“This topic is dedicated to all the special and secret NPCs in WoW, out there serving tirelessly, overlooked and undiscovered.”
There is not a lot that is secret in the World of Warcraft and it’s always made me a little sad. This world we play in is vastly explored, analyzed, documented and datamined all over internet websites and communities. I’ve never played any MMO where such myriads of information were available on every aspect imaginable. This is obviously what you’ll get with an MMO that’s played by ~10mio people, but it’s not just that: World of Warcraft is a very functional, pragmatic game and there’s not an awful lot of superfluous or “useless” content, certainly not on the cosmetic side of things. But some of the best things in life are just that: useless. Or I actually prefer the term “pointless”. Many pastimes and hobbies that we pursue are merely for our own fun and entertainment. WoW is such a pastime too.
Yet, the truth is that inside the game precious little is actually pointless or surprising: most maps for example feature all the necessary posts to make the player’s leveling progression as smooth as possible: You have your inns, your vendors, flightmasters and questgivers stationed at strategic points. Most of them do nothing but repeat generic lines as you click them to open their service windows. The same goes for buildings and shops in cities and really pretty much every other site. This is what we’re used to and we don’t even examine all the NPCs around us closely as we enter a new zone or questgiver camp. And why would we? It’s not gonna be any different from the last 100 times, right?
We can rely on Blizzard to tell us if there’s really anything “special” going on: if an NPC does anything extraordinary, there will be clues and signs to make us aware of it. If there are important places we should go to, we can be sure a series of quests will take us there. It is hard to miss much in the World of Warcraft. Blizzard takes care of that.
I know this is the nature of games that have been played to death and WoW does actually a pretty good job at things like Easter Eggs or non-generic zone design. But for most parts the game is very predictable, with little randomness. Somehow I miss that there’s not more pointless things that are spread far and wide over the world for no good reason, maybe only to be found by those that seek them out.
Why was there never a single questgiver stationed on any of the flying islands in Nagrand? Why is the Darkmoon Fair such a complete letdown when people long for minigames in WoW for years? Why is there nothing going on anywhere under the ocean? Only a few things I’ve wondered about in the past.
This is why Dalaran is special. Now you see, I don’t like Dalaran, I’m actually with Stumps in this. Nonetheless I will always have one pleasant memory attached to Dalaran forever and that is the memory of one little gnome, one humble, unremarkable NPC that was special. Maybe you know about him, maybe you don’t. I have talked to many that haven’t and that’s why I think he is worth an hommage at this point: I am speaking of Sheddle Glossgleam.
Sheddle Glossgleam is located on the second level of the Threads of Fate cloth armor shop in Dalaran. He is your standard low-profile vendor NPC, selling shoes for emblems of valor without much decorum. If you click him, he’ll open the usual vendor window accompanied by a generic service line. And that’s it.
Almost. There is also the chair. There are chairs all over the city, you say? That’s true, but then they ain’t quite like Sheddle’s chair!
Once you sit down on the chair beside Sheddle, he will walk over to you and polish your shoes, applying a cosmetic sparkle-buff to them that lasts for 60minutes! I don’t know how many times I have visited him just to get my shoes polished before a raid or how many times I got someone whispering me “where can I get that boot enchant?”. In fact “shiny shoes!” has become somewhat of a running line in my guild. Yes I love you, Sheddle Glossgleam!!!
Not just shiny shoes
You see, my friends have laughed at me for this in the past, but the fact that I’m a female who likes to get her shoes sparkled up is only 50% of why I love this NPC. What I really love about this silly trifle is that it’s actually something special and unexpected. If you never bother to sit down on chairs in WoW and don’t chance on this information randomly on a website, chances are you will never know about the little gnome in Dalaran. There is no exclamation mark over Sheddle’s head, there is no other NPC sending you on a quest to get your shoes polished. Sheddle won’t tell you about it either. There is no hint whatsoever inside the game about what’s gonna happen if you sit down on that chair!
Sheddle Glossgleam is a little secret. He is a surprise. One of those utterly pointless yet delightful things in a game that is usually so eager to inform you about everything. Dalaran sparkles a little more because of him.
Who else is out there?
I’m glad I discovered Sheddle because that experience suddenly made me a lot more aware of the world and NPCs around me. They came alive again, like they hadn’t for a long time. I started to wonder “what else might there be that I have overlooked in the past? What other NPCs are there, only sharing their secrets with those that seek to find them?” I sat on every other chair in Dalaran just to make sure.
So where are they?? What special places in WoW have you found that are hiding away secretly to be discovered by those with open eyes and inquisitive minds? Which NPCs have I overlooked on my speedy journeys and never known for their silly, unexpected services? I’d really love to know.