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In many places related to StarCraft and World of Warcraft there is a number "54". Is it really just a part of the decoration, or it has a special, secret meaning?

Hilt of a sword with 54 on the end

A blown up image of part of a Command Center (Orbital Command)](http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Orbital_command)

A cropped Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty screenshot

A Bunker

Recoilless Rocket Ripper X-54

Below are a few links, mostly to discussions on the forums:

What does this number mean under my portrait?
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/2065790412

Factory 54
http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/2123514125

54
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/375108203

Bunker 54
http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Bunker_54

UPDATE: modified the question to address Blizzard games in general

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People in that thread have guessed it's a reference to Blizzard's art team, which apparently calls itself "55", Though, I don't know if that's true, and even if it is, I don't see why they would use "54" instead of just "55" –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Mar 7 '12 at 4:59
    
Interesting mystery... –  Ben Brocka Mar 9 '12 at 0:21
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Note that it appears in other Blizzard games as well, for example the Recoilless Rocket Ripper X-54 in World of Warcraft. –  hammar Mar 9 '12 at 4:18
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Also, -1 for your use of machine-aided red circle drawing. –  fredley Mar 9 '12 at 14:08
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@ClarityForce Get up to speed on correct circle practices and avoid this in future! –  fredley Mar 9 '12 at 14:12

4 Answers 4

up vote 27 down vote accepted
+500

One of the StarCraft art teams is referred to as "Team 54"

Source:

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What time index on that video does he say "Team 54"? –  Resorath Apr 2 '12 at 17:23
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@Resorath 0:18, the video starts right there. -.- –  Decency Apr 3 '12 at 0:07
    
Note that he states it as "Team Five Four", not "Team Fifty Four". –  C. Ross Aug 10 '13 at 15:32

The rationale for inserting the number "54" on various Starcraft and Warcraft art assets has not been officially revealed by Blizzard. Historically, the company has been fond of using vague references, symbology, or spoofs to draw various reactions from its ever-excitable fanbase.

As linked in other answers, many fans have conjured up suspect or relatively feasible explanations, but Blizzard tends to neither confirm nor deny these possibilities. The instances of "54" are likely yet another example of this odd habit of Blizzard, and will likely never be fully explained. Unfortunately, this makes your request for an answer to pull from "credible and/or official sources" impossible.

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Well judging for this, I belive you have the best answer =X +1 –  Michel Mar 9 '12 at 12:14
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An interesting insight, but not really a canonical answer. –  fredley Mar 9 '12 at 14:07
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This correlates with Bungie Studio's obsession with the number seven...there's probably a reason, but I'm willing to bet most of the Blizzard employees themselves barely know or remember and do it as a running joke at this point. –  Ketura Mar 10 '12 at 19:57
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I'm sure it has to do with the chat gem. Press it 54 times to unlock the secret gem level. –  Phong Mar 12 '12 at 18:53

According to Wikipedia, 54 means "Six by nine, the incorrect Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything". Which is a phrase from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

That answer appears to receive acceptance on Starcraft forums:
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/375108203?page=3 and Wowhead community:
http://www.wowhead.com/item=32943#comments

It's still just a speculation but it's rather highly probable to be the correct answer.

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Just a sidenote, quoting Wikipedia: Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) was asked many times why he chose the number 42. He gave an answer on alt.fan.douglas-adams: It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story. –  user12002 Mar 9 '12 at 13:41
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While it is an entertaining explanation (Hitchhiker's Guide = awesome), if you click through the links posted, you'll notice the "acceptance" being received is dubious at best. In the battle.net link, the user "Sixen" (an MVP on the forums) is clearly goading the other users into submitting and believing their own questionable guesses. On the Wowhead link, the submitted answer is only being supported by other uninformed users. –  johnjon Mar 13 '12 at 21:01
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From the looks of it, I would say "highly improbable," not "highly probable." –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Mar 16 '12 at 16:19

A good idea for answer from: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/375108203?page=4

The purpose of the number 54 under portraits is simple. It is to inspire curiosity.

A new player coming to the game will see this number and, over time, grow curious. They will wonder what this number means, what it signifies, how it relates to them and what advantage it might give them in the game. They will scour the user guide, the forums, and the internets in search of answers. In so doing, they will gain more knowledge of the game. Eventually they will cease searching for the "meaning of 54", but only after they have exhausted all fonts of information about Starcraft 2. At this point they will be heavily invested in the game and, in addition to being better players, will play it longer.

The number itself may or may not have some inner meaning to the employees who placed it there, but it will never have meaning for us. It is a symbol of the search for enlightenment, and a prod to those who would not seek such on their own.

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He used this link as reference. I belive that he already saw this post from Josiwe Page 2 09-09-2010. But i agree, is a good posibility. I liked the: OK, so according to D. Adams "42" was the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question, "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?". 6x9 is "54" in base-10, but it's "42" in base-13 (4x13+2 = 54). So is "54" the 'right' answer (i.e., the base-10 version)? Or is "54" also in base-13, meaning the actual decimal value is 5x13+4... which is (wait for it) ..."69"? in the same post Page 2 by Ardaglash –  Michel Mar 9 '12 at 4:15
    
Thanks for pointing that out! I did some research and it appears to be correct / highly probable! –  user12002 Mar 9 '12 at 14:00

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