World of Warcraft (often shortened to WoW) is perhaps one of the most famous and long-lived video games of our time. With its 13 years of age, an ever-changing world and a growing community, it looks like a game with a huge amount of history and gameplay.
In this guide I will show you step by step the contents that the game offers us in its free to play version or up to level 20. Take this guide as a vademecum to read if you are a novice or to send to your friends who want to take their first steps on Azeroth.
NB: I will use the terms of the client in Italian to be understandable to all, if you want to read about WoW in English you will surely know other sites.
What's an MMORPG?
An MMORPG (i.e. Massive(ly) Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) is a computer or console role-playing game that is played over the Internet simultaneously by several real people, so they are called "online" games. Thousands of players can interact by playing characters that evolve along with the persistent world that surrounds them and in which they live.
World of Warcraft in particular is one of the few titles of this genre, now in decline, to keep the interest in its players alive, offering new content and a world in constant evolution.
The story of World of Warcraft continues the story told in the 3 previous chapters called only Warcraft. On Azeroth two factions, the Alliance and the Horde, fight for the survival of their peoples but often they are forced to put aside their differences to face even greater threats: Necromancers, Ancient Gods, Dragons, Demons and so on. To face these threats, brave heroes are needed to face the harsh trials that the world of Warcraft has to offer. Of course this is a tight summary of what is the immense lore of this game, think about intertwining all the books of "The Lord of the Rings" with those of "The Chronicles of Ice and Fire", here you got the story of Warcraft!
Download the game
To download and install World of Warcraft you need to create a Battlenet account from the official website and download the Blizzard application. At this point you just have to select WoW to start the installation.
As you know World of Warcraft is composed of multiple expansions (not DLC!) that expand the game world by adding new content from time to time. Fortunately Blizzard wanted to meet the economic availability of players, in fact you only need to pay a month of game (12.99€) to have access to all content up to Legion without having to buy all the expansions. The only purchase you'll have to make will be Battle for Azeroth but you can think about it once you reach level 110 buying it later.
Being a dynamic world, World of Warcraft and its expansions can not be taken in watertight compartments, wanting to "finish" an expansion before moving to another is almost impossible since you will be denied access to a series of end game content (activities that you do reached the maximum level of an expansion) for lack of players. Let me explain better, the life cycle of an expansion is a year and a half / two and is characterized by a series of content released progressively over the years. When a new expansion comes out, the previous ones fall into the category "old content", i.e. content that is no longer "alive" but that will be the background to your leveling. You can always return to these areas for stuffing, mounts and other objects but if you really want to live the WoW experience you should always catch up with the current content reaching the maximum allowed level (120 in this case) and most active players.
Choice of the Kingdom
At the first start of the game we will be automatically assigned to a Realm, which is the server where we will play. There are two Italian Realms: Pozzo dell'Eternità (Main Alliance) and Nemesis (Horde). With the War Mode introduced by Battle for Azeroth the difference between PvE (Player vs Environment) and PvP (Player vs Player) servers has been eliminated, that is that in the first case the players of the two factions can fight only in areas dedicated to PvP such as battlefields and arenas, in the second case the whole world will be your arena and you can attack a player of the opposite faction at any time. To activate War Mode and then enter PvP mode, simply open your Talents page (N button) while you are in Roccavento or Orgrimmar and click on the appropriate box
Horde or Alliance: choose the right side for us?
The choice of a faction is never easy and in this case it will define the community that will surround us and we will follow the events of the story from a certain point of view. The choice is up to you, as for any role-playing game that respects my advice is to always start from a character who best represents you. In the future you will be free to create other characters.
As mentioned before, the Alliance and Horde are the two main factions in this game. Mistakenly you might think that one is good and one is evil but the story itself teaches us that good and evil are everywhere, even the biggest ogre can be a hero or the most minute gnome a Terror Lord. In short, Covenant and Horde are nothing more than the two sides of the same coin and each of them sees the world according to their own customs and each pursues its own goals in their own way. Let's get to know them better:
The more classic fantasy races like Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes and Night Elves gather under the only blue and gold banner of Roccavento, the capital of humans, over the years the Draenei (the blue one in the picture) and the Worgen (werewolves) have joined them. Among their ranks count great Paladins and Priests devoted to the Light.
A heterogeneous agglomeration of races fighting for survival gathered under the red and black banner of Orgrimmar, capital of the Orcs, among them we find Orcs, Trolls, Undead and Tauren. In the course of the events, the Blood Elves and Goblins have also joined them. The Shamans represent the spiritual guides of many peoples of the Horde and the Warriors the main military force.
Then there are the Pandaren, who can decide who to side with once they finish their introductory missions.
Then there are the allied races that have joined the two factions with the release of Battle for Azeroth.
After choosing our faction and race it is time to choose a class, each of which has its own particular characteristics and abilities. Some classes can only be selected from certain breeds and others such as the Knights of Death and Demon Hunters require special requirements.
The Warriors always face their enemies in the front line with their heavy armor, they are masters of arms and skilled fighters capable of handling any weapon both small and large. Their primary resource is Rage, which is recharged every time they suffer or inflict damage.
The Paladins are warriors blessed by the Light who always fight in the name of justice, despite their plate armor and devastating two-handed weapons these heroes can prove to be excellent healers thanks to the powers of the Light.
Knight of Death
Diametrically opposed to the Paladins, these knights use their new necromantic powers to inflict negative status on their targets, being mostly former warriors also excel as defenders or assailants. This class is called "heroic" and starts from level 55.
Hunters prefer ranged combat even if someone does not despise the idea of jumping into the fray armed with spear, they are often accompanied by a family that fights at their side. Masters of survival, hunters can create traps and follow the trail to flush out even the most difficult prey. This is perhaps one of the most suitable classes for newcomers.
Shamans are one with the elements that surround them. Fire, wind, earth and water guide their weapons, allowing them to cast spells and heal their allies. Shamans can also summon totem spirits to help them in combat.
Masters of the shadows the thieves are skilled fighters capable of striking without being seen and disappearing without a trace. Some of them, on the other hand, devote themselves to piracy by becoming skilled swordsmen who don't disdain a few shots between the opponent's eyes. Recommended for those seeking a stealthy approach to missions.
Protectors of nature, the Druids are skilled shape-shifters to better tune into the surrounding environment. Bears, panthers, lunagufi and deer are the main forms that a Druid learns. They can cover any role but their flexibility makes them difficult to master.
When the Pandaren began to join the Horde and the Alliance, to give thanks for their protection, they shared their fighting techniques with the other races. Monks use in Chi as their main resource to strengthen their fists and kicks.
Better known as Illidari, are special units trained by Illidan Grantempesta. These ruthless hunters are Night Elves and Blood Elves who have joined Illidan in his crusade against the Burning Legion, twisting demonic powers against the demons themselves. They are both defenders and assailants who use their agility to always change the point from which they will launch their attacks. This class starts at level 98.
Wizards are masters of the arcane arts, capable of casting powerful spells but also small tricks that make life easier for everyone, such as portals or evoked mana sweets.
No matter what faction they belong to, Wizards are never welcomed by the people of Azeroth. Their mastery in subduing demons and manipulating the dark arts instill fear in the hearts of those who meet them.
Like the Paladins, priests are blessed by the Light, which enables them to become a true vessel of this divine power, often used in the healing of allies. But there are also those who stray from the path of Light by embracing the Shadow and handling spells and powers similar to those of Sorcerers.
Finally, each class has a special type of equipment, these are divided into plates, mesh, leather and fabric.
For this guide I have chosen to create a Human Paladin.
Missions, loot and skills
After creating your character, we'll finally start the game in one of the starting zones that will change according to the race you choose.
The missions are generally indicated by an exclamation mark on the minimap and NPCs and are divided mainly into two categories: Killing and Collecting.
Each completed mission will reward us with experience and a cash or equipment prize. To wear a new piece of armor you just need to open the bag (B) and click the icon with the right button, if you are curious to know if what you have taken is better than the one equipped you can compare the pieces by pressing (Shift). Sometimes we will take pieces that are useless or not suitable for our class, in that case you can sell everything to a merchant to make a big bundle.
To face the countless we will have at our disposal a set of skills that will grow by leveling up and filling the action bar. To activate them press the corresponding key every time it will be available, the sequence with which to use them can be deduced by reading the small description that appears when you pass over the icon with the mouse.
Once completed, the mission will be indicated by a question mark.
If you don't know where to go, visit the announcement board in Roccavento or Orgrimmar to be directed to a new area.
Level 10 - Specialisations and roles
Ding! You've reached your very first goal and it's time to choose a Specialty, this defines your style of play, skills and the role that will characterize your character. For example, the Paladin's Specializations allow him to choose from three available roles:
Defender: In the jargon known as Tank, those who play this role have more defensive skills on their side that allow them to take heavy damage without losing too much life. In groups he is the one who always moves forward and draws most of the beating on himself, while the assailants do the rest.
Assailant or DPS (Damage Per Second): They usually have 2 tasks, hit hard and not stay in the fire. Their skills are mainly attacking and can be enhanced with the right combinations and timing.
Healer: While the Tank, the DPS and the monsters are getting their asses kicked, your job will be to keep your allies alive...except for the DPS that remain in the fire, they have to burn!
Other classes can only cover certain roles, for example Thieves have 3 assault specializations, have you ever seen a Thief arm himself with a shield and defend the weakest?!
You can change Specializations at any time by pressing (N) and selecting the appropriate tab.
Level 15 - Talents and Expeditions
Every 15 levels you can select a talent that will add a new skill to your action bar or upgrade existing ones.
By pressing (B) you will access the expedition search menu (or more commonly Dungeon) where you can join a group of 4 other adventurers to search for more appetizing loot in the most dangerous places of Azeroth facing the bosses inside them. In this case you will have to choose a role to play according to your specialization, for example I opted for defender because I already know the way and I can bring the group to a successful expedition.
Level 20 - Everyone in the saddle!
At this point you have surely already become familiar with the game and its basic mechanics and the time for a new challenge. A long journey awaits you after this level and what better way to cross the vast world of Azeroth than riding a trusty steed? Once you reach level 20 you will activate a mission that will guide you to the purchase of your first riding license that will allow you to travel at 60% more speed.
The journey continues
Once you've activated your copy of the game you'll really start your adventure, getting to level 110 may seem like an epic but it takes less than it seems.
Leveling a character, watching him grow and evolve is only a small part of the gameplay offered by World of Warcraft since after the level cap (now it's 110 from the next will be 120) is another way to play and structure your character with statistics and raids (better known as raids, are like expeditions but larger with 10/25 people) and for this you would need another guide.
While you reach the maximum level, have fun! Do not be afraid to make mistakes, ask for information and choose faction, race and class you like, take your time to find the combination that best suits you and your way of playing. Along the way you will meet a lot of people, never forget that the main key to an MMO like World of Warcraft is communication! I hope this little guide will help you a little bit while you start your adventure, have fun and see you on Azeroth!