The Old Gods (aka Old Ones, Elder Gods, elder beings, dark elders, dread elders) were malevolent deities who ruled Azeroth in the ancient past before they and their Elemental Lieutenants were defeated by the Titans. Very few mortals know of the Old Gods, fewer still consider them anything more than a legend. The maligned Old Gods — colossal beings of elemental fury — once ruled the world and the savage elementals that dwelt upon it.
Little was known about the Old Gods and their mad worshipers; practically no one on Azeroth even knew the Old Gods existed, until C’Thun made its presence felt in Ahn’Qiraj. The Old Gods do possess worshipers, though, even from their prison below the earth. Most followers of the Old Gods are completely insane and wholly evil. The Old Gods are imprisoned or sleeping, but so great is their power that their unconscious but destructive, maddening auras seep out and influence some denizens of Azeroth. In some cases, evil but sane individuals turn deliberately to worship of the Old Gods out of spite when the individual feels other, more mainstream powers have mistreated them. Anarchists also sometimes turn to worship of the Old Gods out of a desire to destroy the world; some believe a new, better world will rise up in the wake of the destruction. In either case, these worshippers are deluded or misinformed, and any who do manage to make even the barest real contact with the Old Gods go hopelessly and irrevocably insane.
C’Thun and Yogg-Saron are the only Old Gods whose names are known. Yogg-Saron remains imprisoned beneath Northrend, but C'thun has been awakening for some time. C'thun recently woke completely and physically returned to Azeroth. He now lairs in the ruins of Ahn’Qiraj, and packs of brave heroes have already begun to form and venture into the ruins. Perhaps they can destroy the evil god before he emerges to devastate Azeroth.
Long ago, Azeroth was a primordial world filled with the hostile elemental servants of the Old Gods. When the Titans visited the world in their quest to bring order to the universe, they fought first against the Old Gods' lieutenants who were the elemental gods of Azeroth and the source of the elementals themselves, Ragnaros the Firelord, Therazane the Stonemother, Al'Akir the Windlord, and Neptulon the Tidehunter, then against the Old Gods themselves. Soon, the Titans defeated the Old Gods, then chained the raging beings beneath the earth where supposedly, they remain to this day. Then set about the long process of forming the lands and seas of Azeroth.
The Number of Old Gods
Depending on the source, three, four or five Old Gods lie imprisoned. Some of these sources seem to imply that these numbers were the limit to the number of Old Gods. The roleplaying game seems to imply there were more than five Old Gods, including those imprisoned or killed.
There are various sources as to the number of Old Gods imprisoned:
- The Warcraft III manual states that five Old Gods were chained beneath the world.
- The Pantheon shattered the Old Gods' citadels and chained the five evil gods far beneath the surface of the world. Source: History of AzerothWarcraft Lore FAQ 1 2
- According to the War of the Ancients Trilogy, there are three Old Gods still living, imprisoned and chained by the Titans deep beneath the surface of Azeroth.
- According to The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth, four Old Gods were imprisoned beneath the world. This could perhaps be reconciled with the War of the Ancients Trilogy if it were taken to include the fallen C'Thun in the count of the imprisoned Gods.
- They are characterized as the sleeping evil beneath the earth, whose telepathic whispers eventually become indistinguishable from one's own maddened thoughts.
- They corrupted the great benevolent Dragon Aspect Neltharion, to create for them the extremely powerful Demon Soul which they empowered as well, to have Sargeras use to unintentionally set them free. The Demon Soul was taken from Neltharion by Malfurion, then taken from him by Illidan and put in the Sargeras-summoning matrix, then taken back by Neltharion, who shortly thereafter was struck away by the Old Gods, who wished to have the summoning completed. Malfurion picked up the Demon Soul after Neltharion dropped it, and used it (in conjunction with Illidan) to prevent Sargeras' entry. It was then given to the dragons, stolen by Nekros ten-thousand years later, taken back by the dragons, and then destroyed.
- They corrupted some of the Highborne, and used them to lure the Burning Legion to Azeroth. Many of the Highborne were transformed into the naga. The Old Gods' intentions for the naga have not been revealed.
- They invaded Nozdormu's realm and managed to open a rift in time, that, as they had planned, tossed some beings back through time, beings that would change the way the war of the ancients took place, and give Sargeras a new chance to enter the world, and therefore give them a new chance to set themselves free. Their plans were although again crushed by the very same Malfurion Stormrage.
- Since the Old God, or minion in the Master's Glaive is completely and utterly destroyed in all forms, and also according to Malfurion Stormrage, one of the three is behind the Nightmare corrupting the Emerald Dream (see also Yogg-Saron).
- Still others assert that the ancient Sundering awakened something that dwelled in the deepest part of the ocean, something that will eventually burst forth in a tidal wave of destruction. This may be hinting at an imprisoned Old God, and seems to mirror descriptions made for rising of Cthulhu.
- Blackfathom Deeps in Ashenvale was once, long ago, a temple to Elune. The Great Sundering ruined the temple and left it submerged in water and buried under rock. Corruption from the Old Gods seeped up and tainted the sacred moonwell. One may be in the Blackfathom Deeps. Hints that old gods lie in or under the Blackfathom Deeps. Not to be confused Aku'mai who was only influenced by the powers of the Old Gods.
- There is an Old God responsible for the failed world tree, Vordrassil, also responsible for the corruption of the resurrected Ursoc. Developers speaking at BlizzCon 2007 stated that one of the Old Gods dwells within Azjol-Nerub in Northrend. It seems to be the Forgotten One faced by Arthas and Anub'arak. This old god is (according to newest info) Yogg-Saron.
Deceased Old Gods
Of the initial Old Gods, it is believed that some have been slain; their remains or the remains of their minions can be seen at the Master's Glaive in Darkshore. Some are believed to have been buried in the Valley of Bones.
The quest giver Onu makes a reference to the Master's Glaive holding the remains of an old lord and the RPG also mentions that it's believed to be an Old God. Brann Bronzebeard speculates that a Titan killed one of the Old Gods here, or at least one of their minions. Dark Factions goes as far to call it a forgotten one.
Confirmed Old Gods
C'Thun is one of the few Old Gods to be named so far, having received that name from his servants, the Qiraji. He was defeated in Silithus in a battle which also may have resulted in the defeat of a Titan. C'Thun was believed to have been permanently defeated, but reemerged as the driving force behind the Qiraji. He is trapped deep beneath the ruined temples of Ahn'Qiraj, where he has exerted his will for thousands of years over the Qiraji, who in turn command the Silithid.
C'Thun is the final boss in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj.
Described by the resurrected Ursoc as "the beast with a thousand maws", Yogg-Saron is only the second of the Old Gods to be explicitly named as such. Apparently Yogg-Saron dwells deep beneath the Grizzly Hills of Northrend, where the roots of the failed World Tree Vordrassil have penetrated his lair. Through these roots Yogg-Saron corrupted the tree, as well as the Grizzlemaw Furbolgs that moved into its shattered stump.
Slinkin the Demo-gnome, killed while investigating the Wintergarde Mine, discovered before his death that the Scourge are apparently at odds with Yogg-Saron. His last note indicates that the word "Yogg-Saron" is said with great contempt and is usually followed by loud outbursts. The Scourge are mining Saronite in the Wintergarde Mine to fuel their war machines, implying that it is a material derived from Yogg-Saron. This indicates that Yogg-Saron's underground lair might extend across the Dragonblight and the Gizzly Hills, if not beyond.
Old God minions and possible Old Gods
The dead forgotten one in the Master's Glaive is believed to be an Old God or at least one of their minions.
The forgotten ones are implied to be the spawn of the Old Gods. Though some believe they may be Old Gods. See Yogg-Saron, above.
Hakkar the Soulflayer
Hakkar the Soulflayer is believed to be an Old God, or at least linked to them. It is speculated that he is either an Old God himself or the son of an Old God. He may also be the power behind the Emerald Nightmare.
Ula-tek the Serpent Goddess
Ancient and powerful evil
The ancient and powerful evil is a creature resembling C'thun, who is being summoned by the arakkoa of Shadowmoon Valley. Perhaps another Old God.
Whispers of Old Gods
The Old Gods sometimes whisper mortals, ultimately drive them mad.
Neltharion, Malfurion, and Varo'then listened to the old whisperings of the old gods who tainted their thoughts when they had the Demon Soul on their hands. Eventually Netharion lost clarity of his mind, calling himself "Deathwing" and seeking to destroy all non-dragonic life. Malfurion has also stated that "Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings." Highborne queen Azshara is said to have heard call of Old God who promised to save the life of the highborne victims of Sundering, transforming them to serpentine nagas and accepted his offer. Later, the exiled Highborne landed in Tirisfal Glades after their exile, started going insane with whisperings.
Old gods relationship to Azeroth as well as Earthen
From the dialog with Brann Bronzebeard and the titan machines in Uldar, it is revealed that the Old Gods and Azeroth have a malignant symbiotic relationship. If the old gods die, so does the planet. And because of the imprisoning of the old gods, it is revealed that the earthen lost their stone skin because of the connection with the planet.
Wrath of the Lich King
In a blue post on the forums, it was stated that the Nerubians are "followers of the Old Gods in Northrend." This heavily implies that we will be seeing another Old God in Northrend — indeed, if we pay attention to the pluralization, more than one Old God. Or just that the nerubians followed more than one, while they were in Northrend.
A questline in the Grizzly Hills has you investigating the failed world tree that features in the zone, Vordrassil. Upon completion of the questline, the spirit of Ursoc is saved and speaks
I thank you all. The druids of old were wise to tear down Vordrassil, for its roots seep deep into the dwelling of an ancient evil. You know their kind as Old Gods. Beware Yogg-Saron, the beast with a thousand maws. His evil extends beyond Vordrassil's roots.
- Old Gods speculation
- The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth (part of the History of Warcraft)
- Elemental Lieutenants
More than five Old Gods
The RPG seems to imply that there may be more Old Gods than the five chained below Azeroth. The remains of one or more of these other Old Gods are found on the surface of the world. If so perhaps these other Old Gods are lesser ones.
- ^ The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.
- ^ The Founding of Quel'Thalas. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. The Sundering. ISBN 978-0-7434-2898-9.
- ^ WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Elder Bluff. Scrolls of Lore:
"As the children of the earth roamed the fields of dawn, they harkened to dark whispers from the deep beneath the world.".
- ^ Waking Legends, WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Malfurion:
"Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings.".
- ^ Yogg-Saron#Yogg-Saron_and_the_world_tree
- ^ Quest:Vanquish the Raven God