without killing efficiency is to run greater rifts, all characters port in, clear the GR with your main, then teleport to your main on your slaves. Gather loot, go to town, rinse, repeat, trade loot around. Covered more below.
    • 4x keystone upgrades from greater rifts. This is actually something I didn’t think about until I started playing in a multibox setup and may be the most compelling reason to multibox. When you run a greater rift, there are legendary gems that drop. Everyone can equip 3 (1 in each ring and 1 in neck). Upon completion of a greater rift, you can upgrade these gems 3x (4 if you don’t die). The level which you can upgrade TO is based upon the level of a rift. I.e. a level 5 Greater Rift allows for a diminished chance of success if you’re trying to upgrade a level 6 gem, and continues to diminish past. These gems are able to be augmented into your gear for stats, also based on level. You get +5 stats per gem level. Solo players may be able to use their “main” to farm augment items for their alts, but if your alt is on another account, and you have another character feeding it gems at the same time you’re feeding gems to your main, you’re benefiting multiplicatively since you can theoretically gear up alts at the same speed as your main.

    IV: More Rewards vs Increased Difficulty (Mob HP)
    The penalty of using 1 character to boost the other 3:
    As I said earlier working as a cohesive unit of 4 is difficult. However, there’s also a penalty for having 4 characters in a party, which means there’s an inherent opportunity cost for the advantage of what’s covered above. By penalty, I mean that monsters have more HP with every additional party member. I’d like to do some additional theorycrafting on this with real numbers, but I’ll likely wait for a new season to come out before really exploring this deeper.
    I’ll likely be making a separate thread for this information later as I’m very interested in seeing how thos plays out. My current theory is there will always be about a 5-10 GR difference between solo and 4 man. At the later levels it won’t really matter that much since 4 man groups typically only have 1 or 2 dps characters, with the other 2 being support. The goal should be to just farm gear and gem upgrades. At a certain point, this will have a diminishing return. Meaning leveling a gem from 1-80 at GR 80 for 4 characters is going to be much faster than 1 character doing it at GR 90 solo. In fact, it will likely be about 4x faster.

    V: How I Plan to Use This
    So this information is all nice, how do you plan to use this?
    Alright so I’ve given you about 1200 words of context to this point, but here’s actually how I plan to use this. I didn’t really do a great job of following this, this season, since I really was just beginning to explore multiboxing. Maybe I’ll do it more in the future, or maybe I’ll never play the game again, there’s really no telling.

    1. Level a team of 4 to 70 ASAP.
    2. Complete the first 4 Chapters of the Season Journey on all 4 accounts simultaneously. (Note: some of the goals are solo)
    3. Now that I can easily clear T6 with my main character solo in a 4 man party, level 3 alts on my other accounts. Example Below:
      1. Account 1 – Account 2 – Account 3 – Account 4
      2. Main Level Team: Barbarian (gather journey rewards) – Barbarian – Barbarian – Barbarian
      3. 2nd Team: Barbarian (boost) – Wizard (gather journey rewards) – Wizard – Wizard
      4. 3rd Team: Barbarian (boost) – DH – DH (gather rewards) – DH
      5. 4th Team: Barbarian (boost) – Crusader – Crusader – Crusader (gather rewards)

    Now I have a barbarian, Wizard, DH, Crusader, all on separate accounts, all with pretty solid gear, I can basically play all the classes and from there decide what I actually want to play. Additionally, I can pull characters in from different accounts to make up different team comps if I want to push torments in a cohesive 4 man unit, which would be my end goal but ultimately comes down to time. Realistically I’d need to dedicate probably 50-100 hours in a season to get to that point. The only downside of this is that account 4 would only have a barbarian. It takes like 20 minutes to boost a character in torment 6, so it’s really not that big of a concern.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Multiboxing in Diablo III: The Why started by z0k View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Purpleflavor's Avatar
      Purpleflavor -
      I 4box D3 every new season for about a week or two if it's an interesting season. I have done almost every bit of content since beta. I love the diablo series.

      My mindest when boxing D3 is not the same as games like WoW. I'm not building an amazing team, i'm basically gearing 1 main character very fast and usually very well. I also enjoy grinding out paragons with the group experience bonus, solo is just not feasible, you could solo for a week and not get as much exp as 4man in a day. I get grind when i want, and all the gear drops are for my class and i can pass it to my main character. The only detriment to boxing 4 is that bounties can't be efficiently split. I usually have to join public games on my main for faster bounties.

      no /follow, so i generally just gear the exact same run speed on every character. I avoid abilities that teleport to mobs, and abilities that reduce cooldowns based on things like hit and kill. Usually always a corner nearby to reset stacking.

      I play class builds that aoe or auto target mobs. Things like Whirlwind barb, Condemn Crusader, Multishot Demon Hunter, Pet Witchdoctor, WoL monk, Rat Necro. Sometimes i'll switch one character to support abilities. I tend to try and stick to all same class for loot reasons. If you stick to these similar mobility class builds things run smooth and easy peasy.

      I equate boxing D3 to boxing mages in WoW. You can not get the mobility or playstyle experience of a solo mage, but it's still viable and you reap benefits others do not.

      3 ww barbs and 1 support barb was really really fun this season.
    1. z0k's Avatar
      z0k -
      Great perspective, thank you for sharing. I may try that next season. I definitely messed up with the team comp I ran this season. I eventually abandoned it and have been playing 4 barbs, but I have Bulkathos on 2 of them so the reality is I'm still having trouble playing with 4. Next season I'll do a little more research and maybe find a hero that plays to the strengths of AoE and have less mobility issues that maybe aren't centered around an item as essential as Bulkathos.
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