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  • Several times during the Death Knight intro quests you find yourself suddenly face-to-face with an event so simply human in contrast with the raping and pillaging you have been doing. The Wrathgate event is another specific instance where the outcome of a battle is so sudden and unexpected.
  • Crusader Bridenbrad's quests.
    • Anyone who's done that questline knows what I mean, and probably just burst into Manly Tears again. (Also, he was named after a Blizzard employee's relative who died of cancer.)
      • This troper first did the quest as a Restoration-specced Shaman. At the start I went "Great, another quest where I get a magic doodad to heal a guy instead of, you know, using one of my many spells". Then I'm like "That didn't help, I have to try again?". Then "I'm really starting to like this guy, I'll be glad when we get him on his feet". Then "...oh. Wait. I don't want it to end this way. Come on, please? Can't we try something else? Anything else?!" By the end, I was honestly, emotionally upset.
      • This entire quest is one big metaphor for cancer (the dev who worked on the quest made it as a memorial to a friend who passed away from cancer), you try all sorts of methods, some painful, to cure a stubborn and fatal disease, and in the end, you fail, your only solace the hope that they're no longer suffering on the other side.
  • The king of tear jerkers in the game is the Pamela Redpath quest line. You meet the ghost of a little girl who wants you to find her dolly. She then asks about her family and why they've left her there and says how much she misses them. You find out that her father, Joseph Redpath, fell to the Scourge during the Battle for Darrowshire, murdered the remaining citizens and is remembered as a monster and the traitor of Darrowshire. You are given the opportunity to go back in time and change this one small event. While you can't save Joseph, you can defeat him after he is corrupted but before he can cause further damage, leaving him to be remembered instead as the fallen hero of Darrowshire. In the end, Joseph's ghost is reunited with the ghost of his daughter. And you bring her dolly back. This video will make you cry if you know the full back-story.
    • Also if you talk to Pamela before your quest with her is finished, she'll give you one of the saddest lines in the game. "I never feel warm anymore..."
    • If you wander around the Culling of Stratholme wing of the Caverns of Time, the Redpaths are all staying at the inn... Pamela even has her doll.
  • Many quests also qualify, such as this one
    • Or it's somewhat differently tear-jerking Horde equvilent. As apposed to freeing a lost loved one you take the wedding pendant of a dead man who had devoted his life to destroying the Forsaken back to his grave on the request of his now Forsaken wife, who wants nothing to do with him. Upon reaching his grave your greeted by a sad little bit of text detailing how lonely the grave looks and how the man will be forever forgotten.
  • These two quests (one for each faction) are probably the most depressing in the game, mostly because the player just killed the letter writer.
    • Even worse, the two family members the letters are addressed to are actual NPCs: the alliance one you see every time you come off the ramp from the mage tower, and the horde one is one of the female troll mage trainers in the valley of spirits.
  • The NPC quotes from one of the final main quests for the Oracles (a mentally-simple race of frog-like creatures) in Sholazar Basin where you try to save the mortally injured Oracles from the invading Scourge are a good example of this. Particularly unsettling about this is that the Oracles worship the Titan structures in the area as entities due to their weather-preserving properties, and as such are still confused about what they did wrong to cause their swift deaths. The last words of many of them are gut-punchingly innocent, asking what they did to incur their progenitors' wrath, including 'not giving enough shinies'.
  • Two phrases to sum up the fall of the Drakkari empire: "If our gods can die... then so can we...." and "Even the mighty... can fall."
  • Finally, the king of kings of Tear Jerker in the game is (A VERY MAJOR SPOILER, you have been warned) the Lich King's demise. First part shows Arthas' Death Equals Redemption as he died in his father's arms. and when you thought it was all... Bolvar Fordragon's Heroic Sacrifice as he took the responsibility of taking the Lich King's place, and sealing him forever while saying he must not be remembered.

  I must be forgotten, Tirion! If the world is to live free from the tyranny of fear, they must never know what was done here today. Tell them only that the Lich King is dead. And that Bolvar Fordragon died with him. Now... go! Leave this place! And never return!!

    • Then he gets an epic monument in the middle of Dalaran. Clicking it plays you the Fall of the Lich King video. Facepalm.
      • Well, to be fair they're probably just remembering him as he was when he was alive, not...well...
      • First, the monument is to Tirion Fordring and "those who gave their lives in the war." Bolvar is still assumed to be dead. Second, only the player characters and Tirion know what really happened. Most NPCs who see the monument will only notice a sign. So, it's kind of justified.
    • Hell, one Youtube commenter summed up Arthas's death best:

  What was the point? We didn't gain anything. He gave everything as both Arthas and the Lich King to both kingdoms and lost everything just the same. We didn't bring anyone he killed back, nor justified any that survived. We didn't beat an enemy or conquer a tyrant: We lost a hero. Twice. There was no victory here.

  • The Horde quest in Durotar where an Orc woman asks you to find her son, who is apparently out hunting Crocolisks after the two argue over whether or not its safe. After cutting open a gator in the river, you find something of his in its belly. It's sad watching her reaction to the news. She then gives you a blanket (or cape) that she had just finished for her son. (In a bit of good judgment on Blizzard's part, they never reveal exactly how old her son was.)
    • This quest received a continuation in Cataclysm, in which you gather crocolisk teeth to create a memorial necklace for her son.
  • One of the new quests for Cataclysm has you watching in a vision Edward VanCleef get killed by a 5-man group of various Alliance characters. Once the group leaves, a little girl comes out and stops over his body. The only thing you catch before the vision ends is her muttering the word "...Daddy?". If you completed the Deadmines before Cataclysm as Alliance, then this a rather big Player Punch, because it is YOUR FAULT!
    • It doesn't help that the 'quest item' you brought in to get your reward was his head. Yes, she does include his decapitation in her later rant.
      • Continuing in Cataclysm Westfall: You report the existence of the girl to Stoutmantle, and you're ready to take action, but then all the allied NPCs are instantaneously sapped. Right after that, Vanessa Van Cleef reveals herself and orders her men to burn down the newly refurbished Sentinel Hill. All you can do at this point is flee to Stormwind and inform King Varian of these events. The clincher comes when you return. Upon landing the sky is dark and red and all of Sentinel Hill is in flames, with the guards doing their best to fend off the New Defias Brotherhood, while Stoutmantle just looks on in rage and sorrow.

   Stoutmantle: Five years of work burned to the ground in five minutes. Damn the Defias!

      • When confronted about killing the Furlbrows and Ol' Blanchy in Westfall:

   Vanessa Van Cleef: I had no choice, lieutenant. They recognized me. The only people in the world who even knew I existed, recognized my face from when I was an infant. I took no pleasure in their deaths.

  • The tauren in Cataclysm in general. Upon starting a new tauren character, you find out that Cairne is dead, and the Grimtotem, quilboar, and several other enemy forces are closing in on Mulgore. Once you take control of your character, you discover that Greatmother Hawkwind (the nice old lady who used to welcome new tauren players into the world) was murdered by the quilboar, and you later attend her funeral service. If all that isn't bad enough, the Alliance has raided and destroyed Camp Taurajo in the Barrens, leaving what few survivors there were utterly traumatized. Even the music seems to suggest the tauren are fighting a losing battle.
    • World of Warcraft is the last game I expected to make me tear up but being sent to perform funerary rites for the tauren who didn't make it out of Camp Taurajo (and mirroring the ruins of Auberdine, one of them who didn't make it out was the tauren Flight Master) while surrounding looters picked the bones of the charred remains did it for me. And on that quest, when you use the funerary totem to honor the fallen NPCs, it shows you their last moments before they died (The leatherworker trainer fades happily into the Earthmother's embrace; the skinning trainer warned everyone to run, and wondered if they all escaped as he died fighting Alliance soldiers while all he had was a skinning knife; the tailor supplier wonders why Alliance are attacking Taurajo, while pleading the others to take the children and run; and the Flight Master heroically stayed behind with his wyverns to stall for time so the others could escape...) Heedless of the quest tracker informing me I had killed enough to complete the quest, I slaughtered every last one of the looters milling about the razed camp.
  • This comic, that is all.
  • In amongst all the mass murder, torture and other metaphorical dog-raping, the opening quest chain for Death Knights in World of Warcraft has one desperately sad moment: your character is sent into a nearby jail to execute the prisoner of the same race as them. The prisoner recognises you ("I'd know that face anywhere... What have they done to you, <name>?") and begs you to remember the hero you once were before you strike them down. * sniff*
    • The Night Elf version of this quest is particularly adept at playing your heartstrings. The NPC you're supposed to kill actually took care of your character while they were still an infant. They even say that your character was their "little angel".
    • The Wrathgate cutscene. Wow... It goes from a Crowning Moment of Awesome to this. Highlord Bolvar Fordragon marches out, charges into the swarm of undead headfirst, and fights them off. Then come the vrykul, half-giant humanoids of Northrend who seem to be unstoppable. At the last minute, however, Saurfang the Younger himself rides down and one-shots three vrykul after having witty banter with Fordragon. Pretty awesome, right? Oh, wait, I forgot about the part when Grand Apothecary Putress unleashes the Forsaken Blight on the Scourge... and Alliance... and Horde. Fordragon's last view is of red dragons coming to burn the bodies. This troper isn't afraid to admit he cried the first few times, even during Saurfang's awesome speech.
    • The end of the instance Escape From Durnholde has one when the bronze dragon tells you how history is back on it's normal path, and how Thrall will now fulfill his destiny to become Warchief, then turns to Taretha's (Thrall's foster sister) fate: "As for Taretha...her fate is regrettably unavoidable." She's killed by the Lord of Durnholde as revenge for helping Thrall escape.
    • The Shady Rest Inn quest chain is especially a Tear Jerker. You find out that not only was the Shady Rest Inn destroyed, but the child and the wife of the innkeeper was killed during the burning; while, the innkeeper escaped, but became mentally unstable because of it. Luckily, you find out who did it, The Grimtotem Tauren, and get much needed revenge.
      • It becomes a real Tear Jerker during the final quest in the chain, Peace at Last, where you go place a wreath at the grave of the mother and child. Watching that little exchange, almost made this troper cry. You can read the script here. Especially, the kid saying "Mommy, when will we see Daddy again?"
    • The quest line for Rewriting The Battle of Darrowshire. It starts when you encounter the ghost of a little girl, Pamela Redpath, who asks you to find her dolly for her. As the quest progresses, she starts to ask about her daddy, she misses him so much. You start to find living relatives throughout the world who fill you in on her story, and that of her father, Joseph. Joseph Redpath was one of the last defenders of Darrowshire against the Scourge. He succumbed and was corrupted by the Scourge, then proceeded to murder the other defenders, leaving him forever known as the traitor of the Battle of Darrowshire. After a number of other quests, and the help of the Bronze Dragonflight, you are able to relive the Battle for Darrowshire and have the opportunity to defend the town with Joseph and the other defenders. Joseph is still defeated and corrupted, but because of your presence, you are able to redeem him; you are told that, while you could not save him, history has been changed to remember him as the fallen hero of Darrowshire. At the end of the quest, the ghosts of Joseph and Pamela are reunited, and embrace, and Pamela tells you that she is so happy to see her daddy again.
      • Even without having played through the quest, this fan-made video will make you tear up. If you have played through the quest you will bawl like a baby.
    • Tirion Fordring's questline in Western Plaguelands. It starts as you just helping some crazy old ex-paladin gather food. Then he tells you about why he's an ex-paladin. And then when you finally succeed in bringing together everything needed to turn his son away from the dark path of the Scarlet Crusade, you're treated to an epic march out of Crusade territory with an elite mob escorting you as he beats the hell out of his former Crusade-mates. Unfortunately, this whole moment of badass is cut short When the Crusade's big guns show up, and ONESHOT him before Tirion can reach him. Cue Tirion arriving, beating the hell out of every scarlet in the area and then breaking into a massive BSOD over the death of his beloved son. The fact the whole quest is named "In Dreams", referencing the Orbison song about havin gwhat you really want only coming in your dreams in reference to the fact he'll never see his son again just makes it that much more of a totally depressing scene. Try not to cry as you realize after all Tirion's work to save his baby boy, all he got was the death of his beloved son.. On the upshot this does set up his character development as the new leader of a reformed Silver Hand who becomes very important in Northrend..but still
      • Then there's the quest "Of Love and Family" in Stratholme's Main Gate instance, which tasks you with finding the painting that has that title, which is said to be of great importance to Tirion. It turns out to be of Tirion's own family, which is quite sad when you consider how things turned out.

 "The picture brings a smile to your face."

    • The following line hits hard when you take the rest of the scene into account: King Varian Wrynn: Stand down, Muradin. Let a grieving father pass.
    • "The Mosswalker Savior" takes place near the end of a chain of mostly light-hearted quests involving two feuding tribes of creatures in Northrend. You are sent to a remote village to chastise members of one of the tribes for not coming to worship at the shrine, when you see the village burning in ruins at the hands of the Scourge, as the tribespeople are being hacked apart, dragged half-alive by chains, and being lit on fire. Your job is to save them. Most of them are already too far gone, and say things like "We not do anything... to them... I no understand," and "I do something bad? I sorry..." before dying. As you come to the realization that the Mosswalkers are a mostly peaceful people who had no idea what the Scourge even was, you can do little but watch them die in ruins and hope that there are a few left alive enough to save. Your companion grimly explains, "It's a small comfort to see that they haven't brought any back in undeath."
    • There is a Tauren character in Bloodhoof Village in Mulgore named Ahab Wheathoof who asks you to find his dog. Cue tearjerk, as Ahab Wheathoof was designed and voiced by Ezra 'Ephoenix' Chatterton, a 10 year old boy with a brain tumor (whose story is pretty tearjerkery itself.) Ezra died a little while after the visit to Blizzard studios. Further tearjerker, as in December of 2009, Blizzard began to sell non-combat in-game pets, and for one of their first - a Pandaren Monk - they donated half the money they received to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. $1.1 million was donated through this.
      • Every year, when the Lunar Festival comes around, there is an event called "To Honor One's Elders" which involves visiting spirits scattered throughout the lands to gain tokens from them. Last year, Blizzard changed the name of the Elder in Thunder Bluff to Ezra Wheathoof. Next to him is a phoenix pet. Ezra's character's name on World of Warcaft had been "Ephoenix". Dangit, Blizz... where's my tissues.... * sniff*
    • In the Barrens, there is the Shrine of the Fallen Warrior, dedicated to Michael Koiter - one of the two artists who made up 'Twincruiser' - who died during the World of Warcraft production.
      • The same artist gets another in Starcraft II: the penultimate cutscene, when Raynor returns to the war-ravaged front lines to give his final Rousing Speech, he takes "M. Koiter"'s dogtags from a dead Marine. At the end of the speech he holds them high, asking his soldiers to fight on - "because some things are worth fighting for".
  • Many of the quests in post-Cataclysm Darkshore are pretty depressing (particularly if you leveled in the area before the Cataclysm), but the Last Wave of Survivors questline takes the cake. You have to wander down the beach to find survivors from Auberdine...and you find the bodies of several familiar NPCs. You can interact with them, and often, it turns out they were *just* dying. And two of the survivors you do rescue don't survive for long.
    • The only one who survives is Cerellean Whiteclaw, poor guy can't seem to catch a break. What he says during his quest:
      • "I somehow avoided being inflicted with the same toxin that the other survivors now endure. I cannot help but be envious of them to a degree though... living an eternity alone seems not worth living at all. I miss you so much, Anaya." Damn...
    • One of the worst of these may be the flightmaster, who, because of Auberdine's (now former) position as a critical route from Kalimdor directly to Stormwind, you've definitely spoken to, and her hippogryphs, which you've definitely ridden.
    • Then there's Volcor and Grimclaw, a hunter and his pet bear, whom you probably helped reunite in old Darkshore when Volcor got kidnapped. You rescue Volcor, but Grimclaw is nowhere to be found. You go on a quest chain to find Grimclaw, who has been injured but is being helped by a Keeper of the Grove. While you're off doing a favor for the Keeper, Grimclaw, fully recovered, runs straight for Lor'danel to see Volcor... who died from his injuries while you were away. But they at least got to say goodbye to each other, and later on your find out that Grimclaw has taken to a night elf widower (whom you also helped before Cataclysm), and is now his pet.
  • Some of the statuses of the playable races seem to be partially in ruins. The tauren and human conditions were mentioned above and the gnomes and trolls have actually gotten better off, but the night elf condition can be a little bad. The nature-loving (and preserving) night elves are now at odds with the goblins, who seem to exist solely to destroy nature. Their lands of Ashenvale and Azshara are getting destroyed by the Horde and they've been reduced to "shit to kill" for goblin quests in the latter. Playing on the Horde and essentially kicking them out of their own land for money can make you feel like a bit of a bastard. However, before you're willing to say the goblins are evil for this, a goblin quest in Felwood mentions that if they don't do this work, the Horde may kick them out on their ass and implies that this happening would pretty much ruin Goblin society. So sacrifice goblin society for night elf society or vice versa? Also the dwarves have lost their leader, and since the heir is only a baby, a council is formed. While the alliance of the Dark Irons to the other dwarf factions is tentative at best, there are villainous Dark Irons, still aligned with the Twilight Hammer, specifically trying to make this worse and pry the leadership of the Dark Irons from said baby. His mother doesn't even seem sad, as much as she does exhausted with this.
  • One wouldn't particularly feel bad for Winna Hazzard in Felwood before the Cataclysm. But then she went insane with her slime experiments, unintentionally corrupted all but one of the inhabitants of Bloodvenom Post into slime creatures, and is an endless fount of the slime. Of course death is the only quick fix, but how do you do it? Kill her after snapping her out of her state by showing her the I.D. tag that belonged to the fully-grown mutated kitten of hers that you killed.

  Winna Hazzard: ...Kitty? Kitty! KITTY! I'M SO SORRY! Please come back! Don't leave me all alone!

  • You probably don't feel sorry for the murlocs in Blasted Lands. You've probably been gang-murdered by them plenty of times before reaching this place. But then you'll reach the newly opened coast to find that they've all been enslaved by the naga. Even then you'll probably be a little apathetic about their plight. And then you'll notice that a lot of the enslaved murlocs are just babies. And there are three or four baby murlocs carrying one box.
    • What makes it worse is that despite killing said naga, defiling their idols, and basically ripping them apart left and right...you can't save the murlocs. The line of doomed, marching murlocs keeps going on, and on, and on....
      • Want it worse? If you wander around the cave the nagas have in the zone, you can see three baby murlocs left abandoned over a box, scared and left to die. You cannot see a yellow exclamation, but from the box you can get the quest of drag the box closer to the sea... or left the triplet where you found them if you feel like a bastard. Its no easy task, because you have to drag the box walking, and every time a naga see you a fights, you lose control of the box (warning, some players can make use of this situation to steal your box and taking the reward for them), so its kinda difficult. When you reach the water, the box begins slowly to float and moving to deep sea. Your quest watcher automatically opens for the reward page and says that you wish them to survive as they are all hope for surviving that is left for the Rockpool murloc.
  • The trolls now get one of these from the beginning. Through out the starting zone quests, you are joined by a troll named Zuni, however during the fight against Zar'Jira, he is killed while trying to stamp out the braziers that fuel her power. To add insult to injury, after the battle it turns out that he can't be healed because his soul was ripped out
  • The quest chain started by "Welcome to the Machine" is rather fun for awhile due to it's nature. You escort an aptly named Rogue called Dumass out of a mine, and assist a vain Blood Elf named Johnny Awesome in avenging his fallen steed. Then you get to the level 80 Player Versus Environment orc, Kingslayer Orkus. His quest chain involves running through a gauntlet of dwarves and humans to get your hands on some Alliance plans. In order to get you out safely, he orders his Frost Wrym Kasha to fly you to safety while he holds off the guards. Kasha loops back to get him out of there ...only for him to die mid-flight, asking you to keep his trusted mount and friend safe. Both you and Orkus are named heroes of the Horde soon after Kasha lands.
  • The end of the badlands quest chain especially the text for the final quest reward.
    • "Please take care of him for me."
  • One that gets me is the culling of stratholme. Its not the purging that gets me (Ive always been one to argue for the necessity of that particular move, but thought Arthas ws an idiot in how he handled it) but what you can see before Arthas starts moving. Many tragic figures from the plaguelands are there, all just living their lives normally, most notably the redpath family, and knowing what they go through, its kind of depresing to talk to them and have them respond so normally
  • One word: Runty

 Almost Ferocious: He's trying his best.

  • "Trident of the Son" reminds you that the Murlocs are sentient in an effecive way.

 <Reaching out to take his son's trident from you, Old Icefin's hand shakes a little. Could it be that the aged murloc is grieving?>

  • At the end of the Badlands quest chains, you help purify a black dragon egg. When the egg hatches, it will be the first uncorrupted black dragon in ten thousand years, and so it's heavily hinted that the whelp that hatches will become the next Aspect of Earth to save and redeem what's left of the Black Dragonflight. This is desperately needed, considering the quest "The Last of Her Kind" in the Twilight Highlands has you kill one of the last female black dragons in existence. Obsidia targeted deliberately because she's a breeding female, meaning the player is essentially helping the red dragons commit genocide; another tearjerker in its own right for that very reason. However, even after Obsidia's death there was one female left alive, and speculation went that this female would become a broodmother after Deathwing's defeat to help rebuild the Flight. In 4.3, however, the egg hatches into Wrathion... who, even though he's pure and free of Old God corruption, reveals himself to be just as nasty as every other black dragon, and uses Rogue players to kill off the last of his corrupted brothers and sisters, including Nalice, the last adult female black dragon. Unless the female whelps and drakes survive to adulthood, Wrathion, the child who was supposed to become Black Aspect and save his Flight, just doomed them all to extinction. I cried buckets.
    • There is still a chance for a silver lining. Wrathion states that to his knowledge, he is the last black dragon in Azeroth. Yet there are still the Black Dragons residing in the Blade's Edge Mountains, including Lord Sablemane, aka Sabellian. Whether Wrathion discovers this and plans to kill them all afterwards or not is all based entirely on him.
    • It's also arguable whether or not the Black Dragonflight could even be saved at that point. Wrathion's assassination missions aren't exactly selfish ventures on his part: the dragons he sends you to kill are malicious and actively engaged in doing bad things. Wrathion (possibly Sabellian also) is pretty much the only black dragon who isn't like this. That includes all of the females, who I doubt would have anything to do with him. It's entirely possible that the only feasible way to have more uncorrupted black dragons (and thus sustain the flight) would be to purify eggs like Rheastrasza did, which still isn't necessarily impossible since there are probably still some surviving black dragon eggs in Twilight Highlands or elsewhere.
  • D.E.H.T.A's questline in Northerend is capable of wringing tears by having you to free elephant babies from painful traps and prevent poachers from killing baby deer, but Blizzard really manages to shake those players who have been paying attention to the in-game lore with one of the final quests. The druids will send you on a quest to murder Harold Lane who oversees the hunter's camp. Many of the players don't probably remember him by the time you receive the quest, but he's one of the hunters you hunt with in Nagrand, namely the wounded man who is delirious from infection, his condition growing worse with every quest, and prior of coming to Northerend, the player is left without knowledge whether he will pull through or die due to his injuries. Think about it; He survives dreadful wounds and a painful infection, just to be murdered by the same player who was there to help him and sit through his fever-induced delirium, just because a group of fanatic, self-righteous druids said so. I felt so disgusted and sad after the quest. It does show, and rather jarringly, I might add, that D.E.H.T.A is no better than the hunters.
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