What is multiboxing?
Multiboxing is running multiple copies of the same game on the same computer. This is useful if you have multiple accounts that you’d like to play simultaneously.
Is it legal?
The short answer is yes. Multiboxing itself is legal. If you have multiple GW2 accounts, you are allowed to open them in multiple windows on the same PC. However, you can only use one client at a time. If you use any programs to, for example, have two characters doing the same action with only one button – that is a bannable offense. But if you abide by the rule of 1 keypress = 1 action, you’re fine.
To quote a forum moderator: “ArenaNet does not prohibit Multi- or Dual-Boxing as along as the player is on each account and is not botting or using other third-party programs to “play” the account.”
Okay, so how do I do it?
There are a couple of ways. Firstly, this guide assumes that you are running Windows 7. These programs may work on older or newer operating systems, but they may not.
One way is by using a program called MultiWars2, which uses a graphical interface to allow you to open multiple copies of GW2 using either the shared installation or separate installations. The shared installation means that you have 1 copy of the game installed, and the program will just open separate iterations of the same files. This means, among other things, that you cannot enter instanced content such as dungeons or home instances. It also increases loading times by quite a bit, even on beefy computers. The separate installation is pretty much what it sounds like: you install multiple copies of GW in different folders on your hard drive, and the program opens them up for you.
Pros: Graphical Interface means easier use, can be used with just 1 installation.
Cons: Huge load times, single installation means no instanced content. Can also be unstable and for some may not work at all.
The Manual Way
My preferred method is a bit harder, but in my opinion, worth it. The program required for this method is called Process Explorer (found here), which is an official Microsoft program used to view and control the different processes opened by different programs. Please note that for this option I recommend separate installations (although they are optional) so that the different accounts can enter instances together. If you need to conserve space or simply don’t care about entering instances, you can follow the instructions here.
First: Make a separate installation for each account you want to use. I personally have my primary installation on my SSD, and the other three on my secondary drive.
Second: Make a separate user account for each installation (they must be password protected).
Third: Add a desktop shortcut for each installation.
And you’re all set up!
To open the different accounts:
- Launch the first GW2 client.
- Open Process Explorer as administrator (right button click the icon, choose “Run As Administrator”).
- Hit ctrl+f and search for “guild.”
- In the results box, look for “AN-Mutex-Window-Guild Wars 2.”
- Select that result, which will bring you to the line in the bottom area of the main window (like this).
- Right button click that line and choose “Close Handle.” Ignore the warning, it’s not important.
- Finally, hold shift and right button click on your next installation, and choose “Open as Different User” – type in your other Windows User information and hit enter.
Ta da! Rinse and repeat for as many other clients as necessary.
Pros: Better performance, better stability, instanced content is available.
Cons: A little more work to set up, uses more disk space due to separate installations.
All information regarding this method obtained from reddit user /u/Slykia. For advanced users, this thread offers further options for customization.
A note about performance:
Having two or more versions of a game running on your computer will have an effect on performance, period. If you’re barely running the game on lowest settings, you may not be able to multi-box.
To give you an idea of what kind of specs are needed: I can run 4 copies of GW2. 1 at max everything, 3 at lowest everything. Loading times are long (10-20 seconds), but performance/framerate is pretty good. My specs are: