Five WoW accounts, one keyboard broadcaster and me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Level 18

The team is entering the goblin forge inside the Deadmines instance.

Instances are a bit different from doing quests in the respect that they are made for five people, while most quests are designed to be done solo or with minimal assistance. With my party's killing power being quite high, non-elite regular monsters are dead withhin seconds, often without a chance to even run to my party of casters. For that reason questing out in the game surface world offers little challenge. Instances on the other hand are designed to challenge five people who act indepentantly and generally have elite monsters. Elite monsters have approximately five times as many hit points as a non-elite version would have. Consequently they are not as easily put down and do have the time to cause trouble.

When I attempted the deadmines the first time, I was ill prepared. I had insufficent control over my mage and warlocks to use them efficiently in a more hectic or longer fight. I worked my action bar setup and the WoW macro's on there a bit and changed a number of key bindings to allow for a number of needed things. This way I was able to use ancient and proven military tactics: the feigned retreat.

I will leave the warlocks and mages where I want to fight, and then pull what I want to fight using the priest. I put a shield up before I pull and use either my wand or the instant Shadow Word: Pain to pull the mob. As I am running back to the other characters, I will already start attacking the mob or mobs I pulled with the damage dealing characters as soon as they are in sight. If there is an add, I am prepared to use the mages crowd control abilitiy to sheep it.

Using these tactics, I cleared the way to the mast room where I defeated lumbermaster Sneed and his buddies. The patrols that spawn as soon as a named boss has been killed are a real nuissance in this dungeon and made my life hard. Fighting on, I reached the forge, as shown in the picture above. I did manage to kill Gilnid. As it was getting rather late, my patience was sorely tested already and I really wanted the Staff of Westfall for my team I replaced Elaire with my level 60 mage and nuked the rest of the dungeon in a few minutes. Sweet sweet revenge!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Level 12

Entering Loch Modan. As a visible change you can note the fancy tabards. I picked a dark background and chose the borders as straight lines in the same color, hiding them. The symbol is something that after a lot of clicking through the available choices appealed to me. White was the logical color choice, as it does not only look awesome with the black clothes I tailored for matching looks, but also will not clash with colors of future gear.

Now, choosing your tabard design is only possible for a guild master and wearable only by guild members. So yes, I made a guild just for my team. Now each character has the guild tag underneath their name, as in Alarie < Minion >. This looks similar to the tags on pets that say < Blaire's Minion >. The apostrophe is not allowed for use in guild names though, so Minion was the next best choice.

Anyway, enough of looks and uniforms!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Level 1

The screenshot shows the team after I brought all characters together for the first time. This is in the human starting area, Northshire Abbey. From left to right you can see Dlaire, Elaire, Captn, Alaire and Blaire.

Before this, I had done a test run. Being satisfied, I went about getting the required bits and pieces together. These are primarily five computers and five World of Warcraft accounts.

The Platform

Blizzard has kept the minimum hardware requirements of WoW intentionally low, to avoid artifical shrinking of their potential customer base. I had three computers available already. All of them are Sony VAIO computers. I primarily use a VGC-RC102 desktop with two 19" displays and a VGN-C1Z/B notebook with a 13.3" widescreen display. Due to the low minimum spec requirements even my old PCG-V505CP with 32MB ATI Radeon 9200 graphics can run the game client. Not as nice as the RC102 or the C1S, both of them can run two clients at once, but it does the job. I needed two more units to complete my platform for five clients. Lucky enough I am in the sitation to have access to a large amount of Sony reference hardware.
Two PCG-V505DP notebooks from this pool are now temporarily the fourth and fifth in my setup. From left to right, C1Z, V505CP, RC102 displays, V505DP, V505DP, with the Logitech G15 keyboard and MX1000 in the front. Yeah baby!

Account management

Getting more WoW copies was mostly a question of 'am I really doing this?'. The price for the basic game had been dropped to 20 euro at the launch of the expansion. I already had my primary WoW/BC account and a secondary account for bank characters and such.

I picked up three copies of the original game and upgraded two of them with the expansion pack to give me the race/class mix that I wanted for my party setup. Only the drenai priest and mage accounts need the expansion, so I could have done with just one account upgrade, but I wanted to have a warlock on my primary account, so one more upgrade was needed.

Party setup

The setup I decided on is one priest, one mage and three warlocks. There are several reasons for this, both in game mechanics and a more simple one. The simple reason is that I have already played six of the nine avaialbe classes ad nauseam, while not really getting into druids or warlocks before. Even though it is possible now after the expansion for the Alliance, I am not really interested in playing a shaman. Or a druid for that matter. But warlocks do interest me, so here we go.

Game mechanics reasons include that none of the group buff abilities are wasted in this setup. The priest increases the warlocks damage as well as the whole parties health, can heal and remove diseases and magic effects. The warlocks provide self-resses, health stones as replacement for healing potions and can on top of that provide another health buff via their imp. The mage can increase the whole parties mana, remove curses, conjure water and bread as replacement for bought, collected or crafted consumeables and can portal the party to a number of handy locations.

As far balance goes, my party is overpowered in damage dealing capabilities, has sufficient healing, but lacks a real tank. More on that later.

Time to hit the pillow. Captn out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What is MultiBoxing and why are you doing it?

MultiBoxing means simultaneously playing several characters in an MMORG where a typical player plays only one character at a time. This is a great challenge and great fun.

Before the Burning Crusades WoW expansion I have raided first with my paladin, and then extensively with my warrior as tank. Besides these characters I have a mage, priest, rogue and hunter as 60s, favoring the marksman hunter and the solo dungeon crawling rogue. When BC hit, I first leveled my tank to 70 in prot spec. I was unwilling to swap spec to arms or fury since I enjoyed tanking more than killing. I ended up getting most of my XP from guild instance runs, while doing some questing controlling a shadowpriest and my warrior at the same time. I have replaced my warrior's T2 set with level 70 dungeon pieces and played my hunter halfway to 70.

Yet, this was mostly rinse and repeat of the same old thing. I like the expansion and the new twist on more challenging dungeons, but I am also very frustrated with the lack of killing power on my protection warrior. Grinding gold or quests is tough. I dont want to cry for help all the time.

Out of this situation the idea to have my own private grinding army to support my warrior was born. I had read about Xzin and when doing some research found Ellay's site which offered some more info.

Now, when playing the team I get often stopped by players and queried what I am doing or why these characters are following that character. Usually the answer will be somewhere between 'awesome!' and 'omg! haxx, bots, account seller' with a clear majority on the side of the people who react positively.

In the interest of not wasting the time of the EU-Gamemasters unncessarily, let me address some of the false accusations:
Haxx! No sir. I did not change the WoW client in any way or run any programs that interferes with the client or it's communication with the WoW servers.
Bots! No. Botting means automation of a character so the character can kill and loot or whatever else without a player controlling the character. In essence a bot is a script playing the character instead of a player. None of my characters does anything unless I press a key or or click on anything, exactly like it is supposed to be.
Account Seller All accounts are registered in my name and run on my credit card. I have no intention of violating the ToS by selling any of my accounts.

I do this for my own entertainment, not to impair the entertainment of anyone else.

The interest by the players who observed me prompted me to write down what I encounter. That made my start this blog.

Cheers, Captn.