Multibox Stigma

Can you say, "ridiculous"?


I’ve never partaken. Perhaps if the term “hydraboxing” had stuck, I’d be more apt to have partaken of such an awesomely named feat. In reality, I’ve just never felt a particular compulsion to do so in any game. I’d always rather have grouped up with other players and gone out to do our thing. In some games, like WAR, I always felt like it would take away from what the bulk of the fun involved was. That’s not to say that I have anything against player who do it, and even in WAR I was a defender of guy who was well-known for doing this. I just always found it not to be something of entertainment value for me, so the temptation was always non-existent.

Until recently.

The reality of EVE, and it’s skills, is that the game is SO big, and SO insanely large, that there is almost no way for any one person to ever train everything. What, in other games, would be considered “beating the game” by getting max level, is an impossibility (more or less). I believe the last figure I heard, a couple of years ago, was 7 years to train every skill to its max level. That’s real-time – and you can only have one character per account training at a time (no alts can learn while you’re main does). So, unless you started playing at launch, you’re nowhere near to having that thought even enter your head. There’s a little bit of me that thinks the EVE universe will implode and be recreated when someone stops having a skill to train.

Because of that dynamic to the game, there are pros and cons to playing EVE. The pro, is that there is no real “end game”. You play the game how you want to play, and can enjoy it for what it is. The con, comes from wanting to do multiple things. Now that I’ve reached a very strong level of ability in my missile skills, I’ve been picking up a lot of other, “ancillary” skills and am constantly swapping in the early levels of a new one to gain the use of something I find will be helpful. The real-time limitation is still a hard limitation, but it can be circumvented by having a second account, and let you learn twice the number of skills in the same amount of time.

In EVE, this is a VERY common practice, especially for those who pirate, or live in null-sec space. Because a persons security status can effectively keep them out of a lot of the heavily populated regions of space, it’s often useful to have a second account to be your “face” to the civilized world of empire space. That other account can also be a miner, who you run simultaneously, and does his boring, dull job, while you spend your time doing more active stuff. So, the temptation for me to have multiple active accounts of the same game for self-reinforcement is a new draw on me.

There are two things keeping me from making the plunge. The first, as usual, is the money. Do I want to spend another $15 a month on the same game? I usually try to only run one game at a time as it is. When I’m feeling a bit MMO floundering, I may have two or three going just to bounce back and forth for a bit until something grabs me. The vast majority of my MMO time is spent with only one game account active at a time. The other reason may seem a bit silly, but a big part of me hates that this is the solution that arose in the virtual world.

In my perfect place of a virtual world, the role that players are seeking to fulfill with a second character (faceman, dealer, fence, personal miner/crafter, etc..), would all be things fulfilled by other players. It would be amazing to see a game restrict PLAYERS to one account. It’s not something that is any way feasible, so don’t get your panties in a twist telling me it would never work, still I’d love to see it. If each person was limited to one character, one account, the decisions they made on what they did would incredibly interesting. I also think it would lead to all sorts of emergent play and behavior. In Eve, couriers would find constant work, and could start a player-owned business that specializes in transport and delivery. Other players could start brokers and commissioned sellers/buyers, who train skills that focus on market use and their ability to find the best deals/prices for players who aren’t able willing to do so. The possibilities would be endless, and I think, incredibly enticing.


About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

13 Responses to Multibox Stigma

  1. Gankalicious says:

    Hello, my name is Gankalicious, and I’m an eve multi-boxer…. oh, wait, wrong meeting…

    I did just to see if I could and it kept me in the game longer than I would have stayed otherwise. At the time it was the only mmo I was playing so I didn’t mind coming up with the extra cash. I enjoyed it overall, but I think Eve’s problem (if it indeed has one) is that new players just don’t want to bother because of the time-skill levlelling thing.

    I wonder how many subs they’d get if they created a new ‘shard’ from scratch?

    • Shadow says:

      Mr. Meh talked about this in one of his posts, and originally, he thought positively of the idea, but then changed his mind as the comment-conversation progressed. I really don’t think that many more players would jump into it on a new shard. In large part because skill advancement, while important, doesn’t change the game itself.

      If you want to PvP, you can do that early on in the game. If you want to mine, same thing. The more time spent on skills to do something, lets you do it differently, or more efficiently, and provides greater options. A couple month old character can fit up a Rifter with named fittings, and PvP around in lo-sec on the cheap if the want.

      • Gankalicious says:

        I suppose…..but I’m not totally convinced. You can, of course, fit up a Rifter and head out but unless you come across someone as new as you, its lights out! Even if I’m wrong (it’s possible I’ll admit) a lot of the time I hear people say ‘Oh, Eve, I’d never catch up’ and so they give it a miss. Maybe a new start would bring them in.

        And I do think I read that on Mr. Meh’s blog some time ago: must give credit where it is due. I’m a lot of things, but not an idea-stealer….although if he had a thought corp in eve I’d try to inflitrate and steal some…

        • Mr. Meh says:

          Most PVP is not about doing it solo. If it was a 1v1 fight, someone had the edge. The instance of 2 ships meeting each other if fair conditions is non-existent in the universe of EVE. It’s literally a food chain. This eats that, and that can this, and so forth until there is a loser (mining ships). Though battle barges are hilarious. Most of everything in EVE PvP is about trick one side into fighting, only to be trick by those that you were tricking. Only to be tricked by a 3rd party you didn’t even consider in the game of tricking each other. If there was no lopsided battles, no one would ever fight.

          I thought the idea of ‘start fresh’ was a good idea when my guild said they would play it if it happened. But as the commenters hit the post I realized that it would never work. Most players live for so many ‘x’ kills a day. If those kills were even somewhat fair, they wouldn’t do it. They didn’t pay for 4 years of subscription time to have to fight fair. The game survives off of new players constantly coming in to give them ‘fun.’ If that influx of new blood stopped, then so would they.

          That said. An EVE II would be an awesome game. New server would probably hurt the old largely.

  2. Aeo says:

    I playe EVE for a while and was utterly absorbed. Utterly.

    But one of the reasons I decided not to continue was the quantity of people I came across who were running 2 or 3 ships of their own all at once. I wanted to make my own mark in a small industrial corp but couldn’t really turn much profi when the guy next to me had a hauler, miner and protection on the go at the same time. I longed to buy another account or two myself but just could not justify the cash, nor did I agree with it in principle.

    Still bloody loved the game – it’s god damn incredible – but it’s not casual friendly.

    • Gankalicious says:

      I was utterly absorbed as well, and then…poof…stopped. It was weird, but like you say it’s not casual friendly.

      I read a blog post about that…something about inertia…was it Mr. Meh again? I sometimes go ‘blog surfing’ and read good stuff but then can’t remember the source!

  3. Soren Nyrond says:

    One (minor) comment : couriers would find constant work
    Would they, or would pirates quickly some to associate a name with “loot”, and simply hound these charas round the clock for their cargoes, rather than seeing the name and wondering whether they’re in their hauler or their gankmobile ?

    • Shadow says:

      Then it would be up the courier to fit fast ships, with warp stabilizers, to transport small items, and some not so small. Perhaps a Thrasher using mid slots for MWD and two WCS, since it’s rare that you get more than two points on you at a time, for a quick burst of speed and an escape warp. Maybe I don’t the reality of the practicality of the situation though, I’ve admittedly only played maybe 6-7 months of actual gameplay.

      This was very much me just spinning my wheels in thought and what-ifs.

      • Mr. Meh says:

        Nothing is invulnerable.

        No matter how well your fitted or prepared, there are always HICs and then in zero sec, bubbles.

        If you have that nice of cargo as well, its not uncommon for a sacrificial suicide gank in High Sec either.

        • Shadow says:

          Agreed, nothing is invulnerable. In much the same way, that not all business deals are profitable. The point is to mitigate as much of the risk as possible, and charge accordingly. If a courier KNEW they were flying through a much higher risk area, the cost would be considerably higher for the customer, and they could prepare for it more soundly. Risk factor is a constant, and facing a loss is inevitable.

  4. Mr. Meh says:

    As an FYI. I use a marketing/industry alt as well. And back in the day I used to use a 3rd alt for Sensor Boosting and scouting.

    Almost everyone, everyone in EVE has alts. If someone says that they don’t have one, they’re lying. Just how many use alts? Even the casual long timer have atleast 1. The serious have many more than that. Your picture at the top is not ‘uncommon.’

    So when CCP says they have 300K in subscription, that is not 300K in players. It’s probably a third of that. CCP has a glorious system in which they are basically getting well more than $15 a month from each person.

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