Pokemon and World of Warcraft are two major video game franchises that have become iconic in their respective mediums.
The two franchises have been linked to each other in different ways – most recently Detective Pikachu surpassing Warcraft- based on the first game which came out years before World of Warcraft – as the highest grossing video game movie.
Before their rivalry at the box office, fans could find different instances of Pokemon references in Warcraft – I posted an article on it a few weeks back. However, I discovered another reference, one that’s close to my heart and relates to Pokemon trainer Ash Ketchum.
No, this does not have to do with my worgen hunter I mention awhile back. Trainers who play World of Warcraft may know of the Brawler’s Guild, an organization that promotes one-on-one fighting between combatants and creatures.
Players who earn wins in the Guild will rise through its ranks and face more challenging opponents. The fourth opponent heroes will encounter at rank one is a draenei named Ash’katzuum, a reference to our favorite trainer from Pallet Town.
This is not the first time a Pokemon character inspired a Warcraft NPC. Mootoo the Younger, a tauren who resides in the Borean Tundra, is a nod to Mewtwo.
Like any draenei, Ash’katzuum is a muscular blue-skinned humanoid. He wears simple leathers and carries a red mace. A red wide-brimmed hat obstructs his face, which might be a nod to Pokemon trainer Red – perhaps the developers mixed up the two characters.
Players who defeat the draenei in Random Brawl mode will receive a Claw-Marked Brawler’s Purse, which contains a blue item, The Very Best Shirt – a reference to the Pokemon Theme Song.
There are a couple of quotes that also reference Ash. The announcer notes that he is “obsessed with pet collection,” a nod to Ash’s desire to catch Pokemon.
Before the battle starts, Ash’katzuum yells “I want to be the very greatest” – an homage to the Pokemon theme song lyric “I want to be the very best.”
The reason I mentioned that this NPC is close to my heart is because my main player character in World of Warcraft was a draenei hunter and these blue folks are some of my favorite characters in the lore.
Unfortunately there is no real backstory for Ash’katzuum and players cannot encounter him outside of the Brawler’s Guild at the moment. This could change as Blizzard will sometimes move NPCs and give them a larger role in future expansions.
Players who decide to jump on World of Warcraft Classic will not encounter him as he was introduced in the game’s Legion expansion. However, that doesn’t mean players cannot make an Alliance or Horde hunter based on the Pokemon trainer and journey through Azeroth to collect pets, make new friends and battle enemies.