Everyone's nervous the first time. It's a principle that's so, so true for so many endeavors -- and your first WoW instance is no exception. It's easy to feel bashful about dipping a toe into the dungeon pool, but there are so many good reasons to give it a try. Instances are fun. They're challenging, calling for new and different ways to play your character. They serve up eye-popping monsters and intricate lore. They offer great XP and loot. They're great ways to meet other players.
The thing is, getting started can seem like an impossible hurdle. How will you know what to do? What if your group wipes? What if you screw up? What if your groupmates kick you out of the group? Relax. WoW Rookie's here to nudge you past those first, intimidating moments. Before you know it, that first instance becomes another, and another -- and suddenly, you're popping off an instance or two every evening, in between questing and leveling your craft, and you're loving every moment of it! Let's queue up and get started.
Assemble your group
- Ask the guild. If you already belong to a guild, that's probably the best place to set up a group for a first-timer. However, think twice before accepting help from high-level guildmates or friends; yes, you'll finish the instance quickly and efficiently, but you won't get a chance to stretch your wings or experience the challenge of beating the content yourself.
- Try your own realm. If you've started meeting other players on your realm or you have a fairly active player community, you can probably put together a group using the LFG (Looking For Group) channel or even the general zone chat. (Most realms use Trade chat for forming groups and raids. While this off-list use is common practice, it's not the "right" way to do it, and you could get flamed for it on some realms.) Common shorthand that helps: LFM means Looking for Members/More, LFG is Looking for Group. Finding players from your own realm is probably a good idea if you're looking for a group that's interested in a longer dungeon project, such as running all three sections of Maraudon or doing a complete dungeon crawl through Blackrock Depths.
- Use the dungeon finder. The simplest way to put together a group is to use the dungeon finder. Here's how.
- Don't be surprised if you get whispers for instance groups. If you're not interested, politely decline with a "No thanks -- good luck!"
- Get there. If you use the dungeon finder, you'll be transported directly into the instance once everyone has indicated they're ready. (If you've never seen the dungeon entrance, you may find yourself mystified if you die and have to run back from the graveyard. It may be simpler to get the whole group to teleport out and back again, so that you'll all be together at the front of the dungeon to work your way back in again.) If you don't use the dungeon finder, two or more group members can summon other players at a summoning stone; look for one near the dungeon entrance. Target the player you'd like to transport in, click on the summoning stone and have another group member click on the portal as well.
Mind your basics
- Who's on first? Especially in the very early levels, before many classes have developed much of a specialty in anything at all, it's not always clear who's the best choice for what roles. Who's tanking, who's healing and who's DPS? Even if you've come in through the dungeon finder with pre-determined roles, it's a good idea to talk over who's best suited for what.
- Play smart. Experienced players wearing heirloom items may set a rapid-fire pace (and a sloppy example); as a first-time player, you can't afford to cut corners (yet). Don't be guilty of the most classic n00b moves.
- Let the tank control the pulling. Don't advance ahead of the tank, don't pull additional mobs and don't try to "help" by off-tanking.
- Protect your healer. Don't assume that a healer can deal with hits and aggro from loose mobs; help out.
- Get oriented. Catch up with current wisdom of lowbie dungeon runners.
- Know your class. Read the class columns here at WoW.com. Search out the leading class-specific blogs. Start sniffing out all the ins and outs of what your character can do.
- Know the instance -- or ask. True rookies are in the minority at this point in WoW. If you're unfamiliar with a particular instance, throw up a flag and tell your group. Let them know you'd appreciate a heads up on any need-to-know details and tricky spots. If you prefer to be ultra-prepared, try looking up bosses on WoWWiki.com, read through the comments tab of boss entries at Wowhead.com, or Google for strat videos on YouTube.
- Learn more. Find more tips in the WoW Rookie Guide's section on grouping with others.
Play well with others
- Roll like a pro. Dungeon runs can shower players with loot drops. Here's the etiquette of rolling for them.
- Be open to advice. Some players have all the tact of a Ferengi intent on enumerating the Rules of Acquisition -- but even so, sometimes they're right. Accept new ideas with good grace, regardless of the manner in which they're offered.
- Don't get demoralized by group kicks. Unfortunately, some groups may unceremoniously boot you from instances simply based on your relative lack of experience. It's frustrating, since you can't magically learn how to group without actually grouping. Still, don't waste emotional energy on a boot. Hop back into the queue and have at it again.
- Don't be a quitter. WoW's gameplay has become reasonably bite-sized -- so don't get caught virtually chewing with your mouth open by dropping out of groups early.
And finally, if you've somehow made it all the way to level 80 without setting foot inside an instance ... Well, what are you waiting for? Check over our guide to getting started in level 80 5-mans, and let the emblems roll!
Recent posts for fresh level 80s
- Gearing a new cat druid at 80
- Gearing for a new level 80 DPS death knight
- Emblem upgrades for warlocks
- The basic mechanics of roleplay
- Emblem upgrades for shadow priests
Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's. WoW Rookie walks you through all sort of new-player concerns, from game lingo for the beginner to joining your first guild as a mid-level player and on to what to do when you finally hit level 80.