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Addon Spotlight: Mac Dual-boxing

Addon Spotlight: Mac Dual-boxing
Sean Forsgren
Sean Forsgren|September 19, 2008 1:00 PM
The new Recruit-A-Friend program has taken the World of Warcraft community by storm, perhaps more so in the dual- and multi-boxing circles. I'll admit that while I advocate enjoying the leveling process and experiencing the lore through quests and in-game events, once you've hit 70 a couple of times, the magic tends to wane. With the coming of Wrath of the Lich King, we've had some time to re-evaluate our WoW experience. For many of us, finishing up some alts has become a way to prepare for the expansion. I've had a number of alts since I started playing, but have only managed to ding two paladins and a rogue. Each time I play in a battleground I see a member of another class do something crazy cool and ponder rolling whatever class it is.

With the RAF program in full effect, I decided that dual-boxing with the 300% XP and Summon Friend ability would be the most efficient way to get my alts Wrath-ready. This How-To is specifically for players using Macs, but in essence many of the principles remain true for PC users.


The first thing you need to do is set up your "friend's" account. This is done via your Account Management interface on the official site. Simply send yourself an invite via the Recruit-A-Friend button. Once done, you can set up your new account by following the link in the email to your "friend". This requires that you purchase a copy of the game for your second account. You can actually do it all online without having to install a second copy the hard way. (Although if you want copies of the discs, you'll want to pick up a copy at a retail location.) Otherwise, you can simply copy your World of Warcraft folder in the Applications folder on your Mac. Once copied, paste the second copy to another folder. (You've got some options here, the important part is that your computer having and recognizing two instances of the game client.) I use an external harddrive to keep things easy, and have not noticed significant performance problems when playing the second copy from an external source.

Because I'm running OS X Leopard, I am able to run copies of WoW in different screen via the Spaces feature. (This creates a virtual second display for my "slave" account.) Otherwise, just stack the game clients. Once I have a copy of each client running with my characters logged in, I open up CloneKeys.

CloneKeys is a free program used to clone keystrokes from one client to another. It has an ultra-simple interface that requires only one click to set up. In the interface, you'll simply click the "Add" button and then click on your "slave" copy of WoW. From this point forward, anything you do in your "master" account will be cloned to your "slave" account. You can suspend and restart cloning by pressing the "Start" and "Stop" key. (It's shaped like a STOP sign.)

This is where a fair amount of work is done to setup your two accounts to work well together. The basic idea here is to remove many of the keybindings from the slave, so that the master can fully function without "confusing" the slave with redundant keystrokes. As an example, I remove the W, S, A and D keybindings from the slave altogether, meanwhile I unbind the arrow keys from the master. This way, the master is controlled via the standard W, S, A and D keys, while the slave can be steeed using the arrow keys. As you can see, you'll need to spend some time planning your keybindings. An important thing to keep in mind is that you will want to re-bind all of the slave's actionbar buttons with unique keystrokes not used by the master. Let's talk about why.

Here is where you start laying the foundation for the slave's interaction with the master. I spent time writing macros that enabled the slave to assist the master. Each combat and healing ability I use regularly on my slave (a Balance Druid) has an associated macro to assist the focus target. (Which I designate at the beginning of gameplay as my master.) Here are a couple of examples of macros I am using.

/assist focus
I use this when I don't really need much help and want to regen mana via

/target focus

/cast Regrowth
One of the healing spells cast on the master

/target Self
/cast Regrowth
Slave heals himself

/follow focus
Used to facilitate both toons moving together

/assist focus
/cast Starfire
A basic macro to cast a variety of offensive spells (Starfire in this case)

A few basic administrative-type abilities plus the Moonkin dance for laughs. (Note that these three are different macros.)

Once you've written macros to correspond to the abilities and/or actions for your slave, you'll want to lay them out in the slave's UI and bind them to bindings not used by your master client. (I use bindings like Alt+Ctrl+1 and so forth.)

Voice Commands
This is where the fun comes in, you will need to make sure that "Enable Assistive Devices" is enabled in your System Preferences (in the Universal Access menu.) From here, open up the Speech menu and navigate to the Voice Recognition tab. Set up your system to recognize your voice commands in your preferred method. (With or without a Push-To-Talk key and a preparatory command.) Now, click into your master client and begin creating voice commands. This is done by saying "Define a keyboard command". Once you get it to work, a window will pop up and you'll need to enter a name (which you will speak to initiate the command) and a keybinding. This is where you will want to marry up the three elements of the command.

For example:
I want my druid to cast Starfire on my current target. I have created a macro to do so, placed it on my action bar and bound it to Shift+Ctrl+4. I then create a voice command called "Star" and enter "Shift+Ctrl+4" as the keystroke. Then, while playing my master account, I say "Star", which passes Shift+Ctrl+4 to the game. This does nothing for the master (my warrior), but because of CloneKeys, my druid gets the same command and subsequently casts Starfire on my target. (via my Starfire macro.)

The greater part of all this work serves to facilitate voice commands to your slave that encompass the majority of abilities used in a group setting. I also bind the druids forms, Tranquility and other non-target-specific abilities to keybindings to be used via voice commands.

In the end I can effectively play two characters. I control my warrior (master) in the traditional way, while controlling my druid (slave) via voice commands. Everything from changing forms, mounting and following to spells and attacks are controlled by voice. (Think of it like playing with a novice player, you just have to tell him or her every little thing they need to do and when.)

I only use one addon to contribute to a more efficient dual-boxing experience. Twobox Toolkit allows you to designate a master for a character and a number of features suddenly come into play. The slave will auto-accept invites from the master, relay whispers to the master, auto-accept shared quests and much more. I would say this is a must-have for a budding dual-boxer. (I also borrowed the "master" and "slave" theme from this addon.) I've yet to test MultiboxerV2, but many multi-boxers swear by it. If you're interested in getting started down this road, I'd highly recommend reading through the wiki and forums over at Dual-Boxing.com, the hub of dual-boxing information on the tubes.

Should you decide to try your hand at dual-boxing, I wish you the best of luck. I've found it to be a fun way to level alts, an entirely new experince that requires focus and good WoW know-how to pull off well. Share some stories about your dual-boxing experience! I'd love to hear some tips on how to PvP with two toons, I always get slapped around on my two, even by solo players looking for fun. Dismissed!

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