Hello there and welcome to the World of Warcraft. If you are reading this then perhaps you have tried to find out what is this all about. Well I am not going to try to fill your head with dozens of you need to do this or that, how to key bind abilities, what is the quickest way to get to max level. There are plenty of in game tool tips and guides on the internet. What I am going to try to explain to you is what do the very first things you do once you have installed the game mean to you and your gaming experience. So without further ado.
When you first install the game you will go through the normal registering, setting up a Battlenet account, etc. World of Warcraft is one of many games offered by Blizzard Entertainment, they also have very popular games such as Diablo 3, Hearthstone, Starcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. Having a Battlenet account allows you to talk to friends playing all of these games. I will not overload you with tons of details, I am sure you want to get right in there and start killing Internet Dragons.
OK lets do this.
One thing I seriously want to address right now. As much as Blizzard Entertainment does to protect your personal information, your credit cards, etc. There are people everyday trying to find new ways to get access to your account and use it to steal from others, sell gold to people with your account, many things. They (Blizzard) are very well protected on their end, however, your home computer is not. Blizzard does offer two different methods to add an additional layer of security to your account. With the Mobil Authenticator or the Smart phone app.
Here is a link to the Balltenet shop to purchase one. https://gear.blizzard.com/index.php/default/catalogsearch/result/?q=authenticator or you can search for the free app on your phone. I will make note that you will be given a code if you install on your phone. Please write this down, if you lose your phone or upgrade in the future, it is not a simple process to fix. It can be done by calling account services, but it is far easier to just write the number down for future reference.
You can choose to forgo adding this extra protection, but there may come a day when you go to log in and find your characters have been stripped clean. It is definitely worth the peace of mind.
So you have fired up the game and one of the first things you are prompted to do is choose a server. This is not a set in stone, once you choose, you are stuck forever. Personally I would recommend trying out a medium population server. There are some with hundreds of thousands of players on them, just as conversely there are some that may seem like ghost towns. You will have to decide for yourself what kind of balance best fits you. You can go onto Blizzards web site http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/ and scroll all the way down to the bottom to see the entire list of servers available. There are a lot. It is worth reading how people perceive their part of the world. Keep in mind if you ask, what do you think of X server, you will hear good and bad. This is true of any. All will have a certain group type in common regardless of where you chose. Also there are several types of server, PvE (Player vs Environment) PvP (Player vs Player) RP (Role Play) and variations of each. For your initial choice you may wish to choose a PvE server, on a PvP server you will have players of higher level opposing factions that will not hesitate to take a quick shot to kill a lower level character. It is not sporting certainly but it does happen. Before I go further I should add this. When you first get to where you are creating your first character you will be asked if you wish to boost this to level 90. This is a one time free character boost. So I personally would not recommend doing it right away. If this is your first time playing World of Warcraft or an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game then you may want to try out a few options. Do you want to be a member of the Alliance, do you want to be a member of the Horde, do you prefer to get up close to your enemy and play a Warrior or Paladin, or perhaps you are interested in being a Hunter or a class that stands back a to do ranged attacks. There are many classes and many races for you to choose from.
I will add in here some information that should be relayed. All races have a unique starting area, where you first arrive you will watch a brief cinematic explaining the back story of your chosen race, and find yourself at your first quest. There are many initial quests that will get you accustomed to how your class is played. Too often I have heard people start a class and get it to level 20 only to decide that they don’t like it. Which is fine. You can pick something totally new to try out. Eventually you will find yourself guided towards the capital city for your chose race. From there you will venture out into the world advancing through more and more difficult zones as you work your way to max level. At times you may find yourself with multiple options on where to go for the next area. The World is huge with many continents and zones. They have streamlined the questing experience so that you can move and progress fairly quickly. Additionally the Goblin and Worgen races have a starting area separate from the rest of the game until you have completed a quest line that places you out in the rest of the world, it does not take a long time to complete but just so you know you will only be seeing a small portion of players if you choose these. The Pandaran race starts on an Island and has no faction until you complete and you make your choice Alliance or Horde. All other factions start out in the world and can interact with other players immediately. All races are worth trying out just to experience the initial starting areas to get a glimpse of the back ground story.
I want to take a second to point out an issue you may see. Guild invites. Choosing a guild is just like choosing a group of new friends. You have no idea what they are like, are they helpful, are they focused only on end game raiding, are they role players, do they enjoy working on older content, or are they a guild just looking for bodies to occupy the guild. Many people use automated programs that scan the game looking for people not in a guild and send automatic invites along with a brief message, Hey you should join us because we are super cool folks. There is an option in the interface for you to turn off guild invites. Eventually you will find one you want to join, perhaps you find friends while questing that you like and want to join their guild. It is not a choice you are stuck with, you can always type in /gquit and you will leave the guild. I would personally recommend at least leaving on good terms, just as if you were leaving a job. You may find out later that they really were a decent bunch of people and want to come back some day.
So you have started on your first server, have chosen a few characters and found one you really like playing and the people you interact with everyday seem like a decent bunch. Now you have a choice, do you boost to 90 or not. There is no wrong choice. The wonderful thing about this game is there is no set way it has to be played, you can go it alone, you can be very social, you can to battlegrounds, you can do pet battles, you can work your way up into raiding progression, you can use the dungeon finder to find random groups to do things with, even find people to group up to do questing. There are a myriad of things to do. If you find yourself with nothing to do then you are not looking at other options. Even after 5 years of playing I can still find something to do or work on, I have hundreds of pets I still need to add to my collection, plenty of mounts, plenty of achievments for doing things. I could be busy for years to come.
The game comes with many in game tools that initially you will see, so I will not go into all the details on that. You will eventually find yourself wondering how do all these people know everything they do. Well we look at the class forums on WoW’s site linked above, we go to other webs sites such as Icy-veins.com there are many class specific web sites out there you can look into and I am certain if you ask anyone in game they can tell you anything you need to know.
I hope that this was a little helpful to you. I certainly wish I was more adept at video creation and editing to make a more comprehensive guide. Perhaps you will end up on a server such as mine with many helpful people, or perhaps you may find yourself elsewhere, it is a big world, and there are many friends to be made and challenges ahead. So enjoy. And remember to always
An edit. I did recall that somewhere there actually was a beginners manual.