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Pop Culture References in World of Warcraft (WoW): Science Fiction

by: Benjamin Sell ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/2/2012 • Leave a comment

One of my favorite things about World of Warcraft is the multiple tongue-in-cheek references to popular culture to be found throughout the world. Science fiction and video games often go hand in hand, so it's no surprise that so many nods to sci-fi can be found in WoW.

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    Like any good geek, I’m fully versed in the world of science fiction. From endlessly rewatching all six Star Wars films (yes, even the prequels) to constantly referencing incredibly obscure lines from the Star Trek series (“There are four lights!") elements of various sci fi films and television shows inevitably find their way into my daily conversations.

    Over at Blizzard, the designers behind World of Warcraft are huge nerds as well, and it shows. It seems I can’t spend any time at all in the world of Azeroth without running into some science fiction reference that makes me laugh when I spot it.

    In the interest of perpetuating the tenets of nerd-ism, I present some of my favorite science fiction references within the World of Warcraft.

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    Star Wars

    Of course the holy grail of science fiction is George Lucas’ epic series. It’s obvious that the people at Blizzard are as avidly devoted to the Star Wars series as I am, judging by the obscurity of some of the Star Wars references they manage to work into the game.

    Pod Racer in Shimmering Flats Fans of Episode I will find quite a few recognizable elements at the Mirage Raceway in Shimmering Flats, Thousand Needles. Here, a team of goblin engineers is constantly trying to perfect their drag racer while competing against a team of equally-dedicated gnome engineers. Occasionally, vehicles built by each of the two teams will square off in a drag race.

    Each race is announced by a two-headed ogre named Fobeed. In the famous pod racing scene in Episode I, the action is called by an alien with two heads named Fode and Beed.

    Fobeed is not the only reference to the Tatooine pod race in The Phantom Menace to be found nearby. The goblin drag racer, a small chassis attached by cables to a pair of rocket engines, bears an uncanny resemblance to the racer built and piloted by young Anakin Skywalker in the movie.

    Aerial View of Toshley's Station In the Outland zone known as Blade’s Edge Mountains lies one of the most obscure Star Wars references to be found anywhere in World of Warcraft. I'm willing to bet that most WoW players don't know that the settlement known as Toshley’s Station is a nod to a throw away line delivered by Luke Skywalker in Episode IV, A New Hope. Uncle Owen asks Luke to perform some work on his recently-purchased droids, to which Luke replies: “But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up Article Image some power converters."

    The obscure reference goes even further when players speak to a male gnome named Toshley found at the station. He offers the quest entitled “Picking up some power converters."

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    Further References to Star Wars

    Other notable Star Wars references include: a pilot in the Military Wing of Ironforge named Xiggs Fuselighter, a reference to Luke’s buddy Biggs Darklighter from A New Hope, an NPC at Kessel’s Crossing in Bloodmyst Isle named Kessel who gives you a quest entitled “The Kessel Run," a reference to Han Solo’s boast that the Millenium Falcon made the Kessel Run in “less than 12 parsecs," and R3P0, a robot near Toshley’s Station whose name is an amalgam of the two most famous droids from Star Wars, C-3P0 and R2-D2.

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    Star Trek

    Jhordy Lapforge Star Trek is another juggernaut of the science fiction world, and numerous references to it exist in Azeroth, as well. One of my favorites is found in Gadgetzan, Booty Bay, and Gnomeregan. Giant transporters are tended by familiar-looking characters with equally familiar-sounding names.

    A gnome named Jhordy Lapforge mans the transporter in Gadgetzan. Jhordy’s outfit and glowing eye protection are clearly designed to emulate the similarly-named chief engineer of the Enterprise-D, Geordi Laforge.

    Chief Engineer Scooty Likewise, the Booty Bay teleporter is watched over by a goblin named Scooty, an obvious reference to the chief engineer on the original series, Montgomery “Scotty" Scott.

    One more transporter is found just inside the entrance to the former gnome capital of Gnomeregan. Nearby, players will find a goblin named Sprock whose faction tag reads “The Away Team." Sprock wears a blue shirt and with his long pointy ears vaguely resembles the Vulcan science officer from the original Star Trek series, Spock.

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    Firefly/Serenity

    K. Lee Smallfry The Master Engineering Trainer at Telredor in Zangarmarsh is a female gnome named K. Lee Smallfry. She is an obvious reference to the mechanic aboard Serenity named Kaylee Fry.

    A semi-obscure Firefly reference shows up only during the Brewfest Holiday event. Players can purchase a beverage called “Mudder’s Milk," which is a reference to the Firefly episode “Jaynestown."

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    Battlestar Galactica

    Kara Thricestar Perhaps the coolest flight master in the game resides at Fizzzcrank Airstrip in the Borean Tundra zone. Her name is Kara Thricestar, and she is a reference to the Battlestar Galactica character Kara “Starbuck" Thrace.

    These are but a few of the numerous references to sci-fi television shows and movies to be found in WoW. Its little touches like these that really illustrate the personal commitment the developers at Blizzard have for the game. It’s obvious that they pour much of themselves into the game, and these little touches really make the game that much more appealing to gigantic nerds like myself.

WoW Pop Culture References

A collection of articles noting some of World of Warcraft's references to pop culture.
  1. Pop Culture References in World of Warcraft (WoW): Science Fiction
  2. Pop Culture References in World of Warcraft (WoW)

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