Newbie Guide to World of Warcaft

Written by and Copyright 2004 Byron "Messiah" Mudry and Thurston

"Ratboy" Hillman

Currently under exclusive use by World of Warcraft @ TenTonHammer

1 - Introduction

2 - Classes + Races

3 - Skills + Spells

4 - Interface

5 - Moving

6 - Quests

7 - Economy

Chapter 1 - An Introduction or "What is a MMORPG?"

Warcraft is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game).
What does that mean? Well in the simplest form a MMORPG is a game
where you get to control a character through a very long period of
time, similar to traditional role playing games. Your character will
grow, progress and change as you play.

What is a long period of time? Well that all depends on how much and
how often you play. Essentially though, many hundreds of hours to
reach maximum level. This is a much longer time frame than the normal
computer based RPG where the game is normally meant to be completed in
40-100 hours. A MMORPG takes much longer to complete, especially since
the developer will constantly be adding new content and quests to the

In a MMORPG your character advances in several ways (primarily levels
and professions) which we will discuss in depth later. You play this
character, levelling him/her up, gaining skills and attributes, getting
new equipment, and becoming much stronger. You accomplish this by
defeating enemies and completing quests. In the begging you can do
this on your own. As you progress through the game you will find that
you need to form groups or join guilds to progress through more
difficult quests.

Chapter 2 - Classes + Races

What are classes? Classes determine what your character is like in the
game. The general category of skills that they are good at. For
example warriors are good at combat, priests are good at healing, etc.
There are exceptions to the basic rule, for example a priest
specializing in shadow skills can cause massive damage against enemies.

World of Warcraft has many choices for your character class. They are:
Paladin, Rogue, Hunter, Druid, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Warlock, and
Warrior. But what class should you play you ask? That really depends
on what you like to do.

Do you like getting in there and mixing it up in combat? Then the
Warrior and Rogue are your main two choices, with the Paladin, Hunter,
Druid and Shaman as backup choices.

Do you like sitting back and casting spells and supporting the party?
Then the Mage, Warlock and Priest are your primary choices, with the
Druid and Shaman as backup choices.

Want to be able to do a little bit of everything, mix it up in combat,
and sit back to support? Then your primary choices should be the
Paladin or Shaman.

For complete character class guides check out our class listing href="
display&ceid=11&bid=42&btitle=Resources&meid=4"> here, or head
over the the Blizzard WoW character site href=""> here.

Ok so you have done your research and decided on a class. Now what?

You now need to pick a race. This is mainly based on personal choice,
but each race does limit your class, and does provide some bonuses to
specific classes by advancing certain attributes. You should select a
race that you like that allows the class you want to play.

Race information can be found in our race guide href="
display&ceid=9&bid=42&btitle=Resources&meid=3"> here or at
Blizzards WoW site href=""> here.

Chapter 3 - Skills + Spells

Skills and spells are the special abilities and combat moves that a
character learns as they progress through their class. skills and
spells are generally learned through your class trainer and cost a
specific amount of money. This amount goes up related to your level,
so purchasing new spells and abilities can be a significant challenge
at later levels.

Skills and spells are made up of a few elements, generally a
description, a casting or usage cost, an activation time and a cool
down time.

Some skills are easy to understand and use, while other require careful
practice to get the most out of. Some skills work well alone, other
require interaction with other abilities to get the most out of. This
is all part of the fun and challenge of the game. If you find some
special combination or are looking for help on the best usage of a
specific skill or spell check out's general WoW
discussion forum href="
m&f=1&sid=b283de080783cd2f14ed3dd650574dd6"> here.

Different classes use different forces to cast spells or use skills.
Warriors for example use rage to use their skills. Rage is built up by
causing and receiving damage and builds over time in combat. Mages
use mana to cast spells and this is regenerated slowly over time or
quickly by drinking a mana potion. Rouges depend on energy which they
regenerate quickly once out of combat.

Most skills do damage or heal in direct proportion to their mana, rage
or energy cost; that is, the more expensive it is to cast, the better
it is. However, each spell is different. Each class has different
ratios of mana, rage and energy to spell effect.

Chapter 4 - Interface

The interface in World of Warcraft is really very simple. There is not
much to learn to play the game well. Your spells and abilities get
placed into a shortcut menu along the bottom of the screen so that you
can access them easily and quickly. You also have access to your
complete character information, spell information, talents, and more.
The interface is very clean with everything needed placed all along the
bottom of the screen.

Chapter 5 - Moving

One of the key points to WoW is movement, whether it be moving across an open field or navigating in a battle movement is important to getting anything done in WoW. Basic movement commands can be assigned through the program’s “Key Bindings” option, however the standard First Person Shooter “W.A.S.D.” patter is used as a base in WoW and improved upon.

Originally used by old First Person Shooter (FPS) players, W.A.S.D. is a very simple way to control movement. In WoW the W & S keys are used to control forward and backward movement while the A & D keys are used to turn from side to side, giving basic movement control of the character.

Most FPS players will immediately realize that A &D are normally used for strafing, however in WoW the side-step keys are Q & E, allowing left and right side-step movements for use in combats. This pre-defined control key is actually one of the better control systems out there and makes WoW a simpler game with easy to use controls.

Aside from standard movement, the most important movement command your character can learn to make use of is the jump command. Coming standard as the Space Bar on the keyboard, jumping can be used to get over obstacles or gaps and other hazards. Learning when and when not to use the space bar can become a great asset, so take some time to get a feel for how much distance you can get with a jump from your character.

Finally, remember the key to movement is to combine it with your skills to make the most effective combinations in combat. As a rogue you will learn that it is easier to side step around a stunned opponent to backstab him, then it would be to run fully around using the standard keys. Small things like this can make all the difference in World.

Chapter 6 - Quests

The first thing you will want to do in WoW is to start to collect some quests to complete. What you should look for is NPC's with a gold exclamation mark (!) over their heads. This is a NPC with a quest for you. All you need to do is walk over to the NPC and talk to them to gain the quest. It will be added to your quest log (on of the buttons along the bottom of the screen). When you complete the quest, head back to the NPC and they will have a gold question mark (?) over their head. When you talk to them this time, you will be rewarded with experience, money and potentially even items and additional quests.

You can only have 20 ongoing quests at a time so do not leave them for two long. If you need to drop quests, the original NPC will give it to you again when you visit them later.

When you look at your quest log you will notice that the quests show up in several colors: grey, green, yellow, orange and red. Some quests will also have elite listed after them in brackets.

The color symbolizes the ease of completing the quest and the expected reward. Most quests that you can complete solo will show up as green in color. You may also be able to complete yellow or orange quests solo, but they will be more difficult. You should avoid trying to solo red quests as you are extremely unlikely to be able to.

As you gain experience and levels the quests you have will downgrade in color and become easier. So a quest you gain at level 10 that is red, my turn orange once you get to level 12, and yellow at 14. As the quest becomes easier for you the experience reward goes down.

To complete orange and red quests you really need to form a group. This allows you to gain maximum experience from quests and progress quickly through levels.

The quests that display elite next to them symbolize quests where elite MOBs are likely to be encountered and should count as higher than normal difficulty. You should definitely not attempt an elite quest on your own.

Once a quest has been in your log uncompleted for a long time and you have gained many levels you may notice some quests turn grey. This means they are below your difficulty level and you will not gain much experience. Basically they are not worth doing any longer, unless you need them to work through a quest tree. A quest tree is a series of linked quests, where you need to complete them in order to access the next quest.

Chapter 7 - Economy

The economy in World of Warcraft takes root off a standardized currency, a currency that is quite simple to get the hang of. The “coinage” of WoW is divided into 3 different kinds of coin; copper, silver, and gold. Obviously copper pieces are at the bottom of the economical ladder, whilst gold sits high at the top. The breakdown for coinage in WoW is as follows:

1 silver = 100 copper

1 gold = 100 silvers = 10,000 copper

Whilst money is the currency of WoW and all things are bought using it, there are other items that drive the economy of WoW. Magical items and Trade Ingredients are other examples of things people will search out to make trade with. Most players only keep coinage on them to afford whatever services (gryphon flights, etc, etc) they require and any remaining coinage is to be spent on the “prettier” things in life, such as magic items and trade items.

A lot of people consider Trade Professions simply a means of increasing your income, however these extra abilities add a sort of personalization to the game, and if you have a piece of an item someone needs you can make tons of coin off it. Just ask any gnomish engineer who’s wanted to build a mechanical squirrel for himself!

Just remember that gold isn’t everything in WoW. Having a good time and making new friends and enemies is all part of the fun of playing in an MMORPG. WoW is not like some game where “he who has the most wins”, it is a game where you can come on whenever you have time and get in some good times of fun!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.