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World Of Warcraft: Tropes C to E
  • Cain and Abel: Several pairs of good and evil siblings exist.
    • Illidan and Malfurion Stormrage.
    • Stalvan and Tobias Mistmantle. Stalvan killed his student and her lover out of jealousy, much to Tobias' dismay.
    • Krenna and Gorgonna. The former is a General Ripper who wants to go to war with the Alliance, while the latter is a more Reasonable Authority Figure who wants to prevent it. Krenna and her bodyguards ultimately fight Gorgonna and the players in a Duel to the Death, and are defeated.
    • Maiev and Jarod Shadowsong.
    • The Dragon Aspects are considered siblings in a sense, and regularly address each other as "sister" or "brother." Deathwing is the Cain, as is Malygos in Wrath of the Lich King, while Alexstraza, Ysera and Nozdormu are the Abels until Nozdormu becomes Murozond.
    • Subverted with Randolph and Mortimer Moloch in the Stockades dungeon; Mortimer is also evil, and fakes his death rather than take his brother's place.
  • California Doubling: The official patch trailer for Naxxramas depicted Kel'thuzad journeying to Northrend and joining the Scourge. However the trailer was made back in the vanilla, and Northrend didn't exist yet. So they had Kel'thuzad wander around Winterspring instead.
  • The Caligula: Meng the Demented is implied to have been "the most foul rule to ever abuse the imperial throne" among the Mogu, which is saying quite a bit considering the kind of cruelty the Mogu are capable of. His saying things such as "Slaughter yourselves for my amusement!" during the battle does not do much to dispel that perception.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": All over the place, sometimes with minor variations on colour as an excuse. Zhevras (Unicorns with Zebra hides); Swoops (basically Vultures), Striders (Big Emus), Crocolisks (Six-legged Crocodiles); and of course dinosaurs, including Stegodon (Stegosaur), Ravasaur (bigger Raptors), and Devilsaur (Tyrannosaurus rex), and animals often mistaken for dinosaurs such as Diemetradon (Dimetrodon), Pterrordax (Pterodactyl), and Threshadon (Plesiosaur).
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Orcas and raptors, though apparently both have horns.
    • To wit: orcas look (accounting for WoW art style) exactly like their real world counterparts...except they have four giant horns.
  • Call Back: The game is full of references from Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal, and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne.
    • Interestingly, the music played during Pet Battles is remixed off of Warcraft II's music.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Many bosses do this, to the point where the game engine will display prominent warnings for the use of powerful abilities by bosses so you can't possibly miss them. Players also frequently set up macros that make them say things when they use certain abilities, either for roleplaying or to coordinate with their party members (the latter can be helpful when using crowd control).
  • Came Back Wrong: Virtually anyone resurrected by the Scourge, as they are forced into ruthless evil by the Lich King; the Forsaken are viewed as this, regardless of their personal inclination - usually at first. The current, most recent batch of Forsaken brought back by the Val'kyr are given the choice of returning to "life", though this does not mean they are not brainwashed into fawningly obeying the Banshee Queen afterwards. Death Knights' "Raise Ally" skill originally worked this way, but has since become a more standard combat resurrection ability.
    • Although some quests are admittedly ambiguous on the matter, the official story is (as indicated in the Forsaken intro quests) is that all undead who are risen by Sylvanas (and the Val'kyr) retain their fee will. At least the players.
  • Can't Catch Up: This has happened at various times in the game due to iterations of raid content. At the start of classic and each expansion, everyone's on more or less equal footing regarding gear, but this rapidly changes once new raid tiers are introduced and players need to play catch-up to be considered qualified to get into top-tier content. The trick, of course is that to get geared for that content, they have to run the content, creating a Catch-22.
    • Blizzard has mitigated this considerably with the Cataclysm gearing system. Running 5-man heroic dungeons now rewards Valor Points that players can spend to buy up-to-date raid gear, and each boss in said dungeons drops Justice Points which can be spent on the previous tier's raid gear.
    • Mists of Pandaria made things even simpler to catch up, with more end-game Player Versus Environment options available besides dungeons and raids, such as scenarios. Daily quests also provide Valor Points.
    • This was especially bad in Classic and The Burning Crusade, where you had to do all sorts of different pre-requisite quests and attunements before reaching the content. The problem was, there was no dungeon finder until Wrath, so if you were on one of the wasteland servers, if you didn't get into the two guilds that ran the end-game content, you simply didn't raid. At all. This created a pretty big Can't Catch Up because players would pick these servers, find that they can't reach the guilds' initial gearing, and then transfer to a higher-population server where there are actually guilds that ran multiple raid groups. Entire guilds sometimes stagnated at the initial raiding tier due to a similar mechanic: any player good enough to progress to the next level got poached by a rival guild, so the other guild had to recruit and train a new raider, stalling their progress and perpetuating the cycle.
    • Generally averted whenever a new expansion is released, with equipment available in the new zones outclassing most of the hard-earned epic gear, putting everyone on more or less equal footing going forward.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Blizzard can't put anything into the game secretly. The moment a patch with new content gets rolled out people take it and datamine everything out of it and discuss what they found online.
    • And in the other direction, Blizzard records dungeon runs and flags the odd ones, meaning some neat tricks players come up with to take advantage of things are quickly fixed out before word can get out too far in the playerbase.
  • Captain Crash:
    • At the end of the Alliance questline to Twilight Highlands, Fargo Flintlocke says he ditched the landing gear among other things to make the plane lighter - he doesn't "land" usually anyway. Fargo's remark at the end of the trip is a Moment of Funny.
      *Player awakens on a ship and looks up to see the plane burning on top of the mast*
      Flintlocke: [his head popping into view, and looking down at the player] What? Like you could have done any better!
    • There's also a running gag about the draenei, that any time they're piloting a vehicle they'll crash it. This is likely because their capital, the Exodar, is a magic interstellar spaceship that they crashed into Azeroth.
      • The Oshu'gun, the ship that got them from Argus to Draenor, crashed as well. Neither was the fault of the draenei (the Oshu'gun was from their naaru pilots darkening and the Exodar was sabotaged by blood elves) but the meme stuck.
      • This is lampshaded in Sholazar Basin where a female draenei remarks on how everyone looks at her like she crashed the boat.
  • Captain Obvious: Watcher Tolwe on the Orgrimmar/Thunder Bluff zeppelin will comment on random things he sees. WoWWiki even just says "he's very observant."
    "Dere be a bug."
  • Caramelldansen Vid: The female Pandaren's /dance seems to be inspired by this.
  • Car Fu: One of the bosses in the Crucible of Carnage is a Worgen that grabs the stagecoach he came in on, and smashes the players with it.
  • Cartography Sidequest: One for each zone, giving a lesser achievement for each, a tabard for exploring every zone in Northrend, and the overall achievement and title ("The Explorer") for getting ALL of them.
  • Cassandra Truth: Drek'thar's visions are often correct, but tend to be dismissed as he is becoming senile.
    • In Patch 4.3, if you tell Bishop Farthing that Archbishop Benedictus, who left to Northrend to help the Aspects, is the Twilight Prophet, he will first laugh it off, then scold you for spreading nasty rumors, mentioning a rumor he heard about Bolvar that indicates that the truth about him is also viewed in a similar light.
  • Casting a Shadow: Spells belonging to the Shadow school, such as those cast by a Shadow-specced Priest or a Warlock, show up as a "black glow" around the caster's hands.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Warlocks have always had the ability to turn their health into mana and heal their demons with their own health, but have gone further into this in Mists of Pandaria, with several spells that sacrifice health for different benefits (a speed boost, an incredibly powerful shield, and a shield that makes you completely invincible at the cost of taking half of what you took while the shield was up when it goes off).
  • Casual Kink: Your goblin female character sometimes say: "I'm a free spirit. I don't like to be tied down. Wait, you meant literally? Oh, I'm totally into that!". Characters of certain other race-gender combos also say things that can be interpreted in a similar direction, but they are less obvious about it.
    • "Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Good. Bring ample supply of butter and goblin jumper cables."
    • Humorously subverted by the male goblin: "Yeah. She told me to tie her up, and do whatever I wanted to her. So I took her stereo."
  • Catapult to Glory: You can pilot and be fired out of Siege Engines in some locations. This is a key strategic element to the Hard Mode of the first boss in Ulduar.
    • Spoofed with an Alliance quest from Fargo Flintlocke shortly after the player lands in Twilight Highlands. Fargo's "clever plan" involves shooting the player out of a cannon (you know, instead of a cannonball, which "they'll see comin' a mile away") and through the hull of the enemy blimp. Yes, through.
    Take these explosives, then wait here next ta me. As soon as that blimpy comes around I'll blast you onto tha deck. Plant the explosives in 'er belly and, oh I dunno, make it up as you go.
    • Done with rockets in one dungeon in Pandaria. And somebody actually has to do it due to how the mechanics on the final boss work.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Frostmourne hungers..."
    • "For the [Faction]!"
  • Cat Folk: The Tol'vir: a race of centaur-like beings with lion bodies and feline faces, crafted by the Titans from stone.
  • The Cavalry: At the climax of a particularly memorable quest chain, The Knights of the Ebon Blade come to the aid of you and Fordring when you're surrounded by the Lich King and his elite servants.
    • Happens during a Horde quest in Borean Tundra when Saurfang shows up to save the PC.
    • Tirion Fordring pulls off an epic one during the final battle with the Lich King.
    • The last quest in the caravan questline in the Eastern Plaguelands shows a member of the group about to be turned into a Death Knight and rescued by the arrival of yourself and everyone who joined the caravan.
    • During the quest "Harrison Jones and the Temple of Uldum", The Hitler wannabe Commander Schnottz was about to destroy the chest when he and his Black Dragon allies are obliterated. The man responsible for saving the butt of both the player and Harrison...Brann Bronzebeard himself.
    • Mists of Pandaria has the Defense of Stoneplow, where players arrive in the town just as the Mantid swarm breaks through the wall. Vastly outnumbered, the Shado-Pan are forced to retreat, until Chen Stormstout arrives with an army made up of almost everyone from the Valley of the Four Winds and the Krasarang Wilds. It ends with the player dealing the finishing blow to the colossal mantid that broke down the wall.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: The Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate. Grand Apothecary Putress initially appears to be The Cavalry, stopping the Lich King dead in his tracks right before he attacks Highlord Bolvar, but reveals his true intentions shortly afterward by nuking everyone on the battlefield, Horde, Alliance and Scourge alike. The killer line is "AND DEATH TO THE LIVING!"
  • Cerebus Retcon: Chen Stormstout in Warcraft 3 was mostly known for his love of drinking and having fun, and was a pretty laid-back dude all in all. Turns out in Mists of Pandaria that he and his whole race have a VERY good reason for being so carefree; negative emotions arouse and strengthen their local Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Chaos Architecture: In designing the maps of World of Warcraft, Blizzard took a very Broad Strokes approach to the lore and previous games. Several locations have been radically altered or are just plain missing. The most glaring example is Kul Tiras, which has a small presence along Kalimdor's coast. And let's not even get into the fact that one of Azeroth's moons is missing...
    • Maps of Warcraft III put Brill far south of Stratholme with Andorhal in the middle of the two. In World of Warcraft, Brill is on the West of Lordaeron, Andorhal is in the center and Stratholme is north-east, roughly where it was in Warcraft III maps (but with a mountain range around it).
    • There is a "Vandermar Village" in Warcraft III where the first undead mission takes place. It is supposed to be near the border of Tirisfal Glades and Western Plaguelands. It is nowhere to be found, though many speculate that Deathknell, located in the Western side of Tirisfal, used to be Vandermar.
    • Kul Tiras' colony on the coast of Kalimdor is not an example of this trope; the colony was explicitly founded by Admiral Proudmoore during the expansion to Warcraft III. However, the absence of Kul Tiras itself from this game fits. According to source materials and previous games, the island nation should be off the coast of the Eastern Kingdoms south of Gilneas, but just isn't there, except for a prison colony. (Maybe it was destroyed in the Cataclysm, but it never appeared on maps or was accessible to players to begin with.)
      • The return of Kul'Tiras has been hinted at many times. Including an attempt to explain its disappearance. An earthquake did it.
    • As of Cataclysm, Azeroth once again has two moons.
  • Character Development: Naturally. The most obvious recent example is Thrall, who steps down as Warchief to explore his role as a shaman, join the Earthen Ring and stop Deathwing, while cultivating a relationship with a Mag'har shaman named Aggra.
    • The arrogant Kingslayer Orkus, who appears to be a one-note gag character, ultimately overcomes his apparent cowardice and self-centered attitude to save the player's life, and dies honorably as a warrior of the Horde. In contrast, Johnny Awesome mopes for a few months and buys another Sparklepony.
    • King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind. When he was first introduced, he was an amnesiac gladiator and The Strategist, and later turned out to be a Literal Split Personality. After his Split Personality Merge Varian was highly unstable, had major anger issues, and was (justifiably) racist. After the events of the novel Wolfheart Varian has calmed down his two personalities and once again become The Strategist, as well as becoming the leader of the Alliance's militaries as a whole.
    • Moira is an arrogant tyrant upon her return to Ironforge after her father is turned to diamond, albeit with the well-intentioned goal of integrating the Dark Iron Dwarves with the others. In Patch 5.3, she leads her men in an attack on the Frostmane trolls when the Bronzebeards and Wildhammers refused to leave out of fear that she would betray those left behind, earning their trust.
  • Character Shilling: Many characters have had this done for them by Blizzard, but some are worse than others.
    • Garrosh's Informed Ability as a worthy leader of the Horde was constantly pushed on players throughout Cataclysm, though it was eventually subverted in Mists of Pandaria'.
    • From Wolfheart onwards and into Mists of Pandaria, Varian Wrynn qualifies as well, the narrative going out of its way to paint him as the absolute leader of the Alliance, though Blizzard has backtracked a bit on how much authority as High King he has.
    • Some of Richard Knaak's characters.
  • Chef of Iron: "Captain" Cookie, in Deadmines.
  • Chekhov's Army: The pridelings you save in one quest chain, see the funny page.
    • A lot of factions were originally mild antagonists (Twilight's Hammer) or just one faction of many others depending on how you played Classic, (Earthen Ring, Cenarion Circle, Argent Dawn) later became the main driving forces behind other zones' storylines, or even other expansions.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The hammer that Arthas casually threw away in favor of Frostmourne in a blink-and-you-might-miss-it animation at the end of the very first campaign of Warcraft III serves as the core of the ultimate weapon designed to defeat him and Wrath's penultimate melee weapon.
    • A very early Forsaken quest has you gathering ingredients so that Apothecary Putress can continue his research on further weaponizing the Scourge plague. In Wrath of the Lich King, Putress unleashes his improved plague on Horde, Alliance and Scourge alike at Angrathar the Wrath Gate. That's right, that gun lay dormant through almost all of the original game and two expansions before being fired.
    • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Scarlet Key could be considered one. Found at the end of the second wing of Scarlet Monastery, its only role seems to be allowing access to the last two wings of the dungeon. Then thirty-odd levels later, it turns out to be necessary for accessing half of Stratholme too.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A lot...
    • Tirion Fordring. Questgiver with a mild storyline in Classic. Come Wrath of the Lich King? one of the main driving forces for good.
    • Eranikus, originally a mild boss, becomes a bigger bad during the Silithus chain.
    • Chromie pops up at various places, tasking the player to help deal with time anomalies.
    • Fandral Staghelm, formerly a Jerk Ass NPC who orders players to help him with his research, including gathering Morrowgrain for him, turns out to have been responsible for corrupting Teldrassil while working with Xavius under the belief that his son could return from the dead.
    • Lilian Voss makes an appearance as a captured Forsaken in the very first starting zone. About 25 levels later, she reappears in the Scarlet Monastery. Even later, she returns in Scholomance waging a one-woman war, ultimately being overpowered and mind controlled by Darkmaster Gandling before being turned against you. She is defeated and, regaining control of herself, destroys Gandling's bone shield before telling you to let her die alone, but her fate after that remains unclear.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Barean Westwind, who first appeared as a statue in Scarlet Monastery, reported as missing in action off the coast of Northrend. He appears in Wrath of the Lich King, the expansion dealing with Northrend. Though he is actually possessed by Mal'ganis.
  • Children Are Innocent: The Gnomes and Goblins on the Speedbarge are normally separated, and when they interact, it's usually to taunt or insult the other; even the bar where they mingle is just a bottle of grog away from a Bar Brawl. The exceptions are Raphael and Juliette, a Gnome boy and Goblin girl who are described as "rugrats", and are found playing on the deck of the barge.
  • Chocolate Baby: Dagran Thaurissan II, the son of a Dark Iron and Bronzebeard dwarf.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Every race and every faction has multiple traitors in it. Even the ones who are supposed to be neutral have a few members sneaking around cheating people - and by people, we mean you.
  • Chewing the Scenery: High Priestess Azil, the end boss from Stonecore, made this an art.
    • Every Hallow's End, the Headless Horseman descends on Azeroth and devours entire set pieces.
    • Kael'thas in general, but especially in Magister's Terrace, makes you wonder if he's going to devour the entire dungeon.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Calia Menethil, the older sister of Arthas and the last remaining heir to the kingdom of Lordaeron.
    • She is currently presumed dead by most, but there are hints she may be alive, with a few vague references in certain guides, such as a short story in which Trevor lets an Argent Dawn paladin release some captives, including one he calls "my princess".
  • Circus of Fear: The Darkmoon Faire. Doubly so after the introduction of Darkmoon Island.
  • Citadel City: The foritifed cities of Stormwind and Orgrimmar.
  • City Guards: The game has guards in every city and town. These guards mainly exist to give directions to players, but will attack opposing faction players on sight, regardless of what they're doing. They'll also attack hostile NPCs, in the event they wander too close or get led there by an enterprising player. Some of the best unscripted moments in the game's history have involved people kiting outdoor world bosses to a major city and watching them wreak havoc.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The two things that determine how powerful your character is — how much damage he can deal out, how much damage he can absorb, or how much damage she can heal — is his level, and his gear. The difference between a newly-minted max. level character wearing quest reward greens, and a max. level character in top tier epics, is like night and day.
  • Colon Cancer: The title for the tie-in novel to the next expansion. World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm.
    • Also see World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects.
  • Color Wash: Different zones have different color washes. For instance, Durotar has a red color wash on top of its red terrain that can sear itself into players' vision after a while. Zones can look quite different without this wash: try looking at Ghostlands while standing in the Zul'Aman subzone.
  • Colossus Climb: Most of the fighting against the Flame Leviathan battle platform in the Ulduar raid of World Of Warcraft is done with a variety of vehicular weaponry, but the demolishers (catapaults) are capable of launching other players onto its back to destroy its turrets. This is necessary in order to send it grinding to a temporary halt that both resets its continuous acceleration and lets all the other vehicles pound on it for extra damage.
    • The first battle against Deathwing takes place on his back, as players work to break off his armor plates and enable Thrall to shoot him with the Dragon Soul.
    • Raigonn, the final boss of Gate of the Setting Sun in Mists of Pandaria, is a gigantic beetle called a kunchong. After it charges into the walls of the gate, players use cannons to leap onto Raigonn's face and attack its weakened shell.
    • A number of quests have you climb on the back of drakes and other flying monsters, but not always to kill them, sometimes its their riders you're after.
  • Combat Medic: Obviously, every healing class has enough offensive spells, but the most obvious would be Discipline Priest who heals his allies while dealing damage, Restoration Shaman's unconventional builds (via Focused Insight and Telluric Currents) letting him conserve and regen mana via shocks and lightning bolts, and the Mistweaver Monk can heal people without ever targeting anything but enemies.
    • Talent abilities for classes that can heal especially tend to be useable for both healing and damage in one way or another, but some basic spells like the Discipline Priests Penance work both ways as well (in fact, Penance is arguably better when used offensively, though missing the direct control over the healing).
  • Complexity Addiction: Arthas. There are easier ways of conquering Azeroth. Possibly involving the gigantic army of incredibly powerful undead he already possesses. Turned out it was because his overweening arrogance and pride was deliberately injecting Idiot Ball into the plans to delay things for the good guys.
    • Explained in that he was setting up an entire expansion just to cause our heroes to take a Face-Heel Turn. Doesn't make it any less complex, however.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: When Medivh tries a new strategy in the Kharazan chess event, the game flat-out tells you he's cheating. Of course setting parts of the board on fire, usually where your king is standing, is obvious enough that Medivh is a cheating bastard.
  • Conflict Ball: In Wrath of the Lich King, the smouldering feud between Horde and Alliance is reignited through a combination of treachery and epic idiocy on both sides, and taken to its ultimate extreme in the Icecrown Citadel raid where Horde and Alliance fight each other directly instead of Arthas.
    • Cataclysm takes it Up to Eleven. Cho'Gall lampshades it ("Our enemies fight each other across the Highlands. Fools.")
  • Connect the Deaths: Can be and has been done with player corpses.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: A relatively minor example happens in patch 4.1 Rise of the Zandalari. Following the Cataclysm, the previously player friendly Zandalari trolls have decided that they will rebuild the troll civilization at any costs, to which end they start making alliances with all the various barbaric troll tribes scattered throughout Azeroth, including the Horde aligned Darkspear Trolls, whose leader refuses the offer in a very much awesome manner:
    Zandalari Leader:Vol'jin of the Darkspear. You would turn your back on your own people?
    Vol'jin: Da Horde is my people. If it be war you bring, den i stand against you.
    Zandalari Leader: So be it, Darkspear.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Actually introduced as a game mechanic in Wintergrasp. Since this is an outdoor PVP zone where anyone can join the fray (unlike battlegrounds that limit each side to the same number of combatants) usually one side will be outnumbered. The underdog gets a buff called Tenacity which increases their damage, health and pretty much everything else in proportion to how outnumbered they are. Join a highly unbalanced WG fight and you become a mini-raid boss.
    • In Wolfpack Boss battles without a shared health pool,, the remaining enemies often become stronger as their comrades die. For example, every time you kill a member of the Assembly of Iron, the survivor(s) gain a new ability.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception: Your aggro radius (the distance at which you attract hostile NPCs) is based on your character's level compared to theirs. At 20 or more levels higher, you can dance naked next to a hostile mob and it won't even notice. It could be explained by that they are simply too afraid to attack a powerful character, if not for the fact that most monsters will blithely ignore nearby combat as long as nothing you do falls within that same aggro radius. Although some monsters will call or run for help, they won't raise a finger if you kill their friends first. It's as if they're victims of a kind of group sociopathy.
  • Conspiracy Redemption: The Alliance hopes for one of these with the Scarlet Crusade, and two quests send players to the Scarlet Monestary to help Joseph the Awakened, a disillusioned Crusader launch a coup to restore the Crusade to its former glory. As you progress through the Monestary, Joseph becomes more and more unhinged, becoming "The Crazed", then "the Insane".
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: In one quest, the player has to visit Tyrus Blackhorn, an imprisoned satyr. He gives advices to stop a powerful fire elemental and uses this opportunity to escape his prison.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Tons of old characters show up for the daily quest "The Protectors of Hyjal," a different one fighting by your side each time you do the quest. They range from minor but memorable quest givers like Mankrik to semi-major characters like Thassarian.
  • Continuity Nod: Suprisingly considering the game's nature, some characters you've aided in the past will note you when they see you again. Darion Mograine actually has an entirely different speech for death knights when they first meet up with him again in Icecrown.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Ironforge, Blackrock Mountain, and pretty much any other active volcano. The Molten Core and the Firelands crank it Up to Eleven.
  • Cool Airship: One for each faction; the Skybreaker for the Alliance, and Orgrim's Hammer for the Horde, each patrolling the skies above Icecrown. Helicarrier or monster zeppelin, take your pick! The Skyfire, similar to the Skybreaker, makes an appearance in the Dragon Soul raid, and takes Alliance players to Pandaria.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: A few instances, but most notable when the Forsaken invade Gilneas in Cataclysm. In a nutshell, it's Zombies vs. Werewolves.
  • Copy And Paste Environments: Each race/faction uses a common set of building elements throughout their towns, forts, and cities. There are also many identically structured (thought not skinned) caves throughout the world. This is justified on two counts. First, it's easier to create and debug a limited set of interior models, and know that NPCs aren't going to get stuck behind a rock, than to make dozens and have to test each and every mob and item placement to be certain it works. Second, since it's based on an RTS franchise, there's a thematic consistency to having each Town Hall, Keep, Castle, etc. look the same as every other.
  • Corpse Land: Hellfire Peninsula. The land is shattered and almost devoid of plantlife, what few animals survive are violent, predatory, and often demon-possessed. Flames erupt from hellish chasms, ghosts of slain soldiers roam the ruins of their fortresses and the bones of the fallen litter the road (and in one case, ARE the road), and there doesn't seem to be any sources of clean water; the only water available is from swamps full of mutated, poisonous slime monsters and demons.
  • Corrupt Church: The Scarlet Crusade.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Trade Prince Gallywix, the Bilgewater Cartel faction leader. Even by goblin standards, Gallywix is considered scum by his own followers; a reputation that certainly wasn't when he extorted the survivors of a natural disaster, and then sold them into slavery when he got their money.
    • Another goblin example with Siegecrafter Helix Blackfuse, head of the Blackfuse Company and creator of the True Horde's advanced arsenal. His ruthlessness and technical prowess is the reason why Garrosh put him in charge of his army's tech.
  • The Corruption: Fel magic, the Sha, and the Old Gods' influence can do this.
  • Cosmetic Award: Mounts (beyond the first you get at each tier), non-combat pets, character titles, tabards (except for the special faction ones in Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm that let you earn reputation from dungeons), and most especially the achievement system introduced with Wrath of the Lich King. There are, of course achievements for acquiring mounts, tabards, and pets, making them a recursive Cosmetic Award (they even give you one more mount/pet/tabard when you complete them). Although it is technically impossible to achieve 100% Completion in the game - Achievements that can be Lost Forever are actually called Feats of Strength and don't award any points, filling up the Achievements bar can occupy far more in-game time than simply conquering the dungeons and battlegrounds and point-giving ones can be completed fully.
    • Challenge Mode in Mists of Pandaria gives different awards based on how fast you completed each dungeon. Bronze gives a title, silver gives an egg that can be traded for a phoenix mount exclusive to the character who obtained the egg, and gold gives a set of class-specific armor you can transmogrify to your actual armor.
    • Warlords of Draenor lets you collect armor scraps from the various Iron Horde orc clans of Draenor, which you can turn in for armor that can be shared across characters on your account.
  • Covered in Mud: Rogues have the ability Blind which pretty much consists of throwing dirt in one's face (previous versions had them carry special "blinding powder", which became Vendor Trash after the need for it was removed).
    • Lampshaded in the blinding powder's new item description:
    Once favored by rogues as a blinding agent, it was abandoned for more readily available resources... like dirt.
  • Crack Pairing: An in-universe one: Dragon/Spirit Healer.
    Azuregos: I know. I KNOW. We could never be, right? Dragon and Spirit Healer... two different worlds! Not to mention the physiological problems. But you're wrong. We have a deeper connection than that. Anara and I, we're involved.
  • Cranium Chase: While fighting the Headless Horseman, he loses his head, both in the Hallowe'en world event and in the actual dungeon fight. Players have to kill the boss' body, then his head, then kill the body all over again to win the fight.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Quel'Thalas, very obviously. Even the article on the game's old website which described how Silvermoon was designed stressed that this was the main concept behind the city.
    • Moonglade, though much subtler, was designed to have an unsettling and empty feeling even though there is not a single enemy in the region.
  • Crapsack World: Whooo BOY. Between the bitter, warring races and the legions of demons, titans, and old gods trying to ruin it, Azeroth is not a place you'd want to reside in. Cataclysm takes it up to Eleven, sundering a good portion of the world, limiting its valuable resources and driving the Horde and Alliance into open war with one another.
    • A few places in-world try to subvert this. Moonglade is an obvious example. The Cenarion faction of druids enforce sanctuary for Horde and Alliance factions and the Moonglade is kept as much a pristine, sylvan woodlands as possible by their efforts.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Budd's plan to escape the Neferset in Uldum. Steal a bunch of Neferset armor, then have two people carry a third between them so they look like a tol'vir.
    • Also, any plan concoted by Fargo Flintlocke. When he explains that he will fire you out of a giant cannon and "Doc" Schweitzer points out a cannonball makes more sense, Flintlocke dismisses it as "too obvious."
  • Crazy Jealous Guy/Woman Scorned: Goblin players start out with a boy- or girlfriend (Chip Endale and Candy Cane) as a quest giver, but shortly afterward, they dump you and hook up with each other; two of the following quests will have the player killing both of them.
    • Stalvan Mistmantle, toward his student.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Engineers can make a TON of weird stuff, some of which is only really useful in certain situations. Run into a ogre swinging an axe? A blast from the Gnomish Shrink Ray will reduce him to pint size and take a chunk out of his strength stat. Jackass mage spamming powerful spells? Turn him into a chicken, you cannot cast with a beak! Some asshole trying to get to a PvP objective? Lay a few Goblin Landmines and nail him while they are trying to figure out what the hell happened. In the middle of a dungeon and your best weapon breaks? Summon your Robot Buddy to fix it right up or another one to pull a new one from the bank. In addition to this though, they get bombs, transporters, and other weird stuff right out of Star Trek. The downside to this is that a lot of the stuff has a chance of backfiring, you might end up shrinking yourself, polymorphing yourself, exploding yourself, or getting teleported around 100 feet off the ground (If you try to port to a certain area and get stuck up in the air, you land on a pile of bones, they really need to work out the bugs in those teleporters...). Also, the better stuff, in addition to the backfire, is usually only worth one go before it breaks, or has a huge cooldown period. So use your toys wisely. and guess what race plays with engineering the most?
  • Crazy Survivalist: The Scarlet Crusade is an entire faction of this. They managed to survive and organize themselves to fight the Scourge, but are so paranoid that they attack on sight pretty much anybody who isn't them. Demon corruption probably didn't help.
  • Creepy Child: Children actually. In a house near Goldshire, where a skinning and leatherworking trainer are on the first floor. There are 6 kids upstairs who may stand in a Pentagon formation and don't talk, creepy music plays while you're in the room. The kids every morning leave and walk in that same formation then after a while stop and point in five directions. Then will go back home which upon reaching their original spot a creepy sound effect will play. Blizzards' Customer Service Representatives stated it was an Easter Egg referring to the then upcoming Diablo III.
  • Critical Hit Class: It's possible to reach absurd levels of critical hit chance through proper gearing, especially later in expansions when the gear improves but your level is not increasing to balance out the stat gains. Additionally, some classes have talents to get additional bonuses from critical hits or the ability to get a guaranteed critical hit every now and then.
  • Crosshair Aware: Many boss attacks and some mobs' are telegraphed by blindingly obvious graphical displays on the ground where they are about to land/go off. Failing to notice these and move out of the way often marks the player as Too Dumb to Live. Fortunately the most obvious attacks are generally happy to smash anyone who sticks around, so it handles itself. Other attacks, however, must be absorbed by a player, hopefully the group's tank.
  • Cruel Mercy: Sven Yorgen blames Jitters for bringing the worgen and the Dark Riders to Duskwood, which leads to Sven's family's death, and him becoming a worgen; Sven uses this to explain not killing Jitters when he gets his claws on him.
    • Gelbin Mekkatorque ultimately does this to Sicco Thermaplugg, after he gets cut in half and survives.
  • Cthulhumanoid: The faceless ones, minions of the Cthulhu-inspired Old Gods.
    • The Tier-13 Warlock helm is a hood with tentacles where the face should be.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Most races are a hodgepodge of many different bits and pieces from real world cultures. For instance, night elf architecture is based in equal parts on Korean, Japanese, Nordic, and Greco-Roman styles. The draenei speak with an Eastern-European accent and are inspired in equal parts by the Rom, Jews, and some sort of South-Asian cultures, but use a lot of Greek sounds in their names. Goblins are infamous for both their gold smarts (a Jewish stereotype) and the pervasion of the Mafia in their culture (an Italian stereotype), and most recently in Cataclysm, conspicuous consumption and a thick accent.
    • Pandaria in general is one for Chinese culture, complete with Chinese-style dragons and a Great Wall of China equivalent.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Both the Forsaken and the worgen. In Cataclysm, the Southshore refugees even happily take the worgen curse as a more favorable alternative than becoming a Forsaken.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Most female troll and orc faces are mean-looking and ugly by human standards; however, each race has the option of a deadpan and reasonably attractive face. Predictably, nearly all female orcs and trolls have those faces. Hence the snarky slang term "cutefase."
    • Female Forsaken qualify for this, too. While there are a couple of faces that are frankly hideous (dessicated corpses never look pretty), even the faces where the jaw's had to be replaced are reasonably attractive.
    • Thanks to the Barbershop, it is now possible to create attractive orcs and trolls without resorting to the cutefase.
    • Fanart inevitably renders tauren females somewhere between "adorably cute" and "instantly converts viewers to furries".
    • Draenei ladies, however, are firmly in this category.
    • Female worgen ended up with eyeshadow and what appears to be a Cat Smile from the front.
    • Female goblins, and genuinely sassy to boot.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Every now and then you'll be unable to stop a villain from getting away with something even if you're strong enough to do it, either because your character is incapacitated in some way or because they aren't flagged as attackable. This is particularly evident in multiple Cataclysm cutscenes in Uldum and Vashj'ir that require that you be captured or incapacitated regardless of the power difference between you and your enemies.
    • Justified in that the developers have stated that "level" is a gameplay mechanic, not a true objective measure of ability, which is why top level characters can go back and curb stomp the Molten Core version of Ragnaros solo, when he is supposed to be only a couple of steps below a god.
  • Cycle of Revenge: In Mists of Pandaria, Taran Zhu refers to the Horde/Alliance war as one of these. He manages to get Jaina and Lor'Themar to stop fighting, but he knows that it'll probably not last.
    Taran Zhu: Every reprisal is itself an act of aggression, and every act of aggression triggers immediate reprisal.
    Taran Zhu: It ends TODAY. Here. The cycle ends when you, Regent Lord, and you, Lady Proudmoore, turn from one another. And walk. Away.
  • Damage Over Time: The warlock class is primarily built around skills that cause damage over time, especially if combined with the Affliction talent tree.
    • Over time, this has become slightly less important to warlocks as their formerly numerous damage over time spells were condensed into only a few, and become more important to other classes, such as Fire Mages, Assassination Rogues, and Cat Form Druids.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: Happens quite a few times in some encounters. If it's applies to the party in general, it's either an avoidable mechanic, something you will have to reset at times, or a soft enrage. If it's applied to the boss, you'll typically have to use it well in order to win. If it's applied to the tank, it typically necessitates a tank swap.
    • Also available to players, most commonly as a slight increase in spell damage taken or armor reduction (which in turn increases physical damage taken). Some classes also get unique debuffs that only increases damage taken from their own abilities.
  • Damager, Healer, Tank: The three core roles are built around this, and World of Warcraft probably helped popularize it.
  • Dark Action Girl: So far, almost all Dark Rangers ingame are Forsaken elven females, who like Sylvanas fit this bill quite well.
    • Also, Darkrider Arly. Complete with cute pink pigtails.
  • Darker and Edgier: Cataclysm. The constant threat of a Fourth War becomes a grim reality, those who had vouched for peace are either ignored entirely or branded traitor, several major political and military figures from both sides have defected to one of the evil third party factions (for one reason or another). From a non-Alliance/Horde war standpoint, much of Azeroth is in ruins due to Deathwing's return, the naga queen Azshara has finally begun to make her move, and now the black dragonflight, the naga and the Twilight's Hammer cult are rampaging throughout the world, but the Alliance and Horde are far too busy fighting each other to oppose them. Oh, and recently, Ragnaros has returned, and is even stronger than ever.
    • Mists of Pandaria falls somewhere between here and Crapsaccharine World. On the surface it's all peace and pretty, but the whole reason you find Pandaria is your ships sunk in a naval battle. Plus you unleash these shadow beasts by continuing to make war on the island.
  • Darkest Hour: So far that would be Cataclysm. Tensions between the Horde and Alliance have reached an all time high, leadership in both factions is shifting rapidly, Deathwing and Queen Azshara have returned after years of lying low, both the black dragonflight and the naga have become more powerful then ever, and half the world has been torn to shreds. There's very little heroism left, and whatever still remains shines extra bright. Of course, things can always get worse.
  • Dark Is Evil:
    • There are five dragonflights (Red, Blue, Green, Bronze, and Black), guess which one is evil.
    • Likewise, guss which one of the three dwarf clans (Bronzebeard, Wildhammer and Dark Iron) is hostile, at least until Cataclysm.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Most notably the Forsaken (although many of them, such as the Apothecaries, ARE evil); the Horde in general, to some degree; player-controlled warlocks, Shadow priests, and death knights.
    • Nether dragons, despite being mutated decendants of evil black dragons, are all but evil. In fact, the players can choose to aid them, as they're enslaved by fel orcs.
    • The death knights (and their organization, Knights of the Ebon Blade) are all but Scourge that are having a dispute with upper management. They still fight exclusively through necrotic magic and vampirism, kept all the Scourge decorations, practice necromancy and one of the Ebon Blade detachments in Icecrown is operating in a brutal chaotic evil fashion against living humans they have a grudge against. At one point, that commander arranges to destroy the SOUL of an enemy for no real reason other than hatred. Black and Grey Morality and Pay Evil unto Evil would be putting it lightly.
    • As Word of God has stated, there are no truly evil races available as major playable factions.
    • Although warlocks and mages technically use Black Magic, they're quite capable of doing good as well.
    • Latest example: Wrathion the Dragon Prince. He's stated by the Word of God as being in reserve for a cool villain later. Though, honestly, he's more of an Anti-Hero than anything villainous so far, opposing his Omnicidal Maniac father and the rest of the corrupted black dragons, and implying that the Alliance and Horde's war is weakening them when an even greater threat will come.
  • The Dark Side: Death knights and warlocks use this; see Black Magic. Depending on how strictly you follow the lore, mages also partake of it, since arcane magic is both addictive and what attracted the Burning Legion to Azeroth in the first place. In fact, the overuse of arcane magic by mortals really pissed off a dragon aspect so much that he started a war (and eventually lost it).
  • Dead Character Walking: You can explore as a ghost when dead, and before you respawn. Before this bug was fixed, you could actually "travel by suicide", as in, die and walk while dead to the Spirit Healer nearest where you wanted to be. Now, you can only respawn at the spirit healer nearest to where you died, or on the site of your corpse, with a few exceptions (mostly PvP zones). Also... as one certain video demonstrates, there was a bug in which revived characters would keep using the dead model, leading to apparent corpses gliding on the ground.
  • Deader than Dead: In the updated Scarlet Monastery, it is revealed that High Inquisitor Sally Whitemane is so powerful that she can resurrect herself, as opposed to using a spirit healer like a certain blue dragon. A short quest chain has players finding the Blades of the Anointed, and using them to kill Whitemane once and for all.
    • The mana bomb that destroyed Theramore is described by the dragons as being so destructive, it destroyed every Theramore in the past, future, and all alternate timelines.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Anduin Llane Wrynn is named after both the Alliance badass Anduin Lothar, and his grandfather Llane Wrynn.
    • And his dad too, who is named after his grandmother Queen Varia Wrynn.
  • Dead Guy on Display: When players killed Nefarian or Onyxia, they could loot their heads and bring them back to Stormwind or Orgrimmar where they were put on display. Due to Onyxia being canonically killed by King Varian, bringing her head back now yields confusion from the quest giver.
    • For more dragons, several black dragons were killed and their bodies left impaled on the scenery in the Blade's Edge Mountains.
    • In a vision using the hourglass in the Siege of Orgrimmar, players can see the fate of Stormwind after Garrosh sacks it; with the bodies of Alliance and Horde leaders strung up on the fortress walls around the ruined harbor.
      • Ogrimmar itself has quite a few of them itself during the raid... especially the Warlock trainers.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: And they glow!
  • Deadpan Snarker: The loading screen tips will occasionally tell you "don't stand in the fire." Not that this stops some players.
    • Achievement added for getting killed by Deathwing when he randomly attacks the zone you're in: "Stood in the Fire."
    • Achievement added for killing a certain boss without taking damage from a rotating fire wall: "Ready for Raiding." It's not accurate - this is one boss, less than a fourth of the way through one instance - but the achievement has that name simply because getting it requires not standing still when fire is coming at you, a very rare skill.
      • The achievement returns for the Molten Front. This time, you must defeat five randomly appearing bosses without getting hit, and their attacks are somewhat more difficult to avoid, from a trail of fire that chases you, to a channeled flame attack that the boss uses while rotating to a thrown spear that shoots out more fire upon impact.
      • It returns again for Mists of Pandaria, in which you must stay in two obstacles courses for 90 seconds without taking damage. In one, you have to avoid circling blades and Pandaren who will try to knock you into them, and in another, you must avoid the flames.
    • Moodle the Gorloc in Sholazar Basin is also one, in addition to being the only one of his kind who has learned enough to avoid You No Take Candle.
    • Hell, the player characters themselves can be this sometimes, judging by the Dialogue Tree options you can get.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist/Death Is Cheap: For one, players can simply run back to their body as a ghost when they die, or talk to a Spirit Healer to be resurrected if their corpse is inaccessible, and all in-game NPCs respawn after a set amount of time (from minutes to weeks). For another, a number of bosses (especially in the Scourge army) tend to come back. For Kael'thas, dying was merely a setback.
    • And in a true example of Lampshade Hanging, in Cataclysm, when the minor quest boss Avalanchion dies his last words are "No ... not again."
      • Another one by Gamon in the Siege of Ogrimmar, hinting back all the way to the beginning of the game when he was one of the biggest Butt Monkey NP Cs.
  • Decapitated Army
    • Averted with the Lich King; his death would result in the Scourge rampaging throughout Azeroth, so after Arthas dies, Bolvar takes his place
    • Knowing that this trope will be averted is a large part of the reason why Varian decides not to destroy the Horde after Garrosh's defeat; he knows that even if all the leaders are dealt with right then and there, there would be months of bloody fighting against the remnants of the Horde. Wrathion, while furious with Varian for this decision, concedes this point, but sees it as an acceptable price.
  • Decapitation Presentation: In several quests where you kill an NPC, the quest giver wants you to bring them the head as proof.
    • When brought to Stormwind or Ogrimmar, the heads of Onyxia and Nefarian are strung up outside as trophies; Deathwing was none too pleased about that.
      • In fact, that might well be the reason behind his attack on Stormwind.
    • In Booty Bay, one of the Bloodsail Buckaneers wants you to kill Fleet Master Seahorn and bring him his head; Seahorn believes that the pirate wouldn't know one tauren from another, and has you bringing back the head of a regular cow with a pirate hat on it.
    • Subverted in an Alliance quest in the Twilight Highlands. An SI:7 agent wants you to kill two Ogre-Magi (two heads each), so you kill them and bring the four heads to him as proof; he finds your trophies a little gruesome, and says he would've taken your word for it.
    • The achievement for killing the Headless Horseman is called "Bring me the head of ... oh wait."
  • Deconstruction: The Wrath of the Lich King expansion an be arguably seen as one for the entire concept of redemption, especially through death and how it may not work in the real world by showing that often people seek for the evil that wronged them to be brought to justice instead of redeemed. In one of the quest chains the players and Tirion finds a heart that may have belonged to Arthas and kept his humanity. When Arthas taunts them about redeeming him, Tirion rejects redeeming him and destroys the heart, stating that only the Lich King remains—and that is before we learn in patch 3.3 that as it turns out, the good half of Arthas was the only thing holding the Scourge back from destroying Azeroth—thus to what extent was there really nothing left or to what extent was Tirion enraged by how much Arthas started the chain of events that screwed over his life and decided to kill him instead because of that, is debatable. At the end as we kill the Lich King the good Arthas takes back his body long enough to have his humanity restored before his death, and the subsequent quests on heroic difficulty gives the impression that the people once close to him(ie: Uther, Jaina, Muradin) have forgiven him—it turns out, in the Sylvanas short story, that doesen't seem to have sent Arthas to a good afterlife......
  • Defector from Decadence: Several of the playable races are small sects of races that are otherwise evil.
    • Trolls: While the playable Darkspear trolls are members of the Horde, most trolls are savage and grouped into tribes that attack other trolls as much as other races.
    • Forsaken: The playable undead are rebels from the scourge.
    • Draenei: The remnants of the Eredar who fled when Sargeras corrupted the rest of their race.
    • Blood Elves: The blood elves of Silvermoon rebelled against Kael'thas when they found out what his real intentions were.
    • Worgen: The people of Gilneas found a way to partially restore the humanity to some of the werewolves.
    • On a more individual level, you can see a defector from the Twilight Hammer cult in Silithus, who is hiding from the cultists trying to kill him for leaving.
  • Defictionalization: After the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" aired, the Sword of a Thousand Truths was added to Wrath of the Lich King, under the new name "Slayer of the Lifeless". A sword actually named "Sword of a Thousand Truths" did appear in the beta version of The Burning Crusade, but in the final version it was replaced with the "Gladiator's Slicer".
    • A Foxtrot comic featured the character playing "World of Warquest", and acquiring an epic mace named Doomulus Prime. Later, the 1.9 release of WoW added a mace named "Doomulus Prime" as a quest reward for adventuring in Ahn'Qiraj.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Most Sha are completely black and white (as are areas and some characters completely overtaken by them), while some of the more powerful Sha are black and some light color instead of white. The Sha of Fear, the first one that's a raid boss, is one of the only two that isn't monochrome, but even then it's mostly dark purple with some dabs of light purple and red. The Sha of Pride, meanwhile, is azure and cyan overlapping with Bright Is Not Good.
  • Demon Head: The Warlock spell Shadowflame, summons a literal demon head to blast enemies at close range. Mages have a similar spell, except with a dragon head.
  • Demoted to Extra: Ogres are the only Warcraft II race not playable in some form as of Mists of Pandaria.
  • Den of Iniquity: The Den of Mortal Delights in the Black Temple raid instance has parks, fluffy pillows, fountains, hookahs, silk curtains, nubile dancing blood elves, succubi and other female demons in stark contrast to the rest of the temple.
    • The first boss fight in Magister's Terrace takes place in the blood elf equivalent of an opium den.
    • Sunwell Plateau has a zone called the Den of Iniquity, but it's empty and wrecked.
  • Department of Redundancy Department
    • "Undead Death Knight." This is all sorts of dead. Add "Unholy" for extra Captain Obvious. To make it even more fun, have your undead death knight take the "Lichborne" talent, which temporarily transforms you into...an undead.
    • Worgen Druids, for all your recursive shapeshifting needs. For ultimate absurdity, try a Worgen hunter with a wolf pet, wearing wolf's head shoulderpads and a Big Bad Wolf's Head. With a worg pup vanity pet. Shame that wolf mounts are exclusive to the Horde (barring the limited edition Kor'kron War Wolf for completing Siege of Orgrimmar on Normal prior to the pre-release patch for Warlords of Draenor and the Darkmoon Faire mount which is only available when the Faire is open.).
    • Depending on who you ask and what their opinion of Murlocs is, the Demoralizing Mmmrrrggglll ability used by certain Murloc mobs.
  • Desert Bandits: The Wastewander bandits of Tanaris, originally pirates who had their ships stolen by other pirates and turned to capturing water sources and stealing from the Goblins of Gadgetzan to get by. In a stroke of irony they were all wiped out by the Cataclysm, with the area they had control of now being underwater from the land subsiding.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Both Fandral Staghelm and Archbishop Benedictus seem to have had their Face-Heel Turn triggered by this, Fandral after both losing his beloved son and realizing he was nothing more than Xavius' pawn, and Benedictus apparently went mad with despair upon discovering The Hour of Twilight prophecy.
  • Determinator: The Black Knight. You fight and kill him at the end of an Argent Tournament questline, only for him to come back as a zombie in Trial of the Champion. You kill the zombie, but he gets up as a skeleton and attacks you again. When you kill the skeleton, he collapses again... Only to get back up as nothing but a spirit and continue attacking you. Poor guy just doesn't know when to give up.
  • Deus ex Machina: The fight with the Lich King. He has done more than put you on the run. He has outright KILLED the entire raid, and is in the process of enslaving YOUR SOUL. Suddenly, Tirion Fordring (who has to this point been encased in a block of ice like a tool) PRAYS, the ice block shatters, and he destroys Frostmourne. Then Arthas' dead father comes out of the damn evil sword, rezzes the raid, and you beat on the final boss like a loot pinata. Keep in mind that Arthas explicitly stated that this very thing WOULD NOT HAPPEN A SECOND TIME. Third time's the charm, I... guess.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: There are two raid encounters where players attack and kill the Old Gods themselves, though both are in a weakened state, as they're partially imprisoned.
    • Other examples of players defeating beings of near Godlike power are Kil'jaeden in the Sunwell (assisted by Kalecgos and Anveena), Malygos in the Eye of Eternity (assisted by the Red Dragonflight) and Arthas himself in Icecrown Citadel (assisted by Tirion Fordring). Plus there's Deathwing in Cataclysm, who's more powerful than any/all of the above.
    • The Ik'thik Colossus is possibly the biggest thing in the game; it is a giant insect that smashes down part of the Serpent Spine. Players literally punch it to death.
    • In all honesty, this might as well be in the job description of a player characters, considering how many ancient and powerful monstrosities the players can encounter and defeat.
  • Disc One Final Boss: The Sha of Pride in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.
  • Disc One Nuke: Some items, like the Luffa, ended up having a level cap placed on them because they completely trivialized some encounters in later expansions. Gems and enchants have minimum item levels associated with them, to prevent players from making low level gear too powerful.
  • Disney Villain Death: Garrosh does this to Warlord Krom'gar after he murders High Chieftain Cliffwalker's wife and forcing him to watch as he bombed a Druid school full of innocents all because he dared to avenge his son's murder and thereby challenged his authority. Garrosh was not pleased. Not at all.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: Two trash mobs fought on the path between the Fallen Protectors and Norushen encounters can stun players with a spell that does this appropriately labeled "Self-Absorbed".
  • Distressed Damsel: Parodied by Maximillian of Northshire, a Don Quixote expy, as he believes all women are damsels in need of rescue. He helps a woman (male Blood Elf) retrieve her purse from a lake, rescues a woman trapped on a cliff (by throwing her off it), and slays a phoenix (the girl's pet bird).
  • Divided We Fall: A lot of people a lot of the time, but the crowning example has to come when the Horde and Alliance are both in the process of storming Icecrown Fortress, and start killing each other while doing so. The only reason either of them are in Northrend in the first place is to fight Arthas, an incredibly powerful necromancer, and they still can't stop making corpses even when he's right there. On the Broken Front, some Horde troops attacked the Alliance forces trying to take the Death Gate, resulting in both being annihilated when the Scourge attacked; even Garrosh found this outrageous.
  • Does Not Like Men: The Hyldnir are an Amazon Brigade of Frost Vrykul in the Storm Peaks. They have several Vrykul prisoners, and the men are used as slave labor in their mines, while the lone female is chained to a wall; players (disguised as a female Frost Vrykul) get quests to discipline the men and to kill one to set an example, but the woman is to be taken outside and killed as painlessly as possible.
    • The exception to this is Thorim, one of the Titan's creations whom they all look up to; they fight amongst themselves during Hyldsmeet, hoping to prove themselves worthy of "ruling by his side".
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Trolls do not wear shoes, prefering to go barefoot, while Tauren and Draenei have hooves, and Worgen have paws instead of feet; this is purely cosmetic as players can still equip shoes, their characters just won't be depicted wearing them.note 
    • Also, Night Elves tend to go barefoot, but unlike the above, they appear in shoes when equipped.
  • Doomed Hometown: Gilneas for Worgen, and Kezan for Goblins. Gilneas is being invaded by the Forsaken, and is now a battleground; while Kezan was attacked by Deathwing, who triggered Mt. Kajaro to erupt. In the Tides of War novel, Theramore becomes this for Jaina.
    • Gnomeregan used to be this for the gnomes.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Millhouse Manastorm knows a spell named "Impending Doooooom!". Its effects are however unknown.
    • On the other hand, if he casts "Dooooooom!" on you in the Brawler's Guild fight against him, you're finished.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: Jandice Barov does this twice during the fight. There are slight differences between herself and the copies, so it's possible for attentive players to spot the real one; the fakes explode if you destroy one, and there's an achievement for finding the real one both times.
  • Double Entendre: There are daily quests for the Sons of Hodir called "Blowing Hodir's Horn", "Polishing the Helm" and "Thrusting Hodir's Spear".
    • In Vashj'ir is Adarrah who thanks you for giving her "crabs" and "juicy tail".
    • Goblin merchants have a few lines like "I've got what you need"; when spoken by the squeaky-voiced Goblins, it sounds like an advertisment, but when spoken by the gruff voiced Goblins, it sounds like a cheap pickup line.
    • Many of the /flirt emotes qualify - for example, the male worgen's "If you play nice, I'll share my bone with you."
  • Double Play: Not officially supported, but many players engage in multiboxing, playing two (or more) characters at once using separate accounts for each one.
  • Double Unlock: Several rewards are available for gaining reputation with the different factions, but these rewards are usually bought from the faction's quartermaster.
    • Some of the above rewards were purchasable with tokens instead of the gold you normally acquire throughout the game, but those tokens were earned through the same activities that earned you the reputation in the first place, so you're unlocking both locks at the same time.
    • Mists of Pandaria spread the Valor gear to the different Pandaria factions, instead of a vendor in Stormwind or Orgrimmar; so getting the gear requires grinding reputation with the different factions, and then running dungeons to get the Valor points to buy the gear. There are vendors in Niuzao Temple that sell all the faction's gear at one place, but the reputation requirements still applied at first.
      • Many of the professions work in this kind of fashion in Mists of Pandaria, with one or two skills to create advanced crafting materials on a daily cooldown that also teaches them a random recipe that uses those crafting materials. Blacksmiths take it one further with the weapons crafted with Lightning Steel, crafting one of them also unlocks a recipe that essentially works as an upgrade for said weapon, with each having two upgrades.
  • Downer Ending: The quest Till Death Do Us Part. It has you place an undead woman's pendant she received from her husband on his grave, saying she wants to forget him and have nothing to do with him, telling you he ignored her and his children to go out and fight the Scourge, as he considered devotion to the Light to be the way to stop the encroaching undead. Of course, the Scourge tore through Lordaeron, she became Forsaken, and he's dead. You find his grave to be littered, scratched, and uncared-for. You place the pendant on it. And that's it.
    • The end of the Battle for the Undercity, for both factions.
      • For the Horde: Sure, Thrall and Sylvanas manage to retake the Undercity from Varimathras, Putress and the demon hordes, but the rest of the Horde is now incredibly suspicious of the Forsaken, and as a result of their actions Varian Wrynn has seen all the evidence he needs to rekindle open war with the Horde. Thrall's dream of a peaceful world for his people to live in has been completely and utterly shattered.
      • For the Alliance: Varian Wrynn enters the Undercity himself and sees the horrors the Forsaken have been working on all these years, as well as what Lordaeron has become in that time. He then fails at retaking the city when Jaina stops him from trying to kill Thrall. And to top that all off, Bolvar is still dead or at least, appears to be.
    • The ending to the Keristrasza quest line.
    • The entirety of Vashj'ir, coming close to a Shaggy Dog Story: You start off on your way to an island off the coast of Stormwind that emerged after the Cataclysm. This goal is pretty much forgotten when the Naga attack your ship and sink it. You spend the rest of the chain trying to find out what the Naga are up to, eventually uncovering that they are planning to to take over the realm of Neptulon, culminating in a struggle to prevent this from happening. The final battle has your faction attacking the Naga with a heavily armed submarine to keep them from breaking into Neptulon's realm. And you fail. The Naga break through. Neptulon is incapacitated. The submarine is blown up. And Erunak, the shaman that has repeatedly saved your life, is captured.
      • However, you can set things right by completing the Throne of the Tides instance, helping Neptulon cleanse the place and expel the Naga, and paying back Erunak by ridding him of a Puppeteer Parasite.
      • Throne of the Tides is an example in itself; you manage to save Erunak and kill Lady Naz'jar, but Ozumat kidnaps Neptulon and escapes into the Abyssal Maw. And since a recent Ask The Devs session stated that they were no longer planning to release the Abyssal Maw dungeon due to wanting to spend more time on Firelands, and because they felt that Throne of the Tides "does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story" we may never see the story's actual ending.
      • On the other hand, Neptulon is described in most places as being both the strongest and the most evil of the elemental lords. Maybe the naga did us a favor.
  • Down on the Farm: The Valley of the Four Winds is the breadbasket of Pandaria, with the Heartland section having several farms right next to each other. Almost every quest here has something to do with food except the west which has Master Bruised Paw, the latest Nesingwary expedition, and a Mantid invasion; the latter of which is attacking a farming community.
    • You can also become a farmer yourself if you wish, and grow ingredients for cooking recipes that give you temporary stat buffs. It also gives you reputation with the Tillers faction, which offers some fun but totally optional rewards (such as a mount).
  • Draconic Humanoid:
    • The Dragonspawn are said to be humans who were so devoted to the dragonflights they started to take on draconic characteristics.
    • Drakonids are humanoid dragonkin used as ground troops by the dragonflights.
    • In Blackwing Descent a creature that is actually called a dragonman is encountered, which is a human crossed with a dragonspawn.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Cho'gall was originally lieutenant to Gul'dan during the Second War. After Gul'dan's death, Cho'gall took control of the Twilight Hammer and rebuilt it into an insidious and powerful organization striving to unleash disaster on the world.
    • And in the next expansion, he succeeds. As a result he is soon demoted, but that's mainly because he just won in his attempts to wake up something bigger and badder than himself.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Kargath Bladefist and Rend Blackhand were both major players during the Second War but survived the Horde's defeat with relatively minor loss of personal power and followers. Now each has taken control of a rabidly-fanatic remnant of the Horde and are working towards their own ends.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Horde players play something between this, Noble Top Enforcer, and The Starscream to Garrosh in Mists of Pandaria. Depending on the quest, they might be working for Garrosh himself, the Blood Elves (who are weighing how much they want to stay with the Horde) or Vol'jin (who has always disliked Garrosh and almost gets killed by one of Garrosh' men in "Dagger in the Dark")
  • Dramatic Irony: In particular, the voiceover to the cinematic intro for Wrath of the Lich King.
    Terenas: My child, I watched with pride as you grew into a weapon...
    Arthas pulls out Frostmourne.
    Terenas: ...of righteousness. And I know that you will show restraint when exercising your great power.
    Arthas shatters a glacier and raises an enormous Frost Wyrm.
  • Dressed to Plunder: There are several factions of pirates, most of whom sport this type of garb and have a tendency to say "Yeaaarg!" when they attack. There's even a hat with a skull and crossbones on it that players can get and use, and if you really want, here's how to dress your character as a pirate. Or you can just use the pirate wand.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the End Time, Deathwing, for all his corruption and madness, it still a dragon aspect, and the Old Gods won't be free unless all the aspects are dead. They give the command, and Deathwing jumps on it, that is, the top of Wyrmrest Temple.
    • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Shadow priests can use Mind Control to do this. It's sadistically amusing to use this on an enemy player in PvP and run them off a cliff. Nefarian can use an ability like this on players in the Heroic version of the Blackwing Descent encounter against him.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kael's nonsensical Face-Heel Turn and subsequent death. Other examples vary wildly depending on one's sensibilities, but popular candidates include Uther the Lightbringer and Saurfang the Younger.
    • Earthbinder Maruut apparently perishes without the player noticing during the last battle of the Deepholm storyline; he's found dead when you speak to another shaman to turn in the quest.
    • Prince Narud in the Tol'vir quest chain is unceremoniously killed off in a skirmish outside of the next quest hub, this one's particularly bad, as the camera scrolls away when the scout's giving Phaoris the message, so it's very likely the player may never notice this.
    • Rell Nightwind succumbs to his wounds sustained during a Hozen ambush in the Jade Forest, which you're very unlikely to notice since the other members of his band become recurring characters, and Rell himself seemed to be pulling through last you see him.
  • Drop the Hammer: You find out during a Quest Line in Storm Peak that Thorim, one of the Titanic Watchers, was tricked by Loken, his brother, into thinking that the Frost Giant King had murdered his wife. Enraged, Thorim hurled his hammer from his temple, and the impact resulted in Thunderfall. The throw was so mighty that it flash froze the Iron Forged Dwarves and Giants in combat, their ice statues a representation of what happens to those who cross Thorim.
    • Ragnaros uses his hammer to great effect in the battle with him in the Firelands. Sulfuras Smash sends lava waves across the platform in three directions from the point of impact, Splitting Blow causes adds to appear, and if you're standing under it when it hits, you die instantly.
  • Drought Level of Doom: The endgame used to require massive resource stockpiling efforts before a raid could begin. It got (somewhat) better.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: A follow-up video to the Mists of Pandaria trailer shows what became of the Human and Orc after Chen cleaned their clocks; despondent over getting owned, they drink themselves stupid.
  • Dual Boss: There are several dungeon encounters that are this, but for PvPers, there are the faction leaders.
    • Pre-Cataclysm, Alliance raids going for Warchief Thrall had to deal with the troll chief Vol'jin.
      • Post-Cataclysm, Horde players can turn the tables on Alliance raids against Garrosh Hellscream by kiting Gamon into the fray.
      • To be fair, Alliance players get the chance to do this with Crithto if Varian is attacked.
    • Post-Cataclysm, Horde raids taking on King Varian Wrynn now have to deal with King Genn Greymane.
    • Also, Horde raids taking on Ironforge now have a trio boss of Muradin Bronzebeard, Moira Thaurissan and Falstad Wildhammer.
      • Though Alliance has had to deal with that since Burning Crusade. When attacking Silvermoon City, they have to deal with Regent Lord Lor'Themar Theron, Grand Magister Rommath, and Ranger General Halduron Brightwing.
    • Two fights in the Brawler's Guild- the one against Fran and Riddoh and the one against GG Engineering. The former has the two bosses as enemies with separate health bars, and the latter has the two bosses share a health bar.
  • Dual Wield: Warriors, Rogues, Shamans, Death Knights and Hunters can wield two weapons at once (invoking a larger chance to miss and reduced damage with the off-hand weapon, though specialisations that focus on dual-wielding reduce these penalities significantly). Fury Warriors can even opt to dual-wield two-handed swords, axes and maces when they reach the top tier of their talent tree. Illidan Stormrage famously wields the dual Warglaives of Azzinoth, which players can obtain and use as well.
    • With Mists of Pandaria, Fury Warriors can choose between Titan's Grip and Single Minded Fury at Level 38. Single Minded Fury is for those who choose to dual wield smaller one handed weapons while Titan's Grip is for two handed axes, swords and maces.
    • With Patch 5.4, Fury Warriors can now dual wield Polearms.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Blizzard often pokes fun at male Blood Elves for this. A named one in Hillsbrad named Johnny Awesome is consistently referred to as being a girl by two of the undead NPC's in the area, one of them mentions how beautiful and how in love with "her" he is and the other is convinced he's a small girl.
    • Nevertheless, male Blood Elves are only "feminine" in comparison to the other race's males, most of which are quite musclebound and top-heavy. Compared to your typical Real Life human, they're pretty damn buff.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted in the later expansion — some NPC's acknowledge that you have done some pretty awesome stuff in the past. For example, right at the start of the Alliance entrance to Northrend, you are skipped past NPCs wanting to join the fight thanks to your heroic deeds in Outland. One assumes this takes place even if you managed to level without going to Outland (via the new PvP experience).
    • Played straight with Conqueror Krenna, the Jerk Ass in charge of Conquest Hold in Grizzly Hills, who outright states that all your previous achievements mean crap to her and proceeds to treat you like a common grunt.
    • In addition, if you reach "Exalted" reputation with some factions, some NPCs will kiss your ass... figuratively, of course.
    • If you have a legacy PVP rank (such as the "Knight-Lieutenant" title) there are a couple of NPCs that will address you by it in quest text.
    • There are several NPCs who greet you differently depending on whether you have or haven't done certain quests before. When you meet Thassarian over Icecrown, he thanks you again for the time you helped his sister in the Borean Tundra - if you did that quest chain. Same for a gnome in those zones. And the first time you meet Highlord Fordragon in Northrend, if you did the Onyxia quest chain wayyy back in vanilla WoW (which had been obsolete since BC and is now removed) he reminds you of the time you helped him fight dragons in the Stormwind throne room.
    • In yet another example, NPCs in a town under siege by the undead cheer themselves up by reminding each other that help is on the way: they have heard rumors of elite soldiers handpicked by A'dal himself, and even the Scarab Lord. "Hand of A'dal" and "the Scarab Lord" are, of course, titles that used to be attainable by players. The latter of which has one per server (Except for servers that didn't hold the event pertaining to it)
    • In the Shrine of Seven Stars, you can find a draenei arguing with a pandaren. If you try to convince the draenei that the pandaren has a point, he will ask "What do you know? You act like you're the savior of Azeroth!" This becomes quite funny if you do in fact have the "Savior of Azeroth" title.
    • During Escalation, players are given a quest to help an old seer retrace the steps of Emperor Shao Pao, who appreciates that despite being a powerful warrior, you are willing to help an old man climb a mountain. When it's done, the seer commends you for your humility, then reveals that he is the ghost of Emperor Shao Pao, and tells you how Pride was his one great vice.
  • Dug Too Deep: The Gnomes were just expanding their home city when suddenly troggs. The Nerubians, in their battle against a newly-created Scourge, tried to expand deeper underground when suddenly Yogg-Saron. Basically, in World of Warcraft, mining seems to be the one profession that can unintentionally doom the world, or at least the part of it you're standing on.
    • When excavating ruins in Pandaria, you can do dig too deep too...
  • Dung Fu: The Hozen apparently think of poo as something to throw, though we don't see them doing do in game (apart from http://www.wowhead.com/spell=125365#, which is ambigious). Rivett Clutchpop does weaponize Hozen excrement, specifically the methane from it, to create grenades to ward off a Jinyu attack on Grookin Hill.
  • Dying as Yourself: A large number of the bosses who've been animated or enslaved to fight you will thank you as they die. This turned out to include one of the prime sources of these bosses, Arthas himself.
    • Sha-possessed enemies happen to do this, including a few of the bosses. Some, however, survive the sha leaving their bodies.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Introduced in Mists of Pandaria, mostly for the World Bosses added in the expansion.
    • The Kor'Kron commanders added to the Barrens as part of Escalation become stronger as more people join in the fight, easily seen by watching their health bar start at 16 million and going up with each new player. There is a limit to how strong they get, so a large enough group can go through them like tissue paper.
    • Flex raiding involves groups of 11-24 players taking on a raid with the difficulty automatically adjusted for the number of players, as opposed to the fixed difficulty of 10- and 25-man raiding. The difficulty overall is a bit lower due to fixed-size raids being fine tuned for the exact number of players.
    • Some of the rare spawns on the Timeless Isle also become stronger as more players join the fight.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Several events happened in the last patch of Wrath, setting up the changes and new stuff introduced in Cataclysm, as noted below;
    • There are a ton of Horde goblins in Northrend which explains goblin death knights. Even moreso, Goblins had been far more aligned with the Horde than the Alliance since Classic (even though, ironically, Goblins were the first choice for the small race before Gnomes were chosen)
    • The Wolfcult, led by Arugal, were a major villain in one area of Northrend, setting up playable worgen by showing that they were infectious but could also retain their minds.
    • Several Dark Rangers showed up in Undercity, including Back from the Dead Nanthanos Blightcaller (the only human ranger) which gave a reason for why Forsaken could be taught to be hunters.
    • A Highborne (old school Night Elf nobility) mage appeared up in the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus and wanted an audience with High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind. His dialog to the guard as he waited about the changes coming to the world and the need for the Night Elves to "rediscover the arcane path", explaining the Night Elf Mage class combo.
    • In Thunder Bluff, a pair of Tauren could be seen discussing similarities between their Sun deity and the Holy Light that most of the Alliance revere, setting them up for the introduction of Tauren Paladins and Priests.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Blood Elves in Burning Crusade.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • Malygos' plan once he becomes sane again (for certain definitions of "sane", anyway) is to suck all the magic out of Azeroth so it can't be abused any more. When told that this would result in the complete destruction of the planet, he considers that an acceptable loss.
    • The Titans' plan for "reoriginating" Azeroth should it become irreparably corrupted by the Old Gods is implied to involve this.
    • The Cataclysm. A gigantic dragon bursts out of a shifted plane of existence, causing a massive global earthquake, then proceeds to fly around setting fire to anything within a 100 yard radius of itself. There's an entire expansion based on this.
  • Easter Egg: Many; here's the incomplete list.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Not in the game itself, but extensive among the player base. Every class at one point or another has been generally regarded as overpowered and its players subsequently looked down upon, hunters and death knights in particular have reputations as being easy mode for leveling, and the forum community is quick to scorn anyone trying to comment on PvE without hardmode achievements on their Armory page.
    • The Random Raid Finder's bosses are significantly easier than their Normal 25-man equivalents, but any gear you get is less powerful than its normal or heroic equivalents and has "Raid Finder" on it, and several achievements, including the "Destroyer's End" title, can only be earned on normal or heroic difficulty. Something similar will happen with the Flexible Raid difficulty, which will be between LFR and Normal.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted a number of times in quests to supply soldiers and encampments. The event for opening Ahn-Qiraj required players to stockpile millions of bandages, food and other items to supply the armies. Later on in Wrath Saurfang brings up the problems of keeping troops supplied in his objections to Garrosh's reckless tactics.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: In their human disguises, the female Black Dragons Onyxia (Lady Katrana Prestor) and Nalice have pale skin and long black hair; Deathwing's original human form (Lord Daval Prestor) also had very light skin and black hair.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Hemet Nesingwary, although he is a friendly fellow and acknowledges your efforts when you finish his quests.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Old Gods, which are such an obvious Shout-Out to the Cthulhu mythos that it borders on plagiarism. Only two have been specifically identified so far in-game: C'thun was introduced with the Ahn'Qiraj dungeon and is of course a giant tentacled eyeball; while the Wrath of the Lich King expansion brings us Yogg-Saron, final boss of the Ulduar raid instance, who appears to be a giant fleshy mass festooned with gaping toothy mouths. Outside discussion during the end of 2010 from Blizzard has revealed the name of a third Old God, N'Zoth, who is linked to the Emerald Nightmare and 'sleeping beneath the oceans'...
    • In a larger Shout-Out to the Cthulhu mythos, Yogg-saron's fight includes a Sanity mechanic, where being hit by certain attacks drains your sanity, and when you lose all of it you become a gibbering slave to the Beast-With-Many-Maws. Unlike most status effects, this one lasts through death, so don't think your teammates will be planning to revive you any time soon...
    • The demons of the Burning Legion are also often seen as this. The draenei in particular call them "man'ari", which translates approximately as "something hideously and fundamentally wrong".
    • Slimes, Fiends, and Faceless ones were all categorized as "Abberations" in Mists of Pandaria, a new category that's also affected by paladin moves that harm undead and demons.
    • And now on Pandaria, the fourth Old God, the seven-headed Y'Shaarj, is revealed to be dead, and his last breath cursed Pandaria with the seven Sha, physical manifestations of negative emotions like anger and hatred. They wait and lurk beneath the earth, ready to possess anyone who 'feels' too strongly.
  • Elemental Crafting
  • Elemental Plane: The game hinted at those in the past, but really went nuts with the concept in Cataclysm:
    • Deepholm, the plane of Earth, made of mostly shiny rocks and crystals.
    • Firelands, the plane of Fire, with lots of magma, ash, lava and hot air.
    • Skywall, the plane of Air, consisting of mostly clouds and wind.
    • The Abyssal Maw, the plane of Water, typical underwater flair everywhere.
  • Elemental Powers: In this case Fire, Frost, Nature (comprising many effects that would normally have their own element; like earth and air, but also electricity and poison), Arcane (magic), Shadow, and Holy (unique in that it does not have a resistance stat associated with it).
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Mostly averted but there are many enemies that are specifically resistant or immune to a given element and a rare few that take extra damage from them - particularly in the Blackwing Lair raid dungeon. Two interesting variations are the bosses Thaddius in Naxxramas and the Twin Val'kyr in Trial of the Crusader, where the "positive/negative" effect is applied to the players and must be managed properly to complete the encounter.
  • End of an Age: After the players defeat defeat Deathwing, the other Aspects reveal that they have lost their immortality now that their purpose has been fulfilled. Thus, Deathwing's defeat heralds a new "Age of Mortals".
  • The End of the World as We Know It: What happens to Azeroth in Cataclysm. It's not nearly as bad as most of other examples of this trope, but still a lot of damage was done.
    • The dungeon Endtime takes this, by World of Warcraft standards, Up to Eleven by showing us the actual end of the world if Deathwing wins.
    • Draenor got hit far worse in the backstory, though its still fairly inhabitable in some areas.
  • Enemy Civil War: Every race has at least one faction hostile against the rest. It's a World of Warcraft for a reason.
  • Enemy Mine: As much as the plot of the game involves the conflict between the Alliance and Horde (and various other factions), they do come together in response to the occasional overwhelming threat. This began to happen with increasing frequency as the game evolved, so the writers went out of their way to drop the Conflict Ball in Wrath of the Lich King. Specific examples include:
    • In classic, the War of the Shifting Sands forced Horde and Alliance to unite to deal with the Qiraji threat.
    • In Burning Crusade, the Aldor and Scryers are forced to work together to assault the Black Temple in order to defeat Illidan. They then form the Shattered Sun Offensive to confront the threat of Kil'jaeden.
    • In Wrath of the Lich King, the Wrathgate cinematic shows Bolvar Fordragon and Saurfang the Younger leading a combined assault on Arthas, only to have the Forsaken betray both sides and reignite the conflict.
    • The Dragon Soul raid in Cataclysm implies a combined effort on the part of the Horde and Alliance to defeat Deathwing, showing members of both factions as supporting NPCs. In Tides Of War, Garrosh says that representatives of every race helped him defeat Deathwing.
    • Mists of Pandaria, meanwhile, has the Klaxxi, the high council of the largely evil Mantid. They reluctantly accept the aid of the player to cleanse the taint of the Sha from their swarm, but still remain fully loyal to it and the evil Old God Y'Shaarj.
      • Patch 5.3 has representatives of the Alliance and Horde fighting against Warchief Garrosh Hellscream and his elite Kor'krok soldiers.
  • Enemy Within: New Worgen players start by being infected with the Worgen curse, turning on their fellow Gilneans, getting captured, and then treated to give them back their humanity; however, the treatment is temporary, and just as the player heads out to retrieve ingredients to make more serum, the Forsaken attack. For the next hour or so, the player fights the Forsaken while being reminded that the serum could wear off, and they will turn feral again. Eventually the player meets some night elves who teach them about the balance between their human and beast sides.
  • Entitled Bastard: In the Crumbled Chamberlain questline, the questgiver, the spirit of Lei Shen's chamberlain, who wants you to reassemble his statue body, constantly insults you if you kill monsters while assembling his body, thinking of you as his slave. This is unsurprising given that the Mogu look down on all races other than themselves.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Lorekeeper Vaeldrin sought the Water of Youth, thinking it could restore the Night Elves' immortality, instead it just transfers Life Energy from the drinker to a nearby person. Later, when his daughter is killed by the Mogu, he uses the water to resurrect her at the cost of his own life.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The goblin race in general, and the Venture Co. in particular, although the Steamwheedle cartel is more moderate. Maybe they just figured that it's easier to make a profit if you don't attack random adventurers all the time - or better yet, get them working for you.
    • There is also the Twilight's Hammer (which has Tauren and Draenei, of all people, in its ranks), and the Wyrmcult (humans, orcs, and draenei). The Knights of the Ebon Blade were once this, but then became a force of racially-diverse anti-heroism.
  • Escort Mission: Many and varied. Fortunately, Blizzard has made an effort to reduce the reliance on these sorts of quests in later expansions, as by their very nature, only one player (or party) can do a particular quest at any given time and some of the original ones could take fifteen to twenty minutes, and on PvP realms can be undone by an opposing faction player camping the end spot of the quest.
    • Inverted and mocked in a Northrend quest during which an Indiana Jones Expy pummels a snake god while you watch his back. Quest completion is achieved when he's escorted you to safety.
    • Some of the escortees are actually strong enough to fight off the enemies with the player, others stop to allow players a moment to take a break, and they as a whole tend to be less suicidal about charging into danger than most of them.
    • Lampshaded with a vengeance with a quest in Uldum. When you finish the quest, Brann Bronzebeard asks you to accompany him to The Halls of Origination, which is a considerable distance away from where you are. After travelling barely a hundred feet with several stops for Brann to "rest" he laughs uproariously and says, "Ah the old slow-walk trick. Gets 'em every time. I'll meet you there." and runs off.
    • Parodied in the infamous Tol Barad quest Walk A Mile In Their Shoes. You rescue a member of your faction from an enemy prison. Instead of heading straight out, however, he proceeds to make random guesses about where the exit might be, exploring every nook and cranny of the building even though the exit is right. frakking. in front of him. Unfortunately the quest is just as annoying as if it weren't a parody.
    • In the Dunwald ruins of Twilight Highlands, Caiden Dunwald wants you to accompany him through what he knows damn well is a Twilight ambush. He is so powerful however that he is escorting you.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: From a certain point of view, Garrosh, despite being a warmonger against the Alliance, wants to wage war honorably, and anyone who steps out of line will receive punishments ranging from a reprimand to a summary execution. The Goblins, despite being typically amoral and focused on profit, despise Gallywix for his business practices.
    • It's said that even the most callous of the Mogu, an almost uniformly evil race that ruled Pandaria with an iron fist and considers the other races their slaves, are shocked at the cruelty of the experiments performed on Throne of Thunder raid boss Megaera, a cloud serpent transfomed into a multi-headed hydra that lives in almost constant agony.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: If the comments at WoWHead and quite a few other forums are anything to go by, Alexstrasza's Stripperiffic human form has more than a few women just as interested as the men.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: On your arrival on the Alliance Gunship in Deepholm.
  • Everyone Was Bi: During the 2006-09 version of the Love Is In the Air (Valentine's Day) event. The city guards, around whom most of the event revolves, are all love-smitten, but they don't care what gender your character is, just which fragrance you put on last. And if you want to earn the full achievement for the event, you had best be prepared to swing both ways yourself. Sure, they try to explain it away as some kind of evil magical affliction, but still.... In 2010 the Love Is In The Air event underwent a revamp including a replacement storyline to which this trope no longer applies.
  • Everything Fades: All corpses will eventually disappear, pretty quickly once they're looted, and almost instantly once they're skinned/mined/harvested. Except for player corpses, which stick around for up to a week if unclaimed.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Un'goro Crater, a Titanic testing ground, featuring larger, nastier cousins of the common raptor as well as diemetradons, flying pterrodax, lumbering stegodons and gargantuan devilsaurs. Trolls have always had a fondness for raptors as mounts and pets but the Zandalari as of 5.2 take it Up to Eleven, bringing dinosaurs from isolated islands in the South Seas to Pandaria for their war effort, adding direhorns, pterrorwings and a more brutal devilsaur variety to their repertoire. Plus, they have dinomancers.
    • Hunters can get in on the act by taming a variety of these, though only Beastmaster Hunters can get Devilsaurs and Direhorns require a special ability learned from a book the Zandalari on the Isle of Giants carry.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Warriors' Whirlwind and Bladestorm, Paladins' Divine Storm, and Rogues' Fan of Knives. Many character dances include spins, and the Blood Elf jump animation occasionally does it completely gratuitously.
    • The Belfs occasionally spinning is most likely a reference to the fact that Night Elves occasionally did an aerial front flip during their jump.
    • Taken up a notch again, now male Worgen in Cataclysm occasionally do an aerial backflip while jumping. Even while jumping forward.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Averted. Theradras, Myzrael and Huhuran are all princesses, and all are evil ugly monsters who you have to kill. Moira Bronzebeard is the only princess we've seen so far who isn't a monster, but (until patch 5.3) she doesn't make anything better.
    • There's also Princess Stillpine, who arguably beats Moira hands-down in the not-making-anything-better stakes.
    • Post-Cataclysm Stranglethorn Vale has Princess Poobah, whose insistance on you getting her tiara and slippers before you can escort her out of trouble is pretty annoying. Pre-Cataclysm, all you had to do was find her message, kill the giant gorilla, and free her. Now they've made her a little more demanding.
    • There's an award-winning boar named Princess. Naturally, you can kill her.
  • Everything's Even Worse With Sharks: The Whale Shark, in Vashj'ir. It's a mini-raid boss whose attacks are powerful enough to instantly kill anyone it hits, so it can only be defeated by having whoever has aggro run away while everyone else damages it.
  • Evil Chancellor: Lady Prestor, a noblewoman who is secretly the dragon Onyxia. And lately Varimathras, a dreadlord secretly working with every other dreadlord ever met.
    • Magatha Grimtotem was this to Cairne, as we find out in Cataclysm she fixed the duel between Cairne and Garrosh so that Cairne died. She then took control of Thunder Bluff in a bloody coup.
  • Evil Feels Good: Arthas! He went from being one of the stronger - if a bit headstrong and prone to acting before thinking - paladins in the Silver Hand to the Lich King's first and foremost Death Knight. And then became the Lich King himself. Saronite and the Old Gods also have this effect on those who remain in close proximity for too long.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Scourge's headquarters is located in the frigid continent of Northrend and its upper ranks (up to and including the Lich King himself) make heavy use of ice-based magic.
    • Heck, the Scourge top brass don't even live on solid land. Icecrown Glacier is just a hunk of ice that sits on/close to Northrend.
    • Death Knights have an entire skill tree devoted to ice spells.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Fel Magic. Just ask Illidan and Kael'thas.
  • Evil Laugh: A number of villains do this, but possibly the most well known is Yogg-Saron while he destroys your Sanity.
  • Evil Makeover: Quite frequent.
    • Sargeras went from being a colossal, beautiful humanoid who apparently looked like sculpted bronze to a colossal, demon-horned entity whose beard and hair is made of fire.
    • The Eredar are an entire race who underwent an evil makeover. This can range from sickly-looking greenish-blue fifteen foot giants to hundred-foot tall, red, bat-winged, spine-adorned goliaths.
    • The naga were once Highbourne, the most beautiful of the high elves, who became... naga. Some of the more monstrous ones have shells and other sea creatures fused to their body, and their Queen Azshara looks like an abomination.
    • Arthas went from a blond-haired paladin in blue and silver armor to a white haired, glowing blue-eyed monster who wears dark grey skull and spike-covered armor.
  • Evil Mask: Characters affected by Sha infestation often have their possession signified by tribal masks that vary in appearance depending on the source of the infestation. They're actually a perversion of the masks carved by the Monkey King that Shaohao used to draw his negative emotions out.
  • Evil Matriarch: As the whole black dragonflight is evil, its top brood mother Sintharia qualifies. In Shadowmoon Valley, Yarzill the Merc is collecting Netherwing eggs to keep them out of the "wrong hands"; at first this seems to be the Dragonmaw Orcs, but Sintharia (as Lady Sinestra) appears in a repeating event showing that she wants the eggs, and Overlord Mor'ghor is willing to trade. Being an offshoot of the black dragonflight, Sintharia is probably the mother to some, if not all of the Netherwing dragons, and they want nothing to do with her.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Necromancers and Warlocks are always this in lore. Though the latter may have player controlled exceptions.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Many, many villains and bosses.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Hello, Icecrown Citadel! Constructed entirely of Saronite, the hardened blood of an Old God, engraved with skulls and bones and lit by chilly blue fires. Seems downright welcoming, doesn't it?
    • In Cataclysm, a seared corner of the Twilight Highlands contains a massive, jagged spire leading to the Bastion of Twilight raid.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Several instances. Arugal's worgen versus Scourge, Dark Irons serving Ragnaros versus Blackrock Orcs serving the Black Dragonflight, and Scarlet Crusade versus Scourge in Vanilla. Illidan versus Burning Legion and Black dragons versus Gronn in Burning Crusade. Ice trolls versus Scourge, Black dragons versus Scourge, Yogg-Saron versus Scourge and Scarlet Crusade versus Scourge again in Wrath of the Lich King.
    • The updates leading to Cataclysm caused random portals to open in any area of the game, from which elementals pour out. No matter what kind of NPCs or enemies roam the area, they would immediately engage in a fight with the elementals.
    • Cataclysm itself mostly averts this, as almost all the major villains in the expansion (Deathwing, the Naga, Al'Akir, Ragnaros, and the Twilight's Hammer) are all controlled or influenced by the Old Gods, and are often seen working together; meanwhile the Zandalari Trolls have not faced any of the other villains. A minor exception are the Neferset, a villainous faction of Tol'vir who turn against Siamat, a servant of Al'Akir.
    • During the Midsummer Fire Festival, Evil Versus Evil was invoked by the Old Gods. The Naga summon Frost Lord Ahune to fight Fire Lord Ragnaros, who was summoned by Deathwing, in hopes of sparking another Elemental War.
    • In Mists of Pandaria, the Yaungol are often seen fighting against the Mantid, and it's indicated that the Mantid fought wars with the Mogu in the past. Also from Mists of Pandaria, the Alliance and Horde hope to set the Saurok against the Mogu.
  • Evil Weapon: Frostmourne, naturally. There's also Xal'atoh, Garrosh's Old God-corrupted replica of Gorehowl, which whispers to the player when wielded.
  • Expanded Universe: Specifically, the Warcraft Expanded Universe.
  • Expansion Pack: There's been four. The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.
  • Expansion Pack World: In a quite literal sense with regard to Outland. In Wrath of the Lich King, the whole continent of Northrend becomes accessible to players, despite having existed for quite a long time. In Cataclysm, a number of additional previously inaccessible areas (notably Hyjal, which was an off-limits zone) have also been opened up. Mists of Pandaria introduced the previously hidden continent of Pandaria to the world.
  • Explosive Breeder: Lindsay is a pet battler in the Redridge Mountains who uses three rabbits, and is surrounded by them; she says she started with two, and now she has lots. It's a good thing too considering how many adventures come along and kill her bunnies.
  • Expy: The draenei in their Burning Crusade version have certainly been heavily inspired by the Minbari, with their crystalline architecture, accents like Mira Furlan's, and even having a leader named Velen (Valen), who is also a prophet.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: The leader of the Twilight's Hammer has been heavily mutated by exposure to C'thun - he now has an eyeball where each nipple should be, and two irregular bands around his upper arms. And yes, they do move and wink. Sweet dreams!
    • Inverted with the Old God, Yogg-Saron. His head is covered in what looks like many small, toothy mouths where eyes probably would be.
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