Blizzard, the multinational company and developer of World of Warcraft, recently changed their terms of service to functionally ban multi-boxing from both classic and retail WoW.
For the unfamiliar, “multi-boxing” is a process by which players can use a 3rd party software to play multiple characters, through the use of multiple WoW accounts, at once. This process is used to level many characters at the same time, or use multiple characters to efficiently collect many items to sell for gold. Having multiple accounts is still allowed per Blizzard’s terms of service, but “Input Broadcasting Software,” that allows players to replicate keystrokes across different accounts, is now a bannable offense.
Until now, Blizzard allowed it as a sort of “alternative way to play,” but this update changes that.
What does this mean for World of Warcraft players?
For the majority of players, this is a good thing. This ban has its benefits on both classic and retail World of Warcraft.
Multi-boxing is a more niche practice in classic WoW. It is mostly used for efficient leveling. Still, it can empty out questing areas for players leveling normally. Multi-boxers can be a nuisance, considering classic WoW’s long respawn times and low drop rates for quest items and crafting materials. In certain situations, multi-boxers can make leveling and gold-farming restrictively difficult for regular players of classic WoW.
In the retail version of the game, multi-boxing has much more severe consequences for the in-game economy. Retail World of Warcraft has many more features and niches for multi-boxers to abuse. The in-game auction house has become oversaturated with items due to multi-box abuse, driving prices way down on certain farmable items. This limits the options for players to make gold, and can be frustrating to say the least.
Some players, like Twitch streamer Prepared, have up to 80 World of Warcraft accounts running at once for gold farming. Practices like this give multi-boxers a very unfair advantage. Players that can afford many WoW accounts are functionally paying to win, as they can make many millions of gold per session with very little effort.
Blizzard Loses Money
There is no way to argue that Blizzard does not lose money with this change in their terms of service. For people who practice multi-boxing, their many World of Warcraft accounts become effectively useless. Naturally, people who abuse multi-boxing will cancel their subscriptions for their extra accounts, if they don’t stop playing altogether. Although this policy negatively affects a very small percentage of players, it definitely affects Blizzard’s bottom line.
World of Warcraft players have had plenty to be angry about.
Players have lost faith in Blizzard over the past few years for more reasons than I could explain here. On the eve of the release of their newest expansion, Shadowlands, and phase 6 of classic WoW (the Naxxramas patch), the banning of multi-boxing is a bold move on their part.
Through this change, Blizzard might regain some respect from the World of Warcraft community. Listening to their players on this issue might restore some faith in the once-beloved developer. With some luck, this small change might suggest a positive trend of change for Blizzard in the future.
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