The High Tech Society

Beginners Guide to World of Warcraft


Beginners Guide to World of Warcraft: Getting Around, Interacting With Others, and Basic Combat Tutorials

Congratulations, you’ve logged in to the World of Warcraft with your very first character. Playing World of Warcraft for the first time can be a little bit intimidating but don’t worry, as you get into it, it will soon become second nature. This WoW guide shows you how to move around, interact with others, and how to participate in basic combat.

World of Warcraft

Now, what is this you see before you? This is your window into the world, also known as the user interface, or UI. Right now it’s fairly plain. You have your map in the upper right corner, your character’s portrait and basic information in the upper left-hand corner, and a chat log in the lower left. Arrayed across the bottom are a bunch of symbols and boxes and you’re not quite sure what they mean. There should also be a quest discovered box on the right-hand side with a big yellow exclamation mark in a brown circle. That is your first quest.

How to Do a Quest in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Left click on the quest discovered box, and your very first quest will appear on the left-hand side. Generally this first quest just sends you to speak to somebody so that you can get your bearings. As a new player, it doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen to create a troll, a human, a night elf, or a goblin, the very first quest is always the same. It’s to help ease you into how things work. Click the accept box on the bottom left of the quest box. Somewhere nearby, you should see an NPC (non-player-character) with a big yellow question mark over their head.

Move by using the arrow buttons to go forward or backward, and the A or D buttons to move to side to side. You can easily change direction as you’re running by using the left or right arrow buttons to change your direct and the camera direction so you will likely hardly use the letter keys. You can also use your mouse buttons to move around if you are playing on a desktop computer.

Run up to them and right-click on them to interact. This will bring up the quest completion box. Read the information and when you’re ready, click the complete quest button in the lower left. A new quest should automatically pop up sending you to fetch an item or perhaps fight and kill a certain number of monsters. (The common name for a group of monsters and World of Warcraft is “mob”.) Congratulations! You’ve just completed your very first quest!

This is how you interact with NPC’s to get quests and turn them in in World of Warcraft. Quest givers will have a yellow exclamation point above their head, and quest acceptors will have the yellow question mark above their heads. Quest NPCs will also appear on your mini-map, so if you don’t see them at first, keep looking for a yellow question mark or arrow on the map. Be warned, this sometimes disappears when you get to close.

World of Warcraft

How to Get Around or Move in World of Warcraft

You can move your WoW character using the WASD keys on your keyboard. W will move you forward S will move you back, and the A and D keys spin you left and right. Alternately, if you use your mouse to control your character, right clicking anywhere on the screen and moving your mouse will spin the camera in that direction keeping your character centered. Conversely left clicking anywhere on the screen and moving your mouse will spin your character in that direction. Moving forward is as simple as clicking both mouse buttons at the same time. If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse the default action for scroll up and scroll down is to move the camera closer and further away from your character. The default movement for your character is to run everywhere, however if you would like to walk, you can do so simply by pressing the ‘/’ button on your number pad. Alternately, you can use your arrow keys on your keyboard to move forward and backward in World of Warcraft which is usually easier than the W and S keys if you do not want to use your keyboard.

Keyboard Shortcuts in World of Warcraft

There are several World of Warcraft keyboard shortcuts that you should know right away. The ‘B’ key will open your backpack and any other bags you have. Pressing it again will close them. Moving things around your bags is a simple as left clicking on the item you want to move and dragging it to another open slot. Bag sizes range from a small six slot bag all the way up to a 28 slot bag. You’ll want to invest in bigger bags as soon as you can because this means you can carry more items. Other useful keyboard shortcuts include C which opens your character panel, P which opens your spellbook, I which brings up your abilities, N brings up talents once you pass level 10, and L brings up your quest log. There are plenty of other keyboard shortcuts for World of Warcraft but you don’t have to learn most of them right away.


Pressing enter will open up the chat interface allowing you to speak to others in the same WoW area that you are playing in. Chat is handled through several channels but you can choose them on your own. By default the general chat is in channel 1. When you reach larger cities there is another channel called trade which is assigned to channel 2. The nice thing about trade chat is that it encompasses every city in your faction. So if you are an Alliance character who is selling something in Stormwind City, every person from your faction in every city can ‘hear’ what you are saying. Talking to others can be fun as well. I’ve met some great people playing World of Warcraft, some of which are still friends to this day. As a newcomer, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most people will be more than willing to offer advice, but like most advice, not all of it will be good.

World of Warcraft Menu Bar

On the bottom of your screen is your hotkey bar combined with your experience bar, the menu bar, and your bags bar. The small gray boxes are numbered one through zero with ‘-‘ and ‘=’ next to them. These correspond to the number row of your keyboard. These are called shortcut keys. Rather than having to manually click on the icons to activate them you can simply press the corresponding shortcut. The menu bar has 12 small icons. The first is a small character portrait that brings up your character sheet.

World of Warcraft

Next to that is a small book that will show your spellbook. This shows all of your special abilities with a short description. By clicking on those icons, you can drag them to your hotkey bar to arrange your abilities to your tastes. The other icons bring up other information important to your travels, including specializations, pvp, the dungeon queue, guild information, the dungeon guide, all of which will be covered in future articles. The last button is a big red question mark which brings up the customer support interface. From here you can find answers to all manner of things that you might ask. Should you run into a significant issue, you can also report a bug from here, or send in a suggestion.

Now let’s talk about your character portrait. Next to your picture, there are two bars underneath your name. A green bar which represents your health and a bar underneath that represents your resources. This bar will be colored differently depending on your class. For some it is colored red for rage, for others yellow for energy, and for others blue for mana. This bar lets you know when you can use your special attacks. Your character will auto attack on whatever hostile target you right-click on. However to do the maximum damage that you can, you will need to use your special attacks which correspond to your shortcut keys.

WoW Fighting Tips

Now let’s talk a little bit about combat, and give you some WoW fighting tips. As a new player of World of Warcraft, you should know that mobs come in three flavors or types. These are indicated by the color of their name. Green names are friendly, although not necessarily helpful. Yellow names are neutral, and red names indicate hostiles. A yellow target can usually be attacked, but won’t initiate combat; however, they will attack you after you attack them. A red target will actively attack you, often going out of its way to fight you. Combat is initiated by right clicking on an attackable target. You will know that they are targetable by your mouse pointer changing from a finger to a sword. You will attack automatically using your equipped weapon once you are in range. Mix this auto attack with your special attacks to get the best results.

World of Warcraft

Using your special attacks in World of Warcraft is all about timing. Of course there are some people who choose to mash all the buttons as fast as they can and they usually do pretty well. There are others who use add-ons to time their button presses to the exact millisecond and they also do very well in fights. The only ones who don’t do well are the ones who ignore their special attacks entirely. Just be aware that your special attacks will consume your resource bar, however, your resource bar will regenerate allowing you to make more special attacks during one fight. It’s a balancing act. You don’t ever want to be completely out of resources in case you need to pull that one life-saving special trick out of your hat. And you also don’t want to be at completely full resources because that indicates that you aren’t using your special attacks frequently enough.

World of Warcraft

Reviving Your Character

And of course, we can’t talk about combat without talking about character death. Inevitably, you will find yourself outnumbered, or you might find yourself being attacked when you aren’t ready. When this happens, you will hit zero health, and your character will find themselves eating dirt, kicking the bucket, buying the farm, pushing up daisies…whatever fun euphemism you like. That’s okay. Every new player has to die their first time. Congratulations on getting it out of the way so quickly! A button will pop up in the middle of the screen that says, “Release Spirit”. Click on it, and you will be transported to the nearest graveyard to meet with the spirit healer. If you interact with her, she will revive you, but at a cost. The cost comes in the form of resurrection sickness. This is a ten minute debuff that decreases all of your stats by 75% and decreases all damage done by 75%. Fortunately, it doesn’t take effect until you get past level ten.

World of Warcraft

That being said, don’t be afraid to experiment as a new player in WoW. This is your time to get comfortable with your chosen class and learn about their special abilities. It may seem awkward at first, but it’s like trying on a new pair of shoes. It will get more comfortable with time and you will soon learn about how much fun it is to play World of Warcraft.

That’s it for this article. Next, we’ll introduce you to guilds. As a new player, you’re going to get a lot of invitations, and choosing a guild can be an interesting experience.