Yet despite the pains of leveling up in the area, despite the soul-crushing annoyance of Deep Ocean, Vast Sea and other quests, I was sort of attached to these NPCs that were sending me on all these wretched missions. And when I played through Darkshore in Cataclysm and saw so many of those old faces dying or gone, it was almost heartbreaking in a way. Which I'm sure is exactly as intended, but there's a part of me that wistfully wishes I could see those old faces again.
I think the NPC I miss the most is Mr. Smite from The Deadmines, pictured above. I mentioned it briefly in Know Your Lore, too. The Deadmines was the first instance I ever ran, and the moment I blew open the doors and first set eyes on a pirate ship in the middle of a mountain was one I really won't ever forget. Part of that moment was Smite's bellow of alarm and the subsequent rush of pirates. Plus Smite's encounter, in which he Warstomped and stunned players long enough to go dig up a bigger, better weapon for smushing, was one of the more memorable encounters from the vanilla instances.
Is this something you've thought about? Are there any NPCs you were particularly attached to? In an expansion where so many are long gone and will never been seen again, which NPCs do you miss the most?