Dear Idiot (in Azeroth),

Mark, your recent online cry for help has no doubt inspired World of Warcraft players around the world to offer their sage advice and wisdom about the game we all love so much. I’m sure you’ve received helpful pointers like “OMG barrens trade chatt at 2am!” and “press alt+f4!” and undoubtedly, something about this guy:

But perhaps just one more of the 10 million WoW players could share a few tips and a little insight into the World. of Warcraft.

Before you get in the game, you need to get comfortable with the controls. Fortunately for you, there is 1 hotkey in WoW that will make your journeys less un-enjoyable for you: M.

The M key, yeah, on your keyboard. It brings up the map, which, by the way, there is a map. The map shows where your quest objectives are and where you are in a particular zone. It puts names on places you can’t remember the name of for the life of you. M. Need to “kill six wolf things”? M.  It is utterly necessary.

You might notice that there are a whole slew of keys on the right side of the keyboard that don’t seem to be used much. Let’s learn you somethin: B opens inventory, U shows your reputation with various factions, Y opens achievements (extra tasks), H shows your honor and allows you to queue for player versus player battlegrounds, and K will show your professions. You’re gonna want to pay attention to I and N once you hit level 20.

I’d advise that you open up your keybinds page via ESC, then Key Bindings. Scroll down to “Toggle Auto-Run”, click, then set it to something you’ll be comfortable using, but try to stay away from the aforementioned hotkeys (don’t you dare touch M, it is sacred). I use Middle Mouse Click (clicking the wheel). Oh, did you not have a mouse with a scroll wheel? Yes, you will need one.

While you’re in the settings (ESC), head over to Interface, then Floating Combat Text. Depending on what you rolled (your class), you probably don’t need all those boxes checked. You said something about Conan I believe, so I’m gonna guess Warrior. I’d recommend NOT choosing Protection as your specialization. That is a lot of responsibility, and it starts getting into the concept of Threat which is a whole ‘nother thing you don’t want to mess with.

Jumping into World of Warcraft can seem like a lot because it is. There is a crazy amount of story to the universe and so much to do that everyone focuses on something different. That, to me, is part of the reason people play this game and definitely why I do. Some people like nothing more than putting their skills to the test against other players. Some just want to down big ugly bosses in coordination with their friends. Some are casual players, some need to go outside and get laid.

The beauty of the game is that, much like RL, it is your character to develop the way you see fit. Only you will be able to decide what is worth your time and what isn’t. There are a few general guidelines to be objectively good, but you can largely choose for yourself, which is not typical of video games. The  beauty of role playing games, in particular WoW, is that your story can be whatever you want it to be.

For me, and tech-giant executives, the game has effected skill development for RL. Recruitment, team coordination, focus, communication, attention to detail, even math and programming skills are all potentially a part of the WoW players’ experience. Do you want to imitate the guy in the South Park episode, or do you want to use the game as a tool to further your personal development in RL?




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