How to Alt Tab Box in Everquest (Advanced)
This guide is part 2 of my Alt Tab Boxing Guide and is meant to cover more advanced lessons. If you haven't already I very strongly recommend you read part 1 of my Alt Tab Boxing Guide. Before we start with this guide; it assumes the following things.
1. You have set up 'Assist Macros' on your characters.
2. You have set up 'Some DPS Macros' on your characters.
3. You have set up 'Heal Macros' on your characters (assuming you have a healer, if you only have a merc that's A-ok)
4. You have set up 'Follow Macros' on your characters.
All of the following things I went over in Part 1 of my Alt Tab Boxing Guide. If you don't have any of the following things set up on your characters please go back to the previous guide and set them up before continuing. The lessons I am about to teach you involve all four of these macros and we're going to slowly start adding in more and more macros as we go.
Ok, to get started take your characters to an easy zone for you that you'll still get EXP from but not struggle in. On your way to this easy zone you'll want to use your Follow macro on all of your characters and experiment with that to get used to how the terrible follow system works in this game. After you find a place to camp your main focus needs to be almost entirely on your boxes and learning how to control/use them. What I want you to do is really simple...
1. Pull a mob back to your camp/boxes.
2. Tab to each character and press the Assist Macro followed by your DPS macro.
3. Tab back to your tank/driver and build up agro as all of your characters are DPSing.
If the mob isn't dead by the time your characters finish DPSing then repeat step 3 as many times as it takes. That's all! Seriously!
After a few fights you may be thinking 'alright, this is easy enough' which is when it's time to start adding in some complexity to our boxing. Slowly but surely as you feel ready to you're going to want to start introducing new macros into your boxing setup. You'll probably come up with a few of your own ideas for macros but here are a few more you may like that I typically use...
Mana Restore Macros - These macros I use on any caster class that has AAs or Spells that restore mana. I also very frequently pair this with Forceful Rejuv that way I can get double the mana back!
Pet Attack Macros - Using a Pet Class? I probably should have told you to make a macro like this sooner!!
Pet Macro - Using a Pet? You should make a button that specifically summons it!
Pet Buffs Macros - Using Pets? You should make a buff macro for it to speed up the time it takes to buff!!
Do you see where I am going with these macros and a general trend? Each of them automates more and more of your character which is basically exactly what you'll want to do with Alt Tab Boxing. Your goal is to have your boxes do as much as possible with as few keypresses as possible.
That means anything you can think of to put in a macro - you should. Every single buff you cast on yourself you should throw into multiple macros - even if you have to memorize a different spell set to do it. Any items that are in your bags which you use for clicky buffs - put them in macros!!! TLPers will need to sacrifice a bag slot to put a clicky item in the macro which I believe is still worth it.
What it comes down to is your attention is the most important commodity while boxing. The more attention a certain action takes the less valuable that action becomes to perform. Let me put it this way, if you were boxing 6 characters it would be a complete waste of your time (and it would take like 5 minutes too) to go to each character 1 by 1 buffing them. The longer you take to make macros to fulfill these actions the more of your time you'll be wasting.
These macros serve an alternative purpose too and that's their ease of access during combat. If you make a macro like the Mana Restore macros above for each of your casters it will save a TON of time being able to tab between two or three clients during combat just hitting a single key. The alternative would be having to momentarily stop on each client and click the abilities or type out /cast <##>.
Before you move on to the next section of macros practice more and learn everything you have available to you until it becomes fluid. You're not just learning how to play 1 class - you're learning how to play multiple classes here! If you think this is something you can just pick up and be good at within a couple of hours you're wrong.. You're not going to be able to sit there and binge Die Hard while you learn to play and walk away an expert. Maybe if you sat there and binged every season of The Office you'd walk away a better player - maybe even a better person too!
Moving on there are a few more macros for you to make; the burn macros will require a bit of research depending on what your class is, if I don't have it documented. It's also the most important macro out of all of these that you'll want to make. It's one of the required macros for the more advanced version of this guide.
Burn Macros (Some of the most important Macros you can make for any of your characters)
Invite Macro (Useful for when you first log on and go to invite all your characters)
Lesson of the Devoted (Daily AA Boost Veteran AA)
Succor (Evac/Succor - a quick means to escape)
About to Pull Macros (Stuff that's used just before pulling)
Cauldron of Countless Goods (Mage Spell/Item)
Lag Reduction Macros (Useful for those with worse than average computers)
Auto Inventory Macros (Useful for Questing)
Rez Macro (Extremely useful for those of you playing Clerics)
After setting up all of these macros you should have a pretty firm grip of what you can and can't do with your boxes. Keep in mind that boxing is an on going learning process. I think of new things all the time for boxing and have to come up with different ideas and methods while raiding to figure out how to beat a challenging event.
I highly recommend you stick to easy enemies until you get a solid flow down while playing with your crew. Seriously, this could take hours or days for you to feel fully comfortable playing your characters. Go over my Isboxer Interface Guide when you get some free time - it has a BUNCH of great ideas that aren't mentioned here that you can pilfer and make your own.
Once you get more comfortable with your team challenge yourself and pop cooldowns on your tank, use the Burn macros on your DPS and watch how quickly you blow enemies up and how easy it is for you to control the situation. Keep challenging yourself like this pulling more and more enemies until you learn your limits - you'll surprise yourself with what you're capable of doing.
I plan to write an even more advanced version of this guide but I need time to think about what to say. I also need you, the reader, to post questions below and tell me where you got stuck. Any questions about boxing will let me know what I left out with my guides.