Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting things done

Once you've gotten your game loaded, your server picked, and your character made, Azeroth awaits. Some things that may confuse a new player is second nature to more experienced players, such as movement, quests, and killing monsters.

Movement itself isn't complicated, though the methods used by the player can be at times. There several ways to get your hero from point A to B. Note, this information is for the base interface and does not include information on any changes made to key bindings by the user or third party add on.

1) Arrow keys: This is most likely the easiest to remember. You use the up arrow key on your key board to move forward, while the down arrow moves you backwards. The left and right arrow keys turn you in the chosen direction.

2) W,A,S,D: These work just like the arrow keys, with W moving you forward, S backwards, A turning you left, and D turning you to the right. The Q and E keys can be used with these to make you strafe to the left, with the Q key, or to the right, with the E key.

3) The mouse: The mouse can also be used to help get you around by pressing both the left and right mouse keys together and moving the mouse to guide your character's direction.

4) Num Lock: This key can be used to toggle into or out of autorun. You must still manually turn your character to get around obstacles. If you press both mouse keys, the W, A, Up arrow, or down arrow while this is toggled on, you will automatically be toggled out of it.

5)Auto-Follow: This method simply has you following another player, turning as they turn. To put yourself on follow, you click the player to bring up their icon. Once their icon is up, you can right click on this to bring up a list of options. Follow will appear on this list as white if you are within a close enough range to use the option. If you're too far away, it will be grayed out.
If you are auto-following someone who is faster than you due to an ability or having a faster mount, they can get out of range quite easily.
Also, note that it is very rude to auto-follow through a dungeon or battle ground. It is needed at times, but if you go through out the entire thing with this engaged, you are not contributing.

Attacking: Since you know how to get from enemy to enemy, now you have to know what to do once you get there. How you attack is based on the class you play. But here are some things to keep in mind.

1) Right-click. When you right click an enemy, it puts you into auto-attack mode. This basically means that once they get into range, your character will start swinging away with whatever weapon they have equipped. In the case of hunters, which have an autoshot ability, they will start firing arrows or bullets into the target. While auto-attack does damage your enemy, it will not be the only thing you used to kill them.

2) User Interface. The basic game interface is quite simple and gives you the information you need. In the top left of your screen, you will see a circle with a picture of your character in it. Coming off the right of that will be two bars. The top bar will let you know how many hit points you have and how much health you have left. The second bar shows different information depending on what class you play. For magic users and hunters, this bar will be blue and show how much mana, or magical power you have. For warriors, the second bar starts out empty but will eventually start filling up as red for rage, which is what they use for their abilities. Rogues have a yellow bar which shows how much energy they've used.
On the upper right portion of your screen will be a round mini-map with a few icons around it. On the bottom right of this will be a + and a - sign, used to zoom your mini-map in and out. At the bottom of the map, you will see a clock that shows realm or server time. Other icons do not appear initially but will show up in certain circumstances, such as when you choose to join a battleground or whenever you have mail. At the very top of the minimap will be a name. This tells you what area you are in.
At the bottom left of your screen, you will see a row of boxes with different icons. This is called an action bar and the icons represent different abilities or spells your character can use. To figure out if the ability/spell is harmful to enemies or helpful to you and friends, mouse over it for a brief description of it.
On the bottom right you will see some other boxes with grayed-out picture resembling bags. The one on the furthest right you will see what looks like a brown leather bag. This is your inventory. Any time you want to see what you have, you can click on any bag you have equipped or simply hit the "B" button.
There is much more to the interface, but this info will help you along for the time being.

Interacting with objects/friendly NPCS. The basic rule of thumb when wanting to know how to pick up a quest item or simply talk to a quest giver is that the right mouse button gets it done. When you first log in, you should see an NPC, a Non-Player or computer-controlled character, in front of you. You also should see a yellow exclamation point, or !, over their heads. This lets you know that they have that's available to you. When you get close enough to them and right click them, they will display a dialog box with information about the quest, such as what they want you to do and where you should go to get it done.
Quest objects. Sometimes, a quest giver will want you to collect something for them. These will often "drop" off a certain kind of enemy. The way to pick things off mobs is to right click their corpse once you've killed them. A box will pop up show what items are on the body. You then click on the items you want to pick up. This is called looting.
Every now and then, the quest objects will be in the environment and something you must interact with. You can tell what kind of objects you can interact with fairly simply. They will sparkle and cause your pointer to turn from a pointing finger to a gear when you mouse over them. If you're close enough, the gear will be gold. If not, it will be gray.

Equipping gear. Sometimes, a quest will reward you with, or an enemy will drop, a piece of gear that is better than what you currently have equipped. Like most things in World of Warcraft, right clicking is the way to get it on .

These tips should help you out when you first step into the Azeroth and get you started in the right direction.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Basics:Part II-Your Character

After your server, your character is your next huge choice. While there aren't as many choices here as in other games, but even these limited options can seem like a lot for some one who's not used to it. To make it easier to follow I will break it down into a few parts: Gender, faction, class and race. These will just be brief over views for now. In later posts, I will go into more depth.

You have only two options for gender, naturally. Luckily, gender has no bearing whatsoever on things like abilities, class choice, stats or anything else that impacts the game. However, there are some small difference that can affect how the character feels, such as graphics, how armor looks, animations, voice and similar.

Faction choice is one that deserves it's own full topic, however I will try to lay it out in a concise manner. This will affect the kinds of races available, and as a result racials (abilities only given to one race) and the amount of some classes open to you. Differing factions also have certain quests, npcs(Non-Player Character, or a character controlled by the game), and rewards unique to their side.

Next up is the class. Again, this will be getting a bigger description later on, but here is the short version. The class you play will dictate what kind of role you play later on, but also, how you get your business done.

When you start joining groups, at around level 13-15, you will be able to fill one of three roles depending on what you're playing.

Tank: The tank is the person who's job it keep the enemy focused on them.
DPS (Damage Per Second): The people who's job it is to kill the enemy.
Healer: Make sure the team stays alive.

Of course, there's quite a bit more to it than that, but it gives you a basic idea what you can be expected to do once you start grouping up with people.

A basic description of the classes are as follows:

Death Knight: Hero class only available once you have a character reach the level of 55. Since a truly new player will not be able to choose this, we'll forget them for the time being.

Druid: Druids can fill any of the above rolls. In bear form, they're fantastic tanks. As a cat, they dps as melee. (Up close and personal physical attacks). In the form known as the Moonkin (Owl-bear type of creature) they dps at a distance with fantastic magical attacks. And in their tree form, they heal.

Hunters: These are strictly dps and they do so at a range, using guns, crossbows, and bows. Luckily their pets help keep enemies at a distance.

Mages: The magic masters of Azeroth are another pure dps class. As you can imagine, they use their magical abilities from a distance.

Paladins: These holy warriors can fill all three roles, although not to the extent that druids do. Expect to find these players as tanks, dps(melee), and healers.

Priests: Not only can priests dps(ranged) and heal, they have two different flavors of healing.

Rogue: Masters of stealth and intrigue, the rogue is yet another pure dps(melee) class.

Shaman: Shamans use elemental magic, and totems, to dps(melee or ranged) or heal.

Warlocks:Thriving on suffering, Warlocks use curses and other nasty spells to wear down their enemies from a distance, with the help of their demon minions. They are the fourth and last pure DPS class.

Warriors: These guys are trained in martial techniques and use nothing more than skill and physical strength to defeat their opponents as dps(melee) or tank.

Which race you play decides which classes are available to you. Although this choice can end up being as important to you as all others, I will leave it for it's own topic. For now I'll simply list which races you can pick out of either faction.

Draenei(Burning Crusade expansion needed), Dwarf, Gnome, Human, and Night Elf.

Blood Elf (BC needed), Forsaken (Or Undead), Orc, Tauren, and Troll.

Remember, with the ability to have 10 characters on each realm with a total of 50 characters to an account, no character you roll has to be a permanent choice. Only you can decide what's best for you.

If you'd like to look a bit closer to any one part of character selection, take a look at the info that Blizzard itself has on it:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Basics: Part I-Choosing your Server

You've gotten the game. Whether or not you've gotten either or both the expansions doesn't really matter just yet.

The game is loaded up, you've sat through the long process of patching and have read (You should) and accepted the Terms of Service and End User License Agreement. Now you're faced with your first decision: The server.

Believe it or not, the server you choose is going to have a very large impact on your gaming experience in Azeroth. There are several things to consider when trying to decide.

  • Do you have any friends/family/coworkers/associates who play the game? Playing with a friend makes the game even more enjoyable than it already is. Not only that, but they can show you the ropes when they have the extra time. Be sure to ask them the name of the server they're playing on.
  • Population. You can't tell simply be looking at the list which servers have a very large population and which ones do not other than the description given by Blizzard with words such as "low", "medium", "high", and "full". The population affects everything from the raidability of end game to the economy of the auction house to how hard the game can be on your computer in some areas.
  • To PvP or not to PvP. PvP stands for Player vs. Player. In game, you can flag yourself for PvP which means that any one of the opposite faction of any level can attack you at any time. On Normal servers, you choose when to flag yourself. On PvP servers, your flag is always on once you go into certain areas. Some people like the unpredictability of PvP servers. Others like the amount of control Normal servers give you.
  • RP. RP stands for Roleplay. On these servers you're encouraged to interact with other players and play the game in character. This means that answer questions as your character would respond, not how you would.
These are very quick looks at various servers and what you can likely expect from them, but there is more to it than that. For instance, if you have little play time through the week, a PvP server may not be for you. Being left open for attacks leads to situations such as corpse camping. Corpse camping is what happens when a player kills you, waits for you to resurrect, and kills you gain. This can go on for just a few minutes to hours if you let it. As you can imagine, this can affect what little play time you have greatly.

Another thing to consider is the community. Every single server I have ever played on has its share of jerks, elitists, etc. But don't confuse the vocal majority for the actual majority. The jerks may stick in your mind more, but most servers has more nice players than trade chat would lead you to believe.

All things considered, if you chose a server and find yourself not liking it, shrug it off. You can roll a new character on a new server, or even try out the other faction on the same server. The first few levels come fast and easy so you won't lose much at all by rerolling. If you get further before you realize it's not the right fit, you can take your character to the new server by buying realm transfer for $25.

Once you find the right realm for you, you will find yourself enjoying the game much more.


There are plenty of blogs out there for World of Warcraft, from how to raid to what to while leveling. While these are very helpful to most players, there is a pretty overlooked area: True new players.

There are many people who have only looked over the shoulder of a friend or family member and have no actual experience with playing the game. In fact, there are plenty out there who have never played a computer game besides Solitaire or Bejeweled. When these fresh players first jump into Azeroth, they're faced with questions that are mostly second nature to any one who has played for even just a couple of months. They may even be confused enough by the chat feature to have trouble asking for help.

And so, this blog is for you my fresh-faced friends. My first few posts will be on those meddlesome things like movement, chat, attacking, etc.

Also, feel free to ask any and all questions you may have here.