This brief guide is intended for players who are new to World of Warcraft. It covers the very basics of gameplay and how to progress through the first few levels of your race's starting zone.
After Character Creation
After choosing a race, class and customizing the look of your character, you will spawn in your race's starting zone, usually within a small settlement. Typically, these beginning areas are designed to get you to around level 10 before you leave and move on to the next zone. Right away, you will notice that some NPCs have a yellow exclamation mark () over their head. These symbols will also display on the mini map in the top-right corner of the screen if you are close to them. Talking with these NPCs will allow you to read and accept a quest they have for you. The objectives and status of this quest can be checked at any time by opening the quest log (L). Once you have completed the objectives for said quest, you can return to the NPC (or possibly a different one) to turn in the quest. The NPC whom you need to turn a quest into will have a yellow question mark () over their head. As you complete quests and your character gains levels, always be on the lookout for new quests being offered by NPCs.
The quickest way to level up is to travel through the game's zones, completing all the quests you encounter along the way. Completing quests grants you Experience points, which will slowly fill in your experience bar with blue or purple. When the bar fills, you reach the next level. Alternatively, you could choose to run Dungeons or Battlegrounds, which are not covered in this beginner's guide.
There is an Action Bar at bottom of the User interface. Each class starts with some skills. Every few levels, you will unlock new skills specific to your character class, these can be learned from your Class trainer. You will be introduced to one of these NPCs during one of the first few quests you complete in your starting zone, but they can also be found in many towns and each of your Faction's cities.
You can view various menus, which contain various information about your character, by pressing certain hotkeys, or by pressing the appropriate button within the user interface. The menu hotkeys are as follows:
Inventory - B
Character Info/Equipment - C
Talents - N
Guild - J
Quest Log - L
Heading out into the World
Once you have completed several quests in your starting zone, you will be nearing level 10 (if you haven't already reached it). A quest will become available, which will lead you out of the starting area, and on to the next leveling zone.
You will have to talk with flight masters in most towns or cities you visit in order to gain access to that settlement's flight path. Flight masters who have a stop you have not yet unlocked will have a green displayed above their head (and on the mini map), much like a NPC with a quest. Unlocking flight paths as you progress through various zones will allow you to pay for a quick ride to a destination you have previously visited. This method of travel is significantly faster than walking or riding a mount.
Here are some some suggested topics for continued reading: