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WoW Dragonflight alpha adds notorious Hearthstone villain

Fans playing the WoW Dragonflight alpha noticed the arrival of a popular Hearthstone villain in the MMORPG, causing speculation about Rafaam and Galakrond

WoW Dragonflight alpha: Arch-Thief Rafaam from Hearthstone, a mysterious ethereal wrapped in bandages with glowing red eyes

It seems that one of the most notorious Hearthstone villains is making their way into World of Warcraft, courtesy of an appearance in the WoW Dragonflight alpha. While Hearthstone is based on the MMORPG’s world, characters, and lore, it has introduced its own original heroes and villains over the course of its many expansions. Now, one of the card game’s most popular antagonists, Rafaam, has seemingly taken it upon himself to leap across to the MMO.

Rafaam has reared his shadowy head in WoW Dragonflight alpha build 44649, Wowhead reports. The ethereal archaeologist first appeared in Hearthstone’s 2015 League of Explorers adventure, where he is revealed to be the force behind the Staff of Origination artifact that the titular explorers are in search of.

After the staff is reconstructed over the course of the adventure, a curse placed upon it by Arch-Thief Rafaam allows him to break into the Hall of Explorers and attack the League, utilising the power of the staff to his advantage in the adventure’s climactic boss fight.

Following his defeat, Rafaam disappeared for several years. However, he would return in the 2019 expansion Rise of Shadows, where he was rebranded as Arch-Villain Rafaam and brought together a League of E.V.I.L. – who then served as the antagonists for the entirety of that year, over the course of the Saviors of Uldum and Descent of Dragons expansions.

The actions of the League of E.V.I.L. – which included capturing the entire city of Dalaran and obtaining a force known as the Plague of Undeath – ended up being in service of a master plan to resurrect the mighty dragon Galakrond, who is described in World of Warcraft’s lore as the “progenitor of dragonkind.”

WoW Dawn of the Aspects cover art by Glenn Rane - a giant dragon, Galakrond, faces off against several smaller dragons

Galakrond has already been heavily speculated about as a possible major antagonist for the upcoming WoW Dragonflight expansions. As detailed in the Warcraft book series Dawn of the Aspects, the gargantuan proto-dragon was killed by the five dragons known as the Aspects after he began to devour his fellow dragons and then bring them back to life as his undead thralls.

It makes sense, then, that a returning Galakrond would be a primary candidate for an expansion centred on a return to the mythical Dragon Isles. Rafaam’s sudden appearance lends even further credence to that theory. However, the League of Explorers themselves did appear previously in WoW as an easter egg on Mechagon Island, so it’s also possible that Rafaam’s appearance could just be a cheeky nod rather than anything substantial.

Meanwhile, fans are digging through the latest alpha build to uncover more WoW Dragonflight class abilities. Elsewhere in World of Warcraft news, the Wrath of the Lich King Classic release date appears to have been accidentally leaked on Blizzard’s site.

World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects cover image credit – Glenn Rane and Blizzard Entertainment