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Will Patch 5.2 kill PvP twinking?

Will Patch 52 kill PvP twinking

If you weren't paying close attention to the most recent addition to the patch 5.2 PTR notes, you may have missed this little tidbit that was slipped in at the very end, under "Battlegrounds."

Blizzard
Players in low-level Battlegrounds will have their effective level raised to the maximum level allowed in that Battleground bracket. Players' base stats and spells are scaled accordingly, and are treated as the same level when determining hits, misses, and critical effect chance.


More clarity from Blizzard is definitely needed surrounding this change, and I for one am surprised this didn't make it into their recent PvP blog. It's a huge change, and blithely alters the scene of one small but much-loved section of the PvP game forever.

PvP twinking is essentially participating in the lower level brackets of battlegrounds and arenas, often with an XP-locked character, and gearing that character to the highest achievable standard for its level.

This method of gameplay is slightly, though not completely, dependent on certain elements of low-level scaling. As veteran twink Cynwise pointed out on Twitter, knowing whether only primary stats will scale, or secondary stats with them, is of paramount importance for the ambitious twink in any bracket.

What's more, the blue post is rather wooly as far as what brackets exactly will be affected. They state "low-level", does this mean up to 60, up to 70, or perhaps it refers to every bracket that isn't max level. Any of those options would make sense, it's hard to tell exactly what's meant in this context by low-level, and regular interpretations could result in anything.

The brackets where it would be most needed, in my opinion, are the very low-level brackets. Once you reach 60, it seems that classes even out, and there isn't such a gulf between the four levels, but if Blizzard's team has access to this technology, then why not roll it out across the board?

Clarification is required

Despite the complaints above, all that is really required is clarification. It doesn't seem to me like this will break one kind of twinking, although it will certainly have a huge impact on another.

For the hardcore twink, the XP-off kind of player, whose main objective is to gear their character to the eyeballs in all the best items available and remain within their chosen bracket for months, even years, these changes will mean, at most, that there is a requirement to redo their gearing. Particularly those twinks who are at the bottom of a bracket, like level 70 arena specialists who play occasional battlegrounds and roflstomp unsuspecting 74s, will need to rework their gearing at least a little thanks to these stat scaling changes.

Once there has been clarification from Blizzard about just what exactly will scale, and, if possible, how it will scale, these players can recommence their theorizing and seeking out the very best gear for their characters. But is the importance of that gear lessened? It certainly seems like it would be, for players who inhabit the lower end of brackets in a battleground context, at least. Clarification is desperately required on the stat scaling.

The end for the casual twink, or a new beginning?

However, the casual twinks will suffer hugely. It will no longer be the case that a level 19 character will be a minor catastrophe for a level 14 character in a battleground, as that level 14 will be scaled up to meet the higher-level opponent. There will still be a difference, of course, as it seems the scaling works similarly to one side of Guild Wars 2 PvP, where the lower level character is awarded increased stats, but not the abilities they would have learned were they higher in level.

But is that really a bad thing? Much as it's fun to be that level 19 character, being the level 14 is pretty frustrating. Putting the tinfoil hat on, it seems likely that some classes will continue to dominate in low-level battlegrounds, but there will be a heavier emphasis placed on, firstly, what level players get skills at, and secondly, gear. Casual PvP twinking will become much more like hardcore PvP twinking, or players will focus on certain classes which get their strongest skills early on.

And perhaps this will lead to a drop in the number of players using bannable exploits to get into XP-on battlegrounds while they are XP-off. It's less fun for these people to beat on fourteens when they can bite back.

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Filed under: PvP, Mists of Pandaria

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