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World of Warcraft Gold Guides

Game Guide > Introduction | Getting Started | Character | Items | The World | Transportation | Player Interaction | Player vs Player | FAQ | About Game Guide

Getting Started ---- Everything you need to know to get started on your heroic journey in the World of Warcraft.

What is a Realm?

With millions of people playing World of Warcraft, it is simply impossible for everyone to play together in the same place. This is the reason why the different "realms" were created. A realm is a game world that exists only for the few thousands of players within it. Each realm is an exact copy of the game world with one exception: the player characters there are tied to that particular realm. You can interact with all the players on your realm but you cannot interact with players on other realms. Characters also cannot normally move between realms.
Each realm is defined by its name (like Burning Legion) and its realm type (see below). Choosing your realm is the very first decision you will have to make before playing World of Warcraft. In any case, you can speak with, search for, and group only with other players that have created characters of the same faction (Horde or Alliance) and on the same realm as you. If you encounter players of the opposite faction on your realm, you csan battle against them or try to ignore them.
Game-play Mode vs. Realm Type
When playing on a realm, your character's actions determine whether you are in a PvE (player vs. environment) game-play mode or in a PvP (player vs. player) game-play mode. In PvE mode, you can do quests, fight monsters, speak, trade, gain experience, learn skills, and advance levels as you would in any other massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). In PvP mode, you are fighting other players in the wilderness or in special places called Battlegrounds. Of course, sometimes those two game-play modes can intersect, for example when a player is attacked by another player (PvP) while fighting a monster (PvE). The important thing to remember is that the game is much the same on any realm for any player. However, there are different realm types that favor one type of game-play (PvE or PvP) over the other, with some differences that are detailed below.

Realm Types

There are two basic realm types (and a special distinction for role-playing realms): Normal realms and PvP realms. The main difference between the two types is in the way in which the player vs. player game-play mode is activated.
Normal Realms
These realms are labeled Normal in the realm selection screen when you enter the game. The main focus of the players on those realms is to fight against the monsters in the game rather than against other players. That is why you can think of the Normal realms as "truce" realms. On Normal realms, other enemy players can't attack you unless you allow them to.

  • You can create both Alliance and Horde characters (but they won't be able to communicate with the other faction).
  • There are no "contested" zones in the game; the zones that don't belong to a faction are called "neutral" zones.
  • PvP mode is activated differently than on PvP realms
    • You can concentrate on epic fights, quests, and battles against monsters or non-playing characters without worrying about being attacked by other players.
    • You can try to be friendly with the other faction and need not fear being attacked.

    • You gain PvP rewards less easily because it is harder to get other players to fight you (except when you are in Battlegrounds).
    • It's harder to have one vs. one fights that show your duel skills.
    Sentence to remember: On a Normal realm, I will never be attacked by other players if I don't want to be, except if I enter an enemy capital or a Battleground.
Player vs. Player Realms
These realms are labeled PvP in the realm selection screen when you enter the game. You can play the same way you play on a Normal realm, except that PvP mode will sometimes be switched on automatically without any action on your part, allowing the other player characters from the opposite faction to attack you without warning. That is why you can think of the Player vs. Player realms as "war" realms. On Player vs. Player realms, you are in a constant state of war against the other faction.
  • You can create only Alliance or only Horde characters on a Player vs. Player realm.
  • Some game policies are specific to Player vs. Player realms. You should read them before playing on a PvP realm.
  • Each zone of the game has a PvP flag color that shows its PvP status. There are no "neutral" zones.
  • PvP mode is activated differently than on Normal realms.
Each time you enter a zone on a Player vs. Player realm, the name of the zone will appear with one of the following colors:
= Friendly (allied with your faction - Alliance or Horde)
= Enemy (hostile with your faction - Alliance or Horde)
= Contested (for both factions)

  • Your fighting skills against other players will be recognized both by your companions and your enemies.
  • You will have an easier time finding opportunities to fight other players.
  • It is harder to fight monsters and to complete some quests in contested territories. The game can be a little more difficult on a Player vs. Player realm because you need to worry about the other faction's players.
  • If you want some safety from other players you will have to do more private (instanced) dungeons.

Sentence to remember: On a Player vs. Player realm, I may be attacked by other players everywhere at any time, except in friendly (green) territories and in dungeons (instances).

Role-Playing Realms (RP and RP PvP)

If you enjoy role-playing (RP) and would like to imagine that you are an inhabitant of a fantasy-based world, then a role-playing realm may be for you. Please read our Role-Playing Policy before you start playing on an RP realm. Players who choose to play on an RP realm should abide by the Role-Playing realm policies and remain in-character at all times. Role-Playing realms give players the chance to develop characters with a backstory who do not go blindly from quest to quest, but instead assist or hamper the efforts of others for reasons of their own. As far as game mechanics are concerned, there is no difference between a Role-Playing realm and any other realm. You don't get special benefits or special hindrances other than the behavioral rules you agreed to when joining a Role-Playing realm.
Role-Playing realms can either be Normal realms or Player vs. Player realms. When a Role-Playing realm is Normal it is called RP; all game mechanics are the same as on a Normal realm. When a Role-Playing realm is a Player vs. Player realm also it is called RP PvP, and again, all game mechanics are the same as on a Player vs. Player realm (for example, on an RP PvP realm you still can not attack members of you own faction even if it would sometimes make sense from a role-playing point of view).

  • If you want to create a "real life" for your character, a Role-Playing realm gives you the best opportunity to do that.
  • You can count on many other players to support you by role-playing their characters too.
  • There are no automatic game rewards for role-playing, and no game mechanics are altered (if you give a rose to a felhound it will still try to eat you).
  • Not everyone will act as you would like and the experience can sometimes be frustrating.
Sentence to remember: If I choose to play on a Role-Playing realm, I will act and speak as my character should in the World of Warcraft setting.

Player vs. Player (PvP) Mode Activation

The main difference between Normal ("truce") and Player vs. Player ("war") realms is the way the PvP game-play mode is activated. This section will tell you how and under which circumstances the PvP mode is activated. No matter how PvP has been enabled for a character, the PvP mode will remain in effect for five minutes after the last action that triggers the PvP mode activation.
To see whether or not your character is in PvP mode, check your character's portrait. If you see the shield next to it, then you are in PvP mode.
Orc PvE Orc PvP Human PvE Human PvP
Color Coding
The shield allows you to see your own character's current game-play mode. You can see the mode that other characters are in by looking at the color of their character name (the one that appears over the character's head).
  • Green - Friendly character, PvP mode enabled; healing or buffing this character will enable PvP mode for your character
  • Blue - PvP mode disabled; you cannot attack this character
  • Yellow - Enemy character, PvP mode enabled; this character cannot attack you unless you attack him first or activate PvP mode in another way (see below)
  • Red - Enemy character, PvP mode enabled; this character can attack you, and you can attack this character

PvP Mode Activation: Any Realm

Actions that will trigger PvP mode are:
  • Attacking a non-player character (NPC) of the opposite faction (Horde/Alliance)
  • Attacking a player character (PC) of the opposite faction who is already in PvP mode
  • Helping a player character (PC) of your own faction who is already in PvP mode
The PvP mode will stay enabled until five minutes after the last action that triggers the PvP mode activation.

PvP Mode Activation: Normal Realms

Actions that will trigger PvP mode are:
  • Entering an enemy capital city
  • Entering a battleground
The PvP mode will stay enabled until five minutes after the character has left the city or battleground.

PvP Mode Activation: Player vs. Player Realms

Actions that will trigger PvP mode are:
  • Entering a contested zone
  • Entering an enemy zone
  • Entering a battleground
The PvP mode will stay enabled until five minutes after the character has left the zone or battleground.

PvP Mode Activation: Manual Activation

By typing /pvp, you can activate PvP mode for your character manually. Note that PvP mode will stay enabled until you manually turn it off by typing /pvp again. After you manually deactivate PvP mode, you still need to wait five minutes until your character reverts back to PvE mode.

Choose your Realm

he realms are separated by game-play types and have different names. You can check all available realms on our Realm Status page.

If you are familiar with the Warcraft universe you will also notice that the names of the realms usually reflect the philosophy of their realm type.
  • Normal realms have names of heroes, neutral characters or known places.
  • Player vs. Player (PvP) realms have names of demons and warmongers.
  • Normal Roleplaying (RP) realms have names of beneficial organizations.
  • Player vs. Player Roleplaying (PvP RP) realms have names of evil organizations or cults


Also remember that after choosing a realm and playing with a character, this character will not be able to move freely to another realm. Therefore, if you want to join friends who are playing on another realm, the only way to join them will be to start a brand new character on their specific realm. It is wiser to spend time choosing your realm, and share the info with your friends, than to be forced to start over later.

Realms FAQ

Where am I safe on a Player vs. Player realm?

If you are in a friendly territory and you don't attack any enemy players who might be passing through, they won't be able to attack you. And of course, you are safe in instances as they are private places created only for your group of players.
Am I safe if I am on a Normal realm and I enter a enemy town (not a capital city)?
Enemy players won't be able to attack you but the city guards will. And if you fight back you will activate PvP mode, making you a target for enemy players at that time.
May I make friends of enemy faction players on a role-playing realm?
You can try to make friends with some enemy players, so they will not attack you. But that will not stop other opposing faction players from attacking, and the NPCs certainly will not become friendly. Even area effect spells from "friendly" enemies will still do damage to you if you happen to be in their range.
Is there any place that allows full PvP, meaning attacking even players from my own faction?
You can do that only in very special restricted areas. For the moment, only the Gurubashi Arena, in Stranglethorn Vale, and the arena in Dire Maul allow that. No realm type allows total PvP game-play.
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