For general advice, please see Allakhazam, their starting guides are excellent. An alternative source of information is Thottbot, which has similar information, organised in a different way. The best map site, so far, is: Kaldorei.
I have made the assumption that a new player already knows how to control WoW, and is familiar with MMORPGs in general. Also that they will be using these guides mostly to solo, as it the times when they need to choose what to do next that a guide is most useful. If grouping, you will generally be with others who will want to dictate where you go. Also I have assumed that you will be trying to get experience from quests wherever possible, and only grinding (that’s killing things to get experience) when absolutely necessary to fill over a tough spot. I’ll indicate these places when I find them.
When choosing quests, it helps to know which quests are best taken together, which ones require groups, and where to go, both to collect the quest, and to complete it. When one quest leads into another, I won’t always give details of the following quests, but I will try to guide you where to go to complete them.
These guides aren’t specific to any given class, although I will try to point out in the starting zones where the class quests are given, and may include some information about how to complete them.
One final point: I play strictly PvE, so the finer points of good/bad for PvP servers are being ignored – because I am ignorant of them. So, for instance, if Ashenvale is a major focus for PvP on your server, I am not aware of that, and can’t comment on it.
Feralas – 44-49
Various Zones – Incomplete
Un’Goro Crater 50-56
Azahara 47-48, 53+
Searing Gorge 47-50
Blasted Lands 48-50, then 55+
Swamp of Sorrows 35-39
Dustwallow Marsh 35-39
The Hinterlands 43-50
Arathi Highlands 31-40
Hillsbrad Foothills 30-38
- Instances – a short overview of the quests for each of the low level instances, with some commentary.
- FAQs – a collection of FAQs and guides, all links to the US and EU Wow forums.
- Journeys, making the trip from Darnassus to Ironforge and Stormwind City.
- Hunter pet abilities, which pets to tame to acquire a full set of starting abilities: growl, bite, claw and cower.
- Allakhazam to make a plan for items you know you will get from specific quests.
The biggest bane of a newbies life is having to go back and sell, or destroy items they have collected, perhaps trade skill items you’d rather save until you have managed to reach a trainer. Most large cities have bag vendors, and they sell a six slot small brown bag for 5 silver. You may be able to buy an equivalent bag in the local Auction House for less, if you can reach there (night elves and taurens can’t easily); the going rate for linen bags seems to be around 3-5s, but that will no doubt vary considerably by server.
Tailoring gives you your first chance to actually make your own bags, but that can take some time. For a linen bag, they require 3 bolts of linen cloth and three coarse thread per bag (which is a six slot bag). Skill required to learn the recipe is 45. The next bag up is a woolen bag, skill level 80, 8 slots. A small silk pack is 10 slot, and requires 150 skill.
Small (colour) Pouch: drop rate on newbie mobs is around 0.1% or less (a lot less); named mobs have a slightly higher drop rate, maybe up to 0.3%. It is possible that Horde newbie areas have a slightly higher drop rate than Alliance ones, but that is just from eyeballing some data. In theory, they can be fished in any newbie zone lake (as opposed to city zone) – but I have never seen any.
All races and classes are given a simple quest from the nearest quest giver to their spawn point, which varies by class. It puts an item in their backpack to read, and sends them to find their class trainer for the starting area. It doesn’t give a great deal of experience, so it is usually best to just wait until you have cleared the initial one or two quests, then take it up. The quest will only be available when you hit level 2.
At later levels, all classes get further class specific quests. Most classes get a quest at level 10; although paladins get theirs at level 12, and shamans their second quest at level 5. After that, quests come at varied levels – warlocks at 20, 30 and 40; druids at 14 and 16, etc. These quests are very important: hunters get their beast taming ability only through this quest, warlocks get their minions all through class quests, shamans get their totems, druids get their shapeshifting abilities, rogues get a decent dagger and warriors a good sword/axe; paladins get their resurrection spell.
The general form of these quests is that a local trainer gives you a quest to visit a trainer in your big city, who then gives you a couple of run around quests before the big event, which is usually specific to the reward you will receive (or to your class abilities in some way).
Depending on the specific class, some quests can easily be completed at the level they are available to be taken, and others may have to wait a few levels, or even wait for a group.
You can have two professions out of enchanting, tailoring, skinning, mining, engineering, leatherworking and blacksmithing; but you can take all three of cooking, first aid and fishing. Fishing is an excellent way to make money at low levels, and also a cheap way to skill up cooking. Fishing vendors often sell recipes to use the local fish, which are effectively free and easy to get.
Skinning, fishing, mining and blacksmithing all need a tool in your possession; you can buy these tools from the appropriate vendors, which are usually very close to the trainers. In addition, smelting (mining), blacksmithing and cooking require you to be close to a stationary object – a forge, anvil and a camp fire. You can create your own camp fires, but in practice willl hardly ever wish to, as they are very common.
Generally speaking, all classes should train all three of fishing, cooking and first aid. Cloth wearing classes will want tailoring and will usually take enchanting with it; leather wearers skinning and leatherworking; mail wearers mining and blacksmithing. Mining and engineering is a good combination that isn’t directed at armor, and herbalism and alchemy is another non-armor combination. If you already have a source of armor, take one of these.
If you want to use professions to make money in the auction houses, you can take any two out of herbalism, skinning and mining. The low levels (journeyman) of any profession are best worked through in your starting zones, as you won’t be able to apply your skills to the resources found in higher level zones.
Profession levels are:
Apprentice: can be trained at level 1 (or 5?) and skill 0, lets you skill up to 75
Journeyman: can be trained at level 10 and skill 50, lets you skill up to 150
Expert: can be trained at level 20 and skill 125, lets you skill up to 225
Artisan: can be trained at level 35/40 (primary/secondary) and skill 200, lets you skill up to 300
For secondary skills (Cooking, Fishing and First aid), Apprentice and Journeyman can be bought from trainers, Expert is learnt from books that you can buy, and Artisan is obtained from quests.
Quests versus Grinding versus Instances
There are three main strategies for gaining experience, each with different benefits.
Quests give you experience, item rewards and cash. They also encourage you to visit certain areas and kill specific mobs. These may also be good for grinding at different points. Quests can be used to introduce you to game features, or give an indication of good spots for various levels. Quests are particularly rich in the lower levels of the game, up to about 20. After 20, there are more and more gaps between quests.
Starting at around level 20, most questing areas have quests that send you into instances. Instances have all elite mobs (all instances, as far as I am aware), with much better item drops than non-instance enemies or quest rewards for the same level. They also require a group. From about 40 upwards, instances are the main way that many people choose to gain experience. An instance is designed around a group, or a raid.
See below for grinding.
As for strategies for combining these: I prefer to mainly quest, with some grinding when I am confident of a grind area, and not sure where the next and most appropriate quest is coming from. Some interesting quests involve a lot of running around and don’t give very high experience for the amount of time they take; other low experience quests involve professions.
Quests also give diminishing rewards when done above their level, but can take a long time to do when done below their level. I find it most effective to do quests one or two levels late (from the late teens onwards, at least), when they are easy to do, but don’t lose much experience from this approach. Some quests, of course, are easy to do at the right level, and it helps to know which one is which.
Switching areas can help a lot to ensure that you always have plenty of quests available. This means that you will keep your reputation high across all groups. You will also be doing most quests at or above the level suggested for them, and as soon as you start to run dry on easy quests in one area, switch to the next. Just skip anything that is too tough, or takes too long to set up, or just seems like it is going to be boring.
This is when you get experience from killing alone, and not from questing. There is much overlap between grinding and questing; the ideal (in my opinion) is to get most of your experience from a couple of quests in the same general area, with the experience gained from killing to complete the quests. This isn’t really any different from grinding in an area, and taking a couple of quests to give a boost.
It seems to be practical (at least up to about level 40, and very probably higher) to kill mobs in the general range +/-2 levels of your own. When grinding, you’ll want to try for fast kills around your level or one lower if at all possible, in an area where adds are rare, but you don’t have to go far to start a new fight. Static camps of several mobs generally aren’t possible to pull without adds, and lots of wanderers in a tight area aren’t much better.