Welcome, new players, to Shotbow! Let me guide you through a few important steps to ensure your enjoying of the game!
Joining the network
In order to start playing, you must connect to the server. It is recommended to add it to your server list, so you won't have to add the IP in every time you want to play!
The IP is: play.shotbow.net
Join, and you will be spawned into our lobby (seen above). From there you may look around and join the actual games. The main game servers are found under the big signs seen all around you, you can join them by approaching and right clicking one of the villagers found under them. You will be instantly connected to the new server without having to disconnect yourself. If ever you want to go back to the lobby, just type the command /hub and you will be brought back to the lobby. If you are playing MineZ, or Wasted, you may want to use /logout instead to avoid leaving an NPC that can be killed.
Sooner or later you will want to register, whether it's just to earn XP or get to chat with the community. It is recommended you do this sooner.
To get started, you will need a valid email address. Log in to a lobby server and type /register (your email here). You will be sent an Email with your new login info. Once you've got it, you should sign in to this site and change your password to whatever you want first thing. After that you're encouraged to upload a profile photo and fill out your profile, you will get XP for doing so too. You should also introduce yourself on the forums and get to know the community. Chat is also a good place to talk to other Shotbow players. If you mistyped your email while doing the command, have no fear. Use /changeemail (your email here) and all should be better.
Why you need a valid email? You'll need to get your login info from that Email address to begin using the forums and the XP shop. Plus you will get notices of content updates emailed to you when they happen, and possibly XP codes which can be redeemed for instant Shotbow XP. You wouldn't want to miss out on the latest and greatest stuff. If you do not wish to receive Emails from Shotbow, you may disable this by going to your privacy settings, and uncheck the box labeled 'Receive site mailings'.
You're probably interested in what Shotbow XP is at this point. Shotbow uses an in-game currency called 'Shotbow XP. XP is earned by simply playing games, from killing zombies in MineZ to destroying your opponents in SMASH. XP can be used in Shotbow's XP shop on the site here. (You must be logged in to view the shop.) After accumulating enough XP you may go to the shop to purchase new stuff for use on the network. Things from new classes for Annihilation, spawn kit items for MineZ or even particle trails and pets to show off in the lobby can be purchased!
You can play as much as you want without ever having to give a penny to the network. However, you may want to consider buying premium at some point to support the network. Among some of the benefits you also get for doing so is getting to use private servers, you may get to play new gamemodes before they become public, and you get a permanent multiplier to the XP you earn in game to help speed you up in earning new stuff. Last but not least you're helping Shotbow pay for its server cost, allowing yourself and others to continue to enjoy it. More information can be found on the buy premium page.
Other Helpful Stuff
If you haven't yet, you can check out the Wiki Index to learn more about the gamemodes. It also has useful links to other pages, such as a list of the Server Commands you can use within the network, or how to connect to the Shotbow teamspeak server.
Be sure to check out the official announcements forum often for the latest and upcoming updates to Shotbow. A weekly changelog can be found every sunday. If you're into Reddit, we also have an official subreddit.
Also consider following The ShotbowNetwork on twitter for sneak peeks at content, XP codes and more.
Also consider checking out Bracko64's New Player Guide (Recommended!)
Happy playing, and thanks for flying Shotbow!