After obtaining a friend’s account info, I was ready for “two boxing” in World of Warcraft. Skillfully macroing autofollow commands, mapping hotkeys to my right hand (where the laptop and that ‘toon would sit) I prepared to chew up content at double the standard plebian single account pace.
This strategy worked well, providing all I needed the priest to do was buff the ‘toons, heal at a slow pace, and follow me around. In fact, I rarely grouped him as he would suck down the XP my character was addicted to earning. Once I found I could run both accounts, still have fun, and generally worked out the kinks in the process, I was ready for the next step: “Hey, I am now running the most needed classes in an instance group” (post BC druid and a pure healer). Why can’t I run instances nonstop with my new configuration?
First, pace. The pace of World of Warcraft requires either an excessive background in scripting macros, or the reaction speed of Johnny Fever after five drinks. Neither has ever been my speciality. Even in the MUD days I had friends email me their scripts to paste wholesale into my telnet application. In WoW instances, i.e. “Ramparts” or other parts of the “Hellfire Pennisula” dungeons, it was impossible for my to both manage aggro on elite mobs, despite being overpowered to a ridiculous degree with swipe, and retarget the healer to make sure group members did not die. The game just progresses too fast for either my reflexes or my setup. However, I was led to ask myself the question: is this an intentional design element by Blizzard? Fast-paced fights mean higher interest to the Gen Y thirty-second attention span crowd. It means more eye candy, bells and whistles, ooo’s and aaahhhh’s, (pick your cliche) for them as well. But does it mean Blizzard consciously decided to complicate two boxers’ lives?
Second issue, the tank. Position is always important and moving him about while trying to track the healer also made for a difficult time. In fact, with any decent damage class in the group (warlock, mage, rogue) I had to realize finally that I would not manage aggro and heal at the same time, unless I did all of it with my druid. The priest could target, could even use “F” keys to cycle and heal, but the druid could not be an efficient enough tank to run even these “intro” instances in BC. Oh, yes, my former main is a warrior, so I tried using him as the tank as well. Same issues arose.
Third: experience points. Grouping the second account, when not being able to use that account to do more than heal, makes XP progress at around one half the rate of a single account. Blizzard established a system in direct response to the Everquest class/grouping dilemma (i.e. “we can’t do anything until a healer logs on”). You can run around solo and level from 1-70. That is great–it was one reason I was drawn to the game. However, being a bit obsessive, I wanted more–I wanted two ‘toons running around together. It meant twice the grind instead of a fast-paced experience where I was able to conquer more difficult content.
But how does this relate to Everquest II?
I have found EQII’s pace to be perfect for two boxing. Using a mystic and a beserker combination, I have torn through dungeons collecting master drops like so many nodes along the way. I can ward, heal, and even engage in combat with both the mystic and his pet. I can debuff, cast harmful magics, reposition mobs, etc. with relative ease and using nothing more than a macro for autofollow. Add the Blintz or some other friend who deals a bit of damage, and pace, XP, drops, and good feelings abound. I can twink out toons using nothing more than the time I have investing in harvesting and tradeskilling. It is an ideal setup to pay for two accounts and get at least twice as much out of the game.
Bottom line: SOE is getting my money now. I gave up trying to run two accounts and decided if I was willing to pay $30 a month to play online, I would get my money’s worth. This is certainly not the only reason for giving up WoW a second time, but it was a major consideration.