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Discussion > WoWSep 11, 2023 8:00 am CT

How do you feel about World of Warcraft’s major characters “retiring”?

If you’ve completed the Human Heritage Armor quest chain, you know that former antagonist Vanessa Van Cleef has chosen a new role for her life. Those who dislike the reworked Deadmines may not appreciate their inability to finish her off, but not every NPC is removed from the game via death. Instead, sometimes they are “put on the shelf” so that they can return if needed. The most famous of these is, of course, Tirion Fordring, who went from being notably reticent during vanilla questing to taking on the main role in Wrath of the Lich King. Other major NPCs currently offscreen for the near future — if not forever — are Sylvanas and Illidan. While neither are candidates for return any time soon, the World of Warcraft development team is able to bring them out of retirement if they’re needed.

Not every retirement is equal, however. In theory, Jaina could’ve stopped being an important NPC the moment her mother christened her Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras in one of my favorite cinematics from Battle for Azeroth. Instead, she was immediately part of the journey into Shadowlands, and while her role was much smaller than Bolvar’s or Anduin’s — the latter of the two being one who is almost definitely coming back so I don’t consider him “retired” even if he is AWOL — she apparently didn’t consider her job at home to override her responsibilities to the Alliance. Still, if the development team has decided that Jaina should sit on the bench for awhile, it wouldn’t take a major lore twist to do so.

Enemy NPCs are a different story, though, as the number of them that have survived battle with players is very small. Even Vanessa Van Cleef’s return in Legion is arguably a retcon to the end of her fight in Heroic Deadmines, but considering the nature of her skillset, it wasn’t one that required a lot of effort to put in. The one I’ve been thinking a lot about lately however is Azshara, who after escaping death and torture is off … somewhere. I wonder if we would allow her to retire like we did Vanessa Van Cleef, or is the threat of her power too existential to ignore? Would “Pirate Queen Azshara, Lord of Freehold” be a retirement role everyone on Azeroth could accept? [Editor’s note: Yes, absolutely, make it happen.]

What do you think? Should major NPCs be allowed to be stuck in a glass case that can be broken when needed, or would you rather they’re removed from future plot consideration entirely? Should enemy NPCs be allowed to meet an end besides death? And how much does the fact we didn’t kill Garrosh in Orgrimmar when we had the chance influence your thoughts on the matter?

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