Multiboxer playing with five dwarf shamans in Arathi Basin-battleground.

Multiboxing is a term used to denote one user playing multiple accounts simultaneously. This could be done using one or more machines. Some players ran multiple accounts to seek a greater challenge than playing only a single character. Others sought to recreate the feel of older single-player RPGs where a well designed team was used to adventure together. There were also some who didn't want to rely on others to play the game when additional characters were required.

Multiboxing remains an allowed part of the game[1]; however, on November 3, 2020, Blizzard restricted the use of input broadcasting software which could replicate interactions to multiple game clients simultaneously.[2] In a May 5, 2021 policy update, Blizzard expanded the restriction to encompass "the use of all software and hardware mechanisms to mirror commands to multiple World of Warcraft accounts at the same time, or to automate or streamline multi-boxing in any way."[3]

To comply with the new rules, one must 'alt-tab' or otherwise interact with each game client using different key/mouse strokes.

See also Multiboxing macros.

Background of multiboxing

As noted above in the term description, multiboxing is a game play style accepted by Blizzard.[4][5] The multiboxing solutions documented here do not violate Blizzard's EULA for World of Warcraft.

In order to multibox in World of Warcraft, you will need to have all of the following criteria areas addressed:

One World of Warcraft registered account per game client you wish to multibox (example: 5 characters = 5 accounts)[6]. This means you will have to purchase multiple copies of the game, including all required expansions.
The computing power to run the desired number of games. This can be achieved by using 1 computer or multiple computers. A simple computer costing under $700 is sufficient to multibox [7]

In addition, you will need to learn many multiboxing strategies, including macro writing skills, and may need to pay special attention to your in-game UI.


How complex of a solution do you want? A software-only solution using one machine and multiple copies of the game is pretty straightforward. For many, the real complexity is in writing macros that allow each character to function properly in the group. Because characters are sharing hotkeys, a lot of care must be put into what effects each hotkey activates. The end result is that you can become very knowledgeable in using the game's macro language and available addons.

The basics

This section will cover the basics of multiboxing.

Game software

You will need to purchase the game, and depending on needs the expansion as well, for each account you wish to run simultaneously.

A minimum of one installation of the game software must be present on each computer.

A single installation directory can be used to open multiple instances of the game client. It is not necessary to have multiple WoW directories on a machine to run multiple WoW Windows.

The single directory installation option saves hard drive space and simplifies setup and maintenance of your user interface and add-ons.

Some users prefer to maintain several copies of the game files on one computer. It is widely believed that multiple installations of the game client will improve performance, however, this is only partly true. Multiple installations will improve performance only if each installation is on a different physical drive.

If the multiple directory method of installation is chosen you will need to maintain add-ons and user interface changes for each installation separately.

Users of Mac computers can symbolic link the Data directory to save space when running multiple copies on one machine.

Users of Windows XP or newer with NTFS can use Junction Links for the same effect. Windows Vista/7 can use the included MKLINK[8] program to create a junction. Windows XP users have to resort to a third-party program (e.g. Junction Link Magic).

System hardware

To run two or more copies on the same machine, it is recommended that it contain a dual-core processor, discrete 3d graphics accelerator, and at least one gigabyte of memory. Additional copies on the same machine will require faster processors and more memory. When using multiple machines, try to keep all of them identical.

Additional hardware

Keyboard, Video, and Mouse, switches (KVMs for short) are an option when using multiple machines. A Vetra Keyboard Multiplexer is one example for controlling multiple machines. Additional monitors may also be needed, note that the the secondary characters do not need to be on large monitors and there benefits with using smaller monitors to view their actions.

Game concerns

Some of the choices you make are strictly within the game. From server type, character types, to the races of the characters.

PvE or PvP

Player versus Environment

Player versus Environment is the easy solution. Even if the eventual goal is to play on a Player versus Player server getting practice with multiboxing will be much easier on the PvE server. PvE is very forgiving. Events are scripted, generally start when you start them, and allow for as many tries as you want.

Player versus Player

Player versus Player interactions will require a unique approach when multiboxing, very different than PVE gameplay. Because of this uniqueness, you may find yourself in a situation where your typical macros for Player versus Environment do not apply to PVP gameplay. You may find that it will require more advanced macros and more thought put into contingency plans.

Server selection

Scout out the server and see what kind of ratio it has. Is it an old server or a new one? Old servers tend to have established PvP and knowledgeable players. It can be harder to find groups, not an issue if you are five boxing, and they tend to have a more vibrant auction system and economy. A good method to find a new server to multibox on is to ask in various forums if there are any existing multiboxing guilds on the server. If so, ask in advance if you may join the guild before making that server your new home. If you are playing on NA servers, one of the largest multiboxing guilds in the entire game is on the Blackrock server, Horde side.[citation needed] 

Class selection

Class selection. This depends on both your playstyle and the type of server you play on. For the ability to heal and dish outburst damage choose a priest and four mages. Other options are to replace the mages with warlocks, replace the priest with another healer class like a druid, shaman, or even a paladin.

A very popular one-class choice is to have multiple shamans. Due to the macros, one set of shamans in a battleground can simultaneously cast [Chain Lightning], which can effectively destroy even the hardiest of twinks.

Due to game mechanics picking two classes is far easier to deal with than using three or more classes. Even if five different classes is more appropriate being able to direct it is another issue. It comes down to how consistent the actions between the classes are and how the hotkeys can best be shared between them. When you are beginning multiboxing it is recommended to limit the number of classes.

Race selection

Some consideration of racial abilities for PvP is warranted. Undead have [Will of the Forsaken] which breaks fear effects which are very bad when grouped up. Another good racial abilities are the tauren Warstomp. Race selection also limits class selection so some choices will not be available regardless.


Believe it or not, the names you pick for your characters make a difference. By picking logical names you will be quicker to react and it will be easier to tell your characters apart.

An example, where you have four mages and one priest. Choose a unique multi-letter name and then prefix it to identify which character is which. Naming the first four characters mynameA, mynameB, mynameC, and mynameD, makes it easy to remember they are the the mages, whereas naming the priest mynameX provides enough distinction to separate him out. Why the last letter? Simple in PvP your opponent could say /target A and get the first character whose name starts with an A! You could also name them for their role in the party. Recognition of which character is which will come over time, using a naming strategy speeds up the process.

Conversely, if PvP is your primary objective, you may wish to pick names that all sound alike so that opponents using voice communication (e.g. Ventrilo) cannot easily designate one of your targets. Changing letter combinations (e.g. Aellii, Aellei, Aellie, Aelli) or substituting certain vowels (e.g. Boylston, Boylstun, Boylsten) may cause a slight delay in one of your characters being focused-fired upon in an Arena.

Other concerns

Play area layout

Once again, this small detail makes a difference. If you run 5 or 6 monitors, I strongly suggest some logical order to how your characters are arranged and which computer runs which character. Your "main" is generally in the middle and the secondaries flank your main to either side. My personal choice is A in the lower left, B upper left, C upper right and D lower right. Clockwise with X in the lower middle. The upper middle is for browsing the internet, looking up quests, vent, etc. My key arrangement mirrors this and the X-Keys Desktop and Pro are perfect for this kind of setup as they have 8 keys wide and 5 vertical. Making your physical interface as intuitive as possible will speed the learning process and make far more logical sense when playing.

Getting started

If you choose the hardware method the hard part is paying for it all. You will need four identical machines. Literally, identical machines, down to the revision numbers on the components. I build my own machines but buying them is certainly an option. This project, done at its most basic hardware level, will cost $4280, not counting tax and shipping. Done right, it will push $5k, plus monthly fees. Depending on your perspective, this may be a lot of money. Nobody ever said multiboxing at this level was cheap but I can certainly think of far more expensive hobbies.


Powerleveling does not really work in WoW, so leveling up is tricky if you already have a level-capped character and want to add more characters without spending hundreds of hours leveling. The best way to level is to level them all at the same time; if you registered all the accounts under the same name, you can do a paid transfer later to consolidate the characters onto one or two accounts. You can do so with questing alone, questing and instances, or just instances. Questing is a good bet as the experience is great, the mobs are easy, and you get faction reputation. Though kill quests generally give credit for every kill to every player, collection quests require collecting X items for each character, so avoid these whenever possible.

Instance grinding is an excellent alternative. Elites give great experience, and about the time you get tired of an instance, you level out of it. The only downside is the time wasted learning the instance and at the lower levels, learning just how to multibox. One solution to the issue of learning of the instance is to download a dungeon map addon, so that you may become familiar with the dungeon you will be constantly running.

Another option (though it hardly counts as multiboxing) is to have the leveling character simply Follow a high-level character as he/she solos an instance. The low-level character will die quickly if he/she draws aggro or gets caught in an AoE attack, so the player should park the low-level character in a corner during tricky fights and/or use a high-level character who can heal or resurrect the other.

Note: Blizzard has specifically stated that multiboxing to take advantage of the Recruit-A-Friend experience bonus, while not what they intended for the program, is within the Terms of Use.

UI mods

Usually constrained to arranging the bars as you need them and letting you view the state of each of your characters. Pitbull and Bartender are two very good mods.

Button mods

There are button mods out there that allow you to physically represent the buttons you have on your X-keys on your UI. There are even some out there that will change the buttons when you hold down your alt modifier key.

Anchor mods

You will likely want to set it so that you cannot move the windows on your "secondary" machines. If you move one, they get desynched and clicking on them with your wireless mouse will not activate all of them.


Quest accepting

There are quest accepting macros out there. They work pretty well for accepting quests on the "secondary" characters. Right click, hit the quest accept macro and you are done. Sharing quests is another way to do this but not every quest can be shared.

Pet macros

This macro will make your pet attack your current target if you have a target. Otherwise, it will attack the focus target. For example, if you have multiple warlocks and assign each one a target, their corresponding pets will attack those targets or assist your main and attack your main's target instead.

/stopmacro [target=target, exists]
/petattack [target=focustarget]

What happens when my main dies?

You need to setup your macros to allow for transitioning to another "main". This will mean physically moving to another mouse and changing your /assists or /focus to another character. This is doable with custom LUA scripts or simply a dedicated keyboard (or X-Key). I will leave that up to you - usually when my priest dies, I am out of mana and going down anyway. Often times it is faster to do this in battlegrounds as you rez with nearly full mana and health - but there are times when you will need to continue fighting and not just stand there. It took me quite a while to figure this one out - and I will leave this to you.

External links

Community forums Forums
Dual Boxing Forums
French Dual Boxing Forums
Dual-Boxing Wiki
French guide about software, macro and hardware
Multiboxing Guides
WoW Insider Interview with Xzin
Multiboxing to Level 80 Nirvana
Guides and Strategies
Large list of strategies, frequently updated
Game Theory
Sirlin Game Design Theory
GM Conversations GM Conversation links
Xzin GM Conversation GM conversations and Blizzard forum postings