15 Minutes of Fame: 10-boxing Karazhan, Part 2

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Last week, 15 Minutes of Fame visited with multiboxer Nixi of team Absolute Power-H of Archimonde to bring WoW Insider readers his 10-boxing strategy for Karazhan. This week, we'll step back for a look at Nixi's hardware setup, his top five tips for new multiboxers and a broader look at why he's a 'boxer.

Catch up with 10-boxing Karazhan Part 1, then join us after the break for an inside look at Nixi's 10-boxing team.

Main character
Nixi, Blood Elf Paladin

Team members
Mixi, Blood Elf Paladin
Rixi, Blood Elf Priest
Pixi, Blood Elf Mage
Vixi, Blood Elf Warlock
Zixi, Blood Elf Warlock
Thork, Orc Shaman
Rhork, Orc Shaman
Ghork, Orc Shaman
Mhork, Orc Shaman
Shatin, Troll Warrior (trash only)

15 Minutes of Fame: Last week, we talked about your specific strats for 10-boxing Karazhan. Let's do a quick review -- what Kara encounter was the simplest, in terms of execution?
Nixi: Many are really easy once everything is setup. Curator is point and shoot. Attumen is point and shoot and hold for phase transition, and then continue to shoot. For Prince, keep him in the proper range and it's really simple, if you don't run out of mana.

What was the most difficult to multibox?
Chess. You really have to bounce between many windows to get the pawns out of the way so your main five can move around. Then you have to micromanage to get them out of the flames, and then it's so random in how Med moves his guys, that it can be really hard.

Aran actually seems easy on paper, but it's really one of the hardest fights for me. He always gets me during the Water Elemental phase, so res'ing my Priest and getting things back in action is really hard.

Nightbane. I got him in the air and back on the ground. I think my best attempt was 48%, but there is zero room for error. It's a really tough fight for me.

Have you ever tried a heroic?
I can clear Slave Pens, Underbog, Steamvault, Ramparts, Blood Furnace, Botanica, Mech, Durnholde and Mana Tombs. I've never attempted heroic Shadow Labs, Crypts or Arc. Didn't try and push through Shattered and Sethekk Halls, but I did kill the first bosses for the Nightbane quest. Killed the first boss in Black Morass, but my group comp was bad and I didn't try to go back with a different comp. It's really far out of the way, anyway.

You say you have a PvP team as well. How does this team differ from your PvE crew in terms of class mix and play style?
My PvP team is four shamans. I pair with a Holy Paladin, and we've peaked at 1890 in 5v5. I grinded all the honor gear by four-boxing the shamans. It's a whole different ballgame using the four shamans to PvP vs. 10-boxing. Basically, with the shamans, I utilize a larger percentage of their abilities -- like 90 percent vs. the 15 to 20 percent I use while 10-boxing.

Tell us about the path that led you to 10-boxing PvE content. Are you a long-time gamer?
World of Warcraft, since February 2006 to now. I started in MMORPGs with Ultima Online. I was totally hooked on that game and the whole genre. I must have bought it soon after release, I can't quite remember. I was in high school and I know I played it for a year or two before I made the transition to EverQuest on launch.

I played EverQuest for two or three years. In the later parts of my (EQ) career, I multiboxed two computers. Eventually, I got hold of a third and had a laptop that could barely run it. I didn't use special software or hardware. I remember sitting at a desk with two desktop PCs in front of me, CRT monitors taking up a bunch of room and a stool with a laptop propped up beside me. I didn't play like this all the time, but it came in handy for farming. I had a shaman that healed, a rogue that DPSed and a warrior. I dual-boxed mainly, the shaman and rogue, but I did pull out the laptop on occasion. It was extremely cumbersome, and I wouldn't consider myself a pro at it -- basically just utilized a healbot and hit one or two buttons to heal.

How did Keyclone change things for you?
It made boxing more "professional." It is simply amazing how much easier controlling the characters became, utilizing the key broadcasting software. I didn't have to bumble around with two mice, keyboards and monitors. I could basically "drive" from one computer without paying much attention to the other box. And as embarrassing as it may sound, it feels nice not using my toe to press the heal button. (Although I did recently buy an x-keys foot pedal that gets used extensively while 10-boxing. More on that later.)

Tell us about your physical setup.
When I first started boxing in WoW, it was with two laptops -- the old-fashioned way. My girlfriend at the time didn't like me staying up all night at my desk playing, so I brought our two laptops to the bed (I commandeered her computer) and had them laying there.

After I found Keyclone and started dual-boxing for awhile, I knew I wanted to five-box. I went out and bought a Quadcore Q6600 2.4 GHz, 8800 GT, 4 gig RAM machine, and it played five accounts pretty well. Things got choppy in Shattrath; later, I discovered it was a RAM problem, and upgrading to Vista 64 fixed it. I ended up plugging in another 4 gigs for a total of 8; it was overkill, though.

After deciding to 10-box, I went to the same store and bought another identical PC. So my 10-boxing setup is two desktop PCs with the aforementioned specs. Two 22-inch wide-screen monitors are flanking a 19-inch square monitor on a glass dining room table. Underneath the table are the PC towers and speakers. I've got a mini keyboard for the left PC, complemented with a death Adar Razor mouse.

The PC I control uses a G15 Logitech Keyboard, coupled with an MX Revolution mouse. I have an Xkeys desktop and Xkeys foot pedal. The Xkeys desktop is collecting dust; I never used it. The foot pedal only gets used during raids. I stopped using it for casual play.

Was there an aspect of multi-boxing that surprised you -- positive, negative or simply remarkable -- once you really got into it?
I had to re-learn how to play the game in a lot of ways. I mean, I already know Karazhan and all the heroics from solo-boxing, but once I started playing multiple 'toons, it felt like I was a newb again. I had to re-learn all the encounters based on a whole new style of play and fulfilling multiple roles.

One of the big surprises was how much easier things felt as I added more 'toons to the mix. So running five guys in Kara with five other solo gamers rounding out the raid was "harder" than me running 10 guys. Because with each additional person in the raid, you add that much more uncertainty.

An undesired side effect was just how much I continued to pull away from the rest of the people I played with. It just became so easy to do things on my own time, and I just became overly concerned with maximizing my effort/reward ratio that I tried to use as many 'toons as possible at all times. That lead to passing up group and raid spots in order to get down to business equipping my small army of characters.

A remarkable aspect? I just ran through a dungeon designed for 10 independent players, so that felt pretty good. :)

We understand you stopped multi-boxing after finishing Kara. Why is that? And what are you up to these days?
It just became such a task to babysit my characters -- plus I was so focused on building up my four-Shaman PvP team that I neglected my PvE characters. I was running Battlegrounds, constantly farming for all the gear, while squeezing in Arena games at every opportunity. I didn't prioritize my six other guys, and I stopped doing transmutes/dailies, so I felt awkward when I would finally log them in. Plus managing my macros and addons was a nightmare. Ten-boxing required a different setup than using the 'toons solo, which required a different setup than using the Shamans, which required a different setup than using my x, y, z classes, etc., etc.

Now, I'm dabbling in Warhammer Online -- not as a multiboxer, though.

In a nutshell, what are your top five tips for new multi-boxers?
1. KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). I highly recommend using the same class as much as you can. If your goal is to do heroics, then you might need the holy trinity. I'd go with a tank and healer, then three DPS of the same class. I hope more multiboxers can break into 25-man raids. In this case, you'll be at your highest efficiency boxing one class, so it will be nice to have two or more available for that.
2. Plan ahead. Do your research when it comes to setting everything up. It can potentially cost a bundle, so you want to do it right the first time. has tons of information and a knowledgeable community.
3. Learn how to use macros and addons to their fullest. I'm completely guilty of not doing the second part of that statement very well. I have tons of problems with my interface and laboriously inputting changes on each character instead of doing things like digging into the .lua files and changing things there. Robust macros are key to making buttons that you can use while soloing, in a party, in a raid, single boxing or multi-boxing. I highly suggest Trinity as a bar mod, because you can make macros well over 255 characters. And then learn how to use it to its fullest!
4. Don't try melee boxing, five different classes and/or Warriors until you get a pretty solid grasp on how multiboxing works. I don't mean to not do those things, but just try to take your first team up a few levels with casters so you can get your controls worked out. Once you're comfortable with your key bindings, how you plan to acquire targets, how you move your characters, and when your long term goals are solidified, you can dabble in some of the more difficult aspects of the trade.
5. Play with others, too! One of the greatest aspects of playing a MMOG is the community. Even though you can tackle many parts of the game solo, you'll miss out on the best part going at it alone. Plus you'll keep your skills sharp with whichever classes you use and you might learn a trick or two.

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