So, you’ve seen the announcement for World of Warcraft’s seventh expansion and you’re (finally) itching to give it a go – look no further! Blizzard’s 13-year-old MMORPG has an insane amount of content; there’s a lot to take in and it’s easy to overlook the small stuff.

So here we are.

This is by no means a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know to play World of Warcraft, it’s more of a list of things I wish I’d known when I started. I’m hoping it will help someone to avoid those embarrassing mistakes that plagued my early WoW career. It will also assume that you’re new to the MMORPG genre and so, might cover some very basic stuff.

1. Abbreviations

MMOs come with their own slang and shorthand for things. Some are self-explanatory while others a bit more obscure. Be confused no more (!) with this list of some of the more common ones you’ll come across.

  • PUG (Pick-up group) – A group of random players that you group up with for dungeons or raids.
  • DPS (damage per second) – Dps is the scale with which your damage is measured and can be tracked with certain add-ons. It has also become the go-to name for any class whose sole purpose is to deal damage (rather than tank or heal).
  • Mob – Any non-boss enemy.
  • WTS/WTB (Want to Sell/Want to Buy) – Usually seen in the Trade chat channel.
  • AH (Auction House) – An in-game market place where players can buy and sell stuff.

2. Hearthstone

No, not the game, the one item that is in your bag when you first create a level 1 character. While this may seem like an obvious one, I personally didn’t realise what it did until I was past level 20!

Innkeepers can be found in the majority of villages and camps that you encounter. It is worth speaking to the Innkeeper to set that location as “home”, especially if it a hub with lots of quests. Clicking on your hearthstone will allow you to travel (for free) instantly to the last Innkeeper you spoke to. There is a 30-minute cooldown (15 minutes if you’re in a guild) but it is super useful to travel around quickly.

Speaking to another Innkeeper will overwrite the last place you set as home.

3. Flight Points

Flight points will make your life – and your travels – around Azeroth a lot easier and faster. Whenever you find a new town or base, open your map and look for the flight point symbol. If there is one there, collect it. To “learn” a flight point (have it unlocked for use when you visit a Flight Master) look for the NPC with a green ! above his head and interact with him.

Unlike terrain and villages, flight points are visible on your map, regardless of whether or not you have explored that area. If you happen to be questing close to one, it’s always worth venturing that bit further to unlock the flight point which may save travel time if a quest sends you there later.

Note: Always check the colour of the flight points on the map – Red = Horde, Blue = Alliance, Yellow = Neutral. Don’t try to venture into a camp owned by your opposing faction!

4. Professions

There are quite a few professions to choose from and at first glance, it can be difficult to decide which may be best to take. Blizzard has made it much easier to switch professions in recent expansions, so you shouldn’t worry too much about this at low-level.

That said, if you are levelling a new character, I’d recommend taking any two of the three gathering professions (herbalism, mining or skinning). Not only does gathering from nodes yield experience each time you do it but you can sell what you gather on the Auction House. Sure you won’t make a fortune, but it’s surprising what even some of the low-level stuff goes for.

Professions can be learned from trainers in capital cities or some of the bigger towns or villages.

5. Choosing your Class

If you know your preferred playstyle, then this should be a fairly easy choice once you’ve read up on the various classes available. If, however, you’re unsure which role you’d like to play, picking a class with a choice of roles (tank, healer, DPS) or playstyles might be the way to go.

Druids are probably the most versatile class offering four specializations: a tank spec, a healer spec and a ranged and melee DPS spec. Paladins and monks also offer all three roles. Check the official site for a full list.

6. Class Pets

A few classes have pets in World of Warcraft. Pets can be summoned and dismissed and will fight your enemies with you. The downside to this is that your pets can (and will) pull additional enemies to you if you’re not careful. Some class pets also have a “taunt” ability. It is important that you toggle this ability off if you go into a dungeon so as to not make the tank’s job harder.

7. Guilds

If you’re unfamiliar with guilds, they are basically in-game communities of players. There are many different types of guilds out there with varying goals. Some guilds are purely social and will welcome anyone and everyone, offering help and advice to new players. Others might have a more serious outlook and only want players that are max level and ready to raid with them.

Joining a guild is clearly optional, but the benefits of finding a good guild are endless. You may have to try out a few guilds before you find the one that’s right for you but once you do, you’ll begin to appreciate the social aspect of the game, which can be somewhat lacking if you play solo and only ever interact with random players.

8. Add-Ons

When I first heard about add-ons, I shied away from them, thinking that to use them was somehow cheating – surely if they were meant to be used, they would’ve been built into the game?

Not so. Sure, there are certain add-ons that make certain aspects of the game easier but, with the vast majority of players using them, you’ll be at a certain disadvantage if you don’t and could be denying yourself a smoother experience.

I’m listing some of the add-ons that would benefit a newcomer to World of Warcraft, though there are many out there to choose from.

  • Gatherer/Gathermate – Both of these mark your map every time you gather a herb or mine a node. Useful to track areas rich in these resources.
  • Auctioneer/Auctionator – Easily sell and buy items on the Auction House. Shows you the most recent sale prices so you have an idea of the worth of your item and what you can expect to get for it.
  • SellJunk – Sells all of the grey items (trash) in your bag with one button click.
  • Deadly Boss Mods/Bigwigs – Really only needed if you’re planning to raid. These add-ons give warnings for boss abilities and mechanics.

Think we’ve missed something? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter or on Facebook!