World of Warcraft cracks down on controversial ‘multiboxing’ practice

A newly released World of Warcraft policy has dealt a serious blow to a controversial game practice.

Blizzard announced that using input broadcasting software to mirror keystrokes is now against World of Warcraft’s terms of service. That’s a mouthful, but it essentially means that multiboxing — the practice of running multiple WoW accounts at once — is now a bannable offense.

Multiboxing is a divisive topic in the WoW community, and that’s putting it lightly. When one person is able to control up to 40 characters at once, it allows that player to do things that other players consider game-breaking. For example, if you encounter a hostile multiboxer out in the open world, that multiboxer can nuke your character with a single click.

The practice has also been accused of ruining server economies. WoW servers are living marketplaces where players exchange gold, in-game items and services.

Due to the game’s mechanics, a multiboxer can harvest tons of herbs in a very short amount of time. This means the average player now has to deal with their herbs being greatly devalued even though they spent the same amount of labor to harvest.

Multiboxing is also a privilege that only well-off gamers can afford. It requires a bunch of computers, monitors, copies of the game, a powerful internet connection, WiFi peripherals and more. All that can cost upwards of $25,000 and that isn’t including the monthly maintenance of subscription fees.

What’s the debate?

Defenders of multiboxing say that they pay to play the game like anyone else and should have the right to continue doing so. Opponents say that it’s an unfair mechanic that allows multiboxers to pay to win.

Many players on /r/wow, Reddit’s World of Warcraft community of 1.9 million users, celebrated Blizzard’s new policy.

“Ion you mad man,” one Redditor said, referring to WoW’s game director Ion Hazzikostas. “Christmas came early.”

“Awesome that they did this BEFORE Shadowlands launch, rather than after,” another Redditor agreed. “It means the bots won’t get a chance to amass huge stockpiles of mats first.”

In a follow-up post, Blizzard further clarified that it is banning the use of third-party programs which can be used for multiboxing but not the practice of multiboxing itself. However, the policy makes multiboxing far more difficult and impractical.

Many Blizzard fans have been disappointed with the company’s behavior over the past few years. But for now, it seems the WoW proletariat can celebrate the new multiboxing policy as a small win for the little guy.

If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s piece on World of Warcraft: Shadowlands release date and story trailer.

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