Tag Archives: Mage Twinks

The Twink Graveyard

Leaving Teldrassil after a long day of herbing.

Cynwyn, the mage pictured above, was my very first twink.  I had an absolute blast leveling her up through Elwynn and Westfall, and given how much fun I’d had with that, I decided to try my hand at twinking on a mage.  I froze her XP and worked on gearing her up.

We had some fun, she and I.  Not a lot of fun – mages are actually pretty frustrating to play at level 19 – but some fun.  Not as much fun as I had while leveling her up.  Leveling was cool.  Slowing FCs and trying to polymorph everything in sight while not getting killed?  Less fun.

And dungeon runs with her were painful.  I’ve mage tanked SFK (though not with the style and finesse of Psynister) because the quality of tanks is so variable in low level LFD.

I lost a lot of fights in Warsong Gulch with her – I think I went 6/20?  She was really well geared, though not quite as well geared as Cynderblock (who could run dungeons to her heart’s content.)

So, not very much fun, after all.

What do you do when a twink stops being fun?  You’ve put a lot of time and effort into making them great.  This isn’t just about twinks, by the way, but for any character — twinks just have more effort and gold poured into them at a specific level than others.  (All those bandages ain’t cheap!)

I suppose if I’d been having more fun with Cynwyn, leveling her would have been an option.  I took my banker — who was a level 19 rogue twink — and leveled her when I decided I wanted her to have better professions.  I’m having fun leveling a rogue.

But I wasn’t having fun, so I deleted Cynwyn.

Deleting characters is really liberating.  Every character has something unfinished about them.  At the endgame it’s a perpetual grind, but at least you know what you’re getting into when you hit the level cap.  Leveling characters have a lot of things to finish up — quests, getting decent gear (not even BiS, just decent), and the process of leveling itself.  All of these can be enjoyable if you have fun playing the toon.

But if you don’t have fun anymore?  Rid yourself of the obligation.

I hadn’t finished gearing up Cynwyn, nor Cynwagon, my hunter twink.  They both got deleted.  Cynwine, the warlock?  Gone.  My level 64 druid, Cynli?  Also gone.  I have one left, Cynderblock, the warrior, and she does both PvE and PvP.

It’s good to roll lots of alts.  It’s good to experience other classes, to see how they work, to see if they are a good fit.

But it’s also good to have focus.  To work on one thing at a time.  Trying to manage 4-5 twinks was too distracting, too much competition for attention.  I can look at Cynderblock and go: okay, you need a hat (done), a ring upgrade, faction change for another ring upgrade and a shield, and then the AGM trinket.  That’s all that’s left.

I have no regrets about deleting Cynwyn, or any of the others.  I thought I would at first, but the regrets never came.  Instead, I have a nice, clean login screen with space and only a few projects to work on.  Work on my main, my twink, or my bankers?  That’s all I have left.   And that makes me happy.

So, thank you, Cynwyn, for getting me into twinking.  I’m grateful, and hope you enjoy your well-earned rest.

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Fire vs Frost is the Wrong Question

So Cynwyn is in Shadowfang Keep, right? She’s spamming Frostbolts and her DPS is really sucking. I mean, say what you will about DPSers looking at Recount in the middle of a fight, but really, the tank shouldn’t be out-DPSing me here. I’m like, listen, little Frost Mage, have some Mage pride and do some damage, and she’s all, I’m casting them as fast as I can, STOP JUDGING ME. And I’m all, cast faster! And she’s all, you didn’t give me Improved Frostbolt, so unless someone pops Heroism, this is as good as it gets.

No, really. Don’t you have these conversations with your characters? No?

Hmmm. Likely story.

So I start searching around for something to make up for Frostbolt’s dismal performance. Arcane Missles are there, but they suck mana like blood elves at a mana picnic. Fire Blast has too much of a CD, but wait… didn’t I use to have something that hurled big balls of fire… I’ve got that mapped somewhere, right? On the … T key? Odd. Why is it over there? Let’s give it a try.

Woah. Boom! Heh.

Suddenly, the worgen were dying a LOT faster. Wow. Those Fireballs might have been slow, but they sure packed a wallop. Cynwyn’s DPS soared along with her renewed Mage pride, and she was gracious enough to not call me a noob.

There was an important lesson in that episode for me, and it wasn’t just that Fire burns. It was that I’d brought a concept from later in the game — talent tree specialization — and applied it waaay to early. Level 19 is too soon to have invested enough points in any tree to have picked up their defining features.

Furthermore, a leveling character is working towards a specialization and doesn’t want to respec every few levels to optimize for this set of abilities. A twink, however, has her full set of abilities right now, and will never get past the second level of talents.

In other words, a leveling character is looking down the talent tree, picking some goals and working towards them. A twink needs to look across the trees at just the first two rows and take those talents that suit their current roles. The view must be horizontal, not vertical.

So my real mistake was thinking Cynwyn was a Frost Mage. She’s not. She’s a Mage. Period. Frostbolts, Fireballs, Arcane Explosions — I have to start using all the tools available to me and not get stuck in an endgame mindset. Just as there are no Destruction or Demonology Warlocks at this level, the Frost, Fire, and Arcane labels do not apply yet.

I started experimenting on that SFK run with spells I didn’t use that often. For AoE mobs, hitting them with Arcane Explosion until my mana ran low, followed by a Frost Nova and hasty retreat, gave me huge DPS numbers on trash mobs. (It also left me /oom, but it was worth it.) Arcane Missles or Fire Blast worked well on mobs who were dying quickly, and Fireballs were the way to go on bosses. Frostbolts – especially level 1 Frostbolts – were great for stopping runners.

When I teleported out of that dungeon, my first stop was to the Mage trainer to unlearn my current talent build and look at the trees, sideways. I’m not sure if I’m happy with the build I have right now (2/2 Improved Fire Blast, 3/3 Frostbite, 2/3 Ice Floes, 3/3 Permafrost) but I’ll take her back in to the Gulch and let you know how it works out. I want to see if Permafrost is as potent as I think it is.

And as for Fireballs?

Expect to see a lot more of them in the future.

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Mage Gear: Spidersilk Drape

I’m about 2/3s of the way complete gearing up Cynwyn in BiS or near-BiS gear. The great thing about building a twink is that the gear grind ends, eventually. There is a finite amount of gear available for your level, and it changes very infrequently.

(It will be interesting to see what Cataclysm does to current twinking equipment. Kinda exciting, actually!)

There are three recent changes to gear that mages will be interested in: new Spidersilk tailoring patterns, heirloom items, and rewards from the daily random dungeon satchel. Any guide that doesn’t take these into account is outdated.

I’ve noticed as I look at various twinking gear lists that though there are some slots with clear BiS items, there are others where it’s not so clear. Just because someone puts together a list and puts it on the internet doesn’t mean you’re excused from using your grey matter.

I’m just saying!

So, instead of throwing up a gear list at the start, I’m going to talk about why I’m choosing certain items, and then see how the gear list looks at the end.

I talk a lot about stat priority on CBM, but gear at level 19 is much more simply (and poorly) itemized than at level 80. Just because something has worthless stats doesn’t mean it’s not BiS for a lot of classes, and Spidersilk Drape is definitely one of those items. It’s long, it’s blue, it has Stamina, and it has Hit. Sexy, sexy Hit, which is so very rare at this level. This easily-available crafted cloak is good for offensive casters, rogues, hunters… Well, I can say that it’s good for them, but I don’t really know.

I worry sometimes about my devotion to the Church of Hit. The chance to miss someone of equal level in WoW is 4%, or about the same as rolling a 1 on a 20-sided die. To be safe in PvP you should have a little extra to counter elven racials and class abilities. I don’t think any if those class abilities are even available at level 19, so Alliance casters and Horde melée classes need 6%, while everyone else just needs 4%. And this one cloak supplies about half of what you need.

So, if you’re like me and subscribe to the philosophy that Hit outweighs every other stat until you reach the cap, then Spidersilk Drape is clearly BiS. If there were enough items in other slots with Hit, you might be able to swap this out for the cloak that comes as a reward for the new LFG random dungeon Satchel of Helpful Things, which swaps out Hit for Intellect.

But since there’s not a lot of Hit to go around, I feel pretty comfortable going with Spidersilk Drape for my mage’s cloak.

Holy moly. I hope I don’t have a post to write about every. single. piece. of gear. We’ll never finish if I do!

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Mage Twink Introduction: Cynwyn

Welcome to Green Tinted Goggles. I’m Cyn, of Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual.

I started this weblog as a separate place for me to document my adventures in twinking. Over the course of my PvP experience I’ve come to really respect the attitudes of some of the twinks I’ve met, and I also enjoy the prospect of having characters who aren’t part of the gear grind. One level 80 main is enough. Seriously.

I decided to go with a separate site, even though this is still about PvP in the World of Warcraft, because twinking is a very personal effort. I try to write CBM to be broadly applicable. The posts that I envision here are more like journal entries, which – while interesting to some, I hope – I’m not going to even try to make universally appealing. This is a journal of someone trying to make some twinks.

Also, I should mention that I only have the vaguest clue what I’m doing. On CBM I write what I know. Here, I’m writing about what I’m figuring out.

With that in mind, let me introduce my first twink, Cynwyn, a level 19 Frost Mage. Cynwyn is the third Mage I’ve played. Her name comes from my current naming convention on Durotan, where all my public alts start with Cyn-, and my very first character, Danwyn, rolled on Vek’nilash all those moons ago. (It helps that Cynwyn is a legitimate Anglo-Saxon name, too.)

I know there’s a lot of supposed rivalry between Mages and Warlocks, but if you let something like that stop you from trying new things, I don’t know what to tell you. Wait, yes I do: don’t. Because you might find you really like those things.

Such was the case on my return to magery. It was prompted by two posts on leveling a Mage: one by Christian Belt, and the other by Jason Griffith (@psynister). These articles really presented the Mage as a fun class to play, and since I’m a big fan of fun, I rolled ‘wyn.

I was not disappointed. I loved playing a Mage. I sent her several heirloom items to make the early levels fly by, and fly by they did. Here’s what I sent.

The rest I filled in with vendor whites and them crafted gear. Cynwise, my main, is a tailor, so it was trivial to make some cloth off-pieces to round out the outfit. My basic thought was to stack Spellpower whenever possible, then Intellect, then Stamina. Some Hit is always good, but hard to find at these levels. I have mixed trinkets for three reasons: getting Health back is always good, Haste is almost always good, and while I gave two melée trinkets, I only have the one caster one right now.

Leveling ‘wyn was a real pleasure. I found the Mage much easier to play the third time around, especially since I’m able to move around much more fluidly than my first clumsy attempts. My growth as a player was really apparent in the ease with which I burned up those first 15 levels. What took me days only took a few hours, at best. It really was a lot of fun.

I pretty much followed all of Psynister’s advice with respect to talent builds, glyphs, and rotations, so I’ll just point you over there for more info.

I started playing WSG around level 15 and adored it, to the point of deciding to stop once I hit level 19. And that’s where the story really begins, because while leveling gear is very, very good for leveling, it’s less good for twinking.

More on that in the next installment.

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