Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
 
Dual-boxing with recruit-a-friend in WoW

I would like to start this post with an apology to the World of Warcraft multi-boxing community: I know that multi-boxing can be far more advanced and complex than what I am going to write about. This is not a post about how to control 5 characters at once and run heroics; this is a far simpler affair with just 2 characters and not much yet in specialized software. My interest in dual-boxing started with 2 unrelated things: Blizzard changed the reward for the recruit-a-friend program from the single-person ground zhevra to the two-person flying rocket mount; and I noticed that my project to level a druid had gotten stuck. The druid had been started at the same time as my paladin, but the paladin made it to 80, while I never got around leveling the druid further than 29, so he really could use a boost. Thus I recruited myself as a “friend”, got the rocket mount, and started leveling characters at triple speed.

The whole process of using the recruit-a-friend program to dual-box two characters at triple speed starts with creating a second e-mail address, if you haven’t already got one. Then you go to the World of Warcraft account management page on Battle.net and find the recruit-a-friend option there. Using that, you send your second e-mail account a 10-day trial invitation to World of Warcraft. This is the *only* way this works; do not first create a second WoW account and try to connect it to your first account later, it won’t work. You need to go via a trial account created using the key sent out via the recruit-a-friend program.

Up to here this costs nothing, but as the trial account is limited to level 20, this also isn’t all that helpful yet, and you won’t get a rocket for this. To lift the trial account restrictions you need to upgrade the account to a regular account for $15, which includes 30 days subscription. To get the rocket you need to add at least a 60-day time card on top of that, which will cost you another $30. So for $45 you get the rocket, a trial account with 100 days of play time, which for 90 of these days is linked to your original account, plus a 30-day bonus play time for your original account. Assuming that you would otherwise have paid $15 for the 30 days on your main account, the rocket and triple xp dual-boxing for 90 days thus cost $30. Which actually isn’t all that overpriced compared to a $25 sparkly pony. Note that you’ll want to pay the subscription for the new account with a game time card, as then you’ll get the rocket reward immediately; if you use a credit card, you’ll only get the rocket once the second monthly subscription is paid, which is 70 days later, and you have to remember cancelling the account afterwards. I do not recommend upgrading the new account with the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions, as the triple xp are limited to level 60, and the expansions are relatively expensive for an account which is fundamentally throw-away.

Now the triple xp feature comes with severe restrictions, the two characters on the two accounts must be very close in level and within 100 yards of each other for this to work. Thus I couldn’t use the feature to boost my druid yet, I first need to level a character from the trial account to 29. First choice to make was to choose a character class. Now my 4 existing level 80 are priest, warrior, mage, and paladin. The character I ultimately want to boost is a druid. I want to play a hunter and a warlock with the two new races in Cataclysm. And I just played a shaman for the Single Abstract Noun project. So I went for a rogue. I’m not saying that this is the best possible choice, but hey, I’m new to dual-boxing, and I figure that a high dps character with a druid backup for buffing and healing could work. Until the rogue is level 29 however, I need a different character to group him with. Now I just happened to have a level 2 warrior bank alt, from my glyph selling project. That’ll do for the moment.

Now as I mentioned at the start, hardcore multi-boxing is a complicated science, using specialized software and a setup which makes that if you press for example button 1, *both* characters do the action on hotkey button 1, which enables you to have all your characters act simultaneously in a fight. I might look into that much later, but for the moment I went for something much, much simpler: I twinked my warrior to the max, and set the rogue to autofollow. I don’t need the additional damage from the rogue to do low-level quests, a twinked warrior can do the quests for both. Thus the only additional software I’m using now is the Keepfollowing addon. The computer I am using is a quad core with 6 GByte of RAM and two screens, which has no problems running two copies of the World of Warcraft client at once, one on each screen. I just need to move the mouse over to the second screen when I want to control the second character, which isn’t all that often, just to accept and hand in quests, and sometimes to loot.

Looting actually turned out to be the biggest problem. Trial accounts that you upgrade to a regular account do not lose all the trial account restrictions immediately. For 72 hours you are still unable to trade, or use your mail, or the auction house. Thus I was running around in a group with a bank alt with 3,000 gold to his name, and the rogue who didn’t have enough silver to pay for his training cost, as he had no bags, and him doing the looting on the second screen was kind of tedious. In the end I logged off the warrior, logged on the level 80 priest, went to some level 60 zone, summoned the rogue over (using the recruit-a-friend summoning function), and blasted a bunch of mobs with holy nova, then letting the rogue loot. That doesn’t give much xp, but the trash loot is worth a couple of silver to a NPC vendor, so I could buy some bags and pay for the training.

Back to the warrior / rogue team, I got them to level 14 already, in a few hours, questing in Durotar and the Barrens. Unlike the rest xp bonus (which doesn’t apply if you are already at triple xp), the recruit-a-friend xp bonus works for both kill xp and quest xp. Thus questing is the way to go, but with triple xp you don’t need to do all the quests in a quest hub before moving on. The trick here is to select quests that ask you to “kill 10 foozles”, and skip the quests that say “collect 10 foozle horns”, because the latter takes twice the time even if every foozle drops a horn, because every horn counts only for one of your two characters, while the kills count for both. The autofollow method isn’t sophisticated, but it works at the low levels. When the rogue reaches level 29, I’ll switch to a rogue / druid team, with the rogue in front. By that time the trial account restrictions should be gone, and I can twink him, using the druid for healing. And if it isn’t too complicated, I’ll look into the software which would allow me to control the two characters with one keypress, so that for example the druid could cast a healing spell on the rogue every time I press button 1 for the rogue, and a damage spell on the rogue’s target every time I press key 2.

Fortunately leveling is fast, because the clock is ticking. The two accounts are only linked for 90 days, and I shouldn’t forget that at the end the rogue at level 60 will be able to grant up to 30 levels to the characters on my main account which are below 60. As I mentioned yesterday, it is a bit annoying that this might end me up with characters at level 60, when what I really want would be level 70. Or at least level 65 for being able to learn professions to 450. I don’t know yet what I’ll do with the rogue. If I really like him, I could pay for a character transfer to my account, otherwise I’ll just let him lapse when the second account runs out. After the 90 days the second account becomes a whole lot less useful, as he loses the link to the original account. If I wanted more triple xp leveling (and another rocket), it would be better to let the second account lapse and just start over with a new trial account.
Comments:
I've dualboxed before when RaF came out, and did several pairs of characters.

I know you said that you want to play a hunter in Cataclysm, but if you want to level a pair that is insanely fast, go with 2 hunters. You don't have to worry about keybindings (except that the key you use for hunter's mark on the driver, you use for "assist FIRSTTOON" on the follower). Add 2 pets, and a ranged weapon that you take care to keep updated, you'll mow down everything - in the end, I mainly did orange and red quests, simply because I could. Level these to 60, and then gift the 30 levels you can gift to the druid, bringing him to 59.

Other combinations that work well are:
- prot or retri paladin, with a balance druid casting/healing
- warlock with a mage following (although you have to heal/res abilities)
- warrior with a priest following
- 2 elemental shaman

Keep in mind that melee really don't work as followers, as it's iffy to position them well. With a rogue and their opening/finishing moves and combos, I'd also not use them as a driver, since that would make binding keys on the 2nd account a bit more tricky.

Use keys that you don't have bound on the main character for special abilities on your follower. I used the NumPad for these, which works well, especially if the 2nd toon can heal: then you can have one row of healing spells targetted on the main, one row of healing spells targetted on the follower, and the rest of the keys you can use for /mount, drinking, potions.

I also went with either herbing or mining on the main, and skinning on the follower, as you can write a macro that lets your follower skin the dead mob the main has targetted. Even if you don't plan on keeping these professions, you can make a bit of money selling the goods.

I did my dualboxing on a machine that was significantly worse than yours. I hardly ever needed to switch to the 2nd toon's screen (and there's an addon now that will let you automate you a lot of things like quest-turnins, etc). The software for binding keys on both accounts that I used was keyclose, I got that from www.dual-boxing.com.

A great place to go to when you hit 50 and are horde is the hinterlands: you go to Raventusk village, pick up *all* the quests there, and then do a huge round of the hinterlands, finishing them all, and go back and turn them all in, I think I got 2 levels just from quest-turnins, outside of the XP I got for killing mobs while questing.

Have fun!
 
Why exactly you want a druid leveled up? What will that druid do when reached lvl 80?
 
I chose a Mage Hunter pair.

Put the hunter on the laptop ( back when pets had to be fed, used a tenacity bear that would rat mage food.)

attached a gaming pad to laptop - basically a num pad with a few function keys

made macros for hunter on laptop
/assist, /petattach etc.

So with a couple of keystrokes, I had a tenacity pet tanking and some small damage from hunter autoshoot.

Or if you prefer, play the hunter and just have mage wand on the laptop. not great dps but no mana issues.

then boosted the rogue from 30-60. Bliz has already said they were changing the talents to make rogues quicker to level. Stealth is slower, so opening in stealth from melee range takes longer than hunter/lock opening up from range.

The summon friend feature is nice. both toons are in distant Ashara. trade all loot to Toon1 who hearths to town, sells loot, buys supplies and then is summened back to toon2, A while later, Toon2 can hearth to town and do this.

Or toon1 can keep hearth at local inn, toon2 can keep hearth at city with AH & trainers.

And you dont have to leave the questing area to be in a city/inn to worry about "rested"
 
Gevlon,

Why exactly would you want to post that comment?
 
I recently did almost the same thing myself, save I had a shaman stuck at 15, and another account with a 68 Mage on it. I made a hunter on my main account, and a rogue on the RAF one. I quested to level 10, then my wife's 80 death knight ran me through SFK to 15, then at 15 we went to Stockades. Ran that till 20, then cleared Scarlet Monastary until they hit 35. At 35 I went to ZF and ran that till 45. Did a little questing in the plaguelands to get the Argent Dawn trinket, then ran Strat to level 60.

One thing I had was the heirloom gear on my main accounts hunter and shaman. I would let the hunter get a few levels ahead, then I'd bring in the shaman, grant levels till he was 3 below the rogue, then go back to grinding. When the rogue got equal/above the hunter, I'd switch out again. When my hunter hit 60 I level locked the rogue to 59 by turning off xp, granted levels to bring her to 56 or so. Then I did all the cloth turnins for rep/xp on her, and tan strat till she got close to 60. I then went and turned the rogues xp back on, turned it quests getting him to 60. I granted her the last level which put her at almost 61. Then the quest turnins kicked her to 61.5 and she went to Outlands.
 
I would suggest that you try getting two level 1 characters on both yours and the RAF account Tobold and then just running both of them through instances with either a third account of your own (if you have one) or a good friend who will run you through. This is pretty much the fastest way to level with RAF. Simply instance hop to the next place as soon as you reach the minimum level required to enter it.

Heh places like SM Cath with a ton of mobs end up being 1 whole level every run.
 
Obviously Blizzard allows this kind of botting because it's making them good money (just like all the farmbot and spam accounts).

Nevertheless, I'd rather see them allowing us to start second/third/etc characters at level 75 or higher (maybe even add some kind of engineering lore to it: buy a clone for 5k gold; cloning side-effect: the clone wakes up confused and doesn't remember its class and professions so you learn/pick new ones).

I'm so utterly tired of questing that I'm never ever leveling another toon to 80 again (I don't give a rat's ass about the restyled cataclysm world if it requires the chore of questing to 80 AGAIN) and the whole multiboxing/RAF stuff is in the "no botting" and "screw RMT" categories for me.
 
I almost have zero intention of doing anything with my faux recruit a friend. I got the account via trial and game card to get the shinny dual seat rocket, and haven't look back. Haven't even created an toon on the new account yet.
 
Erm, the thing about having to create a second email account is either false, or I am in for some trouble.

I recently took advantage of RaF and I just used my regular old battle.net linked email account and it worked just fine. Now when I log in it has a little drop down and I choose which account I am logging in to. Hell, my linked authenticator even works for both without me having to do anything.
 
Some tips I can offer for fast leveling:

If doing a looting quest, turn loot to free-for-all, and loot with the following account first so you can get it done first with the "gimped" character so you can get back to your main.

Running instances is key, if you're going for speed...assuming you have access to a third account. If your wife's 80 is class that can tank, even better for later.

I'd hit SM at around 20, and then do all of the wings you can before resetting the instance. Once you hit level 30, just do Armory and Cathedral, and stay there until about 40.

At 40, do ZF. There are at least 5 quests you can get for ZF that don't require long chain pre-requisites, so GET ZF QUESTS (like 2 levels of experience from them).

At 50, I went to Scholomance, and only cleared to the whelp room. I didn't kill the named bosses, and I didn't clear the bottom rooms or the stable rooms (massive amounts of trash make it valuable, the bosses/gear is worthless). Stay in scholo until about 58 (or spend an extra few minutes and hit 60 before going to outlands).

Remember that each RAF trial account toon can grant 30 levels to another toon. So you should definitely consider leveling 2 sets of toons to 60. If you do so, it's a 5th toon at level 60 for "free".

All I ever used was a targetassist macro to help dps, and the keepfollowing mod to make sure the following toon is still following. Definitely let us know about the programs that will do different things with 1 key press. I never even tried that out.
 
I must say that the idea intrigues me. I started leveling a resto druid with the intention of mostly sticking to dungeon queues. So far it has been taking too long with too many bad groups of spoiled players expecting things to be as simple as overgeared heroics. I would love be able to power-level him myself. Even power-leveling a new character and granting the levels to my druid would be awesome (he's L26). Ideally, I wish Blizzard would provide a setup like the DK starting area. I would love to be able to create a new L58 character, quest for a few hours to get a feel for the class and earn some talent points and some decent starter gear then head to Outland. This is absolutely something that is even worth paying for ala faction change, server transfer, etc.
 
Too bad RAF doesn't apply in certain non-European countries. :(

I would have definitely be keen to try this otherwise; without it dual-boxing isn't as attractive.
 
I love my druid. Having a hybrid is awesome. I always keep a dps spec and then I play around with the other one. It's really nice to be able to do multiple roles with one character.
 
Re GG: I know it is trendy to look down on farming, and it is more efficient to just get stuff from the AH and I do. But my very first toon, a Pally, getting copper nodes in Goldshire was more fun than managing 200 glyphs in QA3.

The point being that a instant flight form and looting while in form are a real help for a farmer. One can argue whether the 20% speed from uDK & pally is better, but it is still nice. As is stealth for farming instances.
 
As other commenters said, boosting in instances with a third, high-level character is the fastest (though a little grindy) way to level with RAF.
It takes about 15-20 hours /played to level 2 raffed characters from 1 to 60.
Here is the run I used (for hordies):
1-8 questing
8-15 RFC
15-20 SFK
20-40 SM Library, Armory, Cathedral
40-45 Zul-Farrak
45-60 Scholomance + Argent Dawn item turn-in quests

In most of these instances the boosted characters don't even have to move, they can just stand at the entrance and receive xp while the high-level does the clearing.

The pros of this method (besides sheer speed) as opposed to questing are twofold:
1) you can level any combo of characters equally fast
2) you don't have to use special dual-boxing addons, configure macros, keybindings etc, because you don't actually multibox. You play your main character while the boosted ones simply stand in place and receive xp.

And the cons:
1) you need three accounts or a good friend that can do the boosting.
2) grindy, but as for me, 15 hours of instance grinding is better than 60 hours of quest grinding. Your mileage may vary of course...
 
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