When I downloaded the trial version of WoW, I got to the character creation screen and had no idea what to do. At all. But, being a veteran of several text-based MUDs, I knew that I wanted to play a thief or assassin (I always, ALWAYS played a thief or assassin in almost every RPG I'd ever played), so I went to the official site and found the rogue class. I looked at the races who could play them, found myself completely out of my league lore-wise, and rolled a human. I could learn the races later, this was just a practice run.
So Angie the human rogue was born, and leveled to 22 before I found I was much more into my Horde characters. And oh, the mistakes I made. WoW moved so much faster than the MUDs I'd played. I didn't get the action bars, or why mine went away when I entered stealth (not that this was a problem at first, because I didn't find the stealth until level 8). I figured out the combo points pretty quick, but failed at aggro — if I came on a mob alone or a pack of yellow mobs, I did fine, but give me a vineyard full of Defias bandits and I was s.o.l. But eventually, I got the hang of that.
It was a lot of other stuff that made me a roguetard. Some examples:
- At level 10, I entered Redridge. After dying extensively, I gave up and wandered around boredly killing stuff in Elwynn until level 16.
- At level 16, I discovered Westfall. A noob warlock and I tried to take on Deadmines alone. We couldn't even find the instance entrance, though we ran into Marisa du'Paige about six times. It only took me two rolls to figure out that the little gold piece was greed and I shouldn't click the other thing for need. Unfortunately, I was unable to give back the BoP caster robes I'd nabbed. Fortunately, they dropped again the third or fourth time we downed Marisa.
- At 18, I discovered the Deepwater Tram. I thought I had discovered some completely awesome thing no one else knew about, because it was always empty when I got down there. I spent two levels wandering around Dun Morogh, wondering how to turn the quest exclamation marks back on and why I was leveling so slowly.
- Before I deleted Angie, after she'd sat idle for about six months and Ideale was in the mid-40s, I logged on to check out her gear. It was all white armor and weapons (daggers, no less!) purchased from a vendor in Stormwind. The same vendor, no doubt, that I'd sold all of the green drops and quest gear I got to, so that I could afford said white gear. Also, her talent points were quite evenly distributed between all three specs.
... But she did have a red Defias mask. :-D And at least I had her trained in skinning and leatherworking instead of, like, tailoring or something.
Fortunately, I eventually discovered guides and WoWWiki and, after I rerolled on my current home, blogs. And I have to say, quite honestly, reading hunter blogs — because they were the first I found and the most entertaining to me — taught me a lot about how to play a hunter, but also a lot about playing other classes. It was reading about gearing a hunter that I started to learn which stats did what and what to look for when choosing gear for ALL of my toons, not just the hunter. Every toon I played before I decided to give Ideale another try, with the exception of rogue #2, is wearing inappropriate gear, even the ones that are specced with some sort of logic. The rogue is only decently geared because I knew that rogues were supposed to be agile, so I obviously wanted +agi gear, right? *facepalm*
I bring this up mostly because I told Cryptography this story and he said I had to tell it here sometime, but also because there was a post on the forums a week or so ago from a n00b hunter complaining about people badmouthing him in-game. I looked at his armory page, and he was wearing no +agi gear (mostly +spirit and +strength), had a bizarre vaguely-MM, vaguely-hybrid spec, and had vendor white weapons and gun. And then I went back to his post, where he said that this was his main and first character, and where he'd gotten a few "Don't let people get you down" posts and a few jackasses mocking his gear, but absolutely nothing constructive. And I sat down and wrote a reply, drawing on what I'd learned from The Hunter's Mark and Aspect of the Hare and WoWWiki and everywhere else that helped me, giving a quick outline on what stats to look for in gear, linking a couple of quests of the appropriate level that would give him better weapons, and tipping him off to my favorite blogs and Petopia. Because honestly, I've been there, and I'd bet most players have.
And I don't know if he ever read my response (he's Alliance, so I couldn't mail or whisper him), but I hope he did, and I hope he was able to use it. And it felt really good to get an in-game whisper from another person who HAD read it and who thanked me for offering something helpful.
So two things:
1. I'm not saying that you have to go out of your way to do so, but if you have the time and run across a player who is lost, please help them, even if it's just to link them to Big Red Kitty (or some other class-appropriate source). Every time I feel like ignoring or even ridiculing an obviously-new player, I just reflect on Angie's shortcomings and all of the players who helped me get to the point where I don't totally suck at my class, and pay it forward. Okay, not every time — everyone's an asshole sometimes, and I'm an asshole a lot of times — but I try.
2. When you see someone being helpful, even if it's to someone else, say something. I'm generally helpful 'cause it makes me happy to help other people (well, I also enjoy being obnoxious, but I try to control myself), but it's always nice to hear it anyway. And it encourages people to be more helpful and friendly if they are being recognized for it.
And on VeCo, at least, the factions are still at war, and anything you can do to help your faction succeed makes all of you stronger.
EDIT: One other n00b mistake I made: My Forsaken priest was the first character I made after I figured out the concept of specs. I went Shadow with her. And, at about level 15, I decided to respec her as Holy because I thought that her being Shadow made Power Word: Fortitude hurt people, since every time I cast it, it looked like their health went down.
Yeah, I know.