« Global Kids Present: Holy Meatballs! | Main | Naked in a Lawn Chair, LOL »

Jun 02, 2006



The mere fact that it is an arguable proposition (rather than being utterly laughable) makes me rather pity the hardcore raidiots for whom doing something (repeatedly) that occupies only a small fraction of the abilities and concentration of a skilled player is somehow fun.


It appears one day someone will come up with an "Warcraft" RTS interface for WoW.

Or perhaps Blizzard will make this a feature?

In any case, given the lively discussion, there is probably some market demand for this level of metagame, particularly the pharmers :)

I wouldn't be suprise if words get out that an inventive pharming organization already have developed the gear for soloing a 40-person raid.



First tool you would need is Synergy ( http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/ ) or something like it, for multi-desktop control from a single keyboard and mouse. The second is voice control.

I could seriously geek out coming up with a technology-based solution to something like this. ;)


This is not feasible for the vast majority of 40 man boss fights in the game. Any experienced player will tell you that. Very advanced automated clients will be able to allow him to do it - but then he is not 40-boxing any more - he is 40-botting. A simplification of terms - but doing without botting is impossible. Even with botting I really dont think its possible at all.


Sorry , forgot name on the last post.


I think it would be an interesting technical challenge to coordinate the bots, though. Perhaps an overarching AI controller, based on Unreal Tournament's scripts (because the UnrealScript AI is openly available, and is designed to move NPC's in combat). Fuzzy control systems for your "NPC" raiders. Virtual machines. I'm getting all light-headed just thinking about it.. :)

The more I think about it, the more I think the player's main character would not fight, rather would be a "squad leader". Click on your "NPC" raidmate and issue a voice command to the AI for that character. Enough brains built into the system to keep the healers healing and the mages mage-ing. You don't need to directly control the other 39 desktops, or even really see them, except to occasionally take over an "NPC" slave machine momentarily.

Doing this within the confines of WoW's EULA? Much more difficult, nigh impossible I would hazard.

Oh, and I'd like to point out you can be an "experienced" player and not be a raider.


I must disagree with the above contention that it's simply not possible for most fights because "any experienced player will tell you that". What's being suggested is exactly the type of thing that any experienced player will not really have given much thought to. The distinction between -boxing and -botting is not clear either; I read the original thread and I'm not convinced that what he's proposing is any more automated (a subjective evaluation to be sure) than decursive or mana conserve.

If you mash one button over and over with a script to use the proper ability (riposte, overpower, decursive, etc.) is it less "human" to mash one button to have 30 mages fire? Is a script that targets 30 characters on something more automated than a MT assist script on one character?

His setup apparently involves such multiplexing keys on a single keyboard plus separate boards for character movement (a rack of numpads, essentially). Would it be so hard to mash several buttons while picking out the right numpad to move in response to various events?

Grossly unnecessary and an interesting way to spend enormous amounts of time training oneself, but not dismissable out of hand. As has been pointed out in the thread, the "challenge" of most of the early 40-man fights in WoW (MC, Onyxia) is simply coordinating lots of simple actions. Not really so much of a revelation as everyone already knows that MC in particular was rushed out and is horribly repetitive and unimaginitive.


"Grossly unnecessary and an interesting way to spend enormous amounts of time training oneself"

Is it just me, or does the irony of that statement in respect of a level-treadmill game appeal to anyone else?


magicback (Frank): "It appears one day someone will come up with an 'Warcraft' RTS"

they have. it's called WarCraft 3 :P

Xzin's challenge -- which i think is amazing -- evokes the question of game genre. genre in games is typically identified through modes of gameplay (rather than narrative or mise-en-scene, as genre is normaly defined in something like film). i have always been fascinated how blizzard was able to pull off such a signifigant genre shift between WC3 and WoW. Xzin is in essence trying to play WoW using the genre playstyle of WC3, an RTS where it is normal to command forty avatars at once. it's interesting to me that styles of gameply can override the genre of the game. software/hardware limitations prohibit lots of experimentation like this (i.e. you can't play half-life as an RTS, unless you were to mod it extensively), but Xzin's extreme multiboxing appears to be an exception to the rule.

at least she doesn't have to worry about dkp.


It simply isn't possible. The discussion above barely even scratches the surface of what would need to be done to defeat any 40 or 20 man encounter in world of warcraft. The most obvious thing being overlooked is movement. Nearly every encounter requires some degree of mobility. Extra mobs that must be CC'ed or off tanked, positioning mobs and the raid so that special abilities will be avoided or mitigated, moving out of dynamically created hazards such as AoE attacks, recovering position after fear or knockback effects or just the simple matter of recovering from the death of a player in a critical role such as the main tank.

If you were looking for the simplest encounter to test the one man army I think it would have to be Lord Kazzak. No extra mobs, no special abilities that require positioning, you only need one tank. The biggest problem is that Lord Kazzak only spawns a few times a week and guilds race to kill him before others can.

I cannot think of a single instanced encounter that would not be utterly impossible to beat by one person running all 40 characters.


Interesting that the discussion went south on the details and technical variations. I think the key ponder is this:

The Human Computer Interface aspects of this challenge are fascinating. It starts out as a problem of scale (ref Fn2) but as with many quantities often the differences become qualitative. If your Avatar indeed became Cockpit of your play - does that mean on scaling-up you would prefer your "massively multi-player" Real Time Strategy-styled?

There are several places in WoW game play where this opportunity for user redesign pops up. Imho, it is the wonderful thing that human community play supports: reconceptualizing what constitutes play. I am reminded of the way in which young children constantly reconceptualize their play activity while they are playing in it. It's what makes play, playful. Evoking and mastering challenges such as the 40-man solo is just one such instance (pardon the pun). A couple of my doctoral students have now cornered 1% of the AH transactions on their server, and have set for themselves the goal of 5%. For them, this is the new game in the game.

Wouldn't it be cool if schooling offered the same opportunities for ingame redesign by players, er students? This is one reason why I play.


Linda Polin> I am reminded of the way in which young children constantly reconceptualize their play activity while they are playing in it.

Best (invented) example of this: Calvinball. :-)

As to the multiboxing/multibotting thought experiment -- sure, it's mildly interesting as a technical problem, but I agree that it's the metagaming aspect that's most intriguing.

Suppose you changed the rules so that players could redefine play. Then consider those players whose enjoyment comes from rule-breaking (the metagamers) -- what would they do? Would most of them find some way to back out one more level (meta-metagaming)? (And what would that look like?) Or is one level of abstraction the limit, and rule-breaking is no fun when rule-breaking is allowed?

Side question: Could you actually make a MMOG that allowed all players to control 20 or 50 or 100 avatars simultaneously? Beyond the issues of control and lag, what might the gameplay of such a game be like?



Historically, rule-breakers go on to create rules. The idea is never to break rules so much as reframe the game into something interesting again. It stops being fun if there literally are no rules; part of the fun is the channeling of your energy in between those rules.


Or just be an authoritarian raid leader, it's the same effect, lol.


Let's say he can raid with 40 avatars at once. OK, it's cool, it's a way of transcending the genre of the game, it's "playful," like seeing who can climb up higher on the monkeybars...

I just think that even in a game, he's wasting time.

On EVE, I run a corp. The corp members teach me about ships, since they're more experienced. As we venture out to blow up NPC enemies and strategize about the best way to make the most of working as a corp and fleet, we often wander off topic. My corp members are forcing me to recall the Augustine of Confessions and City of God as I help them with their schoolwork; another friend online chats in game about Blake. We're not sure how it is he creates such a mystical aura in his poetry, but we're working on it.

To each his own. But that doesn't mean some things aren't missing the point. I always thought the essential difference between this mode of online gaming - these massively multiplayer RPG's - and Tetris on your cell phone was that you could actually interact with other people and relate to them as humans through the game.

Guess I was wrong about that, and that I should set up 40 computers to see what 40 avatars in EVE can do.


Side question: Could you actually make a MMOG that allowed all players to control 20 or 50 or 100 avatars simultaneously? Beyond the issues of control and lag, what might the gameplay of such a game be like?

Or just be an authoritarian raid leader, it's the same effect, lol.

Allegiance, an online game a fair few years ago had a system by which the commander had a strategic map and tools by which to direct the fleet in this glorified arena world. Individuals were free to chose whether to follow the commander's orders or not... not so unlike a raid leader etc. The distinction here is with the human / computer interface. Commanders had a very different (strategic) view of the allegiance chess-board. Whereas the MMORPG makes everyone co-equals in perspective. Everyone is a participant in the most basic and arguably non-scalable way.


I hope this guy succeeds, because then the totally bankrupt concept of "raiding" will have one more stake driven into its heart.

By the way, that term "raidiots" is hilarious.


I would love be standing on stormwind bridge looking down to elwynn and suddenly see a undead necromancer with a hundred summoned/controlled skeletons.


etomai writes:
"The distinction between -boxing and -botting is not clear either; ... If you mash one button over and over with a script to use the proper ability ..."

The distinction is that all of the extensive macro scripts people have invented leverage WoW's built-in action semantics:
* action types: only different types of action can be executed at once during a script (e.g. /yell + /cast works, /cast 1 + /cast 2 doesn't).
* once an action type has been executed, all other actions in the macro of the same "type" are ignored.
* any actions in "cooldown" are ignored

These are fairly specific semantics that allow "mashing" macros to be constructed.

However, it is WoW's code that determines whether or not an action type has been exhausted, not the script. For example, the script cannot adapt to a different order of operations by itself or que multiple actions per single press.

In fact, that type of behavior would be more like botting, which is prohibited by the EULA.


This is not possible without scripts for movement and some other (re)actions. It is still a very interesting idea and challange to do so and develope an automated raid. Some encounters (like ragnaros, the guy on the video)can be done without movement (you need to be lucky, in about 1 out of ten tries it can work), but those need others to be acomplished to get there. The newer content released is even more movement dependent, and the whole game seems to get away from the simple tank-healer-dps fights.
Randomized events requirering every player to move and react quickly are one of the best methods to prevent boting - and in wow, there are tons of them.

The comments to this entry are closed.