Blizzard should clean house on its character roster

A recurring theme that keeps popping up is the plethora of characters that have a small or large presence on the game from either heavy hitters like Rexxar or lesser-known characters like Kelsey Steelspark but never get a completed story arc.

This is reinforced with new character additions either every patch or every expansion leaving most past characters fall into obscurity and eventually becoming another npc that really means nothing to the player base. So, I propose an idea that was adopted from Game of Thrones…kill your characters.

They could die from illness, old age, war (pretty weird mostly unnamed NPCS die or the notable “bad guys” while ALOT of named good NPCS that have some relevance to a story are still kicking). We literally had an expansion dealing with the concept of Death, yes it sucked but if we wanted to pull a character out again we could grab it from there. I understand not every npc is going to have flashy or tragic end so make some boring deaths which actually follow real life.

This will actually give more room for new characters to breath and not have the writers worry about some plot point from another character that we haven’t seen expansions ago.

This was just a thought I had about the influx of characters without doing anything with past characters. This is an open thread so thoughts?


I dunno. They’ve done a hatchet job on the horde and barely did anything to build up new characters in importance, though. I can’t speak for other people, but I’m already at the point where I don’t really have anybody left that I’m invested in, so killing off the current nobodies in favor of introducing new nobodies just reinforces the futility in caring about anyone at all.


I’m going to put a hard no on any proposal to kill off even more Horde characters than have already been killed off


The more characters we have, the more World of Warcraft feels like an actual world. So some characters swim in and out of your life without doing much? So what? That’s realistic.


Yeah, cause that’s just what a massive, living, world setting needs. Way less characters…


World of Warcraft in 2030: Literally just Jaina, Anduin, Baine, and Calia, with all the plots revolving around Calia and Baine talking about how cool Jaina and Anduin are.

When pressed, the devs claim that Vol’jin and Malfurion are coming back from the shadowlands any day now and Goblin auctioneer #3 is a perfectly fine racial leader with entire words written about him. so quit whining.


Interesting I thought this was going to be a more positive thread with thoughts that could make people think differently about the approach of the characters of WoW. Sarm actually made a fair point about “killing off the current nobodies in favor of introducing new nobodies just reinforces the futility in caring about anyone at all.” Though, that’s the failure of the writers to actually make compelling characters in the first place…though I do agree that Horde lost those characters that brought life to the story which they should’ve been reinforced.

What we need is more characters getting screen time instead of the usual mouseketeer brigade. Plus their ability to present decent character arcs hasn’t been the best, so I think I’d be in favour of limited cameo’s but from a broader cast collection. No more self inserts whose only purpose seems be to block out more interesting aspects of story telling.


Omg this, not sure about how the community and players as a whole feel but the friends I play with were always complaining about these characters in Shadowlands…
It was funny when one of my friends started playing the SL starting scenario were Highlord Darion Mograine stated how PoWeRful Jaina was almost to the point of… ahem* well I’ll let your imagination finish that joke! (I get into trouble, as it probably to “spicy” for the forums)
Oh and lol my friends reaction with Baine and Thrall barely holding off the Maw sworn, while Jaina defending them was hilarious! Its started like: “Why of course they are all barely standing while big sister Jaina defended them! OH look we even have to HELP Thrall pick his weapon oh goody!” (It was more funny in discord they making voices and all)
God, I love playing with does sour prune friends of mine!

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I mean, if the main scenario designers did a good job of building up the upcoming characters, some roster churn wouldn’t be a bad thing, but again, they’ve been dire at actually building any replacements up.

Lets look at currently dead/written off iconic Characters

Cairne was killed and they made Baine a spineless wimp who writers are pathologically unable to resist making worthless unless it’s relating to Jaina/Anduin

Vol’jin died and 90%+ of the playerbase could not name the current leader darkspear off the top of their head

Varian died, and in a rare departure, they actually had Anduin built up somewhat beforehand despite many players not liking him now

Saurfang/Garrosh are dead, Thrall is explicitly not leading the orcs, zero effort has been put into them since Cata.

Sylvanas/Nathanos died and rather than building up any existing characters, Calia was shoved down everyone’s throats because Golden liked the idea of yet another boring disney princess

Gallywix is gone from the Horde for good and Gazlowe was just unceremoniously put in charge. No effort was bothered describing the transition or anything.

edit: At bare minimum, Blizzard needs to finish rebuilding the races they’ve took a hacksaw to before killing off more iconic characters


It’s not just faction leaders, either. Orcs in particular have had their supporting roster demolished as well. Remember Nazgrim? Zaela?


It’s basically Eitrigg and Rexxar (when they remember either one exists) now.

Wonder which one is dying when they go for Faction war expansion #3?


Agreed. I think that before any minor recurring characters (as defined as being established characters who are more on the player’s power level rather than the faction leaders’) get killed off, Blizz has to show that they are able and willing to build up replacements with the same or better level of polish.

Like Nazgrim and Taylor - they were great ground-level representatives of our factions, who we got to see grow and advance in their own careers, and who gave us insight into what the common soldiers of each faction were feeling about current events. Nazgrim died in a very story-integrated way (even if he could just as easily have survived), Taylor got chunked in a sorta-relevant(?) way… and they never got replaced.

Or, worse, their ‘replacement’ was having the player cozy up to major lore characters. So now we follow the personal dramas of these few featured characters, who often are meant to be very different from the faction/people they’re supposed to represent, while the common soldier gets turned into cardboard cutouts to decorate the background without much thought thrown their way.

I don’t want to fight side-by-side with Anduin as he says he’s glad I’m there for him. It rings hollow - even for those of my characters who would want to help Anduin.

I want to fight side-by-side with a former farmhand from Westfall that I’ve quested with on-and-off for years as he enlisted and survived campaigns. Or with a Sentinel who I got to see explore the world outside her forests. Or an orc grunt who has fought on every new frontier to secure resources for her sister living in the desert back home. Or an alchemist who appears every expac to gush about the new weird plants. Those are the characters who I want to see in the world, whose reactions I get to nod along with or laugh at because they’re representative of their faction exploring and learning just as the player does.


This is what I’m talking about. Love these posts, keep them coming!

I maintain there’s a lot of potential with at least 3/5ths of the Desolate Council. And I maintain that I personally think Calia has potential but am not hopeful Blizz is going to take her in any intetesting direction.

The rest of the Horde is a pretty mixed bag. As I missed Cata through WoD I’m still somewhat positively disposed to Thrall but I’m appreciative people who had to watch him leave the Horde with a ragecase nepobaby, go through a midlife crisis and renew his marriage vows are about done.

Baine is just a bizarre character who exists seemingly to be the President of the Anduin fan club. But luckily we’ve Ebonhorn and Mayla. I’m also not opposed to that Grimtotem crone turning back up. A crotchety old witch is fun to have kicking around.

I actually think the Trolls are in a decent spot. Zekhan gives a good man on the street perspective this series is criminally lacking in, Talanji is a duck mothering empress with a golden throne, Bwomsamdi is the best character in the setting and Vol’Jin is almost assuredly coming back.

On the Goblin end I think Gazlowe is a good character. They just have to remember what it is. Seriously embarrassing they clearly wrote Exploring Kalimdor with Gallywix in mind, then rather than changing anything just had Gazlowe act like Gallywix. So, ya know don’t do that again.

The Belves are certainly there. Lor’Themar is kinda a namby pamby poet who I think might’ve been an incel until recently if his association with sex predators wearing stupid hats is any indication. But Thalyssra is no pushover, having led both an insurrection and her own people at the Battle of the Necropolis. Only took us a decade to get a strong elven wizard leader after they batted Kael’Thas but hey better late than never. Happy to have her on board to be the Red Team’s resident Gandalf.

So I do think there’s plenty of interesting stuff to do with this cast. The question however is if Blizz will use them as characters or have them continue to be plot devices who’s personalities, morals and motivations change on a whim. Which is the ultimate problem here. Hard to like a character when everything but their name is subject to change at a moment’s notice.


When it comes to major characters, I think stuff like Khadgar’s appearances in Dragonflight is a good example. He shows up, gets some of his good ol’ quips and character quirks in, helps the player without overshadowing the player, and then goes back to doing Khadgar things while the player moves elsewhere.

And I think those short blasts are the best way to keep characters current and relevant without them overstaying their welcome or feeling like they’re blocking out other characters from getting their own featured time in the story - which is what I feel that characters like Anduin and Jaina have done.

Going back to Nazgrim and Taylor, since I think they were great examples of how to handle recurring characters, even they appeared for only a quest chain or two at one time, with breaks in between. And their quest chains were not about them, but about them trying to achieve the same goal the player is after. So a player who likes them can listen to all their conversations, read all their optional dialogue, and feel good about seeing them again, while a player who doesn’t like them can mostly ignore them and proceed with their goal.

The player isn’t dragged into the character’s personal life or history - and that’s good for a long-running game like WoW, since it means the player doesn’t have to know or get caught up on the character’s history in order to understand the quest they’re doing. And I think that’s key - these recurring characters should have optional dialogue for players who have worked with them before, but they should work just as well if the player is new and has never seen them before.


For being such crap expansions both BFA and SL introduced two new features I’m mad haven’t been further utilized.

In BFA, in the Horde War Campaign, we had the unprecedented option of making a choice during a quest. If you scour the bowels of this forum you’ll find a younger me very excited about the potential this offered. As up until then our only way to engage with quests were to do them or not do them. So suddenly getting even one additional option for how you engage with the meat and potatoes of WoW content sounded positively revolutionary.

Of course though that turned out to be the one and only time we’d be given a choice, and it was really just between more or less content. The loyalists wouldn’t actually get something different to do until the very end of that storyline. Until then you were just undermining all of Sylvanas’s plans, ultimately successfully, but were undercover about it.

Then in SL we got the brillaint idea of having achievements open up new dialogue options with characters. But again this was just during the first chunk of SL content and it didn’t even apply across the board. Seriously Kel’thuzad has nothing special to say even though I killed that bastard about 70 times for this goofy halo. And even then they could’ve had a good character moment where Kel’thuzad doesn’t remember you either way because he’s been thwarted by a lot of dudly do rights and you failed to make an impression;

Rather depressing really to see these interesting ideas used once before being chucked into the great trashcan of history.


Grand Magister Rommath

Please don’t forget about him… he had such interesting ideas and rumors going about him… from being a DreadLord to being the one who introduce Shamanism to the Blood Elves (I guess it be more akin to Primalist way of using the Elements than the “True” Shamanism back in the day when Blood elves drain the Light and use to command it like any magic)

But from what I gather and read nothing even came true…
I even wish if they use him we get new model too… I use to LOVE and wanted does “weird tattoos” he had back in BC!


Only if there’s a scene where Jaina fangirls her skill and later runs away because “We can’t fight her.”

I wouldn’t mind more of this IF it’s a way of expressing our own characters and doesn’t affect the story. Because once you start going full SWTOR, where the PCs can be in alternate universes from each other with different Sith emperors depending on what they chose, you break the whole purpose of an MMO, in my opinion.

DF has at least had the choice of what to write in the guest book at Wingrest Embassy. I have chosen different things for my different characters there. But of course, that’s just a throwaway thing.

DF also shows signs of being rushed out the door, so this is the kind of thing that probably gets left behind when they’re sprinting to finish the basic gameplay.


In MoP, Blizz tried something like this in a quest where the Alliance player had to try to convince Jaina of something - the player had a dialogue tree where they could express different personal opinions and reasons, though the outcome of the quest was the same.

And, apparently, the feature got so little use that Blizz decided to scrap it. (I can’t remember the exact details, but there was some disappointment on Blizz’s side about how the feature didn’t see enough engagement to continue creating them.) :sob:

I wish that system would come back - even if player choice doesn’t change the world significantly, just being able to express the character through dialogue options is great.