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World Of Warcraft: Tropes M to R
  • MacGuffin Girl: Anveena.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Several Alliance aircraft certainly qualify; Mages using Mirror Image are a slightly more arcane version.
    • An early Alliance quest in Northrend requires the player to defend an excavation site from gargoyles. The plane's Macross Missile Massacre even Robotechs to the targets.
  • Made of Explodium: Goblin Technology.
  • Made of Phlebotinum: The game seems more Made of Phlebotinum than most fantasy worlds, what with all its magically-powered civilizations and crystal planeships and such.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: Huntersnote , rogues and warriors cannot use Mana and don't have the runes to make up for it like death knights. This doesn't make them any worse at a fight than their magic-using allies though.
    • In a variation of the trope, mana-users have a lot less Mana and spellpower in tanking and melee combat specialisations, essentially trading most of their magical skill for muscle power (Druids even shapeshift into Rage or Energy as their primary resource)
    • Inverted with Monks, who can use many of their spell-like abilities with energy and Chi and even receive a Mana-bar upon assuming their healing specialization stance.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: Primarily to the Burning Legion, although there's plenty of dangerous critters in Azeroth itself that like to snack on wizards.
  • Magic Knight: Paladins, Death Knights, and Enhancement Shaman.
  • Magic Mushroom: One of the Thunder Bluff cooking dailies is to retrieve "Magic" Mushrooms for her cooking, and they are described as "delicious and completely absent of psychedelic properties." She insists they're innocent mushrooms, but her reaction after turning in the quest suggests no one is buying it.
    • As of "Cataclysm" Druids have a spell based on magical mushrooms. Their effects vary between Balance and Restoration.
  • Magic Pants: Druids can transform into various beasts without removing their clothes, and Shamans do the same for their Ghost Wolf form. Standard issue for Worgens in Cataclysm.
    • Lampshaded by Prince Anduin Wrynn who has a different phrase for each class when you escort him. Naturally this is what he asks druids about.
    • Many vanity items have the same effect for everyone, and there are a lot of quests involving some kind of transformation as well.
  • Magical Land: Pandaria, when compared to Draenor and the rest of Azeroth, mainly due to the fact that it has been shrouded in myth for thousands of years, and the negative emotions of sapient beings there can physically manifest themselves and cause major destruction.
  • Magikarp Power: From Vanilla through to Wrath of the Lich King, a number of classes and/or specializations suffered from having a limited skill set at low levels, not receiving their core abilities or important passive skills till higher levels. This has thankfully been averted come Cataclysm, where each character now gets to choose their main specialization at level 10, receiving one signature spell/ability from that talent tree and a number of innate passive bonuses relating to that spec. And you only need level 30 for the Dual Specialization feature now as well, making it easier to play as a tank or healer in dungeons and switch to a damage role for solo play for much of the game (only 5 dungeons are lower level than that, and they are easy enough without a dedicated tank or healer).
  • Magitek: Naaru constructs such as the Exodar and Tempest Keep, Ethereal technology, Titan technology.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: The Infinite Dragonflight pretends to be trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, once to prevent the first orc invasion and another time to stop then-prince Arthas from slaughtering the citizens of Stratholme, his first step to becoming the Lich King. However, as they also try to kill Thrall before he can reform the Horde and help save the world, it becomes clear that they are not as altruistic as they say. Their true goal is actually to cause a series of events that would lead to the end of the world, of time and of everything and everyone. Though according to their leader, this is still better than the alternative. But he's insane, so nobody knows for sure.
  • Magnum Opus: Deathwing and Nefarian have been carrying out experiements on the dragonflights, including their own, and each has their own crowning achievement. Nefarian considers reanimating Onyxia as his finest work, while Deathwing refers to Ultraxion as his greatest creation.
  • Mama Bear: In the WotLK beta, feral druids had a talent called Mother Bear, which increased attack power and decreased the amount of damage taken by a percentage for every other member in the party (it capped at a four player increase, otherwise raids would get ridiculous) while in bear form.
  • Mana: All classes use some form of resource in order to use their special abilities. All magic-wielding classes use Mana, warriors and druids in bear form use Rage, rogues, druids in cat and monks in all stances but Serpent form use Energy, death knights use Runic Power, and hunter pets (and in Cataclysm, the hunters themselves) use Focus. In trope terms, they're all a form of Mana, though.
    • Some classes have other resources: Death Knights (runes), Rogues (combo points), Warlocks(soul shards, embers or demonic fury depending on specialization), Druids(combo points in cat form, solar and lunar energy for balance druids), Paladins (holy power), Shadow Priests (shadow orbs), monks (Chi). There are also various proc effects that work as resources, such as Maelstrom Weapon stacks for enhancement shaman.
    • Bosses often have their own unique resources, which may charge over time until being released in a single attack (The Conclave of Wind's Energy, Deathbringer Saurfang's Blood Power, Fandral Staghelm's Energy), or slowly be spent until being recharged in a "recharging" phase (Rajh's Solar Energy, Beth'tilac's Energy, Alysrazor's Energy)
  • Man on Fire: Bolvar Fordragon at the end of Icecrown Citadel. More generally, many attacks and spell animations involve this at some point, whether it's on the recipient's end or the caster's. The Warlock spell Hellfire is a particularly notable example as it damages the caster as well as all surrounding enemies. Demonology Warlocks also have Immolation Aura while (and only)in demon form. They are, essentially, on fire and hurting any foes nearby, though it does not affect the warlock or allies.
  • Marathon Level: Taken to an extreme in many classic dungeons and raids, but toned down significantly with each expansion. Blizzard discovered that dungeon/raid participation among the player base improved dramatically as the requirement to spend multiple hours in them at a time (or per week, for raids) was reduced. Most instances in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria have three or four bosses, and some of those that have five or more may have at least one of them be optional.
    • Several dungeons that are otherwise enormous (such as Blackrock Depths) are split into separate parts for the Raid and Dungeon Finder systems, usually limiting themselves to 2-4 bosses. The raids for the Raid Finder system, and Flexible Raids, which uses the same divisions, are largely split into wings, with no more than three or four bosses per part.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Mylune the dryad in Mount Hyjal is described as doing this to the player prior to giving out some of her daily quests.
  • The Masquerade: Many dragons will take on a humanoid form for the purposes of interacting with smaller races. Once a deceptive tactic of Machiavellian proportions (as in the case of Onyxia/Lady Prestor, for example), the practice is by now so well-known and common that it borders on They Walk Among Us.
  • Massive Race Selection: Far more than the previous games. WoW began with eight playable races, all inherited from the RTSs, plus at least a dozen nonplayable sapient races inherited from previous games. Three expansions since WoW was first released have each added half a dozen new races or more while making some existing races that had been nonplayable playable. As of Pandaria there are 13 playable races and probably around 20 non-playable intelligent races.
  • Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest: It's practically a guarantee that any quest hub will have either a variant of this or Twenty Bear Asses, if not both.
  • Master Poisoner: The Assassination talent tree for Rogues partially focuses on this.
  • May Contain Evil: Saronite. In fact many forget that it doesn't just contain evil, it's made of evil. It's made of the blood of the Old God Yogg-Saron, and people who mine it tend to go insane. So clearly, the logical response here was to wear the stuff, preferably on your head so Yogg-Saron can whisper in your ear more easily.
    • Played with in the Halloween candy Fel Taffy, which contains a disclaimer that it "doesn't contain any actual demonic energy".
  • May-December Romance: Stalvan Mistmantle is apparently thought of as an "old man" by the student with whom he was infatuated, while he claims he was only a few years older. It's unclear who is correct, since Stalvan's age is never disclosed.
  • Mayincatec: The trolls.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Terrace of Endless Spring, if you look straight ahead, you can see the Sha of Fear fighting with Tsulong prior to your defeat of the Protectors of the Endless. After you win, Tsulong succumbs and must be defeated as the next boss.
  • Merchant City: Gadgetzan and Dalaran.
  • Merchant Prince: The leaders of Goblin society are known as Trade Princes, usually the most business savvy, greedy and ruthless of the lot.
  • Messianic Archetype: Tirion Fordring, Highlord of the Argent Crusade, who started out a hermit exiled for showing mercy to an orc, got (with the player's help) the Call to Adventure and vowed to rebuild the Silver Hand, and has, by the present, become Azeroth's premier honorable paladin who actively urges both sides to join together and destroy the evils threatening them all.
    • Thrall becomes this to the orcs, and both the Naaru and (though to a lesser extent) Prophet Velen to the draenei.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: Digging fragments for Archaeology involves surveying a dig-site, which places a scope and indicator light on the ground. The scope's direction, and the color of the light give a vague idea where the fragments are, although the further away you are, the less accurate the direction is.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Kingslayer Orkus. At least, at first. Thanks to some Character Development, he becomes the boast and performs a Heroic Sacrifice so the player can get Alliance war plans back to Horde command, thus becoming the hero he had always dreamed of being.
  • Mind Control: Tons of examples among the various NPCs and bosses, both in the lore and in the game itself. There is also a spell available to the Priest class that lets them take control of other players/ humanoid monsters for a short while. Less direct forms (where the target fights for you controlled by an AI) are available in some forms for other classes (Warlocks can control demons, Dead Knights can control undead etc).
  • Mini-Dungeon: The game used to have several places commonly referred as mini-dungeons or outworld dungeos. These were areas in the main game world (rather than being instances like proper dungeons), that otherwise functioned similar to dungeons, with elite enemies designed to be fought as a group. They usually had quests associated with them with rewards similar to ones you'd get from actual dungeons. However, in later expansions most of the enemies in them lost their elite status, making them easier to solo and not any different from normal areas.
    • In Mists of Pandaria, Scenarios can be considered a new form of this, largely taking place in areas you can visit in the regular world. They use an objective structure and usually only have one real boss, are fairly quick to complete and only have 3 players rather than 5.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: In Nagrand, Harold Lane gets a scratch and is found dying in his tent; the other members of his hunting party generally ignore him, and after players complete a number of quests for him, he miraculously recovers.
    • Harold is a parody of Harry Street from The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemmingway, who also suffers a minor injury; except Harry's injury becomes infected, and he dies.
  • Miracle Food: Mages have spells to conjure food and water, which can serve an entire party or raid group. Fittingly, some levels of the food are called "manna cakes". As with all conjured items, they disappear from your inventory after you log out, and can't be sold or mailed.
  • Missing Mom - Practically everyone, including, but not limited to: Jaina Proudmoore (mother unknown), both Varian Wrynn and his son Anduin (both of their mothers died during their youth), Moira Bronzebeard (mother unknown), Medivh (mother Aegwynn had little to do with him after he was born), Garrosh Hellscream (mother unknown), Baine Bloodhoof (mother died in his youth), Kael'thas Sunstrider (mother unknown), Chen Stormstout's niece Li Li (her mother died in a fishig accident) and Saurfang the Younger (insert Saurfang fact here).
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Old Hillpaw has lived alone since his wife died and gradually warms up to the player.
  • Mithril: It exists, but it's disappointing compared to the original or in other settings. Due to the Expansion Pack World franchise and the leveling process in general, gear is continually replaced. When the game was new, mithril was the second- or third-best naturally-occurring ore available (depending on what you want to call "naturally occurring"...). Players could make weapons and armor out of it and some of those weapons would probably last them until just before the endgame. Today, after three expansions on one new world and two new continents, a dozen better metals have been introduced, and mithril is just another relatively brief part of leveling.
  • Money Sink: Tons, designed to drain gold out of the economy to prevent rampant inflation.
  • Money Spider: Averted, as most animal/nonhumanoid enemies drop Vendor Trash instead of cash, although you can still find a two-handed sword inside of a spider (which generally is not in wieldable condition, but may be of uncommon quality).
    • Enemies dropping money is fairly common in dungeons; while Vendor Trash goes to the person who gets to loot the corpse, money can be split between the party.
  • Monster Modesty: Several creatures. The skeletal mobs in particular.
  • Monster Sob Story: Murlocs are found in almost any zone with water in it, and cause no end of trouble; until players reach the Blasted Lands, and find an entire Murloc village enslaved by the Naga; and no matter what players do, they cannot be saved.
    • And the Naga get some of their own medicine in Northrend, when they are attacked and almost wiped out by the Kvaldir; one Naga questgiver is completely unrepentant, but has no choice but to ask for help as the Kvaldir are about to awaken a Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Mood Whiplash: Although it's constantly possible in an open-world game like this, it's especially noticeable in the standard Forsaken zone progression. Silverpines is a dramatic and dark war story in which the tragic plight that is the heart of the Forsaken's problems are explored... and then your character enters Hillsbrad Foothills, and things suddenly become a knockabout comedic parody.
    • Within Hillsbrad's own quests, there's one notable instance of this. Meeting Orkus, he's proven himself an incompetant blowhard throughout the entire quest chain. Then while on Purgation Isle, he begins telling you things about his life, like how he met his frost wyrm mount, Horde politics, and at one point, says you're his first real friend. Then he takes on three level ?? Alliance "players" and tells you to get on his mount and fly away, leaving him to fend for himself. You fly a short distance before the wyrm u-turns and picks him back up. Before reaching Tarren Mill, he asks you to take his mount somewhere cold to live before dying of his injuries. When you land, the NPC's in Tarren Mill honor him as a fallen hero and his death is treated as genuinely sad.
    • Silverpine itself has one. As mentioned, the overall quest chain is quite dark. Then you get the quest to kill the worgen druids sneaking around pretending to be actual bears. The questgiver lamphades the absurdity of the situation.
    • In Felwood, there's a heartwarming quest where you raise an Ancient from birth to maturity. When he freezes at the top of the hill you found him at, he tells you to come back years later to find him growing big and strong. If you're a Horde player, your next quest may be a goblin quest, where the girl in charge basically says "yeah, that stuff about you protecting the forest was cute, but now you have to help us cut the trees down. Tough shit."
    • Pandaria has a fair share of these. Questing in the Jade Forest starts out rather dark (new conflict between horde and alliance brings about the first sha encounters), then gets more lighthearted with meeting Lorewalker Cho and Pandaren in general... and then another clash between the factions free's the Sha of Doubt.
  • Mook Medic: A major shock to players in Stanglethorn Vale is when they run into Kurzen Medicine Men; not only do they heal, but it's possible to pull more than one at a time, and they'll heal each other. Players who lack interrupts or enough DPS may find them unkillable.
  • Mook Promotion: In Cataclysm, Hogger becomes a dungeon boss in Stormwind Stockade, gaining about 15 levels or so in the process. (It's a start.)
  • Mordor: There are several, but the most obvious is Icecrown, which takes its design directly from the film version of The Lord of the Rings and contains an area called Mor'drethar. The difference being where Mordor is mainly covered in fire and lava, Icecrown is mainly, well, icy.
    • As for general appearance and landscape, Searing Gorge and Burning Steppes are far closer, especially with Blackrock Mountain being the equivalent of Mt. Doom. While Icecrown Citadel definitely shares appearance with the likes of Barad-dr, very little else in that zone compares. Shadowmoon Valley in Outland is an excellent example: a broken, dying wasteland where armies clash, with a huge erupting volcano right in the middle, it's a dead ringer aside from the green lava.
  • More Than Mind Control: Features regularly in Mind Control scenarios, and combined quite frequently with Evil Feels Good.
  • Motivation on a Stick: There's a trinket like this that increases mount speed.
  • Motive Decay: Sorry, Illidan, Kael'thas. We need bosses for Burning Crusade.
    • Getting "corrupted" by the Old Gods tends to to this in general. Deathwing was once much more subtle, although it can be argued that in Cataclysm, he didn't need to work as hard at getting the Alliance and Horde to fight each other as he did in promoting strife between the Alliance members.
  • Mr. Exposition: Uther serves this purpose in the Halls of Reflection.
    • In Cataclysm, there's a quest in Silverpine which is essentially you riding horseback next to Sylvanas while she tells you the history of Lordaeron and how the Forsaken came to be. It lasts for a good 2-3 minutes and plays out all in a cutscene.
    • A Shattrath City quest involves Khadgar summoning a familiar to show you around the city and tell you about the Aldor and the Scryers.
    • Lorewalker Cho tells you a lot of lore stuff as you accompany him on several quests throughout Pandaria. He also serves as the Haunted House Historian for your raid on the Mogu'shan Vaults.
    • Kil'ruk the Wind Reaver, the first mantid Paragon you encounter, tells you much about the mantid's history, and if you reach Exalted with the Klaxxi, their true purpose.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Female Naga have four or six arms, the Shivarra are 20-foot tall, six-armed, demon women (wearing thongs), and various undead constructs tend to have a few extra arms thrown in for good measure.
  • Multishot: A hunter skill.
  • Mundane Utility: The Tahret Dynasty Mallet was "crafted by the titans, blessed by the sun-kings and who knows what else", and you're going to use it to smash pygmys. The item's description says it all.
    Tahret Dynasty Mallet: This artifact is beautifully crafted. You suspect it was intended for an activity more dignified than this one.
  • Murder by Mistake: On the Lost Isles, Megs Dreadshredder goes out to stop an impending attack on the Town-in-a-Box by bringing the fight to the Naga. After killing several Naga and a Faceless One, Megs reveals she made a mistake, the Naga weren't going to attack, and sends the player off to save the Goblins from a Pygmy attack.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Stalvan Mistmantle not only kills his student, but also, her lover.
  • Musical Nod: Pet Battles are fought to remixes of songs from the first two Warcraft games.
  • The Mutiny: Players take part in a few of these. It's how Tony Two-Tusk got his own pirate crew, and how Warchief Mor'ghor, a Fel Orc who makes Warchief Garrosh Hellscream look like a Reasonable Authority Figure, meets his end.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Earthbreaker Haromm, one of the Kor'kron Dark Shaman who force the elements to obey their command, says "The elements... What have we done..." as he dies.
    • Algalon the Observer in Ulduar is a herald of the Titans, whose job is to determine if planets ware developing according to the Titans' plans, or if they were deviating too much, such as being corrupted by an Old God, in which case the whole planet was to be "re-originated". When players fight and stop him, he comments on their resolve to save Azeroth, and regrets that in the eons he had been doing this, he never considered the countless lives he wiped out.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: In Dalaran, there are "Orcish/Common" Dictionaries; it might explain why the Humans and Orcs are still at war.
    Hi - A threatening war cry, especially when accompanied by a wave or bow.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Lord Godfrey is willing to set aside his disdain for the Worgen because his liege, King Graymane is trying to restore their humanity; once he finds out Graymane himself is a Worgen, his Fantastic Racism overrides his loyalty. To be fair to Godfrey, all Worgen past and present, except for the Gilneans in Cataclysm, have been (and are) mindless, blood-thirsty killing machines.
    • Considering your various abilities and how many people you kill through the game, you're still probably included (except for the "mindless" bit, at least now).
    • As of patch 5.4, General Nazgrim becomes a boss in The Siege of Orgimmar. He's fighting because he's bound to his oath and not because he approves of Hellscream's methods. If you kill him as an Horde race, he says he's glad it was you who killed him and hopes you'll bring a new era for the Horde.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: In the Blade's Edge Mountains, the NPC fighting alongside players against Goc wants the dragon-killing gronn to know who killed him.
    Baron Sablemane (Alliance): It's only right that you know the name of the one who will take your life. Baron Sablemane. It will be on your lips as you gasp your dying breath.
    Rexxar (Horde): I am Rexxar, son of the Mok'Nathal, champion of the Horde. And the torment at your hands is at an end. By my name, I shall put an end to your life.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Unless a fight is designed around the enemy's mana reserves, said enemy can cast spells at you even if you drain its mana down to zero.
    • This is not always the case - at least when it comes to your garden variety mook. Casters will cast until they're out of mana, and then proceed to run up to melee range to hit you with their staff, until they regenerate enough to cast again.
    • Several enemy abilities work differently than player ones of the same name. Player Whirlwinds strike all enemies around them once for half weapon damage. Enemy Whirlwinds strike all enemies around them a few times over a period of a few second, for standard damage, more akin to the Arms Warrior talent Blade Storm (which has a significantly longer cooldown than player or enemy Whirlwinds).
  • Mysterious Note: Quite literally with this item.
  • Mystery Meat: Mystery Meat is the ingredient in several Cooking recipes. It comes from all manners of beasts as well, even including giant scorpions.
    • The most recent expansion has something similar, Chilled Meat, that is Northrend's version of Mystery Meat. Apparently, due to the conditions of the northern continent, it comes already refrigerated once you're done butchering.
  • Mystical High Collar: Many wizard outfits include one.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: TONS! Most orc names tend to be this. Grom/Garrosh Hellscream, Kargath Bladefist, Orgrim Doomhammer, Tagar Spinebreaker, Teron Gorefiend, Nekrum Gutchewer....
    • The orcs are one of the few cases where this trope is justified. Last names are given to orcs (and their descendants) who did something really impressive in their lives. In a warrior culture, more often than not, this involves beating someone to death in a cool way. Hellscream is called Hellscream because he screams in a cool way, Bladefist actually has a blade for a hand, Doomhammer wields his hammer of doom, the doomhammer, Spinebreaker probably broke someone's spine, Gorefiend was a fiend that created a lot of gore and you can probably guess what Gutchewer did.
    • Unholy Death Knight PC's get a minion who has one, of the Noun Verber variety. However, as the names are re-randomized every time you summon the minion, this has the potential for hilarity.
      • Also, the class is called Death Knight.
    • Some races have these. The Faceless Ones and the Dreadlords come to mind.
    • The Old Gods and their minions deserve a special notice for having names that no human should have to pronounce. Bonus points for having their name inspired by a very certain mythology.
    • Deathwing The Destroyer aka Deathwing the Aspect of Death aka Deathwing The World Breaker.
      • Also known as the Black Scourge, The Dark One, Blood's Shadow, The Cataclysm, Death Incarnate and The Unmaker of Worlds. Deathwing spares no expense in this department.
    • Illidan The Betrayer.
    • Archimonde The Defiler.
  • Names to Trust Immediately: A few. One notable example in lore is Uther Lightbringer, the very first paladin.
    • Alexstraza the Lifebinder.
  • Naval Blockade:
    • In the Howling Fjord, the Northsea Freebooter pirates set up a blockade around the Alliance settlement of Westguard Keep. A daily quest involves breaking it by dropping bombs from a zeppelin.
    • Gadgetzan, on the coast of Tanaris (since the Cataclysm, anyway; before, Steamwheedle Port was their coastal town), is being blockaded by Southsea pirates. One quest has the player fly over the blockade in a rocket-propelled hot air balloon and drop bombs on the pirate ships.
  • Nemean Skinning
  • Nepharious Pharaoh: Dark Pharaoh Tekahn is the leader of a faction of very sphinx-like creatures who allied themselves with Deathwing, the Big Bad of the "Cataclysm" expansion.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Genn Greymane, the king of Gilneas, abandoned the Alliance and bricked up his entire city behind a giant wall. Then the worgen came... Something of a subversion, since Greymane brought his troubles down on his own head.
  • Neutral No Longer: The Gilneas worgen and Bilgewater goblins in the Cataclysm expansion.
    • And in Mists of Pandaria, Jaina Proudmoore, the Kirin Tor and the blue dragonflight.
  • Never Found the Body: John J. Keeshan, who is thought to have performed a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the Redridge Mountains storyline, but reappears in the Burning Steppes.
    • Turalyon and Alleria, since the Second War.
    • A lot of old world NPCs after the Cataclysm.
    • Illidan was said to have been driven off the black temple by Maiev instead of visibly killed by players, leaving possible room for reviving him like the Devs have off-handedly mentioned.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Grandma Wahl of Gilneas seems like a typical old lady, but don't mess with her kitty! Because she will transform into a worgen and beat you up with her rolling pin.
  • New Game+: See Alt-itis, in A to H. The heirloom items available for purchase with endgame emblems are usable at any level and grow along with the character they're on at any given moment, along with generally having Superior-quality stats when your character doesn't even see useful Uncommons on a regular basis until level 20 and beyond.
  • New World Tease: Sort of: In the final chamber of the Blood Furnace, you can look straight down through the floor and catch a glimpse of Magtheridon's Lair. And in Magister's Terrace, there is a scrying orb that you can click to get a glimpse of the Sunwell Plateau.
  • Nice Hat: Many hats in the game, but the top hats that the citizens of Gilneas wear takes the cake. The player can acquire one after thwarting Godfrey's betrayal of the king.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: You do this in an uncomfortably high number of quests.
    • Drak'tharon Keep, a citadel of hostile ice trolls, is proving to be a major impediment for the war effort, so the player is tasked with capturing ice trolls so that they may be interrogated for information. Drakaru, one of your captives, tells the player that the Keep is currently besieged by Scourge and offers the player a truce: if the player can gather the components Drakuru needs, Drakuru will perform a magical ritual to cleanse the Keep, presumably earning the trolls' gratitude. The player agrees and, after a series of quests, eventually enters the Keep with Drakaru, but in the process causes the Keep to fall to the Scourge. Turns out Drakuru was secretly an agent of the Lich King and the "cleansing" ritual was designed to break the Keep's last magical defenses holding back the Scourge. When the player enters Zul'Drak, the neighboring zone and home of the ice trolls, he finds the loss of the Keep to the Scourge has let in a large Scourge invasion force led by Overlord Drakaru, now seeking to "cleanse" all of his troll brethren. The player must now undermine the Scourge invasion all the while pretending to work with Drakaru, who thinks the player is his best buddy for helping him take over the Keep. In the end, the player succeeds and defeats Drakaru in battle after disrupting his operations in Zul'Drak.
      Arthas: As for you... I spare your insignificant life as a reward for this amusing betrayal. There may yet be a shred of potential in you.
    • In Shadowmoon Valley, you hear rumors that Teron Gorefiend, the first ever death knight and a generally very evil guy, may have returned to the Valley, though he's supposed to have fallen in battle ages ago. Given this potential threat, you seek out information from an Ancient Shadowmoon Spirit. The Spirit requests you gather items that once belonged to Gorefiend so that the Spirit can use the items' residual connection to Gorefiend to locate him. You gather the items, only to discover that the Spirit is the trapped spectral remnant of Gorefiend and that bringing the items together allows Gorefiend to return. Gorefiend thanks you for freeing him and promptly rides off to join up with Illidan and become a raid boss in Black Temple.
    • Goblin characters were apparently getting a truly epic one of these, but it's now merely moderately epic. It is now a complete coincidence that Deathwing shows up and wrecks your home island just as you kick a rather large bomb into a volcano. The volcanic destruction of the island you wind up marooned on, however? Yeah, that's still pretty much down to you, a giant turtle and a rocket launcher.
    • While on one of your periodic murderous rampages through Northern Stranglethorn Vale, you come across an adorable baby raptor who adopts you as a parent and follows you around. Dawww. A few totally unrelated quests later while she's tagging along, she digs up a troll skull which you feel the need to take to an NPC for examination. You inexplicably agree to try to resurrect the troll to whom said skull belongs. No points if you guess early on that the skull belonged to someone who should have remained dead, possibly even by your hand a long time ago. The resurrected bad guy kidnaps your newest friend and as of 4.1 is the source of no shortage of trouble in the area.
    • A quest chain in Arathi Highlands starts with a dwarf suggesting you go investigate strange voices in the ruins. The voice claims to be a princess and has you undertake a series of quests that will free her from bondage. Turns out she's not a princess, and when you report back to the dwarf he is nonplussed at your actions. Fortunately he knows how to reverse the effect.
    • The final boss of the Blood Furnace calls you a fool for interrupting his ritual, and wishes you luck when you beat him, telling you that you'll need it. Since the ritual chamber was directly above Magtheridon's Lair, it is implied that the spell was supposed to keep Magtheridon restrained, and you just weakened the bindings by stopping the ritual.
    • A larger plot related example happens in Cataclysm, where Thrall steps down as Warchief of the Horde and names Garrosh Hellscream as his successor, the one person in the Horde who is undoubtedly the WORST Orc for the job. Afterwards, relations between the Horde and Alliance have gone nowhere but downhill, ultimately culminating in the destruction of Theramore and the start of full scale war between the Horde and Alliance.
      • On the contrary, per Thrall's conversation with Vol'jin, Garrosh, at least until he jumped off the deep end in 5.1, was exactly the Orc Thrall wanted.
    The Horde cries for a hero of old. An orc of true blood that will bow to no human and bear no betrayal. A warrior that will make our people proud again. Garrosh can be that hero.
    • The climax of the first zone in Mists Of Pandaria has one that kicks off the plot of most other zones; After spending a majority of the zone arming and training one of the native races after they join your faction, they go to war in the middle of a clearing where the Pandaren were readying a statue where Yu'Lon, the Jade Dragon and one of Pandaria's revered spirits could re-incarnate herself. As the battle begins and artillery fires, the statue gets damaged and falls. With this, the hatred the Alliance and Horde share for each other finally manifests as a Sha that's easily a hundred feet tall. While you do manage to destroy the Sha by destroying its energy fonts, the clearing is eternally scarred by Sha energy, the Jade Dragon has to wait several more years before she can reincarnate (losing power and allowing her followers to be possessed by sha in the process) and the seven great Sha all over the continent awaken and begins causing horrible chaos everywhere else. It's implied it was going to happen sooner or later anyway, but still, it's a major Player Punch to know that you had a hand in it.
    • This in turn leads to the Klaxxi who get you to wake all their paragons and encourage you to spend weeks grinding their quests and then go into raids and kill the Empress only to make a rather large reveal when you hit exalted and have done every quest in the zone for them... They're trying to reawaken the Old Gods, the quote is: "Great was the Old One, and terrible was His wrath. He consumed hope and begat despair; He inhaled courage and breathed fear.". And you've just aided their cause magnificently. Great job. At least they gave you a cool scorpion to ride around on.
    • Anduin Wrynn, by convincing the August Celestials to let the Alliance, the Horde and Pandarian refugees into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, most likely helps a great deal in Garrosh unearthing the heart of Y'Shaarj, devastating the Vale and granting him the power of an Old God.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • The Forsaken invasion of Gilneas drives the Worgen to rejoin the Alliance.
    • An Alliance ship shooting down the goblins and the hostile SI-7 lead the goblin refugees to team up with the orcs.
    • Kologarn in Ulduar, whose corpse conveniently becomes a bridge across an otherwise impassible ravine. Highlighted here.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: What. WHAT. Sadly, he's not actually seen around Maelstrom as in the Beta. He does appear in a quest in Uldum as a holographic projection however.
    • It does appear in Brawlpub, which takes it to a new level: a clockwork gnome makes a version with a robotic shark.
  • Noble Demon: Thassarian pre-Heel-Face Turn.
  • Nobody Calls Me Chicken: Male Goblin. Try a /chicken when playing as one. Other races work too, but this one plays the trope straight.
  • Nobody Poops: Well, sort of. There are a few outhouses around, but perhaps one for every hundredth NPC, and that's being generous. Still, there are more aversions than typical for a video game.
    • A large number of quests involve you digging through animal poop.
    • There's a quest line where you accidentally eat a valuable seed, and have to collect the ingredients for a powerful laxative, then pay a visit to a nearby outhouse.
    • Ogre camps are a general aversion to Nobody Poops, because they don't bother with outhouses. Visibly.
    • A Horde quest line in Jade Forest has you gathering materials to build an outhouse for a goblin who is complaining that there's no proper place for such activities in the wilderness. And then he weaponizes it with the help of the Forest Hozen against the Jinyu.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Lor'Themar Theron.
  • No Dead Body Poops: The Pit of Saron
    Forgemaster Garfrost: (when killed) Garfrost hope giant underpants clean. Save boss great shame. For later.
  • No Eye in Magic: The Lunatic Gaze spell, used by Yogg-Saron and the Laughing Skulls, will only drain the sanity of players who are facing it. Also, Eadric the Pure's Radiance and Isiset's Supernova are blinding attacks that will only work on players who look at it.
    • On a similar principle, He Softfoot's Eye Gouge only works if his aggro target is facing him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The players get to do this to, of all people the Lich King. Granted, you have had three phases of fight with him beforehand not counting Remorseless Winter, and he's just been the victim of Tirion.
  • Noisy Nature: Every thing that attacks on both planets will make a lot of noise in the process, even (sometimes especially) when it shouldn't.
  • No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Archimonde, during the Battle for Mount Hyjal, casts Finger of Death on players if nobody's in melee range. The description for the spell reads:
      Strikes an enemy with the finger of death, inflicting 20000 shadow damage upon them, their children, and their children's children.
    • When battling Kanrethad Ebonlocke:
      Kanrethad: If two imps are better than one imp, what's better than two imps? Sixty imps!
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Several Gnome recon planes crashed in the Borean Tundra, and Alliance players get quests to help a pilot follow security protocol, which includes destroying the planes to prevent the technology from getting into anyone else's hands. Naturally, Horde players are tasked by a Goblin to retrieve one of the planes so he can study it. The Goblin actually does get some parts, but it turns out Goblin reverse-engineered Gnome technology works about as well as you'd expect.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Experience can be earned by using gathering professions (mining, herbalism, and archaeology) as well as for discovering areas of the map. Many quests also offer experience for activities that involve no combat. You can get a token amount of experience for "breadcrumb" quests in which one NPC asks you to talk to another, who then gives you quests, as well as other quests that involve professions.
  • Nonindicative Name: The Combat Rogue's Mastery skill, "Main Gauche," increases the rate at which you attack with the weapon in your right hand (or main hand). "Main Gauche" is French for "left hand."
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • Blackrock Depths is built inside a volcano, and is populated by evil dwarves. What makes them evil? The handrail-less bridges and walkways that are nothing but giant chains built over pools of lava. Even the capital cities feature these.
    • Aldor Rise features small open air elevators that go up a huge sheer cliff.
      • Speaking of elevators, it would probably be faster to list those elevators in the game which actually do exhibit OSHA compliance. Said list is pretty much limited to the elevators in Undercity, and even they aren't perfect.
    • Ironforge has pools of lava all over, only some of which have grates to stop you falling in.
    • The Undercity has pools of green glowing liquid all over - not dangerous to players but animals dipped in a similar substance have grown huge and attacked people.
    • Silvermoon City is suspended over a Bottomless Pit that is thankfully guarded by invisible walls, though there's a lot of other Malevolent Architecture, with lots of Floating Platforms and no guard rails.
    • The Dalaran Underbelly. A tunnel that ends in a 500+ foot drop, strange potions are lying around everywhere, and a lovely shark swimming around by some shops, waiting to munch on anyone who gets too close.
      • One of those potions will turn you into a flying bug. Many a player has discovered the hard way that "Only works in Dalaran" is quite literal. Hint: The end of that tunnel is not considered Dalaran.
      • To be fair, that "tunnel" was originally built as part of Dalaran's sewer system. If you go to the area northwest of Hillsbrad where Dalaran was originally located, you can see the pipe down in the crater that tunnel connected to. The designers probably didn't think that mages would take the city and magically lift the whole thing 500 feet in the air. :) Then again, in a magical world, in the main magical city in that world, whose inhabitants are all mages...maybe they should've had some more foresight.
    • The Gnomish city Gnomeregan is a partial subversion, abandoned due to having been flooded with radiation... except that there are not only a lack of rails in most places, but an elevator entrance to the subterranean city featuring a heavy lid slamming over the elevator shaft as the platform descends (don't stand too close).
    • Tauren capital Thunder Bluff is another offender, with the whole city built on a mesa hundreds of feet tall. The only safety is afforded by fences that are low by human standards, let alone the Tauren who are quite a bit taller. The plains at the foot of Thunder Bluff are frequently littered with the corpses of players who fell or jumped off.
    • Blackrock Spire is pretty bad in this respect too. The dungeon - supposedly a city inhabited mostly by orcs and dragons - is full of narrow bridges and easily-accessible ledges with no handrails whatsoever. While the bridges may be defensive structures a la Khazad-dm, where they aren't over lava they're over drops that you need a parachute to survive.
    • Gilneas has several very high bridges with no railings whatsoever.
    • Grim Batol, a high-end dungeon with damaged bridges over fatal drops, prevents you from Mind Controlling enemies to prevent abuse of this trope, since there are pits everywhere.
    • Vortex Pinnacle also has abundant ledges, unlike Grim'Batol, you can both fall off and mind control enemies, and while a tornado will save you, the player, enemies don't have the same mercy.
    • Orgrimmar itself has a Thunder Bluff-like mesa in the center and several cliff faces easily accessible to players, complete with waist-high railings that's easily jumped over to the doom of many players. The towers where Horde players go ride zeppelins don't even have railings at all. Not to mention the spikes that are on every building and many furnishings in the area.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: According to the lore, Gnomes are a complete aversion of this. They plan meticulously, taking more time to draw schematics of things than it takes to actually build them, and will often test, redesign and upgrade their inventions until they are perfect. Those tanks that go backwards and teleporters that get you to your destination but hundreds of feet in the air, those are the unperfected prototypes.
  • North Is Cold, South Is Hot: Azeroth fits this trope to a T. In the south, you will find Tanaris, Stranglethorn Vale and the Swamp of Sorrows. In the north, you have Northrend, and the snowy Winterspring in northern Kalimdor.
    • Now subverted for Azeroth with Pandaria in the south, but played straight within Pandaria with snow in the north, and swamps, farmland and jungles in the south. Interestingly enough, north of the snowy Kun-Lai Summit is the warm Isle of Giants.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: Played with in the Goblin starting area, after getting an "attitude adjustment" one of the responses the Troll slaves gives is that they're going to complain to HR. Since this adjustment involves copious amounts of electricity, it's doubtful that Goblin HR is anything more than lip service.
  • The Nothing After Death: Both Arthas and Sylvanas refer to this. It might have something to do with both of them being already undead though.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Cataclysm brings this to a head with Deathwing devastating Azeroth simply by reemerging from his hideout. Yes, he is that powerful now. In addition, many races will be gaining access to previously unavailable classes due to their constant exposure to different cultures, and rumors have circulated that several major faction leaders will be stepping down as well.
  • Not Quite Dead: Pretty much everyone from Warcraft III whose death wasn't shown on screen returns, and even some whose were. This continues throughout the expansions, with bosses defeated in world zones or 5-man dungeons frequently putting in appearances in later raids.
  • No True Scotsman: There have been four Hordes (five if you distinguish between the Old and Iron Hordes) and each one is convinced that only they are the legitimate Horde. Bonus points to Garrosh's Horde, which outright calls itself the True Horde.
  • Not So Different: The Horde and the Alliance. See Grey and Gray Morality. The Lich King also includes this argument in his Hannibal Lecture to you as you advance through the Shadowmourne questline.
    • The quests for the Forsaken in Cataclysm seem to say this about them compared to the Scourge. The actions in Hillsbrad disturbingly mirror the actions of some of the Scourge scientists.
    • In Duskwood, when Tobias Mistmantle confronts his evil brother Stalvan over him killing the student he had a crush on and her lover, the now undead Stalvan confirms the accusation and says that Tobias is now feeling what he felt- enough rage to want to kill someone, prompting Tobias to assume his Worgen form. After Tobias and the player kill Stalvan, Tobias has a Big "NO!" and runs off, but when you turn in the quest, he's decided that it's up to him whether he lives as a monster.
    • Anduin asks if you're any different from Garrosh if you blindly trust Wrathion in search of power in the legendary questline.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Millhouse Manastorm seems to be goofy, cowardly, and full of himself, but when you face him in the Brawler's Guild, he's one of the hardest opponents, with you having to take off 47 million health in 2 minutes, when most enemies do not even have a quarter of that amount. In order to accomplish that, you must take advantage of beams that give a damage buff, but not only do you still need to damage him very quickly, but the beam can also empower Millhouse until he kills you in one shot.
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: Booty Bay. Especially when it's New Year's and the guards are too drunk to intervene if another player attacks you within the city.
  • Not Worth Killing: One has to wonder why so many minor threats are allowed to exist in the starting areas, which are near major capitals, instead of being wiped out to secure the area. In the case of the Frostmane Trolls south of Anvilmar, the Dwarves simply don't consider them a major threat, focusing more on the Troggs, the still warring Dark Iron Dwarves, and the other Trolls.
    • Arthas plays with this, as a necromancer he wants to kill the mightiest warriors in Azeroth, and raise them as part of his undead army; so unlike other cases of this trope where the killer doesn't feel the victim is worth the time or effort to kill, he spends a lot of time and effort looking for the strongest warriors, and using challenges to make them as strong as possible before killing them.
    • During the Third War, the Burning Legion used the Scourge to eradicate any forces in the Eastern Kingdoms that might interfere with its invasion: namely, Lordaeron, Quel'thalas, and Dalaran. The rest of the human kingdoms (plus Ironforge and Gnomeregan) were spared because they were too weak to be a threat to the Legion.
  • Obvious Beta: A more mild example. The game was playable but there were still a lot of bugs and issues with balancing, and in some cases, the developers intentionally left things as an Obvious Beta so that they can go rework it or add more stuff in a later patch. Some of these include:
    • The endboss of a lot of raids was intentionally made unwinnable so that players wouldn't storm through the dungeon so fast and be on the boards complaining that there's nothing to do. Nefarian was not even completely coded into the game yet, but when he was, it turned out to be worth the wait.
    • Many raid dungeons were initially bugged, partly because they weren't completely tested. The first guild that killed Vashj had her instantly respawn and kill the raid. It was also possible to kill Arthas by throwing bombs at him, which resets the outer ring and thus makes the val'kyr unable to drop people off in Phase 2. When players are able to ignore the val'kyr, they have more freedom to position Defiles appropriately, and can spend more time DPSing the boss, making Phase 2 shorter and easier.
    • Silithus was an Obvious Beta zone. The zone was left unfinished at launch with minimal quests leading into the zone and by patch 1.8, it was actually finished. (Heck, before 1.8, you couldn't even go through half the zone! Though, part of that was because the zone was twice as big on the map—the lower half became Ahn'Qiraj.)
    • This was one of the criticisms of Cataclysm, which was rushed to make the release to make sure it actually made it on time. Vashj'ir had problems with mob density and respawn rates (See Offscreen Teleportation) but the respawn rates weren't entirely Blizzard's fault. Amongst other things, it was released with a lot of bugs but was still playable. There were still some bugs after the first major content patch, too.
    • Death Knights, at release. Also Paladins in patch 3.0. There was a time in Wrath beta when paladins could solo the fel reaver. They both got nerfed in short order.
      • Due to the new talent system in 5.0.4, Holy Paladins were ridiculously overpowered at lower levels - with their Holy Shock ability hitting for over level 10. Needless to say, the nerf was nearly as quick as it was expected.
    • The Cataclysm 4.2 patch completely broke the targeting system. This was especially hard on melee classes. You would hit an ability, the game would switch your current target to the closest dead enemy, give you a "your target is dead" error, but STILL put your ability on cooldown. The only workaround was to make a macro for EVERY ability to /focus current target, then cast ability on focus. It remained in this state for over *2 months* and required multiple patches to fix. 4.2 was when the Firelands raid was released, so progress in this raid was VERY VERY difficult for everyone except healers.
    • Mists of Pandaria had Cataclysm's issues with respawn rates, as well as quite a few bugs. For example, the Lorewalker Stonestep encounter could pit players against Strife and Peril or the Zao Sunseeker encounter, and the latter often glitched before it was removed until 5.2.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Arthas, and Death Knights in general.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Because the game needs to respawn enemies for other players to kill/loot, it's extremely common to be ambushed from an enemy that you killed. This was especially prevalent in the release of Cataclysm, and in Silithus where the mob density is actually quite high.
    • And because the game is controlled by a server, it doesn't always wait for the "offscreen" part; at its most extreme, a new enemy can respawn the instant the first one is killed, right on top of the first one's corpse.
  • Oh Crap: The Goblin captain and navigator of Trade Prince Gallywix's ship are arguing over who got them lost in a thick fog, but when they get out of the fog, they end up in the middle of an Alliance-Horde naval battle. Also, Deathwing when he sees Thrall aiming the Dragon Soul, Deathwing's weapon lost forever during the Well of Eternity, straight at him and taking a good chunk off of his back.
  • Oh My Gods!: Several variants per race.
    • Humans: By the Light!
    • Night Elves: By Elune/the goddess!
    • Tauren: By the Earthmother.
    • Draenei: By the Naaru/The Light!
    • Trolls: By the spirits.
    • Orcs: By the ancestors.
  • Oh Wait: Tony Two-Tusk, a pirate captain that you kill, comes back as a very chatty spirit and haunts you until you take him to his ex-wife to resurrect him; he may come to this Heel Realization:
    Spirit of Tony Two-Tusk: They say I have a bad reputation as a pirate, but you don't see me sailing around indiscrimanately killing people just to make a profit. Oh, wait...
  • Olympus Mons: Subdue the freaking Raven God and use him for a ride?
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The goal of the Burning Legion is to unmake the universe.
    • Deathwing becomes this as a result of the Old Gods' corruption.
  • Once Upon a Time: Lorewalker Cho uses this to introduce the "Blood in the Snow" scenario, and talks about a meeting between King Varian and the Council of Three Hammers, which happened only a few minutes ago. Many of the scenarios are implied to be him telling stories, during which time players might be transformed into a member of the opposing faction if they're not part of the faction featured in the scenario (for example, Alliance players become trolls for Dagger in the Dark).
  • One-Gender Race: The Mogu. Apparently, the Twin Consorts, the penultimate boss in Throne of Thunder, are, according to the Dungeon Journal, "the only known female Mogu in existence", and the developers comment that they are literally carved out of stone.
  • One-Man Army: Every class ends up being this against normal world mobs once they reach max level and get geared out.
    • As gear stats continue to grow exponentially between tiers and expansions, it's perfectly common for any halfway decently geared, level capped player to solo raids that required 25 players to beat when the raid was current.
    • Acknowledged in-game during a Mists of Pandaria daily quest. The quest giver sends you to fight some invading monsters, claiming that the only things around that could stop them are the local Physical God, and you.
  • One Steve Limit: Lampshaded by one shaman of the Earthen Ring who is worried that people are getting them confused with the druid group, the Cenarion Circle.
    Stormcaller Jalara: Many confuse the Earthen Ring with the Cenarion Circle. ...I TOLD Thrall we should name ourselves the "Earthen Square".
    • In Winterspring is a large owl the locals called "Deathwing", until they found out that name was taken, so now they call her "Hell-Hoot".
    • In Pandaria, you must kill a wolf called Cracklefang so that someone else can claim the name.
    • Monks heading to the Peak of Serenity for training will find two "Master Cheng"s, a Panderen who tests you on Roll, and a Blood/High Elf who tests you on Paralysis.
  • One-Winged Angel: A few bosses transform mid-battle, whether by activating a special ability (Moorabi, Gal'darah, Tharon'ja) or as a second part to the battle (The Black Knight in the Trial of the Champion, Ingvar the Plunderer in Utgarde Keep).
  • Only Mostly Dead: Death just flings your spirit to the nearest spirit healer. One could technically apply the same logic to the continually respawning NPCs; maybe they just run back from the graveyard. This gets a special Lampshade Hanging by a villainous NPC who writes about being constantly killed and resurrected in his diary. Also played with by Azuregos (a blue dragon who used to drop several important quest items). He's not quite sane after being killed so many times by players, and after deciding to stay dead to avoid being killed again, has fallen in love with a spirit healer.
  • Only One Female Mold: This has been a consistent complaint. The alpha builds, while rough, often had the females look like counterparts to the males of their race, but when it came time for final builds (after receiving many complaints about ugliness) it was like the developers threw up their hands and said "Screw it, let's make them barbie dolls with bad teeth".
  • Only Sane Man: At various times, Thrall, Jaina, Tirion Fordring, Cairne, Varok Saurfang, or Anduin Wrynn.
  • Open Secret: The Southern Rocketway Terminus, home of the world famous Secret Lab; they even give tours, when the lab's not on fire.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Illidan in The Burning Crusade, who does practically nothing but wait for players to come kill him. This may again be explained by the fact that he's under siege by the forces of Kil'jaeden. Arthas also gives this impression during some Northrend events, however it is eventually revealed that instead of going out and attempting to kill you while you level, Arthas has merely been waiting for you to arrive so he can one-shot your entire raid and turn the most powerful heroes in all of Northrend into his Scourge minions in one masterful fait accompli. Too bad for him it doesn't work out.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Naaru, which are basically extremely powerful, Lawful Good shards of light.
  • Our Demons Are Different: They're implied to be mostly asexual, and a lot of them used to be good.
    • And they're all, relative to the main setting world, aliens.
  • Our Dragons Are Different
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played with in the Ironforge dwarves, subverted somewhat with the others.
  • Our Elves Are Better: With both Night Elves and Blood Elves, there's delicious blueberry and strawberry flavors!
    • Also included, if unplayable: High Elves, Felblood Elves, Wretched (or Crack Elves), and all cross-breeds and mutations thereof (Satyrs, Banshees, Harpies, etc.). This is to say nothing of the possible connection between the Elves and the infinite flavors of Trolls.
    • Possible deconstructed though: Elves think they're better than everyone but some of the biggest catastrophes in Azeroth's history relate to Elves.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Reanimated from the remains of fallen warriors. Sometimes stitched together like Frankenstein.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: They like explosions, as well as steampunk tech and money. They have been known to be fascinated by rebuilding things they don't even know what it does, at one point resulting in you taking an ill-fated ride on some sort of rocket.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They like engineering, and descend from clockwork creatures
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Hobart Grapplehammer was advised to disavow the Gilgoblins as his creations due to a negligence lawsuit brought against him.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: ... and some of them sport two heads.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: They started out as the stereotypical evil ORC SMASH kind (lampshaded in one of the male orc's /silly emotes, where they say just that), but were retconned into being noble savages with a shamanistic-hunter-warrior culture.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Darkfallen, Blood Elves that Arthas turned after Kael's failed excursion with Illidan against Arthas, are vampires, though they seem to feed off of energy as much as blood.
    • Blood Death Knights are overt vampires by design. The visual of what their talent tree would actually mean in combat is nightmare fuel incarnate.
    • Also the Nathrezim, demons who follow some vampiric rules like having the ability to summon a swarm of bats or a "vampiric aura".
    • The Blood Elves could be seen as a sort of energy vampire, and the Wretched and Felblood Elves do drink demon blood.
    • Shadow priests have spells like Vampiric Touch and Embrace which qualify them as having psychic vampire abilities. Though they probably don't count since they can give up using them anytime they like.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Worgen look like werewolves but their descriptions go some way to insisting they are not. They were originally Druids who liked becoming wolves. And with the Cataclysm expansion, you can be one.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: And playable since the beginning.
  • Oxygen Meter: Players get a "Breath" meter when swimming underwater, it lasts 3 minutes, or 10 minutes for Forsaken players. Some spells or items give players a water breathing buff; in the case of Vashj'ir, a shaman gives players a permanent buff, but it only works in that zone.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: Some areas have fissures which spew enough oxygen for your character to breathe underwater.
  • Pandaing To The Audience: Mists of Pandaria, naturally, introduced us to the pandaren.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: One Death Knight quest involves you ambushing a Scarlet Crusade courier by hiding behind a small tree literally made of cardboard.
    "Hrm, what a strange tree. I must investigate."
    • In Burning Steppes there's a quest where you infiltrate the enemy army wearing, essentially, a paper mask and no other disguise. And they give no sign, whatsoever, of being at all suspicious of you, even though your backside is completely obviously whatever race you are. Lampshaded when you turn in the quest to create said disguise: the person you turn in the quest to basically says "THIS is the disguise that guy came up with?! Well, it was nice knowing you, buddy." Which, of course, makes it that much funnier when it actually works. And subverted at points during a late quest, where some of the recruits will (finally) realize you're not what your mask appears to be.
    • And in Blasted Lands, there's a truly hilarious quest where you get past the enemy's miners disguised as a box. And every single one of the miners and foremen comments on the walking box (with feet!), but not one bothers to look under it.
    • In the Goblin starting area (well, the second one), you hide among a tribe of pygmies by simply wearing one of their oversized helmets. Pygmies aren't too bright and as a goblin you really are about the right size, but you still essentially put on a hat as a disguise.
    • In Stonetalon Mountains, Alliance players are tasked with meeting a gnomish spy who has infiltrated a goblin oil-drilling facitily. Her disguise? A flimsy goblin mask.
    • In Borean Tundra, a D.E.H.T.A. Druid became "king" of the Winterfin Murlocs by wearing a Murloc disguise suit. On closer inspection, you can see a zipper in the back. One murloc is not fooled, however, and he lets you know it right away, though he tolerates your presence because your actions are helping the Winterfin.
    • In Loch Modan, a very blatantly drunk dwarf makes a "costume" for you so you can sneak up on a diplomat and throw murloc pee on him (it's a long story). It basically consists of holding a potted plant in front of yourself. It is amazingly effective.
  • Parachute in a Tree: This is how one first arrives in Sholazar Basin.
  • Patchwork Map: Quite a bit of it, especially in Outland.
  • Pet the Dog: If you beat Tragic Monster Deathbringer Saurfang as an Alliance race, Varian gets one when he orders Muradin to stand aside to let his (Orc) father collect his body.
  • Perpetually Static: Started out pretty straight at the game's release, but each expansion has delivered additional ways for players to impact the game world. The most noticeable one in the original game was when players had to cooperate to complete the War Effort and open the gates of Ahn'Qiraj. The game world also changes for the periodic holiday events, adding new (albeit temporary) objects and NPCs.
    • Burning Crusade allows players to participate in key events related to their factions and conquer Player Versus Player objectives in several zones that provide temporary bonuses to fellow faction members.
    • Wrath of the Lich King further averts this by delivering a new technique called phasing, which allows the story to advance for the player once he completes certain quests. This is particularly evident in Dragonblight, Storm Peaks, Icecrown, and the Death Knight starting area.
    • Cataclysm turns Perpetually Static on its ear and kicks it in the balls — in addition to utterly changing the face of Azeroth as we know it, the latest expansion promises to take advantage of phasing like never before, altering the terrain of the world in addition to objects and NPCs as players progress through the story.
    • In the quest chain to unlock the Molten Front, after completing one quest, Hamuul Runetotem is badly burned and some of the daily quests involve healing him. At a later point, he recovers and has a Big Damn Heroes moment, and a placeholder quest is used instead of the daily quests related to treating his injuries.
    • In the Isle of Quel'danas and Isle of Thunder, player efforts enable their factions to gradually advance on the island.
  • Perpetual Storm: The Maelstrom between the continents. It was created in the backstory by the Great Sundering, where the Well of Eternity collapsed into itself, destroying nearly 80 percent of Kalimdor's landmass in the process.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Improbably enough, this is done (if you have a certain item) with the Lich King.
  • Perspective Reversal: King Varian and Lady Jaina. Previously, King Varian hated the Horde, and is one the main reasons the Alliance and Horde are at war now, while Jaina has been seeking peace between the two. As of Mists of Pandaria Varian has softened his approach, though he still fights the Horde as it is now led by the warmongering Garrosh Hellscream; Jaina took the brunt of the Horde offensive when Hellscream destroyed Theramore, and used Dalaran to sneak the Horde into Darnassus, causing Jaina to abandon her peaceful approach in favor of full war.
  • Pink Elekks: The Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm companion pet obtained in Brewfest. There's also a quest in which you have to get drunk or use Synthebrew goggles, then use an Elekk Dispersion Ray outside some of your faction's cities to kill some Elekks.
  • Pirates: The "Booty" in Booty Bay refers to pirate booty, not the other kind. There's even a quest where players become pirates, and kill Ninjas.
    • There's also a commonly available food that will turn you randomly into one or the other, as well as costume wands given out around Hallow's End that let you turn other people into them.
  • Place Beyond Time: On the Timeless Isle, an island that randomly disappears and reappears, time stands still. No matter what time it is outside, it is always just before sundown there. Both Wrathion and the Bronze Dragonflight take a keen interest in the place.
  • Plague Doctor: Grand Apothecary Putress weaks a mask inspired by the beak mask, and is a plague-spreader. Warlocks have a similar armor set, they, however, being demonic mages, have nothing to do with plague.
  • Plaguemaster: The Forsaken of the Royal Apothecary Society, who as of Wrath of the Lich King have brewed a plague capable of destroying both the living and undead.
    • Death Knights are the only player class capable of casting diseases and the Unholy talent tree grants numerous bonuses to them.
    • Professor Putricide in Icecrown Citadel boasts of creating a plague that can destroy all life on Azeroth, and attacks the raid with a variety of chemical and biological weapons, including transforming himself into a tentacled monster.
  • Pocket Dimension: This is functionally what instances (dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds) are. A portal takes players to an area that is cut off from the rest of the gameworld, though thematically they are still in the same world that everyone else is in. This is most apparent with the outdoor instances like Shadowfang Keep or Zul'Gurub, players can fly over these areas and find very little there until they go through the portal and find the places crawling with ghosts and trolls.
    • The Firelands area is next to the Molten Front, and players in MF can get a quest to fly over FL and bomb the enemies there; on occasion, they may see a "raid group" at the start of the "instance", who can also be bombed.
    • Mists of Pandaria plans to break instances out of Pocket Dimension by making the dungeon present in the world, to scale, and inside will feature outside segments to remind players where they are.
    • Scenarios often take place outdoors, and many of those scenarios take place in locations where players have been before. For example, the Fall of Theramore scenario takes place in a ruined Theramore, and after completing the scenario (and later, after Patch 5.1), the world is updated accordingly to show it in ruins.
  • Poke the Poodle: By the Undercity Champion at the Argent Tourney during 'confession.'
    "I punched a penguin on my way in here."
    • While he may suck at being evil, the Champion does go into confessionnote  just to tell the priestess that he punched a penguin. Not to apologize.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Probably the main reason why the Alliance and the Horde are at war now. Of course, there are many renegade groups within both factions (but mostly within the Horde) who want just that to happen. The novels and the comics make that especially obvious.
  • Potty Failure: Silverpine's orc sea dogs when intoxicated.
    Orc Sea Dog: I may or may not have pissed myself!
  • Powder Trail: Master Boom Boom, a Hozen fighter at the Temple of the White Tiger has an attack where he sets and lights four powder trails in an "X" pattern, with a large explosive cache in the center. Players can stop the attack by running to each of the trails and stomping them out.
  • Power Copy: The death knight spell Dark Simulacrum allows them to copy the next spell their target casts and fire it as their own.
    • Hex Lord Malacrass can use an ability on players that grants him a few abilities from their class. For example, if he targets a Druid, he can cast Moonfire on his enemies or heal himself.
    • Druids have "Symbiosis", which gives them one ability from the class that would be good for their spec, and gives the target one of the Druid's spells in return.
      • The usefulness of that spell however, can vary. For instance, a Rogue gets Growl - a taunt skill.
      • A rarely found item gives non-Druids the ability to use the spell that Symbiosis confers on them, even without a Druid around, but only in Pandaria.
  • The Power of Hate: Alizabal, Mistress of Hate is the third boss in Baradin Hold. She once used her powers to incite her guards into a murderous rage, she uses the word "hate" in everything she says, and one of her special attacks is called "Seething Hate".
    • About halfway through the battle with Ishi at the end of the Operation Shieldwall/Dominance Offensive questline, he, corrupted by the sha, decides to give in to hatred and brutally kill his enemies, but Garrosh tells him to control his emotions.
    • In the Corrupted Taran Zhu encounter in Shado-Pan Monastery, if the players' Hatred bar fills, they receive a significant boost to their damage, but their hit is reduced to the point at which they are almost completely ineffective, and they must meditate for a few seconds in order to fight normally again. There is an achievement for defeating the boss while all players have maximum Hatred, but it's difficult to do unless the players wait until he has only a small amount of his health left before maximizing their hatred.
  • The Power of Rock: As an April Fools gag, Blizzard stated that there was a bard hero class for the Expansion Pack that utilized Guitar Hero-style controls and abilities such as "Epic Jam", "Shoegazer" and "Nonconformity". Don't forget their epic axe, "The Facemelter", with the chance on hit to "blow your target's mind".
  • Power-Up Food: Eating food restores your health and provides a buff to statistics. Raids generally have a designated person who brings a feast that gives everyone who eats it a buff that most benefits their class, and it is generally required that everyone eats from it before pulling a boss.
  • Powerup Mount: Mounts can double your travel speed, fly at 4 times your running speed, but you have to dismount to do almost anything else.
  • Practical Taunt: Every tank spec has a taunt, which boosts the tank's threat level to that of their target's current target and forces the target to attack them for a few seconds no matter what.
  • Precision F-Strike: Garrosh called Dark Lady Sylvanas a bitch in post-Cataclysm Silverpine Forest after she openly showed him that she was raising the dead and flippantly responded when called on her becoming like the Lich King.
    • However, since the Forsaken have free will, and the only reason why more need to be raised is due to the Forsaken not being able to procreate, there are some big differences. So Sylvanas' response can be viewed as more along the lines of a sarcastic reply to a stupid question.
  • Precursors: The Titans.
  • Predators Are Mean: Strangely, predator mobs will run to attack players, critters, and some NPCs, but don't eat them at all. Even a few of these who have been tamed by hunters will attack critters when they're not on hostile.
  • Prehistoria: The Un'Goro Crater and Sholazar Basin zones.
  • Press X to Die: A few instances. It's possible to dismount in midair, potentially falling to your death. Attacking Chimaeron without talking to Finkle Einhorn, thereby getting a buff that enables you to avoid being one-shotted at above 10,000 HP will lead to the battle becoming Unwinnable.
    • One of the items dropped from a rare mob on the Isle of Thunder is a haunted sacrificial dagger. Using it will cause your character to plunge it into their chest, killing them instantly.
  • Pride: The seventh Sha is the Sha of Pride, it is more dangerous than the others combined, and is the only Sha Emperor Shaohao could not defeat, as he was a victim of pride. Emperor Shaohao tells players that the mists around Pandaria were caused by his own sense of pride, and it dissipated because he finally realized that the Pandaren needed help; and drops a none-too-subtle hint that pride is what's keeping the Alliance and Horde at war.
  • Prison Rape: Millhouse Manastrom learned one thing in prison, actually two if you count how to hold your soap.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: Naga use this. Immerseus drops a Trident of Corrupted Waters, a weapon for DPS who use Agility.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Goblins. Ethereals in Outland and Grummles in Pandaria as well.
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy: Gnomes, and draenei to a lesser extent. In Cataclysm, the Blood Elves also have this going on.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Orcs most obviously, Tauren to a lesser extent. Vrykul are something of a deconstruction, playing it dead straight to the point of being a bunch of brutal murderers.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Shadow Priests + Mind Control + a tall cliff = Hilarity Ensues.
    • While some bosses use Mind Control to force players to attack their fellow raid members, a few use it to force players to commit suicide, such as Nefarian in Blackwing Descent, and Kaz'tik the Manipulator in Siege of Orgrimmar.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Cataclysm expansion, Twilight Highlands. The quest is entitled "Madness," and you're to accompany a Horde negotiator to the leader of the Dragonmaw clan of Orcs. Along the way, he questions "Hey, does this Red Shirt make me look expendable?" along with invoking retirony. And worse, at the end of the (unsuccessful) negotiations, he exclaims that "This is madness!" A Sparta kick into the flames behind him accompanies the following-
    Warchief Mor'ghor says: This is.....
    Warchief Mor'ghor yells: DRAGONMAW!!
    • Also:
      Garrosh Hellscreams says: YOU ARE DISMISSED!
    • Egregious example:
      Garrosh Hellscream yells: GET!
      Garrosh Hellscream yells: OFF!
      Garrosh Hellscream yells: MY!
      Garrosh Hellscream yells: SHIP!
    • Earthbreaker Dolomite, an NPC in Deepholm, also occasionally yells "This is Stonehearth!"
    • General Husam in the Lost City of the Tol'vir:
    *Combat starts* "Invaders! You. Shall. Go. No. Further!"
    *on dying* "Siamat must not go free. Turn back. Before. It is. Too. Late."
    • The Dragon Soul raid, the final Deathwing fight: "I. AM. THE CATACLYSM!"
    • Algalon the Observer, post-defeat.
    "I. Have. Felt. NOTHING."
  • Pungeon Master: Durumu the Forgotten, a floating demon with a large eye, likes to make references to eyes (particularly in his attack names) and looking.
    Durumu: I'm keeping an eye on you ...
  • Punished for Sympathy: Part of paladin Highlord Tirion Fordring's backstory. Not long after the second war against the orcs, Tirion has his life saved by one, Eitrigg. When Eitrigg is captured Tirion tries to save his life and return the favor, only to be ostracized, declared a traitor, and exiled.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: As they say it themselves, "The gender of your character is purely a cosmetic feature and has no impact on that character's abilities or statistics."
  • Purposefully Overpowered: Heirloom gear is Bound on Account, can be sent cross-faction, never needs to be repaired, gives you experience bonuses, levels up as you do and is always comparable to dungeon-quality equipment for your level. Needless to say, having heirloom gear in every available slot will make your character tear through lower level content. The thing is, the only way to get heirlooms is to already have a max-level character who's done a bunch of the endgame content. Their purpose is to let new characters of an already experienced player zoom through the low-level stuff as quickly as possible.
    • If you manage to defeat Garrosh Hellscream, you have a chance at getting some very powerful bind on account gear.
    • Legendary weapons. While not so game breakingly powerful that you can curbstomp anything you come across with them, the amount of time and effort you put into getting them pays off significantly with higher stats than you'd find on any equivalent item of that raid tier. Each weapon usually also has a special passive effect that adds to its already amazing strength. In Mists of Pandaria, as a result of the legendary questline, you can equip a legendary cloak and a legendary meta gem in your helmet, both of which have good stats and powerful abilities, and can also add a Sha-touched gem or extra gem slot to certain weapons.
    • Death Knights were very strong compared to other classes on the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, especially in their starting zone.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Garrosh Hellscream. 'Uncorrupted' Orc who despises the use of demonic powers and fiercely adhered to Honor Before Reason. Still a massive asshole. His faction leader story hints that his sense of entitlement, and lack of empathy for the other races or the Horde, is related to the fact that he, unlike Thrall and other Orcs, never understood what it's like to be The Atoner.
  • Put on a Bus: Gnomes return after a long absence, while dark trolls disappear off the face of Azeroth.
    • Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner. Originally the pair were supposed to appear in The Burning Crusade expansion, but two expansions later they have yet to make an appearance. Despite their son wandering around Honor Hold having visions of Turalyon's apparent death, Word of God says the pair are "stuck in a portal world".
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Silverpine Forest in Cataclysm. The Alliance forces retreat to Gilneas, but have otherwise suffered fairly small losses. The Forsaken, on the other hand, have been severely weakened; their forces have been devastated by Worgen raiding parties, a group of newly raised Forsaken rebel and seize control of Shadowfang Keep, and Sylvanas is given a harsh reminder of her own mortality.
    • In Mists of Pandaria, in the Dread Wastes the Klaxxi are ultimately able to kill the corrupted Empress of the Mantid with the help of the player characters, ending the Swarm. But large portions of the the Dread Wastes are permanently damaged and life-giving Kypari trees are killed from the Sha corruption, and most of the Klaxxi High Council and one of their ten Paragons die in the process.
    • Varian says this would be the result if the Alliance decided to dismantle the Horde after Garrosh's defeat; they would likely succeed, but there would be many, many casualties in the process.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Sul the Sandcrawler, part of the Council of Elders in the Throne of Thunder can create pools of quicksand that will slow and trap players in place, as well as dealing damage so that anyone caught in one will eventually die. Because the quicksand doesn't fade after time, he casts it every 30 seconds, and when he uses his special move, each puddle turns into an add while the surviving adds are healed and strengthened, many groups taking on the Council will kill Sul first.
    • Farraki Wastewalkers in the Horridon encounter have a similar move called Sand Trap.
  • The Quisling: Drakuru sells out the Drakkari ice trolls to the Lich King, starting out by tricking players into breaking down the last magical barrier keeping the scourge out of Zul'Drak.
    • The game just gives the impression you're just empowering Drakuru with some artifacts you blindly give him and has you killing the last defenders and an undead wind serpent thing that may or may not be affiliated with the Scourge. Mind Screw from bad writing was all most players got from that quest chain.
      • Alternatively, it's a minor case of Enemy Civil War as Drakuru is a replacement to the undead creature.
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: About half of Uldum (an ancient Egypt-style zone) consists of helping "Harrison Jones" find a magic relic in an ancient temple and fight Nazi goblins.
  • Railroading: Most of the game is fairly open, allowing players a choice on where to go and which questlines they want to do, but Cataclysm got a bad case of this. First the Goblin and Worgen starting zones are cut off from the rest of the game world, and only by following the very linear story to its end can players join the rest of the open world. Then the newly added high-end zones each had a linear storyline running from beginning to end; Deepholm and Uldum had some choice, but that choice was limited to "which of two linear questlines do you do first?"
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Oh, yes. Often, especially while in Burning Crusade, the most statistically viable piece of gear for a certain slot doesn't match the other pieces you have on.
  • Random Drop: This seems to have been majorly overhauled since Cataclysm, if logic dictates they should always drop the item you're after (like the infamous raptor heads), it will usually be a 100% drop rate, if not, they may drop grey items that are damaged versions of what you're after. You still find Zhevra that apparently lack legs and some birds don't always drop feathers, but it's not so frequent now.
    • Makes an unfortunate return in Mists of Pandaria, which features tigers that apparently have no blood, gazelles that have no meat, eels that have no heads and bugs without legs.
  • Random Transportation: The item "Scroll of Recall" could potentially have this effect. Normally it acts similar to a Hearthstone, sending you back to a previously set home point. If your level is too high for that particular level of scroll, however, the effect becomes more random.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: All ranged weapons, for all classes except Hunters. Their most common use is initiating battle from a distance in order to lure mobs to a more favourable position, although some abilities, such as Death Grip and Heroic Throw, have similar effects. For casters, wands are a backup weapon for when they run low on mana.
    • Mists of Pandaria did away with the ranged weapon slot (and the relic slot some classes used instead), instead having all ranged weapons equip to the regular weapon slots (two-handed for bows, crowsbows and guns, one-handed for wands) or done away with entirely in the case of throwing weapons. Rogues, who relied on the latter the most, instead received an ability to throw daggers when needed.
  • A Rare Sentence: From the quest text for "A Wolf in Bear's Clothing"
    These Worgen take us for fools! One would think that only an idiot would mistake one of their druids in bear form as a real bear. Unfortunately, there are many idiots here at the Forsaken Front. We've already lost a few battalions to organized worgen bear attacks. Yes, it's even more idiotic than it sounds.
  • Rated M for Manly: Their commercials. They've been endorsed by Chuck Norris, Mr. T, William Shatner, and Jean Claud Van Damme among others.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Cataclysm reinvented the 1-60 leveling experience in part because it had aged so much in comparison to the expansion content that it became a major complaint of both old players and newcomers, in addition to Deathwing altering much of the environment and several changes in the leadership of certain races.
  • Really Gets Around: Marcus, the main character of A Steamy Romance Novel and its sequels.
  • Real Money Trade: Despite intensive efforts by Blizzard to prevent it, a massive black market exists for gold-buying and powerleveling services. In the old ad-setup on TV Tropes, odds were that the ad banner on the left of the very screen was for such a service. Though as some people likely found out, if you do this and get caught, you will lose your account — if not to Blizzard, then to the hackers you stupidly gave your password to.
    • Just clicking on one of those gold-selling ads could take you to a website that would infect your PC with keylogging spyware. Much of the in-game gold sold at those sites is taken from accounts that have been hacked and stripped bare of all gold and items. Getting a SecureKey tied to your account makes it more difficult for hackers, but there are a few cases of even that protection being hacked through.
      • The point of said protection was not so much to provide absolute protection, but to make it so difficult for the average hacker to get into your account as to make it 'unprofitable' to devote the effort to it. Since most hackers are just 'average', you're mostly safe...mostly.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Both main factions and most of the individual races used to have these. All were systematically removed from power by Blizzard when the Cataclysm expansion came out, mostly because it was starting to stretch suspension of disbelief that they were still at war long after all their actual grievances had either been settled or rendered moot. Their replacements are all either ineffectual or psychotic.
    • Arguably, Varian is in the process of becoming more reasonable by undergoing Character Development and learning what it means to be a good leader in Mists of Pandaria.
      • Contrasted oddly enough by Jaina, who used to be a voice of reason, going rather crazy due to the Horde bombing Theramore and all.
    • On a lesser scale, Gorgonna in Wrath of the Lich King sends playes on various quests that put them into opposition with her General Ripper sister. The sisters end up fighting to the death and Gorgonna, with the Horde players' help, kills her sister and takes over Conquest Hold.
  • Red Herring: In Mogu'shan vaults, you fight against the ghost of Feng the Accursed, a Mogu who kept reviving when four generals betrayed him, such that they had to destroy his body entirely. After fighting his ghost, Lorewalker Cho says that it's not the last we've seen of Feng, as he'll simply re-appear later. This never happens, all the way through to the end of the expansion Feng never reappears in any capacity. Instead, the next boss you fight, Gara'jal the Spiritbinder, returns as a ghost in Throne of Thunder to make your life difficult by possessing and empowering the Zandalari council.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The two playable Pandaren factions and their respective leaders/teachings, Aysa Cloudsinger and all the student of the Tushui are blue (Emphasizing stoicism, moral convictions, and rigorous training), while Ji Firepaw and all the followers of the Houjin teachings are red (Belief that inaction is the greatest injustice, a desire to live free, and the ideal that no cost is too steep to protect home and family).
  • Red Shirt: Lampshaded. In a quest named "Madness" in the Twilight Highlands, you're to accompany a Horde negotiator to speak with the leader of a clan of orcs who you're informed the previous two negotiators sent in have not returned from. The quest giver is confident that the player's presence will change this situation, but when talked to the negotiator asks you, "Hey, does this red shirt make me look expendable?" In an attempt to doom himself even further, he invokes Retirony in telling you that "After these negotiations, I am looking forward to a long and prosperous life." Guess how the negotiations fare for him?
    • And then of course, Red Shirt Guy himself. [[((Pun)) Eh? Eh?]]
    • In the Gate of the Setting Sun dungeon, the Pandaren defenders of the wall keep trying to send recruits to light the signal fire and summon reinforcements, but they keep getting cut down by the mantid army. One officer says that the red shirts make them stand out too much.
  • Redundant Rescue: In the Alliance quest line to unite the Wildhammer dwarf sub-clans in Twilight Highlands, you need to rescue Fanny Thundermar, who has been kidnapped by ogres. When you find her in the ogre den, she's already killed her guards (she said they started to get too "handsy"). Keegan Firebeard arrives shortly afterward, and he finds the fact that Fanny can take down ogres with her bare hands to be incredibly hot, which bodes well for the marriage pact involving him and Fanny that has been proposed in order to heal the rift between the Firebeards and Thundermars (luckily, the attraction is mutual).
  • Reference Overdosed
  • Reformed, but Rejected: One of the main reasons the game even exists is due to the lack of trust the Alliance side has for the Horde, in particular the orcs who used to be demonically possessed invaders. This in turn leads some of the younger orcs who didn't live through the First or Second Wars, most notably Garrosh, to become incensed at the Alliance for their lack of trust, and insist that rather than appease the Alliance, the Horde should take what it needs.
    • The Scryers in Shattrath may have turned their backs on Kael'thas and pledged support to the Naaru, but the Aldor are finding it hard to forgive them after the bloody war they went through.
    • Death Knights face this initially, until they talk with King Varian or Warchief Thrall (now Warchief Garrosh, and in Warlords of Draenor, Warchief Vol'jin) who declares them allies.
  • Regenerating Mana: All caster classes consistently regenerate their mana. The rate of regeneration is lower in battle than out and can be increased with the Spirit stat. Getting mana regeneration as high as possible is critical for healers, but has been made less and less of an issue for the other specializations as to not disadvantage mana users compared to other resource types. However, it remains a key element for Arcane Mages.
    • The General Vezax fight essentially removes this ability unless you stand in the residue left behind by destroying Saronite Vapors (and there's an achievement for not doing this and killing the new enemy that spawns afterward).
  • Religion is Magic: Shamans, Priests, Paladins and Druids. All of them get their powers from their respective spiritual authorities: elemental and ancestral spirits for Shamans, the Holy Light for Paladins, the Holy Light or deities such as Elune or the loa (animal spirits) or the shadow for Priests, and nature itself for Druids.
  • Religion of Evil: The Cult of the Damned (for the Scourge), the Twilight's Hammer (for the Old Gods) and the cults following the Burning Legion.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: In "The Day Deathwing Came", Martek remembers that his motorcycle can fly, and uses it to fly up to Deathwing to challenge him to a knife fight; this was after driving through a dangerous obstacle course, and he notes that flying would've been useful then.
  • The Remnant: The Alliance navy and the Dark Horde.
    The RPG sourcebook: "They are fighting a war which nobody told them was over. Nobody believes that they will win the war, not even themselves, and that makes them very dangerous."
  • Repeatable Quest: In classic WoW, many collection and/or turn-in quests were able to be repeated indefinitely until your goal (usually reputation) was reached. Later expansions added the concept of daily and weekly quests, which can only be completed once per day/week but otherwise fit the trope.
    • There are also quests with a montly limit (tied to the Darkmoon Faire, which comes up once per month) and even yearly (most other World Events)
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The only hostile "normal" druids (the Druids of the Flame turned their back on nature entirely) are the Druids of the Fang (corrupted disciples of Naralex), who can turn into snakes.
    • The naga are one of the few Always Chaotic Evil races.
    • The saurok are another example. They were created from large lizards by the mogu as warriors for their army; unfortunately, the mogu forgot to make the saurok loyal to them. Nice job breaking it, villains. They now exist as a threat to the Alliance, the Horde and the Mogu, and the playable factions work to neutralize their threat while directing them against the Mogu.
    • Of the Trolls' animalistic gods, who span the gamut of alignments, the snake/reptile ones always seem to be the most evil.
    • On the flip-side, the player trolls have a great affinity with reptiles, preferring them over mammals or birds as mounts, companions, familiars, and even deities.
    • Averted with Pandaria's majestic cloud serpent flying mounts, and especially the celestial Jade Serpent, a very gentle and feminine goddess of healing. On the other hand, some cloud serpents are hostile to the players, such as those that are sha-corrupted or in service to the Mogu.
  • Rescue Arc: Several questlines have you rescuing various Non Player Characters, but the record for the longest in time from the kidnapping to the rescue, is the lashtail raptor rescue in Zul'Gurub. Players in North Stranglethorn are befriended by a raptor hatching, which is soon stolen by a Gurubashi Troll, and an attempt to rescue the raptor then and there is foiled; to save the raptor for real, players have to defeat the raptor trainer in Zul'Gurub. North Stranglethorn is a level 25-30 area, while Zul'Gurub is a level 85 Heroic dungeon.
  • Reset Button: The Halls of Origination is a planetary Reset Button left by the Titans, who contained the Old Gods and created many of the lifeforms on Azeroth; if anything goes wrong, it's purpose is to reduce Azeroth to a planet sized cloud of dust and start over. The quests in this dungeon involve stopping it from going off.
    • Do note that this is the SECOND time the player has to stop it. The first time was when it was remotely set off by Algalon the Observer from Ulduar until the player and their raid defeat him, where upon he hands over the item used to turn it off before it starts up completely.
  • Resurrected for a Job: Argent Crusader Olakin Sainrith is killed by the Scourge, and his body dissected to make abominations; Darkrider Arly realizes that they really do need him, so she sends the player on quests to retrieve his body parts, and resurrect him.
    • Sylvanas resurrects Lord Godfrey, Baron Ashbury and Lord Walden to help her conquest of Silverpine Forest. They eventually betray her and kill her, although it doesn't take.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Characters who choose to use a spirit healer rather than find their corpse lose 75% of their stats and damage for 10 minutes, essentially rendering them useless, but making them worth no honor if they're killed.
  • Retcon: A LOT of Warcraft's lore has been retconned throughout WoW's history. Here are a few examples:
    • Probably the most notable and important retcon is the orcs' transition (between WC2 and WC3) from Always Chaotic Evil to an enslaved and manipulated culture of formerly (mostly) peaceful Noble Savages. They were also revealed in The Burning Crusade to have a brown skintone naturally, the demonic corruption turning their skin green. For further confusion, orcs who are corrupted again turn red.
    • When the draenei were revealed as a playable race in The Burning Crusade, their backstory explained how the eredar who fight for the Burning Legion were once peaceful, and the draenei are exiles who refused to join Sargeras with their brethren. However, a line in the Warcraft III manual had said the eredar had always been evil, and in fact were one of the races which made Sargeras lose faith in the idea of a perfectly ordered universe. The backlash over this small change was so enormous, Chris Metzen wrote a public apology on the official forums, stating it was a genuine oversight on his part, but they were going to run with the new lore because it was cooler than the old lore.
      • While on the subject of the draenei, the 'original' draenei which appeared in The Frozen Throne were revealed to be 'Lost Ones'; devolved forms of the original draenei who had become decrepit and lost their minds. On top of that, the draenei led by Akama, who aided Illidan in TFT, were retconed into 'Broken' draenei, a half-state between normal draenei and the fully devolved Lost Ones. To add further to this confusion, in TFT, Akama and his followers had the appearance of the Lost Ones, and weren't even called Broken (or their proper tribe name; The Ashtongue Deathsworn) until The Burning Crusade.
    • Garona Halforcen was originally described in The Last Guardian as a half-orc, half-human. However, as Warcraft lore continued to develop, this made increasingly no sense, as it was revealed there were no humans on Draenor, and even assuming she was birthed after the opening of the Dark Portal, there would have been no time for her to mature. To mix things up, Community Manager Caydiem once said Garona was half-orc, half-draenei (noting this was BEFORE the revelation of the playable draenei in TBC). Eventually, it was revealed in the comics that Garona was half-orc half-draenei, and even recieved physical changes to match such as glowing eyes, a larger forehead and hoof-like feet. The half-human plot was Hand Waved as Gul'dan convincing her as such so she could get closer to Medivh and King Llane more easily.
    • Vol'jin was originally an elderly witch doctor in Warcraft III. In WoW, he is a Shadow Hunter, and seems to be much younger than in his original appearance.
    • In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Illidan defeats Magtheridon at the Black Citadel in Hellfire Peninsula. In Burning Crusade, however, he rules over the Black Temple in Shadowmoon Valley. Word of God states that the two are the same structure. As if to add to the confusion deliberately, there is a citadel in Hellfire Peninsula with Magtheridon locked in the basement.
    • Worgen were originally extra-dimensional hellhounds who seemed to be fighting the Burning Legion, by observations, being fed by energy from wherever they came from. Cataclysm retconned them to be a disgraced, insane, and formerly Sealed Evil in a Can druids whose attempts to be (quadrupedal) wolf shifters twisted them into infectious werewolves with the standard Horror Hunger for human(oid) flesh.
  • Retirony: Lampshaded. A horde negotiator in the Cataclysm quest "Madness" informs you on the way to negotiate with the leader of the Dragonmaw clan of orcs that "After these negotiations, I am looking forward to a long and prosperous life." He also asks "Hey, does this Red Shirt make me look expendable?" Guess how the quest ends for him?
    Warchief Mor'Ghor: "This is DRAGONMAW!"
  • Revealing Coverup: In Deepholm, the Horde finds a missing piece of the World Pillar and tries to return it to the Earthen Ring, only to be shot down by the Alliance. While it seems pretty clear the Alliance did it, the Earthen Ring thinks its too obvious, and investigates the nearby gunship; they find it commandeered by the Twilight's Hammer.
  • Revenue Enhancing Devices: The WoW TCG (which contains codes redeemable for cosmetic in-game items), paid server transfers and character race/faction/name changes, and the Pet Store.
  • Reverse Mole: Yarzill the Merc, a Netherwing Dragon posing as a Goblin mercenary and hired by the Dragonmaw Orcs; he sends players on missions to retrieve dragon eggs, relics, and to poison the Orcs' food supply.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: An exchange between Kil'ruk the Wind Reaver and Ka'roz the Locust
    Kil'ruk: I cannot argue with your results, but how can a proud warrior of the swarm make his name chasing down peasants and farmhands?
    Ka'roz: Easily: You don't have to leap as far between kills.
  • Rhymes on a Dime
  • Ribcage Ridge: A very popular terrain feature, notably in Tanaris.
  • The Rival: Ellia Ravenmane is this to you in the Chi-ji series of dailies for the August Celestials.
    • Rival Turned Evil: Ellia eventually becomes filled with despair after repeatedly losing to you (as well as being corrupted by the Sha) and fights you in the final battle of the series.
  • Rolling Pin of Doom: Grandma Wahl uses one to bash a Forsaken that tries to steal her cat, and "Captain" Cookie from the Normal Deadmines can drop one for players to use.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: In-game chat is loaded with some of the most execrable grammar and spelling imaginable, as are the official forums. Even after you take into account the younger players, those for whom English is not a first language, and people typing in a hurry, there's still a lot of shame to go around, sometimes to the point that you literally can't tell what the typist at the other end is even trying to say. And may the gods help you if you're trying to read the trade channel when a Grammar Nazi gets wound up.
    • The popular yet elusive "Rouge" class has become something of a Memetic Mutation.
    • The game is not free of mistakes of this nature, as Lord Godfrey's initial last words after his boss fight are "I thank you for the clean death. I would not of done the same..."
    • When players meet with Eitrigg in Siege of Orgrimmar, he tells him, "The Warchief ignored my council", when he should be saying "counsel" (although he is one of a few people Thrall recommended that Garrosh listen to as Warchief, so he could be considered part of an advisory council).
  • Rousing Speech: The nobles of Gilneas are fond of these. They give speeches so inspiring that you get powerful health buffs just from being near them. Prince Liam's speech directly before the Battle for Gilneas City is itself based on Winston Churchill's famous "We will fight them on the beaches" speech.
  • Rule of Cool: Everything from names to titles to armor to technology. Chris Metzen basically said in a recent interview that the game's mythology is based initially on Tolkien with added Rule of Cool craziness whenever possible.
    • The quest "The Day Deathwing Came" runs off this.
    • The in-game store description for Tyrael's Charger in Warlords of Draenor:
    While one might wonder why the Light-winged denizens of the high heavens would have any need for a flying steed, the answer is simple: BECAUSE ARMORED ANGEL HORSES LOOK TOTALLY AWESOME.
  • Rule of Three: In the Western Plaguelands, there are a trio of quests to train a druid troll named Zen'kiki. In the first two missions he proves completely useless; he can't control his transformations, and his aim when firing spells is terrible. After a few quests, players go back for a third quest where you have Zen'kiki try to remove the plague from some bears, and he does it, even his teacher is impressed.
  • Sadistic Choice: In Sholazar Basin, Artruis the Heartless has imprisoned an Oracle and a Frenzyheart; when players fight him, he shields himself and mind controls his captives to attack. Killing one frees the other and makes Artruis attackable, but it also makes you hated by the faction of the one you killed and friendly with the one you freed. The only way to recover your reputation with the hated faction, is to redo the Artruis fight, and make the other choice, which makes the other faction hate you.
    • The tauren and trolls of the Horde face this decision; support Garrosh in the war, which they find to be immoral and dangerous to their people, or turn on him and face his wrath.
      • Thankfully (or not, since Vol'jin gets seriously wounded), Garrosh has made this decision for them, and proven that turning on him is probably the best option.
  • Rule 34: The Steamy Romance Novels. (in-universe examples)
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