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For new players: gameplay basics

  Welcome to our series of guides for new players! If you want to explore the vast, ever-changing world of Azeroth, you've come to the right place...

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For new players: gameplay basics


Welcome to our series of guides for new players! If you want to explore the vast, ever-changing world of Azeroth, you've come to the right place. We will try to present here the most important information about World of Warcraft, starting with buying the game and ending with more complicated elements of gameplay. If you have additional questions, we recommend visiting the newcomers section of our forum.

Among other things, you will learn about the game's interface, how to fight and complete quests, and how to communicate with other players in Azeroth. This guide is compatible with the 8.1 update.


Let's start with the most important thing, which is how to move around the game world. You can run your character using the WASD keys or by holding down both mouse buttons, and jump using the spacebar. Holding down one mouse button allows you to rotate the camera. If you want to slow down a bit, the slash key next to the number pad activates walk mode. If you don't like the layout of the buttons, you can always change it in the game menu, under the Key Bindings tab.


The basic, unmodified interface of World of Warcraft is not overly complicated. In the upper left corner of the screen (1.) you will see the player's portrait, his life bar and resources (e.g. mana). When you click on your opponent, you will also see his portrait next to it. A little bit lower (2.) you can see the chat window, where you can see the messages you are receiving (more about this in the "communication" section).

In the middle bottom (3.) there is an action bar, allowing easy access to your character's skills and displaying the amount of experience needed to reach the next level. In the bottom right corner (4.) there is your inventory (default abbreviation: B) and icons of important in-game tools, such as the talent tree, the list of skills, the group finder and the menu. Higher up (5.) you will see a mini-map and calendar, a list of active quests and commands, as well as buffs and debuffs that affect your character in various ways.

The game interface can be modified in countless ways using addons. They allow you to add new features, improve existing ones or simply change the look of what you see on the screen. The richest and most popular library of addons for World of Warcraft is available on Curse.


During your travels through Azeroth you will encounter a whole host of enemies and dangers. So it's good to know how the combat system in World of Warcraft works. Let's start with the fact that each class and each class specialization has a unique set of spells and skills. You can check them out by opening the in-game spellbook (default abbreviation: P), which contains descriptions of each skill and information on which character level they unlock.

From the spellbook, you can move skills directly to the bottom action bar and activate them using the number keys or your mouse. You will encounter many different types of spells - from attacks that deal damage immediately or for a set period of time, to special abilities, such as the ability to fake your own death in the case of hunters.

Most of the skills in the game require the use of a certain amount of class resources - these are visible in the character portrait. Knowing how to control them is one of the main traits of the best players. Resources vary from class to class. Mages, for example, use mana, which can run out and needs to be renewed. Villains need energy, which regenerates quickly, but is just as quickly depleted. Warriors use rage for their attacks, which builds up both when inflicting and receiving damage.

To start a fight with an opponent, you need to click on them with the mouse or select them with the Tab button. By turning on the badges (default shortcut: V) you will see their life bar above the head of the selected NPC or enemy player. Of course, melee classes like warriors and rogues have to get close to the enemy before they can attack.

At low levels you only have access to a few skills, so combat is fairly simple. With each successive spell, however, things will get a little more complicated, as new skills interact differently or their usefulness depends on the moment in battle. There is a question of rotation, or the proper order of using the skills of your class - tutorials on this subject can be found on many sites, such as Icy-Veins or Wowhead.

Performing tasks

There are different ways to gain experience and level up your character in World of Warcraft, but the most basic is to complete quests in open world zones. Regular quests are marked with a yellow exclamation mark (1.). When you click on them, a window will appear with the name, description and rewards for completing them (2.). After accepting the task, you will see its name and requirements on the right side of the screen (3.). Sometimes you will need an item to complete a task - then its icon will appear next to this shortcut.

The blue area on the mini-map or main map (default abbreviation: M) indicates the active quest zone. This is where you'll find the enemies you need to get rid of, or the items you need to collect. Afterwards, simply return to the appropriate NPC - you will then see a yellow question mark above them.

There are also several other types of tasks. Those marked with a blue exclamation mark can be repeated - usually daily or weekly. Orange exclamation marks are important, key quests, such as the main story campaign in an add-on or a series that is rewarded with a legendary item at the end.


As you travel through the game world, completing quests and defeating enemies, you will soon come across all sorts of items - including equipment, which you can put on your character if you meet the appropriate requirements. Each class is assigned an appropriate type of armor, granting a bonus to the main statistic - for example, for Paladins it's Plate Specialization. The recommended equipment for each class is as follows:
Cloth (cloth): mage, priest, sorcerer
Leather (leather): druid, monk, rogue, demon hunter
Mail (spiked): shaman, hunter
Plate: paladin, warrior, death knight

Quality of items

Every item in the game has a certain quality that is represented by its colour. The quality of an item indicates, for example, how difficult it is to obtain or how good its stats are in relation to the required character level. Poor and Common items fall from common enemies. Uncommon items can be obtained from quests, mobs in the world and underground. Rare items are often rewards from more difficult quests and from bosses in the dungeons. Epic items are often found during raids and other max level activities. Armour that is extremely difficult to obtain and grants special effects is called Legendary.

There are special item types that are marked with a separate colour. Heirlooms (ancestral items) grow in strength with the level of the character, are assigned to the account and often grant a bonus to experience. Artifacts are special pieces of equipment that players will not be able to part with for a long time as they are linked to separate character development systems.

The Adventurer's Guide

One of the most useful tools for newcomers to the game is the Adventure Guide (default shortcut Shift+J). It unlocks at character level 11 and provides an overview of the major activities the player has access to at any given time.

If you run out of quests in a particular zone, you can pick up an assignment leading to the next land through the guide. There you will also find information about dungeons and battlefields, which you can enroll in, professions available to learn and active events in the world of Azeroth. In other tabs you will find an overview of all dungeons and raids in the game and the bosses present, their skills, as well as the rewards and items that can be gained by defeating them.