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    What is multiplaying?

    Multiplaying (not to be confused with multiplying!) is the practice of playing multiple characters at the same time. This means having more than one character logged into the game simultaneously.

    Multiplaying allows a player to explore different facets of the game’s world, engage in more complex storytelling, and interact with the community from multiple perspectives at once.

    While multiplaying can provide a more engaging gaming experience, it also requires the player to balance their attention and development between all their characters. Because multiplaying can lead to conflicts of interest, it also tends to be restricted in games that encourage or allow competitive roleplay.

    Historically, multiplaying originated in early text-based online games where players sought to maximize their experiences and strategies by handling multiple characters.

    This practice has evolved with the development of more sophisticated online roleplaying games and platforms, becoming both more common and more regulated.

    In video games, multiplaying is more commonly called multi-boxing or dual-boxing, two terms that also originated in the early days of online gaming.

    Multiplaying FAQs

    How does multiplaying differ from having multiple characters?

    Many roleplaying games allow players to have multiple characters (e.g. mains and alts), but fewer games allow playing them at the same time.

    Games that allow competitive roleplay usually have rules and mechanisms to prevent multiplaying, because multiplaying can lead to cheating and conflicts of interest. For example: two characters, played by the same player, trading gold and items to gain an advantage.

    How does multiplaying affect game balance?

    Multiplaying can significantly affect game balance if not properly regulated, as it may give a player undue advantage, such as information sharing between characters that wouldn’t normally interact. Many games have specific rules about how characters from the same player should or should not interact.

    Is multiplaying allowed in all roleplaying games?

    No, multiplaying is not allowed in all roleplaying games. The rules regarding multiplaying vary significantly between different games and platforms. Some games encourage it, while others strictly prohibit it due to the potential for unfair advantages or conflicts of interest.

    Can multiplaying enhance the roleplaying experience?

    Yes, multiplaying can enhance the roleplaying experience by allowing players to explore different character dynamics, backgrounds, and storylines. It can add depth and variety to the game, making the experience more enriching and multifaceted for everyone involved, especially if roleplay happens at a slower pace.

    How do players manage multiple characters effectively?

    Managing multiple characters effectively requires good organizational skills, clear differentiation between characters, and a balanced distribution of time and attention. Players often use notes or character sheets to keep track of each character’s progress, personality, and ongoing plots.

    Multiplaying in faster-paced RP games is usually not recommended, as it’s harder to pay attention to multiple characters and game windows when things are happening quickly.

    Myths about multiplaying

    A common myth about multiplaying is that it is always a form of cheating. This is not true; many games allow multiplaying as long as the player follows the game’s rules and guidelines.

    Another misconception is that multiplaying is easy. In reality, it requires a significant amount of effort, organization, and creativity to maintain distinct and vibrant personalities for each character without them bleeding into each other. Some players genuinely enjoy this challenge, whereas others would prefer to play one character at a time.

    Multiplaying examples

    • In a text-based game, a player might control a knight exploring a dangerous forest while simultaneously roleplaying a merchant in the city’s marketplace, engaging with different sets of characters and plots.
    • For a PvE instance, a player creates a well-balanced adventuring group made up entirely of their own characters.
    • During a large-scale event in the game, a player might use multiple characters to provide different perspectives on the event, such as one character being part of the attacking force and another being a defender.
    • A player might create characters that are siblings or have some other form of relationship, allowing them to explore family dynamics and shared backgrounds while keeping the interactions realistic and separate.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."