I haz WoW - whut neckst?
February 26, 2009 2:50 PM   Subscribe

A friend really wants me to get into World of Warcraft with him. My wife has graciously agreed. I know little to none about the game, never played an MMO before (RPG, yes, MMO, no). My friend plays Hoard characters. As a rank amateur, what do I need to know? Give me the works...
posted by Spyder's Game to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (29 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
First thing you need to know: It's "Horde", not "Hoard".


Have fun.
posted by Perplexity at 2:54 PM on February 26, 2009

ummmm...are you sure your wife gives you total freedom to be on the computer 24/7, because once you start playing it can be quite addicting. Just giving you a little warning to make sure you watch yourself. Speaking from real-life experience here.
posted by snoelle at 3:02 PM on February 26, 2009

Don't try to learn everything at once; there's a lot to take in if you haven't played an mmorpg before. I suppose some of it will just be different takes on conventions you might be familiar with from other rpgs, but it might still be overwhelming.

If at all possible, have your friend in the room with you the first few times you play. Things like "how do the hotkeys work?!", finding vendors, finding class trainers, navigating flightpaths, etc are so much easier when someone can just show you.

Have fun!
posted by Neofelis at 3:04 PM on February 26, 2009

Some resources:

wowwiki.com is the Wikipedia of Warcraft. Not always completely up to date, but very detailed.

wowhead.com is a great reference site. Virtually everything in the game is here, and it's very up to date. The comments on each page give a lot of useful details (e.g., how to complete a quest).

wowecon.com is one of the better sites for keeping track prices in the Auction House. The Auction House (or AH) is the main method of buying and selling goods in Warcraft. Knowing the going rates for equipment is the best way to make money.

wowinsider.com is a good site for daily news updates, including upcoming changes to the game.

Also, make sure your friend checks out the 'recruit a friend' promotion. You'll be able to gain experience faster, teleport to one another's location, and get other perks.

I recommend using the microphone support now built into Warcraft so that you can communicate more easily. If you don't have a microphone, get an inexpensive USB headset. It will make life easier.

Also, Warcraft can be dangerously addictive. As in lost jobs & divorces. Make sure you know what you're getting into.
posted by jedicus at 3:10 PM on February 26, 2009

wowhead.com is definitely a great resource, i find myself using it all the time, both when im online and when im out and about ill look something up on my phone

also, wow-loot.com is a good site

keep in mind that the info on blizz's site about the classes is out of date, definitely read about each class and race on wowwiki.com before committing.

being lvl 1, and your buddy 80, youre not going to see all the cool things he talks about.

if you do the recruit-a-friend program, you will BOTH level extremely fast. the flip side of that is you miss years of content. so if you do super speed level, make an alt to go back and enjoy the zones, there are some superb ones
posted by phritosan at 3:22 PM on February 26, 2009

Second thing you need to know is what class to play. What race you pick isn't a huge issue, but class is. I recommend not playing a hunter because, typically, they are a dime a dozen and it makes it harder for you to get into a 5-man group. Also, a full-time healer or tank would probably wouldn't be a good idea either.

I would recommend a rogue possibly since the class is relatively simple to play and has good group utility. A warlock might not be bad either. It would be more complicated but you'd level quickly and have good survivability.
posted by turbodog at 3:23 PM on February 26, 2009

Yes, another vote for "it will be addictive." For a while there, my partner was playing like 18+ hours a day. It just about caused a relationship crisis. So, my piece of advice is to set an alarm or something for WOW-free time.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 3:47 PM on February 26, 2009

Don't let the other players get you down. If you play the social side a lot (groups, raid, guilds), you'll likely meet some very interesting people. I used to regularly raid with a South African accountant (literally, in Johannesburg, while I'm in Vancouver) with multiple accounts and many high level characters--the only issue with him was that his grandchildren sometimes interrupted a raid with a request for more juice.

But you'll also meet the shutins for whom WoW is life, the misanthropes, and hordes of 13 year old kids talking trash and panhandling gold in Ogrimmar. Find a few good friends to hang out with, and don't sweat the morons, who are legion.

As for class, druids are pretty flexible, allowing you to play three ways: healer, tank, and rogue. You'll get to see what's possible and what you like, and additionally, druids are easier to play solo than many other classes, so you won't always be dependent upon others being around.

Oh, and consider making a female toon. You're always looking at your toon's ass while you play. My greatest regret was spending 70 levels staring at a male dwarf's ass. Now I stare at the ass of a beautiful female blood elf named Cloaca. Much better.
posted by fatbird at 3:51 PM on February 26, 2009

The above links are all good. You might also want to check out the wikipedia article on MMORPGs for general info and terminology. Your friend should be a good source of information as well. Definitely look into recruit-a-friend.

Be prepared to spend a couple hours a week playing at minimum if you want to get anything done. It takes a long time to level from 1-80 (though RAF will shorten that substantially).

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the WoW user interface is very customizable. There are hundreds of user created addons that you can use to modify the way it looks, add extra information, etc. Installing these can make a big difference to how the game plays. Curse is a good source for addons. You should consider getting either QuestHelper or Carbonite to make leveling faster (they tell you where to go to do each quest).

Enjoy! I've been playing WoW for four years and still find it lots of fun.
posted by pombe at 3:57 PM on February 26, 2009

You'll pick up the lingo as you go. I'd proceed cautiously and with care; as others have noted, it can become addictive.

I can honestly say that WoW is the very best MMORPG I have ever played. Turns out I don't really like MMOs. (A friend of mine bought me a copy and literally installed it on my computer for me while I was out of the house in order to get me to play with him. Then, being a complete addict, the character he made to "play with" me ended up about twice my level, because I could only sustain two or three hours at a time, and by the end I'd be pretty bored.) Still, I can see why it's appealing even if it doesn't appeal to me.

I would just like to make a note: if you're interested in the gameworld and your friend is pushing you to rush rush rush level level level, ignore him. Take your time. Stop and smell the imaginary flowers. There are some very cool moments and some interesting set pieces in the game, and it's very hard to really soak up the ambiance if you're being pushed to finish quests as quickly as possible. (Having a high level assist you will mean that you can tear through quests in about 1/10th the time, but you miss all the fun, in my opinion.)

You WILL need to network. That is, there is a limit to how much you can do alone. You need to have groups to accomplish a lot of the content, and if you don't have friends you can trust, you end up with the dreaded PUG (Pick Up Group) which can involve, um, suboptimal interpersonal relations. Find a guild (or join your friend's) and try to get to know people. It really is a social experience at its heart.
posted by Scattercat at 4:02 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

My recommendation would be to just take your time. Don't try to overdo it. The best way to learn about stuff is to just play. Create your toon, have fun with it. Perhaps try a few different ones until you find one you like.

Read up on the various classes and pick one that sounds like fun (druids and shamans are good all around characters, both allow you to do a little bit of everything). Explore the world, do only the quests that you find interesting (and the class quests, which are important), and don't try to do too much all at once. Spend time with your friend (it can be a very social and fun game if you play with friends), and don't hesitate to play the way YOU want to play - no need to listen to the assholes who will try to tell you how to play. Just mute/ignore anyone who is making your experience less fun.

WoW speak is pretty dense - it's like a whole other language. Don't worry, you will pick things up pretty quickly, just keep asking nicely what things mean, or look them up online.

I played very hardcore for about two years, and it was fun but not a good thing for my RL relationships. Now I just play when I want to, and I play only to have fun. I will say that it's a LOT more relaxing and fun if you don't get drawn into the intrigue and drama of guild progression and raiding - at least at first. Remember that it's a game! You are supposed to be having fun.
posted by gemmy at 4:07 PM on February 26, 2009

You don't need to know a lot going in; WoW has a very gentle learning curve and is a fun game to play for varying levels of skill, interest, and time.

The main non-obvious thing about WoW is that it's really three different games. There's the game you're going to see first, levelling up and exploring the world. After about 160 hours of gameplay you'll be at level 80. Then there's two other games you can play: PvE raiding in groups of 10 or 25 and PvP fighting in small teams or pick up groups. Don't worry about those endgame activities too much now, but it helps to understand where you're going.

My one bit of advice is to pick a character class that's flexible. You invest a lot of time in levelling up a character, so it's nice to go with a class that can be good at a variety of roles when you reach 80. Druids, paladins, shamans, and priests are all good choices for classes that can play a variety of roles. Warriors, rogues, warlocks, mages, and hunters are more limited in their roles in a group, although they're cool too.
posted by Nelson at 4:27 PM on February 26, 2009

Don't make your gracious wife regret it.
posted by you're a kitty! at 4:42 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Make sure you get on a PVP server because you're going to want to kill.

Go with druid, shaman, or priest for your first character. My personal favorites are resto druids and shadow priests, and if you roll one of those you'll almost always be wanted in a group.

Playing with friends is much more fun than playing alone, too. It's good you have someone to do it with. Grinding alone is possibly the worst thing in the world...

Also, WoW isn't worth it unless you sink a LOT of time into it. It's impossible to get tight gear without sacrificing a lot of your free time. Keep this in mind. It's easy to mindlessly run a dungeon over and over and over again until your blue or purple class specific piece drops and you just neeeed it because you're level 41 now and it'll be the best for at least 3 more levels and no honey I don't want to come to bed I know it's four AM I'll be there in a minute ok. It's easy to get sucked into your guild and be tied town for two or three nights a week because you agreed to raid. It's not so easy to drop the game and get out of the house.

Get addons! They make gameplay soooo much more enjoyable
posted by vas deference at 5:11 PM on February 26, 2009

Do yourself and your wife a favor.
Don't do it.

I played for almost two years, and my wife played too. I tried to quit a few times, and it was very difficult. One day, my hard drive crashed, and that turned out to be just what I needed to quit. (The game takes forever to install.) I could go a long long rant here, but you really don't want to play WoW. If you do, one day you'll quit. It might be years from now, but your life will improve dramatically and you'll wonder why you didn't quit sooner.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 5:32 PM on February 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

I started playing about a month and a half ago. I was worried that I would become obsessed and play 6 hours a day, but you know what, that didn't happen.

Two of my friends coerced me into playing, but they weren't by my side by any means. I started playing solo, and while the controls were a little daunting at first, they are easy to pick up.

Some things I needed guidance with:

1. Auctions
2. Dungeons
3. Armor and its attributes
4. Professions

Also, I always keep a web browser open with wowwiki.com on it. I search for maps of regions I'm unfamiliar with, monsters, anything that I encounter and am confused by. It's a great site.

Good luck!

-A level 21 human priest
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:32 PM on February 26, 2009

Take it slow, relax and enjoy it. Blizzard laid out the game really well so it introduces you to things on a "need to know" basis, so you're not bombarded with things all at once. They have a great sense of humor and there are lots of fun things in the game as well as the quests and fighting.

Play around with different toons before you really dedicate yourself to one. I started out with a druid, then went priest as my main and then later leveled up a warlock. I like them for different reasons and they play different roles in the group, so you may want to think about that when choosing.

Oh and if you're not into the Auction House part of the game and don't want to spend a lot of time making things to sell, go for gathering professions like mining and herbalism. Jewelcrafting was a big money maker for me, engineering, not so much, but a lot of fun. You can always change professions later once you've learned the game better.

Another thing about WoW is that you kind of have to make time to play. You really can't just sit down and play for an hour. I mean, physically, you can, but many of the quests are grouped in hubs where you can do a bunch at the same time, and quests where you have to get items that "drop" randomly can sometimes take much longer than you planned. Block out a few hours at a time to play and then stop - don't start playing at 10 pm when you have to be up for work at 6 am.
posted by NoraCharles at 6:42 PM on February 26, 2009

I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said, but here are my tips for starting World of Warcraft.

There are lots of classes to try, each has different spells and tricks, can do different things in different situations and has a different role when you work with other people. Don't worry about any of this stuff. When you start, pick something you like the look or sound of if you read the descriptions of what they are for. Classes generally go something like this:

Fighting types, swords, daggers, bows and arrows etc - Warrior, Rogue, Paladins.

Magic types, spells, summoned creatures etc - Mage, Warlock, Priests, Hunters

All around types, jack of all trades - Druids (I loved my druid when I played), Shamans and kinda Paladins.

They are the basic three categories, you can pick depending on what fantasy tricks you fancy playing.

Use WoWWiki as the wikipedia for World of Warcraft. There is such a stupidly large amount of information, but the game is designed so that with only a little light background reading, or even none at all, you can pick it up. Plus you have the help of a friend.

When you eventually pick your race and class and start playing the game, do exactly that. Play. Don't feel compelled to rush around just to catch up with your friend, there are so many cool quests to go on with great back stories, funny jokes and pretty cool events that are scattered everywhere. Play as many or as little as you like.

The game is designed magnificently, and I am already jealous as I type this of the fact that you will get to play it all with fresh eyes. The game designers subtley lead you on to the next areas when you are ready with quests, they might tell you to go to the next town to talk to a guy and before you know it, you are in a new part of the zone (or even new zone altogether!) with dozens of guys stood around with yellow quest !'s above their head. Don't feel compelled to do every mission you pick up, you can drop any you like if you don't want to do them or simply have too much to do. Big hint (and sort of cheat) - if you are stuck on a quest, make sure you read the quest text properly as they always give some sort of big clue where to go. If you can't figure it out then use Wowhead to find out what to do, they have every quest mapped out with clear instructions. Use at your peril, as you will use it more and more when you get stuck.

As you learn more and more, you might become more interested in add ons and maybe the huge backstory the game developers have created. All of the good sites have already been posted for this, just flick around and ask your friend, I am sure he will already know.

Good luck man, have fun and enjoy it, it is one of the best games I have ever played and I had such a good time on it.
posted by tumples at 8:00 PM on February 26, 2009

RE: vas deferens

I would actually heartily NOT recommend playing on PvP, especially if you're a neophyte. Few things ruin the beginner's experience more than being killed and corpse-camped by some asshole Level 80 when you don't have the resources or friends to do anything about it.

I know people who honestly prefer PvP, but I always loathed the experience, personally.
posted by Scattercat at 8:42 PM on February 26, 2009

My search of this page turns up nothing for 'addictive personality', so, if you have an addictive personality turn back. The formula for these games are so addictive that I can say from experience that it is psychologically addictive way beyond the point of anything that is healthy. People are lost to these games and they don't see anything wrong about staying up until 4 am playing every night. It should be taken as seriously as 'my friend is into heroin and wants me to get into it with him'. Seriously, why even risk what could happen over a game.
posted by GleepGlop at 8:43 PM on February 26, 2009

Don't play just for the endgame. Play for the rest of the content too. It's a great game, just don't take it seriously :)
posted by saturnine at 9:03 PM on February 26, 2009

If you're a casual player I would also avoid a PVP server, though presumably you'll be on whatever server your friend is on. I'm not that into PVP and just transferred off a PVP server when WOTLK came out. I'm much happier now that I don't have to worry that someone will kill me and camp me when I just want to do a quest in peace. I miss the adrenaline rush of it a bit but I still have raid tanking for that.
posted by pombe at 10:44 PM on February 26, 2009




posted by Who_Am_I at 6:44 AM on February 27, 2009

Make sure you get on a PVP server because you're going to want to kill.

I would avoid a PvP server. The difference between PvP and PvE is that, on PvP servers, you can't avoid it in many zones. You can still do more structured PvP on PvE worlds (battlegrounds, for instance), but what's missing is the most asshole part of the game, where you're trying to quest in some neutral zone and you're getting ganked by someone much higher level than you, or you go to turn in a quest and find some level 80 has wiped out all the NPCs.

Some people like that sort of thing. I don't, and you probably won't while you're levelling and learning the game. You can always transfer your character later to a PvP server once you're more interested in PvP than in levelling and raiding.
posted by fatbird at 9:05 AM on February 27, 2009

Maybe they've changed the rules recently, but you never used to be able to transfer a character from a PvE server to PvP. (I'm too lazy to look it up right now.)

Personally, I was much happier when I changed from PvE to PvP. It's more fun when you might get killed at any turn--and you might be able to gank an unwary opponent. I would sugest doing lots of battlegrounds to get good enough at PvP play that you can actually be successful at ganking enemies in your bracket.

As far as getting ganked by high-levels, I find that you can prevent 80% of that by body language. Namely, if you run, you will get ganked. If you just stand there and look at them, most of the time they decide you aren't worth the trouble. Just don't trigger their chase reflex.

And yes, it's a dense world, you won't learn everything for a long time, if ever. I've been playing for years and still learn something new every time I play.
posted by bricoleur at 10:28 AM on February 27, 2009

And, yes, it's addictive.
posted by bricoleur at 10:32 AM on February 27, 2009

Maybe they've changed the rules recently, but you never used to be able to transfer a character from a PvE server to PvP.

Lately they've been offering free transfers to low population PvP servers; I'm not aware of any restrictions on coming from PvE.

It's a question of temperament, I think. If you have fun ganking others, you'll have the patience for being ganked. I was never into the ganking myself, so it was always irritating to be ganked. Some zones were basically unusable to me--I was alliance, so Stranglethorn Vale and Booty Bay were simply no go.

To clarify ganking for the OP: someone attacks you who is 1) much higher level, and so guaranteed to kill you, or 2) attacking you at a time when they're guaranteed to win, such as when you're down in health from killing mobs. It's almost always terribly one-sided, so the game in that case is about getting something done when random death might strike. They might also camp you, meaning sitting on your corpse so that when you resurrect, they kill you again. And again. And again.

Basically, on a PvP server, you don't have the option most of the time to not be in PvP. Some people like that; I found it was an impediment when I wanted to do anything else.

Even if you can't transfer off a PvE, you can always start a second character on a PvP server--and if you get into it and play for any length of time, you probably will have more than one character.
posted by fatbird at 10:57 AM on February 27, 2009

If you're not being bankrolled by a friend's higher level characters, take two gathering professions at level 6. Mining is probably the most lucrative, but there's less competition with others in skinning and gathering. Bank what you gather, sell it in the Auction House on weekends. Ditto anything with blue or purple text that you can't use yourself. WoWEcon can give you very general ideas of what the market will bear, as can most of the sites already named above.

(You can always drop those professions later and pick up new ones, though you'll need to start over. It's easy enough to catch up to level-appropriate proficiency, though. )
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:31 AM on February 28, 2009

Now that I'm not playing I can give my 'secrets' away for free.

Want easy starting cash? Find the vendors that sell the recipes and pets, buy up a few, and put them on the Auction House.

As Horde, your best bet will be the recipes in the Ghostlands and the Blood Elf starting area. I used an addon called Recipe Radar to help track them down, after I found out about it, otherwise they're pretty easy to find using Thottbot or another mapping service.

The early recipes you can pick up, like Lion Chops and Bat Wings, can easily sell for 1-2g each. I'd put one or maybe two copies up, check to make sure you don't have any competition, price accordingly. Easily obtainable pets (like the Dragonlings found again in the Blood Elf starting area for 1g/each, can sell for 3-6g on the AH. Every city has a bunch of vendors, many of these vendors have limited availability recipes. Those also generally sell for about double cost. People are laaazy.

So I guess my advice is play with the Auction House for easy easy money.
posted by graventy at 9:24 PM on August 3, 2009

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