Monday, October 23, 2006

WoW, PvP and 'Twinks'

I have to talk a bit about PvP in World of Warcraft. There are many good things about it, and many bad, but there is one aspect I want to focus on for this post. Specifically, "twinks" (I really hate this term, but since its universally recognized in gaming circles, I don't really have any alternatives).

For those who are unfamiliar with gaming parlance, a "twink" is defined as a character who is more powerful than they should be because they have been given equipment, enchantments, buffs, etc by higher-level characters that they normally wouldn’t have access to. Normally, this is not really a big deal because the character will eventually level up and outgrow their equipment anyway. But, with the WoW Battlegrounds, this mentality has been taken to an extreme. It's virtually impossible to enter a lower-level battleground without having several of these uber-equipped characters on both sides. I would guesstimate that 90% of the time they are rogues. They can generally single-handedly engage and defeat several opponents at a time and are recognizable by their glowing weapons, or the simple fact that they'll charge straight into a large group of opponents without even bothering to stealth!

Not only does this make the battlegrounds less fun for the regular characters, but I have to wonder at the mentality that causes players to pursue this option. Are they seeking to compensate for their lack of skill, or are they simply reveling in the fact that they can 'win' when the odds are heavily balanced in their favor?

Of course, the whole twink-centric attitude is self-perpetuating, as being soundly thrashed by someone just because their equipment is so much better makes one want to similarly equip a character just to level the playing field!

Whatever the case may be, I have to give some negative points to any game that is designed in such a way that 'twinking' is even viable on such a scale. It just kind of proves to me that PvP was really an afterthought to the main game.


Gabriel said...

One of the things that Mythic did right in DAoC was to minimize the effect of twinking. At each character level, armor and weapons would have a certain maximum possible effect; if you put level 50 armor on a level 5 character, it would simply act as the best possible level 5 armor... and it would decay much more quickly, and cost a relative fortune to repair.

I like that solution a lot better than putting minimum level requirements on everything... if you want to run around killing bunnies with a neato glowing sword, you can, but you're not really gaining anything except cool factor by doing so.

Tholal said...

I never played DAoC but thats an interesting idea and an easy solution.

Personally, I lean more towards skill levels being the control point. If a fresh-faced farm boy wants to wield the Ultimate Sword of Doom, he can, but since he has little clue about how to use such a powerful weapon, he's more likely to cut off a foot with it rather than slay dozens of foes at once.

Items would have a base skill level required to use effectively (though it would never (or rarely) prevent someone from wielding an item). This base skill level would increase if the item was imbued with magical/special properties. Or, perhaps there would even be some magic bonus that would lower the base skill level for an item, though there would have to be some tradeoff...