I started playing last night on Victory (I think, or was it Virtue?) and have gotten to level 3. I don't understand a damned thing.
I've gone with the Defender Empathy character. My secondary skill is some sort of dark magic. I'm very weak and it takes me forever to kill a mob. Also, I just tend to stand in one place and cast the one dark magic spell I have. But there's a lot to do and for some reason, I just can't resist attacking mobs who are mugging the citizens of the city. Must be the good guy in me.
I've figured out those...enhancements - whatever they're called - that can boost powers. I've collected a couple of badges but have NO idea what they're for. I met only one player and they gave me 90k in currency (reputation?) which I have no idea how to spend. I have found the vendor to sell those enhancements and a couple of folks to run missions. It seems like you get one mission at a time.
Where to start? Hmm.
As you get more powers, combat will be more varied and fun. At low levels you're stuck waiting on being able to use your attack again.
Enhancements take a little getting used to. To deal with them, click on the enhancement button in the lower right area of the screen then click on "Manage". Hovering over one of your powers should list in the bottom right corner what types of enhancements can fit into that power (ie, enhance heal will make your healing spells more effective, reduce recharge time will let you get access to that power a little bit faster, enhance damage will icrease the damage).
There are 3 levels of enhancements. Training -> Dual Origin (DO) -> Single Origin (SO). You can start buying DOs are level 12, SOs at level 22. The worst SO is at least twice as good as the best DO. The worst DO is at least twice as good as the best Training. The number on the enhancement is what level it is. You can use an enhancement up to 3 levels higher than your current level (ie, a level 5 character can use level 8 enhancements). The enhancement level is green if it is higher level than you, white if it is even, yellow if it is a little below you and red if it is too far below you. The higher the level the higher the effectiveness. Once an enhancement turns red, it is no longer having any effect.
You can combine enhancements. After clicking enhancements->manage, click on the name of a power and the combine screen comes up. Click on one of the enhancements in the power then click on one of the enhancements in your inventory and click combine. It will tell you what % chance you have of succeeding. A successful combine will take the higher level enhancement and add a '+' to the end of the number. Effectively that power is now +1 in level. You can combine it again to get '++' but once it is ++ you can only combine it with an enhancement that is higher level than the effective level. (Play around with it, you'll figure it out. Also, it'll take some time to figure out which enhancements you want where).
Badges are mainly something to do for people who like collecting stuff. You get them for visiting certain places (exploration), you get them for clicking on several things in different zones (history), you can also get them for killing a certain number of a type or mob or for completing certain missions. Eventually with the right combination of badges you can get accolades which will grant you a little more HP or sometimes even a power. You probably don't need to concern yourself with them quite yet.
Money in the game is called influence. You can spend it at stores to buy enhancements (I never really bought any until buying my first DOs at level 12) or to buy some inspirations. Inspirations drop pretty well but if you're going up against a big mob that keeps getting the better of you, it might be worth considering buying some healing or defensive inspirations. Inspirations are just short term buffs to damage / defense / heal / etc...
Create a couple more character and play around in the tutorial in the beginning. You can learn a lot in there.
You can only have 1 mission from an individual contact at a time. Your contacts will sometimes introduce you to other contacts (usually higher level ones when they are just about out of missions for you). But you can have 3 total missions at a time but just from different contacts.
One note that I was slow to learn: after you've done enough missions to build the trust from one of your contacts, you'll see a "phone" button appear on the contact dropdown menu (top middle of the screen). Clicking the "phone" button will call your contact. This is great if you don't want to run all the way back after you complete a mission. They will give you new missions over the phone as well. About the only thing you can't do over the phone is buy something from your contacts inventory. New contacts can be a pain because you have to earn their trust enough so that you can call them.
Whew. Too much typing. I hope that helped.
Btw, you might try poking around on coh.warcry.com or www.coh.com
as there is a ton of information out there. Sometimes it's overwhelming though.