Valar Guild Games Site

World of Warcraft

WoW Basics before the Warlords of Draenor Expansion

Basic information for those wishing to get started in World of Warcraft. This is not meant to be exhaustive, merely to cover the most basic info.

Some Basic Terminology

Some basic terms that are useful to understand (this is not meant to be exhaustive):

  • PvE - Player vs Environment. Ex: Quests, dungeons, raids.
  • PvP - Player vs Player. Ex. Battlegrounds, Arenas, Duels; any time you engage another player character in combat.
  • Tank - The characters who are supposed to hold the attention of the enemy creatures.
  • Healer - The characters who are supposed to keep everyone alive.
  • DPS - "Damage per Second." Used for both the damage itself and the characters who are supposed to be maximizing it so the enemy dies before the group does.
  • Add - "Add"itional target introduced during a fight.

Factions and Races

There are two playable factions: the Alliance and the Horde.

There are six races for the Alliance: Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Gnomes, Draenei, and Worgen.

There are six races for the Horde: Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Forsaken (Undead), Blood Elves, and Goblins.

A seventh race, Pandaren, can choose to join either the Alliance or the Horde. The choice is made early on and is irrevocable. (within the game. You can always pay for a faction/race change and simply choose a Pandaren of the opposite faction if you *really* want.)

The faction you choose dictates who you can communicate and group with. Alliance races cannot group or talk with Horde races.

Classes, Specs, and Roles

There are eleven classes to choose from: Death Knight, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Monk, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.

Certain classes are limited to certain races, while others can be played by any race.

  • Death Knights can be any race but Pandaren.
  • Druids can be Night Elf, Worgen, Tauren, and Troll.
  • Hunters can be any race but Gnome.
  • Mages can be any race but Tauren.
  • Monks can be any race but Worgen and Goblin.
  • Paladins can be Human, Dwarf, Draenei, Blood Elf, or Tauren.
  • Priests can be any race but Orc.
  • Rogues can be any race but Draenei and Tauren.
  • Shaman can be Draenei, Dwarf, Orc, Troll, Tauren, Goblin, and Pandaren.
  • Warlocks can be Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Worgen, Orc, Troll, Undead, Goblin, and Blood Elf.
  • Warriors can be any race.

There are three primary roles characters fulfill: Tank, Healer, and Damage. Some classes can fulfill multiple roles through their specialization (spec), while others just provide different styles of fulfilling one or more roles.

If you want to tank, you can be a:

  • Blood Death Knight
  • Guardian Druid
  • Brewmaster Monk
  • Protection Paladin
  • Protection Warrior

If you want to heal, you can be a:

  • Restoration Druid
  • Mistweaver Monk
  • Holy Paladin
  • Holy or Discipline Priest
  • Restoration Shaman

If you want to focus on damage, you can be a:

  • Frost or Unholy Death Knight
  • Beastmastery, Survival, or Marksmanship Hunter
  • Arcane, Frost, or Fire Mage
  • Windwalker Monk
  • Retribution Paladin
  • Arms or Fury Warrior
  • Shadow Priest
  • Combat, Subtlety, or Assassination Rogue
  • Elemental or Enhancement Shaman
  • Demonology, Destruction, or Affliction Warlock

Armor and Weapons

There are four armor types: Cloth, Leather, Mail, and Plate.

Some classes start at a lower armor type, then graduate to their final armor type at 40.

Classes that can wear multiple armor types get a passive bonus at level 50 for wearing their highest armor type, so there is no reason after this point to seek armor of a lower quality.

You wear Cloth if you are a:

  • Mage
  • Priest
  • Warlock

You wear Leather if you are a:

  • Druid
  • Monk
  • Rogue

You wear Mail (start at leather through level 40) if you are a:

  • Hunter
  • Shaman

You wear Plate if you are a:

  • Death Knight
  • Paladin (start with mail through level 40)
  • Warrior (start with mail through level 40)

As with armor, your ability to equip a weapon doesn't automatically indicate that you should equip that weapon. Right now, only Hunters should wield a bow in combat, because only Hunters will have a full set of attacks to take advantage of using a bow. For everyone else, look at what your primary stats are, your passive abilities, racials, and what you can equip. That will tell you whether you should be dual-wielding (i.e., Rogues, Fury Warriors) using a single 2-handed weapon (i.e, Feral Druids, Retribution Paladins), or using a 1-handed weapon and shield (i.e. Protection Warriors, Protection Paladins).

Primary Stats (Attributes)

There are 5 attributes: Strength, Stamina, Agility, Intellect, and Spirit. Strength, Agility, and Intellect will increase stats that increase your damage (Attack Power for the first two, Spell Power for the last). Strength will increase Parry rating for strength users. Agility will increase Dodge rating for agility users. Stamina is a given stat on pretty much any armor or weapon you come across, but tanks will want to consider if they want/need more of it through gems/enchants. Except for Spirit, primary stats cannot be reforged. Spirit is treated like a secondary stat for reforging purposes. Spirit is primarily a stat for healers. It boosts mana regeneration, and for certain specs adds to Spell Hit rating at a 1:1 ratio.

You will be getting Strength on your gear if you are a:

  • Protection or Retribution Paladin
  • Arms, Fury, or Protection Warrior
  • Frost, Unholy, or Blood Death Knight

Notice how right now, all the classes that make use of Strength also wear plate.

You will be getting Agility on your gear if you are a:

  • Feral or Guardian Druid
  • Windwalker or Brewmaster Monk
  • Marksmanship, Beastmastery, or Survival Hunter
  • Combat, Subtlety, or Assassination Rogue
  • Enhancement Shaman

Agility classes will be wearing leather or mail.

You will be getting Intellect on your gear if you are a:

  • Balance or Restoration Druid
  • Fire, Frost, or Arcane Mage
  • Mistweaver Monk
  • Holy Paladin
  • Holy, Discipline, or Shadow Priest
  • Elemental or Restoration Shaman
  • Destruction, Demonology, or Affliction Warlock

Intellect users span the entire spectrum of armor.

The secondary stats Hit, Expertise, Critical (Crit), Haste, Dodge, Parry, and Mastery are acquired in rating. Spirit is treated as a secondary stat for reforging purposes. Only secondary stats can be reforged.

PvP Power and PvP Resilience are stats specifically for PvP (as the name aptly indicates). You will gain nothing from these stats in PvE.

If you are a Tank, you will want: Hit, Expertise, Dodge, Parry (except for Guardian Druids), and Mastery.

If you are a Caster DPS, you will want: Hit, Critical, Haste, Mastery.

If you are a Melee DPS or Ranged Physical DPS (currently only Hunter), you will want: Hit, Expertise, Critical, Haste, Mastery.

If you are a Healer, you will want: Spirit, Critical, Haste, Mastery.

Each character will require its secondary stats in different degrees. For example, one spec may favor Mastery primarily, while another might favor Haste. Everyone who has to attack an enemy will want to reach the necessary Hit (and Expertise where applicable) cap for the content he or she is pursuing. This keeps your attacks from missing or being dodged/parried.

The Hit and Expertise caps for physical damage (DPS and Tanks) are 6% for Heroic Dungeons and 7.5% for Raids.

The Hit caps for caster DPS are 12% for Heroic Dungeons and 15% for Raids.

Expertise rating translates 1:1 to Spell Hit rating (7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise will mean 15% Spell Hit for these specs). This is primarily for those specs that need both Spell Hit and Expertise. If your spec doesn't need Expertise, there's usually better ways to get Spell Hit.

Spirit translates 1:1 to Hit for Healers and caster specs of classes that can be healers.

Some races get boni to Hit and Expertise that give them less needed rating to reach the necessary caps. Check your racials!

Secondary Stats (and Spirit) on an item can be reforged to another secondary stat that is not already on that item. Use this to help balance your stats in a way most beneficial to your character.

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