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  1. #1

    Default ISBoxer One Month In (thoughts and discussion)

    I apologize for the long wall of text. I'm basically sharing my experience with ISBoxer over the past 2 months. Any suggestions on how I can improve this setup and/or my strategies is welcome.

    Background:


    I started dual boxing in Everquest shortly after it released in 1999. I've always done it using in-game macros and 2 comps/2 keyboards/2 mice. At some point I also tried some hardware from xkeys that broadcast a keypress from one device (one of their programmable devices in this case) to several computers. A much better approach than having to move your hand from keyboard to keyboard.

    I switched to WoW when it released in 2004. Again, I dual-boxed using the same methods. I took a long break recently and came back a little over a month ago. I no longer have two comps on my desk and I wasn't really wanting to buy another one so I decided to give ISBoxer a try.

    Physical Setup:

    My physical setup is a gaming mouse under my right hand with 12 buttons driven by my right thumb mapped to 123...90-=. My left hand stays on a logitech G13. I map the home row on the G13 and the one below it to next_target, forward, IWT, shift, ctrl, alt. The thumb joystick is mapped to forward, left, right, back for others (moves all the characters except the one I'm driving with). My goal is to do everything I need to DURING A FIGHT without ever moving my hands. Having to move my hands and look down at the keyboard is a killer in a boss fight! Outside of fights this is not important.

    Initial Experience:

    To get accustomed to ISBoxer I dual boxed a Warlock/Druid from 110 to 120. I main boxed the affliction warlock and tried to set up the balance druid to nuke efficiently given the typical sequence of key strokes used for the warlock. It was not very efficient, but I was ok with it. The main reason for the druid is that on really tough fights I switch to resto and the druid keeps everyone (most importantly the pet) alive. I did this using VFX with a setup shown by MiRai where I could drive the druid from the warlocks screen. MiRai uses two addons in his video: Clique and Grid I believe, which I did not want to do. I went a slightly different route using mouse-over scripts with in-game raid frames. In resto all my healing spells use the alt modifier with the base action bar empty. So all alt-# actions go to the druid, all # actions go to the warlock.

    Then I decided to try a 5-man:

    First 5-Man Group:


    I had never tried to drive a 5-man group before. But I did many 5-man dungeons dual-boxing. Most of those were with 2 friends of mine where I would drive warlock/druid, 2nd friend would drive priest/mage, and 3rd friend was tank.

    For ease of starting on this first group I went all undead: warrior, priest, 3Xmage. They're level 36 now and I believe I've done all the instances they can queue for at this point. The only boss I simply couldn't kill with this group is Roogug in RFK (technically I haven't tried the bosses past the first 2 in that instance because I can't get to them without killing Roogug). He effectively has an enrage timer with a stacking buff he starts casting at 75% health and I can't kill him fast enough. Not the point of this post but essentially the group is low on DPS for this encounter.

    Note that a lot of the troubles with this group simply involved learning to deal with a 5-man group. Getting quests with a 5-man group. Looting with a 5-man group. Travel with a 5-man group. Etc. I can't tell you how many times I realized one of my group got stuck on a log/post/etc. and is 30 to 60 seconds behind me. Or I realized that one of the toons didn't actually finish the last quest and I have to travel back from whence I came, wasting several minutes. It's incredibly frustrating at times. Jamba will give you messages about a broken follow but it's easy to miss (for me anyway).

    Basic Macro Setup:

    For fight setup I start with a primary sequence macro for the warrior and mages using /castsequence. It is not, of course, as efficient as if I was only playing that class and reacting to crits/etc. But it's the best I'm going to do 5-manning. This is mapped to '1'. I map '2' to instant cast spells. I map '3' to AOEs, which I'm not using often at this point. '4' is mapped to stuns. '5' is mapped to shield wall. '6' is mapped to taunt. Ctrl-1/2/3 is mapped to CC for each mage and I use it. I tried to kill 1 thing at a time (even trash). I mainly drove from the warrior. Again, this worked reasonably well. The only boss I simply couldn't do was Roogug (discussed above) with an effective enrage timer. Part of the issue is that he spawns totems during the fight that you have to destroy. When my warrior switches to them, everyone switches to them, wasting a lot of DPS on them. Too much DPS as it turns out. I've gotten very close several times but he always manages to kill the tank before I can kill him and then it's over.

    Second 5-Man Group:

    My 2nd 5-man group was paladin (tank), druid (healer), mage, warlock, hunter. A diverse group. Should be much harder to run than group one, right? Well... turn's out not so much. There are some issues, but the group overall works better.

    My setup was very similar. I developed a main sequence macro for each class and mapped it to '1'. That get's spammed during the fight. '2' is mapped to instant cast sequence. '3' to AOEs (not using this atm but some of the spells in the main sequence scripts are AOE). '4' is a stun sequence. '5' and '6' are not mapped yet. This group hit 20 last night. I've done WC, Dead Mines, RFC and SFK. The paladin keeps group aggro no problem so I don't bother with CC. Because of this, runs with this group are much faster. But even single target damage is higher than group 1. I installed a damage meter last night and, low and behold, the mage is doing the least damage of the DPS. In fact, the mage is often lower than the tank! Without more micro-management (which I can't give) the fire mage is simply not living up to it's potential at this level. I will try arcane/frost next and see how that goes.

    Overall Comments:

    First off, ISBoxer is built to support many games. Because of this, it is very configurable giving it a steep learning curve. The authors try to help you around this with setup wizards - and that works pretty well. I wish there were more mouse-over explanations built in but, overall, I can't say enough positive things about this software. It's not perfect and I'll get into some of the issues I've had shortly, but it's obviously the product of much love and devotion. My hat is off to those who write and support it. $15 for 3 months allows you to try it out for cheap and if you like multi-boxing you're not going to go back.

    But realize that the overall system is going to get complicated. You have the software configuration toolkit, the innerspace tool itself, an innerspace add-on, jamba (another add-on you're going to need to keep your sanity when 5-boxing) and any other addons you like (tomtom and skada for me). When something is going wrong it's not always obvious which component is at fault.

    One of my issues was that my healer simply quit working at times. I eventually figured out this was due to my healer leveling and WoW "helpfully" putting spells on my hotbar. So now my 1/2/3 spam was actually causing the healer to cast spells (remember in my setup the healer only responds to alt-# which everyone else ignores). The first time this happened the spell was holy nova.... which quickly led to the priest being OOM and then not responding for that reason (no mana!).

    Another time my G13 started acting like the programmed ALT key was down continuously. Nothing was responding (the healer only heals if ALT is down AND the mouse is over a raid frame so he wasn't taking any actions either). That caused a wipe when it started and took several frustrating minutes to figure out. Turns out that typing ALT-1 in the chat box just echos '1' making you think everything is working as intended.

    IWT pathing is NOT IDEAL. The first time I tried fighting the giant worm in RFC while driving from my healer, the tank decided to jump in the lava. Other times, when I use IWT to tell the rest of the group to loot a corpse, one of the toons will start running off in a random direction. And when that happens they don't stop still until they hit a wall (or you redirect with an auto-follow, etc.) I've mapped auto-follow to my middle mouse button so I can respond quickly when this occurs.

    Also, IWT with my mages/warlock/priest works just as you would want. The turn to face the mob, run to get into range (I think???) and nuke. With melee, they run up to the target and start swinging. HOWEVER, WoW seems to treat the resto druid as a melee. When I drive the 2nd group from the tank and use IWT, the druid runs to the target and starts swinging away! Not sure how to fix this (but I haven't really looked into much at this point either - I just drive from the healer if I need IWT during a fight).

    Anyway, I'm having more fun than I've had for a long time in WoW. 5-manning the instances is challenging and fun. Boss fights that require movement, killing adds, etc. can be very challenging. Developing new methods to deal with that is also not trivial.

    If you have a better method/strategy for anything above, please share!
    Last edited by FrostBlayze : 07-23-2019 at 01:11 PM

  2. #2

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    Heya! Glad you're enjoying your experience. I'm quite tired writing this so I'll keep it short-ish but I think there are a few pointers I can throw out that might help out going forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrostBlayze View Post

    ... But even single target damage is higher than group 1. I installed a damage meter last night and, low and behold, the mage is doing the least damage of the DPS. In fact, the mage is often lower than the tank! Without more micro-management (which I can't give) the fire mage is simply not living up to it's potential at this level. I will try arcane/frost next and see how that goes.
    WoW balancing is such that some classes and specs under perform heavily at lower levels. Some require certain talents (and now azerite traits) only acquired at max level. Some also scale better with gear or require certain haste/crit break points to start living up to their potential. That isn't to say that all classes will be equal eventually, but just pointing out that while the mage might not be doing all that well right now, that might change. I never got mine all that highly geared but my frost mage was more or less keeping up with my destruction warlock, outside of burst damage with all cooldowns running. I also never tried fire, but at least historically that would have been the spec that requires the most "baby sitting" to get the most out of due to it being proc heavy. I'm not certain if that is still the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrostBlayze View Post
    One of my issues was that my healer simply quit working at times. I eventually figured out this was due to my healer leveling and WoW "helpfully" putting spells on my hotbar. So now my 1/2/3 spam was actually causing the healer to cast spells (remember in my setup the healer only responds to alt-# which everyone else ignores). The first time this happened the spell was holy nova.... which quickly led to the priest being OOM and then not responding for that reason (no mana!).
    I suppose this is only an issue while you are still attaining new spells, but I guess you could also work around it by either having the correct spells added to those slots on the main action bar, or if you want nothing there, placing a empty macro on them. WoW should not add any new spell you learn to an action bar slot that already has something in it. Or of course you could also remove the binds from those action bar buttons completely if you so choose.

    Personally I have no action bars active ingame whatsoever and every single spell I have is stored as a macro in ISBoxer, which are then usable via the ISBoxer addon. This makes working with your rotations a bit clearer and in teams that have X amount of the same spec it of course means you can edit the macros and/or rotations for multiple characters at once. Since you're using mouse over healing that might be a bit more tricky, but still doable if you ever choose to go that route. It's not a necessity at all, but personally I found that the more I learned to work with ISBoxer, the more aspects of my setup I've chosen to do through it.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrostBlayze View Post
    IWT pathing is NOT IDEAL. The first time I tried fighting the giant worm in RFC while driving from my healer, the tank decided to jump in the lava. Other times, when I use IWT to tell the rest of the group to loot a corpse, one of the toons will start running off in a random direction. And when that happens they don't stop still until they hit a wall (or you redirect with an auto-follow, etc.) I've mapped auto-follow to my middle mouse button so I can respond quickly when this occurs.
    This is a known issue with IWT that has existed for as long as it has been a feature in the game. More or less you can think of it as the character failing to find the "edge" of the target so it never reaches the destination it was expecting and thus never stops. John Gabriel found a rather simple fix for this a little bit back. Here is the thread for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by FrostBlayze View Post
    Also, IWT with my mages/warlock/priest works just as you would want. The turn to face the mob, run to get into range (I think???) and nuke. With melee, they run up to the target and start swinging. HOWEVER, WoW seems to treat the resto druid as a melee. When I drive the 2nd group from the tank and use IWT, the druid runs to the target and starts swinging away! Not sure how to fix this (but I haven't really looked into much at this point either - I just drive from the healer if I need IWT during a fight).
    You have deducted correctly. WoW does treat Druids as melee when it comes to IWT. Basically, when IWT was first introduced they baked in how it will work with each class. It does not differentiate between the specializations for each class. If the class has a melee spec available to it, it will always function as if it was melee when it comes to IWT. So Shamans, Druids, Paladins and Monks will behave in this manner even if in a ranged or healer specialization. The exception to this is Survival hunter, which was not a melee spec at the time and due to this will not act as a melee now with IWT.

    There are a few ways you could deal with it, but what initially comes in to mind is placing your druid in an Action Target Group and sending a backpeddle key to it on releasing your IWT key. If you're unfamiliar with Action Target Groups, they're basically just definitions you can assign to your characters and then point ISBoxer actions towards. E.G. You could assign your Druid to an action target group called "Druid" and then have ISBoxer do something that affects all characters in the group "Druid".

  3. #3
    Multiboxologist MiRai's Avatar
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    I also enjoy reading these "first impressions" posts; even more so when people are enjoying the playstyle.

    With that said, Wubsie hit on most things, but...

    I'll add that I do play slightly differently than both of you, whereas I generally like to set up my in-game action bars so that if I need to control a character solo, in either emergency situations or just outside of multiboxing, I can do so with little issue. Then again, if you're fully set up through ISBoxer, like Wubsie, then the end result may actually be the same, and it simply fall to personal preference.

    In addition to what Wubsie said about IWT, I do have a video that explains one method of fixing IWT behavior with mixed-class teams.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yLdOojjpQE


    Finally, there's probably not much footage of people multiboxing Roogug in RFK that is floating around on the internet, so I dove into some archive footage that I had lying around from patch 7.3.5—which is post-scaling, but pre-item-level squish—and I grabbed two different Roogug kills with two different teams, from two different perspectives. While the footage may not necessarily help you since you're running a different comp (and I actually ignored the totems for the most part), it will maybe give you an idea about something.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqwAOjIjjTU
    Do not send me a PM if what you want to talk about isn't absolutely private.
    Ask your questions on the forum where others can also benefit from the information.

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  4. #4

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    Great post FrostBlayze. Enjoyed reading many similar experiences as I had.

    Pretty much the first thing I added in my ISBoxer setup was a button to switch auto-IWT on and off, for the same reason as you: that all melee jumped into the lava in ragefire caverns

    I understand your idea to have your healer's actions on ALT-keys and only when mouse is in the heal-frame, as you know from the other thread, I have similar. But does it mean you when you need to press ALT-3, that you can't dps because ALT is held down and your dps buttons are not mapped to ALT? If so, my suggestion is to move the main heal to a button that you can mash at the same time as your main dps button. I try to put ctrl/alt/shift keybinds on for the stuff that I only use sporadically. My weakness is still decursing, where my hand just can't twist easily to mash dps and the decurse button, and also I can't see the GCD of the decurser so often my whole team just stands around like idiots until the poison is gone. But ... dps+heal with round-robin-interrupt? Moorabi doesn't stand a chance!

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the input MiRai. I didn't have time to go over your first link and fix my IWT issue but I'll likely get to that tonight. I did, however, review the second link and it gave me some ideas. It was obvious from those fights that most players, like you, ignored the totems and simply moved away from whatever they were dumping out. I need to give that strategy a go and see how it works.

    Wizeowel,

    My general strategy is to continually loop through the following steps:

    1) Heal lowest health target.
    2) If boss is casting something nasty hit 4.
    3) If I'm standing in something nasty or something is incoming, then move.
    4) If there's a group in front of me, hit 3.
    5) If I didn't cast an AOE, spam 1/2.
    6) Repeat.

    That works pretty well and there is no point where I'm trying to issue a command to the tank/dps when ALT is down. I could map alt-1 through alt-6 for the tank/dps to their primary sequence. That would ensure that they're doing something if healing takes all my attention (unusual but it does happen.... usually right before a wipe).
    Last edited by MiRai : 07-25-2019 at 10:17 PM Reason: Merged

  6. #6

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    “My goal is to do everything I need to DURING A FIGHT without ever moving my hands.”

    A little commented feature about ISBOXER is that it can use joystick peripherals.

    In my case I picked up a a very, very old pc steering wheel and pedals.

    I use the pedals only for strafing, or formations.

    No windows drivers required as Isboxer takes care of it. The only catch I can see is that I can see, is that it needs to be USB.

    You setup the gaming device buttons like hotkeys.

    Maybe Mirai can explain better, as I only needed to set it up once.

    And yes, I did use the wheel on occasion, to ‘drive’ my team and hammered the yellow button use gse macro, but Im a mouse player.
    Last edited by MiRai : 07-29-2019 at 12:49 PM Reason: Formatting - Automatic Text Color

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