World of Warcraft Classic Basics: Beginners Guide to WoW

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You’ve heard about it, your Uncle’s talked about it, and your mums probably even played it… 

World of Warcraft: Classic is being released on Tuesday, 27th August 2019. Heralding the arrival of new adventurers and returning veterans to one of the most popular MMORPGs ever, World of Warcraft: Classic promises to be the (debatably) authentic ‘WoW experience’.

While the majority of players are likely to be returning players clamouring for a bit of nostalgia, the re-release of World of Warcraft is undoubtedly going to draw in newcomers to the franchise as well, as well as those who play the current retail version. 

For those experiencing classic World of Warcraft for the first time, this guide will try to aid and prepare you for taking your very first steps through your new journey into Azeroth. 

Part One – You Are Not Prepared! But You Will Be

Simply put, World of Warcraft is an online video game that allows your character to undertake acts of heroism, battle breathtaking beasts, plot sinister schemes, or simply just hoard piles of gold in your quest for adventure. 

Whilst the core mechanics are a tried and tested formula of many modern RPG’s, the World of Warcraft Classic experience attempts to offer you a uniquely immersive adventure that focuses both equally on the world itself, and the society within the game.

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To quote Rocky Balboa:

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

Why am I quoting Rocky? Because World of Warcraft in its vanilla form is hard. Really hard! You’re going to die, die and die again. You’re going to pick fights with Elite Monsters. You’re going to battle depraved Dwarves or unholy undead. And, guess what? You’re going to lose! But each time you’re going to get stronger. Each level you and your character attain is going to be more skilled. You are going to keep going like this until, eventually, with the help of your friends and guildmates, you’ll be slaying the most fierce and ferocious final boss and wielding your bloody spoils to the envy of all.

Don’t expect your journey to be easy, but expect it to be one of the most rewarding, time-consuming and engaging video-game experiences of your life.

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Part Two – Choosing Your Realm

Now that you’ve got your big-boy pants on, it’s time to pick your realm.

Realm choice is fairly simple, each realm will contain a community of players that will interact and be forced to conduct themselves in a specific manner such as:

  • RP Realms – Roleplaying
  • PVE Realms – Player vs Environment
  • PVP Realms –  Player vs Player
  • RP PVP Realms – Roleplaying Player Vs Player 

Whilst the typical experience may not vary massively, both the population of the realm and the realm type will affect your experience and the nature of other players within the realm. Expect PVP realms to contain more hardcore players engaging in cross-faction combat whilst RP realms for those who want a more immersed game experience.

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Note: Your character cannot change realms once created and you will not be able to create characters of both factions on the same PVP realm

Part Three – Picking Your Character, Class and Faction

Now that you’ve picked your realm, you need to adopt your faction, create your character and choose your character class. 

In World of Warcraft, you have two separate factions – Alliance and Horde. Each has their own separate communities, distinct races and bespoke character classes. 

Note: Although factions have many specific quest lines etc, I’ve chosen not to go into detail on this as it would involve a tedious amount of “ours is the master race” and “the only good dwarf is a dead dwarf” etc.

  • Races of the Alliance: Human, Dwarf, Night Elf and Gnome
  • Races of the Horde: Orc, Undead, Tauren and Troll

Each race has specific abilities/traits known as “Racials” that can benefit characters in a specific way (see the full list of racial abilities here) and with each race having their own cities (except for Dwarfs & Gnomes on the Alliance side and Orc & Troll on the Horde that both share the same city). 

When choosing a character class it’s important to note that some classes benefit from some racials more than others and that some classes – Shaman and Paladin – are only available to certain races and factions.

See this Race and Class table below:


Another aspect to bear in mind when selecting your class is that it’s important to note that every class has three Talent Trees specific to that class. These allow you to specialise in a unique way, e.g. Frost Mage or Fire Mage & Holy Priest or Shadow Priest. The talents that you choose give your archetype it’s unique play style. Although, it’s possible to reset (known as ‘respeccing’) your talent tree choices. This can be expensive in terms of in-game currency, however, so you want to pick right the first time. 

Some of these class archetypes are more suited to specific roles within a group. The roles are broken down into:

  • Healing – Supportive play that helps keeps others alive
  • Tanking – Heavy armour classes that take damage for the group
  • DPS – Damage dealing characters that take down enemies.

Typically a group would be made up of a tank, a healer and three varied DPS classes to allow you to overcome different challenges. 

Below are the Archetypes for each class

  • Druid – Talent trees: Balance, Feral Combat, Restoration
  • Hunter – Talent trees: Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, Survival
  • Mage – Talent Trees: Arcane, Fire, Frost
  • Paladin – Talent Trees: Holy, Retribution, Protection
  • Priest – Talent trees: Discipline, Holy, Shadow
  • Rogue – Talent trees: Assassination, Combat, Subtlety
  • Shaman – Talent trees: Elemental, Enhancement, Restoration
  • Warlock – Talent trees: Affliction, Demonology, Destruction
  • Warrior – Talent trees: Fury, Arms, Protection

Example of the Shaman talent tree:

Note: Orange includes Archetypes that are suitable for Tanking, Healing and Dps roles. Red includes Archetypes only suitable for Dps. Blue includes Archetypes suitable for Healing and Dps roles. Purple includes Dps and Tanking roles (However this is only a guideline)

Part Four – Pick Your Name And Start Exploring!

Now that you’ve selected your realm, race and class, it’s time to generate a name and start your journey. On a single realm, only one character can be created with that specific name, therefore you might need to be creative in your name choices.

Here are a few ideas to help you discover your characters name:

  • Use an online name generator
  • Pick a character from your favourite book
  • Spell a name in a new way or different way 

It’s important to bear in mind that while some servers were open to name registrations early, there are likely “new” servers with lower populations that might should offer ample choice is choosing a name for your character. I heavily suggest that you pick a name which is suitable on your selected server especially if you’ve chosen a RP (Role-Playing) server.

Part Five – What are you waiting for?


If you liked this article, please check out more of our gaming content! 

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