However, even in this golden age of newbiedom, there are some aspects of the game that just aren't explained very well. So, whether you're brand new to the game or, like me, returning after an absence, here are a few things every newbie needs to know.
Do you wanna join my guild?
As soon as you create your character, it's very probable you'll be bombarded by invites to join guilds. And, since guilds offer real benefits to the leveling player -- like increased experience gains and reputation gains -- it's a good idea to join one. If you don't have a guild you were planning on joining when you created your character, it may be worth joining a guild that offers you an invitation -- higher level guilds are better -- so you can soak up the benefits as you level. If you change your mind and want to go somewhere else later, you can always switch guilds.
Just what are professions?
In case you don't know, professions are WoW's crafting skills, letting you gather herbs or make armor. You can train professions at level 5, but you're not likely to run into trainers that early (depending on your starting zone). If you hit level 5 without finding a profession trainer, you should probably a run for the nearest capitol city and train there: just ask any city guard and they can direct you to the nearest profession trainer.
Which profession to train is down to what you want to do with your character, but here's what you need to know. You can pick two primary professions (herbalism, mining, skinning, alchemy, blacksmithing, enchanting, leatherworking, tailoring, jewelcrafting, or inscription) and as many secondary professions (cooking, fishing, first aid, or archaeology) as you'd like.
Even if you're not interested in crafting, you could pick up a pair of gathering professions (herbalism, mining, or skinning) and put everything you gather on the auction Hhouse for sale. It's a great way for a starting character to make some gold!
Speaking of the auction house...
There's no newbie tutorial that will direct you to the auction house, but it's an important part of the game. At the auction house, you can buy and sell goods (so long as they aren't bind on pickup) -- either making cash or finding items to help you advance. You can locate Auction Houses in any major city simply by asking a guard.
Not sure what to sell? No problem! WoW helpfully color-codes items in your inventory to tell you their quality. If the item's text is...
- Grey: Poor quality items with no real use in the game. These have no bonuses -- though at very low levels you may find them worth equipping because you've yet to find anything better -- and should be sold to a vendor.
- White: Common quality items. Weapons and armor of this type have no bonuses (though you may want them for looks), and they're likely best sold at a vendor. However, other items in white -- for example, meat, ore, herbs, leather -- are usually crafting materials that have some value.
- Green: Uncommon quality items, and will usually be worth more on the auction house than at a vendor. Note, however, that if you equip them they are likely to bind to you, meaning you cannot sell them on the AH.
- Blue: Rare quality items that will certainly be worth more on the auction house than to a vendor. If you aren't going to use it, sell it.
- Purple: Epic quality items and very rare. If you happen across one of these that is not bind on pickup and don't plan to use it yourself, it's definitely worth selling on the auction house.
If you're really interested in playing the auction house, you may want to check out the add ons Auctioneer or Auctionator, both of which streamline the process of buying and selling goods.
Help! My bags are full!
The bags you start with don't provide a lot of storage space, and, while you're likely to find more through quests or drops, you may still find yourself filling your bags before you're ready to head back into town. So just where do bags come from?
At the lowest levels, you should check vendors you encounter -- there are probably small bags (4, 6, 8, or even 10 slots) available at vendors early on. If you have a gathering profession that takes up a lot of your precious bag space, look for a vendor near your profession trainer -- they'll probably sell a larger bag that can only be used for profession-related supplies.
And once those bags start feeling cramped? Check out the Auction House for higher level bags. These will cost you some gold -- more gold for larger bags -- but you'll appreciate the boost in storage space.
Where's my mount?
At level 20 you're told to seek out a riding trainer... but nothing else. (Though if you're a warlock or a paladin, you'll automatically learn your riding skill since both have a class-specific summonable mount. You can skip the rest of this section!) And since riding trainers aren't in big cities, city guards won't direct you to them. There's a riding trainer and mount vendor for each race, they're usually near your race's starting area:
- Human: Randal Hunter in Elwynn Forest
- Night elf: Jartsam in Darnassus
- Dwarf: Ultham Ironhorn in Dun Morogh
- Gnome: Binjy Featherwhistle in Dun Morogh
- Draenai: Aalun in The Exodar
- Worgen: None, they receive the Running Wild skill instead
- Orc: Kildar in Orgrimmar
- Troll: Xar'Ti in Durotar
- Tauren: Kar Stormsinger in Mulgore
- Undead: Velma Warnam in Tirisfal Glades
- Blood elf: Perascamin in Eversong Woods
- Goblin: Revi Ramrod in Orgrimmar
- Pandaren: Can train at any trainer of their faction and find racial mounts at Old Whitenose (Alliance) in Stormwind or Turtlemaster Odai (Horde) in Orgrimmar
These trainers will teach you apprentice riding (+60% movement speed) at level 20 and journeyman riding (+100% movement speed) at level 40 -- and nearby you'll find the vendors selling race-specific mounts. If you want to buy a mount from another race (though Alliance players can only get Alliance race mounts and Horde players can only get Horde race mounts), you'll need to reach exalted reputation with that race first.
And for not-so-newbies, at level 60 you can also train expert riding (for +150% speed flying mounts) and get a Flight Master's License (for flying in Azeroth), at 68 you can train Cold Weather Flying to fly in Northrend, at level 70 you can train artisan riding (for +280% speed flying mounts), and at level 80 you can train master riding (for +310% speed flying mounts).
What about glyphs?
At level 25, you'll gain access glyphs that will improve your abilities. At first, you have one major glyph slot and one minor glyph slot (with more slots available at levels 50 and 75). You can review all glyphs available for your class and specialization, in the glyph interface -- just press N and click on the glyph tab. Once you've reviewed what's available, the easiest way to get your glyphs is at the auction house (unless you or a friend is skilled with inscription).
When you've gotten your first glyph, right click it to learn it -- once you have, you'll be able to use that glyph in any glyph slot it fits in. (Only major glyphs may be put in major slots and only minor glyphs may be put in minor slots.) If you decide you've made a mistake, you can use a Vanishing Powder (as long as you're under level 80) to remove a glyph from a slot and put something else there instead.
Getting from point A to point B
With mounts starting at level 20 and flight paths available as soon as you're in level range, getting around the game world is easier than ever -- but moving from Kalimdor to the Eastern Kingdoms and back again still requires you to take a boat or zeppelin. And that requires you to know where they are and where they're going, which isn't entirely obvious in game. So here are the boat and zeppelin routes throughout the world. All of these routes are constantly in service and cost nothing -- you simply board the ship when it arrives and hop off when it reaches your destination.
- Booty Bay, Stranglethorn Vale, Eastern Kingdoms to Ratchet, Northern Barrens, Kalimdor (neutral route)
- Menethil Harbor, Wetlands, Eastern Kingdoms to Theramore Isle, Dustwallow Marsh, Kalimdor (Alliance route)
- Stormwind City, Elwynn Forest, Eastern Kingdoms to Rut'theran Village, Teldrassil (Alliance route)
- Orgrimmar, Durotar, Kalimdor to Grom'gol Base Camp, Stranglethorn Vale, Eastern Kingdoms (Horde route)
- Orgrimmar, Durotar, Kalimdor to Undercity, Tirisfal Glades, Eastern Kingdoms (Horde route)
- Orgrimmar, Durotar, Kalimdor to Thunder Bluff, Mulgore, Kalimdor (Horde route)
- Undercity, Tirisfal Glades, Eastern Kingdoms, to Grom'gol Base Camp, Stranglethorn Vale, Eastern Kingdoms (Horde route)
Higher level players will also find boats from Stormwind City and Menethil Harbor (for Alliance) and zeppelins from Orgrimmar and Undercity (for Horde) heading to Northrend.
And, now, happy leveling!
Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from how to control your character and camera angles when you're just starting out, to learning how to tank, getting up to speed for heroics and even how to win Tol Barad.