Blizzard and Community References in WoW
This guide looks at Blizzard staff and WoW players who have their names referenced in WoW in some form--items, NPCs, quests, locations. We've added some references we've found in WoD's alpha as well!
Did you know the NPCs placating the angry townsfolk in
are named after the Customer Service team? Perhaps you've tamed
in Vash'jir, answered Blizzard Historian
's questions on the Timeless Isle, bought battle pets from
, or found
in Pandaria :)
We're happy to include additional references, but we've deliberately left out some items and details based on privacy concerns and requests.
For previous installments, check out the following:
Pop Culture References in WoW Achievements
Pop Culture Item References: Videos, Movies, and TV
Pop Culture Item References: Comics, Books, Music, and Poetry
Also be sure to check out Kemaria's guide to
, covering touching tributes like
to players who have passed away.
Click the cut to read the guide!
When reading this section, it's good to note that designers name items after each other for fun--they don't usually name items after themselves.
Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi
Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi, now the Creative Designer for WoW, has a number of items stretching back to vanilla WoW:
is filled with references. The former quest
used to send players to explore the old cigar shop, which was revised in Cataclysm to be
. Players can open a mailbox near his shop with
, read about his shop in
, and kill him for
. A live version of him,
, can be found in
Players who wanted to obtain the original
had to first get
from Dire Maul.
Foror and Tigole as a pair are found in the Children's Week delicacy
and the AV item
. The original Zul'Gurub also had
is a clear reference to his name, there are also NPCs referencing one of his characters, Kariel.
is a Rogue trainer and
is an old Dire Maul NPC that was the author of many librams like
in limited supply, which increases the size of the player.
gives the daily quest
in Dragonblight, and appears in Dragon Soul for the rogue quests
He can be found in several unobtainable items:
and the removed flavor text in
. His name is also on several PTR items like
Alexander "Xelnath" Brazie
Former Encounter Designer Alexander Brazie had an eclectic series of items named after him:
In the Plants vs Zombies tribute game,
is the NPC who runs the event. Rewards include
and the battle pet
Alliance players in Icecrown Citadel come across the pervy vendor
for . This contains
. When talking to Brazie, he has interesting dialogue options hinting at creepy and non-legal wares he has to sell (possibly the unused item
is the Alliance quartermaster for Tol Barad.
may reference several songs in the flavor text, but "The Brode to Nowhere" also references Senior Game Designer for Hearthstone Ben Brode.
Three historians part of Blizzard's
Creative Development team
were honored on the
represents Senior Historian Evelyn Fredericksen, who quizzes players on their lore knowledge in
Accompanying here are
, named after Sean "Loreology" Copeland and
, after Justin Parker. Copeland also appears in Stormwind as
To learn more about the life of a Blizzard Historian, check out
WoW Insider's interview with Sean Copeland
Brian "Desvin" Holinka
is an Alliance PvP vendor (
) and the Horde PvP vendor,
, is named after his
Game designer Chris Kaleiki has an awesome twink weapon,
, and Wrath NPC (
) named after him. Check out more of his thoughts on game design on his
MMO game design blog
, the Senior VP of Story and Development at Blizzard, is a Winter Veil reindeer you are required to save for
Metzen is also a member of the Argent Dawn in Northrend:
: Senior Community Rep
was originally known as Timbal on the WoW forums. Many players name their
battle pet after Zarhym since it closely resembles his forum avatar, and
is the most recent tribute to him on the Timeless Isle.
: Crygil was one of the forum Community Managers from Wrath. When asked about why he discarded the item, he responsed on the forums "Fel-Reavers can't read. I didn't discard it, it was stolen from me while I slept."
: Drysc, now known as
, is well-known to forum goers from his Diablo III and Warcraft posts. His NPC is a neophyte Shaman seeking instruction in the Exodar.
: This perky pug is the Gamon of Stormwind--although he wears a variety of fashionable hats, he'll attack you. When killed, he drops
. Crithto's avatar on the WoW forums is a Perky Pug, and
is an avid pet-battler, writing the weekly
Major Payne blog
. The pugs with fashionable hats have also been seen in
: This Netherstorm innkeeper is named after longtime Community Manager Eyonix, who left Blizzard in 2010 for SEGA.
Lead Content Designer
shows up as
, the Zangarmarsh innkeeper with an interesting sense of style (
, purple cape) and the unique beverage
Relatives of Cory Stockton can be seen in Stormwind (
), Shrine of Seven Stars (
), Undercity (
), and Dalaran (
's wine shop selling items like
also fits in well with his interest in fine drinks, documented on Twitter.
Customer Service in Culling of Stratholme
, several townsfolk are named after Blizzard Customer Service. Ironically, much of their dialogue is tied to placating angry citizens about the grain shipment.
: Vrakthris is one of the original Customer Service posters. He also has the tribute NPC
: Syndri is a former Customer Service rep who is now
, a Community Manager for Diablo III.
: Named after former Customer Service rep Reythur, whose avatar was a robot quite similar to this NPC's model.
: Named after former Customer Service rep Zenylith, who is now a Latin Community Manager.
: Named after former Customer Service rep Belfaire, who now writes at
Additional NPCs include
for Malkorix, and
Dave "Fargo" Kosak
Before working at Blizzard, Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak worked at Gamesply and wrote the Flintlocke comic series, featuring Fargo and Flintlocke, a confused Warrior who wants to be a Hunter and rides a dead ram mount and has annoyed Ironforge in spite of being a dwarf.
: One of the main characters in
Flintlocke vs The Horde
, currently serving as a bartender in Orgrimmar.
sends Alliance players to Twilight Highlands, which is an odd choice after he's nuked Stormwind in a previous installment of
Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth
sends Horde players to Twilight Highlands and is the main character of the follow-up series
Flintlocke vs. The Horde
Flintlocke has a number of items named after him, such as
which looks like a melee weapon and fits with Flintlocke's combat style.
references his signature "Chuck-Shot" which was made with blasting powder and an angry woodchuck. This enchant makes your ranged weapon periodically spit out a critter.
: When looting corpses, Flintlocke also had to remember to pick up the Chuck-Shot dislodged in his enemies. It was quite dirty, leading to the flavor text "This weapon has clearly never been cleaned. Ever."
: References Flintlocke's debatable skills in flying a "diridgerdabler-able... diriger-jib-gibjer-lobbler... BLIMP" which eventually crashes.
: This badge vendor is named after Lo Ping, who enjoyed hoarding tons of items.
A few weeks ago on Twitter, it was revealed that Lead Designer for Hearthstone Eric Dodds was the reference for all the purposely mismatching Edward the Odd items:
Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street
: Former Lead Systems Designer Ghostcrawler is a rare spawn in Vash'jir, a zone he liked due to his background in oceanography. This rare spawn has the infamous
ability and looks like a spectral version of Ghostcrawler's crab forum avatar.
: Pokes fun at players complaining Ghostcrawler didn't give them what they asked for.
: Back in 2008, Ghostcrawler mentioned that
ret paladins could be nerfed to the ground
Jeffrey "Tigole" Kaplan
Former Game Director Jeffrey Kaplan (now working on Titan) has some humorous test items:
. He also has the
from old Zul'Gurub. He's paired up with Foror in the Children's Week delicacy
and the AV item
: Sr. Game Designer
is referenced in this unused legendary fishing pole which matches
. He also shows up in Shrine of Seven Stars:
(a tribute to his original hardcore Diablo III character, whose dialogue is the death message) and as
before he racial changed to gnome.
Former Game Designer Kevin Jordan, now at Cryptozoic, worked on Diablo and WoW. There's a series of items named after him like
and the popular
Lake Dumont is home to a group of NPCs from the same Blizzard team, according to BlizzCon 2010. They are stranded on an island with a crumbling tower--some NPCs are dancing, while others are on the lookout or asleep.
The NPCs include the following:
has grown up each expansion:
, and finally an elite
. Possible reference to Lead Tools Engineer
The Horde questline in Dragonblight taking players to New Hearthglen references many Blizzard employees.
: This captured prisoners you need to kill are named after Blizzard Game Designers.
The followup quest,
, refers to
after Jonathan LeCraft.
: Players on
loot this book, which has many detailed pages talking about members of the Scarlet Crusade that overlap with Blizzard designers, like
The Night Watch
This series of guards in Duskwood is named after Blizzard employees, such as
for Lead Hearthstone Designer Eric Dodds,
for Lead Level Designer Aaron Keller, and
for Art Director Bill Petras.
Pat Nagle is a Senior Game Designer who is the namesake of everyone's favorite fisherman:
was originally found in Dustwallow Marsh, offering the quest
to those with 225+ Fishing, which rewarded
Nat alzo sold
, which was used to lure
in old Zul'Gurub. This had the themed loot
Nat is also the namesake for one of the STV rare fish rewards:
Players can read the tantalizing end of a story involving Nat and the resting place of Ashbringer:
, as well as a worn out copy:
In Mists of Pandaria, players can become Best Friends with Nat, in
, which rewards
. He also serves as The Angler's Quartermaster, selling
among other fishing-themed items.
Players of both factions can pick up
from a Hinterland's quest.
younger version of Nat
shows up in Old Hillsbrad Foothills, where he has prophetic dreams about Azeroth's tragedies.
Quality Assurance Ship
The NPCs on
, a ship docked in Stormwind Harbor due to bugs, are tributes to the Wrath of the Lich King QA team.
was the lead QA Analyst and has funny observations on the ship related to QA:
"We were all set to sail into Northrend, but we've noticed a severe number of pests aboard our ship."
"Before we can set sail to Northrend, we've got to eliminate our pest problem aboard the Assurance."
"The Assurance has somehow become inundated with bugs and we are unable to set sail to Northrend."
Other members of the team are present:
Assistant Lead QA Analysts:
QA Content Specialists:
: In the creative quest
, players help
write a song and pick the lyrics. Russel Brower is the Director of Audio/Video and his music can be heard in WoW, Diablo, and StarCraft.
is the Art Director at Blizzard and was responsible for the Pandaren concept art.
Scott "Daelo" Mercer
Scott "Daelo" Mercer was the former Lead Encounter Designer for WoW. Around the time he switched departments,
was added. Several NPCs also are named after him, such as
in Jade Forest.
: Terran Justice Gregory works on the cinematic team, and notable projects include the South Park episode "Make Love Not Warcraft" and the Demon Hunter cinematic. Relatives include
Tom "Kalgan" Chilton
: Lead Game Designer Tom Chilton shows up as an auctioneer. He also has the highest level and most expensive cheese:
and her series of capes (
) may be related as well.
: This WoD flightmaster is named after Lead Software Engineer
is named after Devium, a tank in <Premonition> which achieved many
World/US firsts in Wrath
has quest rewards named after Wrath beta testers:
The Death Knights of Acherus
: This series of books the Death Knight starting area humorously references many Wrath testers and their gruesome fates. Depending on your phased state you will see one of four different books at different points in their lives. The books cover Jayde, Sixen, Munch, Cobalt, Harmony, Melt, Milton, and Minitalis.
: Tribute to the remarkable story of a blind player, Hexu, who raids with the help of a guildmate, Davidian, which is honored in the flavor text "Sharp enough to see for two men." Read more about this touching story on
is the owner/moderator of the #Acherus IRC for Death Knights and blogs at
Son of a Lich
: Named after
, a feral DPS theorycrafter in previous expansions. Drops from
: Phaelia was the author of
, a popular Resto Druid blog. The "Sprouting Seed" part refers to her decision to retire when
expecting a baby
is a Youtuber who made a popular series of rare spawn videos, some of which can be seen on Wowhead.
: Astrylian created
, a theorycrafting tool.
: Fasc was a notable Druid tank theorycrafter and author of
who maintains guides and spreadsheets for balance and resto druids, created an instructional series of
Challenge Mode videos
blogs about a variety of game topics
. Originally this had a Monk Tier 16 model that I asked to be changed to a Druid one :)
The Inconspicuous Bear
and is one of the
Team Waffle Podcast
was Playboy's Miss October 2012 and a long-time WoW player that got
Realm First Herbalist
on her Tauren Druid in MoP.
: Vee, or Zoopercat, is one of the team members behind
Ask. Mr Robot
, a site for gear optimization.
: Big Red Kitty was a popular hunter poster, with a
Hunter column on WoW Insider
. The flavor text refers to a long-running joke/obsession he had with raspberries.
: Gerp, an Orc Hunter, is
's character--one of the co-hosts of
podcast. This is a great trinket for twinks, as you only need to be 84 to equip it but the item level is 442.
is one of the co-hosts of
: Zeherah maintains the Hunter DPS analyzer tool
: Frostheim was a longtime author of the WoW Insider column
and founder of the
Warcraft Hunter's Union
: Gedrah wrote a notable guide on how to play Hunters in classic WoW. He wears iconic classic items including
Great Hunter Gonk: According to troll druid trainer
, Greater Hunter Gonk is a raptor loa responsible for teaching trolls how to serve nature spirits, leading to the rise of Troll Druids. Gonktarget is a Hunter and Elitist Jerks forum poster that harshly criticizes druids. He also has the snarky trash items
is a Hunter in <Method>, which was ranked #1 in the world throughout MoP.
: Skosiris is the co-founder of Wowhead and as such runs the "organized and clearly labeled" library in Shattrath that makes "the grand libraries of Silvermoon City pale in comparison," according to his in-game dialogue. Each bookcase in the library serves as a different profession trainer.
: Kavan is a theorycrafter on Elitist Jerks, contributed to modeling SimC for arcane mages, and develops the mage module on Rawr.
is a forum MVP, develops sims for mages, and maintains
: Savor was one of the original mages in the guild <Nurfed>. He wears classic elite caster items from vanilla, including
has gotten Gladiator numerous seasons and was on the winning
Battle.net World Championship Team
: Damien is one of the co-founders of
featuring class and raid guides.
: This beverage is named after
who blogs at
Tikari's Tricks of the Trade
, who runs
and has a Monk named Kayt.
is a protection paladin theorycrafter and blogger, who writes at
is a game developer who has worked on Metroid Prime, QuakeWorld, L4D2, and Dota 2. If you watched Awesome Games Done Quick 2014, he provided commentary during the
speedrun. He has several items across expansions:
is a notable PvP who has achieved Gladiator and Rank 1 numerous times.
is a holy paladin in <Method>, which was ranked #1 in the world throughout MoP.
is a co-host of
and blogger at
: Althor/Delmortis is a Priest theorycrafter--ironically this is a healing trinket although he focused on Shadow theorycrafting in Wrath.
: Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv, who also performed on NiN's
, came to CM Zarhym's attention when a picture was posted of him beating Infernal Diablo on tour. Also a heroic raider, Josh was honored with a weapon that pays tribute to his and his girlfriend's character names as well as the vineyard Caduceus Cellars, owned by musician Maynard James Keenan who performed in Puscifer along with Eustis.
Chelley is a podcaster on
Video Game Outsiders
. She has two BoEs named after her:
runs the blog
Tales of a Priest
and is one of the moderators at
How to Priest
: Aldriana was a theorycrafter and the longtime maintainer of the Rogue spreadsheet on Elitist Jerks.
Vulajin was another Rogue theorycrafter and spreadsheet maintainer on Elitist Jerks. He has a series of items:
in Cataclysm, and
in MoP. He later switched mains to a Mage, which explains why
is a cloth item in Siege of Orgrimmar.
: Kalman was a Rogue theorycrafter in early WoW on Elitist Jerks. "Namlak" is Kalman's name spelled backwards. When the item first came out, all the stats were 32 which makes the
numerology reference to 23
in "supernumerary" clearer.
: This beverage is named after
who blogs at
Tikari's Tricks of the Trade
, who runs
and has a Monk named Kayt.
is another Elitist Jerks poster and theorycrafter, who shows up at all the Ring of Blood events--Nagrand, Zul'Drak, Twilight Highlands, and Kun-Lai Summit. There are several weapons named after him:
. In addition, Wodin has a pet cat
who also gets a special item,
. There is a new datamined NPC ID for Wodin in WoD, but his location is not yet found.
: Item named after me during MoP's beta! I was very excited as early items named after players inspired me to do more in WoW--you can read more about my reaction on my personal blog
is WoW Insider's resident lore expert and worked on the
World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide
is one of the co-hosts of
podcast. This BoE shield is great for leveling, as it's ilvl 450 but requires level 85 to equip.
: Tribute to the remarkable story of a blind player, Hexu, who raids with the help of a guildmate, Davidian, which is honored in the flavor text "A man with a friend is never without vision." Read more about this touching story on
runs the Ring of Blood events, and
is a possible reward from the Twilight Highlands event. Gurg is the guild master of Elitist Jerks.
: Binkenstein was the founder of
and an Elemental Shaman theorycrafter.
is an elemental shaman theorycrafter who frequently posts on Elitist Jerks.
is WoW Insider's PvP and add-on columnist, plus she hosts Legendary at Gamebreaker TV and Talk Azeroth for us! Her Ordos item has a PvP model instead of an expected PvE one, and she also has the amusing object
, which references a running
joke on twitter
that Olivia would bake the devs one million cookies each if they implemented cross-realm arenas.
Ritssyn has a series of caster items across expansions:
. Ritssyn is an anagram for Nisstyr, once the GM of
. His brother, Indalamar, was an active WoW beta tester and went on to work at Blizzard (covered below in the Warrior section). Rittsyn also shows up in the Green Fire questline for warlocks, as part of the Council of the Black Harvest. In
, we learn that Rittsyn is an orc enchanter who saw Ragnaros vanquished and is assigned to explore Sulfuron Keep in the hopes of learning even more powerful secrets. Warlocks who have completed the questline get a special Rittsyn quote on their
Zinnin is another member of the Council of the Black Harvest, who is based on a warlock in
has obtained Gladiator in numerous seasons. The 3D model on his item is notable as it shares the look with Season 14 PvP weapons even though it drops from a raid.
is a former adult film star who was a
long-time WoW player
and now popular streamer. While she wears modified rogue gear, she has the ability
: Satrina was a warrior theorycrafter and author of several popular addons, like Satrina Buff Frames.
: Landsoul is a Warrior theorycrafter who maintained the Warrior spreadsheet on Elitist Jerks back in Wrath.
was an influential pre-release beta tester who later was hired by Blizzard. He has several original Naxxramas items named after him (
), as well as
from Icecrown Citadel and the unused joke item
: Sutiru was one of the
maintainers of the EJ Warrior FAQ
: Blockade loves collecting shields--at the time of this item's creation, he had 46, which explains the flavor text referencing 47. This shield also has a unique model, making it a worthy transmog item.
: Uro was a Rank 14 Warrior in vanilla who contributed extensively to Warrior PvP discussions. His character in Dalaran is a High Warlord and is dressed in mismatching Fury Warrior gear, including pink
. His dialogue references the theorycrafting behind his outfit: "Only a fool would mock the appeance of my battle-garb! This raiment of well-worn steel is from an ancient place of learning!"
: This badge vendor was named after JamesVZ, a vocal critic on Elitist Jerks of the badge catch-up system.
: Former Death and Taxes member Xi is often abrupt and intolerant of new players on the Elitist Jerks forums, so "Friend of the Small" and a Monk wearing pink flowers is an ironic tribute.
has achieved rank 1 and gladiator on his warrior an impressive number of times.
is one of the main developers on Deadly Boss Mods as well as a Tech Support MVP for the WoW forums.
is known for his
warrior and lore columns
: Expert battle-pet site
founder Breanni runs the Dalaran pet shop, which features adorable pet cages and aquariums. Breanni sells a few unique pets as well,
, and mails players achievement pets like
is a later WoD tribute to the
April Fool's Joke
: Brittany makes a variety of
which explains the flavor text, "This beautiful piece of ceremonial leather armor is skillfully woven and marked with its creator's symbol."
: Bleached Bones is a PvP group that sent a team to BlizzCon in 2013. They are now part of
: This rare spawn is a tribute to the GM of <Nurfed> in Wrath, a guild which received many player tributes in that expansion. Dirkee is a large gnome robot that can punt players and drops
from fishing resource
El's Extreme Anglin'
has finally joined the elite ranks of The Anglers. El can be found with the other Fish of the Day NPCs in Pandaria, wearing her trademark overalls and fishing hat with the expert
: Lets grounded companion pets fly with you. Inspired by
: Svetlana Quindt, or
, is a well-known cosplayer who makes amazing weapons. She was the
Grand Prize winner
of the 2013 BlizzCon Costume Contest, for which she created a Protoss Wizard costume. The weapon's model reflects the crystals of the Protoss while being usable by casters, the classes that are most similar to Diablo Wizards.
, from Cooking. Reference to a
tweeted a picture
of this pet, which looks quite similar to the one in the comic and carries around a half-eaten drumstick.
Maghia and Volde
dressed up as the Eredar Twins for BlizzCon 2008
and Alexstraza and Sylvanas in BlizzCon 2009. They have Icecrown badge items named after them:
: This NPC sells the special pet
. Michelle (aka Drrum) has a
lovely collection of pets, mounts, and armor
, documented with great screenshots on her blog. Check out
her reaction on her blog
: Actor Kristian Nairn, best known as Hodor in
Game of Thrones
, has a battle pet with abilities that reference his character's Northern heritage and fight against undead:
. Also on the battle pet team is his real-life friend Jake
the direwolf. Check out his interview with
Lessons in Lore:
are based on Chad and Megan, a husband-wife team on Earthen Ring Horde who run
Lessons of Lore
, hold weekly events, "Lore-y Time," interactive events exploring Warcraft's lore, as well as musical lore shows at DragonCon. For more about Lessons in Lore, check out
WoW Insider's article
Olibith has made a series of
including the Never Stay Tuned series, featuring a troll chef who likes to cook gnomes. This troll model shows up as the Horde cooking trainer in Dalaran,
. His assistant,
, shows up as a troll singer in
Never Stay Tuned 2
creates World of Warcraft Machinima, such as ROFLMAO!
is an l33t undead ninja with distinctive speech patterns. When he talks to you, he always inserts "nub" after your name.
: Reference to
which features the line "There IS no Red snapper in Azaroth!"
One of the capes towards the legendary questline,
, is named after Oxhorn.
the pacifist ogre references
, who is a polite ogre who loves turkeys.
Robble: Robble/Incoherence was the Something Awful WoW subforum moderator and has two humorous trash items,
: Kevin Stallard, longtime WoW player, directs the MMORPG Fan Track at
. His NPC sells
which is a reference to the con's signature drink which he introduced to Sr. Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft in 2012.
is another spinoff of the signature drink.
: The Wildhammer Fact Checker is an in-game reference to the notorious
Red Shirt Guy
, known for pointing out a lore discrepancy at BlizzCon 2010 during a Lore Q&A panel. He has since become a geek icon and his question has extended into the realm of meme, spawning
an auto-tune remix
of the conversation. The actual NPC sits alongside
, the NPC for which the lore correction was made, in the throne room of
from BiteSizeTV, HelloGiggles & Nerdist, along with her boyfriend
in a cozy house on the Wandering Isle. Check out WoW Insider's two interviews with Michelle
: Named after the
, aka TradeChat, has a
channel and creates
weekly recaps for WoWInsider
also has a popular
channel featuring many funny WoW Machinimia.
is thanked in the Wrath of the Lich King credits. He also has the Wrath item
Lights (born Valerie Poxleitner)
is a Juno-award winning singer and huge WoW fan--she even has
tattooed on her arm. Check out her interview with
creates charming sketches of Blizzard life, coming to people's attention in the
infamous Zarhym and Ghostcrawler baby
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Pop Culture References in WoW: NPCs and Quests from Games and Music
Pop Culture References in WoW Achievements
Pop Culture Item References: Comics, Books, Music, and Poetry
Pop Culture Item References: Video Games, Movies, and TV
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