Twinks are below level cap player characters who have gained the best powerful gear for their level in every slot. These powerful items are loaded with the best possible enhancements such as expensive weapon enchants, leg patches and BoE/BoP greens, blues or epics. Within the twink community, this gear is called "best in slot" or BiS gear. Twinking is common in MMORPGs, including World of Warcraft, though many mechanisms are in place that limit a player's ability to equip a character with gear beyond its level. Blizzard made it clear with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion that they support players who twink by providing for their shutting off experience gain. However, some twink-players felt otherwise. Twinking is most often done in order for a level character to compete in the battleground bracket. Two popular classes for twinks in World of Warcraft are rogues and hunters. Hunters do well in battlegrounds, especially at low levels since many melee classes have no way to stop a hunter who can kite. Their damage is largely affected by the gear they have, so they can go above and beyond what other classes could twink to.
Obtaining Twink Gear
Potential twinks research the best possible gear that is able to be equipt at that level in each slot using prior knowledge, item databases such as wowhead, or twinking guides found in various places on the internet. Amongst the twink community, a twink is not a true twink until it has the best possible gear in all slots and the most powerful enhancements allowable placed.
Twink gear varies according to the battlegrounds bracket desired. Below are the most common ways to get the gear.
- Bind on Equip items mailed or given from a higher level player : A high-level character can provide uncommon, rare, or epic Bind on Equip items to a low level character, or the gold to purchase those items. A higher level or the twink can also farm for these items.
- Heirloom Items: A twink can play battlegrounds over and over until enough honor is earned for heirloom Bind to Account items. Also, a higher level can give these Bind to Account items.
- Having a high-level character farm an instance or accomplish high level quest chains with a lower-level character for the sole purpose of getting some items: The higher level character has no need for the gear, leaving all gear up for grabs by the lower level character, who can grab the best pieces for the battlegrounds and sell what he doesn't need. In the case of trial account twinking, since xp caps at 20 and grouping and chat are disabled by default, the twink can run the same dungeons until the desired best in slot item drops.
- Enchanting or applying arcana to a low-level character's equipment with bonuses that require large amounts of gold or high-level materials.
- Sending massive bulks of ingredients to a low level character so it can power level its professions, in particular Engineering and Blacksmithing, which allows the creation and use of equipment without level requirements.
- Fishing: Lower level twinks can leveling their fishing skill up to 150 and using shiny baubles to raise it to 225 to fish in Stranglethorn Vale in the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza for a Hat and Boots.
Restrictions on Twinking Gear
World of Warcraft has several mechanisms in place that limit twinking, including:
- Minimum level requirements to use or equip items.
- Minimum level requirements to do quests and thus receive quest reward items.
- Minimum level requirements for potions, buffs and healing spells.
- Minimum level requirements to advance in professions.
- Minimum level requirements on enchantments in the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansion (new enchants have an item level requirement of 35/60 respectively).
- Binding of items on pickup or use to prevent "hand-me-downs."
Noticeably absent from this list is a minimum level requirement for pre-Burning Crusade enchantments and Arcana, with the exception of librams formerly used to give a head (or leg) enchant which now have a level 50 minimum limit placed upon them in order to function. When Heirloom gear was introduced with Wrath of the Lich King expansion they included the mechanic of Bind to Account (BoA) which allows for gear to be sent to other characters at lower levels. This gear can be enchanted as well but the level requirements of the enchant still apply. Should an enchant on a BoA item be higher level than the character the enchant show up red on the item and is not used.
Trial accounts at 20 face even more severe restrictions. Since a trial account can not open trade or use the auction house or in game mail, all enhancements must be done by the character itself. Many of the better enhancements are not available because all trial professions are capped at 100 skill level.
History of Twinking in World of Warcraft
In vanilla World of Warcraft, twinks used to intentionally stop gaining XP right at the top level for what ever bracket they planned on being a twink in. This twink character would then never leave a major city and be used solely for battlegrounds. Players who were just leveling through and did not twink felt that being destroyed due to gear imbalance was unfair. Many threads on the World of Warcraft forums during this time complaining about twinking were made asking Blizzard for action.
The first attempt to address this was in patch 2.2. Blizzard made gear a factor in matching BG groups/players, so twinked players are more likely to face twinks and characters passing through a given level are more likely to face others like themselves. Also, max level raid geared players will tend to get opponents in epics and casual players in green/blue gear will face gear similar to their own. However, even with this in place, twinks still dominated some brackets and complaints continued.
In patch 3.2.0, a feature was introduced that allowed players to disable experience gains in exchange for 10g. Battlegrounds were then altered to allow level-locked characters to face only other level-locked characters. Battleground XP was enabled for all other characters. Leveling players generally gave positive feedback for this change since it provided another method of leveling up. However, this mechanic led to a slow down of queue times for twinks. Some members the twinking community felt this was Blizzard assuming a negative stance to twinks. The pool of players was reduced sometimes even resulting no battleground "pops" for long periods. Players attempted to adjust by concentrating on a specific battlegroup for a PvP bracket. Widespread twinking started to decline without fast queues.
Blizzard eventually eliminated battlegroups. Queue times then decreased as a result for both leveling battle grounds and XP off battlegrounds. With lower times spent for waiting for battles to pop, twinking made a marginal comeback.
The implementation of heirloom weapons changed getting gear for twinks. "Best in slot" gear with a high level character were now available to give to a low level character on the same account hassle free for the shoulder, weapon, and chest slots. So, even many of the levelers are somewhat of twinks, if they had a higher level character providing heirlooms. Also, Blizzard shrunk the brackets to every 5 levels so (10-14, 15-19 and so on). This allows players to gather tons of "best in slot" gear with a high level character and give it to a low level character. Keeping experience on is easily done in the level 10 to 14 bracket because once the character levels to 15 they can pass their gear back to the high level character and delete the twink. It does not take much time or gold to level back up to level 10 and start owning the 10 - 14 bracket once again.
Trial accounts now never expire, giving birth to a new era of continuous quick popping queues in the 10 - 14, 15 - 19, and 20 - 24 brackets. To respond, some folks turned off xp at level 24 to create 24 twinks to try to take on the "Free to Play" twinks or groups of other 24s or mixes with lightning fast que times unheard of even in the glory days of pre patch 3.2 19s battlegrounds. Blizzard has noted they are watching trial accounts. But, Blizzard has mentioned have no intention of stopping this development, since trial accounts have severe limits as to how much they gear relative to paid 20s to 24s due to account restrictions in place. The 20s, while over matched are happy because they play unlimited for free and with some skill and luck can beat mixed groups with 24s and sometimes get nothing but fellow trial account twinkers. The paid 24s are happy because they get to overpower with very little wait in queues. expanded F2P 20-24 bracket which is pretty hot right now.
Types of Twinks
There are three main types.
- A character with XP turned off by talking with NPCs located near Battlemasters and paying a fee can be moved into xp off bracket battlegrounds.
- A player without one or more expansions will be level-capped by their client. They are placed in "XP off" brackets as of patch 4.0.1 and will remain at 20 (Trial Accounts), 70 (with Burning Crusade), or 80 (with Wrath of the Lich King) until further expansions are added to their account. Classic (level 60) is no more as all accounts have been upgraded to Burning Crusade as of the end of 2011.
The 20 bracket consists of levels 20-24 in WSG and AB. The 70 bracket consists of levels 61-70 in AV and 70-79 in WSG, AB and EoS.
- A low level character uses heirlooms and auction house gear and does not turn XP off. When the character levels past the bracket, the gear is passed on to another character.
- Druid twinking guide
- Hunter twinking guide
- Mage twinking guide
- Paladin twinking guide
- Priest twinking guide
- Rogue twinking guide
- Shaman twinking guide
- Warlock twinking guide
- Warrior twinking guide
General or topic-based
- Healer twinking guide
- Teebu's Twinking guide
- Twinking for battlegrounds
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