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Believe it or not there are actually people STARTING to play WOW all the time. When you first log on to WOW post Burning Crusades, it’s pretty intimidating. There’s the interface, then the quests, then figuring out how class mechanics, and even figuring out which server and faction to play in. Up until recently I’d always felt as if I missed out by not starting to play WOW sooner. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling left out because I’m not able to be in this raid or another while I’m trying to level my main. While I know that there’s the recruit a friend program and that leveling has been made a lot easier so that folks like me can catch up faster, I still sort of feel as though there’s a lot I’ve missed. Since I’m a history buff and an avid researcher it’s no big deal for me to listen to folks or read up on game and class mechanics. But before you can do the reading, you have to find something TO read. So I figured I’d compile a list of resources for folks that are starting WOW for the first time either for the expansion or who just started out by downloading the trial and getting hooked (yeah, that’s me). [more]
Learning to Play: there’s a ton of detail not just to the graphics of WOW but also in the game mechanics. While it seems totally overwhelming to sift through everything and since the manuals shipped in the box are usually horribly out of date, I’d like to present a few resources that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful.
Information about the classes, the races, the factions, the professions, and the zones/instances:
WIKIA’s WoWWiki: Sort of like Wikipedia, there’s a ton of information here. It’s usually kept up to date as well so there’s already information about the new talent trees and abilities added to WOW for the WOLK expansion. If you also like to read up on some of the WOW back story, there’s a lot of lore posted here too. The Wiki is maintained by mostly volunteers and for the most part I’ve found it to be pretty accurate. There is information about quests here, but I’ve found that there’s usually more detailed information found at Thotbot or WOWHead (like map coordinates and where the devil you turn the thing in at etc).
Thotbot: Everyone has been stuck at one time or another on a quest. So where is the guy? Who do you turn it into? What drops the stupid thing I’m looking for? Personally I’ve found Thotbot to be the most helpful here. Other players submit map coordinates and even screens shots of places where they’ve found quest items. “But my map doesn’t have coordinates?” I’m getting to that you’ll just have to read a bit more.
WOWHead: You’ll find a lot of information here like quest information and a forum. But what I’ve found most helpful about WOWHead is their information on gear. They also have a new section just on the Achievements as well. They even have tools that will let you compare two pieces of gear for your character and even try it on. So really if you’re curious about your gear, check this place out.
Auctioning “Teh Sweet Lootz”:
Allakhazam: The Auction house is pretty intimidating at first, but it’s a really sweet way to make enough cash for your mount by selling loot and also a great place to buy good gear for your character. If you’re not sure what price to put on a piece of look, you can always run a search for it here. Allakhazam checks the prices of items on the WOW servers and then lists the median, most, and least that players have received for selling items in the Auction house. Keep in mind though that items with the random tag like “of the Whale” or “of the Monkey” will be priced differently depending upon who would use them. In other words I wouldn’t get to frustrated when you’re “Awesome Pants of the Whale” don’t sell in the Auction House, but you see “Awesome Pants of the Eagle” selling for outrageous quantities of gold. Just wait until you’re the one that loots the awesome pants, you’re time will come. (chort, giggle, snicker, Awesome Pants, there are not really Awesome Pants of anything in the game it’s a name used for illustration purposes and as a very bad pun).
Blogs (aka stuff to read when you can’t play the game). A great way to get tips, stay up to date, and to just indulge in a little WOW based humor (that the coworkers just won’t get unless you mention Leroy Jenkins).
WarcraftBloggers: This is a site that combines posts from TONS of WOW blogs. This can be pretty overwhelming site at first since there are so many blogs found here. The upside though is that while taking a look at the posts you’ll be able to find a blog or two that relates to your class or just entertains you in some weird way.
WOW Insider: You’ll see this blog a lot on WarcraftBloggers since there’s a few folks collaborating on this one. But there is a lot of good information here and they do post information that’s class specific, which is really helpful stuff. Otherwise they also have wow related news or opinion pieces.
Add Ons: OK so now we’re back to the maps that have coordinates on. One thing I like about WOW is the ablity to create and add tools that make the game a little easier or more fun to play. I could probably write an entire entry about the pros and cons of using add on’s but I’ll just leave that to personal preference. Here’s one big warning though, make sure that you download add ons from a trusted site and make sure that you’re using anti-spyware and antivirus programs. Otherwise you may log on one day to find you’re toon’s naked and someone using your credit card to buy expensive handbags on e-bay. OK so there’s a couple of add ons I like to use and for right now I’ve been using wow.curse.com http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/default.aspx. I haven’t heard too many complaints about their site and the add ons seem to be ok. There are always exclusions to the rule. As for add ons I use Cartographer, it puts coordinates on my map and makes it much easier to find things. Cartographer also tells you what the zone level is and even what the fishing level is. It’s pretty handy. There are a ton of other add ons available and I’ll have to blog about them again later. Since the 3.0.2 patch released in August of 2008, there’ve been a lot of broken add ons that have to be updated to work with the patch. Once WOTLK hits I’m sure that they’ll be updated and ready to go fairly quickly (well the ones that are still supported, you know how it is). Oh and by the way, installing add ons isn’t all that difficult. You can use the wow.curse.com installer, or you can install them yourself. Keep in mind that you don’t really “install” the WOW add ons, you really just add them to a set of files already in the game. If you navigate out to your programs file and find your WOW file, you’ll want to look for a file in your WorldofWarcraft folder named “Interface”. In that folder you’ll find the AddOns folder. You’ll want to unzip the files for the add on you downloaded, and then copy and paste them here. If you’re using Windows Vista, you’ll have to extract the files to another place (like your desktop) first since Vista is not a big fan of allowing you try to extract zipped files directly to the programs files. Also if you have Vista you may have a hard time finding the AddOns folder. You can always try typing AddOns into the search box found under the start menu, that usually works pretty well. Keep in mind too that you’ll probably need Administrator level permissions to change the files so be ready for the dummy prompt.
OK so later I’ll have to update the add ons. Hopefully someone somewhere finds this useful, if nothing else I’ll have a cheat sheet to look back on.