WoW Hardcore Casual's (MoP 5.4) - Guide To Getting Started In WoW
Published: 2014-05-14, by WoWHardCas-Team - Kel'Thuzad
So you just logged in for the first time and you're stuck at the character creation screen, perhaps you haven't even chosen a faction or server yet. Well, fear not, we have plenty of helpful tips for you to choose a class that you will be happy with once you reach level 90. We aren't going to give you a breakdown of all classes, but rather, we will introduce you to a few of our top choices and reasons why.
Choosing a Faction / Server
PvP or Raiding?
First, you have to decide what you plan on doing in wow. If you know you are going to PvP a lot, then you have a tough choice to make. I personally play on Alliance in Kel'Thuzad, and I recommend you do the same for one simple reason: the Alliance gets battleground queues more easily. For me personally, I love playing in battlegrounds, I don't need to have a 2600+ arena rating to enjoy the game, but when I want to jump in a BG, I want to do it fast. Also, being the underdog makes victory so much sweeter.
New Player or Veteran Gamer?
If you are a new player player, or you just don't like losing, I would recommend the Horde. It's no secret that the Alliance loses significantly more often than the Horde (the estimates are around 30-40% win rates for alliance with the exceptions of Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest where the Alliance has closer to 80% wins).
Where this imbalance came from is up for debate, I personally think that early on in the game, the Horde had significant PvP advantages which attracted a large number of hardcore PvPers to Horde servers, which resulted in a cascading effect that still effects the game today. As an avid PvPer myself, I can tell you that PvP on alliance is still fun if you are with the right group of people! I play on Kel'Thuzad (the nightfall battlegroup), and would recommend servers in the same group for anyone wishing to PvP as Alliance.
I recommend less experienced players move to the Horde because they will have teammates that can make up for their lack of experience. If you are playing on Alliance as an experienced player you won't really notice the 30-40% win average win rate as much, but I have heard stories from new players on alliance complaining of losing every single battleground week after week.
This has never been my personal experience but it does happened to (usually) less skilled players. I believe my personal win rate is around 70% on my main characters which includes Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest so my actual win rate on other BGs is likely closer to 50%, which is what it should be for most people on average. Also with the release of WoD many people are speculating that the class racial abilites may be brought into balance somewhat, hopefully evening out the playing field for Alliance, although it's unlikely to undo much of the damage that has been done.
Plan on rolling Horde no matter what?
If you are planning on playing as Horde for PvP then you have quite a few more options. Tichondrious is infamous for housing several top PvP players, but I personally would choose my server by location. If you live in New York, pick a server that's in New York. If you live in California, pick a server in California. If you live outside the US, you're out of luck, sorry. One of the largest factors that seperates top tiered players from those below them is often lag.
Nobody wants to admit that lag is extremely important for success in rated PvP, but if you have 500ms ping then that means you have to fire your interupt 500ms faster than your opponent, and although this doesn't sound like a lot, in top levels of PvP cast time is often less than 1 second for most spells, so it leaves you very little room for error. Actually, in many cases it is impossible to land interupts with bad lag, and landing those interupts is often enough to turn a loss into a win as well which is very important for achieving ratings north of 2k in arenas. The other problem with bad lag is related to positional problems. On your screen the warrior is well out of range but he is still somehow beating you to a blood pulp, or he is in range and you are standing right on top of him, chasing him around a pole but you get nothing but line of sight or out of range errors?
These are all problems related to lag and will most definitely keep you from achieving your full potential in PvP. There are also certain classes less affected by lag. In my opinion frost mage is one of the best options for people with heavy lag. Because they have so many abilities they root or slow other players it's often trivial to get out of range or keep someone in range. This and they have access to blanket silences rather than interupts makes them my top choice for laggy players.
Not a PvPer?
If you aren't planning on PvPing, then I would choose my server based on it's economy. This is research you'll have to do on you're own, but I think it is effort well spent. I would research for servers that have healthy economies with goods that sell at reasonable prices with several untapped markets (and hopefully aren't swamped with bots). Low population servers can be difficult due to the lack of demand, and high population servers can be equally difficult due to too much supply, so I would aim for something in the middle personally. If you want to find the best of both worlds, try to find a medium population server in the nightfall battlegroup as Alliance, just make sure the server isn't incredibly imbalanced unless you enjoy getting ganked all the time. The economy changes over time for all servers however, so you'll have to research this and find out for yourself. The undermine journal (https://theunderminejournal.com/) is a great place to research server economies, or join a forum like wow forum like the one on reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/wow) and ask other players what they think.
PvP Server or Normal Mode Server?
I highly recommend playing on a PvP server. World PvP can be a lot of fun even if it means you get ganked a few times leveling up. I do recommend you pick a server with a population favoring your faction unless you are a truly experienced PvPer who enjoys getting in uneven fights with other players constantly.
Best Race For Each Faction
- Alliance: Human - Every man for himself is simply too good an ability to pass up. Every avid PvPer should play a human if the choice is available for their chosen class. On top of this, 20% rep bonus is awesome when you are trying to hit exhaulted on 11 different characters. Dwarf can also be quite good with their anti-poison racial ability, and looks to be getting a serious buff when WoD comes out later this year.
- Horde: Undead - Will of the forsaken is in my opinion the strongest pvp racial ability in the game. The ability to break sleep, fear, and charm almost every 30 seconds is simply rediculous in pvp. The only reason not to choose Undead is because your class can't be Undead, or you have a haste dependent / burst dependant class, in which case you have plenty of other great options, almost every race available to Horde is amazing. I personally would choose Orc (for dps) or Trolls (for haste based casters and healers) if Undead was unavailable to me.
Top Choice #1 Gaurdian Druid
There are practically endless reasons why a new player should start out as a druid:
- They level insanely fast - From level 15 you can get groups with ease by queueing for random dungeons as a tank, this should provide you with extremely fast experience gain and very little downtime.
- They are great at soloing - Grinding large packs of mobs is fairly trivial as a gaurdian druid, on the timeless isle at level 89 I finished my last 5 bubs in just a few minutes. It was possible to solo 3 packs of timeless isle worms at once with all the self healing and defensive abilities they have.
- They are even good at PvP - When I first stepped foot into a BG on my gaurdian druid, I was convinced the class was broken in all honesty, unkillable if backed by even a single healer and once you get the bear hug ability at level 18 (make sure you glyph for it as well) you can help your team finish people very easily. On top of the fact that they are unkillable and dish out moderate damage, they are also great at accomplishing PvP objectives: gaurding flags, carrying flags, etc. There really isn't a better class for the job, and they can even stealth when needed.
- They are less complex than most people think - Many people avoid rolling as druids because shifting in and out to various forms seems complicated and annoying, but in actuality they are very simple to play. Being an amazing druid might be difficult, but this is true of virtually any class. An average player will be able to tank instances, complete PvP objectives, and at the end of the day, level at a very fast pace and have fun as a gaurdian druid.
- No class has the same level of versatility - Druid is the only class in the game that can be played as a tank, melee dps, ranged dps, or a healer. On top of this, I would argue that all specs except perhaps moonkin are better than average, perhaps even the best. Resto druid has long been considered one of the top healer archtypes, feral has recently broken worldwide dps records in raids, and bear tanks are just as good as paladins, warriors, death knights or monks. Moonkin is even a great spec but it won't be as easy to master as the other three, but still having it as an option is always nice. You will never be bored as a druid!
The only downside I can honestly think of for druids, is that the druid ranged dps talent tree (moonkin druids) is rather weak in PvP compared to other options like hunter, warlock, mage, or even elemental shamman. It can be played to top level as almost any class can, but I believe it lags behind comparatively to other ranged dps classes. So the only reason I would give you for not rolling a druid as your first character is if you are hell bent on only playing as ranged dps and moonkin doesn't seem very appealing to you.
Top Choice #2 Protection Paladin
Originally I had hunter as my second choice but after careful reconsideration (and after leveling 6 paladins to max level), I have decided to change my mind on this and go with Protection Paladin. In fact, at very low levels, they are even better than Gaurdian Druids in my opinion.
- They are great at soloing - At level 11 they get the word of glory ability, which allows them to heal the group for free! Since their spell power is based on attack power, you should enchant all of your gear with strength and attack power whenever you get new pieces, I recommend the assault enchants for bracers, boots and gloves. Also dancing steel on a BoA makes for very powerful attacks and healing. Also get the addon Healium, and you'll be able to play like a pro in no time at all!
- They can fill any role - The one advantage they have over Gaurdian Druids is they don't need to shape shift out of tanking form to heal! For this reason they are even better at self healing than Druids! Also, if you keep your gear enchanted and up to date with max attack power, you'll be able to heal your entire group no problem. So you can queue as a tank, healer, and dps all at once!
- They are great at PvP - Despite what people think, they are great for PvP, even better than Retribution Paladins at low level! Simply grab the glyphs: Glyph of Focused Shield, and Glyph of Dazing Shield and you'll be set for PvP!
- They are easy to play - I personally think Gaurdian Druids are still easier to play, but Protection Paladins are second on my list. The one common mistake new players make when playing Protection Paladins is they use their holy power for DPS instead of healing. This is a big mistake and it will cost you many wipes to learn this lesson! At high levels of play this might be untrue, but at lower levels you should pump all that holy power into heals for yourself and your teammates (and even their pets). Again, with the Healium addon this is all very easy to accomplish!
The only downside I can honestly think of for Paladins is there is no ranged DPS spec! And at max level the only viable PvP specializations are Retribution (melee hybrid dps) and Holy (healing spec). Retribution is also currently very overshadowed by other melee classes in the game so many players don't enjoy playing Retribution at max level, leaving you with a great option for a healer but not much else!
Top Choice #3 Hunter (Beast Mastery / Survival)
While hunters may have a bad reputation in wow, and you'll get called a noob for playing one, it doesn't change the fact that they are one of the top ranged dps classes in the game. Here are a few reasons you should choose a hunter as your starting character:
- They are great at soloing - They have a pet for tanking adds that can be easily healed and revived. They can escape rough situations with feign death so are often the last man standing. At level 45 they get the Spirit Bond ability for passive healing which means you basically never need to eat food again from this point on. They also have ample CC, enough to keep at least 2 enemies out of commission during difficult encounters.
- They are great in groups - Despite their terrible reputation, BM hunters come with an array of pets that can grant groups valuable buffs, basically making up for whatever the group is lacking. Survival hunters get access to awesome aoe capabilities at level 68. And all hunters come with a passive 10% attack power bonus for the group, so having one in any group is almost essential in my opinion. They have excellent direct damage and aoe, so they can do well in just about any situation if played correctly. Just watch out for that autoshot pulling random mobs!
- They are great at PvP - Leveling a hunter can be a lot of fun if you enjoy PvP. Generally speaking this is my favorite class to bring into random battlegrounds because they can do quite well without a lot of help from teammates. You will be able to kite most players forever, mitigate a lot of damage, and pump out tons of damage.
- They are easy to play - Sure this is the reason everyone thinks hunters are noobs, and in all honesty it is true, they are arguably the easiest class in the game to play. I believe there have even been 2400+ arena players that admitted to using a one button macro for dpsing, which is quite easy to setup and makes life a lot easier for sure!
What reason do you have for not playing a hunter?
Well, for one there is a better option: druid. Beyond this, depsite the fact that they are easy to play, they can be just as difficult to play at top ranks as other classes, and they do have their limitations. Currently they are under represented in the 2v2 arena ladders due to a number of reasons, the main one being: death knights and warriors are extremely overpowered in the current state with incredible mobility, peeling, and dps. A hunter won't be able to pull the same dps as a warrior or death knight if they are fighting toe to toe, so they must rely on kiting to some extent, but in the current state of the game it simply isnt possible to kite a warrior or death knight who plays flawlessly with a solid healer backing him up. At lower brackets in 2v2 they are a lot of fun, and they are excellent in all battlegrounds. But if you are hell bent on playing ranged dps at a pro level in 2v2, I would recommend trying out a frost mage. They aren't as easy to level and play as a hunter or druid, but currently have more potential in 2v2 arenas than either huntard or boomkin, perhaps even the best potential in 2v2 for ranged dps.
If neither of these options is appealling to you then please check out my list of best specializations for leveling by class.