In light of yesterday’s announcement that World of Wacraft’s next expansion is releasing on December 7th, I got to reminiscing about my days spent in Azeroth. I have to admit that I haven’t played too much of Wrath of the Lich King. Other things just kept popping up and now I find myself out of the loop when it comes to the development of Blizzard’s behemoth. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have some fond memories of the many, many hours I spent roaming around pre-Cataclysm Kalimdor and Azeroth. With that in mind, I’ve put together today’s list as my own personal “Top 5 Easter Eggs in WoW”. And I ask you all, whether you still play it vigilantly or have come to loathe the game, to feel free to chime in and add to this list, especially if you’ve found some new ones during your travels with the beta of Cataclysm. There’s certainly plenty more nods to pop culture than the few I’ve listed here.
5.) Haris Pilton – Shattrath
I’m sure some folks might scoff that I’d even put this one on here. I mean, the person it lampoons isn’t exactly someone that’s revered by many outside of the tabloid hounds. But the simple fact that Paris Hilton’s Blood Elf doppelganger is even in World of Warcraft, along with her dog and a nice selection of hawkable wares, goes to show Blizzard’s ever-present sense of humor and pop culture. Maybe one day this little blonde NPC will be completely out of sync with the pulse of pop culture, if she’s not already, but for now it serves as an ever-present reminder that vapid celebrities are fun to laugh at.
4.) Empty Barrels – Stranglethorn Vale
In one of many throwbacks Blizzard offers up to the gaming days of old, the Gorillas of Stranglethorn Vale sometimes drop “Empty Barrels”. Long before the King of Kong documentary revitalized an interest in the original Donkey Kong, Blizzard showed they knew what’s up by inserting a nod to the ground-pounding gorilla. For those (probably few) that are unaware, barrels are kind of DK’s thing. In the original game, long before he was a loveable protagonist, he kidnapped Mario’s (or Jumpman’s) lady and hurled barrels down at the plumber to keep him from retrieving his love. I love videogame culture humor within other videogames. I really do.
3.) Army of Darkness – Dun Morogh Dwarves
Just south of Kharanos, in Dun Mo-rogh is a small camp of dwarves doing some target practice. In fact it’s one of the first things I remember when I began playing the Open Beta way back when as these guys greet you on your way out of the starter zone. If you hang around them for a while, eventually you’ll hear one shout, "This is my boom stick!" As a fan of all things Bruce Campbell how could I leave out a reference to Army of Darkness?
2.) Ghostbusters – Mage Quarter if Stormwind
I had a friend growing up whose every birthday party was a Ghostbusters themed one. In honor of his (still) obsession, I have to mention a reference to one of my favorite movies of all time. In the Mage Quarter of Stormwind there’s a group of three mages shooting the breeze about their arcane arts. If you hang around a bit, you’ll get to hear (or read) one of them say, “But wouldn't that be bad, like ‘crossing the streams’ bad?" All I know is that I’d be a happy man if they one day throw in a fluff quest that has players fend off a Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man invading any of the capital cities.
1.) Linken – Un’Goro Crater
I’m an admitted Zelda nut. I have been since I first got a chance to play Zelda II: The Adventure of Link so many years ago (yes the side-scrolling sequel was my first foray into Hyrule). In an obvious, but still very clever nod to the green-capped hero of Nintendo fame, Blizzard actually put in a huge thirteen quest chain in Un’Goro Crater that’s all something very near to trademark infringement. It culminates in a quest to destroy Blazerunner, after which you’ll loot “The Golden Flame”, which looks maybe just a teeny tiny bit like the Tri-force. The icing on the cake however is when you return the Golden Flame to Linken and he rewards you with his sword and boomerang. I am glad however that they left out Navi from the whole storyline. No, Navi… I don’t wanna look or listen!