Satchels of Helpful Goods Prove REALLY Helpful

A commenter on one of my other sites (leave a link so I can credit you, I see your comments!) pointed me to Tobold’s most recent post, where he brings to light an exploit where goods from the Satchels of Helpful Goods can be used by level 19 characters, and how it’s having a bad impact on the 19 bracket in the EU. I’ve only played a few 19s in the past month in the US, and I didn’t notice anyone overwhelmingly powerful – all my losses were definitely due to getting outplayed – but this is one of those things which can cause big problems for a bracket until it’s fixed.

Blizzard has supposedly fixed the satchel so you can’t get these rewards anymore at low levels, but the gear still remains. Unbalancing? Yes. Likely to remain? Also yes, this doesn’t seem like something that’s easy to fix.

We’ll have to see how big an impact this has on the lower brackets.

Here’s an example of what a toon with the satchel gear looks like. There’s also a blacklist starting on the twinkinfo forums.

F2P Unable To Lock XP

Blizzard has made a fairly major change to the way Starter Edition accounts work today (or in the very recent past) in a hotfix.

Reports are coming in from both the official and twinkinfo forums that F2P accounts who have locked their experience gain at levels below 20 are gaining experience. Even if the experience is manually turned off again, they continue to gain experience.

Some forum posters report that GMs are saying that F2P accounts were never supposed to be able to lock their XP, and that this is the intended behavior. We may see some clarification on this in the next few days, but if you have locked a F2P account below level 20, you might want to watch your XP bar very carefully.

This will likely send all 10, 14, and 19 bracket twinks up to level 20, where they will compete in the 20-24 bracket.

I will start revising the F2P guide to reflect this new update over the next few days.

 

Update: Blue post confirms this was a deliberate change. Vrakthris writes:

Yes, it looks like the option for trial accounts to turn off experience was removed. I don’t believe they were intended to have such an option, so that was fixed.

There have been reports of regular account twinks gaining experience, too. I haven’t been able to duplicate this, but there have been reports in the forums.

The Lure Master Tackle Box

I love the Lure Master Tackle Box on my twinks. It’s practically the perfect twink bag.

The tackle box is a 36 slot bag which holds fishing supplies: lures, hats, fish, poles, and – you guessed it – Rumsey Rum Black Label, the drink of twinks everywhere.

Considering how much of this drink you’ll use on your twinks, you should think about picking up this box. It often is easier to buy off the AH than it is to have it made, because players leveling Engineering will sometimes mass-produce this for skillups.

You can benefit from their haste to dump leveling mats, and profit with a LOT of storage space. Or, you can get 20 Elementium Bars, 4 Handfuls of Obsidium Bolts, and a 475 Engineer, and you’re all set.

Considering how important Fishing is to low level twinks, the Lure Master Tackle Box is an easy upgrade that dramatically improves quality of life on your twink.

Get it if you can!

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!

Rogue Twinking

Rogues are one of my favorite classes to twink. They have incredible burst, some of the more useful CC in the bracket, and their stealthy play style lends itself very well to my PvP twinking taste.

As I have laid my own twinking blog down to rest, Cynwise has graciously offered to let me wear his goggles from time to time and share my twinking experiences and information with you here. I heard a call for 19 Rogue information, and I have come here today to answer that call. Are you ready to go stab people in the face? Alright then, let’s get started.

PLAYING A ROGUE

Before we get into the gritty details, lets first talk about the different play styles and roles that a Rogue are best suited for.

Your play style is how and where you’re going to play your Rogue. First off we have the Defender, one who guards the flag and rarely leaves the flag room except to chase down an EFC. Second is the Assassin, focusing on hunting down EFC’s and recapturing your flag. Third is the Harasser, whose sole purpose is to put as many of the opposing team’s members into fits of uncontrollable rage as possible so that they play poorly out of frustration.

The Defender will spend most of the match hiding somewhere in, or near, their own flag room waiting to ambush (literally) those who come to carry it away to the enemy base. The two most effective locations for doing this are in the tunnel near the spawn point of the speed buff, and right outside the two doors associated with the Ramp and Graveyard. The most common mistake that Rogues make on defense is defending in the flag room itself. The reason why the two locations I mentioned are the best is because it gives you time to attack would-be EFC’s before they ever get to the flag so that if they manage to either kill or CC you, you still potentially have time to catch them again before they make it out to midfield. Don’t wait for them to grab the flag, kill them before they get the chance.

That being said, if you’re the sole defender, then your best location is somewhere closer to the flag room so that you can protect either entrance. My personal preference is on the second floor (not the roof, the middle where the Ramp comes in) because it offers the clearest view of all four entrances to the flag room.

The Assassin has a pretty straight forward role, but they often play the entire map. Some Rogues prefer to stay stealthed within the enemy base, some prefer to stay near the exits of their own, and others prefer playing the role of the Harasser until it’s time to be the Assassin and play the whole map based on the situation. There isn’t really a “best” location for you to play the Assassin. My personal preference is to stay near the enemy base doing a little bit of harassment when there’s no EFC.

When the enemy has your flag, and you can’t afford to let them cap it, you have two options; either you kill them, or you grab their flag. That’s why I prefer to hang out near the enemy base. If I see the EFC break away from the rest of my team and have a clear path to cap the flag then I’m not going to bother trying to kill them, I’m going to grab their flag and run to prevent them from capping. When you’re not in the twink brackets (your experience is still turned on), you can often one-shot EFC’s because they have so few hit points. In the twink brackets though, you’re not going to one-shot anyone that has a clue how to twink. You might still be able to kill them within a matter of seconds, but you won’t one-shot a twink.

The Harasser covers multiple play styles, but their purpose remains the same. Harassers are there to make people mad so that they make stupid mistakes. You can do this a few different ways. Graveyard campers are a great example of a harasser. Rogue who prey on players with small health pools are also harassers, as are those who simply Sap you, multiple durations worth, every time they see you.

By doing things like this you end up getting a lot of players upset. It’s mean and it really screws with someone else’s “fun time”, but it’s PvP and it’s all part of the game. You know you’ve succeeded in being a quality Harasser when people ignore your flag carrier strictly to have a shot at killing you. Once you have successfully made the enemy hate you, your play style switches between harassment and bait. Luring people away from your flag carrier is just as good, and sometimes even better than killing them.

Rogues are often associated with their ability to kill people, so many players just rush out there and jump into combat every chance they get. How you play is up to you, but there is so very much more to this deadly class than that.

TALENT SPECS

Once you have your play style down, it’s time to figure out which spec you’re going to take. All three specs can fill any of the roles I mentioned above, and each of these specs has their own strengths and weaknesses. My personal preference is by far Subtlety, but if you like one of the other specs then by all means run with it.

Nightstalker 2/2: Increases your speed while stealthed by 10% and reduces the cooldown of your Stealth ability by 4 seconds.

Improved Ambush 3/3: Increases the criitcal strike chance of your Ambush ability by 60% and its damage by 15%.

Waylay 1/2: Your Ambush and Backstab hits have a 50% chance to unbalance a target, increasing the time between their melee and ranged attacks by 20%, and reducing movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds.

Subtlety gets a fantastic spell called Shadowstep which allows you to teleport behind your target, that also increases your movement speed by 70% and gives you a 30% damage buff to Ambush for 3 seconds. They also get Master of Subtlety which gives you a 10% damage buff to attacks used while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth, and Sinister Calling which grants a 30% Agility buff and a 40% damage buff to Backstab.

If you’re dead set on dealing damage above all else then you can trade Waylay for Opportunity to increase your Backstab and Ambush damage by 10%. The benefit of Waylay is that you have a chance to slow your target which is really good for hunting down EFC’s, and it also grants some amount of survivability by slowing the target’s attack speed.

Lethality 3/3: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, and Mutilate abilities by 30%.

Deadly Momentum 2/2: After killing an opponent that yields experience or honor, the critical strike chance of your next ability within 15 seconds is increased by 40% and your Slice and Dice and Recuperate abilities are refreshed to their original duration.

Quickening 1/2: All healing effects on you are increased by 10% and your movement speed is increased by 8%. This does not stack with most other movement speed increasing effects.

Assassination gets Mutilate, an instant attack with both weapons that deals 150% damage. They also receive Improved Poisons for an extra 50% chance to proc your Instant Poison damage, and Assassin’s Resolve increasing your melee damage by 15% and increasing your maximum Energy by 20 when dual wielding daggers.

The Assassination tree has a lot of really cool abilities in the second tier, but we only have one point to spend. I prefer Quickening because being able to move faster than your opponents is one of the strongest advantage you can have in PvP. Puncturing Wounds is a decent choice for extra crit chance on Backstab and Mutilate, and Blackjack really good for taking on EFC’s or high damaging opponents by reducing the damage they deal after being Sapped by 33%.

Improved Sinister Strike 3/3: Increases the damage dealt by your Sinister Strike ability by 30% and reduces its Energy cost by 6.

Improved Recuperate 2/2: Causes your Recuperate ability to restore an additional 1% of your maximum health and reduces all damage taken by 6% while your Recuperate ability is active.

Improved Sprint 1/2: Gives a 50% chance to remove all movement-impairing effects when you activate your Sprint ability.

For choosing Combat you get access to Blade Flurry which is a buff that slows your energy regeneration but causes your attacks to hit an additional nearby opponent (making it great for assaulting healers and casters). You also get Vitality which increases your energy regeneration rate by 25% and your Attack Power by 25%, and Ambidexterity which increases the damage you deal with your off hand and thrown weapons by 75%.

An alternative to Improved Sprint would be Improved Kick which causes your Kick ability to also silence the target for 1 second which is great for bringing down enemy casters, particularly healers.

PLAYING YOUR SPEC

While each spec can fit into any of the play styles that I mentioned up above, each spec has its own style as well. For example, the Assassination Spec is good from a stealth position and then deals a lot of damage right after with good burst damage from their increased chance to proc poisons. Combat deals most of its damage outside of stealth and gains extra survivability from their talent tree to make up for that. Subtlety deals the majority of its damage from stealth and relies much more on stealth than the other two specs.

Stealth is an advantage that all Rogues have and all of them should use, but where a Sub Rogue will run away from combat after killing an enemy in order to re-enter Stealth to open on another target, a Combat Rogue would simply choose another target and stab him in the face, and Assassination loves picking off the loners one at a time. Sub Rogues need stealth, Assassin Rogues want stealth, and Combat Rogues use stealth because it’s there.

Subtlety

As I mentioned before, Sub is my preferred spec for twinking, largely due to the usefulness of Shadowstep, and also their big burst damage from Stealth. Shadowstep is often used in lower brackets for its increased damage to Ambush, but the real beauty of the spell lies in its teleport and speed increasing properties. You can use Shadowstep to leap behind targets while stealthed to then Sap them rather than using Ambush, you can use it to flee from a hard hitting opponent, or to move more quickly for either catching an EFC or capturing an enemy flag yourself.

You want to get very, very familiar with using Shadowstep, and I suggest you try some of the macros I use for it as well. Once you’re familiar with how to use it, then it’s time to start thinking about creative ways you can use it. Just because it has that damage buff to Ambush doesn’t mean you have to attack after using it, it doesn’t even mean you have to Sap them. Sometimes the best use of Shadowstep is simply taking advantage of the teleport and increased speed to get to where you’re going. I’ve used it to jump from the bottom floor of the base to the roof, I’ve used it to get from my graveyard to the ledge above it (after the recent map change in WSG), and I’ve used it to score a winning flag cap seconds before they grabbed our flag.

Being able to move more, better, or faster than your opponent is even more important that dealing more damage of having a larger health pool. Sub Rogues will use mostly daggers for the extra damage for Ambush, but when you can’t utilize stealth you generally get more benefit from swapping to swords until you can regain stealth and switch back to your Daggers.

Assassination

I like Assassination for its damage output, it seems to have more frequent burst damage to me than the other two specs even if Sub’s Ambush puts the other two to shame. Assassination is really good at bursting through a target quickly. Your talent points also include an increase to your movement speed which again proves to be a really big help in PvP.

Another benefit you get from your talent points is survivability by resetting the duration of Recuperate when you kill a target, so you’re not quite so vulnerable outside of stealth as Subtlety is, though you’re not quite so comfortable as Combat. Assassination likes to kill things and kill them quick, then get back into stealth and surprise the next person. It’s a very solid spec for 19 Twinking.

Assassination is good at dealing burst damage, especially with their signature Mutilate attack. Attacking with both weapons at once allows you to deal more damage in a shorter time not just because you hit with two weapons instead of one, but also because you have a chance to proc any on-hit effects from both weapons at the same time. So both weapons deal damage, both poisons have a chance to deal damage, and proc based enchants can fire from both weapons as well. That doesn’t mean that you have to use proc based enchants like Fiery Weapon, Crusader, or Lifestealing, but it does give you the option for more burst damage or healing that way. You definitely want to make use of your poisons, though.

The biggest drawback to Assassination is that you have to dual wield daggers or else you can’t make use of Mutilate. The benefits typically outweigh the drawbacks, but if you don’t have access to heirloom weapons then you could probably perform better as another spec.

Combat

Combat does really well outside of Stealth, and they’re the best option for facing multiple opponents at once. You don’t have any super special abilities that make stealth a requirement for you, it’s simply another tool in your belt. Stealth is how you’ll move around and open on your opponents, but it’s not key to your damage. Combat isn’t bad, but it’s not my favorite option. Its main benefit is that it has some of the only AoE in the bracket which can be an asset if you’re trying to bring down an EFC who is surrounded by defenders, forcing healers to either keep up multiple targets or allow someone to die.

Combat is also the only spec that really wants to make use of weapons other than daggers, making their average damage per hit higher in general than the other specs. You won’t deal as high burst damage, but you will have bigger hits in general.

CHOOSING YOUR GEAR

As with everything else in Azeroth, you’ve got options. There are three main methods of gearing a Rogue twink.

  • Glass Cannon – stacking Agility and Attack Power
  • Survival – stacking Stamina, Dodge, and Parry
  • Balanced – a combination of the two above

Glass Cannon Rogues typically fill the roles of Harasser or Assassin. When you’re actually twinking and in the experience-off twink bracket, being a Glass Cannon is typically a poor choice. Sure, you’ll get some kills and you can do some really great damage, but if you don’t have a healer then you’re likely going to die – a lot. Glass Cannons are all about damage output, following the belief that the best defense is a strong offense.

Survival Rogues are willing to trade damage output (some, not all) for extra survivability. Survival Rogues typically fill either Assassin or Harassment roles, and often choose to run the flag themselves as well, making use of abilities such as Sprint for faster flag captures and defensive abilities such as Evasion for extra survivability.

Balanced Rogues shoot for the common ground, looking for gear that has a combination of both Stamina (or avoidance) and Agility. Rogue twinks who only want to farm a single set of gear are suggested to go with this route as it provides the best overall set of stats for a twink, and it allows you to fulfill any of the three primary roles.

When gearing up your Rogue, start off gearing for one of the roles that you think best suits your style. If you’re not sure, go with a balanced gear set. Of course, the best twinks like to follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”, collecting multiple sets of gear to adapt to any situation.

Finding Gear
If you want to know what your best options are for heirlooms, then you can see my post, 4.1 Heirloom Guide, which also includes a list of enchants for them. You can also take a look at my post on Hand-Me-Downs to see which enchants I would suggest for your other pieces of gear. You won’t use the gear I have listed there (the point of that post is enchanting white gear that doesn’t bind), but the best enchants for those are also the best enchants for twinking since they cover the same level brackets.

The best way to find gear that fits the style of gearing that you want to go with is to utilize Wowhead’s database. Rather than building a single gear list for you and telling you to go get “this gear”, I’m going to give you links to several queries in the Wowhead database, covering each slot.

Main Hand DaggersOff Hand DaggersMain Hand Non-DaggerOff Hand Non-DaggersRanged WeaponsHelmShoulderCloakChestLegsFeetWaistBracerGlovesNeckRingsTrinkets

With the exception of the Trinkets link, you won’t see heirlooms listed in those links for a bit of a glitch in Wowhead’s database that makes their minimum level 80-85 depending on which ones they are. However, for slots where heirlooms do exist you can pretty well rest assured that the heirloom is best in slot. It might not be BiS for every situation, but generally speaking it’s either the best option or so close that it doesn’t really matter unless you’re going for hardcore twinking. For the heirlooms of choice, go check out that link I have up above to my post on 4.1 Heirlooms. [Edit: The trinket link only pulls up the heirloom trinkets because they're the best of the "easy" trinkets to get and most others don't really compare to them. The one exception to that of course is the Arena Grand Master which is the twink trinket. Cyn has already covered the AGM trinket in his post, The Arena Grand Master.]

You’ll see in my 4.1 Heirlooms post that I mention Thrown weapons being a better choice for Rogues than the heirlooms because of the Rogue’s unique ability to “enchant” their ranged weapons with their poisons. In the 19 bracket the only poison you have access to is Instant which only adds extra damage and only has a 20% (base) chance to add that additional damage. If you want stats then I suggest you go with an heirloom (Bow > Gun). If you want the ability to potentially deal some solid burst damage with your ranged weapon then your best option is going to be the Venomstrike bow found in Wailing Caverns. You won’t find it in those links I posted above because it gives no attribute bonuses at all which all of those links include (which is why you really need to learn how to do your own queries on Wowhead to find exactly what you’re looking for).

You can get bows that are better, stats-wise, than the heirlooms from quests if you’re Horde, and some that can come pretty close to matching it from Alliance quests as well.

CONSUMABLES

First off, you’re going to need some level 15 food. There are plenty of options for you to choose from, just grab something simple from a vendor like Snapvine Watermelon or Dwarven Mild. Don’t bother with buff foods that you need the cooking skill for, because every twink worth his gear will be using another consumable I’ll mention in just a second that counts as your food buff.

Next up, you have your most necessary consumables:

These bandages are the bomb. Unless you’re a freak like Cyn who has a level 19 twink that’s pushing 3,000 health then this bandage is basically a full heal in a matter of seconds. A single tick from this bandage can restore enough to turn the tide of battle. Black Label is far better than any buff food for a level 19 twink. It doesn’t restore any health when you use it, but it gives you 150 more health instantly when you use it and counts as a food buff.

Instant Poison is a new addition to the 19 bracket that came with 4.0. Every extra bit of damage helps, and you definitely don’t want to pass on using poisons.

Halaani Whiskey is better than the Rumsey Rum and works the same way. The difference is that the Whiskey is BoP and can only be purchased from a vendor in Halaa while your faction controls it. So if you want to get it then you’ll have to take your twink there to purchase it and you have to control Halaa in the first place. You can use a Warlock summon or Have Group, Will Travel to get there easily, or the Recruit a Friend summon if you have an active referral link. I’ve never bothered getting this because I just don’t care enough to put that much effort/hassel into it.

Potions

Potions share a cooldown, so you’ll have to decide which of these is more important to you. If you’re carrying the flag or chasing down the EFC, then you might want to consider Swiftness unless you’re already under fire in which case the situation could demand either one. If you are in stealth then using a Swiftness Potion will pop you out, so make sure you use it prior to stealth if you’re trying to get the jump on someone.

Elixirs

Here are two options for each type of Elixir. Remember that you can only have one of each type (Battle and Guardian) active at any given time. My preference for Battle Elixir is Lesser Agility because I usually try to get enough Hit from my gear. That’s not always possible though, so keep some Minor Accuracy on hand.

For Guardian Elixirs I decide based on the enemy team. If there are a lot of casters then I use Troll’s Blood, if there are a lot of physical DPS classes then I go Defense. A lot of people don’t care for Troll’s Blood because the healing seems really weak, but over time those heals really add up, especially if you’re playing defensively and making frequent use of stealth and repositioning. Now that we have Recuperate we can do some pretty serious healing over time.

The Scrolls aren’t quite as good as the potions, but they can be pretty cheap to make and you can usually get them incredibly cheap on the AH from people who are leveling Inscription.

Explosives

Explosives are open only to those with the Engineering profession, with the exception of EZ-Thro which anybody can use. If you’re using Engineering then Big Bronze Bomb is your ranged AoE stun. It doesn’t last long, but they’re great for stopping heals or slowing a runner when you time them right. You have to remain stationary to use a bomb, moving will cancel the effect, so they can be dangerous at times as well. Heavy Dynamite on the other hand can be used while moving which is why I prefer it as my primary explosive. I use the dynamite either to break people out of stealth by anticipating their movement, revealing flag defenders who like to stealth right on top of their flag, or for dealing extra damage to an opponent that I’m kiting by throwing it ahead of me and then running into it.

Explosive Sheep are a lot of fun, but I generally don’t use them. I don’t really have a reason, they just aren’t my personal preference in most cases. If you’re not an engineer at all, then go ahead and grab the EZ-Thro anyway. It has a chance to blow you up instead of your target, but if it does then you don’t trigger the 1 minute explosives cooldown and can just throw another. I have had three of this explode on me in a row before, but it does usually work on your enemies…usually.

Situational

There are also a few other potions that you may or may not consider worth your time to carry around. I’ll go ahead and list them since I do occasionally use them if I’ve recently leveled an Alchemist and have extra mats to make these.

Holy Protection Potions are decent against Paladins, especially Holy, and pretty good against non-Shadow Priests as well. Shadow Protection Potions are fantastic against both Warlocks and Shadow Priests. Minor Magic Resistance Potions are decent against all casters in general, and it’s the only defense you’ll have against Arcane and Frost Mages which are two of your toughest opponents.

Potion of Curing is pretty situational, basically only useful against Hunters in this bracket. However, a Hunter’s Serpent Sting will keep you from getting into stealth because of it’s DoT effect, and stealth is your safe place, so if he didn’t bother to mark you then line of sight him, remove his poisons, and hope you can drop combat soon enough to re-enter stealth before you go stab him in the face. Swim Speed is only useful if you like to do Arathi Basin, which I do. I don’t have to bother crafting these anymore since you get one for basically every Fishing Daily you do. They’re good for assaulting the Blacksmith or for moving from BS to another node. Since we don’t get glyphs until 25 now we can no longer just run over the top of the water, so the next best thing is to fly right through it.

The Minor Fortitude Elixir is kinda crappy, but the mats are cheap and another 27 health never hurt anybody. I like to use these before I know for sure how good the other team is so I have a little bit of a buff and don’t mind “wasting” it if I happen to be facing opponents who are really good and constantly killing me.

The Flame Deflector and Discombobulator Ray are both Engineering items, and you have to be a Gnome to use the Ray as only their racial bonus to Engineering will allow you to use it in the 19 bracket.

MACROS

I use a lot of macros in my day to day play, and I do so on every class and spec that I play as well. It is rare for me to have a character that doesn’t have at least 15 macros by level 30, and at 85 it’s rare that there are any macro slots available at all.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Sinister Strike
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This is the most basic of macros, the one that I use for basically every attack spell that I use on any character. The /startattack line is like turning on auto-attack, it will target an enemy in front of you if you do not already have one and begin your auto-attack and if you have a hostile target already then it will keep that target but turn on auto-attack. The next of course casts your Sinister Strike, and for a 19 Rogue twink that is your spam button when in combat and out of stealth. And that final line simply clears off error message from your screen. You could turn off the sound with a macro as well so you don’t get those annoying “I can’t cast that yet” type of messages in your audio, but I find 80% of my stealthed opponents through sound so I never allow my audio to turn off for any amount of time.

#showtooltip
/cast Sinister Strike
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This one is exactly like the one above, except that it doesn’t include the /startattack. Why? Because this is the version of that macro that I use while I’m in Stealth. I don’t want to ever accidentally trigger auto-attack in stealth or else I’ll auto-attack my way out of stealth and lose the ability to use an attack that requires it.

#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cast Kick
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Now, Rogues don’t really have anything that they channel which would require the use of the “/stopcasting” line, but on the off chance that you are doing something similar (like using a bandage), this will stop you from doing whatever it is that you’re doing and cast Kick on your target instead. You don’t want to miss a critical spell interrupt just because you’re in the middle of doing something else, do you?

You could also modify this to make it Kick your Focus target if you had one and all that fancy jazz, but I don’t like switching Focus mid combat and chances are if there’s a caster that I’m so worried about that I’m watching for Kicks then I’m most likely going to focus my attacks on that target as well which would make a focus macro pointless.

#showtooltip Ambush
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Ambush
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Pick Pocket doesn’t do anything against players, but even twinks do things outside of PvP now and then so I have it in there. Shadowstep isn’t always going to be off cooldown when you need it, nor are you always going to want to use Shadowstep right away, so this is your option for using Ambush without burning Shadowstep.

#showtooltip Sap
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Sap
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This one is the same as the one above, except that we’re using Sap. You don’t want to burn Shadowstep on a Sap if you don’t have to, so here’s your option for doing that.

#Showtooltip
/castsequence reset=combat/target,10 Shadowstep, Ambush
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

I’ll often tie my racial ability to this as well if it has an offensive benefit, such as Orcs and Trolls. When doing that I usually change the first line to “#showtooltip Shadowstep” just so that I know when it’s off cooldown as I’ll use this macro regardless of whether or not I have a racial and regardless of it being on or off cooldown. If you want to add your racial ability, put it in as line two, “/cast Blood Fury”.

It’s important to note that these /castsequence macros don’t just fire off all of the spells at once, the global cooldown still applies where applicable. Most racial abilities and some others (too many to list) don’t trigger the cooldown. What this means is that you’ll need to press this macro multiple times to get all of the spells cast. IN this example, racials such as Blood Fury don’t trigger the GCD so they’ll cast essentially the same time as Shadowstep. So Ambush will not be cast until it is pressed second time. Personally, I just spam the crap out of it to make sure I get the spell off. Since Shadowstep increases your speed when it’s cast as well it’s easy if you and your target are both moving for you to run past your target and if they suddenly stop or change directions it’s even more likely, so I like to spam it to increase my chance of hitting it at the right time.

#Showtooltip
/castsequence reset=combat/target,10 Shadowstep, Sap
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This one is the same as the one above, though I wouldn’t bother attaching a racial ability to it since the spell we’re actually casting at the end of it is Sap rather than Ambush, so a racial will most likely be wasted.

#showtooltip Recuperate
/cast Lifeblood
/cast Berserking
/cast Recuperate
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This is your emergency button. Lifeblood is an Herbalism spell, so you have to be an Herbalist to use it, but it provides both a heal and a Haste buff. Berserking is the Troll racial, so of course you have to be a troll in order to use it, but it also provides you with a Haste buff. Recuperate is a healing ability that turns your existing combo points (even on a dead target) into a heal over time effect. The haste buffs from the first two spells in the list will make your Recuperate tick faster so that you get more healing in less time.

This one is best used when you’re in stealth and needing to get away to heal for a second before going back into combat. If you don’t need to get back into combat then you’re probably better of just running/stealthing away and then either using a bandage or eating.

You could also modify this one to include “/cast Evasion” before the Recuperate line if you’re going to use it in combat. You could also do “/cast [incombat] Evasion” if you want to have that functionality but only cast it if you are in combat as the spell is useless while in stealth.

#showtooltip Heavy Runecloth Bandage
/cast Lifeblood
/cast Berserking
/use Heavy Runecloth Bandage
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This macro works just the same as the one above, except that it uses a bandage to heal you instead of Recuperate. You want to use this macro only if you have either the troll racial or the herbalism spell as otherwise it’s a waste of a macro slot, but if you do have them then this macro is best used when you’re in a combat situation and need whatever healing you can possibly get. You could use a Healing Potion instead of the bandage if you’d like, though I would remove Berserking from the macro in that instance.

ACTION BARS
Everyone has a personal preference for the action bars, so I’m not about to tell you what to place where as it’s not my place to do so and I’m sure we have different preferences. However, I am going to make some suggestions to that effect and give you the reasoning behind it. I’m also going to give you some tips on how to use your attacks and when.

There are two action bars in particular that you need to be familiar with; the normal action bar, and the stealth action bar. I like to synchronize these bars, but that’s my personal preference. I don’t keep them so in sync that the same spells are on the same exact button (though that is the case for some of them), but I like the spells to be somewhat related. For example, I use my Shadowstep>Ambush castsequence macro on the 3 button on my stealth bar which is Eviscerate on my main bar. Why? Because I almost always follow up my Ambushes with an Eviscerate, so spamming the 3 key will Shadowstep > Ambush > Eviscerate which is the most damage I can do in the shortest amount of time.

ENERGY
Another pairing that I do is the Shadowstep>Sap macro (stealth bar) on the same button as Gouge (normal bar). The reason for this one is that both of them are crowd control (CC) effects and require specific circumstances to be used. Sap can only be used while in stealth while Gouge can only be used when your target is facing you. Again, that’s just my preference and my reasoning behind it.

What I want to talk about in relation to attacking though, is Energy. Energy is the Rogue’s resource. Where casters have Mana, Warriors have Rage and Hunters have Focus, Rogues have Energy. Most Rogue are button-spamming fiends, burning their Energy as fast as possible and spamming attacks even when they don’t have enough Energy to use it yet. When you talk to long term Rogue players who have experience in both raiding and PvP, you’ll find that they see increases in their DPS by intentionally not spamming their buttons and instead following a steady pace to always keep Energy below a certain amount while also leaving a small pool untouched.

Energy restores itself at the rate of 10 Energy per second. If you’ve ever been a musician then you can likely keep a 1 second beat going in your head or with your foot and keep up on your Energy level subconsciously. A general rule of thumb is to always stay below 80 Energy when you’re in combat, and trying to keep a reserve of about 20. What that does is it leaves you with a much better opportunity to have the energy you need when you need it to use your interrupts (Kick and Gouge) instead of being Energy starved, and you’re not accidentally missing an opportune moment to cast because your energy is too low. You can get by with spamming, but if you really want to play the Rogue well then managing your Energy is pretty key.

PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
Alright, so I’ve thrown a lot of different topics at you here. Twinking any class and spec can be either as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. You don’t have to be super sophisticated and detail oriented to be good as a PvP twink, but like anything else you’ll typically get back what you put into it. A lot of people look at Rogues and say, “Now that’s a cheap, easy class to play that can dominate PvP.” The reality of the situation is that Rogues can be extremely tough to play and extremely complicated to master.

Outside of the twink brackets you can really see how “cheap” and “overpowered” Rogues can be, but that presents an illusion. Yes, Rogues hit hard and fast and they’re slippery little buggers that often escape your wrath only to come and gank you for an easy kill when you’re already near death from another opponent or something. That’s the way Rogues work, it’s not that the players are bad at PvP or that they don’t have the balls to stand toe to toe with you, it’s that they’ve embraced who and what their class really is and used their strengths against you.

Rogues are a force to be reckoned with in PvP from level 10 all the way through 85. When you come across a bad Rogue, you know it. When you come across a really good Rogue, you know that too. Most of the good Rogues out there are good because they’ve taken the time to learn how to utilize their abilities and maximize their performance. As I said before, you’ll get out of twinking your Rogue what you put into it. You can be the easy Rogue and gank those 400 health clothies, or you can be a friggin’ ninja and combine your damage, survival, and CC abilities to destroy healers and plate wearers pushing 3,000 health.

The Arena Grand Master

The best twink trinket for low levels is the Arena Grand Master. More than any other item, the AGM marks a character as a serious twink, having put in the days, weeks, or even months to get an absurdly powerful trinket for low-level PvP. Anyone can get the Inherited Insignia of the Alliance. Only twinks consider getting the AGM.

In order to complete it, you need to loot 12 (that’s twelve) Arena Master trinkets from the Arena Treasure Chest dropped by Short John Mithril in the Gurubashi Arena in The Cape of Stranglethorn. Every three hours, this crazy goblin comes and drops a chest of loot on the floor of the arena.

So you have 8 chances each day to try to win the Arena Master trinket. That’s the good news.

The bad news is, well, pretty bad.

The first part of the bad news is that the Gurubashi Arena floor is a free-for-all area. As soon as you step foot down there anyone can, and will, attack you. This means competition between twinks can be quite fierce.

The second is that there are two achievements based on getting the Arena Grand Master, so endgame characters will be trying for it, too.

The combination of these two issues makes getting the Arena Grand Master a challenge if you don’t have a guild who can help you out. (And even if you do have a guild like that, it’s still a challenge.)

But overcoming challenges is what playing a twink is all about.

I learned a lot during my quest to get the Arena Grand Master.

  • Park your toon in the Arena, preferably by Short John Mithril. This way you don’t have to corpse-run your way back into the Arena every time you want to check.
  • Check every three hours you’re available. If level 85 characters are there, you can try to strike a deal with them – or ninja the trinket. Log out if you know it’s hopeless.
  • Even if you’re late, check to see if the chest is still there. I would often forget and check in at five or ten past the hour, and discover no one had taken the chest yet. Once, I logged in 45 minutes late and still got it!
  • Be friendly. You’ll get to know a lot of the twink players and guilds on your server when farming the AGM, and often they’ll help you out after their current project is over. You’ll also get a chance to see how they act. Smart twink guilds don’t let their players act like jerks in the Arena, because it’s prime recruiting grounds for new twinks.
  • You can ninja the trinket away from higher level characters. Wait until they are in combat with another player and see if you can get over to the chest without them stopping you. Another favorite tactic is to let yourself be killed, then resurrect right on top of the chest.
  • The Arena Master trinket is Bind on Pickup, so you have to accept the binding to loot it. Be ready for this. Have your mouse in the right spot to click “Yes,” and spam that click. Don’t be caught unprepared – autoloot should be on, and you should click that button.
  • Pick your times wisely. I found I had great success logging in right as I was logging in for work – 9AM on weekday mornings – and then again at lunchtime or mid-afternoon. Others swear by the 3 and 6 AM slots, but my sleep schedule doesn’t allow me to do those. By contrast, Friday at 9PM would be a madhouse in the Arena, and was best served by bringing lots of guildies.
I remember my very first Arena Master, and how impressed I was that I finally got something out of that chest! Then the sinking feeling hit – I was going to have to do it many, many times.

Eventually, though, you get the 12 Arena Master trinkets and can turn them in to the crazy goblin for an exceptional piece of work – 120 extra health, and a bubble that absorbs 2000 damage. It’s pretty awesome.

But then your work is only partly done, because you’ll probably want a second one. If you’re Human, you definitely the second one, and even if you’re not, you still probably still want it for when your PvP trinket is on CD. And for walking around your home city, because an extra 240 health is really cool at level 19.

Getting the AGM seems hard at first, but it’s relatively easy once you get started. It’s a big task, and it requires commitment, but it’s not difficult per se. It just requires dedication and persistence.

If you haven’t tried for the Arena Grand Master before, I recommend you try it. It’s an interesting, unique experience in WoW, and one worth having.

Good luck.