So earlier today I finally decided to leave the confines of Hellfire Peninsula (I haven't even come close to finishing all the quests there-- Outland is just plain packed with things to collect and kill) and check out the rest of the continent for myself. I did a quick loop around Zangarmarsh and then headed for my favorite zone so far, Nagrand, to see the PVP town of Halaa, and then, on my way back to Terokkar Forest and Shattrath, I noticed a familiar looking camp on the side of the road. I pulled up, shocked, and sure enough, it was my old friend Hemet Nesingwary! The master hunter (and quest giver) actually recognized me when I talked to him from our time together back in STV (apparently he's left his son in charge back there), and said he'd come through the portal and leveled up to 70 in the blink of an eye, just to see how the hunting is here in Outland.
Likewise, while I haven't seen him yet, I hear Rexxar, the questgiver in the Horde Onyxia quest chain who used to be in Desolace, now resides at a settlement in Blade's Edge Mountains. Maybe I just don't know how much WoW has affected me, but seeing Hemet in Nagrand was like seeing an old friend, and I know when I see Rexxar I'll have to give him a /nod or even a /wave as well.
And the self-referential stuff goes back even farther than WoW's Azeroth-- the Unyielding Vengeful Knights and Footmen in the Expedition Armory in Hellfire Peninsula are right out of Warcraft II, and the first time I went to Shattrath to do the little tour quest, I was too agog at the scenery to realize the questgiver I was clicking through was none other than Khadgar-- THE Khadgar! As in, the one standing with the rest of the statues in Stormwind!
I love Blizzard's references to pop culture and the real world. And yes, it's nerdy, but I think that I love their self-referential lore stuff even more-- it's awesome to see the story of these characters play out before our eyes. Seen any other familiar faces in Outland yet?