Boxing My Way Through North Ro #EQ
As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been boxing in EQ (if you’ve got no idea what this means, it means I’m running two games of EQ, with two separate accounts at the same time). Wilhelm over at The Ancient Gaming Noob suggested that I make a post about boxing for people who may not be used to it or have never done it before. I believe I’ve made a post or two about it in the past, but after 6 years of posts I have no idea where it would be, and a refresher is always good. To start off, I box on one computer, but I do have two monitors. You don’t need two monitors in order to box, in fact for the longest time even with two I just stuck to a single screen because it’s simply what I was used to. I had one major issue with loading up two accounts of EQ and that was when I would be on the main screen, the 2nd instance running would be incredibly lagged in FPS, making things like auto follow simply not work. I’m running a pretty good computer (i7 with 8 gigs of ram, and two crossfired ATI cards etc) but no matter what setting I had whichever screen I was not currently on, would lag.
So I use a program that allows me to run two instances (separate accounts as always) windowed without any issues. It’s not a hack program or anything that goes against the EULA, it just lets me play the game in proper (resizeable) windows. You can get it here, it’s called WinEQ, you may have heard of it before. There’s a newer version called ISBox I believe, but I haven’t looked into it at all. While running the game through WinEQ none of my windows lag, and it keeps my monitor nice and tidy. I typically drag the screens off so I’m playing side by side, but you could even four box if you want, with windows on each corner of your screen and not over lapping.
The next decision I always make is *what* to box, and who will be the “main” I am playing as opposed to the boxed character. In my case right now, the cleric is my box, and my enchanter is my main. Even though for all intents and purposes the cleric is my main when I am not boxing (does that even make sense). I load the enchanter up on my main monitor, the cleric up on the second. The cleric has some hotkeys that makes playing her a little easier, each heal is followed by the sit command because there are no mounts in game at the moment. I have hotkeys to target my characters as well as their pets because I tend to park her outside of group (in EQ you can follow someone then disband the group and still be following them). An assist key is essential as well.
I always suggest boxing a character that doesn’t require a whole lot of attention. A druid for spot heals and snares, an enchanter for tash / buffs / mez when required / lull (along with a mage or even a rogue), a cleric, etc. What you don’t want unless you’re REALLY into boxing (remember, this guide is for beginners) is two melee classes playing together. Positioning each one every time you have a mob show up is a pain and a waste of time. Casters make fantastic boxes, and like I said ideally something that requires very little attention. A bard + healer type would be fantastic, with the bard being the main and the healer type the box.
The toughest part is finding a camp. Once you’ve found one you can simply park the box and proceed to pull, tabbing (or mousing over) to the 2nd account when you need a heal or other buff. If you join a group be sure to let the others know that you’re boxing because in emergencies you will act differently then your class may other wise. For example while I am boxing a healer and an enchanter, during a mad rush of mobs it would be difficult for me to secure heals plus mez the adds. That’s not to say I haven’t done it before, I have, but if things are REALLY bad your response will be slow because you’re trying to do everything at once.
I know there are programs you can use that will allow you to do everything easier but I’ve never felt a need for any of that. If you can’t box the old fashioned way you probably shouldn’t be boxing.
I’ve boxed in EQ and EQ2 fairly constantly over the last 8 years because I find myself craving that sort of complexity, other times I’m just not in the mood to pay attention to two accounts. It takes a month or two of steady boxing to finally hit a comfort zone and the best advice I can offer is to just stick with it and do it alone first before you start grouping too much. If you have any other questions or comments please feel free to let me know below!
Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself. I’ll see you in (old) Norrath!