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Week 4: One is the Loneliest Number?
Filling Up Character Slots
Do you have one character in your WoW account or several? Some players already have all 10 character slots occupied and The Burning Crusade expansion is not even out yet while others players only play one character. One of the reasons why some players have so many alts is that World of Warcraft is somewhat strict on character development. For example a warrior is not going to be able to throw fireballs at his enemies and a mage will not be able to do any significant melee damage. In addition each class is restricted by what weapons and armor they can use. A character is even restricted to have two primary professions at a time so it is extremely hard to build a well-rounded character. Thus the best way to experience certain aspects of the game is to experiment with different classes professions and even races.
The Advantages of Many Alts
Allows players to learn more about different classes professions and races.
Can “feed” Alts with money materials equipment and recipes.
Enables players from the Horde or the Alliance to create a character on the side and learn more about the enemy.
Players will many high level alts can better fill different group needs. For example a player with a main character who is a rogue can switch to his or her healing alt if the group already has plenty of DPS and crowd control.
Another way to enjoy the game for those players who don’t want to commit to one character.
Having many alts allows players to avoid the current level 60 experience ceiling (experience is no longer gained from killing monsters).
Players who like to duel can learn the various strengths and weaknesses of potential opponents.
The Disadvantages of Many Alts
Makes it harder for players to create great characters.
Equipment that binds to a certain character when it is picked up can not be transferred to alts.
Reputation from factions can not be transferred to other characters.
Can be extremely expensive and time consuming.
Makes it harder to keep up with players that you meet and enjoy playing with.
Constantly switching between different characters makes it harder to play one particular class well.
The Bottom Line
Like twinking the decision to have many alts depends on what each player wants. Having many alts can increase your knowledge about the game as you experience its different aspects but that knowledge can be very time consuming and expensive as you try to meet the needs for each character. Furthermore you will probably need to focus on only one character if you want to have an “uber” character with epic (purple) gear. The only exception would be if you have the huge amount of time needed to have two epic-equipped toons.
Week 3: To Twink or Not to Twink?
What is Twinking?
Basically twinking is when you put gear on your low-level character that is far above the norm for that level. This is usually done to speed up leveling. Twinking can be down by your higher level characters or with the help of guild members. One example of twinking would be a rogue getting the Assassin’s Blade from Shadowfang Keep at only level 19. A regular solo player at level 19 would have virtually no chance of getting this weapon while a group in the low 20’s would still have great difficulty in getting it. As a result this weapon can be seen with a price tag in the auction houses over 100 gold and above many higher level weapons. The level 19 is important because it is the highest level that you can reach and still remain in the lowest level range (10-19) for PvP battles in Warsong Gulch. Thus part of the art of twinking is finding the best weapons and armor with a requirement of level 19 or less.
Benefits of Twinking
An alternative for players not interested in raiding.
Relies less on grinding since most twinks remain under level 20.
Different set of strategies to limited skills and gear available at low levels.
Takes advantage of other characters in your account.
Can level up characters very quickly.
Disadvantages of Twinking
Can be very extremely expensive.
Have to stop going to instances once you hit 19 or you will be put in the level 20-29 category where more gear and abilities are available.
Looked down on by regular players who prefer to level to 60.
Can not rely solely on the auction house or instances but must use a combination of both.
Pigeonholed into choosing engineering as a profession in order to stay competitive.
There is always a risk that Blizzard change certain aspects of the game to hamper twinking such as no longer allowing high level enchantments on low level gear.
Who Should Twink?
Obviously twinking is not for everyone. Some WoW players prefer to have just one character in their account so they can experience raiding and battlegrounds like Alterac Valley. These type of players will not only not be interested in twinking but likely make fun of or complain about those players who do. In order to enjoy twinking a player will need to really enjoy PvPing at the lower levels. To twink a character well a player needs to learn all of the gear available at the character’s level and know where to get each piece of equipment. Twinks will probably also need to learn engineering for head gear or they will be at a serious stats disadvantage against most of the other twinks at level 19. That said players interested in twinking need to be more dedicated than casual gamers in order to twink effectively.
Week 2: Thoughts on Patch 1.12
The Major Changes
The two most notable big changes for this latest patch was the review of the Rogue class and the cross realm PvP BattleGrounds. To a lesser extent World PvP was made a little more goal oriented in Sithilus and Eastern Plaguelands. However the rewards for World PvP does not even come close to those in BGs.
This was a long awaited patch but was not the huge overhaul for the class that many rogues were looking for. Besides a free respec the most recognizable change is that the bottom part of each tree improved somewhat. The most changes had to be in the subtlety tree with hemo moving up the tree a few new skills including one called Deadliness that increases attack power up to 10%. Any increase in attack power is important as of this patch since damage with Eviscerate and Rupture now increases with more attack power. Combat had a nice addition with Weapon Expertise (allows you to increase sword dagger fist weapon skill by up to 5) but rogues now have more reason to focus on subtlety than ever before since it received the most attention in the patch.
Cross Realm BGs
Definitely the change with the most impact in this patch. Instead of being forced to wait on other players in your realm to fill up a BG there are now BGs being played around the clock with very little waiting time. Another time saver is being automatically placed into a raid group instead of having to find out if a raid has actually been started and then getting an invite. These changes makes PvP nearly as accessible as questing or PvE grinding. As a result look for more players to enter PvP than ever before. The only real downside to this crucial PvP feature is that it has contributed to excessive realm downtime and server disconnects in the heat of large battles.
Overall Patch Thoughts
Not a mind-blowing patch on the PvE side by any means but a great improvement on the PvP side that should make PvP more fun than ever before.
Week 1: Weapon Choices For the Sneaks
Why A Rogue?
A Rogue is probably the most fun melee class to play in World of Warcraft. Being able to use stealth opens up several new possibilities for solo players grouping and PvP. You can scout sneak past guards jump unsuspecting enemies and use crowd control thanks to Sap. In both PvP and PvE there are no heals to worry about and you can deal out massive damage. Finally who can pass up the ability to pick locks and pockets?
The Big Two
Without question the two most used weapons for Rogues are daggers and swords. Daggers are used so much because several key Rogue abilities like Ambush and Backstab can not be used without daggers. The only problem with Daggers is that although they are fast they lack a big punch. On the hand slower swords can deliver quite a punch and are found fairly easily in quests and auction houses. However swords are not perfect either. Besides not being able to use Backstab or Ambush the sword spec located in the Combat skill tree only allows for the possibility of an extra swing. While not bad this ability is not as attractive as it would be for an increased critical strike chance. Besides one key sword called the Thrash Blade grants this ability without giving away 5 talent points.
The Roads Less Traveled
While daggers and swords get most of the attention from Rogues fist weapons and maces shouldn’t be ignored. Fist weapons are undoubtedly the hardest to find melee weapons in the entire game. About the only way to get a fist weapon is one quest and the drops since nearly all fist weapons are bind-on-pickup. Besides looks the upside of fist weapons is that the fist weapon spec in the combat tree allows for an increased critical strike chance. Lastly Maces are much easier to get than fist weapons but you will have an extremely hard time finding an off-hand mace that is blue or better after level 45. Maces are worth having in both hands due to the mace spec allowing for a 3 sec stun. In most cases I would prefer a 3 sec stun over a critical strike or an extra swing because a stun can lessen the damage done to you prevent spells and give you time to run if you need to. In fact the only thing bad about a stun is in end game PvE because most bosses are immune to stuns.
When you are just starting out go with whatever weapon you can find the easiest and cheapest. Unless you are able to get a nice weapon in an instance maces will best fit that description early on because swords and daggers can be priced quite high in the auction houses. In the high 30s to 50 you will be able to pickup a couple of good swords in quests like the Sword of Omen and the aforementioned Thrash Blade. That is probably when you want to see if you like the sword spec or not. Your last blue off-hand mace at 45 is the Changuk Smasher so be sure to pick that up if you do choose to dual wield maces. If you want a good blue or purple dagger and you can not get a good one in an instance be prepared to shell out some serious gold.