A digression: This is not about anything new. This is just me being mildly nostalgic.
Though my current account says December '07, I actually started playing WoW in the fall of '05. Specifically, sometime around Patch 1.8.0 or its successors - I know it was just prior to the opening of the gates. I had graduated from college, and got in touch with a friend of mine who'd moved out west to pursue a graduate degree at the Colorado School of Mines. We were chatting about various things we'd done together in college (memorable D&D games, etc.) and she told me that she'd recently started playing World of Warcraft at the urging of her new boyfriend and really loved it, and that I should totally check it out. I don't remember my excuse for putting it off, but I had one, and I managed to stick to it until one day in Best Buy, when I walked by and saw that World of Warcraft really wasn't all that expensive. Huh, I thought. Maybe this'll give me something to do. (I was in kind of a console game - and MMO - slump at the time, having burnt out on Final Fantasy XI.) So I picked it up, took it home, installed it on my creaky little Mac Mini G4, and dived headfirst into World of Warcraft.
I don't remember my first character's name or the ones immediately following him, and I kind of regret that, but from day 1, I played Horde. My very first character was an undead rogue on Feathermoon, and I didn't let my friend know about him - just yet. After all, I wasn't sure I was gonna stick to this game or not. I remember falling in love with the areas around Deathknell and Brill, and how cool it was that I could jump (veterans of FFXI and Guild Wars may understand my amazement as well). I gleefully remember stealthing up to that little camp of Scarlets and stabbity-stabbing them to death, and I probably got my rogue to level 5 or 6 before deciding to try a second class.
My friend, Cassie, was a tauren druid. So I figured, why not? I rolled a tauren druid. Mulgore totally has a different flavor, and by now the variety had gotten me hooked. Cassie hooked me up with some leather gear and other generic piles of mats so I could level my own leatherworking, as well as some low-level greens, and I plowed through early quests in Mulgore and found my way into the Barrens. I remember using my newfound jumping skills (shut up) to get around to the guys above Wailing Caverns, before I had ever realized what an instance was (or that Wailing Caverns _was _an instance). I also remember that I had the pattern for a Deviate Scale Belt (I believe Cassie or her now-husband had blendered that instance for me so I could do some quests), and that I really, really wanted to make myself a Deviate Scale Belt - all by my lonesome. Self-sufficiency was the name of the game.
Have you spotted the problem yet? This was a long time before Patch 2.4, which would turn all the elites outside instance into non-elites... and no one had ever explained to me what that little gold circle meant. (I just thought it meant they had better loot.) So here I am, a little bitty druid around 15 or so, with what I'm sure was an absolutely moronic selection of gear (I didn't know yet how utterly useless Spirit was), trying to solo elites - sometimes 2 and 3 at a time. However, I never gave up, at least until I did. I concluded that I sucked at this game, and wasn't any good at it, and that's the story of how a Deviate Scale Belt made me quit WoW.
At least until December 2007. I'd built a new rig earlier in the year - a fairly powerful one, to replace my stolen MacBook and underwhelming desktop - and had Gamestop gift cards, and that 19.99 Classic + TBC battlechest called my name...
How did you get started playing WoW? What kind of boneheaded mistakes did you make as a newbie? We were all there once, after all. :)