As perhaps the most popular online gmae in the world, World of Warcraft is definitely no small thing in most of its players' lives. It has practically taken over the world in more ways than one, having seeped into mainstream pop culture and the world's consciousness. There are plenty of good and bad things being talked about in the game, and it only serves to spread the word of the game equally.
Most of the time spent in the game by those who play it for the first time does go into learning how to play it though, which may not be as fun as it sounds. Much of the reward in the gameplay is out of being able to play it relatively seamlessly. Much of the nuances are in the combat system, which is what really separates the veterans from the beginners in this game. If you think that you still lack the knowledge about your class, many sites offer good World of Warcraft Builds for you to follow.
Here are a few principles that you can take to heart. There are the golden rules, which are common sense things that you must adhere to in order to play WoW well. You must never travel alone since the more the merrier, and you may need help along the way. Solo play is not really the way to go in WoW since it's a social game in its core. With that in mind, always buff yourself and those around you, and don't be stingy about it. Teamwork is of the essence, and it need not be intimidating. All you need to do is to stick to your party, use your buffs whenever they're needed, and don't abandon them.
On the subject of survivability, you always have to leave defense at the area you captured. You must also let the team know where the enemy's strong and weak points if you happen to have that information, so that you don't waste your time dying in order to learn how to properly fight a specific enemy. Since death can be rather costly in this game, you must stay near the healers. If you are a healer, stay near your group and let your mates protect you. You help them, and they help you.
You don't want your enemies to have the same treatment though, so kill their healers if they have any. There's nothing worse than damaging an enemy, only to have it regain its health just like that. Despite that though, always focus on the main objective and concentrate all efforts upon accomplishing it, no matter what. There should be no room for distraction in the game, especially if everyone else is counting on you to work with the rest of the team.
Finally, you have to report whoever is away from keyboard, or AFK. There is nothing worse than a player who abandons post in the middle of battle or is just absent for most of the time. You are not to let such individuals earn their honor, especially since they don't put in the time and energy in being there in the first place. You have to report them for the good of all, so don't be forgiving whenever you do find someone who tend to be absent.
Before you charge into battle, there is a calm before the storm. This period is called the Buff Phase, and that's when you contribute to the collective effort by giving all you can and buffing everyone. Since buffs cost no mana at all, there's absolutely no reason for you to not do so. Anyone who you don't buff may become a liability later on and die, decreasing your force's strength and dragging everyone else down. Therefore, you must never miss anyone in the buffing process.
It must be said that no plan ever survives the battlefield, as it is in real life. However, having a plan in the first place and it going to dust is way better than going in without one in the first place. At least it does give you a bit of tactical advantage to have a plan beforehand, and it's reliant upon the Battleground Leader to facilitate that plan. The job of everyone else is to provide support according to the plan and the situation on the battlefield, and to stick together in order to survive.
That's the basic gist of playing World of Warcraft. It's a game about teamwork and camaraderie, and that's what makes it truly great. Don't forget to have fun as well.