World of Warcraft initially launched on November 23, 2004. It forever changed online gaming experiences and set the bar for every MMO to follow. Since then, it has released six expansions and has changed drastically in the past 13 years. World of Warcraft reached the height of its popularity back in 2010 when it peaked at over 12 million players. However, despite its drop in popularity, it is the second best-selling PC game of all time and has over 100 million accounts in total.
Even though 13 years have passed since its initial release, many of the original players are still actively engaging in both the game and the community. For its 10th anniversary Blizzard awarded its most loyal players with an incredible orc statue. Only the players who had joined on or close to launch and kept their accounts active received the gift.
Blizzard has shown time and time again that it is dedicated to both World of Warcraft and its fans. One way they do this is by stuffing their game and expansions full of tiny secrets, fun easter eggs, and incredible mysteries. It’s impossible for one player to find every little detail World of Warcraft has to offer. Even the oldest players haven’t seen everything. Below are 15 obscure things that you probably don’t know about, even if you began with Vanilla.
15 The Sunken Gnome Village
One of the most mysterious locations in the lost city of Atlantis, or in the case of World of Warcraft, the sunken gnome village.
In all honesty, even calling this place a village is severely pushing the definition of the word. It’s only two houses with a couple of random beds and some machinery that serves some inexplicable purpose. The machinery might be powering the singular lamp that miraculously works at the bottom of the ocean. That lamp is probably the single most impressive piece of technology on Azeroth, and no one can use it.
Honestly, how anyone found this village in the first place is beyond me. The village rests deep in the fatigue zone and just getting there is a trial all on its own. Powerful healing spells are an absolute necessity in order to reach this place. You can forget about returning alive. Getting to the sunken village is a one-way trip.
14 Bambina’s Vengeance
Most of the older World of Warcraft players are well aware of Blizzard's penchant for references. There are little nods to all sorts of books, movies, tv shows, anime, and other video games scattered throughout the world. Many of these references are loving parodies from one obscure fandom or another. Some of them are as obvious as a slap in the face, and hit you right in your childhood.
A small group of animals wanders through the heart of the woods west of the Westfall Brigade Encampment. This harmless collection of critters is comprised of a fawn (Bambina), a doe (Mother of Bambina) a rabbit (Thudder), and a skunk (Flora). Yup, it’s a riff on the Disney classic, Bambi.
The tiny band wanders aimlessly most of the time. However, a Westfall Brigade Hunter occasionally spawns and shoots the Bambina’s mother. Bambina flies into a rage; growing in size and gaining the buff Bambina’s Vengeance. The buff increases Bambina’s attack speed by 150% and damage output by 2000%. It also turns Bambina red. Unsurprisingly, Bambina makes quick work of the hunter before returning to its friends.
13 The Elite Tauren Chieftain
The Elite Tauren Chieftain is actually a real rock band. They’ve gone by a variety of names over the years including Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain, The Artists Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, and Tenth Level Tauren Chieftain. The band members are actually Blizzard employees. They even have their own virtual counterparts in World of Warcraft, a Horde band called The Tauren Chieftain. The real world band has played at various events around the world, but the virtual band can be heard during the Darkmoon Faire.
The Darkmoon Faire is an event that occurs once a month on Darkmoon Island. The Darkmoon Faire occurs once a month and lasts for a week. Players can only reach the island via portals near Goldenshire and Thunder Bluff. Unsurprisingly, portals only spawn while the Faire is taking place. The Tauren Chieftains play once an hour during the event. They can also be found once every three hours at World’s End Tavern in Shattrath City.
12 Maw Of The Void
Normally, jumping off a cliff into a raging pool of water that swirls into a neverending void would be considered a very bad idea. Swirling vortexes typically signal instant death and only the dumbest parts of humanity would require signs that tell them not to jump. Of course, knowing you shouldn’t jump and doing it anyways are not mutually exclusive. There are those among us who just can’t resist the temptation of an extremely bad idea. Thankfully, not everything that looks like a bad idea ends up being one.
The Maw of the Void is a maelstrom at the bottom of Cliffspring Falls in Lor’danel. Leaping into the Maw of the Void triggers a cutscene that shows your character being sucked down into the whirlpool, only to fall through the bottom and end up in an underground cavern. There are three achievements that you can gain from jumping into the whirlpool, and an entire quest line awaits those brave (or dumb) enough to take the plunge.
11 Children Of Goldshire
This one is for horror fans. At around 7:00 am server time, six children will spawn on the second floor of a house located in the northeastern part of Goldshire. You know you’re in the right house if you find leatherworking and skinning trainers on the first floor. However, they don’t stay in the house for long. They quickly leave the house and will wander the nearby area, never straying too far from either the house or Stormwind. The children will form a pentagram as they move.
After wandering for some time, the children return to their house. If you follow them, you will hear eerie music as well as some disturbing sounds. The exact sound file is random, but it can be anything from banshee screams and crying to C’Thun’s disembodied voice promising death. The children will eventually despawn at 8:00 am server time.
10 Exploding Robotic Sheep
There is a quaint little sheep farm just outside of Stormwind. The farm itself is comprised of a single cabin with a bunch of sheep roaming a small terrace. It rests at the top of Elwynn Forest Waterfalls. Agee Tyler, a level 80 gnome, runs the small farm by himself and spends most of his time staring into a lit hearth. If you have a keen eye and pay close attention, you’ll notice that one of the sheep looks a little odd. The sheep in question, Tekton, is actually a robot! This level three NPC was most likely built by Tyler and does its best to blend in with the rest of the herd. It, like every other sheep, is a non-aggressive creature. However, it has a nasty habit of exploding when attacked. I’m not talking about a little pop either. Tekton will erupt in a ball of flames that will push you right off the cliff. If you manage to survive and not get thrown off the precipice, Tyler runs out of his house to yell at you before storming back inside.
9 The Deeprun Tram
The Deeprun Tram has been around since the very beginning. The underground tram travels from Stormwind to Ironforge and back again. It only has two tracks, but is a major mode of travel for new players. As an added bonus, the tram is completely free.
The Tram is actually a lot of fun to ride. It travels relatively quickly through a narrow tunnel that is lit by a series of strategically placed lights. The tunnels never turn, but they do rise and fall along artificial hills. There are walking paths along both tracks, but it’s a really long way and is likely there for those who accidentally fall off. The tram even goes through an underwater tunnel in the ocean. It’s a really interesting view, and attentive players might even spot Nessy. However, if you look at the map there is no ocean or any large body of water between Stormwind to Ironforge.
Interestingly enough, the tram was initially planned to Stormwind and Darnassus. However, that idea was scrapped before World of Warcraft first launched. The underwater section is simply a relic of that time.
8 Fluorescent Green Mechanostrider
There are a lot of rare and valuable mounts in World of Warcraft. Many of them require hours of time and energy to obtain. Others need a startling amount of luck. Most, if not all, of these rare mounts fall under the epic category. Mounts have come and gone over the years. Some are no longer available or have gone through redesigns. However, there is one mount that was only ever given to a single player.
Narshe, a player on the Frostmane Europe server, accidentally deleted his own mechanostrider. He contacted a GM to try and replace the lost mount. The GM accidentally gave the gnome a Fluorescent Green Mechanostrider. The unusual mechanostrider can be seen in the European Amory, but it is not obtainable. Blizzard apparently deleted the Fluorescent Green Mechanostrider on Narshe’s account and replaced it with a regular Green Mechanostrider. Supposedly, Narshe attempted to sell their account, and that prompted Blizzard to make the change.
7 Critter Wars
A lot of things have changed since the shattering. Some changes were for the better while others were inexcusable. However, no matter what your opinion of the changes are, no one can deny that it through the world of Azeroth into chaos. Since then, alliances have been forged and broken. Many new parties have joined the fight, and the war the engulfs the world reached previously untouched populations. A few unexpected races were forced to take up arms, including fluffy bunnies and prairie dogs.
If you think I’m kidding, head to the hoard occupied zone of Mulgore. Just head northwest of Thunderbluff, one of the Tauren cities, and make your way into the Stonetalon Mountains. A small section of the mountains, dubbed Stonetalon Pass, features the Grimtotem questline. If you can make it past the Grimtotem Tauren, you’ll find an unlikely hoard of armed critters waiting for you at the summit. Bunnies bounce around with axes. Prairie dogs are adorned in spiked helms and armed with daggers. Mice wear skulls and carry around two blunderbusses. It’s really bizarre. If that wasn’t strange enough, these weaponized mammals are larger than normal ones and will attack their smaller counterparts without mercy.
6 Dormus The Camel-Hoarder
Scattered around the desert of Uldum are tiny camel figurines. These are rightly named the Mysterious Camel Figurines. At first glance, they don’t really serve any real purpose. Most of them crumble as soon as you loot them, granting you some Crumbled Statue Remnants. These Remnants are a grey item and the only thing they are good for is the 25 gold pieces you get for selling them. However, if you are lucky (or have the patience of a saint), there is a 5% chance that the Mysterious Camel Figurine will transport you into a phased version of the steam pools. The steam pools are normally where players can go to relax and visit the fancy goblin resort. However, Dormus the Camel-Hoarder inhabits the phased area along with several camels. If you defeat him, he’ll drop the Reins of the Grey Riding Camel. The Grey Riding Camel is one of three epic camel mounts in the game.
5 Classes Lost And Found
There were initially only nine classes when World of Warcraft first launched: druid, hunter, mage, paladin, priest, rogue, shaman, warlock, and warrior. Since then, three new classes joined the roster. Death knights were introduced in the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Monks were added in the fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria. Finally, the newest expansion, Legion, introduced demon hunters. Out of the three new classes, two are specialized Hero classes that have unique playstyles and perks.
Many of these classes can be found in the Warcraft series. Because World of Warcraft is supposed to take place in the same universe, it isn’t strange that they developers would pull inspiration from the Warcraft games. However, a speaker at Blizzcon in 2007 revealed that death knights, demon hunters, and necromancers were scraped classes from Vanilla. These classes were unfortunately cut to save time, but it is good to see that two of them managed to make their way back into the game.
4 Corrupted Ashbringer Inside The Scarlet Monastery
Corrupted Ashbringer was a two-handed epic sword that players could get in the 40-man Wrath of the Lich King raid Naxxramas. Unfortunately, the raid was moved to Northrend, and a lot was changed. Most of the old bosses are no longer there, and Corrupted Ashbringer is no longer available. However, a lucky few managed to discover the secret of this sword before its demise.
If you traveled to the Cathedral wing of the Scarlet Monastery in Hearthglen and equipped Corrupted Ashbringer, it would trigger a unique cutscene. The crusaders inside the Monastery bowed before you as you were welcomed by the Scarlet Commander Renault Mograine. It goes through a series of startling events that delve deep into the game’s lore and tell the story that surrounds the sword. Although you can no longer experience the event for yourself, you can find videos of it on youtube and a transcript on the World of Warcraft wiki.
3 Pepe The Bird
Pepe is a tiny bird that quickly gained favor among the World of Warcraft community. He was introduced in the Warlords of Draenor expansion and lives just outside of the commander’s garrison. Although he is hard to spot, you can find him sitting on a branch in a tree just outside the compound. If you can figure out a way to get close enough, you can right-click on Pepe to have him join you on your adventures for an hour. He happily sits on your head and prompts the “I found Pepe” achievement.
Pepe is the creation of Jordan Powers, the associate 3D artist who worked on the World of Warcraft prop team. Apparently, Powers created Pepe two years before the release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Powers has included Pepe in all of his works ever since, eventually giving Pepe and name and personality before the expansion launched.
2 Reins Of The Long-Forgotten Hippogryph
Way back in 2007, data miners delved into the World of Warcraft code and discovered an unusual looking mount. It was a pink hippogryph. Players were sure that it was a new mount that just hadn’t been released yet. They expected it to show up during an event or early expansion. However, years went by, and no one had discovered how to actually acquire the pink hippogryph. No one was sure if this was just an unused asset or a secret that had yet to be discovered.
Data miners went back into World of Warcraft’s code before the launch of Legion and discovered clues to a mysterious item dubbed the Reins of the Long-Forgotten Hippogryph. Finally, someone found the Reins in the Broken Isles. In order to obtain the mount, you’ll need to collect five Ephemeral Crystals that spawn in Azsuna. Actually collecting the crystals is a lot harder than it sounds, especially since you have to compete with other players. However, if you manage to do it, you’ll be rewarded with a pink hippogryph that uses Vanilla’s hippogryph model.
The creators of the World of Warcraft lore are probably gigantic fans of H.P Lovecraft. References to his works and creatures are actually incorporated into some of the most important bits of lore in all of Azeroth. The old gods are actually named after Lovecraft’s monsters. The giant eyeball of a god C’thun is an explicit reference to the almighty Cthulhu. Yogg-Saron is an homage to Yog-Sothoth. N’Zoth is a rather blatant rip-off of Zoth-onmog. Finally, Y’Shaarj parallels Shrub-Niggurath.
It isn’t just bosses that owe their inception to Lovecraft. The designs for several dungeons and numerous quests all pay homage to the horrors that Lovecraft created. Even Azeroth owes its name to the Lovecraftian god and short story Azathoth. In fact, even the game's title is a direct homage to the great author. The developers at Blizzard simply replaced the word Love with War to create the Warcraft title.