A Guide to Trial Account Twinking

With Blizzard removing the 10-day time limit on trial accounts, it has become possible to gear up characters to participate in Warcraft PvP on a free-to-play basis. The limits on these new Starter Edition accounts are severe, but overcoming limitations is part of the fun of creating a twink.

Please note: Blizzard doesn’t support Starter Edition twinks.

If you choose to make one, you’ll be exploring a lot of arbitrary limits as to what can and can’t be done. This can be a lot of fun, but be prepared for limits you encounter. The challenge of overcoming these limits is the point of this project.

WHAT IS A TWINK?

A twink is a character in a MMORPG, like World of Warcraft, which has been outfitted with the best gear possible for their level, often above and beyond that a normal character would obtain during the leveling process. Experience gain is usually turned off for twinks so as to allow them to continue acquiring gear and items without gaining levels. These characters are then used in both PvP and PvE, depending on the player’s desires.

In Warcraft, there are currently two types of twinks: XP-off and expansion twinks. XP-off twinks have turned off experience gain in-game by paying 10 gold to the Experience Eliminators in Stormwind or Orgrimmar. Expansion twinks are limited by the type of account attached to the WoW software, not anything done within the game itself. e.g. A player without the Wrath of the Lich King expansion will not be able to level characters past level 70 on that account, but will be able to gain all gear from the original and Burning Crusade expansions.

Trial account twinks are a type of expansion twink. Trial accounts are limited to level 20, so characters on these accounts can quest, run dungeons, and engage in PvP combat to improve their skills and gear without leveling further. Because of the restrictions on trial accounts, trial account twinks will have the following characteristics.

  • Level 20 (so normal ground mounts are available.)
  • Cannot have any primary profession over 100.
  • Enchants are extremely limited.
  • Gear is primarily quest rewards, PvP rewards, and dungeon drops.
  • BoEs are possible but require random drops.
  • Heirlooms are possible but require a lot of Honor Points.
  • No buff foods.

Despite these limitations, trial account twinks can still be competitive in PvP, and can be solid explorers and dungeon runners. You can build a very good character with a trial account.

PVP BRACKETS AND TRIAL ACCOUNT TWINKS

Level 20 characters who queue up for PvP will be placed in the level xp-off 20-24 bracket. This means that trial account twinks will be facing characters who may be higher level than they are. That’s the bad news.

The worse news is that because your twink’s level is limited by your account type, you will be playing with other twinks in the XP-off bracket. The competition will therefore be harder, as you will be fighting with paid account twinks, whose access to the best gear, enchantments, and consumables in the game gives them a significant edge.

The good news is the sheer number of Starter Edition players in the 20-24 XP-off bracket ensures that games are not completely lopsided. Your skill still matters.

The availability of Heirloom gear – bind-to-account gear that scales with level, normally purchased by players once they have reached the highest levels of the game, to be passed on to other characters – means that you will often be dealing with players who are substantially better geared than your twink. If they make an effort to gear up and enchant their items, even leveling characters can and will surpass a trial account twink in ability and performance.

I’ve constructed several sample characters on Wowhead so you can see the difference between trial account twinks and other characters in the bracket.

Trial Account Level 20 Twink
Paid Account Level 20 Twink
Paid Account Level 24 w/ Heirlooms

The first two are level 20 twinks, to give you an idea how having access to BoE gear from the AH, enchants, and heirlooms influences a character. The trial account lacks those elements, but has the best quest and dungeon gear available. Both have stacked hit to address competing against level 24 characters. (I skipped the Arena Grand Master trinket, though both twinks could of course get it.)

You’ll note that the level 20 paid account twink outclasses the trial account twink by a substantial amount. It’s an interesting comparison.

The level 24 character represents a more accurate picture of what a geared PvP toon would look like in the leveling bracket, or just entering the twink bracket. It’s not fully twinked, instead using a reasonable selection of dungeon gear, heirlooms, and cheap enchants. This gear build would do very well in the bracket.

Locking your XP at earlier levels is no longer possible. You cannot use a Starter Edition to participate in the 10-14 or 15-19 XP-off brackets. [ed: Previous section on level 19 twinking removed.]

Next, let’s look at how to build a trial account twink.

BUILDING A TRIAL ACCOUNT TWINK

The fun part about making a twink is figuring out what kind of gear you can get for them. Let’s look at the limits of trial accounts again.

  • Trial account twinks can’t visit the AH, so BoE gear has to be farmed by the twink, leaving the player at the mercy of very low drop rates.
  • Similarly, they can’t trade with other characters, so the only crafted gear available is gear they make themselves.
  • Skills are limited to 100, so most patterns are just not available.
  • They can’t get mail, so sending heirlooms from a different Battle.net account is not possible.

So what is available?

In order of approximate ease of acquisition:

  • Quest gear (rewarded by quest givers)
  • PvP gear (purchased with Honor Points from PvP vendors)
  • Dungeon drops
  • Cloaks and belts from the Satchel of Helpful Goods, from running random dungeons through the Dungeon Finder
  • Fishing gear
  • Crafted gear made by the character (up to level 100)
  • Heirloom gear (purchased with Honor Points from PvP and PvE vendors)
  • BoE gear (directly looted by the character)

Quest gear is relatively straightforward – by seeking out quests which give powerful rewards, your character can get very good gear. Many quests are faction-specific, so be sure to check that that GREAT piece of gear you’ve spotted is actually available to you!

PvP rewards are purchased from vendors around battlegrounds and in your faction’s capital city. Trial account twinks should look at the necklaces, rings, weapons, and trinkets available at the Warsong Gulch vendors in Ashenvale: Illiyana Moonblaze for Alliance, Kelm Hargunth for the Horde. This gear is purchased with Honor Points, gained from participating in battlegrounds.

All twinks will want to purchase a PvP trinket from the PvP vendors in their capital city. The Insignia of the Horde / Insignia of the Alliance remove movement-imparing effects once every 5 minutes and can make the difference between victory and defeat.

Dungeon drops are another reliable source of gear for trial account twinks. Blue-quality gear drops off the bosses of the dungeons available to level 20 characters, especially from Shadowfang Keep & Gnomergan.

If you run random dungeons using the dungeon finder, the cloaks and belts from the Satchel of Helpful Goods will be some of the best gear you can get in those slots. The Tumultuous Cloak of Stamina is probably your best drop, but others may be more appropriate to your class. For some classes, there are a few belts that drop from dungeons which outclass the belts from the Satchels, but the belts are generally very good.

Fishing has a few rewards which can benefit trial account twinks. The Lucky Fishing Hat is a reward for catching a rare fish in the Strangethorn Fishing Extravaganza, and the Weather-beaten Fishing Hat is a random reward from the daily fishing quest in major cities.

Due to the limits on professions, crafted gear generally is not as good as the gear you’ll find from other places because you have to make it yourself, and leveling many of them without the Auction House is a feat in and of itself. A notable exception is the Flying Tiger Goggles from Engineering, as they are one of the few helms available to trial account twinks. But quest, pvp and dungeon gear generally is superior.

Bringing up the list of possible gear choices are BoEs (bind-on-equip) items and Heirlooms. Both of these are really hard to get, and only established twinks will likely even consider getting them. Normally, BoEs would be purchased off the Auction House, because they are rare, random drops. Since trial account twinks can’t use the AH, they will have to farm for them themselves, which is really just hoping random chance smiles on you.

Heirlooms are a little easier to get if you’re willing to put in a lot of time on your twink. These cost thousands of Honor Points to purchase – 2 to 3k each – and I’m not 100% positive that trial accounts can even purchase them. (Level 20 characters on paid accounts can.)

While PvP-oriented Heirlooms are available for direct purchase with Honor Points, you can also purchase PvE heirlooms by converting your Honor Points to Justice Points at a 3/2 rate. If you play a trial account twink long enough in the battlegrounds, this gear may be worth it for an upgrade!

One final word on gear: the Arena Grand Master is the best trinket you can get for either the 19 or 20 PvP brackets. I have a guide to getting it on this site with more information.

HOW DO I FIND SPECIFIC GEAR?

Wowhead is a twink’s best friend for finding gear. Learn how to use their database to search for specific types of gear that you can use for your character. Use their filters to search for specific types of gear – for example, here’s a search of all Cloth armor rewarded by quests, optimized for an Affliction warlock.

I recommend creating a profile on Wowhead to store the gear you’re considering in a profile, much like I did above, so that you can create a dynamic list of gear that you think will work well for your twink.

BAGS

Storage space can be a real challenge for starter edition characters. There are several sources of 16-slot bags available.

  • City Faction Bags: each city’s quartermaster sells a 16-slot bag (e.g. the Stormwind Satchel) which can be unique-equipped for under 2g. Each bag requires Revered with a given city’s faction, which can be obtained either through questing or running dungeons while wearing the appropriate city’s tabard. City Quartermasters can be found near the flight points of each city.
  • Stormpike Bags: Alliance Players have access to two quivers, the Harpy Hide Quiver and Gnoll Skin Bandolier, which can be purchased for 50 Honor Points each from the Stormpike Supply Officers near or in Alterac Valley. These bags will display on your Hunter character on the selection screen due to their former status as ammunition pouches. There doesn’t appear to be a Horde equivalent.

In addition to these 16-slot bags, there are 14-slot bags available from bag vendors for 9g 60s, and another 14-slot bag available as a quest reward from the Darkmoon Faire (the Darkmoon Satchel). These bags are good for filling out your trial account twink’s 3 available bank slots.

(Thanks to Goodpeeps @ Moon Guard for the tip about the AV bags.)

CONSUMABLES AND PROFESSIONS

Updated with information about secondary professions.

Primary professions like Engineering, Enchanting, and Skinning are limited to skill level 100 on a trial account. Secondary professions like Cooking, Fishing, and First Aid are not, so effort in those skills will generally repay your time investment.

Most twinks go into battle with a supply of Rumsey Rum Black Label on hand due to its excellent Stamina buff. However, it’s normally purchased in bulk from a Burning Crusade dungeon (which trial accounts can’t reach), purchased from the AH (which trial accounts can’t use), or fished up randomly from around the world (which gives you one at a time.)

So you’re probably not going to be able to have 4 stacks of rum on hand for your twink. Instead, look to Cooking to supply your food and drink needs. Cooking 100 gives you a variety of recipes which can create food which gives up to +6 Stamina, which is 60 extra health. Every little bit helps.

Another secondary profession, First Aid, can give you the ability to use Wool Bandages to heal yourself once a minute for 161 damage over 7 seconds. One of the quirks of First Aid is that you can use better bandages than you can make, so while you can use up to a Silk Bandage with First Aid 100, you can’t create it without First Aid 150. So you’re stuck with a weak bandage as a trial account twink.

While you can learn any two primary professions for your trial account twink, only a few will give any benefit.

  • Skinning grants Master of Anatomy, for +3 Critical Strike rating.
  • Mining grants Toughness, for +3 Stamina.
  • Herbalism grants Lifeblood, for +15 Haste rating for 20 seconds, every 2 minutes.
  • Enchanting allows you to enchant your gear, but with very minor enchants (about 25 health, +3 Intellect, +1 Strength/Agility.

My preference would be for Herbalism and Skinning, as they will both increase your DPS a small amount. Lifeblood is good for giving your damage a burst, useful for when you are trying to kill an opponent quickly, and the passive Critical Strike rating from Master of Anatomy is a nice bonus.

CLASS SELECTION

Play the class you like. If you’ve never played before, pick the one that appeals the most to you. There are classes that are more powerful than others in PvP at level 20, but any class is workable and can be fun.

This advice seems trite, but I’ve seen people take classes which were universally discounted in a bracket and use them to tear apart the place. I’ve seen folks play flavor of the month classes and fail badly at them.

Pick the one you have the most fun playing.

MORE RESOURCES

  • Wowhead is my Warcraft database of choice. Their search filters are fantastic and can give you great gear advice. Perculia has an excellent guide to F2P accounts with very detailed gear advice.
  • The Twinkinfo Forums have recently started up a Free to Play Forum exclusively for trial account twinks. Twinkinfo has a lot of good gearing advice and an active twink community.
  • Psynister has a great guide to trial account professions, including a guide to leveling, and dropping, and leveling, and dropping…

A community of trial account twinks is already springing up. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the Free to Play WoW twinks in the months to come.

Good luck, and happy twinking!

39 thoughts on “A Guide to Trial Account Twinking

  1. Fantastic post, Cyn! I’ve been wondering about the trial accounts and had no idea they couldn’t use mail, the AH, or trade with other players. (And it sounds like not a bad alternative for us confirmed players if belt-tightening takes a bite out of our WoW budgets ;)

    • It might be worth noting that they need to be new accounts; you can’t play in the “F2P trial” on an account that you’ve ever converted to a paid account in any way.

      • I was wondering does anyone have any twinks pally’s,warriors,mages, with some best in slot gear??? I did manage you get the skullbreaker for my Pally now I just need the Mongoose enchant to go with it. :) If you can plz with between levels 10-80 I would love to see what’s out there..

  2. Pingback: Trail Account Twinking: Professions « Psynister's Notebook

  3. Pingback: Thursday Reading | Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

  4. One other thing you can do is, once you have the best gear you think you can get, level up enchanting and enchant your gear, then drop it and get leatherworking and skinning for the armor kits, then drop leather and get herb or whatever. It might be time consuming but there is no 10 day limit anymore so might as well do all you can.

    • That’s a good point. Psynister goes into a lot of detail on his post on trial account professions about how to do it. Like you said, it’s time consuming, but it’s every advantage you can get.

      Thanks!

    • Hi there! You’ve done a great job with your twink, she’s really outstanding. It goes to show that there is really a lot you can do with the F2P characters – are you having fun with the PvP?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thanks for the great guide and blogs to both you and Psyn! I’ve been trialing for a few weeks now and recently have been working on a couple pallies, one alliance, one horde and comparing the options for each. It’s been a blast and I had no idea there was a pretty hefty amount of people doing the trial twink thing. Anyway, you and Psyn’s postings have really pointed me in some new directions that I hadn’t noticed or looked into on wowhead and around the web. Currently, both pallies are starting to work on fishing for the LFH and getting their AGMs, not to mention some misc. gear pieces here and there. Thanks for your excellent contributions!

    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/azjolnerub/Revys/advanced

    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/ursin/Revwyn/advanced

  6. Great guide Cynwise!

    I might have some pointers for you and your readers to acquire the 10 gold needed to xp-lock lvl 19 starter edition twinks:
    - as an alliance character start questing in the Redridge mountains as soon as you hit lvl 15, try to reach the quest ‘Return of the Bravo Company’ with as little XP as possible, but do not turn in this quest. At the current date (26/09/2011), the four quest npc’s will follow and protect you even outside of the Redridge Mountains (however they dissappear at log-out/ use of flightmaster etc.). Run your 4 new comrads to Westfall to the east of the Raging Chasm, here you will find a sea-creature carcass with infinetly respawning Fleshrippers, these drop about 1S per kill. With the help of your new friends your bags should fill up in no time with stacks worth 20S! When full run to a nearby vendor, rinse and repeat. If your escort dissappears you will have to collect them again in the Redridge Mountains (walk into the RRM zone-> voila).
    - as a Horde character the same technique can be used as the alli’s but some things are harder. Lvl up to ‘late 18′ or ‘early 19′ and take the zeppelin to Gromgol Base Camp in STV. Now walk/swim to the same sea-creature carcass in the Westfall and collect those Fleshripper-droppings! In need of a vendor? Walk back to Grom’gol base camp or into the Deadmines dungeon for a Horde-friendly vendor! Unfortunatly the freewheeling merchant in Moonbrook has been removed.

    Greetings from the Netherlands!

  7. Pingback: F2P Unable To Lock XP | Green Tinted Goggles

  8. As of this date, you can: Get a friend to invite you to a group (yes it is doable, I can submit screenshots of me with my 85 mage friend) have them summon you to the inn at hyjal, have them kill a few elementals. If you do it for a while, greens will drop that sell for ~16g, but they only take up one slot. Stock up on these, put them in your bank, and when you run low on cash sell a green.
    I’m not terribly sure about secondary profession caps, but cooking and fishing do seem to go past 100. By my calculations, (during the thanksgiving holiday) you can get a maximum of 375 cooking skill. No higher though, as the training itself becomes more expensive than your gold cap.
    Also, if I recall, several titles are available to trial accounts: The Noble, The Diplomat, Ambassador, Of The Horde/Alliance (100k honorable kills), The Bloodthirsty (250k honorable kills)
    Also: the faded wizard hat is really nifty. Get one.

    • 1) Thanks to William & Cynwise for their replies!
      2) Yes, you’re right – I was surprised recently to be able to accept a party invite from a Level 60.
      3) Secondary Profession skill caps for F2P are as follows: Cooking 375, Fishing 375, First Aid 225, Archaeology 0.
      4) Gold: it’s never been an issue for me – as a F2Per, there’s little use for it.
      5) My main motivation for partying up with higher level characters (or any character with the L21 Guild Perk “Have Group, Will Travel”) would be to get summoned to zones not otherwise accessible, e.g. Northrend, Hyjal. Haven’t made it there yet but hope to, to fish for the Sea Turtle mount.
      6) Titles – yah, am currently working on Ambassador. Don’t think the PvP grind is for me.
      7) Faded Wiz Hat – got it, thx! ;) Often use it in dungeons as Taurens are “too damn high” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg5SwyTvAHw). Either that or chow down on a Savory Deviate Delight.
      7) See here a technical issue I encountered while deathrunning a Cata zone accessible by Kodo (Uldum), & the resolution: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3581198970
      8) Have read somewhere or other that while F2Pers should be summonable to some otherwise inaccessible zones (e.g. Northrend), they cannot be summoned to others (e.g. Outland). Do not undertand the reason why, do know if this is true and have not tested it (but would be willing to & would report back).
      9) I am having an issue fishing in Cata zones (have fished in Uldum & Twilight Highlands) – sometimes catch junk (in open water) but catch nothing in the Highland Guppy Pools and Blackbelly Mudfish Pools (although Fishing skill still increases). Am currently Fishing at about 485 (350 skill + 100 lure + 30 rod + 5 Lucky Fishing Hat); will max out at 375 & try back when I am > 505, to eliminate the level issue. Suspect there is a technical issue though, either intended or unintended. I’m guessing if the Cata pools drop nothing for F2P then the apocryphal stories about F2P’s with the Sea Turtle Mount are untrue. Would be nice to resolve this one as well.

      Thanks again for the replies, & for this forum, & regards,

      Vug. (Garrosh)

  9. I am still confused in regards to xp lock after reading some comments , are you sure you cannot
    lock it anymore or is there still a window till patch?

  10. Never worry about money again: fish the pools @ Darkmoon Faire Island, they contain cataclysm materials and the pools spawn all the time. Infinite money :)

    + they sometimes contain Rumsey’s Rum & Attack Power (growth) elixirs

    (keep it for yourself, only want to help this community)

  11. Or this would also make a great “Hunter PvP Twink”

    http://www.wowhead.com/profile=33996331

    Note, took Skinning / Leatherworking to get the leather needed for later, also kept all greens I could while leveling LW also make LOTS of armor kits (about 20ish). Dropped Skin/LW for Tailoring/Enchanting, DE’d greens/blues for mats, enchanted gear to what I could. Dropped those and took up Mining/Engineering. Got scope on ranged. (You could always keep Engineering for the head piece.) Dropped Mining for Skinning (+3 Crit Rating), dropped Engineering for Herbalism (Pocket healer / Haste).

  12. Thanks Léon but in fact we F2Pers do not worry about money as we have so little use for it. >99% by value of what we harvest we discard. I destroyed hundreds of gold in resale value (probably worth much more in the AH but I wouldn’t know) of L80 potions, stacks & stacks of embersilk, pyrite, elementium, hvy savage leather, etc.etc.Only usable stuff from fishing is Sea Pony, growth potions (which I am popping like pez as have so many), Rumsey’s & the mighty but elusive Turtle. For us (or for me at least) the importance of (the new) DMF is 1) quick spawning Cata pools in which to fish for the Turtle, with no hostile L80-85 mobs guarding them & quickly accessible from cities, & 2) another route to Heirlooms via DM Prize Tickets. Also new mounts, pets etc. are cute.

    Infinite money? Not interested. As the Amish say, “we are in this world, but we are not of it”. Best regards, Vug. P.S. Still looking for a port to Shattrath. ;)

  13. Also, as a side note, my Cooking is @ 375 and Fishing is @ 375.

    To do this, work only the cooking recipes that require fishing. It does become hard later, and many deaths, but it can be done!

    Noted great fishing spots: (Horde)
    Feralas – Camp Mojache – Fish in the stream there.
    Thousand Needles – West Reach Summit – Base of summit.
    Blasted Lands – Surwhich – East side of dock, (Swim from BB to get there)
    Careful of the mob on the left side, it will aggro if you pass the small pile of timbers on the dock. There is a “Friendly” NPC that also pats here. *Go to the “Dark Portal” from here, long walk and a few deaths, but it can be done. Once through, make your way to Shattrath fast as you can, pick up flight paths along the way for later. Make Shatt your new home!! You have a portal to org from here also!*
    Zangermarsh – Most northern point, dead center! Can fish for a bit here, but LOTS of deaths! Also pick up recipes here!
    Nagrand – Exit Shatt via Aldor Rise, first lake on your right, AWESOME fishing, can get you up to 350ish cooking.

  14. Great site here! I used a lot of the tips when I was starting out. Here is a link to my F2P Human Lock. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/kalecgos/Monath/advanced I have as much fun in the battlegrounds as I did when I played at 70 in BC. And it’s free!! I usually am in the top 1-3 damage wise, and my killing blow/death ratio is greatly improved with this gear setup. Let me know if you have questions on my gear. A couple tips to share (sorry if they are listed elsewhere): you can buy Healing Potion in SW in the mage quarter, which make a big difference in survivability, and you can also get scrolls there (different vendor) for stamina, intellect, spirit, agility, strength and protection. Food wise, I usually make curiously tasty omlets out of the raptor eggs in STV. Not the best, but most convenient. They are easy enough to kill, and close to SW.

      • Getting most of the blues is pretty easy if you find which quest/dungeon to work on via Wowhead. The Arena Master Trinkets were easy because I am on a low population server, and most of the time I was farming the chest in STV there was nobody there. I just left my character in the arena and logged in to check on the chest at the appropriate times and grabbed and logged out. The Heirlooms obviously take a while because you don’t get much honor at this level, but farming the honor is the fun part of a twink. The hat didn’t take that long. I got it on my second sunday of the fishing tournament, with only like 2 hours total spent fishing. Just make sure your fishing is a high enough level before you go out there to try for it.

      • @David thanks for info I have a twink named knockout@skywall.com she is a level 29 Goblin warrior twink and I also have a level 17 Disc priest troll also,at nicegrill@skywall.com I have a serious case of Alt fever my relam is full of toons all level 85 to 17 Icekiller@skywall.com is my favorite I think he’s level 80 now, but he rapes twinks in BG’s see for yourself he is a Bloodelf mage, please feel free to offer me any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. :) Look me up im not sure how to post the if I did I would post it..

    • I agree that Lion Chops are the best, but it is more inconvenient to farm them. I usually hang out around SW, and it is easier to get to STV to farm. You also need 2 lion meat to make one Lion Chop, so it takes longer to farm. Just my opinion.

  15. a good way to get gold on starter is to go to darkmoon faire and fish up the crates around the island.

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