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WoWFeb 15, 2021 10:00 am CT

An incomplete guide to all the dead people we keep meeting again in Shadowlands

Remember Volcor? A very sad story from original World of Warcraft whose bear you had to help bring home, and then in Cataclysm he died from Deathwing’s attack on Darkshore and you had to help his bear friend make a new friend? Well, in case you were wondering what happened to him, he’s a bear now in Ardenweald. And he’s just one of many NPCs who’ve died over the years who we’re catching up with in Shadowlands. There’s Decimator Olgra, who technically never actually got to make her original WoW debut due to her having pre deceased the game and who was married to some dude, there’s Amber Kearnen who is now a spider monster in Maldraxxus, for example, and there’s Warbrave Oro from Highmountain waiting in Bastion.

All of these appearances of characters who we may have interacted with when they were alive does more than just trip our nostalgia button, however. It also shows us that the timeline on when the Arbiter got hit with the red light that told her to stop doing her job is mid-Legion at the earliest because many of these souls died during that invasion of the demonic hosts of the Burning Legion. Amber Kearnen, for example, died during the Rogue Order Hall mission, and Warbrave Oro died when Dargrul the Underking used the Hammer of Khaz’goroth to attack the Highmountain Tauren, both deaths occurring relatively early in the expansion.

The dearly — and not so dearly — departed make their return

However, not all the NPCs we’ve seen are clues to much of anything except that the devs remember that one quest that ripped your heart out, like seeing Anaya Dawnrunner again in Ardenweald, or the aforementioned Volcor appearance there. Anaya was a ghost you had to destroy to free her from said ghostly nature, who then had a painful farewell between her and the elf she loved after a thousand years apart — not exactly a happy ending, but at least it was an ending. Now she’s a cat in the afterlife. Ardenweald is wild, y’all. Some of us turning into spider monsters, some of us bears, some of us rise the ranks of Maldraxxus only to be turned into spare parts by the House of Constructs like Cookie, the Murloc chef from the Deadmines.

Still others end up hunted through Revendreth like Houndmaster Loksey or stuck there like Zul’jin. I feel especially bad for Zul’jin — Loksey was a Scarley Monastery madman who pretty much deserved it, but Zul’jin isn’t wrong when he curses players who manage to get to him, especially Blood and Void Elves. The Amani Trolls saw the High Elves steal their land, they chained him up and ripped his eye out of his head, and he had to cut off his own arm to escape them, and then they stormed his city Zul’Aman and killed him before he could get his revenge. I feel like him being forced to undergo the Revendreth treatment is harsh — he may be wrathful, but it’s not without cause, and maybe he could let go of some of that anger if that was acknowledged.

Of course, characters like Uther, Draka, Lady Vashj and Alexandros Mograine also make appearances in Shadowlands as important NPCs involved in quests in Bastion and Maldraxxus, but in a way I like the smaller cameos from characters like Amber or Volcor better. They’re just a small, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, an acknowledgement of the game’s past and our experiences in it. I’m more excited to see Volcor than I am Kael’thas, ultimately.

Updated 2/15/2021.

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