After roughly your second or third battle in novice map you should notice that your grade has gained another bar to it and you has changed names. This signifies that you have played in enough battles to have leveled up. Right now leveling up doesn't do much for you but it does bring you one step closer to vanguard and the equipment that comes with it. (You can see your progess to the next grade level by looking at the little bar at the bottom of the box that slowly fills up with orange as you play battles.)
Speaking of gear you should quickly open up your manage hero screen and take a look at the green equips that you got from your fights. Green equipment is equipment that you get which will give you random bonus' to your stats. It is basically the rank before token gear, but it can actually have better stats than token gear on rare occasions. You get greens by playing in matches and by refining the materials you can occasionally bid on after winning said matches. You can refine by going to the shop, selecting the piece of gear that you want to create and then hitting the star below the item. I'll explain more about the shop in a bit.
For now on the manage hero screen take a bit of time to look at each of the stats on your character and figure out what they do, it's a bit complicated but it will help you out later and will also help you choose what green gear to put on your character. Once you have figured out what the stats are then you can reach over to the bottom right inventory (which is the account inventory, the top one is character inventory and is where token gear goes when you get it) and select the gear you want to put on, you can check stats on gear by hovering over it for a bit. Next once you have gear you want to equip you should check the level on it and then drag it over to the proper gear spot and droping it. You shoud see your character change a little to signify this change. It'll be subtle on most chars but it's there. SMOKE
Next I'll explain the top tabs from earlier.
The Quick Join tab is where you will go once you want to fight real players (I wouldn't do this just yet) in matching games. This is done by clicking the match you want to enter, Forest of Chaos, a large map with many npcs to help you level up, or Crimson Plains, a map that is almost entirely PvP and involves an open field with cliffs to each side. You can also choose Ruined Arena or Laair of Ancient Dragon but those are Annihilation matches and most people choose to ignore them until they're better at the game.
Beside that is Manual Join, which is where you can choose to join a friendly room (a room that doesn't effect ladder points and does not allow you to bid on items at the end even if you win). You can join them according to a variety of criteria, including by map, looking for a name of a person you know, ect.
Beside that is Room List, which shows you a list of rooms that are currently running. You can check the box at the bottom to look for available friendly rooms that have room in them, this is nice incase you wanted to intrude on a game or knew the room number of a room and wanted to enter it.
Beside that is Create Game, which is once again pretty self explanatory. You can create a game to be played here and make it either practice, where you fight alone, matching, where you can gain and lose ladder points and gain items from the bidding at the end of a game, and friendly, where you can play with as many friends as you like. You can also choose that map and number of players. A little known fact is that in 3v3 there are no PWF's running around so you can enter these without fear of having to fight an organized group of players.
Beside Create Game is the Team and Guild screen. Teams and Guilds are groups of players that work together either to have fun or to get better at the game. You can create a guild for 3000 gold and you can create a team for 1000 gold. I wouldn't suggest you do either yet unless you have a few friends you'd like to play with. Joining one will give you access to more chat channels, teams are light blue and guilds are green, as well as a few extra matching types. Guild and Team matches are played against other guilds and teams respectively, currently there is no option for guild battles.
Beside that is the all important shop. Hitting this will pull up the shop screen, where there are more tabs to explore The opening is where you will buy items and special produce them. I would never actually just buy an item since special producing it costs the same amount of gold. Special production gives you better stats than normal and you can get an idea of what sort of stats it will give by hovering over the material you plan to use.
The tab next to that is the token shop, here you can buy armor tokens to trade in once you hit vanguard. I honestly wouldn't bother with this unless you really needed it since you can get em cheaper else where.
After that is the token house. Once you hit vanguard you can trade in your tokens (the little grey things with blue borders) and get some of the best available gear for your character.
Next is the refining tab, in this tab you can attach sockets to your gear if it has slots (it will say below it's stats as you mouse over it) and increase the attack and defense stats of your items. This is pretty cheap and is a good way to spend excess money once you have all your token gear. Be aware though that after an item is refined until it has a +4 beside it's name it will have a chance to break if you refine it again.
Finally there is the AP shop tag. You can buy an assortment of special items here using AP (you can only buy trial hero cards with coins) which you can get through the Alaplaya website by buying it with real money. A lot can be done with only 10$ worth of points and considering most games cost at least that much per month most would say it is worth it. One of the best things would be buying skills for your favorite character to increase it's affectivness in combat. More will be explained about this later.