With 16 years of rich story, WoW can seem daunting. Luckily, the developers have created Exile’s Reach; a modern, tutorial-like experience that will familiarize you with all that’s needed to know.
Fortunately, Shadowlands will become more accessible for all players at launch, as character levels will be squished from the level cap of 120 to 60, as well as the return of fan-favourite talent trees and abilities offering more flexibility to character builds. These aspects aim to facilitate a much more streamlined leveling experience for new and returning players, while not sacrificing on difficulty and complexity.
You won’t need to worry about most of the new systems, such as WoW Covenants and WoW Shadowlands legendary crafting, until you reach level 60. But with so much change afoot, you may be struggling to know where to start as you journey into the afterlife for the first time. Fear not, champion—this WoW Shadowlands guide has some great tips to get you started on your new adventure.
One of the first things you’ll notice on the character creation screen is the races are split into two groups: Alliance and Horde. These are the two main factions in WoW. They each have their unique approaches to dealing with the rest of the world and each other. Within each faction, there is a lot of variation as well. For example, Tauren, Trolls, and Night Elves tend to be the most connected to nature and Azeroth’s natural spirits. On the other hand, Gnomes and Goblins tend to be more interested in what they can use and create, not worried about any natural balance. The Pandaren are the only ones who can be either faction. Additionally, though you will see players of the opposite factions in the world, you can’t group or communicate with them directly.
Once choosing your alliance, it’s time to choose your race. Make sure to look over each one carefully. Do you want to be a noble Human, or a spiritual and inquisitive Pandaren? Perhaps a Draenei, who fled demonic corruption and now lend a hand where they can on Azeroth.
Each race benefits from differing traits that will grant boons to you in the world. Gnomes can escape from speed altering effects; Trolls have increased experience from killing beasts, and Blood Elves can dispel nearby enemies with their fantastically useful Arcane Torrent active ability. Make sure to take the time to consider each racial trait and how it would improve or hinder your personal journey.
At level 60, focus on finishing endgame quests
Many of the game’s key features don’t unlock until you complete the related quests. This includes collecting Soul Ash from the endless dungeon Torghast, used create legendary items, alongside upgrading your Covenant Sanctum home base. This means for most players, completing all quests you get in your Sanctum, Oribos or from Ven’ari in the Maw take priority when you hit 60, as they’ll unlock content that you want to progress in.
As a new player, something that really is recommended is to read everything that’s given to you. Quest text, skill information, and the like. WoW’s story is rich and deep, and if you’re blasting through everything as quick as you can as a new player, things are bound to get confusing, and you won’t learn anything about the world.
Once you complete the Exile’s Reach questline, you’ll be flown to either Orgrimmar (Horde) or Stormwind (Alliance). Shortly after arriving, an NPC will greet you and offer to give you a tour of the city, although most of the time, he’s following you and just marking places for you to go on the map. You can’t skip this on the first playthrough, and you really shouldn’t try to, as you would miss out on going to get your first mount and going to your trainer to choose your spec.
Re-learn your class
Shadowlands reintroduced a pile of abilities for all classes and specializations, some of which may affect your experience more than others. If you didn’t play much during the pre-patch, these will be relatively new to you. In addition, many classes feel very different to play at the start of an expansion than they do at the end, thanks to the drastically reduced player power as you’re first levelling up.
And that’s it! You’re off. You are well on your way to becoming the next Hero of Azeroth in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. See you out there!
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