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Tear Jerker / World of Warcraft

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"Only pain..."

WARNING: Spoilers Off applies to all "Moments" pages. There will be unmarked spoilers below.

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    Vanilla / Classic 
  • Many quests qualify, such as this one.
    • Or its somewhat differently tear-jerking Horde equivalent. As opposed to freeing a lost loved one you take the wedding pendant of a dead man who had devoted his life to destroying the Forsaken back to his grave on the request of his now Forsaken wife, who wants nothing to do with him. Upon reaching his grave your greeted by a sad little bit of text detailing how lonely the grave looks and how the man will be forever forgotten.
  • The Horde quest in Durotar where an orc woman asks you to find her son, who is apparently out hunting crocolisks after the two argue over whether or not it's safe. After cutting open a gator in the river, you find something of his in its belly. It's sad watching her reaction to the news. She then gives you a blanket (or cape) that she had just finished for her son. (In a bit of good judgment on Blizzard's part, they never reveal exactly how old her son was.)
    • This quest received a continuation in Cataclysm, in which you gather crocolisk teeth to create a memorial necklace for her son.
  • The Shady Rest Inn quest chain is especially a Tear Jerker. You find out that not only was the Shady Rest Inn destroyed, but the child and the wife of the innkeeper was killed during the burning; while, the innkeeper escaped, but became mentally unstable because of it. Luckily, you find out who did it, the Grimtotem tauren, and get much needed revenge.
    • It becomes a real Tear Jerker during the final quest in the chain, Peace at Last, where you go place a wreath at the grave of the mother and child. You can read the script here. Especially, the kid saying "Mommy, when will we see Daddy again?"
  • The quest line for "Rewriting The Battle of Darrowshire". It starts when you encounter the ghost of a little girl, Pamela Redpath, who asks you to find her dolly for her. As the quest progresses, she starts to ask about her daddy, she misses him so much. You start to find living relatives throughout the world who fill you in on her story, and that of her father, Joseph. Joseph Redpath was one of the last defenders of Darrowshire against the Scourge. He succumbed and was corrupted by the Scourge, then proceeded to murder the other defenders, leaving him forever known as the traitor of the Battle of Darrowshire. After a number of other quests, and the help of the Bronze Dragonflight, you are able to relive the Battle for Darrowshire and have the opportunity to defend the town with Joseph and the other defenders. Joseph is still defeated and corrupted, but because of your presence, you are able to redeem him; you are told that, while you could not save him, history has been changed to remember him as the fallen hero of Darrowshire. At the end of the quest, the ghosts of Joseph and Pamela are reunited, and embrace, and Pamela tells you that she is so happy to see her daddy again.
    • Also if you talk to Pamela before your quest with her is finished, she'll give you one of the saddest lines in the game. "I never feel warm anymore..."
    • If you wander around the Culling of Stratholme wing of the Caverns of Time, the Redpaths are all staying at the inn... Pamela even has her doll.
    • Even without having played through the quest, this fan-made video will make you tear up. If you have played through the quest you will bawl like a baby.
  • Tirion Fordring's questline in Western Plaguelands. It starts as you just helping some crazy old ex-paladin gather food. Then he tells you about why he's an ex-paladin. And then when you finally succeed in bringing together everything needed to turn his son away from the dark path of the Scarlet Crusade, you're treated to an epic march out of Crusade territory with an elite mob escorting you as he beats the hell out of his former Crusade-mates. Unfortunately, this whole moment of badass is cut short when the Crusade's big guns show up, and ONESHOT him before Tirion can reach him. Cue Tirion arriving, beating the hell out of every scarlet in the area and then breaking into a massive BSOD over the death of his beloved son. The fact the whole quest is named "In Dreams", referencing the Orbison song about having what you really want only coming in your dreams in reference to the fact he'll never see his son again just makes it that much more of a totally depressing scene. Try not to cry as you realize after all Tirion's work to save his baby boy, all he got was the death of his beloved son... On the upshot this does set up his character development as the new leader of a reformed Silver Hand who becomes very important in Northrend... but still.
    • Then there's the quest "Of Love and Family" in Stratholme's Main Gate instance, which tasks you with finding the painting that has that title, which is said to be of great importance to Tirion. It turns out to be of Tirion's own family, which is quite sad when you consider how things turned out.
    "The picture brings a smile to your face."

    The Burning Crusade 
  • The end of the instance Escape from Durnholde has one when the bronze dragon tells you how history is back on its normal path, and how Thrall will now fulfill his destiny to become Warchief, then turns to Taretha's (Thrall's adoptive human sister) fate: "As for Taretha...her fate is regrettably unavoidable." She's killed by the Lord of Durnholde as revenge for helping Thrall escape.
  • Another one that many might not think too much about, this one found in the very first portion of the draenei starting zone. One of the player's first quests here is to locate an injured survivor of the Exodar crash and use their Gift of the Naaru racial ability to heal that survivor. Since the survivors are also mildly irradiated and are therefore surrounded by a faint puff of reddish smoke, they aren't hard to spot, and since none of the creatures in this area are hostile, there's no need to fend anything off while you're healing the survivor. Add to that: The ability has a three minute recharge and can be used even after the quest has been completed, so if they're so inclined, the player can heal as many survivors as they want... to a point. Throughout the remainder of the quests completed in the first area, the player will encounter numerous injured draenei, some of them visible from a distance, some making themselves known by moaning in pain and begging for help for somewhere beyond the player's field of vision. No problem; the player can just heal them, right? Oh... except they already healed another one two minutes ago, and the Gift of the Naaru hasn't fully recharged. With no first aid trainers or flight masters in the first area, the player character can only hope to have bandages if another character on the same server has mailed them some. On top of that, the injured draenei who are healed will sometimes say things like "I would have died if it weren't for you!" while the injured who haven't been helped yet say cheerful things like "Please... make it stop..." and "I don't know if I can hold on any longer..."
  • The most fervent supporter of Kael'thas, Rommath is easily one of those hit the worst by his betrayal to the Burning Legion. When Lor'themar informs him that he's willing to do whatever it takes to protect Quel'Thalas and its people, even if it means being used by Sylvanas who is blackmailing them in participating in the war in Northrend, Rommath simply responds somberly with this:
    Grand Magister Rommath: Another leader of the sin'dorei once said something very similar to me, Lor'themar. I did not argue with him then; indeed, at the time, I thought him right. We buried him on Quel'Danas.
  • In Blade's Edge Mountains, should players help with killing the various Gronn, they're named King/Queen of the ogres and every ogre in the zone becomes neutral to them. If they kill ogres afterwards, such as for other quests, the ogres all say things like "You were a terrible king/queen" or "King/Queen think... there really is... an Ogri'la?"

    Wrath of the Lich King 
  • In amongst all the mass murder, torture and other metaphorical dog-kicking, the opening quest chain for Death Knights has one desperately sad moment: your character is sent into a nearby jail to execute the prisoner of the same race as them. The prisoner recognises you ("I'd know that face anywhere... You don't remember me, do you? What have they done to you, <name>?") and begs you to remember the hero you once were before you strike them down.
    • The night elf version of this quest is particularly adept at playing your heartstrings. The female night elf NPC you're supposed to kill actually took care of your character while they were still an infant. They even say that your character was their "little angel". This is just as horrible as Self-Made Orphan.
    Yazmina Oakenthorn: You don't remember me? When you were a child your mother would leave you in my care while she served at the Temple of the Moon. I held you in my arms and fed you with honey and sheep's milk to calm you until she would return. You were my little angel. Blasted Scourge... What have they done to you, <name>?
    • The dwarf version had your target yelled their Battle Cry for the last time before letting you to kill him:
    Donovan Pulfrost: There... There's no more time for me. I'm done for. Finish me off, <name>. Do it or they'll kill us both <name>... For KHAAAAAAAAZZZ MODAAAAAANNNNNN!!!
    • The Goblin version to kill Gally Lumpstain is just as bad.
    Gally: You don't remember me, <name>? I lost count of the number of jobs you and I ran back in the day on Kezan. Then I picked up a real bad Kaja'Cola habit and you saved me! It was you who took me to Kalimdor to join the Steamwheedle Cartel. You were the only good goblin I knew. That's how I ended up in the Argent Dawn, because I knew it's what you woulda done. How could this have happened to you? Remember the goblin you once were, <brother/sister>! You were my best friend!"
    • The Orc version is pretty bad as well, considering their long history of enslavement by the demons:
    Kug Ironjaw: Think, <name>. Think back. Try and remember Durotar, <brother/sister>! Remember the sacrifices our heroes made so that we could be free of the blood curse. Harken back to the Valley of Trials, where we were reborn into a world without demonic influence. We found the splendor of life, <name>. Together! This isn't you. You were a champion of the Horde once!
    • So is the Worgen version:
    Lord Harford: You don't remember me? We were both servants of Arugal back in Silverpine Forest. We put up with his merciless torture for ages. It was you who saved me on that fateful night when we escaped Shadowfang Keep. Without you I would have died. YOU! The most noble worgen I ever knew. What have they done to you, <name>? How could this have happened?
    Antoine Brack: You don't remember me, do you? We were humans once — long, long ago — until Lordaeron fell to the Scourge. Your transformation to a Scourge zombie came shortly after my own. Not long after that, our minds were freed by the Dark Lady. A pact was made, <brother/sister>! We vowed vengeance against the Lich King! For what he had done to us! We battled the Scourge as Forsaken, pushing them back into the plaguelands and freeing Tirisfal! You and I were champions of the Forsaken! Listen to me, <name>. You must fight against the Lich King's control. He is a monster that wants to see this world — our world — in ruin. Don't let him use you to accomplish his goals AGAIN. You were once a hero and you can be again. Fight, damn you! Fight his control!
  • Crusader Bridenbrad's quest line, which is one big metaphor for cancer (the dev who worked on the quest made it as a memorial to a friend who passed away from cancer), you try all sorts of methods, some painful, to cure a stubborn and fatal disease, and in the end, you fail, your only solace the hope that they're no longer suffering on the other side.
  • These two quests (one for each faction) are probably the most depressing in the game, mostly because the player just killed the letter writer.
    • Even worse, the two family members the letters are addressed to are actual NPCs: the Alliance one you see every time you come off the ramp from the mage tower, and the Horde one is one of the female troll mage trainers in the Valley of Spirits, and the Horde one at least does remember (once it's delivered).
    • In an additional punch for Horde players, Overlord Agmar's condescendingly mocking reaction to the sentimentality highlights just why High Overlord Saurfang had to pass you a letter in secret through the NPC Torvus, and why he had such hopes for his son... because Garrosh was already having a negative influence on Horde forces in Northrend, and your earlier exploits which were a prerequisite for Torvus' quest helped amplify it by raising Garrosh's prestige.
  • In the final scenes of Wrath of the Lich King, you face off against a fallen hero: Dranosh Saurfang. After defeating the Horde warrior, you're treated to his father coming to collect the body of his only child. Not even Varian Wrynn can bring himself to make war against the Horde at this point.
    King Varian Wrynn: "Stand down, Muradin. Let a grieving father pass."
    • Even as Horde, the Tear Jerker quality does not let up. At the intro to the boss fight, you are treated to this line:
    "My boy died at the Wrath Gate. I am here only to collect his body."
  • "The Mosswalker Savior" takes place near the end of a chain of mostly light-hearted quests involving two feuding tribes of creatures in Northrend. You are sent to a remote village to chastise members of one of the tribes for not coming to worship at the shrine, when you see the village burning in ruins at the hands of the Scourge, as the tribespeople are being hacked apart, dragged half-alive by chains, and being lit on fire. Your job is to save them. Most of them are already too far gone, and say things like "We not do anything... to them... I no understand," and "I do something bad? I sorry..." before dying. As you come to the realization that the Mosswalkers are a mostly peaceful people who had no idea what the Scourge even was, you can do little but watch them die in ruins and hope that there are a few left alive enough to save. Your companion grimly explains, "It's a small comfort to see that they haven't brought any back in undeath."
  • Two phrases to sum up the fall of the Drakkari empire: "If our gods can die... then so can we...." and "Even the mighty... can fall."
  • The Wrathgate cutscene. Wow... It goes from a Moment of Awesome to this. Highlord Bolvar Fordragon marches out, charges into the swarm of undead headfirst, and fights them off. Then come the vrykul, half-giant humanoids of Northrend who seem to be unstoppable. At the last minute, however, Saurfang the Younger himself rides down and one-shots three vrykul after having witty banter with Fordragon. Pretty awesome, right? Except when Grand Apothecary Putress unleashes the Forsaken Blight on the Scourge... and Alliance... and Horde. Fordragon's last view is of red dragons coming to burn the bodies.
  • Finally, the king of kings of Tear Jerker in the game is the Lich King's demise. First part shows Arthas' Death Equals Redemption as he dies in his father's arms. And when you thought it was all... Bolvar Fordragon's Heroic Sacrifice as he took the responsibility of taking the Lich King's place, and sealing him forever while saying he must not be remembered.
    I must be forgotten, Tirion! If the world is to live free from the tyranny of fear, they must never know what was done here today. Tell them only that the Lich King is dead. And that Bolvar Fordragon died with him. Now... go! Leave this place! And never return!!
    • One YouTube commenter summed up Arthas's death best:
      What was the point? We didn't gain anything. He gave everything as both Arthas and the Lich King to both kingdoms and lost everything just the same. We didn't bring anyone he killed back, nor justified any that survived. We didn't beat an enemy or conquer a tyrant: We lost a hero. Twice. There was no victory here.
    • Even the main theme of the expansion O Thanagor (Oh, King) is depressing. The variation used during the ending cinematic Invincible is incredibly powerful. Blizzard additionally had this to say regarding the song:
    "An ode to one who has fallen. Time and events have left it unclear whether the song refers to the former prince of Lordaeron or his beloved steed."
    • The way Arthas speaks to his father’s spirit is heart wrenching. He speaks as though he was watching a nightmare front and center. It’s almost like he knew what he was doing was wrong but had no ability to stop himself.
    Arthas: it over?
    • Even the lyrics, when translated from Common are pretty melancholic.
    Comilito equinus
    Orbitas lacuna
    G'Odhun A'l Korok Boda Uh'm
    Boda Uh'm Ron'Kashal
    Detrimentum a do sola ditas.

    An Karanir Thanagor
    Mor Ok Angalor
    Mor Ok Gorum...
    Pala Uh'm Ravali Ah'm.
  • The Culling of Stratholme. Even more of a gut punch than it was in Warcraft 3, it's not the purging, but what you can see before Arthas starts moving. Many tragic figures from the Plaguelands are there, all just living their lives normally, most notably the Redpath family, and knowing what they go through, it's kind of depressing to talk to them and have them respond so normally.
  • D.E.H.T.A's questline in Northerend is capable of wringing tears by having you to free elephant babies from painful traps and prevent poachers from killing baby deer, but Blizzard really manages to shake those players who have been paying attention to the in-game lore with one of the final quests. The druids will send you on a quest to murder Harold Lane who oversees the hunter's camp. Many of the players don't probably remember him by the time you receive the quest, but he's one of the hunters you hunt with in Nagrand, namely the wounded man who is delirious from infection, his condition growing worse with every quest, and prior of coming to Northrend, the player is left not knowing whether he'll pull through or die due to his injuries. Think about it; he survives dreadful wounds and a painful infection, just to be murdered by the same player who was there to help him and sit through his fever-induced delirium, just because a group of fanatic, self-righteous druids said so.
  • Tirion Fordring and Darion Mograine are both walking tearjerkers. Tirion had to watch his wife and son die without being able to do anything, was exiled by the people he vowed to protect because he wasn't a xenophobic jerkass, then came back to help the very people who exiled him, without getting so much as a 'hey, dude, sorry about that exile/dead family stuff! We cool?'. Darion watched his father and brother be corrupted, eventually killed, and his father's soul sucked into an evil sword. He then killed himself to free his father's soul, but was later betrayed by the person he served and his father's soul was taken AGAIN! His father's soul only gets freed if you manage to get a very rare drop from a very hard boss.
  • In Icecrown Citadel, the first two blood princes have a loyal utterance "My queen, they come..." gurgling and dying as death quotes. Valanar?
    Valanar: ...Why...?
  • At first many thought the Scarlet Crusade were entirely militant, but in the Death Knight starting zone, you find out the Scarlet Crusade holds actual citizens... and as a Death Knight you kill every last one.
    • To make matters worse? While this is the Scarlet Crusade were talking about, a good chunk of the people that die in that area are defenseless civilians that are running for their lives as the Scourge tears them and the soldiers trying to defend them apart. This isn't even getting to the fact that you kill innocent miners and farmers that were likely just doing their jobs and the fact that there was likely children amongst the civilians being impaled by arrows, torn apart and eaten by ghouls and geists, and slaughtered by Death Knights of all kinds.
  • The "Fall of The Lich King" trailer. Despite everything that he has done, you will probably shed Manly Tears again for Arthas' demise, as he seemingly remembers who he was and regrets all the atrocities he had brought in his final momments. This is doubled with Bolvar's Heroic Sacrifice in the same cutscene.
    • The scene is made especially poignant by the fact that it's the spirit of his father — one of the first people he murdered after losing his soul to Frostmourne — that comforts him.
  • Arthas lies broken and sees his father's ghost. His father tells him that his reign is over and the "no king rules forever." Arthas finally realizes the folly of his actions and dies, but not before giving some gut wrenching final words. "I see... only darkness... before me." After all that evil and cruelty he dies not as the Lich King, but as Arthas Menethil. Broken, afraid, and alone. Manages to actually make you feel sorry for him.
    • Made even worse with the revelation that Arthas' good side was still part of him all along fighting back his evil side. After enduring years of this torment he still dies alone and hated by every living being in the world with no further chance at redemption.
    • And the final nail in this coffin is what happens after. Sylvanas finds Arthas's spirit, a small boy, trapped in a void of endless torment, the end he ended up digging himself into after years of service and reign as the Lich King.
  • Basically ALL of the followup quests from The Unsealed Chest. If you defeated The Lich King while someone had Shadowmourne equipped, an extra special box would drop with an item in it, an item belonging to someone the Lich King affected heavily. Every bit of dialogue afterwards tugs at the heartstrings, despite all the bastardly things he did, most are about how close friends still choose to remember him for the good person he was in life. But there are two other items from major people in his storyline. Describing them doesn't really do them justice, so listen to them here, at around the 5:58 Mark To wit:
    • Blood of Sylvanas. Sylvanas is relieved that the Lich King is finally dead. Yet she wonders how many people are freed of his grasp, but still unable to control their body. She shoos the player away to brood.
    • Badge of the Silver Hand. Uther talks about the many, many, burdens his soul carried from his failure to keep Arthas in check. Yet, there is one memory that he will choose to keep about him. The dedication and hope to defend his kingdom when he was young, no matter what the cost. He thanks the player and leaves
    • Arthas' Training Sword. Muradin recalls the many days Arthas trained with this dull sword, to become a capable warrior. He then laments how things could have been different and avoided if he had never chose to look for Frostmourne. Sadly, he says goodbye to Arthas.
    • Jaina's Locket. Jaina is shocked to learn that after all these years, after all the horrible things he had done, Arthas had kept the locket Jaina gave to him. She believes that there was still some light in Arthas, despite all he did, and hopes that he finds peace in the next life.
    • Alexandros' Soulshard. Alexandros appears before Mograine one last time. Mograine is understandably happy that his father's soul is alright, yet wonders how he kept his sanity. How did his dear father keep it? He held onto one memory, one special moment. The day Mograine sacrificed himself to save his father from a possibly even longer period of torment.
  • You can fish coins out of the fountain in Dalaran. Each one is named "X's coin", one assumes for the person who threw it in, and has a short message written on it. Jaina's Coin says, "Arthas, my love, come back to me."

  • One of the new quests for Cataclysm has you watching in a vision Edwin VanCleef get killed by a 5-man group of various Alliance characters. Once the group leaves, a little girl comes out and stops over his body. The only thing you catch before the vision ends is her muttering the word "...Daddy?". If you completed the Deadmines before Cataclysm as Alliance, then this a rather big Player Punch, because it is YOUR FAULT! It doesn't help that the 'quest item' you brought in to get your reward was his head. Yes, she does include his decapitation in her later rant.
    • Continuing in Cataclysm Westfall: You report the existence of the girl to Stoutmantle, and you're ready to take action, but then all the allied NPCs are instantaneously sapped. Right after that, Vanessa VanCleef reveals herself and orders her men to burn down the newly refurbished Sentinel Hill. All you can do at this point is flee to Stormwind and inform King Varian of these events. The clincher comes when you return. Upon landing the sky is dark and red and all of Sentinel Hill is in flames, with the guards doing their best to fend off the New Defias Brotherhood, while Stoutmantle just looks on in rage and sorrow.
      Stoutmantle: Five years of work burned to the ground in five minutes. Damn the Defias!
    • When confronted about killing the Furlbrows and Ol' Blanchy in Westfall:
      Vanessa VanCleef: I had no choice, lieutenant. They recognized me. The only people in the world who even knew I existed, recognized my face from when I was an infant. I took no pleasure in their deaths.
  • The tauren in Cataclysm in general. Upon starting a new tauren character, you find out that Cairne is dead, and the Grimtotem, quilboar, and several other enemy forces are closing in on Mulgore. Once you take control of your character, you discover that Greatmother Hawkwind (the nice old lady who used to welcome new tauren players into the world) was murdered by the quilboar, and you later attend her funeral service. If all that isn't bad enough, the Alliance has raided and destroyed Camp Taurajo in the Barrens, leaving what few survivors there utterly traumatized. Even the music seems to suggest the tauren are fighting a losing battle.
  • This comic.
  • Many of the quests in post-Cataclysm Darkshore are pretty depressing (particularly if you leveled in the area before the Cataclysm), but the Last Wave of Survivors questline takes the cake. You have to wander down the beach to find survivors from Auberdine...and you find the bodies of several familiar NPCs. You can interact with them, and often, it turns out they were *just* dying. And two of the survivors you do rescue don't survive for long.
    • The only one who survives is Cerellean Whiteclaw, poor guy can't seem to catch a break. What he says during his quest:
    "I somehow avoided being inflicted with the same toxin that the other survivors now endure. I cannot help but be envious of them to a degree though... living an eternity alone seems not worth living at all. I miss you so much, Anaya."
    • One of the worst of these may be the flightmaster, who, because of Auberdine's (now former) position as a critical route from Kalimdor directly to Stormwind, you've definitely spoken to, and her hippogryphs, which you've definitely ridden.
    • Then there's Volcor and Grimclaw, a hunter and his pet bear, whom you probably helped reunite in old Darkshore when Volcor got kidnapped. You rescue Volcor, but Grimclaw is nowhere to be found. You go on a quest chain to find Grimclaw, who has been injured but is being helped by a Keeper of the Grove. While you're off doing a favor for the Keeper, Grimclaw, fully recovered, runs straight for Lor'danel to see Volcor... who died from his injuries while you were away. But they at least got to say goodbye to each other.
  • Some of the statuses of the playable races seem to be partially in ruins. The tauren and human conditions were mentioned above and the gnomes and trolls have actually gotten better off, but the night elf condition can be a little bad. The nature-loving (and preserving) night elves are now at odds with the goblins, who seem to exist solely to destroy nature. Their lands of Ashenvale and Azshara are getting destroyed by the Horde and they've been reduced to "shit to kill" for goblin quests in the latter. Playing on the Horde and essentially kicking them out of their own land for money can make you feel like a bit of a bastard. However, before you're willing to say the goblins are evil for this, a goblin quest in Felwood mentions that if they don't do this work, the Horde may kick them out on their ass and implies that this happening would pretty much ruin Goblin society. So sacrifice goblin society for night elf society or vice versa? Also the dwarves have lost their leader, and since the heir is only a baby, a council is formed. While the alliance of the Dark Irons to the other dwarf factions is tentative at best, there are villainous Dark Irons, still aligned with the Twilight Hammer, specifically trying to make this worse and pry the leadership of the Dark Irons from said baby. His mother doesn't even seem sad, as much as she does exhausted with this.
  • One wouldn't particularly feel bad for Winna Hazzard in Felwood before the Cataclysm. But then she went insane with her slime experiments, unintentionally corrupted all but one of the inhabitants of Bloodvenom Post into slime creatures, and is an endless fount of the slime. Of course death is the only quick fix, but how do you do it? Kill her after snapping her out of her state by showing her the I.D. tag that belonged to the fully-grown mutated kitten of hers that you killed.
    Winna Hazzard: ...Kitty? Kitty! KITTY! I'M SO SORRY! Please come back! Don't leave me all alone!
  • The Alliance's razing of Camp Taurajo. Using the funerary totems to send the tauren who couldn't escape their wrath into the afterlife, you get to see their final moments. The Tailoring vendor wonders why the Alliance would do such a thing while pleading the others to take the children and run; The Skinning trainer was futilely fighting off Alliance while using only a skinning knife; and even the Flight Master told everyone to run while he and his wyverns provided the cover and distraction needed for the others to escape. Like Auberdine to night elves, a lot of tauren players passed through to Camp Taurajo before the zeppelins to Orgrimmar were introduced... and now it's filled with looters.
    • The Alliance version of events surrounding Taurajo at least has the Alliance general telling players to arrest the looters, who he declares were conscripted criminals from the Stormwind Stockade, and claim that he'd deliberately left a gap by which the refugees could escape... small comfort to the refugees though, not least because that gap was in the direction of quillboar territory. Worse yet, Alliance players intercepted news of a death warrant on the general's head... and an Alliance "ambassador" who thought said general sat on said news, allowing for the Horde players' success in assassinating the general, whose successor died in the Horde attack on Bael Modan.
  • You probably don't feel sorry for the murlocs in Blasted Lands. You've probably been gang-murdered by them plenty of times before reaching this place. But then you'll reach the newly opened coast to find that they've all been enslaved by the naga. Even then you'll probably be a little apathetic about their plight. And then you'll notice that a lot of the enslaved murlocs are just babies. And there are three or four baby murlocs carrying one box.
    • What makes it worse is that despite killing said naga, defiling their idols, and basically ripping them apart left and can't save the murlocs. The line of doomed, marching murlocs keeps going on, and on, and on....
    • If you wander around the cave the nagas have in the zone, you can see three baby murlocs left abandoned over a box, scared and left to die. You cannot see a yellow exclamation, but from the box you can get the quest to drag the box closer to the sea... or leave the triplets where you found them if you feel like a bastard. It's no easy task, because you have to drag the box while walking, and every time a naga sees you and attacks, you lose control of the box (warning, some players can make use of this situation to steal your box and taking the reward for them), so its kinda difficult. When you reach the water, the box begins slowly to float and moves to deep sea. Your quest watcher automatically opens for the reward page and says that you wish them to survive as they are all the hope for surviving that is left for the Rockpool murlocs.
  • The trolls now get one of these from the beginning. Throughout the starting zone quests, you are joined by a troll named Zuni, however during the fight against Zar'Jira, he is killed while trying to stamp out the braziers that fuel her power. To add insult to injury, after the battle it turns out that he can't be healed because his soul was ripped out.
  • The quest chain started by "Welcome to the Machine" is rather fun for a while due to its nature. You escort an aptly named Rogue called Dumass out of a mine, and assist a vain Blood Elf named Johnny Awesome in avenging his fallen steed. Then you get to the level 80 Player Versus Environment orc, Kingslayer Orkus. His quest chain involves running through a gauntlet of dwarves and humans to get your hands on some Alliance plans. In order to get you out safely, he orders his Frost Wrym Kasha to fly you to safety while he holds off the guards. Kasha loops back to get him out of there ...only for him to die mid-flight, asking you to keep his trusted mount and friend safe. Both you and Orkus are named heroes of the Horde soon after Kasha lands.
  • One word: Runty
    Almost Ferocious: He's trying his best.
  • "Trident of the Son" reminds you that the Murlocs are sentient in an effective way.
    <Reaching out to take his son's trident from you, Old Icefin's hand shakes a little. Could it be that the aged murloc is grieving?>
  • The Badlands quest line, ho boy:
    • At the end of the quest chains, you help purify a black dragon egg. When the egg hatches, it will be the first uncorrupted black dragon in ten thousand years, and so it's heavily hinted that the whelp that hatches will become the next Aspect of Earth to save and redeem what's left of the Black Dragonflight. This is desperately needed, considering the quest "The Last of Her Kind" in the Twilight Highlands has you kill one of the last female black dragons in existence. Obsidia targeted deliberately because she's a breeding female, meaning the player is essentially helping the red dragons commit genocide; another tearjerker in its own right for that very reason. However, even after Obsidia's death there was one female left alive, and speculation went that this female would become a broodmother after Deathwing's defeat to help rebuild the Flight. In 4.3, however, the egg hatches into Wrathion... who, even though he's pure and free of Old God corruption, reveals himself to be just as nasty as every other black dragon, and uses Rogue players to kill off the last of his corrupted brothers and sisters, including Nalice, the last adult female black dragon. Unless the female whelps and drakes survive to adulthood, Wrathion, the child who was supposed to become Black Aspect and save his Flight, just doomed them all to extinction.
    • The text for the final quest reward: "Please take care of him for me."
  • A minor one, but when you get this item from killing one of the rare Cataclysm/Pandaria beasts, it makes you feel like a monster for killing them.
    "The desire to serve as a loyal companion, coalesced into a single priceless crystal."
  • Even though many people hate him, Garrosh Hellscream is honestly one huge crowning moment of tearjerking if you think about it. He grew up thinking his father was a monster surrounded by other people who ALSO thought the same thing and likely looked at him as if he was going to snap any minute and murder them all (in a possible foreshadowing of him DOING EXACTLY THAT in Mists). When Thrall comes to Nagrand and tells him the truth, it's tragic if you can get over hating him enough to actually see WHY he is the way he is. This doesn't give him an out for what he did to Theramore or what he tried to do to the Night Elves but it makes you think that MAYBE he's just trying to get other people to like him. He really just wants to make the Horde proud, but seems to think the Horde is still his father's bloodlusting demonic Horde.
    • Also, he has no surviving family members and his foster mother Geyah is dying. When Thrall came and started treating him like a child (Garrosh is actually OLDER!) this really got on his nerves since his father and Thrall were more like brothers than the father/son relationship Thrall seemed to want with Garrosh. Garrosh also never gets told favourably compared to his father, which is what he wants more than anything else in the world, except for after his victory in Northrend, and anyone who has played the game can tell you that it was mostly Saurfang who pulled that off.
    • Again, depending on whether you hate him or not, Thrall giving Garrosh his father's axe, Gorehowl can be a pretty epic Tear Jerker AND Moment of Awesome.
  • Magatha Grimtotem's entire family. She got pissed at her son after he murdered hundreds of people in Thunder Bluff... but not because he tried to commit genocide, it was because he wasn't discreet enough about it. It really makes you wonder what kind of horrible life and childhood he and the rest of the Grimtotems must have had under her.
  • The newly revamped Scarlet Monastary and Scholomance offer several:
    • Lilian Voss (an NPC from several quests in the Forsaken starting area) has players slaughter the Scarlet Crusade before she heads off to the Scholomance to kill the last remaining members of the Scourge. Before she can however she's mind-controlled by Darkmaster Gandling and forced to fight the players. She breaks free but then begs the player to let her die alone. Not to mention that the whole mind controlling process it's disturbingly similar to that of Mind Rape and probably rape of the other kind too, considering that Gandling makes several unfortunate comments while he's at it.
    • One of the bosses is so childish that she's surprised by how much dying hurts. Given the way she acted, it was likely she was a Psychopathic Man Child who didn't even realize the atrocities she was committing.
    • The talking skull that gives you the quests to kill Darkmaster Gandling and burn all the books on necromancy in the Scholomance. It talks about how much his family has suffered because of Gandling so players naturally assume it's the skull of one of the Sarkhoffs who were tortured and killed. Once you complete the dungeon the skull is revealed to be the spirit of Alexei Barov, whose (almost) entire family, including himself, were bosses in the old Scholomance.
    • For the Scarlet Monastery, we have the story of Sally Whitemane and Renault Mograine having evolved into an Alas, Poor Villain scenario. Mograine had been killed by his father's ghost as revenge for his betrayal and murder of him. Whitemane continues to be the final boss of Scarlet Monastery Cathedral, this time with Commander Durand to replace Mograine for gameplay purposes, but she now has these last words after you defeat her this time:
      Whitemane: Mograine...
    • Which circles back to Fridge Horror once you realize, that Mograine had been dead for several years in-game already. Whitemane was still in love with him years after he died.
  • Liam's death in the Worgen starting zone is jarring. In the heat of an epic battle against the Forsaken to retake Gilneas, Liem takes a poisoned arrow that Sylvanas intended for King Greymane instead. This has a profound impact on everyone for the closing chapter of the starting zone, particularly when you attend his funeral.
  • The short "Dreadmaul Rock" quest chain in the Burning Steps. A troll asks you to check on his wife Sha'ni who was out on an investigation and hasn't reported back yet. You go to the area in question, and there's no sign of her... until you click on some bones lying on a stone platform. Sha'ni's ghost appears and explains that her platoon was captured by ogres. Everyone but her was executed — she was strapped to an altar by the leader and brutalized. She died an hour into the torture, at which point the ogre ripped off her wedding nose-ring as a trophy. Sha'ni can't rest until her husband knows her fate, so you find and kill the ogre leader and bring Sha'ni's wedding ring back to her husband:
    Thal'trak: Did you find Sha'ni? Is she okay?
    (Thal'trak collapses.)
    Thal'trak: We were going to move to the Hinterlands. Did she tell you? This was going to be her last mission...
    (You give him the ring. Thal'trak sobs.)
    Thal'trak: I don't want it. Keep it, throw it away, I don't care! The ring means nothing to me now. Not without her...
  • The Elemental Bonds questline, where Thrall's essence is split and divided among each of the elemental planes, culminates in the Firelands, where Thrall's rage is embodied in a giant, flaming avatar screaming bloody murder for all the shit he's had to put up with throughout his life. But one line stands out, and Thrall belts it out in absolute, primal, grief-stricken anger...
    Thrall: GARROSH... Garrosh... CAIRNE WAS MY BROTHER!!!!!!!
  • Kalecgos disbanding the Blue Dragonflight in Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War. Following the end of Cataclysm the blue dragons had grown depressed and more and more left their home at the Nexus daily. Eventually, with a little pushing from his friend Kirygosa, Kalec declares that their organization no longer exists and allows all the blue dragons to go off on their own. The last one to leave is Teralygos, an elder dragon who had resisted Kalec's position as Aspect. When he leaves, Kalec is left standing all alone atop the Nexus.

    Mists of Pandaria 
  • The Fall of Theramore. Hundreds of people, including Rhonin, a few named minor characters and the widely adored city of Theramore being wiped out in an instant at the behest of Garrosh.
  • The Lady Jaina Proudmoore, not only one of the nicest and most understanding people of anyone in the game, is also one of the few who has campaigned tirelessly for peace between the Alliance and the Horde. As a result of the Fall of Theramore, she nearly follows in her father's footsteps in wanting to utterly destroy the Horde. Although she is briefly snaps out of it, she snaps back in 5.1 during the purge of Dalaran. After she finds evidence that the Sunreavers aided in the theft of the Divine Bell (they actually didn't, and were completely unaware of Garrosh's plans), she declares Dalaran Neutral No Longer and imprisons the Sunreavers, and has Vereesa put down the mass Insurrection of Sunreavers. every single one of them in Dalaran. This is after previously giving a speech about how we must all trust one another and her city would be a shiny beacon of peace and prosperity between the two factions. It's clear that repeated backstabbings by the Horde have permanently changed her.
    • Her suggestion that Varian take Garrosh's defeat as an opportunity to dismantle the Horde once and for all. She even smirks when it looks as though Varian is about to go through with it. That, along with the venom in her voice, is shocking and sad to hear given how peaceful she used to be.
  • The slow but sure degradation and fracturing of Aysa and Ji's friendship throughout the Pandaren starting zone. The Tushui and Houjin have always been dynamically different from one another, but its made clear that there was never any bad blood between them and that Aysa and Ji were in fact close friends. However, as the starting zone's storyline goes on, Aysa becomes increasingly frustrated and eventually outright enraged by how nonchalant and laid back Ji has been acting despite how serious the situation is, while Ji begins to chafe increasingly under Aysa's "overbearing" attitude. Thins ultimately come to a head with Ji's plan to destroy the Alliance warship in order to save the Wandering Isle. While it does work, Aysa is enraged and devastated by how much pain Ji's plan put Shen-zin Su through, and despite Ji's efforts to reconcile, her only response is to bitterly say that she hopes his plan's success was worth the anguish his actions caused to the being she dedicated her life to.
    • Even with the falling out, Aysa is still clearly dismayed when Varian makes it clear she and the rest of the Tushui will be expected to fight the Houjin now, as is Ji when Garrosh tells him the flipside. While Varian sympathizes with Aysa's hesitation, Garrosh gives Ji No Sympathy and makes it clear he will not tolerate further peaceful interactions with the Tushui.
  • One many players tend to miss due to taking shortcuts, but while on the way to the Ring of Honor to receive Garrosh's "gift", Ji is warned against tarrying in the Drag as "Garrosh doesn't take kindly to non-orcs being here". Ji is notably shocked that Garrosh segregates the city. It's even more notable compared to Aysa who's told that everyone in the Alliance works together.
  • The Fountain of Youth quest chain. It starts with a night elf, obsessed with immortality so much, he ignored his daughter in search of the fountain of youth. He finally found it, only to discover it wasn't what he'd hoped it would be—the waters did not create life, but transferred it. As he aided the pandaren he began to regret his actions prior. But most tearjerking of all, his daughter (a sentinel) died fighting the leader of the mogu... and he used the waters of the fountain to give his life for her.
  • Suna Silentstrike's grief at finding her dead husband.
    • And then the part in which she descends into grief-fueled rage against the yaungol and her friend Ban, whom she blames for what happens. Eventually, she gets possessed by the Sha of Hatred and you have to kill her. As she lies dying of her wounds, she manages to bring herself to forgive Ban.
  • The Alliance cinematic at the start of the Pandaria quest line. Varian Wrynn listening to the last message from Admiral Taylor telling him that his son was safe the time of recording and not knowing if Anduin is still safe.
  • Leza Dawnchaser's Death by Childbirth. The accompanying cutscene is just heartbreaking.
  • By the same vein as the above Master Shang Xi's death. You almost see it coming, but it doesn't really prepare you for it. The music accompanying the scene is truly memorable and helps tremendously to sell the moment to you. Ji's comments afterward don't really help.
    • Seeing his ghost bow respectfully one last time as you leave the Wandering Isle pulls at the heartstrings too.
  • In Mists of Pandaria, after the Jade Serpent tells you that she's dying, ready to transfer her life force into the huge statue you've just retrieved the last of the jade they needed to finish to create a new guardian, as she flies you back to the Jade temple, saying she's tired and needs to rest... the Horde and Alliance start a battle at the foot of it. Despite being specifically shown what happens in Pandaria when someone acts aggressively, they do it anyway, and the statue that had been worked on for a hundred years is destroyed, and a huge sha (aggression given form and life) pops out of the ground and wrecks both armies. The Jade Serpent ferries you out of the zone, saying maybe it's best if you make yourself scarce for a while, and she'll have to hang onto life for a while longer.
    • It's even more of a tearjerker because it's also a Player Punch; you played a major role in the events that set up the disaster. All of the events; not only did you deliver the jade to the builders, only to see their great work undone, but you also helped arm the natives who joined your side, which led directly to the major battle at the base of the statue.
  • In the Dread Wastes, Chen Stormstout is searching for his distant relatives Evie, Han, and Mama. He finds Evie but she's already dead. What really makes it sad is the scene after you turn in the quest.
    Chen Stormstout: I never knew you... but you were family.
    • And then, after Chen starts walking away, he turns around to comment that she looks just like Li Li, his niece.
  • The end of the Shieldwall quest line. Let's just say Varian Wrynn's Papa Wolf tendencies are about to come out with a vengeance.
  • Near the end of the Domination Offensive questline we get a big one. The Purge of Dalaran. Seeing all the blood elven civilians being imprisoned, having their facade finally broken down, and wondering what their future holds, is heartwrenching. Fridge Horror sinks in when you realize that Dalaran was not a military base, it was a city, and Aethas in no uncertain terms says the majority of the Sunreavers are still locked away in the Violet Hold. This means entire families, children included, are still imprisoned.
  • Lei Shi, the third boss in Terrace of Eternal Spring, is a friendly water spirit under the influence of the Sha of Fear. She begs you to leave her alone the entire time you're beating the tar out of her. In a sweet little kid voice. Trust us, Lei Shi, this hurts us more than it hurts you.
  • For any fan of the Horde who chafes under Garrosh's mad rule: Seeing Vol'jin lying there in Binan Village, suffering from a poison designed specifically to kill trolls. This is one of the faction leaders that has his head screwed on straight, who could fix our diplomatic problems, who should have been Warchief, and seeing him like that would fill any true soldier of the New Horde (not Garrosh's army of warmongering thugs) with anguish and rage.
  • At the end of The Operation Shieldwall quest line, you help Anduin stop Garrosh, who has the Divine Bell, after doing so, and rendering the Bell powerless, Garrosh blames Anduin for killing his greatest warrior who Garrosh had covered in Sha, then he smashes Anduin into the Bell hard enough to shatter it, and leaves you to report the reason.
  • There are many tragic moments to be found in the story of the Mogu's enslavement of the Pandaren. However, one particular scroll found on the Isle of Thunder describes what the Mogu's first emperor did to the Pandaren people, and it is absolutely heartbreaking:
    The Pandaren Problem:
    Even in the ages before the old empire, there is evidence that the pandaren love of learning had created epic poems, agriculture, and medicine.
    The Thunder King saw great potential in the pandaren, and for this reason he did not trust them.
    After he conquered the land, the pandaren were forbidden to learn to read or write. Their leaders and philosophers were executed. All pandaren art and literature was burned. Anyone caught speaking anything but the mogu tongue was considered to be a conspirator, a charge often punished with death.
    All of the work of the earliest pandaren artists and writers has been lost forever. Ages later, other great pandaren scholars would be born... but the language they spoke was not truly their own.
  • Thrall asking Vol'jin to take care of his family right before going on a suicide mission into Orgrimmar to find other Orcs who oppose Garrosh's rule. Vol'jin is clearly not happy to hear this.
    Vol'jin: For da Horde.
    Thrall: For the Horde.
  • For Horde players, having to kill General Nazgrim, an NPC you served alongside over the course of three different expansions, who doesn't follow Garrosh out of a belief in what he's doing, but out of a sense of honor and duty, and he's ultimately glad that you struck him down. The saddest thing about civil wars in factions is that often, people who genuinely like or respect each other end up on opposite sides.
    Nazgrim: You have learned much, and learned well. An honorable battle, in the end. I stood by the Warchief because it was my duty, and I am glad it was you who struck me down. May your strength lead the Horde into a new era of prosperity.
    • Getting Gamon involved is also touching, as Nazgrim was one of the few Horde figures he respected, and he swears that he'll uphold his honorable ways.
  • With the release of 5.4, the Destruction of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms by Garrosh. Not only is one of the most beautiful places in Pandaria damaged almost beyond repair, but it gets worse when you consider that was where many of the refugees from places like the Jade Forest (much of which was damaged by the Sha of Doubt) and Kun-Lai Summit (attacked by the yaungol, who themselves were displaced as a result of mantid attacks and sha manipulation). Worst of all is when you have to fight some of the Golden Lotus questgivers (three attack you as main enemies, and six others join as adds), who are being trapped in eternal torment by the Sha, who are playing off their despair over their failure. Hearing Lorewalker Cho as he sees everything that's happened and tries to talk to the spirit of Rook Stonetoe is heartbreaking.
    • Just listen to Taran Zhu when you meet him — while, being Taran Zhu, his first few lines are basically a bitter "I told you so", he doesn't sound vindicated or even that angry — just defeated.
  • Aysa finds Ji at near-death during the Siege of Orgrimmar. Despite parting on bad terms at the end of the Wandering Isle questline, she truly does care for him.
    • It gets worse. If your group takes too long to engage the overseer, he WILL behead Ji. Aysa then flies into a rage and attacks the overseer, promptly getting killed in the process.
  • While storming Orgrimmar, there are several trash mobs that aren't elite or Kor'kron. They're citizens of Orgrimmar and Theramore that have been threatened (the Theramore citizens mention their children being held hostage) into fighting any invaders.
    • There's also Orphan Matron Battlewail telling the frightened orphans to stay inside and behind her—worse, still, just before Overlord Run'thak orders some demolishers to fire on you, as well as the various NPC merchants and civilians who get easily slaughtered when you go into the auction house, bank and forge. This is a reminder that you're fighting through a capital city, and civilian casualties are essentially inevitable.
  • Old Hillpaw in the Valley of the Four Winds. When you first meet him, he's a cranky old chicken farmer who wishes to be left alone, but, like all the other important Halfhill Market NPC's, you do quests and give him gifts to increase your friendship. Then you find out why he's so bitter: his wife and son are dead. If you give him Braised Turtle he mentions that his wife used to make that dish and it brings back memories. If you give him a blue feather...
    Old Hillpaw: ... My son, Tai...he used to collect these as a little boy. When his mother died, I told him they were messages from her, fallen from the heavens.
    <Old Hillpaw falls into a quiet silence.>
  • If you completed the Klaxxi storyline, you may have developed an odd camaraderie of sorts with the Paragons, even though they reveal at the end that they unashamedly worship an Old God. Still, the fight with them in Siege of Orgrimmar can be sad if you liked any of them, Kil'ruk's death quote in particular making you want to salute him.
    Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver: Well fought, Wakener. We will meet again...
    • If you wipe, Kil'ruk says instead:
    Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver: I did warn you, Wakener.

    Warlords of Draenor 
  • Even after all he did, Garrosh Hellscream's death in Warlords of Draenor is nothing short of heartbreaking and tear-jerking.
    • It's especially painful for those who played through the Horde's Nagrand quest chain in The Burning Crusade, since Thrall and the player helped him regain his confidence, so in a way, this whole thing was our fault...
    • Thrall might deny Garrosh's claim that he failed as Warchief and left Garrosh to pick up the pieces, or even that he made Garrosh what he became... but the player absolutely participated in "making" Garrosh.
  • Even someone as lost as Garrosh can prove his own turmoil. In the final duel against Thrall, after being told he failed the Horde, Garrosh pummels Thrall with his bare hands, ranting to Thrall that he set Garrosh up to fail as Warchief. You can hear the sadness and rage in his voice as he beats on someone he once looked up to.
    Garrosh: You made me Warchief! You left me... to pick up! Your! Pieces! You... failed... ME!
  • For Alliance players, the fate of Admiral Taylor in Warlords of Draenor. Thanks to the Shadow Council, the people in his garrison were killed off and turned into spirits, most of whom forgot what had happened to them, and you only just save his spirit from being made to serve the Shadow Council. In a bittersweet moment, he decides to make the best of his situation and to join your garrison so he can fight alongside you, just like old times.
    From one commander to another... thank you. We've been through a lot together, haven't we, <name>? Vashj'ir... the Jade Forest... Lion's Landing... I am truly honored that I could end my journey by your side.
    • Taylor's death coming so close on the heels of Nazgrim's death is tragic. Both Horde and Alliance lose two heroes they journeyed throughout many quests and zones with, and the two aforementioned heroes who engaged in witty banter, battles to the death, and arguably a "if I can't kill you" bromance, die so close together in time to one another makes this sad indeed.
    • If you're Horde Admiral Taylor is thankful that he was beaten by such a worthy adversary.
  • The fate of Nethergarde Keep in the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch. You find that the Iron Horde has taken over, and one quest involved retrieving items of some deceased non-player characters. Later on, you even meet the sister of one of those characters, and she is very upset about what happened.
  • Ner'zhul's backstory. He was forced to join the Iron Horde to save the lives of his clan, then goaded into providing a "worthy" source of power to contribute to the IH. In his desperation, he turned to Void magic. Even as they wrote his lines to make him look like a Drunk on the Dark Side Disney villain, this line serves to remind you of his plight:
    Ner'zhul: I will save my clan, even if I must sacrifice the souls of my ancestors!
    • His mate Rulkan winds up pleading with the player to stop him, because she can't.
  • One exclusive to Horde players in Frostfire Ridge: coming across the Young Orc Traveller and/or the Young Orc Woman. Each can be looted for an item and a note suggesting where the other is, fleshing out the story. It's basically a Star-Crossed Lovers story in which the male was set upon and killed by wolves while the female froze to death waiting for him. Worse, combining the two items forms a pendant, "Talisman of Yearning Unfulfilled".
  • In Talador, there is a quest a draenei NPC gives to you to find portions of a potion that he hopes will revive his sister, who was just killed in a wagon crash that he survived as the two were on a pilgrimage. It doesn't work.
  • The penultimate garrison campaign for Alliance (A Strike at the Heart) involves an attack on the garrison in which The Bad Guy Wins and gets away with the artifact you retrieved last time, but that's not the really sad part. The sad part is that in the process, Baros Alexston, your garrison's architect, was killed protecting Lieutenant Thorn from Azuka Bladefury's blade. At the last, he finally confessed his love for Thorn (the two had a bad case of Cannot Spit It Out up to that point), handing over the rose he was planning to give her that very night as he died. After that event, Lieutenant Thorn is completely heartbroken, and stays in her worgen form (previously, you'd seen her human form only).
  • At first glance, Kaelynara Sunchaser seems like just another mana-addicted blood elf tampering with powers beyond her ken. But then you read her Tear-Stained Letter, in which her master annuls her apprenticeship in the cruelest and most arrogant manner possible. It makes most players change their opinion of her from "Power-hungry fool!" to "That poor girl..."
    • It gets worse. Astalor can be found at the Broken Front, charging up Blood Golems; despite this, there's no follow-up quest that allows you to settle the matter of Kaelynara's death with him.
    • Perhaps even worse, his suggestion that she take up basket-weaving can be interpreted as him telling her to Stay in the Kitchen.
  • After suffering so much defeat, Grom is visited again by Gul'dan who is attempting again to give the demon blood to the orcs. Gul'dan throws Grom's failure as Warchief in his face, and when Grom throws back that his men died with honor, Gul'dan chuckles and asks if that same was true for his son. Gul'dan tosses Gorehowl at Grom's feet, revealing Garrosh as Grom's son in the same breath that pronounced him dead. Grom looks utterly heartbroken as Gul'dan reinforces that he's lost everything and his only choice is to accept the Legion's gift. For a hardass like Grom to visibly show sadness, it really shows that the two Hellscreams were family and cared about one another. On top of this, Gul'dan turns Kilrogg to his side and gives him demon blood after pinning Grom to the wall, leaving Grom unable to do anything but watch while shouting his lieutenant's name in vain as Kilrogg drinks the blood from the cup and turns into a Fel Orc.
  • A blink and you miss it one in Talador. Five fel-spider cocoons contain Draenei who had been exploring the nearby mine who ask you to save the others and they'll reward you back at camp. One of them offhandedly notes getting a scratch from the spiders but shrugs it off as no big deal. When you return to the camp, there's only four of them, all mourning the fifth.
  • When you finally get to invade Tanaan Jungle and take the fight to Gul'dan personally, you've already seen Gul'dan tempting the Bleeding Hollow clan into becoming fel orcs and taking control of the Iron Horde personally. It's obvious that the orcs at this point really deserve the ass-whuppin' that you currently are delivering to them. But then, as you advance further into the jungles of Tanaan, you encounter a lone orc body. The name of the corpse is "Felsworn Deserter", and the seemingly young orc clutches a letter in his hand, which reads: "Dear Ma, I've decided to leave da Iron Horde army. Not enough grub, and I miss your cooking. Love, Your Son." Suddenly, all that motivation to lay down the smack on all those orcs just disappears.
  • Vindicator Maraad's death. He performs a Heroic Sacrifice to shield Yrel at the cost of his own life while they fight AU!Blackhand. And then there's his last words...
    Maraad: In the Light... we are one.
  • The Frostwolf Ghostpup is a Battle Pet one can obtain through the Archaeology profession. As the name implies it's a ghostly Frostwolf Pup, and the flavor text for it is absolutely heartbreaking.
    The little wolf told to stay. Watching, waiting, for vacant prey. Too proud to leave, she slipped away. Unburdened now, forever free to play.

  • The entirety of Broken Shore and the aftermath of it. Not since Arthas had us dead to rights atop Icecrown have we been beaten so soundly. We were hoping to close the portal, or the very least establish a beachhead. Instead the assault turned into a complete rout with some of Azeroth's greatest heroes dying unceremonious deaths.
    • Tirion Fordring. Watching one of the best people on Azeroth be horribly killed and not being able to do anything stop it... even if you manage not to cry, you'll find yourself hating the words "You cannot attack that target", especially in connection to Gul'dan.
    • Vol'jin's death. He tries holding out against fel poison for as long as he is able to, despite it eating him up and visibly blackening his veins. His troll regeneration simply not able to prevent the life-consuming fel from killing him. He sits there, pathetic, weak, and barely able to speak, and his dying words are begging for Sylvanas to take the mantle as Warchief and ensure that the Horde survives. And Sylvanas herself is left in Stunned Silence while Vol'jin's body is carried out before speaking at his funeral pyre.
      • Massive credit is due to the machinima team at Blizzard for doing such a good job subtly but clearly showing Sylvanas realizing that she just achieved something she may once have wanted, in a way she really didn't want.
    • Varian's death. With the Horde retreating in the face of insurmountable forces, Varian is forced to call a retreat of his own, but the gunship the Alliance use to pull out is grabbed and held by a colossal Fel Reaver. Varian dangles from a ladder and Greymane reaches out a hand, only for Varian to give him the letter he was writing in the opening cinematic and tell Greymane to take it to his son. He then jumps from the ladder, taking down the Fel Reaver and letting his men escape, then killing several demons before being overwhelmed by a combination of exhaustion and their sheer numbers. And even then, faced with Gul'dan's gloating, he still defiantly answers "for the Alliance!" before being agonizingly burned to death by fel magic and his corpse reduced to nothing. In the distance, Greymane sees the explosion and howls a Big "NO!" at the loss of his comrade.
    • The Horde version of this cinematic has Sylvanas looking on glumly from her ship. The Alliance and Horde actually got their shit together and put everything on this campaign only to get crushed when the main Legion invasion force came in. Sylvanas got hit with a major one-two punch between this and Vol'jin's death, leaving her gazing at the throne as time lapses around her, shell-shocked.
    • If you look in Durotar some way away Vol'jin's pyre, you can find Tyrathan Khort, the man Vol'jin befriended in Shadows of the Horde, watching the pyre from a distance. He will ask you not to call the guards, as he is there to honor a friend, not to cause any trouble. To make the tears worse, he mentions the pact he made with Vol'jin that whoever outlived the other would avenge their fallen friend, and then comments that he always thought Vol'jin would outlive him.
  • At many points in Val'sharah it is stated and seen that anyone can be corrupted by the Nightmare no matter how good they are, then you find Cenarius caught in such corruption and you try to save him you're too late, witnessed by Malfurion, his student and Ysera, the dragon who raised him as her son.
    • Then later, when trying to save Malfurion, who had rushed off after his mentor's corruption, Ysera becomes corrupted and Tyrande is forced to chose between saving her husband or the temple for her Goddess Elune. She chooses her goddess, while making it clear that she did not make the choice lightly. Afterward, she is forced to kill the corrupted Ysera — who may have regained her sanity while dying. The cinematic and music that plays is heartbreaking as Elune removes the corrupted spirit of the dragon, putting new stars in the sky in memorial, and you can see that Tyrande and the other night elf watchers are about to cry themselves. Tyrande especially seems to take it personally.
  • Attack on Exodar. Part way through/the end of the first Class Order campaign, Khadgar sends the adventurer to retrieve A lightbound relic that crashlands in the sea near Suramar. Dragging it back, the object contains a message from Turalyon requesting to be brought to the prophet. Khadgar sends you off to bring it to Velen, only to find the Exodar under attack by the legion, lead by a Man'ari Eredar High General Rakeesh. Fighting through, rescuing civilians and beating back the Legion, you finally get the attention of the Prophet Velen in order to deliver the lightbound object. Struck with shock and surprise, he explains that it is the sentience core of the Naaru prime Xe'ra and that the wisdom within is crucial to the Legion's defeat. Aside from merely exterminating the hated Draenei, the true purpose of the Legion's attack becomes clear. O'ros, the Naaru that dwells aboard the Exodar, is the last of Xe'ra's ancient line and the only one that can unlock her core. A final assault between your group, consisting of Velen, follows from your class, against Rakeesh. The injured naaru is quickly mended by the prophet, Before you can even act further Rakeesh calls down a Fel Annihilator while mockingly stating he has one last task before surrendering and facing judgment, killing the naaru, before turning his assault upon you. The battle joined and near the eredar's defeat Rakeesh decides to die through detonation of his annihilator which would destroy the Exodar and kill everyone aboard. Worse yet, Velen has a startling revelation. He had a son that supposedly died 13000 years before, but upon that child's birth the prophet had a vision of kneeling down before a dying battered warrior of an eredar, mourning his death. He did not understand now until his vision unfolded. Velen becomes so panicked and distraught by this while you and your followers try to kill Rakeesh before he destroys the Exodar, Velen actually turns on you demanding you stop attacking Rakeesh. Kneeling over Rakeesh's corpse, Velen talks about his family and that Kil'jaeden took them from him, and then you realize, that Kil'jaeden killed Velen's family 13000 years ago, took his son and raised him as a weapon to kill Velen as vengeance for his defiance. The bitterness, hate and despair in Velen's voice, followed by a terse dismissal that there is nothing more for you in the Exodar is nothing short of heartbreaking. Shortly thereafter, Velen states that he is "Prophet no more" and seeks Artificer Romuul, ordering him to repair the Exodar and prepare it for a trip to Argus.
    Prophet Velen: Take Light's Heart and return to Khadgar. Tell him... Tell him that the Light died here this day.
  • Runas the Shamed is an amusing addled Nightfallen trying to make amends for his actions, until he reveals he was very close to being a Wretched, and moments before he transforms he thanks you for making his last few hours mean something. Unlike Senegos, the mana pool he was sitting in didn't help, and his voice acting is impeccable — you can feel his despair as, despite his willpower, he realizes he's failing to stop the inevitable... and then it transitions into melancholy, but heartfelt gratitude to you.
    Runas the Shamed says: This hunger is consuming my very mind. It is taking every ounce of my energy to just... just...
    Runas the Shamed says: Can you hear me, my friend?
    Runas the Shamed says: I... I can not see you anymore.
    Runas the Shamed says: I think... perhaps it is time to say goodbye, then.
    Runas the Shamed says: Thank you, my friend, for letting my last few hours mean something.
  • In Stormheim, you encounter two friendly Highmountain tauren, who request that you kill some wolves that are making life difficult for them. Upon returning, you encounter two goblins instead, who ask you help them out, and that the tauren left; but don't worry, they've got a trade agreement with those two from Highmountain, they'll be back, and you'd be doing all of them a favor, even as you're sent halfway across the map to dangerous areas, to kill even more deadly things. The tauren are dead. The goblins are looting their belongings. And the corpses are lying in the shed somewhere — one of the goblins even comments that "they're starting to smell" at one point when you return. They're trying to kill you off with their "errands", and taking advantage of the time you're away to strip everything of value the two had worked for. And this is in what could be a starting zone. You can track them down and kill them at 110, granting a small amount of closure and justice for the tauren, but the fact that the title you get is "the Gullible" grinds more salt into the wound.
    • Also from Stormheim, the end of Genn and Sylvanas' fight. It's an awesome cinematic, especially with Genn thwarting Sylvanas' plan to enslave the val'kyr, but then you see Genn limping away and he truly does seem old. And there's something heartbreaking about how he says "you took my son's future". That and the And This Is for... at the start of the fight really show how much Genn values that Sylvanas has taken from him, and it's small wonder that he's willing to pursue revenge even in the face of the Legion's invasion.
      • A possible retroactive one from Liam Greymane's death in Cataclysm. Given that Genn managed to survive Sylvanas' poisoned arrow in the Stormheim finale, his son's Heroic Sacrifice in Gilneas was likely all for nothing. Yes, Genn needed medical attention afterwards, but Liam didn't even live long enough to get any.
    • A world quest involves partying with a group of vrykul, who may attack you in a drunken stupor. One, Elyssa the Flower, drops the vendor item Twin Poppies, a gift from her twin children before she left home.
  • Illidan's backstory shows that the world pretty much loved to kick him when he's down. While training to be a druid, Cenarius refused to teach him further due to his impatience and lack of discipline and told him to learn under his brother Malfurion, who was still an apprentice himself. Then during the invasion of Black Rook Hold, he's unable to fight off the Burning Legion and forced to drain power from his troops to do so. Afterwards, he's given a What the Hell, Hero? by his leader, only for Illidan to angrily shoot back that literally nothing else worked. He then joins the Burning Legion with the intent of subverting the cause from within, and he gets his eyes burned out by Sargeras and forced to witness the true multidimensional might of the Legion and how small the army that is invading now really is. Illidan is by no means a saint, but given his circumstances, it's a miracle he didn't flat-out join the Legion for real in despair that there was no other way.
  • In Suramar City, there's an entire district of Nightborne whose supplies of arcwine have been so severely reduced that they're at risk of withering. A quest to share some with the most desperate elves shows that many of them have been refusing to drink it so their loved ones can have enough. The reason they don't have enough arcwine? They spoke out against allying with the Burning Legion.
    • Even in the "loyalist" areas, there's the occasional starving Nightborne who begs players for a few drops of arcwine. If you share some ancient mana with them, they thank you profusely and you earn a buff called "Empathy".
    • Arluin starts out as a Friend in the Black Market, helping the resistance in their goal to overthrow Ellisande at steep prices. By the time the Arcan'dor is nearing maturity, Thalyssra and the gang plan a Suicide Mission into the tunnels beneath Suramar. Arluin comes out of the shadows and tells them all that he wants in, and that his usual fee is of no concern — when all seems lost during the mission Arluin sacrifices himself to ensure the goal is achieved and the Arcan'dor survives. Why? It is revealed that his sister was about to wither — all that ancient mana you paid him for his services? Every single ounce of it went to ensure she held out until a more permanent solution was found, and when he caught wind of one such solution being found — he was onboard with no hesitation. And when the plan turned sour, he was willing to perform a Heroic Suicide to ensure that didn't turn out to be a Hope Spot.
      • After the scenario is complete, one can return to where his body lay to find that a small shrine with a planted dusk lily and a bowl of Arcan'dor fruit lying next to it has been erected. Rest well Arluin, your sacrifice undoubtedly saved Suramar's people.
  • Alliance players can find a small trinket in the sea near the Broken Shore that turns out to be Varian's compass. When you start a quest chain by returning it to Anduin, he mentions having given to his father for his birthday a few years ago, and that since his father's death he hasn't had a single opportunity to actually mourn. This throws Anduin into a depression, with no one having any luck in consoling him until the player character comes to persuade him to return to his duties.
    • The entire quest chain is one. From Anduin mentioning not having had any time to mourn his father, to praying to know if his father's spirit is at peace, to feeling unworthy and unable to bear the responsibility of his crown. Anduin also laments that he has been sheltered from the atrocities taking place by great men like Bolvar and Tirion throughout his entire life, and this continues while countless brave heroes and soldiers die in his name. He acknowledges that his people like and respect him, but knows they do not believe in him as they believed in his father, something he accepts is completely justified given his father's accomplishments and strength. Overhearing Greymane's comments that he needs to toughen up and understand what sacrifices are being made, he completely agrees, showing self-awareness of his limitations and naivety.
    • The quest chain culminates in Anduin heading to the Broken Shore to see first-hand the evil taking place. Visiting the exact spot where his father fell, Anduin breaks down in grief, both at his father's death and not having had time to mourn, and feeling he lacks the strength to be the hero and king his father was. For all his earlier and justified criticisms, Greymane himself consoles Anduin over his father's heroism and sacrifice, explaining that Varian's valiant actions and defiance were a message of inspiration to his people in the face of an overwhelming enemy.
    • Anduin himself finds Shalamayne in the ashes where his father died, and experiences a vision of Varian urging him to live up to his kingly responsibilities. Filled with newfound resolve, Shalamayne starts glowing with holy light in Anduin's hands...
    • Despite his criticism of Anduin, Greymane actually tries to stop him walking to where Varian died, sadly saying "My boy, you don't need to see this.", and then gently explains Varian's Heroic Sacrifice to him. After all, despite his more cynical views, Greymane knows well what it's like to lose a close family member.
  • Alleria and Vereesa reuniting is a joyous occasion, presumably, until the moment Vereesa has to explain to her what has happened to their sister...
  • In the Rogue mount quest, you have to assassinate marks hidden within enemy capital cities that are actually homunculi, incredibly lifelike undead in disguise. The last mark for Horde characters is in Stormwind: Auctioneer Jaxon, an NPC who has been around since Vanilla. Given the Legion's brutality, it isn't too hard to figure out the fate of the real Auctioneer Jaxon. She was married to Officer Jaxon and they had a son, Xander. Even more heartbreaking, Xander brings her coffee every hour — yet he isn't aware that his mother is most likely dead and that he is serving coffee to something posing as her, not to mention what his reaction would be to "her" assassination.
  • A bonus scenario added in patch 7.3.5., involving the spirit of a little draenei girl called Uuna, who was sacrificed by the Burning Legion along many of her brethren to create the Many-Faced Devourer.
  • In the Legion Epilogue, Khadgar undergoes a Despair Event Horizon seeing that all of it was for nothing, as the Alliance and Horde are still fighting, he goes off on his own, unable to handle it after all he did to fight the Legion.
  • During the Deaths of Chromie scenario, the player is sent to Old Stratholme to stop one of the assassins. However, to reach the assassin, you need to get a key from one of the denizens of the city. In Warcraft III, the Culling of Stratholme is seen from Arthas' point of view, and in World of Warcraft you see the aftermath of it. Deaths of Chromie puts the adventurer on ground zero of the Culling, and you find out that the barkeep of the Stone Crow Tavern was in love with the orphan matron, and as one of the tasks to get the key you have to bring her some flowers "for the kids". However, as this happens, Arthas and his men start their attack, and the orphan matron asks that you bring her a gun so she can protect the children in the orphanage while the barkeep asks you to bring him supplies so he can burn the inn down. Given that the tavern and orphanage still burn to this day, it's unlikely that either of them or the orphans made it out alive.
  • Windle Sparkshine, that funny little Gnome mage who lights the Dalaran Streetlamps every night? Back in Wrath you could get an item from him that let you light the lamps yourself. Come Legion, this item no longer works, as Windle now uses his nightly duty to deal with the pain of losing his daughter Kinndy, Jaina's apprentice, in the Bombing of Theramore.

    Battle for Azeroth 
  • The very concept of this expansion may well be one for players who don't believe in the faction conflict between the Alliance and the Horde like Khadgar did. After all they've been through and after finally defeating the Burning Legion, the Alliance and the Horde almost immediately start going to war against one another once again, all while Azeroth bleeds out.
    • Throughout Legion, your class hall could feature champions who were from the enemy faction who fight alongside you for the sake of Azeroth. Now that Battle for Azeroth is here, you'll no longer have the services of said heroes, and may even end up fighting against some of them in the course of the story.
  • Warbringers: Jaina shows that while she was a beloved ally to the Alliance, not all of her people loved her. They went so far as to make a song of how she betrayed her father Admiral Proudmore and lead him to his doom. She quietly sings it to herself as she travels among shipwrecks and scores of dead sailors.
    And buried deep beneath the waves, betrayed by family,
    To his nation with his last breath cried, "beware the Daughter of the Sea!"
    • This really brings to a head just how bitter Jaina's life has been. All she wanted was peace, and for that goal she stood aside as her father was slain by Thrall. Everything Garrosh did had undone everything she worked for and she knows it, turning her bitter, and making her realize the world wouldn't have peace. The re-ignition of the war was in the worst way she wanted when it came at the cost of Varian's life. And now returning home, she's finally poised to admit her father, though misguided at the time of his death, was ultimately right, and confesses as much to his skeletal ghost. She's going return home as a pariah and mythical boogy man... and her tone seems to imply that she believes she deserves it.
    "Beware... beware, the daughter of the sea... beware... beware of me."
    • Part of it that goes unsaid, but easy to see, when the song talks about Daelin's death, all of the shadows of the Orcs are identical to Garrosh. His destruction of Theramore has damaged Jaina so badly that she's now unable to see the Orcish race as a whole as anything but what Garrosh was; a bloodthirsty, warmongering, relentless murderer.
  • Warbringers: Sylvanas is equal parts heartbreaking and horrifying, showing a modern hardened and ruthless Sylvanas mirrored by her old, heroic and living self. She fought desperately and bravely to stop Arthas from massacring her people, only to be cut down by him for all her efforts — and raised as another of his puppets. That she has no qualms about burning Teldrassil and massacring all the innocents in it (and making a dying Delaryn Summermoon watch) in a mirror of Arthas' own actions toward her people, says something about how far she's fallen.
    • Some of Sylvanas's flashbacks to the fall of Quel'Thalas and her death at the hands of Arthas when Delaryn infers they're Not So Different straddle this trope and Nightmare Fuel; Sylvanas desperately trying to rally the defenders of Silvermoon against the unending undead legions of the Scourge, the look of horror and terror that crosses her face as Arthas's shadow looms over her before she receives the death blow from Frostmourne, and the fact her first/final sight is of the bodies of an elven mother and child she'd helped to safety moments before are what causes her to let loose her first scream as a banshee...
    • When Sylvanas orders the massacre, Blightcaller hesitates for a moment as he stares at the dying Night Elf; stone cold and doggedly loyal though he may be, even he can't believe what he's hearing. She needs to turn and yell her order a second time before he complies.
    • The short ends as it begins, with Sylvanas gazing across the sea at Teldrassil, the colossal tree reaching above her like a crown. Only this time, the once beautiful city is gutted with fire, while Saurfang and Nathanos are nowhere to be seen. Now she's alone on a desolate shore, with only the corpse of the Night Elf she tormented for company. The symbolism is all too clear; she's destroyed not just hope, but also the love of her people, and will now shoulder the full burden of her deeds alone.
    • The razing of Teldrassil is heartbreaking, but on Alliance side you get to see first-hand what's happening. The city is in flames, innocent civilians whose only crime is living where Sylvanas wants to conquer panic and die while she seemingly burns their home out of pure spite instead of occupying it. You have a quest to save as many civilians as you can, but... it's nearly impossible to save any high number, with the 3 minutes you're given, out of nearly a thousand civilians you'll be able to save just over 50 if you're aggressive about it, only to pass out from the smoke and be saved by Mia Greymane, who then collapses from her own smoke inhalation as Genn panicks over the possibility of losing his wife. He ends up chucking her through the portal to Stormwind as the player follows, while the second-in-command of the Priests and Priestesses of Elune and her young apprentice stay behind to perish in the flames, futilely trying to heal the survivors that can't make it through.
    • It's even worse in the novella, as when Saurfang realises what Sylvanas is about to do, he starts screaming at the Devastator crews not to fire, to no avail, before launching into a blistering "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Sylvanas. He ends up watching the burning tree for hours filled with such self loathing he compares the experience to the sack of Stormwind, lamenting the Horde is beyond redemption, and a desire to simply die...
  • The cinematic Old Soldier. Not only does it makes it clear just how broken Saurfang has become, so desperate to die that he strips off his armor and marches towards the Alliance army outside Undercity to claim his warrior's death, essentially suicide, it's intermingled with flashbacks to him burying his son and his resulting complete despair, and his sheer horror at Sylvanas razing the world tree (and all the innocent deaths that resulted in that action).
    • Saurfang tries again to earn his honorable death during the Alliance attack on Lordaeron, confronting the Alliance Heroes in a final defence of the throne room. Even here, he fails to earn his death even when he practically begs for it. Instead, the Alliance takes him prisoner on Anduin's order.
  • The novella Elegy is just one long slow burn because we know how it ends. It starts with making you believe the night elves may have a chance for reinforcements arrive, before it becomes more and more obvious that all they are really doing is buying time until their defeat. It gives a very personal look as to what happens inside Teldrassil as the Horde approaches, turning into a full scale evacuation of all of Ashenvale but the only way to do so is through portals which have very limited use. When the Horde starts burning the tree, that's when it becomes particularly gut wrenching.
    • Captain Delaryn Summermoon, who coordinated the night elf resistance, watched as many under her command, including her lover and a young rogue, was forced by Sylvanas to watch Teldrassil burn. She was given the honor after she questioned Sylvanas what purpose was there to march an army into a city of civilians and as she lay dying she felt only grief, and sorrow as she asked how could Elune abandon her chosen people, all the while dismissing the illusion of her lover Ferryn telling her to let go of her anger and die in peace.
    • One of defining features of the kaldorei has been their faith in their goddess Elune. Throughout Elegy, many have asked why Elune was silent to their pleas for aid as the Horde marched through their lands.
    • The Priestess of Elune deciding to remain in Teldrassil with all the other civilians who could not escape the tree. After seeing the Greymane's and the last child to be evacuated, Astarii Starseeker, a priest many priests from Vanilla would remember, comforted those who remained in the burning temple, and with Elune answering her prayers, they all found comfort as the entire Temple collapsed around them.
    • Tyrande Whisperwind was not in Kalimdor at the start of the invasion, but had made the decision to remain in Stormwind to help the refugees cope. When Malfurion sent her final goodbyes, she rushed to Darkshore where she was able to see for herself that the battle was lost. Despite her desire to fight and die alongside her sisters, she knew she had to find and save Malfurion or the future for their people would be lost when Darnassus fell.
  • Ultimately, Sylvanas's actions result from her belief that peace with the Alliance is impossible and the only way to end the constant wars is to decimate them. Whether she is correct in her assumptions or she's wrong and true peace is attainable, the fact that she's so set in her ways speaks to all the suffering and war she has faced.
    I believe that there will be no permanent peace with the Alliance — not unless we win it on the battlefield on our terms. And believing that, answer this, Saurfang: what use is delaying the inevitable?
  • One questline in Drustvar reveals one of the most darkest and tragic moments of Lucille Waycrest's life. You find out that Lucille's lover Alexander was assassinated by outlaws on their wedding day... and Lucille's own mother ordered the hit. Unsurprisingly, Alexander doesn't want Lucille to learn about the latter detail.
  • Near the end of the Drustvar storyline, Lucille leads the Order of Embers into Waycrest Manor in order to save her parents. Much to her horror, she learns that her mother, Lady Waycrest, is actually the leader of the Heartsbane Coven Lucille's been fighting, and is responsible for turning Lord Waycrest into an undead monster just to keep him alive. Lady Waycrest then turns the Marshal, who's been Lucille's ally since you rescued her from the gallows, into a thrall under her command, and you have to kill him.
  • At the end of the Stormsong Valley storyline, Brother Pike assembles the Storm's Wake to assault the corrupt Lord Stormsong. However, he proceeds to kill all of the Storm's Wake members present, and transforms Samuel Williams, a worker who joined up with the Storm's Wake after being freed at Mariner's Strand, into a Faceless One. Taelia tries to get him to fight off the corruption from within, but Brother Pike informs her that he has been completely lost to the darkness, and has to be put down.
    Brother Pike: Samuel was a good man, with a true heart. A fool... but our fool.
  • We see just how much more painful "Daughter of the Sea" is as we sail to Kul Tiras. It was originally a lullaby Daelin sang to his daughter. Having something that symbolized a father's love rewritten into damning your name must be indescribable.
    "Ahoy, ahoy, sweet Daughter of the Seas
    Ahoy, this child be mine.
    The admiral's girl, his whole entire world
    For as long as stars do shine."
  • Warbringers: Azshara shows us the destruction of Zin-Azshari first hand. While its rulers may have betrayed Azoroth to the Burning legion, the city itself was still a center of culture, art, and learning in its heyday and could have been so again after the legion's defeat. Yet that bright future is literally swept away by a massive wave tall enough to eclipse the sun. Then the view descends from the distant, toppling spires to the panicking people below. While Azshara herself may have been complicit to the legion's atrocities, thousands of civilians are still dying in terror for the folly of their leaders.
    • Further rubbing salt in the wound, those same people aren't even granted the peace of death. Shortly thereafter, they're forced to suffer the loss of their humanity (or the elven equivalent) when their "beloved" queen sells them out again, and has them twisted into monsters just to save her own sorry hide and petty pride.
    • Airing right on the heels of Teldrassil's destruction, this short marks the second time we've witnessed the night elves lose their homeland and greater civilization in as many months. While every race has seen its fair share of sorrows in this turbulent world, the Kaldorei in particular have seen more tragedy than most.
  • The entirety of the Mag'har Recruitment Scenario counts as one in-general.
    • When charging up the fragment of the Vision of Time to travel to alternate Draenor, we encounter an echo of Garrosh Hellscream as Anachronos explains that our version was one of the worst versions of him.
    Anachronos: In countless potential timelines, he was seen as a great hero to his people. Some called him the Horde's greatest warchief. What you saw here was one of his worst possible incarnations. A waste.
    "What fate did our brothers and sisters meet?"
    "Warchief Hellscream is almost certainly dead. If he fell, he died a hero's death."
    "I still dream of Draenor. Does my home still remain? Aggh. It does no good to think on such matters."
  • In Tiragarde Sound there's a lumber company under attack by wicker beasts which the owner doesn't even care to acknowledge, instead staying in his office and accusing his men of being lazy. After killing the witch responsible for the beasts, we learn she was the owner's wife who wanted to destroy his business after he abandoned her for it, a business which he started to provide for his wife. Once she's dead, the owner doesn't even remember his wife's name and is simply glad she's no longer causing problems for his lumber company.
  • While all of the visions Gorak Tul torments Jaina with are this to various degrees, the vision of Rhonin and the Kirin Tor stands out. Rather than accuse her past desire for peace of causing unnecessary, preventable deaths as the Varian and Theramore visions did, the Rhonin vision instead condemns her for the Purge of Dalaran, furiously accusing her of defiling the purpose and integrity of the Kirin Tor with her hatred and bias. Even as she desperately tries to defend her actions by pointing out how the Sunreavers lied to her and betrayed her, she's clearly torn up about what she did and ordered, suggesting that for how angry and vengeful she's been since Mists, at least a part of her hates what she's become.
  • Derek Proudmoore is a complete wreck when he's raised. The emotion in his voice is heartbreaking.
    Derek: Please... Please! How is this possible?! Tell me— tell me, where is my father, my mother?! Jaina, Tandred! Please... Please, I'm so alone! Don't... don't leave me alone...
  • After the Siege of Lordaeron, the remaining Forsaken are stranded as refugees in Orgrimmar, lamenting that they have absolutely nothing left to their names. At times, they curse the Alliance as the real monsters, either unaware that Sylvanas was the one who blew up Undercity or viewing the Alliance's invasion as the ultimate cause of her actions.
  • The Lost Honor cinematic is filled with tearjerkers, much like "Old Soldier" before it. The cinematic starts with Anduin and Genn overseeing more soldiers being sent to the front, with Genn commenting how they're now out of soldiers and would have to send farmers next, while Anduin stares at the bodies of the fallen and laments that the Alliance is no longer fighting for peace and is now "just fighting". Then Anduin visits Saurfang in the Stockades, demanding to know why the old orc spared his life in Lordaeron when it could have ended the war. Saurfang goes on a diatribe of how he gave everything for the Horde and knows Sylvanas will destroy it, and that all he wants is to have "his horde" back. Finally, Saurfang admits that he spared Anduin in the hopes that he could stop Sylvanas.
  • In Tiragarde Sound, Alliance players have a quest from Caleb Batharen, a Kul Tiran man who was hunting down the boar that killed his daughter a year earlier. Having hunted it down and clashed with it multiple times before, the most recent clash left him mortally wounded, and he asks the player to avenge both himself and his daughter by settling the score and killing the boar. By the time the player returns after killing the boar he is dead, his wounds having finally caught up to him.
    <Caleb's body is lifeless, still warm. His wounds claimed him while you were gone. His face seems content, as though he knew you would finish the job.>
  • After players mortally wound King Rastakhan, his daughter begs him to stay with her as he apologizes, knowing he's damned her to Bwonsamdi's service.
  • Jaina's reaction to seeing Derek again signals just how much the Horde has broken her. Rather than joy at seeing her brother again, she's outraged and demands whether he's being controlled by Sylvanas, is crammed full of plague, or is even a suicide bomber.
  • Before she reconciles with Jaina, Katherine sees visions of Jaina's experiences of the Third War and its aftermath. The starting point? Arthas and the Culling of Stratholme. To really hit it home the first line of lyrics to a pitched down version of O Thanagor is sung. From there it moves on to Jaina being unable to stop, and the inevitable death, of her father before Katherine gets to watch her own disowning of Jaina from a third person perspective.
  • Baine's arrest after Sylvanas learns that he smuggled Derek to the Alliance. Jaina, who was spying on the event, bitterly notes that Baine was one of the few members of the Horde left who had any honor and decent morals, and now those traits have likely damned him to death.
  • In the cinematic Safe Haven when Saurfang arrives in Nagrand to see Thrall the two end up fighting off two Forsaken assassins. Thrall's initial reaction is to angrily declare that Saurfang was followed. The old orc then informs Thrall that he was, in fact, the one following the Forsaken assassins and that people like he and Thrall don't get to hide from their problems. Thrall's anger fades into a look of almost sad resignation. Even if he just wants to be left alone to raise his family in peace on an entirely different world Sylvanas won't suffer even the mere idea that Thrall is still alive somewhere and might come back to aid the dissatisfied Horde against her. Thrall simply cannot catch a break.
    • Similarly, Thrall's statement that he left that life behind, and that he is no one's savior. The look on his face has him utterly reflect just how much he hated putting Garrosh in charge, and as a result, just how responsible he is for the mess in Battle of Azeroth. This is the orc who once openly believed that peace with the Alliance was doable, and that the Horde would not become the monsters they were under Gul'dan. He knows that putting Garrosh in charge did just that, and that Vol'jin's death is now allowing Sylvanas to do exactly the same thing. It really dawns on you just how difficult of a life Thrall has had.
    • Saurfang really indicates that he fully understands why Thrall wants to leave that life behind. Saurfang has repeatedly made it clear he is sickened with the Horde going back to what it was, and in several instances, he himself just wants to pretend none of it is happening. His expressions to Thrall is that he really did not want to bring Thrall back into the Horde, but that he feels he has no other choice.
    • Thrall looking in utter sadness at the axe before he picks it up. He knows fully well that if he does decide to aid Saurfang, then he will probably have to become Warchief again, and abandon his home.
  • During the Child of Torcali quest line the player comes upon a Zandalari whose beloved direhorn hatchling died defending her from a wild predator. She blames herself and says that her failure to protect her companion means she will never be able to follow her dream of becoming a beastmaster. Throughout this scene, the player's own direhorn hatchling is visibly distraught at the death of its kin.
  • After saving Baine from Sylvanas, Thrall and Jaina look on at Thunder Bluff, well aware that the Banshee Queen will come seeking revenge. Jaina talks about standing against her together, Horde and Alliance, but Thrall's heard this all before. Time and time again, their factions meet at the same Enemy Mine crossroads, and every time they just go right back to killing each other, leaving him to question as to why even bother.
  • When Anduin meets Saurfang in Dustwallow Marsh, the latter quietly admits that for all he talks of honor, he doesn't truly have any, mentioning the so-called "Path of Glory" which he and other orcs paved with the bones of the draenei.
    Saurfang: The Horde I joined was birthed through blood, tainted by corruption. The road that led to the dark portal was long and wide, paved by the bones of innocents. We called it the path of glory.
    That was the great lie upon which the Horde was founded...that anything we did was honorable. Thrall, Vol'jin, they were not the true heirs to Blackhand's bloody legacy.
    Sylvanas Windrunner is.
    Anduin: No. No, this is the Horde. Led by you, someone who has...
    Saurfang: Honor? I've never known honor. They deserve more. But the Horde is doomed to be shackled by the chains of the past.
  • Unlike in the Siege of Orgimmar where those who sided with Garrosh were basically written off as irredeemable, Saurfang quietly notes that those who sided with Syvanas are Horde too, brothers and sisters in arms.
  • For just a moment during their mak'gora, Sylvanas sounds genuinely heartbroken when she tells Saurfang she had trusted him.
  • The finale of the War Campaign leads Saurfang into a mak'gora against Sylvanas. She at first toys with him, clearly the superior fighter in this situation. But Saurfang comes back, not intent on letting hope die and preaching the strength of the Horde. Sylvanas angrily cries back, after being nicked in the eye, that the Horde is nothing. The Forsaken flag bearer beside her shifts a little and looks at her. You can read in the Forsaken's eyes how betrayed she feels at her Banshee Queen and Warchief's words. In the end, Sylvanas dresses down everyone, dismissing them as toy soldiers and howling beasts before killing Saurfang and taking her leave.
    • Zekhan and Lor'themar's reactions to Saurfang's death. Zekhan is both horrified and devastated, putting a shaking hand to his fallen hero's pendant, as if in disbelief that he's dead. Lor'themar, meanwhile, is similarly devastated, blaming himself for not stepping in and confronting Sylvanas sooner about her crimes.
  • After the war ends many of the Horde feel torn over what happened. Many Loyalists still futilely hope this is all part of some grand plan while the Forsaken in particular are devastated that their beloved queen has abandoned them.
    • A conversation between two Orgrimmar guards reveals just how deeply the rebellion has impacted the people. One of the guards stayed loyal to Sylvanas while their son joined with Saurfang. When the other guard points out that with the rebellion over they see other again, the first guard bitterly responds they won't.
  • Anduin has not forgotten how Wrathion started the chain of events that culminated in his father's death at the Broken Shore, and he makes it crystal clear that he is not forgiving him for it any time soon. While Wrathion laughs it off (and admits that he does deserve the scorn), its rather sad when you remember the kinship they once shared in Mists.

  • Afterlives Shorts:
    • In the Ardenweald Afterlives video we witness Ara'lon's desperation as the anima drought leaves his once verdant grove barren and his charges in danger of starvation. While foraging, he hears voices and is horrified to witness other members of his Covenant draining the anima of his charges, killing the slumbering spirits. When he tries to resist, the Winter Queen herself shows him what is coming if sacrifices are not made: The destruction of Ardenweald. Sorrowfully, he personally drains the anima of the last spirit in his care, Ursoc, one of the great nature spirits of Azeroth.
    • While he definitely has it coming, there's something to be said for Garrosh in the Afterlives: Revendreth video. He's being put to work as little more than a battery of anima as he proves his stubborn determination goes beyond even death. This means the Venthyr can keep draining him for anima as one of their 'old reliables' as Garrosh will never repent, sucking him again and again to sustain them through the drought. How the Mighty Have Fallen.
  • Nathanos’ death became this when it was revealed that Sylvanas didn’t even know he died. Not only was he condemned to the Maw, he died long enough ago that it very well might be too late for Sylvanas to save him.
  • Some NPCs will give their backstory, mentioning they came from different worlds and such, or how their world was ruined. One particular spirit in Ardenweald mentions that he was a god there, then all of a sudden green fire rained from the sky... now take into account what you learned in Legion...
  • The Ardenweald storyline is all about nature spirits and people attuned with nature (such as gods). One particular seed of a nature spirit binds itself to the player. It's a Captain Obvious Reveal as hell but that doesn't make the reveal of the spirit's death any easier to process... It's Ysera. You watch Xavius corrupt her, and even play out Ysera's own death. To make things worse? Much like the fight with Illidan from his perspective, you can see your own player character joining in the attack, and can even kill them. It's deliberately designed to be a Player Punch.
  • In Maldraxxus, Draka occasionally says how she still worries to this day about the child she left behind in life. You, the player, may ache to soothe her soul and tell her about how her son(Thrall) survived and how far he has come, but your character just doesn't have the context to connect the dots just yet. Fortunately, they do eventually meet.
  • In the Maw's intro, you'll eventually make contact with Gorgoa, the River of souls — as a multitude of souls stream by you, they yell pleas that is bound to tug at the heartstrings as they head directly for Torghast.
    "There were children on that boat.. please.."
    "This can't be how my story ends"
    "But.. what about my family..?"
    "I had so much life left to live"
    "I trusted Sylvanas.."
    "No no no no no no no."
    "Please... Please...!"
    "I didn't make it to her on time.."
  • The most common humanoid enemy types in Ardenweald are the Drust, and fae enslaved by Drust magic. The process cannot be reversed. Every possessed fae you fight was someone dedicated to the cycle of rebirth, now bound to the will of malicious invaders. Frequently, their last words include warnings, apologies, and begging for forgiveness.
  • Kyrian covenant:
    • As part of Kleia's trial to ascend, she has to carry a soul to Oribos to be judged. This soul is of an Azerothian man — a husband, father, farmer, lumberjack, and overall good person — whose life was lost when the scourge invaded in the leadup to the Shadowlands expansion; Kleia realizes that this scourge invasion means none of Lakeshire survived Sylvanas ripping open of the veil. But it gets even worse; the Kyrian have continued in their charge to ferry soul to Oribos to be judged.. but the Arbiter cannot judge in her current state, meaning every single person you have interacted with in Lakeshire is now a permanent denizen of the maw; men, women, and children.
    • When Devos' true colors are exposed, almost everyone in Bastion reacts with a combination of shock, horror and despair. Devos was a Paragon, one of the mightiest and most beloved of the Kyrian, but her disillusionment with the Path, combined with the Jailer's manipulations, has turned her from a hero of her people to their greatest enemy. Even worse, she's not exactly wrong about how flawed and unfair the Path and its demands are, but the way she intends to fix it would doom countless more than it would actually save.
      • After Devos' defeat, her disciple Lysonia takes control of the Forsworn, and immediately begins to twist them into fanatical servants of the Jailer and the Maw. Devos, for all her faults, genuinely sought to change what she felt was a broken system; she never actually stopped loving her people, and in fact genuinely thought her actions would save them. Lysonia, by contrast, only wants power, and thinks nothing of casting aside her loyal followers if it means becoming stronger.
    • As you collect the vessels of power across Maldraxxus and Revendreth, finding ways to empower a new crest of ascension built after Devos destroyed the original, you at last go to Ardenweald to get something which was part of the original — a vessel of Ardenweald capable of granting the Ascended the power to move between realms. The Winter Queen, upon hearing your request, coldly replies that such a vessel is not something she parts with lightly, and her handmaiden Willowblossom immediately promises to see you get one. She then guides you through a myriad of incredibly silly tasks like pranking her sister, blowing up Gorm with firebombs, or causing ruckus at theater backstage, and saving her pet larva Grubby. When the moment comes, however, and you'd expect the sequence to start and get your McGuffin already, Willowblossom says goodbye to Grubby and ritually kills herself to imbue the seed of power with the magic you need. Pelagos, seeing this, is heartbroken to learn that a vessel is actually a soul of a willing fae, while you'll likely feel guilty for being angry at the quest chain as, in light of Willowblossom's sacrifice, it's difficult not to see the silly quests as her Last Requests.
  • Night Fae Covenant:
    • You are formally introduced to the Night Fae through a play that recounts the events of Legion and Battle For Azeroth. While largely played for laughs, one of the people in the audience is Ysera, who can only react with horror at the events that came after her death, such as Sargeras stabbing the world and the burning of Teldrassil.
      Ysera: No... that.. that was only a nightmare!
    • Another audience member is surprised that the Night Elves that died in Teldrasil aren't in Ardenweald, until they remember why they aren't in Ardenweald: Every person that died was sent to the Maw.
      Awool: Wait... they aren't here! I'd have noticed a big group like that! ... Oh...
    • Near the end of the Night Fae story line, the forces of Ardenweald have a chance to take down one of the Drust's leaders, Gorak Zhar. It's a constant battle through waves of Drust and possessed fae, but eventually you face off against one of the architects of this tragedy. Only, once she drops to the ground the illusion breaks and reveals that you weren't fighting Zhar. It was Ara'lon. The Drust took him when he went missing earlier in the campaign, slapped on one of their horrible masks, and put him in your way as a distraction while they launch their real attack.

  • There is a Tauren character in Bloodhoof Village in Mulgore named Ahab Wheathoof who asks you to find his dog. Cue tearjerk, as Ahab Wheathoof was designed and voiced by Ezra 'Ephoenix' Chatterton, a 10 year old boy with a brain tumor (whose story is pretty tearjerkery itself.) Ezra died a little while after the visit to Blizzard studios. Further tearjerker, as in December of 2009, Blizzard began to sell non-combat in-game pets, and for one of their first — a Pandaren Monk — they donated half the money they received to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. $1.1 million was donated through this.
    • Every year, when the Lunar Festival comes around, there is an event called "To Honor One's Elders" which involves visiting spirits scattered throughout the lands to gain tokens from them. In 2009, Blizzard changed the name of the Elder in Thunder Bluff to Ezra Wheathoof. Next to him is a phoenix pet. Ezra's character's name on World of Warcaft had been "Ephoenix".
  • In the Barrens, there is the Shrine of the Fallen Warrior, dedicated to Michael Koiter — one of the two artists who made up 'Twincruiser' — who died during the World of Warcraft production.
    • The same artist gets another in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. In the penultimate cutscene, when Raynor returns to the war-ravaged front lines to give his final Rousing Speech, he takes "M. Koiter"'s dogtags from a dead Marine. At the end of the speech he holds them high, asking his soldiers to fight on — "because some things are worth fighting for".

  • The moment when a lot of players realized that even the Titans, the closest thing to Benevolent Precursors that the Warcraft universe was thought to have, are far more inscrutible; Algalon the Observer's massive Freak Out when he realizes that the (several million million) beings that he destroyed via Reorigination at the behest of the Titans were people with free will and emotions instead of the mindlessly obedient automatons he thought they were.
    Algalon the Observer: I have seen worlds bathed in the Makers' flames. Their denizens fading without so much as a whimper. Entire planetary systems born and razed in the time that it takes your mortal hearts to beat once. Yet all throughout, my own heart, devoid of emotion... of empathy. I... have... felt... NOTHING! A million, million lives wasted! Had they all held within them your tenacity? Had they all loved life as you do?
  • From the Warcraft Manga: Renee Lauer used to be a captain in the Scarlet Crusade and a powerful and experienced fighter who taught martial combat to other crusaders. After a series of events that resulted in the deaths of the Forsaken Jillian and Barnabas Grell, the Blood Elves Rinn and Reynah Firecaster and Renee's own nephew Stefan who questioned the Crusade's morality, she herself was killed and raised into undeath. However, her raising led her to realize that the senseless violence and extremes of the Scarlet Crusade only caused more violence, destruction and death and ultimately caused her own demise, and instead of utilizing the skills she had in life to rise in the Forsaken military she instead retired to become the innkeeper of the Gallows' End Tavern, where she tries to convince captured Scarlet Crusaders to turn away from the organization. She has tried many times to do so and expects that she'll have to continue on trying, but is determined to continue sharing her story for as long as it takes.
  • Pretty much the entire Three Sisters comic is rife with this, but the biggest example is when the two non-undead Windrunner sisters are sadly reminiscing about how the three of them just to dance and play in the forest as children.

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