torsdag 29. januar 2009

Twinking - an introduction

"Twinks are player characters who have gained the best powerful gear for their level ... Twinks are mainly used in PvP fighting and Battlegrounds. Twinks obtain their items through rare drops, drops off of bosses in instances, rewards from quests that are difficult to complete at their level, and from the Auction House. Twink items on the Auction House can be expensive. Twink enchantments can only be performed by high-level characters. Therefore, twinking usually requires significant assistance from high-level alts, friends, and/or guild members." (From about Twinks)

Twinks represent a special type of playstyle. While the majority of players will aim to be the highest level, to get the best possible gear in the game and conquer now content - following the ideal of beeing on the bleeding edge - twinkers decide to be somewhere else.
Instead of reaching for the most powerful character in the game, a twinker aim to have the most powerful character at a given level. Since Battlegrounds (zones where you fight other players) are bulked together in level brackets of 10-19, 20-29 etc Twinks will be 19,29,39 etc.

So, whats the challenge then? Why not go all the way to 80? Certainly it makes no sense staying at such a low level?
For twinkers, evolving the character represents a different kind of challenge. While leveling most people will go for things that are available or doesn't require too much effort to get, as soon you will level on and items will be outclassed fairly soon. Twinkers however put just as much effort into getting their gear as raiders would. Since a twink will stay a ceirtain level (like 19,29,39 etc) with no intention of moving on, its more then anything a game about finding the most suitable items possible for that exact level - even if that item is ridiculously expensive or hard to get.

Twinking is an oppositional reading of the games script, where they generate goals and procedures clearly not intended by the designers. They are bordering the line of cheating, always looking for loopholes in the game system - ways to get items or advances through neglect on the programmers side (such as lack of level requirement on items or quests). Since time and money is not an issue, it sometimes leads to slightly absurd projects. The Furbolg Pouch is one of these. Basically, you will need a friend (or alternate account) til kill 1157 furbolgs for you while you wait around dead, so that you can buy this item through reputation. 1157 isn't THAT many, but its many enough...

Opinions about twinks does differ. Some describe them as cheaters, ruining the game for others as in PvP situations a twink will outperform non-twinks to such an extent it can not be seen as a fair fight. In Battlegroups that have high population of twinks, playing PvP as a non-twink will then mean little chance to impact the fight and a great chance of spending the majority of your time on the graveyard.

"Wow, I hate twinks so much. 06/05/2007 11:05:09 AM PDT
Seriously, shut up about your leet x9 battle groups. You play a twink because you failed at 70 and everybody knows it. Have fun playing against people with 1/3 your HP/dmg/crit or w/e you stack.
Failures, quit plaguing our Battle Group forum
Noxousx on Vindication Battlegroup Forum

For all the flaming and QQ around twinks (and how they are changing the nature of Battlegrounds), I have deep respect for how they are making the game their own. Twinks is relate to the script in a more proactive way then other playergroups. By choosing to stay at a certain level, they are not prone to constant changes as more content is added - and with a smaller selection of items and talentpoints to choose from: The potential for reaching the ultimate potential of the character is actually achievable. And this is a conscious part of the twinking community:

"Re: Wow, I hate twinks so much. 06/05/2007 01:23:16 PM PDT
IMO the only way we twinks "fail" at is being mindless drones who run on Blizzard's XP treadmill to get progressively better and better gear so that you can go to progressively harder and harder instances to get progressively better and better gear so that you can go to progressively harder and harder instances, etc. etc. etc.

If "failure" means that I'm off the levelling treadmill, then I am a failure, yessir! I'm quite happy to be a failure, running around at 19 and 29 having fun; isn't that the point of this exercise? Anyway, at the very least I am no Blizzard sycophant like you seem to be.

Tamlan in Vindication Battlegroup Forum

This ended up longer then first intended, but I guess that shows what potential is there. Twinks touch so many aspects of the game;
-Ethical: Is everything the game allows ok, or does it go against the "spirit" of the game?
-Techosocial relations: Twinks are co-constructing a new arena for developing characters and achievements by making characters outside the mainfocus of the producers.
- Production of knowledge: They also gather information and develop theories for areas of the game usually overlooked, as breakdown of parses for level 19 character will be pointless to someone who is going to level beyond 19.

Right now level 80 is keeping me more then busy, however I am sure I will be back with a twink in a battleground near you.

Fail and Meme's: About politically uncorrect visual humour

One of the views that STS provides (when putting on the STS-glasses, hats or any other suitable pedagogical headgear-metaphors) is how technology enables or disables certain actions. Lately I have been fascinated by how imaging and visual representations have become modifiable and spreadable by pretty much everyone. In the development of better internet connections, as well as better PC processing power; You don't need fancy or expensive websites in order to hold the space that images takes, sending emails with large attachements wont slow down your working day and lots of sites are now providing free hosting of your pictures. In addition programmes such as Photoshop have opened up the image to modifications, for play and making images your own - adding comments or morphing pictures to tell other stories.

One trend in particular is the meme's in the form of running jokes, through images - on the internet. A particular feature of these is the need for them to be completely politically incorrect.

Whether this is a sign of increased discrimination, racism, lack of tolerance - or simply a "We don't care" statement I am not so sure, though I lean towards the latter. Either way it shows a new area where the layman can tell stories (and in this case jokes) through a visual medium. No need to be a great artist, or even a master of cameras or Photoshop. In many cases all that is needed, is helping the spread and recycling of these images - ensuring their place on different forums, boards and websites.

I guess I now will do my part. Here is a small sample.