One of World of Warcraft’s most powerful and well-known couples just broke new ground for Blizzard’s flagship title, as a recently added in-game cutscene depicts the first on-screen kiss in the nearly two-decade history of the MMORPG.
Blizzard is currently wrapping up the story of the game’s current Dragonflight expansion ahead of The War Within’s release later this year. In addition to adding major new features like NPC follower dungeons and dragonriding across all of Azeroth, the game’s most recent update, Seeds of Renewal, also serves as an epilogue to Dragonflight’s story: wrapping up various loose ends, highlighting a few key character moments, and teasing the story to come in the months and years ahead.
It’s the short epilogue quest centered on the Night Elves as part of Seeds of Renewal that features the kiss 20 years in the making. The Night Elves have been through a lot in the past half decade, with Dragonflight finally bringing the storyline of the the Night Elves losing their home to a fitting conclusion, as they build a new settlement for their people, Bel’ameth, among the roots of the recently sprouted World Tree, Amirdrassil. As Night Elf leader Tyrande Whisperwind and her adopted daughter Shandris Feathermoon reflect on their new home and the future of their people, a fan-favorite character makes his grand return.
That character is, of course, none other than Tyrande’s husband, the archdruid Malfurion Stormrage. He sacrificed himself in order to take the place of the green dragon Ysera in the afterlife of the Shadowlands earlier in Dragonflight’s story, and makes a surprise return now that Ysera is no longer needed in Azeroth following the defeat of the Primalists and their efforts to destroy Amirdrassil.
In a cutscene far more emotionally charged than is typical for in-game WoW cinematics, Tyrande sprints towards her returned lover and is swept up in his arms, as they share a passionate kiss. They soon open their arms to Shandris, and the three characters, who have endured tragedy after tragedy in recent years, tightly embrace.
Tyrande and Malfurion have long been Azeroth’s definitive power-couple. He is the most powerful druid in all of Azeroth, while she’s the high priestess of the Night Elf goddess Elune and longtime leader of the Night Elf people. In more recent times they’ve led the Night Elves together, but as shown as part of Seeds of Renewal, they have now passed on the mantle of leadership to Shandris, seeking instead to spend some well-earned alone time together in Bel’ameth for the time being.
It’s fitting then that they would be the two characters to share WoW’s first on-screen kiss, but upon closer examination, there weren’t many other contenders. Sylvanas and her loyal follower Nathanos Blightcaller certainly seemed to have a deeper relationship in recent years, but Nathanos was killed by none other than Tyrande following the Burning of Teldrassil during the Battle for Azeroth expansion. The longtime leader of the Horde, Thrall, has been married for some time now, but Aggra is rarely seen in game and doesn’t play a major role in world events. Two other prominent Horde characters, the Blood Elf Lor’themar and the Nightborne Thalyssra, were recently married just prior to the events of Dragonflight (as told in the short story The Vow Eternal released in 2022), but their wedding happened off-screen.
That really only leaves Malfurion and Tyrande when it comes to making WoW history. Even if the competition for Azeroth’s best-couple was more than a little stacked in their favor, there’s no denying Malfurion and Tyrande don’t deserve the honor. Fans have been invested in their love story ever since their first introduction in 2002’s Warcraft 3, and Dragonflight’s Seeds of Renewal update finally delivered on their romance in a big way.
As for what’s next for WoW, Dragonflight will still receive several updates in the months ahead. Later this year, The War Within will introduce major new features like Warbands and Delves to the MMO, and mark the beginning of a trilogy of expansions Blizzard is calling The Worldsoul Saga.