Blizzard has included many in-jokes and pop-culture references in various forms throughout WoW.
Chemist Fuely and Chemist Cuely
- Chemists Fuely and Cuely are located in The Apothecarium of the Undercity. Their names are a reference to the anime series FLCL, or "Fooly Cooly".
- In the Undercity there is an NPC named Alessandro Luca standing in the Blue Moon Odds and Ends shop. This is a reference from the Swedish name for Gladstone Gander in the Donald Duck series, Alexander Lukas.
- In Ironforge, in the Forlorn Cavern, there is a warlock trainer named Alexander Calder. This is a reference to the famous American sculptor and artist Alexander Calder, attributed with inventing the mobile. Appropriately, there is a mobile in the same room with the character.
- In the Undercity there is an NPC named Algernon. In his right hand he is holding flowers, a reference to Daniel Keyes' short story "Flowers for Algernon" written in 1960.
- In Silvermoon City the Arcane Guardians sometimes say, "Happiness is mandatory, citizen." This is a quote from the insane civil defense computer in the pen and paper roleplaying game "Paranoia".
- There is an Auctioneer O'reely in Booty Bay and an Auctioneer Yarly in the Undercity which refers to the popular "Orly" owls.
- In Undercity there is an auctioneer named Auctioneer Naxxremis, whose last name is almost identical to the raid dungeon Naxxramas. Any connection to the two, other than the fact that Kel'Thuzad, master of Naxxramas, was the originator of the plague that created the undead, remains to be seen.
- The three bankers in Stormwind are named after the lead female actor in the movie "Grease" — Olivia Newton John.
- The male bankers in Ironforge are named for the legendary Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, while Cirque du Soleil provides the name of the female banker.
- The bankers in the Undercity have names which reference William Shakespeare and the movie Trading Places. They share the last name Montague, a reference to Romeo and Juliet, it being the first title character's last name. Their first names however are the main characters' names from the Eddie Murphy movie Trading Places with Dan Akroyd. The female banker, Ophelia Montague, is a reference to Shakespeare's character Ophelia from Hamlet, who dies in the story. She is represented in-game as a ghost. Ophelia is also the name of Jamie Leigh Curtis' character in Trading Places.
- The Stormwind City architect is named Baros Alexston, possibly named after a MotoGP racer Alex Barros. Similar case may also apply for Alexei Barov and Alexi Barov.
- In Westfall, in a house in one of the farm, there is a Defias NPC called Benny Blaanco, who is John Leguizamo's character of the same name (subtracting the extra "a") in the movie "Carlito's Way". Players usually encounter him while doing The Forgotten Heirloom quest.
- The name of the flying hero in the Save Bingles! quest in Ironforge/Dun Morogh is a reference to the fictional World War I flying ace in the books by Captain WE Johns, Major James Bigglesworth, who is usually known as "Biggles".
- The boss Bloodlord Mandokir sometimes says, "Ding!" (and occasionally receives a reply of "Grats!" from Jin'do) when he "levels up" while you're fighting him...recreating the exchange heard every day in guild channels throughout Azeroth when guild members level up. (The term 'ding' comes from the sound which Everquest played when a character leveled up.)
- A reference to the Serbian composer Goran Bregovich could be found in the early beta of World of Warcraft, but was later removed. (He was standing in Dragonmaw Gates.)
Brother Joshua and Brother Kristoff
- One of the priest trainers in Cathedral of Light in Stormwind City is named Brother Joshua. There is also another NPC just outside the cathedral named Brother Kristoff. The names probably a reference to Brother Joshua Christopher in Chrono Crusade.
Champion's Hall NPCs
- Many of the NPCs in the Champion's Hall in Stormwind are named after characters from the television series Stargate SG-1. NPCs include Captain O'Neil (Colonel Jack O'Neill), Lieutenant Karter (Captain Samantha Carter), Guard Hammon (Major General George Hammond), Guard Quine (Jonas Quinn), Sergeant Major Clate (Teal'c), and Lieutenant Jackspring (Dr. Daniel Jackson).
Charles Dexter Ward
- The three rogue trainers in the Undercity — Carolyn Ward, Miles Dexter, and Gregory Charles — are a reference to Charles Dexter Ward, the main character in H. P. Lovecraft's horror story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
- Dextren Ward, target of the Alliance quest in The Stockade, is also a reference to this character.
- Colonel Kurzen is a reference to fictitious Colonel Kurtz in the early 20th Century novel, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. That novel and character is also the basis for Apocalypse Now's Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, who has retreated to a camp in the Jungle.
- In the quest "The Star, The Heart, and The Hand", players are employed to slay a sea giant called Dagun, which is a reference to the H.P. Lovecraft short story. Dagon
- Deathguard Terrence and Deathguard Phillip might be named after the comedy duo popular with the kids on South Park. Their names may, however, simply be coincidence since they are only two of twenty-three named Deathguards in Tirisfal Glades (according to thottbot) and are not located near one another.
Doctor Herbert Halsey
- In Undercity the expert alchemy trainer is named Doctor Herbert Halsey. This is a reference to two key characters: Herbert West and Dr. Halsey in the pulp horror novel The Reanimator by H. P. Lovecraft. In the book, Herbert West creates an alchemical substance that can reanimate dead tissue.
- Elfarran is a Warsong Gulch battlemaster in stormwind is named after a character from Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy.
Edward and Tyler
- In Undercity, there are two NPCs named Edward and Tyler fighting. This references Fight Club, the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk, later made into a movie starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. (Edward of course refers to Edward Norton and Tyler refers to Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt). There are also supporting characters in the area named Robert Gossom, Chloe Curthas and Marla Fowler, references to Fight Club characters Robert Paulson, Chloe (cancer patient) and Marla Singer.
- It is also interesting to note that in WarCraft III Undead campaign Chapter 1 there is a place where two civilians named Robert and Tyler (once again referencing Fight Club) are fighting with a large crowd watching.
- Prior to the rename, Finkle Einhorn is a mob in Upper Blackrock Spire and is reference to the Ace Ventura, Pet Detective characters Ray Finkle and Lois Einhorn, who (spoiler) turn out to be the same person.
- The Dark Iron architect, who can be encountered as a ghost in Blackrock Mountain is named after Frank Lloyd Wright, just as the engineering trainer below.
- In Undercity there is an engineer named Franklin Lloyd, an homage to the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Fenrus the Devourer
- An Elite wolf formerly found in Shadowfang Keep, named after Fenris, who is a gigantic and terrible monster in the shape of a wolf in Norse mythology. Fenris was chained by Tyr, and in revenge, he bit off Tyr's hand. There is a chain in the same room as Fenrus is in, lying on the floor.
- Tyr's Hand is located in the Eastern Plaguelands.
- An elite turtle in the Hinterlands, the focus of two quests, is named Gammerita, a slight twist on the legendary turtle monster of Godzilla fame, Gamera.
- A family of wine sellers (Renato, Suzetta and Julia Gallina) located in Stormwind, whose name is a parody on the wine producing Gallo family of Sonoma, California. 'Gallo' is Italian (and Spanish) for rooster, whereas 'Gallina' is Italian (and again Spanish) for chicken.
- One of the mini-bosses found in the instance Uldaman, Grimlok is a trogg whose name is derived from the Tyrannosaurus rex transformer of the same name. He even says a line which the transformer says in "Transformers: The Movie" — that line being "Me, Grimlock, king!".
- A quest NPC blood elf in Eversong armed with a shovel. A reference to Groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons. Wyllithen also wears working pants with suspenders and has red hair.
- The gnome "Haggle" in the Deeprun Tram, will say the phrase: "Forty-two... forty-two... forty-two what? It could be anything! Forty-two... hmmm..." This is a reference to the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" in which the answer to the "ultimate question" is Forty-two. However, the "ultimate question" is more of a mystery, leaving the reader to speculate what question "Forty-two" could possibly answer (The question, as alluded to in the book, is "What do you get when you multiply six by nine?"). In the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" book, a giant computer is built that could answer the "ultimate question": "What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?"
- The name itself may be a reference to a character in the movie Labyrinth. This movie contains a gnomish character named Hoggle, who is often mistakenly called Haggle in the film.
- This world-class hunter's name Hemet Nesingwary comes from rearranging the letters in Ernest Hemingway's name. In addition to writing, Hemingway was also an active hunter. His companions S. J. Erlgadin and Ajeck Rouack are anagrams of J.D. Salinger and Jack Kerouac, respectively. Nesingwary's book, "The Green Hills of Stranglethorn", references Hemingway's "Green Hills of Africa", achievements Hills Like White Elek references "Hills Like White Elephants" and references "The Snows of Kilimanjaro".
- At the zeppelin tower for Undercity, one of the goblins is named Hin Denburg which is a reference to The Hindenburg (Lz-129) that blew up at Lakehurst, New Jersey on 5/6/1937.
Christoph Walker <Warrior Trainer>
- Refers to famous actor Christopher Walken (born 1943). This warrior trainer is located in War Quarters in Undercity inside main hub.
- A ghost in Caer Darrow by the name of Joseph Dirte <Waste Management Specialist> is a reference to a 2001 David Spade film, Joe Dirt.
- In Stranglethorn Vale, the elite panther Bhag'thera is a direct reference to the The Jungle Book's black panther Bagheera.
Lord Tony Romano
- The name of one of the rogue trainers in Stormwind is a reference to Tony Soprano, one of the main characters in a TV series, "The Sopranos".
- Marduk Blackpool aka Marduk the Black, one of the optional bosses in Scholomance is a reference to the ancient Mesopotamian Deity (and also the black metal band) Marduk
Master Smith Burninate
- Located in Thorium Point. The word "Burninate" is an online joke that has been popular ever since the Homestarrunner.com episode of Strongbad Email about Trogdor the Burninator.
- Matthew Hooper is a fishing trainer in Lakeshire. He is named for the marine biologist in Jaws (played by Richard Dreyfuss in the movie).
- The innkeepers at Undercity and Sepulcher are named Innkeeper Norman and Innkeeper Bates. This is a reference to the main character of the movie "Psycho", Norman Bates, who is also an innkeeper.
- Nurse Neela is the first aid trainer located in Gallows' End Tavern in Brill, in the forsaken starting zone of Tirisfal Glades. She is likely named after a character named Dr. Neela Rasgotra of the TV show E.R. fame.
- Oglethorpe Obnoticus is a reference to the cartoon Aqua Teen Hunger Force. One of its characters is an alien named Oglethorpe, who consults a disco ball named Obnoticus for guidance. (Thottbot)
Old Man Heming
- Old Man Heming is a fisherman in Booty Bay who sells the book . This is another reference to Ernest Hemingway, as he wrote the book "The Old Man and the Sea", which is about a man who has to make a living by fishing.
- In Undercity at the inn, the questgiver Patrick Garrett is named after the man who shot Billy the Kid in the back, killing him.
- This could also be a reference to actors Patrick Warburton and Brad Garrett, who are both known for their distinctively deep voices.
- Ragnaros, the elemental fire lord's name, is referring to Ragnarok, which is believed to be the end of the world in Norse mythology. When this happens the world tree, Yggdrasil, burns down to the ground which fits with Ragnaros's power to set things on fire. Also there is the Scandinavian name Ragnar, coming from the word ragn which means 'gods' or 'the ruling'.
- In the coming expansion Cataclysm Ragnaros will return to burn Nordrassil, the Azerothan world-tree, which also fits to the Norse mythology.
- "Cookie" McWeaksauce south of Azuremist Island owns a green parrot named Ragnarose.
Remy "Two Times"
- Remy "Two Times", an NPC in Goldshire, is named after Jimmy "Two Times" — a character of Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas". They both occasionally repeat some parts of their sentences twice.
- If you wipe at the Rend Blackhand event in UBRS, Nefarian (Lord Victor Nefarius) occasionally says "served" followed by Rend yelling "woot!". This saying is often used by players after a long battle against a relatively hard boss.
- A while later, Rend also yells: "No one touch that corpse! Those boots are mine!" Which is a mockery of the paranoia of greedy players.
- Lord Victor Nefarius also occasionally says "You fools! Go after the one in the dress!" referring to priests, and the tactic of attacking healers first rather than tanks.
- Sergeant Hartman, the NPC in Southshore who gives Hallow's End quests to Alliance players, is a reference to Sergeant Hartman, the sergeant instructor in the movie Full Metal Jacket.
Short John Mithril
- The pirate named Short John Mithril, appearing every three hours in the Gurubashi Arena and placing a lootable treasure chest, is a reference to Long John Silver, the pirate from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.
Sprock, Scooty, Smiles O'Byron, Jhordy Lapforge, Nogg and Chief Engineer Trep
- The two goblins that operate the transporter that takes you from Gnomeregan to Booty Bay (and vice versa) are named Sprok and Scooty, a reference to Spock and Scotty from Star Trek. Theres also another transporter operator in Gadgetzan named Jhordy Lapforge, this time a reference to the chief engineer in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geordi La Forge. Smiles O'Byron, the gnome at the transporter in Toshley's Station is likewise a reference to The Next Generation's Transporter Chief, Miles O'Brien, whose mirror universe counterpart was called "Smiley". In The Drag of Orgrimmar there is a goblin Apprentice Engineer named Nogg referencing Nog, the first Ferengi in Starfleet and junior engineer from Deep Space Nine. In Area 52, there is a goblin named Chief Engineer Trep who wears a blue shirt, which references Chief Engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker from Star Trek: Enterprise.
Stephen Ryback and Erika Tate
- In Stormwind, the cooking trainer and supplier are named Stephen Ryback and Erika Tate, respectively. These NPCs are references to the movie Under Siege, in which Steven Seagal played a cook named Casey Ryback, and Erika Eleniak played Jordan Tate.
- Techbot in Gnomeregan says things the support department would say. It also spawns a critter named "Dupe Bug", a reference to a Diablo II bug. Some of his other spells include "Battlenet" (a snare) and "Lag" (a slowing effect). Battle.net is Blizzard's Internet platform that allows players to play against one another in Warcraft and StarCraft. Lag is the slowing down of an Internet connection.
- A blindfolded human female wonders in Undercity as Gerard's Mindslave (Screenshot). This character has been recognized in the game Fable (Xbox). During the Oakvale raid, Jack of Blades blinded her, and she was found by Twinblade and raised by bandits.
- There is a lumberjack in Elwynn forest by the name of Terry Palin. His name is a reference to Terry Jones and Michael Palin, the two members of Monty Python who wrote the famous Lumberjack song.
- In Westfall the gryphon master is named Thor. He is a reference to Thor, the Norse god of thunder, or Blizzard tech support manager Thor Biafore.
Timmy the Cruel
- The zombie boss Timmy in Stratholme is a reference to Timmy from South Park. Timmy the Cruel similarly has a habit of yelling his name all the time. There is also a reference to the Timmy in Warcraft III, he is seen in Andorhal in Chapter 4 of the Human campaign.
- In Goldshire there is a low level Cooking trainer named Tomas. This is a reference to the well-known UK-based tour operator Thomas Cook.
- One of the things panhandler Topper McNabb in Stormwind says is, "I will gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today." The character of Wimpy in the Popeye cartoons often said this.
- Topper McNabb will occasionally say, "It's all their fault, stupid Alliance army. Just had to build their towers right behind my farm." He also says, "It's all their fault, stupid orcs. Had to burn my farm to the ground." In Warcraft 3, a common tactic to prevent the enemy from easily destroying towers was to place them behind farms so that the enemy units would have to path through the cluster of farms to get to the tower.
An npc named Whit Waltman can be found in Darkshire in Duskwood. A reference to the poet Walt Whitman.
- In Ravenholdt Manor (which is a rogue-specific destination), there is a well dressed but fierce-looking man named Winstone Wolfe. This is a reference to the movie Pulp Fiction, which has a character named Winston Wolf, who is a well dressed, fierce-looking character with some roguish tendencies.
- The weapon master in Stormwind is named after Yuen Woo Ping, a martial arts choreographer for various movies.
- One of the warrior trainers in Stormwind is possibly named after a Chinese artist, Han Wu Shen.
- Wu Shen literally means Martial Arts God in Chinese, a term used to describe someone extremely well versed in martial combat.
A Tailor to Cities
- In Booty Bay there is a tailor shop named "A Tailor to Cities", a reference to Charles Dicken's novel A Tale of Two Cities.
- Near Goldshire there is a lake named "Crystal Lake", with an NPC named Jason nearby. This is a reference to the popular horror movie series Friday the 13th, and its homicidal antagonist, Jason Voorhees.
- The city Hammerfall is likely to be a reference to the Swedish metal band HammerFall. Blizzard's senior art director, Samwise, has created several album covers for HammerFall.
- This little island, just outside the tropical metropolitan Booty Bay, is clearly a reference to Christ on Corcovado. This statue on a mountain just outside Rio de Janeiro features Christ in a robe with arms held out to embrace. On Janeiros point, "He" is portraited as a goblin wearing GM-robes.
Swamp of Sorrows
- This area's name may be in reference to "The Neverending Story's" Swamp of Sadness where Atreyu loses his horse and best friend, Artax.
- Tyr's Hand in Eastern Plaguelands is a reference to Tyr, who is an ancient Norse God who lost his hand when the Nordic Gods were playing a trick on Fenris the wolf. The Gods played this trick by capturing Fenris and saying it was part of a game, and should let them chain him up as part of the game. Tyr guaranteed the deal by sticking his hand in Fenris' mouth as a sort of hostage. When Fenris found out it was a trick, and the Gods would not let him go, Tyr allowed him to bite his hand off. The WoW location is a bastion of the Scarlet Crusade in the "maw" of the Plaguelands.
The Slaughtered Lamb
- In Stormwind the warlock tavern named "The Slaughtered Lamb" is in reference to the film "An American Werewolf in London", which in itself is referencing a real tavern of the same name, that existed just north of London.
The Pig and Whistle
- In Stormwind's Old Town you'll find a tavern that shares its name with both a bar in the film "Chinatown" and in the Dragonlance fantasy novels. There is also the Pig'n Whistle restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
The Five Deadly Venoms
- In Stormwind there is a location called "The Five Deadly Venoms", which references the English release name of a Chinese action movie, "Wu Du". It can be found in Old Town.
The Stonefield Farm and Maclure Vineyard
- These two rival farmsteads in Elwynn Forest may be a reference to the real-world Hatfield/McCoy feud.