Twinking Is Just Another Form Of Cheating
It’s pretty hard to deny it. When you twink, you cheat. The concept of supplying another character (even your own) with cash and equipment is certainly not within the spirit of MMORPGs and gives you an unfair advantage over other players. In essence, the character you are playing has not legitimately earned the items they are wielding or the money in their pocket and that’s cheating.
Twinking was a concept born in the early days of MMOs and particularly revelant to games like Everquest in which there was no such thing as level restrictions on items. It was not uncommon – in fact, it was probably commonplace – to see level 1 characters running around wielding huge glowing swords and top of the range armour, being nigh but invincible to every creature of their own level. The only thing stopping these players, these twinkers, from becoming GodKings amongst men was the damage caps developers placed on certain level ranges. This curbed the benefit of twinking slightly, but only slightly, and it was often funny to watch a player level out of a damage cap range and suddenly output several times more damage than before.
Level restrictions on items (which I believe were introduced with Dark Age of Camelot) where a clever and reasonable solution to the problem of twinking although it’s never solved it completely. Different games have different limitations but all offer enhanced benefits to those able to afford to equip the most potent items they can. Ultimately though, twinking a character still offers huge and undeinable benefits, especially in anything PvP related.
So does it matter that twinking is the act of passing money and goods between characters on a single account? No. It’s a slippery slope after all. Is it OK for me to twink my new alt? What about if my wife gave me some gold? How about if my buddy at work decided to give me some gear? What then if my new guild happened to have a ton of loot for me? Why then shouldn’t I just buy some gold from my friendly Chinese salesman?
Twinking is cheating, just like buying gold is. In fact, it destroys virtual economies and worlds in more ways than gold farming ever could. It hikes up the demand for items, it creates unfair advantages in PvE and PvP, it makes it harder for new players to compete and, more than anything, it encourages our need for gold. If gold buyers are drug addicts, then twinking is the drug.
But maybe we should be asking the question “if it’s OK to twink, isn’t it OK to buy gold?”.
Anyhow, I’m off to twink my new Hunter alt in World of Warcraft to the hilt