EVE Online Encourages Dual-Boxing

I received a strange email from CCP today. Apparently they are now offering reduced prices for purchasing a second account on EVE Online and they seem to be actively targeting the dual-boxing market. The offer ends on 17th October and is called the “Power of 2″.

Seize The Power Of 2!

Seize The Power Of 2!

For those of you don’t know, dual-boxing is the term used for playing two (or more) MMORPG accounts at the same time either by running multiple instances of the game on your PC or by having a second computer nearby. I’ve met a fair few dual-boxers during my years and even read stories about people crazy enough to play five or six accounts at once but I’ve never seen it actually marketed to players before with an incentive.

CCP’s email uses terms like “having that extra account at your disposal is sometimes indispensable” and quotes the uses and benefits of having a second account as being “extra firepower on missions”, “extra hauler for miners” and “a tag along salvager”. There’s also no doubt that they aren’t just talking about recruiting your friends because they actually state “new alt accounts”.

I have no idea as to whether or not dual-boxing is common in EVE but I can see it’s uses. I don’t know if there’s a /follow command like in many MMOs but I could certainly see the appeal of running a spare salvager or cargo hauler behind your main. I don’t know if I can recommend dual-boxing because it seems like total neural overload to me but I have to give credit for CCP for obviously trying to attract players into giving them some more revenue and monthly subscriptions.

Something that I am tempted by is purchasing an alt account purely for roleplaying purposes. I could create a new character called “Dorothy Jones” and roleplayer her as the wife of my main character, “Mantooth Jones”. I could create an entire back-story about how they met and fell in love and fly them both around together, engaging in roleplay spousal fights and bickering. Eventually I could purchase a couple more alt accounts, create some “children” and end up with the first ever EVE Online virtual Sims family.

Hmm, maybe not.

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  1. Marchosias says:

    Multi-boxing in EVE is very prevalent. I tri-box EVE, and this is at least the second time they’ve made this multi-box offer.

    Besides this reduced cost of entry into the multi-box game, with extra accounts you have the potential to earn enough ISK to eventually make that second or third, or “x” account “free” by using EVE’s in-game PLEX mechanic. You basically pay your monthly fee in ISK by buying a Pilot License EXtension that someone else has paid real money for. And that someone would do this basically to get in-game ISK. In a way, it’s EVE’s answer to getting rid of gold farmers and allowing players a “TOS-friendly” way to pay real money for in-game currency.

    My tri-box is usually set up for mining ops: 1 Orca and 2 Hulks, I can easily “pay” for my extra accounts using ISK, as long as I’m not buying expensive battleships and what-not that month.

    • Gordon says:

      I neverk new dual-boxing was so popular in EVE although I can’t say that I’m surprised. The game really does encourage grouping and, considering some of the stuff like hauling is very mundane, it must be pretty easy to play 2 characters at once.

  2. Longasc says:

    Gnaaa! Wake up!

    An “alt” account in EVE is something that almost every active and “serious” player has. Why? Provide pirate players with goods from the Empire space. Collect stuff / spy on other factions / infiltrate and betray corps / have a mining alt and all that.

    And I think it is a real problem. If everyone would have only one char/account the EVE world would be better, IMO.

    There was once a story of pirate raiders attacking a Concord convoy featured on the EVE homepage. The convoy got destroyed, but a brave freelancer/privateer who by accident was there secured an important cargo and cashed in the reward for securing it from Concord. It was the alt of one of the pirates, sent to collect the loot without danger… /facepalm.

    I do not like EVE Alts at all. Also see what Marchosias wrote about them. Your RPing idea of having an alt is a very nice and friendly way to use alts, but most EVE players are much more calculating in this regard. :)

  3. Andrew says:

    EVE is set up to milk as much money from it’s player base as possible via alts. What other games forces you to pay for TWO accounts to play alts? It’s absurd.

    This, by the way, is also why EVE’s vaunted 300k subscriber figure is a load of rubbish: most serious players have two subscriptions, and I’ve heard of some with as many as *5*. CCP torques their numbers just as bad as Free Realms ever has.

    • Gordon says:

      I think ever MMORPG plays with their numbers. I mean, I bet these games have plenty of subscribers who haven’t played in ages yet still keep their accounts.

      Blizzard are also pretty bad when they talk about 11 millions subscribers considering 2/3 of them are Chinese who pay by the hour. I’ve even seen that stat mentioned when WoW wasn’t even operating in China due to the big downtime they had.

      • Andrew says:

        You betcha WoW’s numbers are screwy…. their definition of “subscriber” includes people who have pennies left on an active time card, among other things.

        Properly reporting population metrics (in a standardized way?) is something I’d love to see MMOs do. But they won’t, because there’s a perception that numbers are advertising.

  4. Lochiel says:

    Dual boxing is very common in Eve, especially among older players. While eve is a great game, it does have a lot of activities that don’t require full concentration. Many of the more dedicated players have trading alts to provide isk to their mains, and many FC’s use alt scouts for intel.

  5. Let me re-phrase your title: “EVE Online Encourages Spending More Money”

    Shocking, I know.

    Andrew wrote:
    EVE’s vaunted 300k subscriber figure is a load of rubbish

    Depends on what you’re using the figure for. If you’re using it to see the health of the economic health of the game and company, then it’s fine as long as those are paying accounts. If you’re using it to see how many less players they have than the numbers other games claim, then it’s not as useful. Then again, e-peen waving (even by developers) is rarely useful anyway.

    • Gordon says:

      I think it’s fair to say if they’re talking about subscriptions although yeah, they could be a little more open about it. That’s a marketing thing though.

      Given the difficulty and unfriendlyness of learning EVE and attracting new players, I think current players having multiple accounts is probably a good thing for keeping the game active.

  6. Couple of misconceptions here.. You don’t need a second account to have an alt. Each account has 3 character slots. Only one slot can be training at a time, so you have to choose who to have training; main or alt. Alts in a single account are very useful for espionage, exploration, etc. Basically you park a lowbie anonymous alt wherever you need eyes and leave it there.

    However you do need a second account if you want to multi-box. And that’s quite common in Eve, a lot of my serious player friends have a main account doing all the shooting (either NPCs or asteroids) and an alt accounts doing the looting and hauling. You can easily double your income running two accounts at once. And if you play seriously, you can use that ISK to pay for one of the accounts. I never did it myself, but it’s not at all uncommon. The “Power of 2″ promotion was run a couple of years ago, too.

    • Gordon says:

      Well I think the idea of restricting the training of skills to one character on an account is quite a sneaky way of encouraging people to purchase another account.

      But yeah, I don’t really see anything wrong with it. Plenty of people dual-box in games like EQ and WoW. I’ve grouped with tons of players and their heal bots for instance.

    • Andrew says:


      Yes, there is a tiny bit of utility in a non-skill training alt in EVE, but not a heck of a lot.

      I can’t even think of a good comparison to EVE’s “no skill training multiple characters at the same time on the same account” in other MMOs… it’s utterly foreign.

  7. Dblade says:

    They’re walking on the edge with that. The money from multiboxed alts is always good, but there’s a risk that your game will start to be seen as one where you have to multibox to be competitive. Some of your players will start to question why they need to pay for multiple accounts just to keep up, and new players seeing adverts like this may wonder if its a good idea to start.

  8. Essi says:

    There is absolutely no way that I could even dual-box in the more “traditional” MMORPGs, like WoW. Those games require your attention so much that you’d be constantly jumping between accounts. I can’t see how it’s doable (although of course some people do manage it, but not me).

    Eve is very different though and has a lot of activities where your input is not required. Eve does not even logout afk accounts. For example you’d set up a “tanking” ship in such a way that it is able to continuously tank the baddies at an asteroid field and never run out of power. So you find a suitable field, set up the ship there and leave it on its own. Then use a second account for mining the asteroid. Then use a third account for hauling the ore back to the station, which you can do between the mining cycles. All the while you have a freighter in a fourth account hauling goods 30 jumps, which takes ages.

    I think in my old corporation one person had 16 accounts… It helps that you can pay each monthly subscription with in-game money as well.

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