Thinking Outside the Box


Reflections on my time as a Multi-boxer

With the recent “criminalisation” of input automation the majority of the community has reacted with approval. However, today CZ features a guest piece by Soulharbinger, who offers a different view. /Niden I started playing EVE again about a year and a half ago. I reactivated an old account using “Hours for Plex”, then went around collecting datacores from four years’ worth of built up research (it totally accrues while your account is offline, until CCP reads this and nerfs it), and got enough to buy a PLEX (after losing some  to a suicide ganker) I looked for and found a null-sec indy corp and started mining. First with one ship, then two, then four, then eight. Eventually I rounded out my fleet with one combat over-watch, nine miners, one hauler, and one booster. My corp hooked me up with Isboxer and I started learning how to use it. There were some setbacks, and the occasional ship lost, sometimes because I was still learning Isboxer and making mistakes, sometimes I wasn’t paying attention. Months passed, my characters’ skills improved, my personal skills improved as well. I started dreaming about how cool it would be to stop running away from all the neutrals that roam through. To them us miners were like an all-you-can-eat buffet, the caribou to the leopard as it were. Dreams of killing the lone T3 cruisers and Cynabals that constantly roamed through turned into working on ship fits and skill plans. My miners were about 8-12 months old when I made the decision to start staying in the site when a neut came through. Sure, I would broadcast to have everyone align out, just in case there was a spike, but otherwise I waited for them to come to me. By happenstance this occurred at the same time that interceptors became interdiction nullified, so all of a sudden there were interceptors roaming everywhere. I straight up murdered the ever loving crap out of them; I began adding their killmails to my bio… until I ran out of room. It was glorious; PVPers who were coming to prey on the weak were having the script flipped on them. It was thrilling, but like all thrills, eventually it wasn’t enough, I needed more. The roamers stopped coming to my system by and large, they would go down the pipe and just skip my system entirely. So I devised a fleet comp that would work well with my skills, then when roams would be in the area and go down a dead-end pipe, I would reship to Tristans with remote sensor boosts and camp them (so many interceptors thought they could warp out in time and died).  I tried out Algos a little as well, and eventually worked up to Vexors. Lowlife---Militia-Mentality_layout It wasn’t always honey and rainbows. I lost plenty of ships, even had a few total fleet wipes, but I learned from each mistake and adjusted my strategies and fittings to compensate: like don’t MWD your main ship out of range of your remote reps, be wary of joining fleets with FCs that don’t understand the complexities of multi-box PvP, and above all, if something doesn’t make sense, then it’s a trap. Without Isboxer, I never would have been able to do any of this. Of course now that I have plenty of experience under my belt, I know that I can still successfully multi-box mine without broadcasting. It will take longer to set up my drones and be more of a pain in the ass to jetcan, but overall it can still be done. I won’t be able to stay and fight as much now. Only in very specific circumstances (like solid intel that it’s just a lone ship with no backup coming through). I’ll also still be able to gate camp my home system or perhaps one next door. But I won’t be able to move through gates effectively in a chase scenario. They had even all trained up to be carrier pilots as well. Drone assist nerf aside, it would still have been nice to drop nine caps into a strategic op. That is still possible one day, but with the Isboxer nerf it will only happen when you have enough bodies to cause Tidi, or few enough bodies that you can’t be primaried off the field in 30 seconds or less. I had even dreamed of moving from multi-box mining to multi-box ratting – having a carrier or two in each site, and later all supercarriers running different sites (for all of you planning to ask which system, I change out between YA0-XJ and Amamake, sometimes GE-8JV). But since you can’t squad warp from afar, and can no longer broadcast for everyone to warp out at once, there is simply too much danger involved in doing that now, so the idea is dead on the vine. NullsecOutpostServices_Header The most satisfying part of the entire experience was not the kills, or the filthy amount of isk either. It was teaching others. Taking what I learned through trial and error and passing those skills on to other multi-boxers. Eventually we had several people running multi-box PVP squads, ratting and mining. A lot of people these days are reveling in the multi-boxer tears, and casting hate at those who are different from themselves, jealous of the success of others. Not because they can’t do the same, but because they simply don’t want to. Even I’ll admit that multi-box bombing is kind of lame, but they could fix it in other ways than simply calling it cheating. Like adding a way to scan down cloaked ships, or add a module that pulses out an AOE that decloaks everything around you, but also roots you in place for a period of time (or some other negative consequence), prevent bombers from being able to warp for 5 seconds after launching, have defender missiles shoot down bombs, etc, etc. You’ll get no tears from me, if anything this will make multi-box miners wealthier. Plex prices will decrease, mineral values will increase, and those of us skilled enough to carry on will be able to earn a great deal of profit from this. I believe CCP are just making the game more cumbersome in this regard, which is not the direction a company should take a game. If they made it difficult or impossible to multi-box because of exciting additions that require coordination and fast reflexes, then I say bring it on. But to simply decide that a portion of your legitimate player base will spontaneously be considered cheaters is poor form. -Soul  
Tags: isboxer, Soulharbinger

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  • I think your ISBoxer supercarrier ratting fleet is the perfect example of why CCP made the change. Thanks for the information.

    • herp derpison

      lol. as if people don’t dual box supers/carriers already without the aid of isboxer.

      • Admittedly, I live in low sec, so this may be a dumb question. Are fleets of 5-6 supercarriers ratting in anoms in a null system common? I’ve heard of people stashing 3 carriers around low in order to do level 5 missions, but not large numbers of supercarriers like the author of the piece planned to run.

        • here derpison

          Not common for supers, but definitely so for carriers.

        • Soul

          Entirely unheard of actually, one or two ratting supers end up on kill-mails from time to time. Killing and entire squad of them however, would be a different matter altogether.

    • Soul

      The idea of the ratting supers was killed more by Phoebe than the death of broadcasting. The only benefit one gains from broadcasting in this scenario is to have a full squad be able to accept a warp at the same time while not on the same grid. Hardly a game breaking power, and not enough on it’s own to dissuade someone who seeks to try it.

    • Sjörövar Fabbe

      OMG, get yourself together. Everyone who has a carrier and a tengu pilot are using the combination of tengu going into a site and the carrier assisting his fighters for more dps. all he has to do now is to fly 5 tengu pilots with assisted fighters, and in 0.0 sites you can easily handle 5 accounts manually.
      the change was made becasue of the bomber meta and because of the incursion isboxers.
      For years, mining with 50+ mackinaws wasn’t seen a problem to CCP…

      • Kamar Raimo

        … or maybe CCP has finally realized that the unchecked growth of software assisted ISK farmers has gone on long enough.

  • KN

    “Without Isboxer, I never would have been able to [avoid my killers and/or get my kills because I rely on an external tool feature that gives me perfect instant synchronisation of essentially any number of clients for the effort cost of operating a single client].”

    Nothing of value is lost.

    • u srs?

      You should reread the article. Not only does the author state the exact opposite, but with features such as drone assist and squad warp it’s obvious that a software solution isn’t even necessary.

      The only “nothing of value” item I’ve seen here is your asinine comment.

    • Soul

      Avoiding killers is done with squad warp, and killing people is done with drone assist, neither are done through broadcasting. One pays for ISboxer to broadcast, but the most important things it does is Window, CPU, RAM, and FPS management, allowing you to switch accounts easier. without the desire to broadcast I would never have acquired it, and therefore would not have learned to control the accounts so well.

      Further managing multiple accounts even with ISboxer is still a sizable amount of effort, and one mistake can cost you an entire fleet, not just a single ship, greater rewards comes with greater risks.

  • desg

    cool story, why not spent you energy and expertise making friends rather than multiplying bots ?

    • Soul

      Like minded people tend to congregate, my corporation became something of a multi-boxer corp, learning from each other’s successes and failures, and teaching new people that came along. Our bonds transcend Eve, and we play many other games together. Heck, even when a member stops playing eve they still stick around on comms and play other games with us.
      The short answer to your question is multi-boxing helped forge friendships, they are not mutually exclusive activities.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    “Of course now that I have plenty of experience under my belt, I know that I can still successfully multi-box mine without broadcasting.”.

    And that’s all that’s being asked. I multibox and I’m sure nearly everyone does, but broadcasting is not you interacting with each client yourself, it’s software doing it.

    • Agreed. And this article demonstrated why people have a problem with input broadcasting. Because it does allow people to do things they otherwise couldn’t.

  • Penultimate Carebear

    Meh. I have no dog in this fight. Just think of is boxer as the player sandbox answer to the near non existence of NPCs in EvE. Live and let live. Kill or be killed. Play in the sandbox, and let others do the same.

    Personally, I only have one account and one character. My playstyle may suck for others, but I have fun. Hopefully you will have fun too.

  • Kamar Raimo

    The use of ISBoxer for mining and ratting is not so much the problem as it is a symptom. If there were more engaging and less predictable ways to make ISK through PVE then people would not or could not use ISBoxer to do it.

    One definitive problem I *do* have with ISBoxer is how a handful of guys who synchronize 10 bombers each can annihilate a fleet of dozens of people without much effort.

  • Dermeisen

    “Plex prices will decrease, mineral values will increase, and those of us skilled enough to carry on will be able to earn a great deal of profit from this.” I agree, and this is the take away.

  • Justin Thomas

    “QQ, I can’t multibox 8 ships to kill 1 dude anymore, QQ.”