World of Warcraft: How to Catch Up

You've avoided it as long as possible, but now the crushing weight of the peer pressure of 6 million fans has completely obliterated your willpower. You too must join the ranks of gamers that have come to know a strange mythical place called Azeroth as home. Maybe your friends were nice about it, or maybe they were brutally cruel... either way, it's time to join them in World of Warcraft.

The problem is that you can't just join your friends right away. It's likely that, if they've been playing for any length of time, they're already getting pretty high up in level. So we've created a handy guide to zipping through the early levels and generally getting a footing in this massively multiplayer environment, because we know you're keen on getting out of n00b hell as quickly as possible.

The first thing you want to figure out is what server (or "realm" as Blizzard calls them) you'll play on. In most cases where you have friends that are currently playing WoW, this will already be decided for you and you'll want to join up with them on whatever server they play on.

There are two major types of servers you can play on in World of Warcraft: PvE (or "normal") and PvP. PvP stands for "Player versus Player" and allows you to fight against other real people all across the world (provided they are a different faction than you - we'll get into factions in just a second). PvE stands for "Player versus Environment," so, try as you might, you won't be able to attack any other real people's characters. PvP servers are generally very competitive and you'll have to be prepared for lots of "ganking," which is a nasty way of saying that you'll be killed by other people that are much higher level (usually dudes you don't stand a chance against). PvE is much more easy going and still allows you to fight other people under special circumstances (areas known as PvP Battlegrounds are cordoned off sections where PvP is enabled even on PvE servers).