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Reader Comments (78)

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 11:45AM BORODA said

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I normally try to avoid games that need more then one character to enjoy it. If you need a crafter/gatherer/warrior to acomplish anything in the game, then it's broken by it's design and is just a meh. Having alts to enjoy developing your character over and over is normal to every game.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 11:57AM SkyStreak said

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If there are rules that prohibit it, it's cheating.

If not. It's fine.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 12:46PM TexRob said

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To me it's a game design problem.

It looks like SWTOR is trying to get around the craft mule by having your companions do crafting, great idea. Don't limit storage space (have tons of it) so you don't force people to make mules.

What I think is really forward thinking is that you could say have one race of a character, and that character could actually level up multiple classes within the same character. To switch from say a warrior to a priest, you would have to say do something in town to switch roles and then a different set of gear and spells, skills, etc all take over. That way you have one character that is actually multiple. This doesn't solve the problem of people having alts so they can form one man groups, which I don't think will ever go away. Companions in SWTOR is definitely a nod to that, and hopefully it will help some. I've boxed in many games, and frankly, I HATE IT. It is not fun, it becomes too much, I'd much rather focus 100% on one char than playing two or more at a lesser level. It's mentally taxing, and even worse in some games.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 12:48PM Faryon said

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Alts: Not cheating, even in games with a "max 1 char per server" restriction. If people can afford, and is willing to pay for several subs they should be allowed to do so without being called cheaters. Personally I can neither afford nor am I willing to pay for several subs for the same game.

Mules: See alts, though stuff like crafting mules are not exactly positive for the ingame economy.

Multiboxing: Not cheating if the program you are using only send 1 keypress to the each of the clients for every key you press on your keyboard. I disagree with the statement that it's the same as being in a normal group with other players, but it's definitely not cheating.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 1:28PM Barrikade said

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Cheating? No. Come on.

I wouldn't ever do it, but if you want to pay for a 2nd account, that's on you.

Most games are practically designed around alts. It's cheaper to give us tools to continue to replay content than it is to develop new content.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 1:44PM (Unverified) said

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i think Neal Stephenson may have gotten this right in his latest book. The MMO that fully embraces bots and gold farming as essential components of the game is going to be full of win.

All the cries of bad design in the comments here are missing the point, the bad design is that the game does not allow for the people that wish to do this to contribute in what is viewed as a legitimate way. Its a free to play model where all transactions are between players and the MMO developer just takes a little tax off the top. THEN everyone would be all for someone spending all their time out in the wilderness collecting resources to sell them on an auction house. Resource gathering is not fun for most people, so why do it at all? Just drop $10 for a bunch of gold/tokens/credits and buy all the resources you need.

The problem is not that the designers are unable to stop these players, it is that they have not embraced them.

A few virtual worlds have tried this already and failed, but someday, someone will get it right, and that developer will become a juggernaut.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 2:34PM shmegger said

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EQ2 has a new promotion that actually encourages multi-boxing. There are 'shared bank' slots to facilitate 'mules', and they give you 8 slots. So its not cheating b/c they made the rules and you are allowed to do these things.

One a pve server, its an advantage, but on pvp it is an unfair advantage. Just hope your mmo has a Blood and Glory server if you want a level playing field.

EQ's multi-box info:
http://everquest2.com/get_the_game/passport

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 2:38PM Space Cobra said

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Kinda surprised by half the comments here, especially when we get so many responses about what should be offered in a "Play-to-win" game.

IMO, having an alt solely for banking slots or helping skills for a main character is cheating, but, as there is no true "black and white" in my world, it is only mildly cheating.

Of course, some people bring up game design and, IMO, games should offer more inventory/bank slots because, well, many of us are such item whores/pack rats. Games should foster item collection, IMO, but since they don't do a great job (and in some cases, you need to pay for more item slots, either with in-game gold or real money), people will make mules.

Twinks, IMO, is tangentially related to this, from my own play style. For example, sometimes I get a nifty bow on my melee fighter I can't use, so I save it for a future alt. I may make such an alt soon enough, just to save the inventory space on my main. I know I will eventually play it, since I like trying out different classes. And really, If a good player has put some time into the game and wants to twink, let them. Sure, you as a new player can grumble, I understand that, but if you were in his shoes, most, I think, would do the same (twink an alt). Again, he put the time and got some items so.

I feel multi-boxing is cheating, but there are caveats. Some games allow it. I see more lower-populated games offering it than higher and being flexible with it. I can see value to it and maybe I'd do it, but I have yet to do so. I can easily pay a second account and, for example, have a cleric follow me, but...it seems a bit lame, if not actually "cheating". I guess it just depends on the game. If someone doesn't have an army of 5-8 or even 32 accounts logged on at once (I remember that story), then it's fine. Well, fine but "fishy". Again, I realize it's a bit of the "let's work for it in-game" versus the "pluck down money for p2w" at odds in me and frankly, I am not *that* against p2w as others seem to be (within limits) but this...is a tad bit over that limit, although it's now accepted and has been around for so long.

Either way, nothings going to change (and I gripe about FFXIV's one slot, even though they give you a price break for another character slot). These games allow alts and they SHOULD allow alts, but when alts are used for non-main-game-playing things, like storage, it doesn't quite sit right with me, even though I do it, too.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:31PM Graill440 said

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@Space Cobra

The blog you made was ok to read and there is nothing wrong with your own opinion, but this line made absolutely no sense and destroyed that entire paragraph. Did you leave something out of the sentence before the word cheating? (just curious)

"I feel multi-boxing is cheating, but there are caveats. Some games allow it."

Not trying to be the grammar police either, just looking for clarification.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 3:32PM Doran7 said

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"Are alts and mules a form of cheating?"

what?! Not unless using them is against the eula. cooperative play is part of the game and if alts are a problem there is an easy way to control the abuse .. disallow the alts. You might as well ask if it's cheating to spend more time in the game than your neighbor can.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 3:36PM Matix said

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@Reverend St Jay I never used the word "multi-boxing" so I'm a bit "lost" on all "quotations" in reference to my point, but to the extent you addressed what I wrote:

"Using "an anything" to send "multiple keypresses" to "any number of game clients" is... cheating like a sonofagun."

I agree.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 3:37PM Matix said

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@Matix Just someone from Massively please delete this the comment thing just completely whigged out and put this in the wrong place.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2011 3:37PM Doran7 said

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and everyone can use alts the same way freely.. in a pay to win scenario the alts slots would have to all be paid for by mirco tranaction instead of being free. This would be a problem in that it would cause the devs to create in in game requirement to buy alts.. that I would definitely hate on.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 4:52PM (Unverified) said

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Nothing like an outrageously faulty argument with a ridiculous premise to generate some discussion, right? Alts and mules cheating? Please. That doesn't even make any sense.

Posted: Nov 7th 2011 8:21PM Graill440 said

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Nothing wrong with alts, to each his own.

My opinion........ i simply dont see the point in them, even to make trade alts, storage, etc. To the average person this makes you look like your living in the game for some reason. Also stating you are seeing other, new content with alts is a joke, new content? Really?

Even with TOR i will make one avatar and play one storyline. Once one is finished the others are similar, so why repeat them with alts?

As for boxers, this is exploiting the system, i would not call it cheating in its purest form..... but nothing can surpass the speed of one person with macros controlling and entire death squad, something i am sure the devs had not planned on, but then again, there is an easy fix for that too, you just need devs with balls.

I play games for fun, dependant on what devs do to the game for my pleasure determines whether i stay and continue to pay, they do not make me happy, i leave, simple stuff. Grin.

Posted: Nov 8th 2011 5:58AM nagennif said

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@Graill440

I don't play alts to experience new content. I play alts to experience new play style. Playing a melee warrior in most game is a completely different experience than playing a spell caster. If I buy a game, and that game allows me to make multiple characters, why wouldn't I want to become good at more than one class, particularly if the game requires certain classes to do certain things.

I don't enjoy playing healers, generally, but sometimes, friends or guildies need a healer to help them out, and when they do, sometimes I volunteer. I wouldn't roll a healer as my main character, but I'd level one to help friends. Why not? Same with tanking.

I'll play different races to experience different starting areas too...and then I get attached to characters and keep playing them.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2011 6:03AM nagennif said

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Cheating? I think that's silly.

I also think it's silly to include multiboxers in with people who have alts which are completely different things. You'd really have to break it down like this.

1. Alts on a single account. Most games give you lots of character slots to play with, why give them to you if you're not supposed to use them.

2. Alts on another account. Different story, and I guess it might depend on how you use them. Is more storage cheating? I guess the question is does it really give you any advantage. I used to save a lot of things for characters that I wasn't playing at the time, before I started to realize how easy it was to get stuff in games anyway. It's not even worth the stoarge slot. In any event, when you buy a game, if you're staying with the Eula of the game, then you're not breaking the rules. Anyone who thinks they have the right to make rules for everyone else...shrugs. They can think that all they want.

3. Multiboxers..this is the only group I have a problem with, and it's still not cheating, though it moves into a gray area UNLESS that person is playing with multiple keyboards, or playing both accounts at the same time.

But putting all these things in one box and just asking are alts cheating. It's too broad a category to make generalizations about. I'd much rather have seen the question is multi-boxing cheating.

Posted: Nov 8th 2011 1:06PM Jeromai said

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I've gotten a bit blase about the whole affair. After playing a ton of MMOs, I've seen the whole gamut from multiple bank or crafter alts (everyone does this, if you don't, you're a rare rare individual), twinking (I used to think this somewhat cheat-y or at least unbalancing once upon a time, then WoW legalised it with heirlooms with nary a blink of eye), multiple paid accounts, multiboxing, multiple free accounts, pay 2 win, exploiting and worse, ie. third party gold buying, gold farming, ninja looting, botting, etc.

Obviously, the stuff I lumped near the "worse" category is where I personally draw the line. But y'know, I've seen other people do it. It's still rampant, in some MMOs more than others. And really, what can you do?

It's really up to the devs and the GMs whether they want to police and enforce their rules or not. If those testing the boundaries (or willfully bounding right over them) get hit by the banhammer, they have no excuse. Just suck it up, and either stop playing, stop crossing the rules boundary or (and I would guess lots of gold farmers do this) learn to hide it better.

As a player, your choices are, find and stick to your own personal line and boundary, and choose a game whose rules and overall community culture of respecting/breaking those rules you can agree with. (Me, I don't play Eve Online for a reason.)

For the record, I like alts, I can make mules if I want to, I've paid for multiple accounts for certain games I like, and I'm happy to nurse ambitions of multiboxing - it's not as easy as it looks, there's a significant layer of challenge and learning that can make a boring MMO more interesting, and some MMOs are friendlier to it than others. Not going to waste my time with those than aren't.

Where I draw the line at re: multiboxing is bullying, griefing and harassing, normally via PvP or text spamming. But really, one can also indulge in cruddy behavior on a single character - all multiboxing does it is do whatever it is, 2x or 3x or 5x or 48x more efficiently.

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