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Guild: The Breakfast Club

There’s a new guild in town, and it’s called The Breakfast Club. It was started by a group of five people who got together originally when MOTiE was created, who decided that we might as well also start up a twinking guild. I happen to enjoy PvP, so I agreed to doing it and offered to lead the guild as well since I had more PvP experience than everyone else.

To give you a quick definition of what twinking actually is, it’s basically obtaining the best gear you can get along with the best enchantments you can find for said gear, and using that to make the most powerful low-level character you can. A lot of the gear you get from Dungeons, some from turning in PvP rewards of honor or marks, some from quests (usually higher level quests that you get a high level character to run you through), and some you might get from turning in badges or shards for BoA gear from your high level main character.

While there is such a thing as a PvE twink, people don’t usually bother with that because if you are constantly leveling and progressing through the game then you are constantly having to replace your gear as well. The majority of twinks are PvP twinks who focus on a single level bracket. In our case, that bracket is currently level 19.

Meet the Team
Guild Master
Ibewaffles (Tauren Druid 19)
– soon to move up into the 29 bracket to heal in Arathi Basin as well

Guild Officers
Ibegritz (Undead Rogue 19)
Ibebacon (Blood Elf Hunter 19)
Ibepancake (Orc Rogue 19)

Guild Members
Ibemilk (Blood Elf Hunter 19)
Ibesyrup (Orc Shaman 17)
Ibepancakes (Blood Elf Warlock ??)
Ibehashbrown (Undead Warrior ??)
Ibeomlet (?? Rogue 9)

Some of these guys were brought in while I was not logged in and I haven’t seen them since, or they are players that play during hours that I do not. Looking at the roster last night we have quite a few more that aren’t on the list here, but since many of them are still below level 10 as the players focus more on their main characters, I cannot look them up on the armory or like sites to find all of their names now.

Recent Twink Changes
Turning Off Experience Gains
With the launch of 3.2 players are able to turn off their experience gains so that their character can stay at a given level indefinitely. This allows twink players who previously could not run instances or do quests without leveling their character up to do so. Along with that change was one to battlegrounds, where players who have turned off their experience only fight others who have done the same, so there is essentially a Twink battleground, and a non-twink Battleground.

Despite the theoretical existence of two different types of battlegrounds, the reality is that you will still face twinks in the non-twink battlegrounds due to the amount of experience rewarded being so small, and you will still face non-twinks in the twink battlegrounds because there are players who plan on twinking but have not bothered to get their gear or enchants yet even though they are in the bracket with you. The biggest difference that you see is that non-twink battlegrounds have a significantly shorter queue time on average than the twink battlegrounds do.

“Nerfing” Enchants
Another recent change, that’s been around for a few months now, is that a lot of the enchants that people used to abuse to make their twinks more powerful are now unavailable to them because Blizzard made two changes. First, they put level requirements on enchants so that you can no longer get some enchants for lower level brackets that you used to. In the past, if you had a high level character, a fair amount of gold, and an excess of time, you could have a twink that was pretty well unbeatable by anyone who did not match your level of devotion to twinking.

In addition to putting level requirements on some enchants, they also made it so that some of the other enchant-type items that you received became soulbound when you enchant them. Previously you were able to get head enchanting items on your high level character and then use it on your twink, but this no longer works as the enchanting item is bound to the high level character and whatever item you use it on becomes bound to you as well.

Time Limit
The most controvertial change of them all is the 25 minute time limit that has been placed on Warsong Gulch (WSG). Along with that change was one that says in the case of a tie whoever captured the first flag wins the game. When the time limit was first introduced it was only 20 minutes, which passed by so quickly that basically whoever captured the first flag won. Prior to this change, there was no time limit at all which presented its own problems.

People complained a great deal about the time limit and Blizzard responded by giving us an extra 5 minutes. That’s not a whole lot of extra time, but those five minutes do help a lot more than you would think. Before the time limit was introduced people did what we call “Turtling”, where they capture a flag and then pull most of their players around the flag carrier to defend them for however long they feel is necessary. In some cases you would turtle to prevent your team from losing, in some cases you would do it to give your own team time to recapture your own flag, and in the horror stories it was done so that the team doing the turtling could go and farm honor from their opponents for as long as they wanted.

Turtling
Turtling is not much of an option now that there is a time limit though you do still see it. When the time limit was first introduced people turtled because they were used to it. After a few days it pretty well disappeared for the most part because people were rushing to do as much as possible within the time limit. Here recently though turtling has been reintroduced by whichever team captures the first flag as they try to win with a single capture instead of trying to win the game as intended by being the first team to capture three flags.

The sad thing is, turtling is effective. If the other team doesn’t pull together a solid team to come crack down on your flag carrier then you’re probably going to win so long as you had the first flag cap. It doesn’t show that you have any skill in PvP or in being a twink, it just shows that sometimes simple math proves itself in that nine people can kill two faster than the two can kill one with however many healers standing around him.

The flip side of turtling is that it can easily cost you the game, especially if you capped the first flag but your opponent capped the second and you’re now tied. Your team turtles to score a win because you capped the first flag, and meanwhile the other team does the same thing while continuing to send a couple of small groups at you one at a time. Your team keeps up the defense because they think they’re effective and shutting down the enemy assaults.

What’s really happening here is the opponent is sending those groups in to find out what each person of your team is doing and what they’re capable of. They’re also running the clock down to nothing. They want to find who all can heal and what kind of damage your flag carrier can take while also getting used to a pattern so that you defend against an attack every 2 minutes. You fall into the habit taking out the group then sitting down to eat and drink and getting caught up on the TV show next to you. Suddenly you find out the other seven people sitting just a few yards away pop their trap and completely own your face using crowd control on your healers and everyone else focusing fire strictly on the flag carrier. Your guy dies, the enemy recaps their flag and then caps yours as well for a 2-1 victory with no time left on the clock.

The ones that came in on offense tend to kill whoever they can while not bothering to heal themselves during that time, hoping to get a small amount of honor before you save them a trip back home. That’s right, they want to get killed, they just don’t want it to seem to easy. Because the next step in this process is a mad rush by your team to cap a second flag so that the score can be tied again with your team winning from having the first cap. The problem is, you just killed off all of their attackers allowing them to resurrect right back at their base so that they can meet your sad little rush with a brutal defense. Congratulations, you just got owned.

My Thoughts
For the most part these changes are good because it allows more people to join the mix and have a chance at twinking. In some cases the changes are “bad” and have driven players away (mostly talking about things like the head enchants there), but I leave bad in quotes there because it’s not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion.

Turtling sucks, and anybody who decides to do it or participate in it sucks too. It’s a valid strategy and it does technically win you a match if done correctly, but if I see my own team turtling I will intentionally let enemy players bypass me to go after my flag carrier instead and I will not help in defending them. I’m there for a fight and a challenge, not to see who has the thickest shell. I will certainly help defend my flag carrier in normal play, but once it becomes a turtle I want no part of it. In the examples above of good turtles gone bad I will not defend my flag carrier, but I will serve my team by killing the EFC instead. I do want to win, I just don’t want to do it via some pansy tactic like turtling.

The Breakfast Club: Start your day off right – go kill some Alliance!
So far none of the premades that we have done have faced off against premades from other servers. So while we generally dominate when we’re together, we have had an unfair advantage in doing that so far compared to our opponents.

Despite the lack of opposing premade groups, there are a lot of very experienced twinks in our battlegroup that present a wonderful challenge and provide us with opportunities to learn and grow in our own skills and strategies.

Though we are not a big guild and we are not focused solely on PvP (the guild is, but the players aren’t), I think this guild has been successful in doing what it set out to do and we have a blast when we get together and face off against the other players.

The Blog
I have no intention of turning this blog into a source for Twink information. I created the blog to be a source of information for leveling your characters, and that’s how it’s going to stay. I might start up a second blog to house twink-related information, but I’m not in too much of a hurry to do that if I do it at all. I would not be surprised if a bit of twinkage shows up from time to time on the Notebook, but don’t expect the blog’s focus to change.

Out of every aspect of World of Warcraft that I have participated in, I find that PvP presents the most challenge in the game. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the hardest part of the game, or even the most fun, just that it gives me the most challenge. There’s an extra level of excitement when rushing into the unknown of facing other people who are capable of making their own decisions on the fly that you can’t find get from facing a raid boss who follows a preprogrammed course of actions.

Despite all of that, I still find leveling characters to be the most enjoyable and most rewarding experience overall. For the best flavor overall though, it’s a nice mix of all of the above.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2009 in World of Warcraft

 

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Balance Druid Gear: Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery

This weekend our Twitter-inspired guild, My Other Tweet is Epic, is going to do a low level instance run through Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery. Since we are a new guild and consisting mostly of people who rolled new characters to come join us, we are going to stick with low level instances for now.

In preparation for this, I did a quick check on the loot tables for Gnomer and SM for gear on my Balance Druid, Belgawrath. The items I am going list here are strictly going to be drops that come from bosses, and for the most part only “blues” and “purples” as the vast majority of green items can be found all over the world.

The items I discuss down below are specific to me, meaning to say that these are items that I am going to be looking for myself. You might want the same items, or you might want different items. Some items that are not upgrades for me (and as such were left off of the lists) may be upgrades for you. If you want to run these instances yourself, then it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the loot that can drop. Always keep in mind that gear does not make your character, and you can certainly play the game with poor gear. I like to upgrade my gear on a near-constant basis because that’s something that I just like to do. I don’t mind spending time or resources on items that I know full well will be replaced in two levels. But that’s just me.

I leveled Belgawrath through his 20’s as Feral and had an excellent time doing it. When I got to 29 though I went ahead and twinked him to some degree for battlegrounds and found that I actually enjoyed healing and balance dps more than I did feral face clawing (hard to imagine, even for me). So when I hit 29 I went ahead and respecced back into Balance because I, personally, found it more enjoyable. Feral has less downtime and is overall perhaps a bit stronger or faster. But, Balance has more survivability, is a bit less gear dependent, and just fits me a bit better overall.

So, enough rambling from me, let’s look at some loot!

Gnomeregan (Levels 24-33, Min. Entry Level 15)
In looking through the loot tables in Gnomer, there really was not a whole lot of caster gear that drops. Some of it that does really doesn’t compare with some lower level tailoring or leatherworking items and so forth, so I left a few items off.

When I finished checking all of the bosses, as well as giving a quick look at the overall loot drops, I came down to a sad little list of only three particular items that I want.

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Charged Gear Ring 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 33%
Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator Helm 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 9%
Schematic: Craftsman’s Monocle Eng Schematic Eng 185 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 0.5%




Sadly, all of the items that I want drop from the very same boss. And two of the three items are Bind on Pick Up (BoP) so I have no chance to farm them with my higher level characters.

The Charged Gear has potential to be a good ring for me, but the enchantment that goes on it is chosen randomly, so while it has the highest drop rate at 33%, it is entirely likely that the ring will do me little good. For myself, I am looking for “of the Eagle” (+6-7 Int and Stam), “of the Falcon” (+6-7 Int and Agi), or “of Intellect” (+10 Int).

The reason for including “of the Falcon” in that list is because the bonus to Agility would allow me to use the ring effectively in both my caster and my feral cat gear sets. Even though I am too low for dual spec, I do carry two full sets of gear to change in and out of as needed for the situation. If I ever run out of mana, I switch my gear and go into Cat Form instead and use my mana only for healing until it is safe for me to drink.

The Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator is a very interesting item that could be useful for several different classes. My first thought was that it would be excellent for a Protection Paladin with it’s extra AoE damage that it can deal. But with +15 Intelligence, +12 Spirit, and the fact that it’s made out of Cloth suggest that it is geared more towards a caster. Its “Use” ability deals 147-167 damage in a large cone to the mobs standing in front of you, and it puts up an effect similar to the Shaman’s Lightning Shield spell for 10 minutes.

The Craftsman’s Monocle is a cloth head piece that provides 40 Armor, and +15 Intellect. I want this one first off because it looks cool. I’m not afraid to admit that I am willing to wear slightly worse gear simply because it looks cool, though +15 Int is certainly not bad. At the same time, I also don’t mind wearing powerful gear that looks stupid (like the EGR head piece up above). Luckily, if this does not drop, which is likely considering its low drop rate, then at least I can come back and farm it with a higher level character if I really want to get it. Don’t forget though, that you do have to be an Engineer with at least 185 skill in the profession to even wear it.

Scarlet Monastery (Levels 34-45, Min. Entry Level 20)

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Bloodmage Mantle Shoulders 30 Bloodmage Thalnos (Boss) 49%
Deadman’s Hand Ring 29 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 2%
Illusionary Rod Staff 34 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 44%
Mantle of Doan Shoulders 33 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 46%
Triune Amulet Neck 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 37%
Whitemane’s Chapeau Head 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 39%
Embalmed Shroud Head 30 Fallen Champion (Rare) 37%
Blighted Leggings Legs 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 32%
Ghostshard Talisman Neck 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 30%




With bonuses to Intellect, Spirit, and Crit chance Bloodmage Mantle is a solid choice for shoulders. These shoulders are not a huge upgrade over my current shoulders, but the extra boost to crit appeals to me.

Deadman’s Hand is an excellent “purple” item from SM:Library. With +10 Stamina you get a strong boost to hit points, which is twice what my Heart Ring gives me right now. It also has an excellent proc that gives you a chance to freeze any enemy that hits you. Since I am playing a Balance spec right now this means that I can occasionally root the mob in place long enough to get my spells off without having to cast Entangling Roots myself.

The Illusionary Rod is a huge upgrade to my current staff, and is one of the best staves for its level that can also last for quite a long time. It offers 15 Int, 7 Stam, and 10 Crit instead of the 7 Int and 7 Spirit that my current staff gives.

Mantle of Doan is about equal to what I am wearing right now, with slightly more spirit and 9 Hit in place of the +2 Spell Power I have right now. Not a huge difference, but if you don’t hit then it doesn’t matter how much damage you might have done with the spell in the first place.

Triune Amulet is one of the most solid neck pieces you can get around this level. With +7 to Int, Stam, and Spirit, it can be used by pretty well every class in the game. It leans more towards casters, or at least classes that use mana than to ones that do not, but anyone could use it. My current neck piece gives 3 Int, 5 Crit, and 9 Spell Power.

Whitemane’s Chapeau is a definite upgrade to what I am currently wearing. 9 Stam, 10 Int, and 14 Spirit kicks my 10 Int, 6 Spirit to the curb. This is one of the biggest upgrades I am looking forward to, even if I can’t wear it for another 7 levels.

The other items drop off of rare spawns that truly are rare. I have literally ran through SM well over 1,000 times across my different characters, and in all of those times I could count the number of times that I have seen these rare spawns one hand. Embalmed Shroud is a good backup head piece in case the Chapeau doesn’t drop. 7 Stam, 11 Int, and 14 Spell Power is quite a bit better than my current setup.

The Blighted Leggings also drop from a rare spawn, and are a fair upgrade. Sadly, I would trade 8 Int for 7 Stam which while it would help me live longer in combat, it would slow me down a bit from the mana loss. But, it does provide more than double the amount of spell power that I get from my current legs.

About These Items
You will notice from looking at those lists that many of the items that I am interested in fit in the same slot. So I do not need to find all of the items on the list, but all of them would be helpful to me in some way.

When I looked at the list for what items I needed, I looked for specific stats. Since the druid has such good survivability I focus more on Intellect with my druid than I do Stamina. It certainly does not hurt to have more hit points, which is why many of the items you see there also include stamina buffs.

After Intellect, I looked for either Spell Power or Spirit as both of these help as well. Spell power increases the damage I deal so that I don’t have to cast as many spells, thus conserving my mana. Spirit helps to regenerate my mana while I am between fights or while I have a mob stuck in Entangling Roots, which also helps with my mana. At level 34 I had over twice the amount of mana as the best “water” I could buy was able to restore. Now at level 36 I have 160% more mana than the new “water” that opened up at 35.

After Int, Stam, SP, and Spirit, I look for the other two stats that can really help me: Critical Hit and Hit. The more you crit, the fewer spells you have to cast, and the same can be said for the more often you hit rather than miss. With Starfall currently scoring crits for over 800 damage, which is about 75-80% of the total health of most mobs my level, a solid crit can go a long way towards reducing downtime.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Druid

 

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Guild: My Other Tweet Is Epic

Where it begins
A couple of weeks ago, one of my twitter friends known as @WoWDawgs mentioned that he was trying to decide whether he should reroll a character on his current Alliance server, or if he should just start fresh with a horde character on a new realm. Since I often hang out at lower levels and enjoy the leveling process, I invited him to come over to Korialstrasz-US to roll a horde character and that I would gladly roll one with him so he wasn’t always going at it solo.

Over the next couple of weeks the word got around a bit more on Twitter as we talked about what had happened and eventually a few more people showed interest in rolling characters over there as well. After a couple more people joined it started to spread a bit more and we started making jokes about starting up a guild. A couple more twitter rerolls later those jokes turned serious and we started brainstorming on guild names.

Over the next few days @WoWDawgs watched twitter for when people would be able to log in to sign the guild charter and such, and within 3 days the charter was turned in and My Other Tweet Is Epic became a full fledged guild.

WoWDawgs managed to get a few people to sign the charter while I was not online, so this is not a complete list. However, the following (in no particular order) are among the founding members of #MOTiE:

What type of guild is MOTiE?
MOTiE is a casual, social, leveling guild. With almost every current member being made of people who rerolled brand new characters on Korialstrasz-US for the sake of having a lot of #WoW fans who happen to talk to each other on twitter to get together and enjoy one of their favorite hobbies together as well.

As for where the guild may progress in the future; who knows?

Who can join?
MOTiE is open to anybody. We certainly aren’t going to limit it strictly to twitter users, that was merely the foundation upon which we built. Everyone who is a twitter member who joins will have their twitter user name noted in their guild notes, and any blogs, podcasts, etc that those members do will also be noted in the guild notes.

We are built upon a social networking foundation, and want to keep that concept open. Not everyone who is a member has a blog or participates in podcasting, not every uses Twitter, and that’s all perfectly fine. But if you do want to connect to other people outside of the game itself, then we already have in place the information for you to do that.

Now, we obviously are not going to put your information up there if you do not wish to have it shared with anyone, it’s purely voluntary on your part and will not be forced upon anyone.

How do you contact us if you don’t use twitter?
If you aren’t a twitter user, and want to contact us in the game, we all join a channel titled “Twitter” for the sake of staying connected in game. Not all of the people who join the guild are going to have all of their characters in the guild, so we want to keep an open communication line for those who are playing characters that are not in the guild but would like to chat with everyone while we play.

To join the channel, simply type the following into your chat log: /join Twitter

It’s as simple as that. Once you join the channel you will be able to see what everyone else has to say that is joined in as well, and you can leave your own comments there as well. It works just like any other channel, such as Trade, Looking For Group, Local Defense, General, and so on.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2009 in World of Warcraft

 

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