So your life needs a little spice and you want to escape to the solitude of your computer. Easily done - simply pick up a 10-day trial version of World of Warcraft. Soon you'll find yourself immersed in a world of magic and mystery, and you'll lose all interest in sleeping, eating, and anything mundane like work or school. Your standard catchphrase will morph into, "Just a minute! I have to finish this quest!" You'll emerge triumphant, three years later, with epic loot and a haggard, pale face, to find that none of your real life friends remember who you are. But you'll have a ton of friends in the game that respect you for your playing prowess.
Sound attractive? Step this way and let me explain some things. World of Warcraft is classified as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Millions of players just like yourself log on every day to interact with other players; either to cooperate with them or fight them. Often it's your choice. There are four types of WoW servers:
player versus player (PVP) servers - you must always defend yourself against players from another faction;
normal role-playing (RP) servers - the idea is to deep-play your character (i.e., if you're a dwarf, you talk and act like one when chatting with other players);
RP-PVP servers - you deep-play and must defend yourself;
Normal servers - you don't deep-play and don't have to defend yourself unless you turn on PVP manually.
The casual player who wants a fun game should pick either normal or RP servers (if you want to pretend to be your character). If you'd like to pit yourself against other players every time you log on, which can be both stressful and exciting, you can pick a PVP server.
You should also note what your "server time" is before you start: server time is based on time zones, but not always yours (for instance, you might be playing on a PST server while living in Wisconsin, so 6:30 server time would be 8:30 for you).
Once you decide which server to choose, you need to decide on your faction. There are two factions: Alliance and Horde. Each has five different races to choose from. Once you choose a faction you are stuck with it: the two factions are pitted against each other and can only communicate superficially.
Alliance faction is composed of Night Elves, Humans, Gnomes, Dwarves, and Draenei (they sort of looks like blue satyrs).
Horde faction has Orcs, Taurens (cow people), Trolls, Undead, and Blood Elves (small, scornful relatives of Night Elves).
Each faction has capital cities and lands that belong to it. Factions may not enter one another's cities (unless they want to encounter some very mean guards!). So if your friends are all rolling up Hordies, you'll want to be on the Horde side too, or you'll never be able to play with one another.
Now that you've picked a faction, it's time to create your character. In part two of my introduction to WoW, I provide a rundown of the different character classes in World of Warcraft. Let's get started!
Emma Martin?s an avid gamer who reviews World of Warcraft strategy guides at WoW Players Guides. Once you know what kind of character you'd like to play, you should take a look at Joana's Horde Leveling Guide if you're going to roll up a Horde character, or Brian Kopp's Alliance Leveling Guide for the Alliance faction characters. They both provide great tips on leveling your character as quickly as possible.