To Twink, or Not To Twink…

Posted by on September 19, 2009 - No Comments »

Is cheating really the question?

Call it timing, call it happenstance or co-inky-dink but I received an email from CCP at the same time of reading both Tobold’s blog, OF Teeth and claws and We fly spitfires articles on twinking. I received an email from CCP, who are holding a “Power of Two” sale running until October 13th offering players with an existing EVE Online account the opportunity to have the second alternate (alt) account or “twink” as some would call it. I would pay $50 for 6 months of EVE for that second account, making that $8.33 for an EVE subscription that usually costs me $35 for two plexes. A Pilot License Extension enables 30 days of EVE playtime, bought sold on the in game market for Isk or $35 for a pair, meatspace money.

For me it’s very attractive, I get double the strength of a second player controlled by yours truly. Would it be considered cheating is sent by the company itself? The second account is something that is accepted widely in game, and sometimes people are surprised when I say I don’t have one. The only reason I haven’t is because I don’t know if my rig can handle two EVE client’s running and was working on a second unit or laptop to make this possible. That is neither here nor there.

A member of my corp told me the proper way of “leveling” my alt’s skills. First off you don’t need to be logged in to have the skills tick off, that’s done over time. That is a bonus; I don’t even need to play the character to advance it. But the trick is to install something called “Cybernetic Implants” to raise the statistical bonuses in order to learn skills faster. Then after those are “plugged in” then buy him the learning skills only and train those all to level 4. This is making a total of 8 learning skills that also boosts the stats in order to learn skills faster; on top of the initial 900,000 skill point 100% training bonus applied to the already beefed up stats. Bottom line, I could learn what it takes days in a matter of hours.

Is that twinking? Totally.

Is that cheating? Absolutely not.

Who will be paying for it all? Me.

Now here’s the twist: I will buy two PLEXs, start a second account, use one to extend my playtime into the month of November. I would sell the other for the market rate of 300,000,000 million isk. Yes, they are worth that much. And I will give all that money to my alt so he could have money to buy any skills and ships needed. By the way, I would roll a Caldarian, I wish I rolled that from when I started instead I rolled a Minmater. This opportunity will enable me to undo most of the mistakes I made when I started out as a newbie EVE player.

Some of the mistakes I made as a newb:

Hodge podge training: “Oh, will train for this ship. Oh, I want that ship. Oh, I need to learn Retail III for my trading. Darn I need to train mining for this stupid mission…” Etc, etc. Secondly, I had no idea what I was doing nor had some of the tools I use now such as EVEmon and the EVE fitting tool. Both of these have become part of my everyday plan of playing EVE and have helped me out enormously.

Let’s look at the tail of the tape. I use third party programs to “help” me play EVE. I will use my own money to “help” my new character along in his development and in turn this Alt character will “help” my main character. I will also use meatspace money to finance both characters and continue to do so. This is all in order to “help” my EVE gaming experience be more fun, enjoyable and (gasp!) easier. Heaven’s forbid that I even make an MMORPG easier on myself. I should be walking uphill to school barefoot even though there is a bus at the corner and I own a car. Some people just like doing things the hard way in order to 1) brag and 2) show other people up; three things I just I don’t like to do.

Have I cheated CCP or other players to any extent? All these mechanics are provided by the company themselves and widely used and accepted by other players. It will suck for the pirate that tries to can flip my little alt when I uncloak my raven on him. That’s right!

Going back to a blog posted on The Ancient Gaming Noob (o/ hello) written about cheating. Some of the forms of cheating were using outside sources for information, using multiple character and outside sources of income. If these older statutes of gaming ethics where still employed then I should be blown straight out of New Eden because I am breaking numerous rules. However, these days the “gamer code of ethics” has evolved as much as the games themselves have. No longer is it all guesswork or trial and error. The community comes together to “help” each other in order to provide a better gaming experience. I applause that.

On the other hand, everyone has a different set of “gamer ethics” that they use while playing a game. Mine is was that I will not sell a PLEX for money and just rely on my real-life trading skills in order to fund my characters advancement. I have been wildly successful at it, so much so, as the corp employs me to sell off all the junk we get from missions and disperse the money to other corp members. Everyone is making money and having a great time so far.

I still will not use meatspace funded Isk to fund my main, there is no reason to, just for my alt. But I am slightly breakin’ my own code of ethics, my rationalization is that I am doing it once and after that my alt will have to become self sufficient. After all it will double my trading power and I will be able to make even more isk from trading by using two accounts. (Moar mMO’ Money! Muhhaahahaaaa!) Under no circumstances I will criticize someone else for using PLEX isk to either manage their account or buy an expensive ship or item, even before I have this second account I felt that way. It is my own code that I follow and am in no position to push that on someone else.

In conclusion to the twink issue, times have changed and some shortcuts have become the norm. Some have become widely accepted by the community and even become expected especially if endorsed by the company itself. Twinks also give players an opportunity to employ some of the knowledge that they didn’t have when they initially started. What I will say is that everyone is an individual and should be able to play their own style of game under their own code of ethics. If you have a set of ethics that you break rules that are detailed in the term of service you are due to get banned and have a bad game experience. There are some things that game companies just will not let you do. I feel that if any rule is written by the company is law, because their “code” is law. Lastly, if you have a code that enables you to use certain aspects of the game and not use some of the others available, that is also up to you.

Just remember, that is your code and your opinion, no one elses. I will listen to your opinion but not carry it; I have my own. I will observe you code of ethics, but not adopt it or judge it; I have my own.

If you think a “twink” is cheating then don’t create one.

Until then….

Play safe,

Frank