Congratulations! One of your friends tricked you into installing World of Warcraft and then the asshole left you to figure out how to play it without any guidance. No worries, I’m here to help.
This is what will happen next:
Once you’ve installed the game you should have a thing on your desktop that says “Battle.net.”
Double click that shit, and then you will be looking at what Blizz (short for Blizzard, sometimes referred to as “Those dicks who are ruining my game” or most famously known as “The company that created Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo”) is calling their Battle.net desktop app. The stupid thing has something to do with Hearthstone and tablets, but it is useful, so I don’t complain too much. Oh, and it looks like this:
Next, you’re going to do the unspeakable and click on World of Warcraft, before you immediately press play. It’s imperative you execute these first steps as quickly as possible so that your self-loathing can’t keep up with your actions. Note: The self-loathing will pass…eventually.
Now, you should be looking at a screen resembling this one:
If, for whatever reason, you do not already have a username and password, by this point, you’re a freaking ninja because the launcher won’t let you open it without an account. Please go to battle.net and create an account at this time, if you don’t already have one. Follow the appropriate instructions. Return here.
Okay, now you should be looking at that last screen I showed you. That’s a list of the available realms. At the bottom of the window, you see there are four tabs: United States, Oceanic, Latin America, Brazil. If you’re in Asia or Europe, your options will be different, but the idea will be the same. Pick the region that’s closest to you.
Now, you get to pick your server. If you want to let people from the opposing faction feast on your noob corpse, please select a Person vs. Person (PVP) realm. If you would like to receive dirty messages from random strangers, select a Role Playing (RP) server. If you would like to play mostly with people who don’t like to be harassed by strangers, select a (Normal) realm. If you have friends who already play, they’ve probably told you the name of a realm, and you can’t currently remember it because you thought they were just making words up. Don’t worry about it too much. Everything you do for the next 24 hours probably won’t matter once you actually figure the game out. Look at the names. Pick one you like. The column on the right labeled “Population” will sometimes say “New Players.” Feel free to pick one of those. Generally that status is given to realms which need an increase to their population. As you get better, you’ll figure out whether you’d rather be on a large server or a small one, and what type of game play is best for you. Right now, we just want to get you started.
So, once you’ve arbitrarily chosen your new home, you will be looking at a screen like this one:
Feel free to click around and play with the settings. The options in the black column change your class. Class determines what kind of things your character will be able to do. As you click on each one, a little blurb will pop up letting you know more about it. If you’ve never played an RPG before, you’re probably going to want to just pick something and see how it feels. If you have, you probably know whether you like ranged, melee, or healers.
Caster classes: Mage, Druid, Warlock, Shaman, Priest, Hunter
Melee Classes: Rogue, Druid, Monk, Shaman, Death Knight, Warrior, Paladin
Healing Classes: Paladin, Druid, Shaman, Priest, Monk
If you have friends who already play, they may have told you to play either Horde (Red) or Alliance (Blue). In the picture, the character I’m creating is a Night Elf, which is in the Blue column. Pandaren can be either Horde or Alliance. If you don’t have friends who already play, just pick a race that looks cool, or you can read the descriptions and let that help you decide what you want. With few exceptions, race is mostly a cosmetic choice, so there is no wrong answer. Your character’s gender will not affect game play. It will affect player interactions, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now. Okay, once you make those three decisions, you’re ready to hit the “Customize” button.
Here, everything is personal preference. Hit “Randomize” until you like what you’re looking at, or play around with your options. When you’re ready, pick a name. Blizzard has put several filters in place to prevent people from using obscene or offensive names. You’re also not allowed to use numbers or certain special characters. The more weird characters you put in your name, the harder it will be for everyone to add you as a friend, invite you to groups or guilds, and for you to communicate the name to your friends. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it isn’t.
When you’re ready, click “Finish.”
Now, you’re ready to play: