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Insider Trader: Twink gathering controversy, updated

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Back in patch 3.0.3, you might have missed one of the changes. This one line in the patch notes informed us that leveling requirements to train gathering professions had been removed. The reasoning seemed to be that they are self-restricted, as you can't exactly go romping around Northrend at level 15.

The problem with this logic is that you can, in fact, with some help, and this change definitely did not go unnoticed in the twink community. With a little patience and some dedicated high level friends, you too could become a level 19 PvP terror with two of the following buffs; 32 critical strike rating, 500 stamina, and/or an instant cast self-heal for 2000 health over 5 seconds every 3 minutes.

The critical strike buff would vary depending on your class, but as an example, a level 19 rogue would gain 10.8% critical strike chance.

Understandably, some members of the twink community are none too happy about this development, and would like to see it corrected.

Many twinks may not have access to high level players willing to spend hours and hours over the course of several days to painstakingly escort a level 15-19 through all of Azeroth, Outland and much of Northrend seeking nodes and killing beasts.

The twink would need to have some leveling room as well. The odd monster might accidentally get tagged, even with a friend or two out of party trying to catch them all ahead. In addition, all of that experience from exploration is going to add up!

This has two unpleasant consequences:
  1. Twinks who do not have such friends will not be able to gain these buffs.
  2. Well-established twinks, who are already level 19 and could not explore much more without leveling, are out of luck. They could level and aim for the 29 bracket, which is not as popular. It would also undo all of the l33t gear, enchants and toys that they have spent a great deal of time and money acquiring. Alternatively, they could re-roll another twink, which not only would undo all of the above, but would force them to give up all of their hard-earned PvP stats and achievements. This is not really a viable option for many twinks.
In effect, much of the community is stuck without these buffs. All of a sudden, people are rising to the top not because of skill alone.

According to a recent survey of the twink community, the level 19 bracket is indeed the most popular, and although over 50% claimed that they are happy with the way Blizzard treats them, 36% of the community said that they would definitely leave the game if they could no longer play their twinks, and another 30% said that they'd consider it.

When asked if they would re-roll their character if they had to in order to make it better, only 34% of the community surveyed clearly indicated that they would.

Of course, not all of the community is taking this change so seriously. Some players feel that if you can really get yourself maxed-out gathering professions at level 19, then you deserve the leg up, and this has some merit. In fact, it could be argued that this adds to the experience by giving players more to do, figure out, and achieve.

People have already been writing guides and filling them with tips about how to hit 450 in less time, or how to do it with minimal experience gain, even from exploration.

Twinking has actually long been tied to crafting professions, and Engineering and Fishing have been popular methods of acquiring gear and toys.

Other players, who have bothered to do all of the work to reach 450 on their twinks, would actually like to see Blizzard put things back the way they were, citing that it really is too much trouble to go to for each of their twinks, including new toons, to become viable.

If Blizzard were to reinstate the level caps, there could be even more uproar than there currently is. Would it be fair to all of the twinks who did put in the work, perhaps on multiple characters, to have that reversed? If it was not reversed, would it be fair to every other twink who will never be able to get them?

Such a change would not merely affect the twink community, either. Many players who like to explore, love to gather, and just tend to be ahead of the pack, don't deserve to have their work undone.

If Blizz chooses not to change the situation, twinks may just have to adapt, as many already are. There are many resources, as mentioned above, to help twinks out in the gathering profession department, and there is potential for fun to be had.

As with anything that Blizzard does, or does not do, some players are always going to pop up and cry conspiracy. Blizzard clearly hates you twinks, and they're just jealous that you keep finding ways to beat them at their own game, right?

Not on your life. Blizz actually supports the art of twinkage, and strives to keep it fair. They also add things in-game that specifically include twinks, creating new challenges and goals for players.

Angrenous of Shadow Council, featured in 15 Minutes of Fame, agreed with Drysc that part of the allure of twinking is puzzling out how to thrive in restricted conditions. He also noted that the level 19 bracket in particular has a draw partly because it is the most restricted. There are fewer abilities, few gear options, and you can start up a new character in much less time than you could create a level 80 PvP force.

The gathering profession buffs could be seen as simply another opportunity under constraint. Difficult to obtain, but highly rewarding, they might even warrant a change to a new class or new build. Toughness, for example, now grants stamina instead of hit points. Anyone with enough Mining skill might want to focus on talents that use their stamina in order to calculate an increase to stats and abilities, including more stamina.

A twink that bothers to level their Skinning might switch to a more crit-based spec, and in fact, switching to toons that have either critical strike or stamina talents available to a level 19, which would mean within the first two tiers of their trees, might offer a chance to try something new, and really take advantage of these abilities.

How do you feel about the situation as it is? How is it affecting you, your friends, and your enjoyment of the game? Have you taken advantage of it, or are you feeling left behind?

Update: It seems that Blizz did in fact replace the level caps for gathering professions in the latest patch, 3.0.8, although the change isn't in the patch notes. They chose to allow anyone who had already achieved a professions level higher than their current level cap to keep it, and their buff. This effectively means that no one else can ever get it without leveling out of their twink bracket, perhaps significantly.

As discussed above, this type of move seems to be fair to some people, but not for others. What would you like to see happen?

Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling sub-culture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking, and the methods behind the madness. Check out our guide to twinkage, or find out what the latest patch, 3.0.8, means for you and your professions.

Filed under: Herbalism, Forums, Insider Trader (Professions), Alts, Buffs, Features, PvP, Analysis / Opinion, Patches, Skinning, Mining, Battlegrounds

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