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Beginners Guide: Combat

Posted Wed, May 05, 2010 by Xerin

Combat in World of Warcraft is something that starts off very simple and slowly works its way up to being a bit complicated by the end of your leveling adventures. This is advantageous to you because it gives you a lot of time to learn the ropes and puts no pressure at all on your shoulders until you’re ready for a challenge. With this in mind it’s important not to stress too much about battling your enemies. You’ll be slaying enough foes that you’ll find yourself an expert in no time.

So let’s get started with learning the ropes before we move on to advanced techniques.

The Basics of Combat

Combat is very simple. If you’re new to roleplaying games then it might be a bit confusing, but I promise you its very simple. You have a ‘pool’ of ‘hit points’ or HP. This is your life force and determines if you’re alive or dead. If your HP ever reaches 0 then you’ll die (don’t worry, it’s not that bad) while if you lower your enemy’s HP to 0 then you win the battle and will collect your spoils from them.

HP can be lost in combat but it can also be recovered by heals from many different classes along with some class-specific self heals along with potions. It can be recovered outside of battle with food or bandages (from the First Aid profession). You’ll also slowly regenerate any health lost from battle whenever you’re not in combat. So don’t fret if you take a bit of a beating from a battle.

Actual fighting is pretty simple. You’ll be pitting your skills vs. the skills of your enemy. You’ll find that you have a set of skills on your action bar when you first start the game (see our Interface guide for more information on its default location). You’ll want to target an enemy and then use these skills in order to defeat them. Be careful, skills do use up your resources (Mana/Rage/Energy/Runic Power dependent on the class) so you’ll want to be conservative. However, auto attack doesn’t use anything (unless you’re a Hunter in which case it’ll consume arrows in order to use your Bow/Gun/Crossbow).

To find out more about how your class fights you’ll want to read the appropriate class guide for your class. Click here to see a listing of all of our available class guides.

If you’re having trouble grasping the basics then be sure to read the tutorial blurbs that first popup when you start the game. They’ll give you a ton of information about all of this.

Not All Enemies Are Created Equally

Not every enemy is the same nor can you take on any enemy that you see and be successful. You can only take on enemies that are near your level (see our Interface section of our Beginners Guide to find out where your level and your enemy’s level is represented). Your success against an enemy can be entirely dependent on how close you are to your enemy’s level.

Remember some enemies are elites, in which case you may need friends to take them down.

If you are below their level (and their level shows red) then you’ll likely lose. That’s because the enemy is way more powerful than you. If they’re a little bit above your level (orange) then you’re going to have some trouble and probably be exhausted after a fight. If they’re at your level (yellow) then you’ll have an easy time taking them out, but you’ll probably need to rest after a few battles. If they’re below your level (green) then they’re going to be a cake walk. If they’re way below your level (gray) then you can take them on without breaking a sweat, but you won’t gain experience from killing them.

Experience and Loot

When you kill an enemy you’ll be given experience (as long as they are close to your level) and loot. You can gain this loot by right click the enemy’s corpse. Not every enemy gives loot, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see loot from certain enemies. You can find the loot you’ve collected in your bags.

You collect experience in order to level up. Every time you level up you’ll become more powerful, are able to take on higher level enemies, and can purchase new skills.

Using and Gaining Skills

You’ll be introduced to your skill trainer as you level up in the starting area. Skill trainers are also available in every capital city (just ask a guard for directions). You can buy skills from the skill trainer to use in combat. You’ll find these skills in your spellbook (see our Interface section of the Beginners Guide to find the spellbook and your action bar). Just simply drag them to your action bar and you’ll be able to use them. It’s important to use the right skills in battle which is why you should read our class guides for more information.

Additional Information

Now that you know the basics then it’s time to start reading up on more complex battle tactics. Our Class Guides have information custom tailored to your class. They’re a great resource for everything relating to combat with your class. 

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