This ‘ere is a guest post for Zug Gaming’s Help a Noob Day carnival. Thanks very much to Derek for asking me to contribute to the carnival; it’s a real pleasure. I hope this new player starter pack’s helpful to anyone just starting out on their adventures in World of Warcraft!
So I hear you’ve just created your character and watched the introductory cinematic. You’ve heard the kindly voice condense your character’s racial history into a few minutes. The camera’ panned slowly down to you – your character, your Azerothian face in the game. Be it pointy eared, green and warty, or looking like it should be in a garden equipped with a fishing pole and curly hair instead of a dagger and a mohawk.
Whatever you’ve chosen, you’re here playing World of Warcraft, and are starting out on a grand adventure. But where do you start?
I’m not here to tell you what to do (although right clicking the guy in front of you with a yellow exclamation mark is a good place to start). This is your adventure, and your world to explore. I’m not going to know what quests you take up or what pitfalls of gameplay you need help with, unless I’m watching over your shoulder (I’m not).
But what I can do is give you a bundle of resources to help you make sense of Azeroth by yourself and at your own pace. And I mean at your own pace: this post is long and meant as a flick-through pack to find what you need when you’re on the run from the troggs and trolls.
Oh, and before I forget: Welcome to the game, I hope you have a blast.
Topics we’re looking at here (scroll down to find what you need):
Making sense of items and quests
Dungeons, other palyers and manners in WoW
Making gold in WoW
If you’re just getting started then you’ve probably already seen the WoW site, and seen that it’s big n’ sprawling. Let’s start by pulling out a couple of useful sections of the site like the How To Play guide, which introduces you to the first stages of the game and concepts like dying in game. It also has a glossary explaining some acronyms and game specific terms you’ll start seeing in chat channels.
You can also find the official WoW forums on the WoW homepage, although at the moment I’d recommend avoiding them as they’re fast paced and confusing. Exploring them is a quest to undertake when you’re more experienced with the game and at home with the social side of WoW.
It won’t be long before you’re ready to venture to other resources. There are plenty out there and your next port of call should be WoWInsider. It’s a huge site but don’t let that worry you; you can explore it at your own pace. For now, take a look at their rookie guide. Some of the posts you might find most useful to get you started are this one keyboard shortcuts, what talent points are and how to choose them, and what instances are.
Psynister’s Notebook is also a great resource for you. Psy focuses on helping you level and giving you some idea what to do as you explore Azeroth. Some of his best posts are this one on gathering professions, this on the first class that made him interested in WoW, and his notes on other players in low level dungeons. But if you’ve got specific questions that you can’t find answers to on his site then he’s very friendly and approchable.
Psynister’s Notebook is an example of a blog that might be useful to you. There are many other WoW blogs – not many of them focus on new players, but some of them sometimes talk to new players and give helpful tips or recommendations, like this post from Redhawk’s Gaze. Others focus on one class specifically, like Big Bear Butt for druids or PvE Rogues for rogues. Have a poke around in their archives and keep an eye out on their fresh articles, you might find something useful.
If you’re looking for a bit more detail or advice straight from other players fresh from the battlefield then try WoWWiki. It’s a wiki of all things WoW and is edited by players. For now, you might want to have a look round to get used to the site – perhaps start with their newbie guide. It’s particularly awesome and welcoming, and covers all manner of topics from identifying friendly and unfriendly units, to getting better, to practical tips for new players.
Making sense of items and quests:
Wait a minute I hear you cry, why am I doing this questing thing again? WoWInsider has an overview on that too, in their questing 101 guide.
If you’re running out of quests and don’t know where to find more or are stuck with your current quests, there are lots of resources to help you with questing. One of the most detailed and well written guide is James’ Levelling Guide. Psynister also has levelling guides aimed at each class, and WoWInsider have their own class-based guide. Both Psynister and WoWInsider update their information for different classes at different times, so have a look at both and see which fits you best.
In all cases I’d recommend trying to find your own way and using the guides just to get yourself unstuck, rather than following them to the letter.
World of Warcraft is a huge game and there’s a lot of items and quests to keep track of. If you’re stuck on a quest or you’re not sure what that do-hicky item in your backpack is for, then you can look it up at WoWhead. It’s a database of all quests, game characters and items, and each entry has details on where to find the quest or item, what to do, and discussion boards where players share knowledge about the quest or item in question. If WoWhead is down then Thottbot does a similar thing.
Dungeons, other players and manners in WoW:
You may see other players killing monsters near you as you start questing in the zone you started in. At some point in your adventures you’re going to interact with other players – talk to them, group up with them to do hard adventures, maybe make friends.
Interacting with other players is a big part of the game, and it’s not hard to get the basics right. Apply common sense rules like not swearing, or not begging for help or money. The sort of way you’d mix with your friends or acquaintances in real life. Do that with players you meet and you’ll be off to a good start.
Once past the basic everyday manners, WoW does have some ettiquette that isn’t immediately obvious. Little things, like if someone else not in your group is about to hit a monster, don’t hit it before them; you’ll steal their kill and that’s counted as bad manners. Don’t panic, though! You’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly, and there are some resources out there to help you.
For example, if you group up with other people, particularly in dungeons, there are some specific behaviours about picking up loot. Happily Wowgrrl has a thorough guide right here, taking you through what to do and not do. Her Warcraft Looting Rules part one is a particularly fine introduction to the whole loot shenanigans.
There are a whole lot more tips you can get for how to behave in dungeons, too. It’s not all about the loot! People will react better to you in a group situation if you make an effort. WoWInsider has a great article which gets you started on how to be part of a group, and links you on to anything you need to know after that.
If, in time, you decide you want to interact with other players more often, you could join a guild. There are lots of ways to go about this. The first time I joined a guild happened because I met someone while I was questing on my first character and they kindly invited me to their large, social guild. WoWGrrl has something to say on finding guilds, too, so go check it out and keep it in mind for later. If you’re feeling up for a challenge you could use the new LookingForGuild website here, which lets you browse through increasing numbers of guilds. You’ll need to search for guilds on your own server, and it’s best to go for a guild that sounds right for you rather than the first one you see, but once you’ve found a guild it can be like a home.
Wait? What are addons? I’m a new player!
No wait, come back, I’m not trying to overcomplicate things and make you run away in terror. I’m just going to suggest a couple of small programs you can download from a safe source that you save and unzip/extract into your WoW > Interface folder. It’s a small annoyance to do, but the benefit is that once you have the addons they will improve your gameplay.
There are a lot of addons out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by them. For now, let’s take a look at just a couple to get you going:
- Acronym guide – when someone uses an acronym in chat this addon will turn the acronym into a link which you can click on or mouse-over to see an explanation of the acronym. Very useful if you’re not up on your 1337speak and trust me, no-one would blame you if you’re not.
- NeedToKnow – this will allow you to keep track of abilities of a short duration. When you start playing a new class it can be hard to work out what abilities you need and when. Once installed, NeedToKnow will put a box on your screen that allows you to watch times for any abilities you want. The box has several lines, if you right click on one of them you get an options menu where you need to set the ability’s name and whether it’s a buff or debuff (the tooltip on the ability in your spellbook should say). You can also customize the box in other ways, like giivng each line a different colour so it’s easier to see. Once you’ve finished setting up the abilities you want to track, type /needtoknow again and the box will disappear – it’s ready and will reappear when you use one of the abilities you’ve set it to watch.
Making gold in WoW
The currency in WoW is gold, with the smaller denominations of coins being silver and copper. At low levels you’ll not have much gold but with a bit of trial and error you can start earning some gold. Having some spare cash will prove useful as it’ll let you buy new spells from your trainer, new equipment from the auction house, and mounts later on in the game.
Some people view making gold as a minigame within WoW. It doesn’t matter if you do or not, but the fact that they do means that there are plenty of resources out there for making gold. One of the best resources is the website Just My Two Copper, run by Markco. Have a look around his site: he posts gold making tips daily. He has some good advice for new characters, particularly this one on auction house basics, and this one on making gold when you enter a city.
If the idea of gold sounds good but you’re still not sure how to get it, you can also check out Lazy Sniper’s guide on The Art of Gold Making. It’s in two parts but the first one on getting started is here.
Well, there we go. We’ll stop there just in case your head is spinning. Don’t worry if it is – that’s no surprise, this is a lot to take in. You don’t need to remember it all at once, just think of this resource as a list you can refer back to as you’re learning.
Is there any topic you’ve come across while starting to play that I’ve not covered here, and you really wished I had? Or do you have any questions about any of these links, or anything I’ve said? If your answer to any of those questions is a resounding YES! then drop me a comment at the end of this post and I’ll do my best to help.
Has this article gathering the best links for you been useful? I’m glad! You might also like MMO Melting Pot, where we gather the best blog posts from WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you. Usually we focus on opinion related articles rather than factual links like here, so if you like what you see of the World… of Wacraft and want to immerse yourself more in it come on over and see what other players are saying about Azeroth.