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I am considering trying out WoW. I don't want a subscription, I doubt I'll be hooked and if I have to grind then I am instantly quitting or spending the remaining time exploring (then quitting).

But as for strategies, help, common early game mistakes, etc., what should I know? Do I need to join a guild? Can I play through most of the game content without one? How do I find a guild? Questions like these are what I'm interested in having answered.

I am likely only going to try out the trial and quit when it's done. It's really just to see what the game is about rather than actually try to play it through.

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someone just mention that i cant talk to other races. wtf :| –  acidzombie24 Jan 2 '11 at 17:53
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You can speak to members of other races that are part of the same faction as you. Characters in WoW are divided into two factions, the Horde (Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Blood Elves, Goblins, and the Undead), and the Alliance (Humans, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Draenei and Worgen). The two factions are in an adversarial relationship, and players cannot communicate with characters of the opposing faction in game beyond limited emotes. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 2 '11 at 18:10
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To add on to the above, all horde players know Orcish, and may know another language depending on their race (Forsaken know Gutterspeak, Tauren know Taurahe, etc.) The equivalent for the Alliance is Human Common. –  Raven Dreamer Jan 2 '11 at 19:40
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The new Blizzard guide for WoW is quite in-depth and great for new players: us.battle.net/wow/en/game/guide/what-is-wow –  lilserf Jan 4 '11 at 22:58
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8 Answers 8

You don't need to be in a guild to enjoy the game, there are a lot of advantages to being in one but they aren't vital to your progression. Chances are as you progress through the game you'll make friends anyway.

I'd recommend picking a hunter or warlock as your first class, they are both fairly easy to play and good classes for playing "solo". Don't worry about spec, just put points into the skills that you like to use.

If you're only playing a trial account I wouldn't bother with the professions they can be a bit of a time sink and while they are ultimately rewarding its a long time before you can gain the benefits of them. The only exception to this being skinning where you are "using" monsters that you've probably already killed anyway. Skinning providing you with leather which is a good way to make some money!

Lastly, make sure you use the dungeon finder! It makes getting into groups for instances extremely simple and easy to do. You can gain some really good items and a lot of experience from going to instances.

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Is dungeon finder a built in feature of warcraft? or an extension/app i get separately? –  acidzombie24 Jan 3 '11 at 18:44
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Dungeon finder is an in game feature thats enabled once you get to the correct level. Look for the "eye" on your menu bar. –  getthatcrate Jan 4 '11 at 8:10
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Or press the 'i' key. It'll join you with other players and pop you in a dungeon. Once the run is complete or you've had enough, you'll be teleported back to where you were when the run started. –  dooburt Jan 5 '11 at 16:48
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Other answers are pretty good. just adding a couple thoughts:

1:)Dont forget about your tradeskills!

1.a:)stay with em

While it is pretty easy to go back and lvl up a skill from nothing once you his the lvl cap. Its more fun and usefull if you play with your tradeskill throughout your lvling. Also this way you can actually benefit from the stuff you are crafting instead of just trying to lvl it up. LVLing is so fast now in wow its easy to get way ahead of your tradeskill and have to go back to lower lvl zones to farm mats. While this can make you feel good about yourself plowing through lower lvl mobs, its still a huge pain at times.

1.b:) get PAID

WOW is more fun when you have money. Gathering tradeskills are pretty easy to make money off of my selling everything in the Auction Hall. If you dont care about crafting your own unique useful items and just want the extra cash, stay up with some gathering skills as you lvl.

2:) Bags Bags Bags

It sucks to run out of space. You get bogged down with quest items, consumables, tradeskill stuff, and all sorts of junk. And the worst thing ever is to be in a mast moving dungeon and run out of bagspace and have to open em all up and find out what to delete. Also being able to loot everything when starting will help you accumulate some coin. Big bags are pretty expensive for someone just starting out but you gcan get them for fairly cheep from the race quartermasters. These guys are right by the flightmasters in the big citys. To get them youll need to visit them early and purchase tabards from them. Wear these tabards and do dungeons until your faction status with that race gets to "revered". Then you will be able to puchase a 16 slot bag for each race rather inexpensively.

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I don't like grinding myself and I think WoW is one of the better games at avoiding it. For example, if you need to kill 12 enemies, you'll usually also have a quest that requires you to collect something in the same area and also one to kill a boss there too. You focus on the boss quest and you end up completing the others as you go.

If you do decide you need more gametime than 7 days, you can pick up the vanilla game for around £5/$7 (if you look around a bit) and that'll give you another 30 days of play.

Early mistakes/things you should know:

  • Don't buy anything off the Auction House, you can get all your gear from quest rewards. You'll just be throwing your money away at early levels.
  • If you want to do any professions, pick either herbalism (gathering herbs), mining or skinning (skin animals you kill for leather). You can sell the items you gather for good money. The other professions rely on the gathering professions, so you really struggle with them on your first character unless you have at least one gathering profession. Pick two gathering professions for maximum financial gain - you can always drop one later if you want to pick up something more useful.
  • People will advertise their guilds in trade chat when you're in cities. Look for one that seems friendly and /whisper them. The main channels in WoW are zone bound - so you can only see trade chat in cities for example, and the general chat for your current zone. This means it can be quite hard to get help through them when you're out questing. Guild chat is universal and hopefully much more helpful. You can get by without one, but guilds have guild rewards, such as bonus XP and lower repair costs, so its worth having one. NOTE: don't ask the guild for money for epic flying or for anything from the guild bank until they trust you enough to give you access - it seems to be a common newbie move.
  • You can follow quest chains all the way through the game (from level 1 to 85). But if you are confused about where to go next, or just bored with your current zone, there are Hero's Call boards in all the major cities that'll point you at your next/alternate destination.
  • At level 10 you get to pick what 'spec' you want to be. On each spec there is a little symbol that indicates what type of role that spec will play. For example, a little dagger means a DPS spec, a little shield means a tank spec, a cross means healing. Some classes, such as Hunter can only play in DPS roles, where as others, like Druid, can play all three. At 30 you can buy a Dual Spec and switch between two different roles depending how the mood takes you.
  • Use the Dungeon Finder when it becomes available. You pick what role you want to play (Tank, DPS or Healer) - make sure you pick the right role to match your spec, if you're a Paladin, for example, and your playing a Retribution spec (which is DPS) but you queue as a tank, your new party friends won't be too happy with you. Dungeon Finder finds you companions from other servers, not just your own. Queuing as DPS can take 10+ minutes, queuing as a healer or tank is usually less than a minute. When your party has been assembled you'll be teleported to the dungeon, and teleported right back to your old location when the dungeon ends - meaning you can queue while you're out questing.
  • If you like a bit of PVP, you can queue for battlegrounds at... level 10, I think? Even on PvE servers. It works much like Dungeon Finder but without needing to pick a role. It's worth reading up on the different battlegrounds though, each battleground has different win conditions. On one you might have to capture a flag, on another you might need to capture three towers.

That's all I can think of right now, hope you enjoy the game :)

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As an added benefit, many of the "grindy" aspects have been reduced even further through the ability to finish or continue some quest chains "in the field", rather than returning to the questgiver only to be sent right back again. This is new as of patch 4.0.1. (?) –  GalacticCowboy Jan 6 '11 at 22:08
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One thing you should know is that it is known for sucking in people like you who thought it's not their kind of game and they won't get hooked.

It happened to me. I've always hated the medieval setting and all games that have anything to do with that. I've always hated games that had any resemblance to RPG. There was no way it was going to hook me, so I went for the trial.

I still sometimes wish I hadn't done that...

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haha, i'm lvl 12 and a little bored of it. Maybe you would like to party up my two friends and I? we want to do a dungeon together –  acidzombie24 Jan 6 '11 at 17:41
    
@acid I'm currently on a break and I let my subscription expire. I am productive again :) Thanks for the offer though. –  romkyns Jan 6 '11 at 17:47
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There are quite a few in-depth answers here, so I'll keep my answer fairly brief and based on my first experience of WoW.

I didn't even know what WoW was when I created an account. I knew absolutely nothing about the game other than it was a MMORPG and it had some blue thing with big ears on the front of the box.

No-one wants to read all the stuff about classes and factions at the beginning of any game, you just want to jump in and start playing. Unfortunately, knowing a little about each class is really helpful because your class determines your future game style. I just jumped in with a Alliance human Paladin, before re-rolling to an Alliance human Warlock. I found the warlock easy to play at the lower levels, where as I personally think that a Paladin took a bit more game knowledge.

I went running all over the place in my first couple of months, starting in Elwynn Forest and running into Westfall or Duskwood (even at level 7) and got completely owned several times. I didn't understand how gear worked or how to be a better player, this comes with experience. Either way, I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed the zones (even back then) and the stories. I especially liked Hogger (Elwynn Forest bad boy!) and having to get help to take him down. Even now at 85, I still go back to bash him about sometimes :)

I suppose the best policy is to just dive in, enjoy the game and not worry too much about the game mechanics or details, because you'll pick them up if you decide to continue to play after your trial.

Either way, enjoy WoW :)

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I actually recommend playing for 1 month, and forking over a few bucks to do it. You'll get a good feel for the game, and actually walk away enjoying the best parts of it, before it starts to feel a like a lot of work to play. One of the annoyances with playing an open ended MMORPG is the grinding, but you can avoid some of that that by sticking with the more interesting quests, rather than just picking up all the quests to level up.

WOW does a great job now of introducing something new to you constantly, so if you only plan to just check out the game for a short period of time, then I say experiment with a bunch of things, but avoid certain things that result in a lot of repetitive activity. ie.

  1. Avoid trading in the auction house. This can be fun if you like trading, but it doesn't really add much fun factor in 30 days, especially since you have to really understand the complex economy of the game. For the most part, you'll find good enough loot (armor, weapons) or can buy things you need easily, ie. bags.

  2. Do at least 1 dungeon (instance), and try to do it with a group of people. There is something very satisfying in beating an elite boss while coordinating with others.

  3. Explore! It's amazing that after 6 years, the game is still a beauty to behold. Exploring a city, discovering new lands, and defeating new creatures is really what it's all about. Don't feel like you have to unlock all territories, but just wandering around, going from one progressive more difficult zone is enthralling.

  4. Don't loot most things. Inventory management is a waste of time. Just get the good items (ie. Green or blue colored icons, which indicate it's better loot.) As a general rule of thumb, never pick up any item that where the header is grayed out, because it's worthless. There's a lot of this stuff...

  5. I highly recommend seeing if you find a way to get some gold quickly, as that greatly eliminates the need to grind. Joining a guild and politely asking for a few gold piece can go a long ways to enjoying the game. You only new a few gold pieces, and that's enough for you to enjoy the game and get better gear so you don't keep dying. CLARIFICATION: Asking for gold is ANNOYING if you just do it blindly. Like making friends in real life, do it in a way that shows you actually appreciate what's happening. And in my follow up comment, if you really only play for a few days and then quit, just give your remaining cash back to the person who gave it to you.

  6. A friendly guild can help answers questions, and make it easier to explore new places. But 1st check online for easy questions/answers.

  7. Only join a PVE server. Otherwise you'll find that getting ganked (killed by other people) makes the experience frustrating.

That should be enough to get you started. I played for many years and then stopped cold turkey when it just got boring a few years ago. But since picking up the game again, I been enjoying it all over again.

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1) Asking for money is a quick way to get people to not like you. 2) Two great ways to make money are selling things on the Auction house, and selling Grey items to vendors, which you specifically recommend not doing. > Better advice to make money is to buy big bags ASAP, pick up everything, and vendor everything Grey without thinking. (Or, you know, look at each item an see if its an upgrade, cause Greys often are for low level characters.) –  WillfulWizard Jan 4 '11 at 23:03
    
If you are only going to play for less than a month, then doing all that auction stuff and selling grey items only adds to the feeling of grinding. My recommendation is this: Ask kindly for a gold piece, which is enough to get started at level 1-10. When you finish the game, just give all your remaining gold back to the person who gave it to you, and thank them for it. Wow doesn't haven to be such an unkind place, and people are very willing to help out (including me.) –  John Master Lee Jan 4 '11 at 23:05
    
Money is not really a problem at lower levels, especially now that Cataclysm's out: you should never have to hit up anyone for money. However, that depends entirely on doing the exact opposite of what you're recommending: one should loot and sell everything. An empty bag slot is a wasted bag slot, and if you're not looting grey items, you're missing out on a ton of cash. And selling grey items when you get back to a vendor takes all of 15 seconds. –  user3389 Jan 4 '11 at 23:17
    
I agree on the grey items. Pick them up whenever you have space to carry them and sell them when you head back to town. I couldn't tell you how much gold I've made doing this. –  dooburt Jan 5 '11 at 15:27
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When playing with a trial account:

  • You are unable to speak in a public channel and may only send private messages to people if they message you first.

  • You may also be unable to use the mailbox system. (I don't know this for a fact, but I was unable to use it while I was on my trial - could have been a bug).

  • You won't be able to progress past level 20. As soon as you reach level 20, you'll stop gaining experience altogether. This will make it difficult to progress in the game once you hit the level restriction, forcing you to stay in the low level areas or create new characters, preventing you from seeing much of the world beyond the low level areas.

As for the game itself, go in with an open mind. Forget whatever anyone else tells you to do and just play the game. Soon enough you'll pick up the ins and outs and decide whether or not you like it.

Though I will say, if you're averse to grinding, why are you wanting to play an MMORPG?

I've not played an MMORPG that didn't have some amount of grinding involved. WoW includes quests that will require you to kill a particular amount of beasts or to collect a particular amount of items that have varying drop rates from enemies, etc.

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The "can't speak in a public channel" thing doesn't appear to be true any more. I used a trial account back when 4.0.1 first got pushed, and I could talk in General (/1) chat... but it limited how many times I could speak. –  user2974 Jan 20 '11 at 14:56
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I'd recommend checking out the WoW Rookie articles hosted over at WoWInsider. They tend to be aimed at players who are extremely new to the game and assume little to no knowledge of any of the jargon or community.

That said, keep in mind that there are severe limitations on the social interaction capabilities afforded to trial accounts. This is done to restrict access to 'disposable' accounts for those that would use them for illicit purposes such as advertising or scamming.

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If only someone would write an article like that as an answer to a question like this. The Stackexchange engine handles many things well, but long reaching questions like this isn't one of them. –  tzenes Jan 3 '11 at 5:56
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@tzenes Were that merely one article, and not a collection of over 100, I might attempt to replicate the effort and apply my own knowledge and experience. But there's a time to post a link, and this is, I think one of them. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 3 '11 at 15:45
    
I agree with you, a large collection of articles is not germane to SE answers. I think this is a design decision, and it is regrettable for our use case. –  tzenes Jan 3 '11 at 16:21
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