The first thing you need to consider carefully is your realm, since realm change is not available at launch (though free realm change from high pop to low pop might become available). Let’s see the difference between realms :
PvE (Normal) : In this type of realm, you can chose to fight in PvP or not. Choose this type of realm if you don’t want to get ganked while leveling in enemy’s territory. Although you can turn PvP on in this type of realm, but not much players do PvP .
PvP : If you are a fan of world PvP and want to kill enemies when you see them, choose this type of realm. From level 20+ you will be questing in contested territory , which means you will be flagged for PvP .
Role Playing (RP) : This type of realm is like PvE, but you can role play with other people. Simple as that.
RP-PVP : This type of realm is like PvP but with role playing in it. This type of realm can be good or it can be very harsh depending on play style.
How to choose what realm to play?
With what’s said about these realms, choose for yourself what type of game adventure do you want. If you want world PvP, choose PvP. If you want to be safe choose Normal and if you want role play without any pvp, RP realms are for you otherwise RP-PVP.
What’s next? Now that you have chosen your realm, You need to create a character and select a class of course. While I can’t tell you what class to play, here are some tips if you are confused on what class to play.
What class to play?
Leveling speed : Speed have different definition per person, some only count each mob kill, some count drinks too, some also count travel time to train, for this one we counted all three. Remember this : If you can level up with your class, its a good class for level up. No class is that much bad that makes you not want to play it because of their leveling speed, Unless you want to rush to end game.
Mages level up fast. They have AoE spells with helps them a lot. They also don't have problem with drinks.
Druidshave healing and can go feral and do good damage. Can stealth past mobs which is a great help.
Hunters are ace in solo leveling because what is better than having a pet do the hard work for you.
Warlocks will be doing very fine. They don’t need mana or health,because of their Life Tap and Drain Life, and thanks to Affliction spec they have some self healing! They also have pets which can help them a lot during level up.
Warriors are going to have a rough time (though they have the best ranking in end game as a tank and probably dps).They don't have self healing, low damage output early on and etc but they really shine in end game. Having leveled up a warrior myself, you need to eat after each mob kill and mob kills takes a lot of time since you don’t do much damage without gears from professions or dungeons or etc.
Paladins : Protection have AoE ability which makes it a lot good in level up, but generally they are not good. Auto attacking was their thing, nothing more. You are going to have some boring time with them.
Priests can also have a rough time like warriors too, but they don't have much down time like warriors. They can heal themselves, don't have resource problems that much, it all depends on how you level up, but you are going to do wand damage for some times.
Rogues will have a hard time. Totally depends on yourself though. It can be good too, because of their stealth and they can have good dps if you have good gear and know to play.
Shamanswere not that bad, had speed, some healing and moderate damage. They can travel fast with their ghost wolf.
End Game : Aside from leveling speed, you also need to know if you get invited to dungeons and raids. We also can’t rank everything in end game since a lot of people have different experiences with classes.
Warriors were the only viable tanks. Arms dps was good, fury got good later in game. Arms are very good in PvP.
Mages are also good. Depending on the patch, fire and frost mages were pretty much good. No comment on arcane, they were good too. Mages are also good in PvP. Just search mage PvP one shot and what you see can’t be unseen.
Priests are good healers if not the best. Mid-Classic they were the best but it also depends on how you play it. Had great spells that were sought after in any form of activity. Not much to say about Shadow.
Hunters are only good if you play them Marksmanship in PvE (It still depends on the player, we are speaking in general here). There are really needed in raids for their buff. Good for PvP.
RoguesWere good in PvE with a high dps output similar to Warrior. Great in PvP with their stealth and stun locks. Nothing much to say here, just search Rogue PvP vanilla and you’ll see why this class is great at PvP.
Warlocks are not good in Horde, and the reason for that is threat problem. But their dps is good in both PvE and PvP. If you don’t like farming soul shards, stay away.
Shamans are also like Druids, hybrid class, they also have a lot of utility with their totem which makes them viable sometimes and sought after. Only horde can play this.
Druids like shaman is,hybrid class, and not a very good healer (though much needed for their Combat Res and Innervate) or a dps or even a tank. There was always a class better than them.
Paladins are not that good in PvE but Holy was good though. Protection were out performed by Warriors. Retribution paladin was a buff bot since its buffs only lasted 15 minute and they also had seals but they were sought after because of buffs and threat reduction buff. Only available to Alliance. Retribution paladins were not good in PvP too.
The next step is Character Customization. You Can’t change your character’s appearance after you created it.
There is no Barber shop in Classic, or even character appearance change service.
After that, leveling comes to play. Leveling is hard and if you don’t know your way, you can get lost. We will discuss leveling in future, so stay tuned!