An NPC (Non-Player Character) is any character you encounter and interact with in World of Warcraft that is not controlled by other human players — they are generated and controlled by the game server. NPCs are either neutral or affiliated with a particular faction ( Alliance or Horde). You cannot attack NPCs of your faction and you must be "at war" (set in Reputation tab of your character sheet) with a neutral NPC's faction to attack them.
Typical examples of NPCs include flight masters, innkeepers, quest givers, vendors, trainers, and guards.
Neutral or Friendly NPCs may have a bag (, if a vendor) or talk bubble (, if you can talk to them) cursor when you mouse-over them. Some vendors require you to talk to them first.
- Pointers for buying or selling:
- in range to buy/sell out of range
- Pointers for talking:
- in range to talk out of range
- Other types of NPCs (flight masters, innkeepers, quest givers, trainers, etc.) may have different pointer icons when you mouse over them.
Hostile NPCs are sometimes categorized with other creatures or monsters (aka "mobs").
- Pointers for fighting:
- in range out of range
They can be contrasted with Player Characters (PCs, or sometimes just "Players") and creatures.
Sometimes, the term is used to include all types of game-controlled entities, even non-sentient always-hostile mobs, in order to create a catchall term for non-player-controlled units.