How is boxing a grp of toons, a game design flaw?

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Whulfgar, Mar 30, 2022.

  1. Whulfgar Augur

    Long time listener first time caller..

    As the title asks, I want to know how people's choice to box toons rather then play with others (for any reason they deem worthy).. how is this a game design flaw..

    I've seen that posted in multiple threads and now I wanna know yalls opinions on it.

    And why should it matter to anyone else when player. A chooses to box their grp rather then play with others?
  2. MasterMagnus The Oracle of AllHigh

    Lol. As I mentioned before, this is a discussion we could have, if we could have 'nice things' around here. Let's see how it goes.

    The CHOICE to box is one issue.

    I believe, what people are trying to say, writ large:
    Low population leads to fewer options, narrowing your CHOICE.

    The 'need' (vis a vis your options) for boxing has evolved over time.

    And in the end, 'boxing' as strictly defined is acceptable game-play.

    So we arrive at the second thing. BOTTING

    Botting is not acceptable game-play.

    And we add in a third thing. 3RD PARTY SOFTWARE

    Which as we know presents a whole gray area.

    In my opinion there is nothing wrong with what you stated, it's not a design flaw, it's a game-play option.

    There is the issue though, this game IS designed to be played with teams of real people. If it becomes a completely solo game, the design isn't supporting the game play well. And maybe that's just a criticism rather than an issue that needs to be dealt with in any way. <shrug>
  3. Jumbur Improved Familiar

    I think the designers intended that a single subscription should give the player a satisfying experience. The fact that many choose to box, is an indication that the intended goal has not been reached.
    Vumad, Verily Tjark, Metanis and 2 others like this.
  4. MasterMagnus The Oracle of AllHigh

    I don't think so at all.

    I'm going to go back to Brad McQuaid on this one.

    This game is designed on D&D, and Brad was not the only person, by far, to look at their Commodore 64 while playing D&D and imagine what it would be like to play this game on the computer.

    And if you played this game on modem, you know this game and all the others around that time were about multiplayer, bringing people together via the internet.

    A single account never gave you a satisfying experience (certainly not to the intended magnitude) without a group of other people, via pug or guild. Population has always mattered.

    Did I play solo most of that time? Sure, but I've always been the edge case, not the core player demographic this game is and always has been designed for.

    In my opinion.
  5. CatsPaws No response to your post cause your on ignore

    I think your giving too much credit to the game design as it having anything to do with being able to box.

    When the game first came out the connection was 80% dial up. So you had to have a second phone line if you wanted more than one account

    Then you had to have a good enough computer to run more than one account.

    So it was very few players who met the criteria back then and had the ability to box

    Now everyone has high speed which is just one connection but you can run as many accounts as you want on that. And computers can handle as many accounts as you want.

    Natural evolution of the internet.
  6. Jumbur Improved Familiar

    I think you misunderstood me a little though, I didn't say the game was designed to give a solo-player a satisfying experience(although I would personally prefer more solo-content), But I do think EQ was intended for each player to only play one character. Obviously with grouping in mind.
    Even D&D was designed for each player to only play one character(unless you were the DM).

    The fact that a single game-client can only handle one char at a time, also supports that theory. A client intended to control multiple characters would have a very different design.

    As for where the design flaw is, is hard to pinpoint. A grouping game with minimal solocontent, puts a lot of extra demands on the individual player: For example the ability to form groups and agree on the group's goal, as well as enough time dedication from each group member to reach the common goal.

    Maybe those high demands are just not feasible with the current demographic? Boxing is a solution to that, but it is not a solution that DBG designed.
    Their solution was to add mercs, making leveling easier, adding various catchup mechanics aimed to lessen those high player-demands. Everything DBG did, points towards boxing not being the intended solution.
    Although the recent return of hell-levels that can only be bypassed with grouping, hints that they are yet again changing direction. But that direction is for true groupers and not boxers, as you can see with the complexities of current missions(individual emotes and short fights, rather than long ldon-style dungeon-crawls).
    Hobitses and MasterMagnus like this.
  7. Windance Augur

    I beg to differ.

    There were many times when our D&D gaming sessions would dip down to having only 2 or 3 players (including the DM) and we would then roll up a extra character ( two boxing if you will ).

    The same thing applies to EQ only more so.

    At least in D&D if you wanted to run a multi class character so you could 'solo' better you could.
    MasterMagnus likes this.
  8. Bernel Augur

    On live servers, the option to group with others isn't nearly as viable as it once was. Many people turn to boxing as a solution to the lack of groups. They don't want to box per se, but they use boxing as a method to get stuff done. I might compare it to a chore like laundry. People do laundry because they like clean clothes, not because they actually enjoy doing laundry. Certainly there are some people who actually enjoy the task of boxing itself. They enjoy the challenge of coordinating multiple characters to accomplish something on their own, but that isn't necessarily true for all people who box. Lots of times, people box because they need to play multiple characters so playing is viable. For them, boxing is a chore necessary to be able to successfully play EQ. It's a choice in the same way that doing laundry is a choice.

    It's going to be tough to get an unbiased discussion about boxing at this point since anyone who doesn't like boxing has already quit EQ. If someone can't solo/molo and is LFG for hours on end, they may quit rather than box. So the people here on the forum are likely those people who successfully box and don't mind doing it.

    I don't see boxing as a problem per se, but it covers up the greater problem in EQ that soloing (one character) isn't viable and casual grouping with real people isn't viable. Rather than ensuring that every class has a solo path, the game is designed around the assumption that everyone will be able to group when necessary. When casual grouping isn't viable, the population which doesn't want to box trickles away and the server is left with just the people who box.

    Of course, some people don't box, but they likely have something like a group of real-life friends who play together, in an active guild, are popular on the server, or something like that which allows them to group on a regular basis. The players who are more independent don't have viable ways to group anymore. Back in the old times it was relatively trivial for anyone to find existing camps and join them, but that's not the case anymore. Now days, if a player doesn't have a large set of active friends on the server, they will be playing solo in one way or another.
    MasterMagnus likes this.
  9. Strawberry Augur

    Do you actually want an answer? Because often multiboxers don't like these answers.

    Everquest servers are population capped. Each boxed character is one less potential interaction, one less chance to talk to someone, one less chance to form a group. Multiboxing destroys the social fabric on the server.

    Here is an example with server A and B that are both capped at 8 players.

    Server A has 2 people boxing 4 toons. The server has little to no social fabric, only 2 people can possibily communicate and there is little chance a new player on that server will find a group.

    Server B has 8 people each playing 1 character. The server has a wide and healthy social fabric, where 8 people can communicate, and formm a group.

    Server A has become an antisocial server, where players box in their own little bubbles. Server B is a social server where communication and groups happen, where you meet new people. Server B is how MMO should be.

    MasterMagnus likes this.
  10. Jumbur Improved Familiar

    That is fair, D&D was also designed to be very flexible. This is something that can be achieved with a real GM that can adjust the rules in realtime to maximize the entertainment-value. :cool:

    But I disagree that it was intended for EQ. I admit that I haven't read the original design document so I can't be sure what the intension was... But back when I started playing in 2001, boxing was definitely not the norm on my server, but maybe pvp-servers were unique in that aspect...
    MasterMagnus likes this.
  11. Yinla Ye Ol' Dragon

    It is not a design flaw, the basis of the game is built around a group of upto 6 players.

    Over time players have learned to box, either by tabbing back and forth or by playing with multi computors. Others have gone the pay to win route and bot, letting their computors play multi chars instead of playing them themselves (cheating or not that is for another thread).

    I can see why people see boxing/botting as a bad thing, but it doesn't necessarily follow that those who box would be grouping with other players instead. When my friends haven't been around I've been moloing in EW (TOV) with my rogue while looking for jelly beans instead of grouping, I prefer the quiet life to the tension of a PUG.
    MasterMagnus likes this.
  12. Skrab East Cabilis #1 Realtor

    Boxing makes EQ’s design a failure. If, it’s just going to be a solo game through boxing then just make solo content.
    MasterMagnus likes this.
  13. Bernel Augur

    Has there ever been any stats released about how many groups are boxing? Not anecdotal stories, but actual data from DB? I would guess that a pretty good estimate could be found by comparing how many IP addresses are in each group. If everyone in the group is on the same IP, that would be a good indication it was a boxed group. A few of those will be households who play together on the same internet, but most would be from boxed accounts. On live, my guess is that the vast majority of groups are molo/boxing groups. I would assume that the number of groups on live which actually have 2+ real people is just a tiny percentage of the overall groups.
    MasterMagnus likes this.
  14. Merika Journeyman

    It was definitely never a feature intended for EverQuest. But I really see it as a positive for the game. A LOT more profit for them, and EverQuest has just always been designed as a non solo mmorpg compared to say wow, elder scrolls and everything else out there.

    While it’s an absolute blast and I play every tlp at the start for the rush and the community, there’s no way I’d never want to do that on live anymore. I appreciate being able to get things done by myself and at the discretion of working around family. I love the way the game is designed at the moment and how we ALL could improve on a million simple things that we think would benefit the game, I see this as something that works perfectly as it is.
    MasterMagnus likes this.
  15. Benito EQ player since 2001.

    There is an "easy fix" to force people to play a single account and group up. Follow the WoW/pre-F2P EQ model:

    1. Charge All Access for all accounts.

    2. Enact an anti-box policy.

    3. Merge servers.

    4. There would be a give-and-take where gameplay is designed to have more avenues of solo (root/rott, kiting).

    Unfortunately, people who prefer this playstyle really should just play WoW or FF14 and not force EQ to be their vision of another game. I also suspect there are theory-crafters here from Pantheon MMO and Ashes of Creation who are finding themselves back on the EQ forums after the utter failure of those vaporware games.
  16. Strawberry Augur

    Or at least make content where grouping becomes effortless, like OMM missions, or hero missions, or some way to make sure grouping can actually happen between those who do not box.
  17. Truetotheblue Augur

    I think what MMOs "should" be is largely irrelevant. I think companies design systems and try and force players into interacting in a certain way, and that doesn't always go to plan. What MMOs end up being are a result of player behaviors, and it's up to the company involved to change it if they want to. I think there are systems that could be put in place to encourage more social interaction, make grouping easier, and gravitate towards a particular style but that just hasn't been happening. DPG seems content to let the players decide the direction and not put systems in place to encourage the notion you're referencing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to downplay what you're getting at. I think you're making a reasonable point. But I do believe design intent and how that unfolds in the playerbase often times end up being drastically different.
  18. Windance Augur

    I started playing during Kunark and with in about 6 months several real life friends playing.

    I would often box a friends druids or cleric.

    People have been boxing since the start, it's just that there were 50 real players for every box. Now its more like 1-5 boxes for each player.
  19. Waring_McMarrin Augur

    This is nothing more then a strawman argument designed to make boxing look bad. By using such small numbers (and not even enough to form more than a single group) you are trying to make it sounds like boxing prevents people from getting group which is never the case. It might make it harder but a person isn't going to get a spot in a group just because that person running the group can't box all slots or fill them with mercs.
  20. Skrab East Cabilis #1 Realtor

    You’re not describing reality.