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Today's WoW Rookie will not help you improve your game or your character's performance. The advice here won't help you become a "better" player; in fact, we'd encourage you to guard against the urge. As a new player in an older game (and make no mistake, with an established game world that's turned away from leveling and original content, the World of Warcraft definitely qualifies), you are quite assuredly behind the curve. You're a noob -- and that's ok. Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.
As a new player in the World of Warcraft, you deserve your time in the sun. It's called WORLD of Warcraft for a reason. A massive game world awaits, ripe for exploration, screenshots, wonder. Slowly peeling back the layers of lore and story reveals tales of glory, honor, humor and tragedy. This is your chance to soak it in, to bask and stretch and revel in the delightfully silly little surprises that Blizzard has scattered throughout the game.
And you'll miss all of that if your game is a tunnel-vision race to max level, purple armor and a belt notched with raiding achievements.
Let's get one thing straight: being a new player doesn't make you a "scrub" or a "terribad." It just makes you ... new. Established players so quickly forget the myriad details that long experience (in WoW or other MMOs) has rendered familiar: how to handle an overpull, the dynamics of grouping, what your class is capable of doing, what other classes are capable of doing, what gear is best for your character, how to safely explore a new area, where gathering nodes are most likely to be hiding, what to expect certain monster types to do ... Experienced gamers recognize and catch on quickly to these common conventions. True new players, however, need time and exposure to do the same.
By making endgame raiding accessible to the masses, Blizzard has made raid-level attitudes and expectations equally commonplace. In today's WoW, players perceive a "right" way to play and a "wrong" way to do things. New players are encouraged to meet basic skill expectations and do their homework outside the game. The idea that a guild or raiding group is a team that relies on individual members to show up with the skill, knowledge and commitment to win. Welcome to level 80!
Nothing wrong with that -- but you're not 80 yet. There's nothing wrong with being in the "wrong" armor at level 36 because nothing better has dropped or been up at the AH. There's nothing wrong with using the default UI at level 49. There's nothing wrong with not having discovered what spell rotation provides the maximum DPS (damage per second) at level 63 -- after all, the mobs died, the quest is complete, and you saved the NPC from his dilemma. It really is all good.
Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Level 80 is coming, and what they say is true: it really is a different game at 80. That's the time to start poking at your DPS and your UI and all the other elements of your game with a pointy stick -- if you want to be an effective groupmate and raid member, anyway. But don't worry about it yet; we'll show you what to do once you ding 80, once the time has arrived.
Until then, don't let established players (especially the kids congregating in lower-level zones, endlessly mocking other players) make you feel smaller for enjoying the content at your own speed. You can't enjoy all the discoveries the game has in store if you're suffering from performance anxiety. Don't feel embarrassed or discouraged at not having the funds to craft yourself blue gear or buy the fastest mounts. It's ok to pore over web sites to learn about your new spells or best places to level or how to fight effectively at your level (theorycrafting and metagaming are fun, too) -- but it's also perfectly fine (and sometimes more fun) to make a mess of it trying to figure it all out on your own.
We know some of you are trying to level quickly to catch up with friends. Hopefully, you've collaborated via the Recruit-a-Friend program and your friends are keeping you company with characters of their own. Still, we'd encourage you not to neglect time to smell the Talandra's Roses.
... which require Herbalism 385 to pick. No rush.