"Every day, new players create their very first World of Warcraft character and plunge into grand adventures. Some get varying degrees of help from experienced players, and some go it completely alone. As they earn levels (and the rewards that come along with them), different players discover their own unique paths to level 85.
There are lots of ways to get there from here. You can choose to complete every quest you encounter. You might decide to kill every creature that crosses your path, gaining the majority of your experience that way. You can focus on dungeons, Battlegrounds, or professions.
If you were starting fresh today, how would you go about leveling? As a seasoned veteran, what tips would you give to help newcomers have the most fun leveling up?"
Warning: Epic long post ahead about the story of a new player in today's game. If you have time feel free to read it, you might find something you like in the story. To skip ahead to the advice, just go to the bold advice at the end.
I am not new so it is hard to say, it would be easier for me to say what my experience was like and compare it to what my experience is like starting a new character on a new server. That will not be entirely accurate however. I have something that I can not get rid of that a new player will not have. Knowledge of the game. I will try to put myself in the state of mind that a new player would be in and comment based on what I know.
My new character would watch the introductory cut scene in awe. Looking forward to the great graphics and feel that it shows. As soon as the game starts I will notice that those graphics where greatly over stated. I will either be an understanding player and let it pass without really caring or start complaining right away.
I will pick up my first quest and follow the designed layout that all starting areas always had. Nothing wrong with that when starting out I say. As I leave my little safe home starting zone and enter the real world I will see more of the same. Quests that lead into other quests and I will do them all to open new ones. Being I am new I will not realize that my choice in game play has been taken away from me because I don't know any different. I will like it because it is all I know.
I will most likely not even consider leveling through dungeons because I am new and don't even know what the hell a dungeon is. Maybe when I get my first quest that says it is a dungeon quest I might look into it. Like many first time players I will most likely take the first two professions that I wander across.
After I notice I can only have two main profession, if I am so inclined I might change one or both to try and get two professions that complement each other. Leveling from gathering professions will never enter my mind because I am new the the game and do not know that mining and herbing give experience.
I will not even consider leveling by PvP because if I had wanted to PvP I would have most likely made my character on a PvP server. Like most first timers I would be under the impression that there is no PvP at all on a PvE server.
Being I am new and do not know any better I will most likely accept the first guild invite I get or at least one the the first ones. Maybe one of the people spamming trade that sounds good because they say they are a leveling guild. It will most likely turn out to be someone that has 5 alts on that server that is the GM of 5 different guilds with the cash flow bonus and they just spam invite new players to profit off of them. That will not bother me however because I will most likely not even have a clue what that means.
Back to questing I will see a quest on the call board. It will tell me where to go. I will of course go there. I will do all the quests in the area that the call board gave me. Even with no rested experience and no heirloom items I will end up wasting my time in the zone because I will be doing quests that are gray to me now. Not like I will notice anything is wrong with that. The quest line is linear and it is telling me to do that so I will do that.
Whenever I level and see I can learn a new skill I will happily go back to learn it at the first main city I found a trainer at, or the closest place I can remember one. When there I will look with hopeful expectation that the call board has something new for me because now that I am level 16 these quests killing level 10 mobs are offering me no experience with only minimal quest experience and the game is really starting to drag.
When I pick up the new call board quest I will be happy as I can be to move to an area that is more suitable for me. Unbeknown to me I should have picked up that call board quest 1 or 2 levels ago but being I had not visited the city because when I leveled last time it did not tell me to go back to the city for something I will start the new zone already 1 or 2 levels ahead of where I should be.
This means that the quests will turn gray even faster then they did in the previous zone and I will hit complete boredom in record speed doing quests that I only get experience for doing it and nothing from killing the mobs.
Lets just say for a moment I am not one of those people that will look online for help. That means I am not you or me. If you are reading this you are not one of those people. Remember that the majority of people that play would not know what wowhead was if you sent them a link. Elitist jerks? MMO-Champion? Nope, most players never heard of them and would look at you like you had three heads when you mention them.
So now, starting to get really stressed with questing for what seems like nothing I will post in guild chat asking if I am doing something wrong. Being most people in those types of guilds are in the same boat as me, knowledgeable players usually join knowledgeable guilds and not leveling guilds, I will get no answer. Even if I catch the guild master online that claimed it was a helpful guild he will be on and off so fast just to collect the cash from the guild bank that his legion of newcomers is making for him.
I might end up going to the city early out of frustration. If I do it will be the lucky moment for me. I will notice the new quest on the call board and the game would start having meaning for me again.
At least I never have to worry about where to go, the game always tells me where to go and when to go there. It gives me all my quests lined up. My quests are always easy and can always be soloed. Anything that might put me up against an elite there will be an NPC there that will help me beat them.
I will start to feel a little dependent on everything being handed to me on a silver platter. I am told where to go, I never have to look for quests. I am told to follow a quest line and when one is done I am sent to the next bunch of quests, so I never have to worry about what my next move is. I never need to explore or search for what to do next.
I'll never get lost because there is this map that always shows me exactly where everything is. I will know where to go for my quest and because the mobs are kind enough to tell me if they drop the quest item when I hover over them I will always know who to kill.
By now I will have a whole mess of spells but I will have figured out which ones are doing the best for me and will only use those. Usually it will be 2 or 3 buttons only but I will never need anything more then that. The concept of a rotation will be totally foreign to me. Who needs a rotation when I hit 1, 2 and then 3 and everything is dead. The idea of maximizing my damage will also be foreign to me because nothing will ever give me any trouble to the point where I would really care if I can do more damage.
One day I will notice I got mail. The mail could have been there for days for all I know but I just noticed it. I've never used a mail box so I have no clue where to find one unless I was lucky enough to stumble across one earlier. I go to a city and see them all over the place. I click one and see two mails. I am so excited for some unknown reason. This is my first real interaction with another person, so to speak.
I open the first mail to see an internet address telling me if I go there I can get this, that or the other. Maybe even buy some gold. What the hell would I need gold for. I delete the message.
Next message tells me I can learn riding. I know I can learn riding but when I saw that pop up when I was leveling my trainer did not train it for me. I was quite upset. This explains however where I need to go. Awesome, that is why my trainer did not teach it to me. Apparently he is smart enough to be a master of all things warrior/rogue/hunter/etc but he has no clue how to ride a mount so he can't teach that.
I go train the skill to ride and I go buy a mount. Now I wish I had not deleted that message to buy gold. I didn't need any coins before but now I am broke. That is assuming that I had enough to buy them both in the first place. For the average player this is the first taste of, should I buy gold, questioning that pops into their mind.
I learn my mount. I mount up and run around my home city. I am like Leonardo Dicaprio in Titanic riding around. I am the king of the world moving like lightning in and out of the twists and turns. This is the first real moment of excitement I've had in the game and I am loving it. After a few minutes of running all over like a fool I decide to go back to questing and pick up the new quest on the call board for me.
More of the same as before. Quest leads to quest leads to quest. The only difference is I can now ride my glorious I am king of the world mount back and forth to the quest locations. This makes the game a little quicker which is a little more enjoyable but also means that things now seem to go gray faster because I am finishing quests faster.
A few levels later while doing a quest someone whispers me and asks me why I have no shoulders. I say that I have not had any drop and have not had any as a quest reward yet. He opens a trade window and gives me a green set of shoulders. I whisper asking him what he wants and telling him I spent almost all my money on my mount so I do not have much. He says not to worry about it they are free. I say thank you very much and start to think maybe his guild needs members, he seems nice and has, in 1 minute, helped me more than my guild has. But he is gone before I can even finish that train of thought. I start to think that the people that play this game must be really cool and almost expect everyone I run into to be like that.
A few more levels later I get another whisper asking me why I am not wearing a helm. I tell them the same thing I told the other guy. He calls me a noob, laughs at me and runs off. It bothers me a little bit. It is not my fault. If none dropped and none where given to me how the hell am I supposed to get one. Maybe not everyone in the game is really that nice.
The game continues to flow as it has been. Everything, except a helm, is handed to me on a silver platter. I'm told where to quest. I am told where to go to do the quest objective. I am told which mobs drop the items I need or which are the ones I need to kill. There are some quests I might not like the style of and would love to skip but I have no choice. I have to do them. So I am stuck not only doing whatever I am told to advance but I am stuck doing quests I hate because if I don't do it I can not get the quest after it.
Flash forward to the next time I see a mail. It is shortly after I just got my recent level and it told me I could learn riding again. I knew my trainer was an idiot when it comes to mounts, I knew where to go now. I went and picked up my new mount and again felt brand new for a while. I was running circles around my old self. Two or three passes around the city and the first thing I think is how the hell did I ever get this far without a mount like this. This is beyond awesome. Too bad I am broke again now. Where are those gold sellers when you need them?
This is the second time I'll have been really tempted to buy gold. Being I am still a new player and still assuming I am the average player that will never go to any forums of any sort, not even the official ones, I will not think anything wrong of it if I ever decided to. As I have nothing else to buy now, I have my mount and I am moving faster then the speed of light, I do not need gold.
Flash forward again because how often do we need to hear the I do a quest to lead to a quest to lead to another quest to having them turn gray and everything gets boring again for a while. You know it will happen over and over again. How any new player sticks around now amazes me.
I get told from the call board that I have been called to the outland so I go. I walk through the portal and I am in sheer amazement. This is not my world. This is wild. I walk to the top of the stairs and see all these ?? mobs and this huge guy with more hit points then I have ever even imagined on a mob. I nearly crap myself, figuratively speaking of course.
Afraid to go down thinking they will attack me but seeing the question mark just down there I inch my way forward ready to run my little 58 butt back to the entrance if they start coming for me. Slowly I turned...step by step...inch by inch..., (a cookie for the reference) and I make it to where I turn in the quest. Maximum distance from him of course. I turn in the quest and get sent to the flight master. I high tail it over there as fast as I can. Talk to him and get the F out of there. Wow, that was freaking exciting. This zone is going to rule.
I quest for a little bit avoiding this giant ass robot that always seems to be exactly where I am at all times and hit 60 in no time and notice that I can learn flying. Flying? You have to be kidding me. That is awesome. I drop everything I am doing and go to pick up flying. After training artisan flying and getting a mount I can not get old world flying because I do not have enough gold.
I check my mailbox wondering if maybe I forgot to delete that gold selling mail, hoping at least. It is gone but that is not such a big deal. I am going to be questing in this new place, screw that old boring place. That new place is exciting and the gear the quests give me is 100 times better then what I am wearing. I can get the other flying later. I am not coming back to the main land any time soon anyway, this place is to damned awesome.
Once I get my flying mount I do just what I did when I got the other two mounts. I give it a test ride. I start flying all over the place singing, I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky... I notice the experience I am getting from flying over new areas and think this is a great way to get some experience, let me fly over the whole area.
I fly over the enemy city and they notice me. Oh crap. I fly away as fast as possible. Holding down the W as hard as I can as if I pressed it harder I might move faster. As soon as the mark fades off me I let out a sigh of relief and think I really should pay more attention to where I am flying. Last thing I need is to be killed in enemy territory.
I go back to where I was to continue questing. I am a tiny bit afraid of exploring now after my near death experience but something did appear to me that I had not notice in my previous questing. There are explanation marks all over the place.
After a few quests I come along one I really do not feel like doing and figure I will just skip it because I saw so many other quests I can do and I know from previous experience, I do not need to do every quest in the zone before things go gray. I am loving this new zone even more. I can choose to skip things I do not want to do. This is amazing. Great scary mobs, flying, giant freaking I squish you robots, questing of my own design. Does it get any better?
I get a dungeon quest, the first one I actively want to do, the reward would be a huge upgrade for me. Heck, huge is an understatement. The gear from this new area is amazing and this dungeon gear is even better than that. This is my first attempt to join in using the dungeon finder.
I pick the dungeon that has my quest in it and wait right near the quest giver that gave it to me. The timers says it will be 8 minutes so I go to the bathroom and get a drink and wait a little nervously. My interactions with others have been few and far between in game and truth be told I am actually more then a little nervous. People on the internet can be downright abusive sometimes.
I stand back and play follow the leader. Things go smoothly. I get my quest done and even won an item while running it that was an amazing upgrade. I have to do this stuff again. This was great.
Next run, not so great. Things keep attacking me and everyone else. Seems the tank is not good or at least that is what the healer said before they left. The tank left shortly after and we got a new tank and a new healer a few minutes later and finished. Nothing dropped for me this time. Somehow, with the deaths and having a hell of the time finding my way back to the dungeon and not getting anything it does not seem as fun as it was the first pass through. From now on I will only try ones I have quests in.
Dungeons seem really useless if there is nothing you can get out of them and already from this limited experience it can be hit or miss. I would rather do quests because a lot of quests give me gear and gold.
I continue through outlands doing dungeons once in a while and they are always hit or miss. Some break up after one pull, some go through a dozen people before we finish them and some we are done with before they even seem to start them. Picking and choosing my quests is the greatest thing since sliced bread and this is where I am enjoying myself most. I never want to leave this place. Design wise it is much better then the first 58 levels of what felt like hell with slow travel, quests I could not skip, horrible rewards, you name it. Outlands is the shit.
Outlands also taught me a little bit about how to play for the first time of playing. I had quests to go against these elites and no one came to help. Where are the NPCs that are supposed to help me. I've just spent 58 levels having everything spoon fed to me and now I actually have to work. This is starting to actually feel a little bit like a challenge. I like it.
For the first time I needed to look at the abilities I had and start using more then just 2 or 3 buttons. Someone in one of the dungeons gave me some advice and listed some abilities I should be using. That was nice of him. Better then the guy before him that told me my DPS was crap and I suck but never offered to help. What the hell is DPS anyway?
I learned that in time. I am also using a lot more of my abilities. After dying to that freaking naga 8 times I finally figured out how to kill her. It was the first time in the game I ever felt like I accomplished something. Where the hell is my achievement for that? They seem to throw achievements at me for everything else that was easy as pie. Beating her was not easy. I want my achievement for actually doing something achievement worthy compared to catching 25 fish.
When I hit level 68 I get a call board message to go to northrend. I head there hoping it is more of the same and to my surprise is it even better. I had to buy cold weather flying now and that kind of sucked all my gold again. Glad I did not buy old world flying now. No need for flying in the old world if I am never there. That last zone and this one are just too freaking cool. Seems like they kept getting better with every expansion.
I love that I choose my quests here as well and the areas seem as if they were so well thought out. The music rocks too. There were a few quests here that I tried and tried and tried on and just could not do alone. I think it is impossible. I need to find a group for them. Never done that before. I just can not beat them.
I meet a few people questing in the area that also needed those quests done. They could not do it either. There were two of them. Makes me think I was a fool for even trying. We three join up and beat the elites for these quests. Even with the three of us it really was hard but awesome at the same time.
I quest with them for a little bit and say thank you and go my own way when they had to leave. It was fun having someone to help with quests, even more so being I really needed the help. The gear is this area is leaps and bounds better then the last one but the mobs are leaps and bounds harder. I am enjoying the challenge. I think it is also helping me get better at playing. I have not been insulted in my dungeon runs recently, not like the last area where I would get someone tell me I suck what seemed like once every 4 or 5 runs.
I am in complete and total awe. This game has just gone from a fun way to pass the time to the most amazing game I ever played. I have to view that veteran of wrathgate cinematic again, it gave me chills. I swear the hair on my arm just stood up from the chills. Oh, again. I can't believe how awesome that was. I have to come back and watch this one again. I have to call friends over just to show them this. After seeing the sheer awesomeness of that they will not laugh at me for playing a game any more. This was so unexpected. The game really reached a new height for me right there.
I wonder if I missed more in the past that were like this or if this was the first one like this. Either way, this one thing alone has just secured northrend as the greatest area in the game. Hands down. Nothing will ever beat that cinematic.
The dungeons here have also taught me more about how to play my class. People run through them as if they where in a theater that was on fire trying to get out. They move so fast. I've learned faster reaction time which in turn has really helped me with questing while facing those hard mobs. I've become so much better in my ability selection and speed at which I activate them because I have no choice but to get better because everyone seems to be in such a rush.
As I work my way through the area's I keep thinking back about that cut scene. Nothing else in these zones ever compares to it even if there are a few moments that are really fun. Outlands and Northrend have been nothing like the main lands. I am glad for that, these areas have been fantastic. Each new area I go to seems to step up the game some and make it so much better.
I think 1-58 was all spoon feed to me and kept me questing in dead areas long after I should have moved along. 58-68 added the ability to choose my own quest line so to speak which really opened up the game for me and let me explore which was really fun. Even got me killed a few times going places I was just not quite ready for yet. 68-80 trained me how to maximize the use of my abilities because things are so fast moving there. Off to the next expansion I go.
It is in the main world mostly so I have to buy that flying now. I still can not afford the epic flying but I'll live. I am moving fast enough and I am content with it.
I zone into my first new area and play the explorer thing and fly around some. Looks like all the rest of the main land, nothing really different as of yet but something I did notice. No explanations marks. Crap, back to that main land questing crap. I liked being able to choose my own adventure. It made me feel like I was playing my game. Now it feels like paint by numbers again. Boo.
These starting mobs are really hard but after completing a few quests and seeing the gear they give me I will catch up soon. The stats on these are nearly triple the ones I am currently wearing. One good thing I noticed, even with this crappy quest to quest to quest is that it is not as annoying now with flying and I am not out leveling the zone while still working it. I can deal with this. Not nearly as bad as 1-58 was but not even one tenth as good as outlands or northrend.
Elite mob quest. Okay. Should I assume that being the questing is like the other main world stuff will this be one where someone will come to help me or should I be prepared to use every skill and ability and reaction that the outlands and northrend has taught me. I'll play prepared. I will also waste my time it seems. The NPCs are even stronger then they were in the old quests. I do not even need to fight. They will kill the mob for me. I'll just make myself a drink while they kill the mob for me. This really is not all that fun.
I'm not really a big fan of being spoon feed. I think I liked the other areas where I needed to do my best to beat mobs. I learned a lot there and it got to be pretty fun. Heck, there are quests I did not do because I could not do. I can't wait to go back later when I am stronger and beat those monsters like a red headed stepchild. It will be fun. Either way, I'll just cruise control my way to 85, I am so close as it is. I've heard the game doesn't really start until then anyway.
Flash forward to the epic flying achievement. Woohoo, I am moving now. I start singing I believe I can fly again while zooming all over the place in twilight highlands and fly into some dragons that doesn't seem to like me very much. They down me into some more mobs that aren't all that friendly. I die a horrible death. I laugh my ass off because that was rather unexpected. I think that was the first moment of fun I've had so far in this part of the game.
Ding. 85 baby. Lets get rolling. I can't get into any heroics so I will do some randoms. Wow, 40 minutes waiting time. I'll do some dailies. I am broke from buying my flying and I want to buy the even faster flying now. I am addicted to this speed. If I remembered what that gold sellers web address was maybe I would already have it.
Flash forward again roughly 15 normals, tons of dailies and some shiny new rep gear and normal gear and I am item level 329 and ready for heroics. I queue up and wait my 40 minutes and get into GB.
I die on the first trash pull. What did I do. Nothing, the damage is just so high that a fresh 329 will die in a couple of hits if that many. I die a few pulls later again and the tank tells me that is because I was not on his target. I know about marks, I did not see any marks so I tell him that nothing was marked. He says focus my focus and you can tell he is pissed so I did not even mention I had no clue what he meant by that. I've been insulted enough in other dungeons to know when it is best to just keep my mouth shut. Some people you can ask questions, others you can't.
First boss I get squished. WTF, he did not do that on normal. At least I do not remember it. Wipe. Second try I did not die. I am quick at picking up on things that kill me and I try not to let them kill me again. Not like it made much of a difference, we wipe again. And again, and on the forth attempt I screw up again and die and I get kicked begin told I suck and I have no business being in a heroic doing 4K DPS.
How do they know what DPS I am doing and how do I have no business being in a heroic, I have a 329 item level. Those things are really hard but my item level says I am more then capable of being there.
A few more heroics, few more kicks, a few more insults, a few more wipes. And this is where the adventure of our new player makes its last turn, assuming they even made it this far after how horrible 1-58 was.
From this moment on the new player has a decision to make.
1) Keep being bad and try to get better on their own at the expense of the time and efforts of others. (Most people that made it this far will go this route)
2) Start looking online for ways to get better and run more normals and get more rep and earn gold to buy BoE items. (A small percentage will do this)
3) Keep being bad but think that gear will solve everything and buy gold to buy BoE weapons after doing a net search to find where to buy gold. (A reasonable amount of people will do this)
4) Look up guides for how to play and buy gold to help give them that boost to catch up. (A reasonable amount of people will do this)
5) Quit outright because they hit a dead end and this is just not any fun. (A fair amount of people will do this just like when you beat a console game you move to the next one, getting to end level is like this if people feel there is no place else they can advance, they beat the game so it is time to move on)
6) Start another character hoping to do better with that one. (A fair amount of people do this and become altaholics even)
Advice to new player:
Take mining and herbalism.
You can change later, but while leveling you will get experience for gathering and you can sell the items for a fair price on the auction house market.
These are the single most important thing in the game. Buy the best ones you can afford as soon as you can afford them. Bigger bags means more questing before you have to unload all the junk you collected.
Remember that the call board will tell you where to go. Also remember that you do not need to finish an area. If you are not getting good experience from the quest mobs again drop all remaining quests and pick up a new destination from the call board. New areas start with new quest lines. You do not need to finish the previous ones. This is a big thing for new players. Doing outdated quests, and it will happen, will really ruin the fun of the game for you.
Just because it is white does not mean you vendor it. Check to see if it has some value. Some white items can sell for a fair amount.
Levels 1-58 are as boring as sin. There are really no good stories unless you knew the previous history which you don't being you are a new player. There is no challenge to the quests and you are stuck doing everything like it or not. It gets better. Trust me. From 58-80 you get to actually enjoy the freedom to explore. That is where questing will be fun.
Do not do dungeons to level, questing is just way more efficient. From 1-58 do each dungeon at least once. They offer quests at the beginning and they offer great items and gold and experience but otherwise are basically a waste of time. Queue up while questing. If you get one that you have quests you never did in it, stick with it. If not, drop group and continue questing until you can queue again and hope for a dungeon with quests in it. 58-85, only do a dungeon if you have quests for it. The quests for these dungeons are (mostly) not at the beginning of the dungeon and you will pick them up while questing.
Have thick skin. While learning you will be insulted and kicked on a regular basis. Do your best and be an asset to the group. Know your class. As long as you did the best that you can do then you have no reason to be upset if you are kicked. You can not live up to everyones standards. Just live up to your own, but keep that standard high and keep aiming for it.
Forums and Websites:
If you really want to be good at what you do you need to look outside of the game. The game offers no instruction on how to play right. Websites will tell you your best stats, rotations, abilities to use, etc. Websites will also give you small guides on what to expect in those heroics. Reading them before going into one will greatly increase your chance of success. I suggest that you invest at least some time in reading about your class and the content you intend to do. It helps not only you but those around you.
Many people get sucked into a leveling guild because they do not know any better. 95% of leveling guilds are just meat markets. They take anyone that will join. They do not care what you do or how you do it. Do not be afraid to leave a guild if another guild pops up that might be better. Blizzard made a mistake with guild reputation and people fear starting over now. Once you hit 85 getting to exalted with a new guild is not hard if you do dailies and run dungeons with the guild so it should not be an issue. Leave the moment you notice your guild is not a fit for you. It will make your gaming experience a lot better if when you have a question there was someone that was actually willing to answer it in your guild.
Good luck future hero of Azeroth, your road will be a rough one, be careful not to stumble because it is easy to do so and if you do, feel free to come to this grumpy elf for help. I've never left any question unanswered from someone willing to learn.