Warcraft is here and with come waves of nostalgia for when I was a total World of Warcraft (WoW) addict. One of my favorite things about the game is the hundreds of pop culture references that are peppered throughout the world of Azeroth and beyond. You don’t have to look too hard to find nods to The Facts of Life, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ghostbusters, Diablo, and just about any other franchise you can think of. It is obvious the designers love to celebrate nerd culture and I am always happily surprised when I discover a reference I hadn’t seen before. Here are a few of my favorites.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Image Credit: Haferlump/Reddit
If you take a quick stroll through the sewers of the magical city of Dalaran, you can find four baby turtles paying very close attention to a rat–all sitting precariously close to a bottle of glowing green ooze.
There are several references to Pokémon throughout Azeroth, but arguably the most prolific is the pet battling system. You can travel around the world battling small creatures and capturing them, only to turn around and make them battle the pets of your opponents. Just like in Pokémon, you’ll have the opportunity to battle Pet Trainers; defeat the Grand Masters and earn the “I Choose You” achievement.
Image Credit: Wowhead
It’s no secret that Jayne Cobb, “the Hero of Canton” loves himself a big mug of Mudder’s Milk. While the liquid bread concoction might not be to everyone’s taste, the dwarves of Warcraft seem to love it. You can purchase your own during the Dun Morogh holiday, Brewfest.
Mudder’s Milk isn’t the only reference you can stumble across. In Zangarmarsh, part of The Burning Crusade expansion, you can meet the engineering trainer K. Lee Smallfry, a nod to Serenity’s engineer Kaylee Frye. She’ll reward you for finding a Strange Engine Part that is marked “Capissen 38” and say “This is somethin’ real special. Difficulty to say where it’s from–like it just fell out of the sky. I’m gonna hold on to this and pay you for your troubles.” This refers back to a quote from the show, where Kaylee states “Don’t ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine, they fall right out of the sky.”
There are also several other characters who also make an appearance including Caregiver Inaara, Saffron Reynolds, Yolanda Haymer, Fantei, and Mingo.
The Legend of Zelda
Image Credit: Orang3Slic3/Wowhead
Ok, the Legend of Zelda (LoZ) references are my favorites and sadly a lot of them have been removed, but if you keep your eyes peeled you can still spot a few. Before Cataclysm, in the Un’goro Crater you could find a gnome named Linken near a wrecked raft who lost his memory along with a bunch of his equipment. He would begin the quest “It’s a Secret to Everybody” and during the quest, you would eventually find a faded photo of Linken hanging out with a female gnome who looked an awful lot like Princess Zelda. There was also a kodo named Dadanga, a reference to Legend of Zelda‘s Dodongo enemies.
In most Legend of Zelda games, if you attack the Cuccos enough, they will amass a small army of vengeful poultry and peck you to death. There is an achievement called “Friend or Fowl?” that you can earn by killing 15 turkeys in under 3 minutes. Of course, like their Cucco cousins, the turkeys will rise up and try to overwhelm you.
There is also a gnoll in Feralas, named Miblon Snarltooth, who gets his name from the iconic Moblin enemies of LoZ. In the original Legend of Zelda, you must give a moblin, named Hungry Goriya, a piece of food to advance in a dungeon. In WoW, Miblon Snarltooth demands a piece of ham.
This is only a small sampling of the hundreds of references you can find in World of Warcraft. With the new Legion expansion, I expect a bunch more will be added to the game. I can’t wait to try to find them all!
What are your favorite nods to pop culture in WOW? What references do you think should be added in the next expansion? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: MMO Champion