Old Gods

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Old Gods
Old Gods 2.jpg
The four Old Gods on Azeroth
(Clockwise from top left: C'Thun, N'Zoth, Yogg-Saron and Y'Shaarj)

Titanic prisons on Azeroth, numerous other worlds in the Great Dark

Primary language(s)
"They do not die; they do not live. They are outside the cycle."
Herald Volazj

The Old Gods (also known as Shath'Yar in their own language[1] and various other names) are a group of parasitic eldritch horrors who are physical manifestations of the Void. Created by the void lords in order to find and corrupt slumbering titan world-souls, the Old Gods are mountains of flesh who grow like cancers within the worlds of the Great Dark.[2]

Four Old Gods — Y'Shaarj, C'Thun, Yogg-Saron and N'Zoth — ruled the planet of Azeroth as lords of the Black Empire in the days before the titans arrived to shape and order it. The armies of the titan Pantheon shattered the Old Gods' citadels and killed Y'Shaarj, but in doing so, the titans realized that the Old Gods had embedded themselves too deep in the world's surface to remove without destroying Azeroth itself. Thus, they instead decided to imprison the Old Gods below the surface of the world and contain their evil forever.[3] C'Thun was sealed in the fortress city of Ahn'Qiraj,[4] N'Zoth was sealed in an underground prison in an unknown location some distance west of Uldaman,[3] and Yogg-Saron was imprisoned in the city of Ulduar.[5]

Though chained or dead, the Old Gods' influence still corrupts mortals, and even immortals, to this day. Along with the Burning Legion, they are one of the most powerful and reoccurring threats found in the Warcraft series of games and books, especially in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. While players are constantly fighting off the dealings and machinations of Azeroth's Old Gods, there are in fact more elsewhere in the cosmos, such as one that almost manifested on Outland.[6]


The Old Gods were created by the dark Void entities known as the void lords in order to corrupt a nascent titan world-soul and transform it into an unspeakably dark creature. Should the Old Gods succeed, this warped titan would consume all matter and energy in the universe, bringing all of existence under the void lords' will.[7]

However, the current primary goal of the Azerothian Old Gods is to escape their titanic prisons. Notable breakout attempts were an alliance of "the three" attempting to manipulate events during the War of the Ancients Trilogy[8] and the Hour of Twilight. However, the Old Gods have also been known to wage war against each other. For example, countless ages ago, Warlord Zon'ozz and his soldiers, servants of N'Zoth waged endless war against the forces of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron.[9] The Pantheon, united, only barely triumphed over the Old Gods, divided.[10]


Main article: C'Thun

C'Thun, the Old God of madness and chaos, was an Old God who created the qiraji, a race of insect-men, who along with the ancient mantid and nerubians served the Old Gods as mortal kingdoms of old.[11] After its imprisonment by the titans, C'Thun sent its children to conquer the world in the War of the Shifting Sands, though the qiraji were defeated by the combined forces of the night elves and the Dragon Aspects. Thousands of years later, in World of Warcraft, C'Thun reawakened, prepared to imprison any dragons who dared enter its lair, but while its gaze was fixed upon them, a group of mortals managed to breach its chamber and kill it against all odds.[12]


Main article: Yogg-Saron

Yogg-Saron, the Old God of death, was imprisoned under the titan city of Ulduar in Northrend. During the events of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, it managed to corrupt its guards in Ulduar and break through all but the last of its restraints.[13] During the course of the Ulduar raid, players freed each of these watchers, who combined their powers with those of the players in order to destroy the body of Yogg-Saron.


Main article: N'Zoth

N'Zoth is an Old God who is likely imprisoned beneath Azeroth's oceans,[14] and is responsible for the spark of the Emerald Nightmare corrupting the Emerald Dream.[15] Due to its oceanic nature, it is possible that it is the Old God which turned night elves into naga, and it likely makes several indirect appearances in the quest-chains of the Vashj'ir zone. In ages past, N'Zoth engaged in a long war with C'Thun and Yogg-Saron, with Warlord Zon'ozz leading N'Zoth's army.[16] During the events of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, N'Zoth was a driving force behind the actions of Deathwing.[17]


Main article: Y'Shaarj

Unlike the other Old Gods whose details have thus far been revealed, Y'Shaarj was slain and ripped out of Azeroth by the titans. However, with its dying breath, it cursed the land to be afflicted by the sha, one of the main enemies of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Although slain, Y'Shaarj's heart survived and was placed under guard beneath the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Ages later, Garrosh Hellscream unearthed Y'Shaarj's heart and managed to restore it using the magical pools of Pandaria. While the heart was able to corrupt beings and communicate, Y'Shaarj itself was not fully resurrected, though all Old Gods have demonstrated they need very little to be a large threat. Following the heart's excavation, the mantid, who had previously worshipped Y'Shaarj, flew to Garrosh's side, with the Klaxxi paragons now standing guard over the Old God's heart. After the heart's power was drained during the final confrontation with Garrosh at the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar, the last gasp of Y'Shaarj faded from existence.[18]

Other Old Gods

An unknown number of Old Gods were hurled into the Great Dark by the void lords,[7] and numerous other Old Gods are active in the worlds beyond Azeroth.[6]

  • Some of the more outlandish theories regarding the creation of the sentient dagger known as Xal'atath claim that the blade is all that remains of a forgotten Old God who was consumed by its kin in the early days of the Black Empire.[19]
  • One unnamed world had become irredeemably infested by the monstrous beings during the early ages of the universe. A conclave of demonic nathrezim came to dwell among the Old Gods upon the black world, basking in their dark power. When Sargeras, defender of the Pantheon, arrived, he ruthlessly interrogated the nathrezim about the nature of the Old Gods. Once he had learned the truth about their purpose, an enraged and horrified Sargeras killed the demons and cleaved the corrupted world in two, instantly killing its world-soul and the Old Gods infecting it. This event is what led Sargeras to abandon the Pantheon and eventually form the Burning Legion to scour the universe of all life in an attempt to prevent the void lords' plans from ever coming to fruition.[20]
  • In the Burning Crusade expansion, a group of arakkoa known as the Dark Conclave attempted to summon an ancient and powerful evil entity labeled as a "Summoned Old God" into Outland; this seemingly implies that it is one of many extra-terrestrial Old Gods.
    • A scroll in Veil Terokk mentions that Anzu would converse with "the gods of the abyss", and that he would find them "dull, witless creatures".
    • Harbinger Skyriss is known to yell "We span the universe, as countless as the stars!" A'dal states that Skyriss' Old God masters seek to conquer all worlds in the universe.[21]


According to legend, three Old Gods ruled over a bloody chaos that even the Lords of the Burning Legion could not imagine. They had ruled over the "primal plane" until the coming of the world's creators. After a war of cosmic proportions, the Old Gods had fallen and were cast down into eternal imprisonment. The place of their confinement was hidden from all and their powers were bound until the end of time.[8]


From the moment the universe came to be, dark spirits within the Void sought to twist reality into a realm of endless torment and chaos. These void lords, envious of the Pantheon's power, pooled their power and created the Old Gods to exert their influence over a titan in its most vulnerable state: before it had awakened. Not knowing which planets contained titan world-souls, the void lords then hurled their creations out through the Great Dark Beyond, hoping that some would smash into a nascent titan. The Old Gods began contaminating mortal worlds and everything else they touched in their blind search for a world-soul.[7]

The Black Empire

Map of the Black Empire.

Long ago, the world of Azeroth became threatened by a group of Old Gods. These entities of chaos and destruction wreaked havoc on the world.[15] Plummeting down from the Great Dark Beyond, C'Thun, Yogg-Saron, N'Zoth and Y'Shaarj slammed into Azeroth's surface, embedding themselves in various locations of the world. A miasma of despair soon enveloped everything that lay in their writhing shadows as they spread their corruptive influence across the land, all the while sending their tendrils down through the world's crust, towards the planet's defenseless world-soul. Two races, the n'raqi (or "faceless ones") and the aqir, arose from the organic matter that seeped from the Old Gods' massive bodies, becoming fanatically loyal servants that built great citadels and temple cities around the colossal forms of their masters. The greatest of these structures was built around Y'Shaarj, the most powerful of the Old Gods, and the holdings of the Old Ones would soon spread over Azeroth, eventually forming the Black Empire.[22] When they arrived, the Old Gods enslaved the elementals that had once raged freely on primordial Azeroth,[23] though not before a brutal war in which the four Elemental Lords, who had previously been bitter rivals of one another, banded together in an attempt to fight the Old Gods' fledgling empire. Though the elementals were mighty, they could not stand against the constant swarm of n'raqi and aqir. Without the native spirits of Azeroth to counter the Old Gods' influence, the borders of the Black Empire crept over much of the world. As perpetual twilight descended, the world spiraled into an abyss of death and suffering.[22]

Ragnaros, Neptulon, Al'Akir, and Therazane, having now been enslaved by the Old Ones, led their respective armies in an eternal conflict that ravaged the world to no end. Meanwhile, the n'raqi servants of the Old God N'Zoth raged war with the combined forces of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron.[9]

The Elemental Lords, lieutenants of the Old Gods, battling the titan-forged.

During their journey across the cosmos, the titans eventually made their way to Azeroth and encountered the elementals, who vowed to drive the Pantheon back in the name of their dark masters. Upon discovering the deep and insatiable hunger for destruction in the Old Gods and seeing them as immensely evil, the titans initiated a war with them.[24] Fearing that their enormous forms would severely harm or even kill Azeroth's world-soul — the most powerful one yet encountered by the Pantheon — the titans instead created mighty servants to do battle in their stead. Known as the titan-forged, these beings waged war against the elemental servants of the Old Gods, eventually managing to defeat them and seal them within the newly-created Elemental Plane.[25] Once the titan-forged started to make their way towards the bastion of Y'Shaarj, however, the titans feared that their servants would not be able to stand against the Old God's might. Thus, Aman'Thul, the Highfather himself, reached down through Azeroth's skies and heaved Y'Shaarj from the surface of the world. The Old God was instantly ripped apart, but in the wake of its death, the lifeblood of Azeroth's world-soul rushed to the surface in a great wound later known as the Well of Eternity. The Pantheon realized that the Old Gods had burrowed too deep to be excised from Azeroth without killing the nascent titan, and so they ordered their servants to instead imprison the vile gods, rather than killing them. The campaign of the titan-forged to contain the remaining three was long and brutal, but eventually they succeeded in containing the Old Ones below the surface of the world.[3]

Ordered Azeroth and the locations of the Old Gods' prisons.

C'Thun was bound within the great fortress of Ahn'Qiraj, located closely to the titan-forged stronghold of Uldum,[4] and N'Zoth was imprisoned in a similar way, though it is not known exactly where[3] (possibly deep below Azeroth's oceans).[14] Yogg-Saron was the last Old God to be imprisoned, even unleashing its enormous C'Thraxxi generals in an attempt to halt the advance of the titan-forged, but eventually it was bound beneath the titan city of Ulduar under the watch of six keepers.

Early imprisonment

Main article: Curse of Flesh
Ulduar, the titan city underneath which Yogg-Saron was imprisoned.

Due to the influence of Yogg-Saron and the other Old Gods, the earthen, one of the many races created by the titans, began to succumb to the Curse of Flesh. The same thing happened to the mechagnomes, tol'vir, mogu and vrykul, eventually resulting in their fleshy bodies, as opposed to their original stone composition or metal design. The vrykul, who had originally had iron skin, also began producing a smaller and weaker mutation of themselves. The Old Gods had presumably intended to subvert the titans' work from within, and to a great extent they succeeded; the titans were loath to unmake the world except as a last resort. Thus, many of the mortal races of Azeroth had their nature suspended between order and chaos, between their titanic birth and their Old God-originating corruption.

Main article: Dragon Aspects

Knowing that they would soon depart a world full of deep corruption, the titans took several measures to contain it as much as possible, including creating new armies of earthen to inhabit specific areas they had sealed off, and the Watcher Loken was made Prime Designate of Azeroth. Using the power of the gigantic, winged proto-drake known as Galakrond, they imbued the the five Dragon Aspects designed to watch over and protect the world in their absence.[26]

Nozdormu, the Bronze Aspect, was given power over time, charged with guarding the proper flow of history and policing the webs of fate and destiny. Alexstrasza the Life-Binder became the guardian of all life, an essential role left by the titans in the wake of Azeroth's corruption. Neltharion the Earth-Warder became the caretaker of the planet itself, guarding the deep places of the world and creating mountains and rivers to aid the mortal races. Ysera the Awakened was tasked with the protection of the Emerald Dream. Finally, Malygos the Spell-Weaver became the guardian of arcane magic, an extremely dangerous force if placed in the wrong hands.

Though the Aspects were usually vital allies of the mortal races, the titans made one fatal mistake: they gave one Aspect, Neltharion, power over the depths of the world, the very same depths in which they had imprisoned the Old Gods.

War of the Ancients

Main article: War of the Ancients

10,000 years ago Queen Azshara and her highborne wanted to open a portal for Sargeras powerful enough for him to manifest in his full glory. In turn, Alexstraza contacted each of her fellow aspects. It was one of the most respected of these dragons, the Black Dragonflight's leader Neltharion the Earth-Warder who proposed a plan should the worst truly be coming to pass. Alongside his old friend Malygos, Neltharion proposed that a simple golden disc, imbued with the power of each of the aspects in turn, could be created that would be so powerful that no force on Azeroth or indeed even from outside could possibly stand against it. Should all these strange portents really be true, dragonkind would be ready. Convinced by Neltharion's arguments, the other aspects agreed and the Dragon Soul was created.

Unknown by the other Aspects Neltharion had found himself intrigued by the whispers of the Old Gods pinned within the very earth he was assigned to watch over for an untold time. These entities knew full well who Sargeras was and what his appearance signified for Azeroth. Having worked over the course of thousands of years to suborn Neltharion, they now sought to make use of their newest and most powerful weapon. The Old Ones wanted to divert the power of Sargeras' portal to themselves and crack Azeroth open and after eons of imprisonment, they would be free. However, Illidan Stormrage gained the Dragon Soul and used it to close the portal, unwittingly preventing the release of the Old Gods and thereby averting a cosmic catastrophe that would have even paled the Legion's arrival or the Sundering.

10,000 years later the Old Gods 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 crushed again by Krasus, Rhonin and Broxigar, who were sent back by Nozdormu in time.[27] This was a back-up plan from the Old Gods' initial attempt to rip time apart and change history so they were never imprisoned in the first place, which was blocked by Nozdormu with great effort.[8]

War of the Shifting Sands

Main article: War of the Shifting Sands

Over vast stretches of time, C'Thun sought to subvert and corrupt. Its qiraji would come to C'Thun and conquer for it the titan complex that lies today in the sands of Silithus, the fortress temple of Ahn'Qiraj. C'Thun waited, until at last its forces had grown strong enough to contest the hated kaldorei for dominion over Kalimdor itself. Thus began the War of the Shifting Sands, which would see corrupted titan creations like the tol'vir battle side by side with silithid hordes and qiraji leaders to push the night elves out of Kalimdor. C'Thun's plan nearly succeeded. At first, the night elves held fast and defeated the qiraji in several battles, thanks to the brilliant leadership of the archdruid Fandral Staghelm. Following his son's death, the kaldorei were driven out of Silithus by the qiraji, and victory for C'Thun seemed nigh. But the combined forces of night elves and the bronze, green, red and blue dragonflight drove the frenzied qiraji back. But neither could those forces hope to win out against the Old God itself in its den. Rather than risk such an apocalyptic conflict, a solution was enacted that sealed the qiraji and C'Thun up inside their very fortress, the city complex of Ahn'Qiraj itself. Fandral Staghelm, entrusted with the Scepter of the Shifting Sands used to seal Ahn'Qiraj, shattered it out of bitterness over the death of his son.[28]

Recent history

C'Thun recently awakened, freed itself, and reemerged from Azeroth's depths.[29] It now lairs in the ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, until it was slain by adventurers. At some point during Loken's stewardship of Ulduar, he came under the sway of Yogg-Saron imprisoned within and eventually betrayed both the Pantheon and his own brother, Thorim. Loken resided in Ulduar's Halls of Lightning, seeking to free Yogg-Saron completely.[30] According to Malfurion Stormrage, the Old Gods are behind the Nightmare corrupting the Emerald Dream.[31] Although the Nightmare Lord in the dream turned out to be the Satyr Lord Xavius, it is suspected that he acted on behalf of a power even greater and darker than Sargeras.[14] It has been confirmed that Yogg-Saron is responsible for the spark of the Emerald Nightmare, but N'Zoth is responsible for its spread.[17][15] During the war in Pandaria, the power-hungry Warchief Garrosh Hellscream excavated the still beating heart of Y'Shaarj and took it with him to Orgrimmar. After draining the heart's power during the final battle of the city siege, what little was left of Y'Shaarj faded from existence.[18]

The Old Gods were indirectly involved in Garrosh's escape to an alternate Draenor, as their Infinite Dragonflight aided the remnants of the True Horde, Wrathion and Kairoz in breaking the fallen Warchief out of his prison.

Some time after the forces of the Alliance and Horde departed to Draenor, that universe's Gul'dan found his way to Azeroth-Prime, in the wake of a failed Burning Legion invasion of that alternate world. This Gul'dan set off a massive Burning Legion unlike any previously seen on Azeroth. Much like they did millennia ago, the Old Gods seemingly seek to manipulate this invasion to their own ends. Most notably they've restored Xavius to his position as Nightmare Lord and he now wields the Emerald Nightmare to aid the Legion, though his true loyalties, and the Nightmare itself, remain firmly under the dominion of the Old Gods. One of the sacrificial daggers from the Black Empire has also found its way into the hands of an adventurer, providing the Old Gods another potential pawn. Now, as ever, they retain a derisive opinion of Sargeras and the Legion, but delight in the distraction it provides.

Power and strength

"For I bear allegiance to powers untouched by time, unmoved by fate. No force on this world or beyond harbors the strength to bend our knee. Not even the mighty Legion."
Harbinger Skyriss

Based on ancient tales, Krasus incorrectly[32] believed that should the Old Gods open the gates of their prison, even Sargeras would find himself pleading for the peace of death. Krasus further thought that the Aspects were the most powerful creatures on all the mortal plane, so all five of the Aspects combined would represent a force capable of defeating the elder beings.[33]

Nozdormu revealed that the Old Gods caused much of the suffering the Aspects experienced. The madness of Malygos and Deathwing, the Emerald Dream turned into a Nightmare, the altering of the timeways, the attack of the twilight dragonflight, the construction of a monster out of Blackmoore, and the Twilight Cult were all intertwined into a dreadful conspiracy of the Old Gods to destroy the Aspects and the dragonflights forever, and with it all chance of order and stability. The Aspects were shocked by this.[34]

Despite the awesome might of the Old Gods, those who believed them to have powers greater than the titans have grossly overestimated power of the parasitic beings. Sargeras and Aman'Thul both demonstrated the ability to kill Old Gods with ease. Sageras demonstrated the ability to kill numerous Old Gods simultaneously when he, with a single stroke of his sword, destroyed a nameless world-soul that had been corrupted by Old Gods.[20] Aman'Thul killed the most powerful of the Old Gods on Azeroth, Y'Shaarj, by simply plucking him from the surface of the planet. In doing so, he inadvertently wounded the sleeping world-soul due to how deeply Y'Shaarj had infected the planet. Though the titans could have easily destroyed the rest of the Old Gods in a similar fashion, it was believed that doing so would have destroyed Azeroth itself. The titans decided to imprisoned the remaining Old Gods where they lay and contain their evil rather than risk further harming Azeroth.[3]

The Void

Main article: Void#Old Gods

The Old Gods, being creations of the shadowy void lords and physical manifestations of the Void in which their creators dwell, are closely intertwined with the dark force, even being said to control it directly.[35] The ritual dagger known as Xal'atath, which was used by dark priests during the height of the Black Empire, uses powerful Void energies and mind magics to warp everything around it for some nefarious purpose.[36] Many mortal followers of the eldritch horrors make frequent use of shadow magic, and shadow priests who derive their power from the Void stray dangerously close to the domain of the Old Gods.[37]


Since the dawn of life on Azeroth, the imprisoned and sleeping Old Gods have been whispering to the subconsciousness of mortal and eternal beings alike, subverting their thoughts and feelings, and sometimes driving them to great malice, complete insanity, or both.[38] The old whisperings urge one to do dark, terrible things. They are subtle whispers that eventually become indistinguishable from one's own thoughts.[34]

The most notorious and tragic victim of the old whisperings is Neltharion the Earth-Warder; the once mighty Dragon Aspect who had been empowered by the titan Khaz'goroth with dominion over the deep places of the world. Yet, not even Neltharion's great wisdom and power proved capable of breaking the grip the old whisperings had on his mind, causing the Earth-Warder to eventually lose all his sanity. Neltharion renamed himself Deathwing, seeking the genocide of all non-draconic life as well as the enslavement of the other dragonflights.[39]

The night elves Malfurion Stormrage and Varo'then momentarily heard the whisperings when they held the Demon Soul in their grasp. Malfurion has since stated that "Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings", as well.[31] The Highborne Queen Azshara is said to have heard the whisperings moments before what would have been her death, causing her and her Highborne people to transform into the monstrous naga — an offer they either accepted willingly to avoid their fate or which has been coerced on them.[40]

The most striking historic account of the old whisperings, however, is found in the ancient scrolls of lore of the tauren tribes, kept at Elder Rise within their capital city of Thunder Bluff. The legend of creation of the formerly nomadic Tturen makes a direct reference to the whisperings, stating that the first incidents of tauren having committed acts of deceit, murder or warfare were because some of their early brethren "hearkened to the dark whispers from deep beneath the world."[41] Ysera acknowledged that these whisperings originated from the Old Gods, and that they penetrate even into the Emerald Dream.[34]

All the Old Gods encountered by adventurers to date have whispered to them throughout the fights; imploring the heroes of Azeroth to turn on their allies and give in to loneliness and despair.

For all the mystical and military might the Old Gods command, it is perhaps these whispers, and their penchant for manipulation, that are their greatest ability.

The Hour of Twilight

Main article: Hour of Twilight

A very ancient prophecy[42] speaks of the Hour of Twilight, the final days of the world and if the Old Gods that were chained long ago had their way set in motion, this chain of events would enact their final vision to remake the world in their image.

Other names

Mortal worship

Main article: Old Gods' forces
A priestess of C'Thun.
"Body and soul, to be swallowed whole!"

Little is known about the Old Gods' crazed worshippers, save for the fact that they seem to spring from all of the world's cultures and peoples. The Old Gods are asleep and imprisoned deep beneath the earth, yet their power is so vast that their maddening, destructive taint seeps out from their prisons and appears to tear away at the sanity of some of Azeroth's inhabitants. To what extent sentient beings can fall under the influence of the Old Gods in this manner is not well understood, but those who hear the Old Whisperings most clearly have joined together in a coalition that is known as the Twilight's Hammer. Most of these followers and cultists have lost every ounce of their sanity and have become completely unpredictable and malevolent, and, sometimes, certain things that are much worse. Through the leadership of the ogre-mage Cho'gall, a powerful avatar of the Old God C'Thun, the Twilight's Hammer became the focal point for mortal worship of the Old Gods. Large groups of the Twilight's Hammer have been observed to settle at or near sites where they believe the Old Gods or their minions are sealed away; many await C'Thun's awakening in Silithus, while others appear to serve Ragnaros in the Blackrock Depths alongside the Dark Iron dwarves. The largest concentrations of the Twilight's Hammer however are located at Grim Batol and the Bastion of Twilight, within a region of the Eastern Kingdoms that is now referred to as the Twilight Highlands. The mantid, a race related to the Qiraji and Nerubians worships Y'Shaarj, an Old God killed by the Pantheon in ancient times.


See also: The Whispers of C'Thun, The Whispers of Yogg-Saron and The Whispers of Y'Shaarj

Whispers to Neltharion

Main article: Deathwing
  • "The night elves will destroy the world..."
  • "The Well is out of control..."
  • "No one can be trusted... they want your secrets, your power..."
  • "Malygos would take what is yours..."
  • "Alexstrasza seeks dominion over you..."
  • "They are no better than the demons..."
  • "They must be dealt with like the demons..."

Whispers to Azshara

Main article: Queen Azshara
  • "There is a way... there is a way..."
  • "You will become more than you ever were... more than you ever were..."
  • "We can help... we can help..."
  • "You will be more than you have ever been... and when the time comes, for what we grant you... you will serve us well..."


  • The Tribunal of Ages, semi-sentient device of titan origin located within the halls of Ulduar, describes the Old Gods as "parasitic, necrophotic symbiotes".[49] "Necrophotic" is not a real English word, but the combination of roots and suffix would mean "having the character or form of dead light," "of or relating to dead light," or "coming from or containing dead light." The term necrophotic is composed of the Greek roots necro- (> νεκρὸς/nekrós 'dead') and photo- (> φῶς/phôs 'light'). The suffix -ic describes something as having the character or form of, as of or relating to, or as having coming from or containing.
  • It is speculated that the Old Gods cannot die (their minions claim such and they are certainly resilient). The Tribunal of Ages suggests otherwise, but says that whatever the only true way to kill them is, it would mean that Azeroth would be consumed along with them. It is definitely true that 'death' for an Old God is not at all the same as it is for anything on the mortal plane, for even the deceased Y'Shaarj managed to continue some kind of conscious existence through its heart, which ultimately allowed for it to be partially revived.
  • Prospector Whelgar uncovered a large tablet called the Goaz Stone. Upon receiving the missing tablets called Ados, Modr, Golm and Neru, he was able to translate: "Old Gods... Chained Beneath the Land."[50]
  • Yogg-Saron is consistently referred to as male throughout Ulduar, while also manifesting a female avatar in the form of Sara, but the Old Gods do not actually have gender. When referring to an Old God, use the gender-neutral pronoun "it", never "he" or "she".[51]
    • All Old Gods that have so far appeared in World of Warcraft have had male voice actors, which is likely why they are often mistakenly referred to as male.
  • The Twilight Beetle is an enigmatic species, said to feed off the chaotic energies of the Old Gods.[52]
  • During the Blizzcon 2010: Quests and lore panel one of the people asking questions at the panel brought up the Tribunal of Ages event, pointing out that despite us players having "killed" two of the Old Gods, "we're not really seeing much calamity happening." The response from Afrasiabi was a succinct, "Have you played any Cataclysm?" followed by a, "You know, where the world blows up? Because of the Old Gods?" from Metzen.[17]
    • It was not necessarily anything related to their deaths which caused the Cataclysm. Consequences of killing an Old God were explored with the sha, and then expanded upon in Chronicle, which states that the only reason killing the Old Gods would destroy Azeroth is because they had embedded themselves too deep in the planet's crust for the Pantheon to tear them out without causing permanent damage to the world-soul.
  • Various sources from Warcraft lore give conflicting information as to exactly how many Old Gods exist or existed on Azeroth.
    • The Warcraft III manual, as well as the Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth in-game book, states that five Old Gods were chained beneath the world.[24][53]
    • According to the War of the Ancients Trilogy, there are three Old Gods actively trying to escape their prison. There may be more however; these three are indicated to have formed some sort of alliance in order to escape their imprisonment. However, according to a legend Krasus describes, there were only three.[8]
    • World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 establishes four Old Gods on Azeroth, though as Y'Shaarj was slain this would agree with Krasus's statement that there were three trying to escape.
    • In reference to this discrepancy about the number of Old Gods found in The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth, Nyorloth commented that "Perhaps to actually destroy something that lives outside of time and space, life and death, you would have to erase it from existence completely"[10] implying that there were, in fact, originally five who landed on Azeroth, but one of them was completely destroyed. One of the suggested origins of Xal'atath echoes this comment, and further suggests that its counterparts were the cause of its annihilation.
  • It has been spelled "old god" (lower case) several times, but referred to the age of a god rather than to the void lords' creations.[54][55][56]

In Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone This section concerns content exclusive to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

The Old Gods are the main focus of the third expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: Whispers of the Old Gods. In addition to adding legendary card versions of the four Azerothian Old Gods, the expansion adds a myriad of different cards related to the eldritch beings in some way — mainly in the form of faceless ones, mortal cultists and new, "corrupted" versions of pre-existing characters such as the "Polluted Hoarder" (Loot Hoarder) or "Hogger, Doom of Elwynn" (Hogger). C'Thun is the primary focus of the expansion, and is accompanied by a total of 16 different minion cards who either buff C'Thun in various ways, or activate unique effects if C'Thun has been buffed a sufficient amount of times.


The names and overall nature of the Old Gods are an homage to the various group of deities from the Cthulhu Mythos in the works of H.P. Lovecraft (first stage), Brian Lumley (third stage), and the Call of Cthulhu RPG.[57] C'Thun and Yogg-Saron are named after Cthulhu and the Outer God Yog-Sothoth.[58] N'Zoth's name is most likely derived from Zoth-Ommog of H.P. Lovecraft's shared Cthulhu Mythos. Furthermore, the story which concerns the titans' imprisoning of the Old Gods is an inspiration from the story August Derleth proposed as the ancient outcome of the war between the Elder Gods (represented in the titans) and the Outer Gods (represented in the Old Gods). An alternative name of the Old Gods is the Elder Gods.

Fan art

Theories and speculation

Main article: Old Gods speculation

See also


  1. ^ Yor'sahj the Unsleeping#Quotes
  2. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 14
  3. ^ a b c d e World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 36-37
  4. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 38
  5. ^ Flame Leviathan#Quotes
  6. ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 1: There are more Old Gods than just the ones trapped on Azeroth. It takes a lot for them to become manifested on a physical plane, however; ...
  7. ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 21
  8. ^ a b c d The Sundering, 157-158
  9. ^ a b Patch 4.3 Raid Preview: Dragon Soul
  10. ^ a b Blizzard lore posts#Nyorloth
  11. ^ N [90] Shadow of the Empire
  12. ^ N [60R] C'Thun's Legacy
  13. ^ Game Guide: Ulduar
  14. ^ a b c Stormrage, 389
  15. ^ a b c Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 33
  16. ^ Warlord Zon'ozz#Dungeon Journal
  17. ^ a b c Quests and Lore Panel, Blizzcon 2010
  18. ^ a b N [90] The Last Gasp of Y'Shaarj
  19. ^ Word of the Conclave
  20. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 24
  21. ^ N [70D] Harbinger of Doom
  22. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 29-30
  23. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 176
  24. ^ a b The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth
  25. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 31-32
  26. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 2, 75
  27. ^ The Sundering, Prologue
  28. ^ The Prophecy of C'Thun
  29. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Gods
  30. ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/dungeons/wrath-ulduar.xml
  31. ^ a b Malfurion Stormrage#Conversation with Remulos
  32. ^ BlizzCon 2014
  33. ^ a b c d The Sundering, chapter 10
  34. ^ a b c Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
  35. ^ WoW Legion: Game Systems Panel - Blizzcon 2015
  36. ^ Legion: Priest Artifact Reveal
  37. ^ Legion Class Preview Series: Priest
  38. ^ Knaak, Richard A.. The Sundering. ISBN 978-0-7434-2898-9. 
  39. ^ Faces of Cataclysm: Deathwing (Dead link)
  40. ^ The Sundering, 332-3
  41. ^ Sorrow of the Earthmother: "As the children of the earth roamed the fields of dawn, they hearkened to dark whispers from the deep beneath the world."
  42. ^ World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Collector's Edition, Chris Metzen
  43. ^ Warcraft III - Firelord description
  44. ^ B [85] Skullcrusher the Mountain
  45. ^ A [17] The Master's Glaive
  46. ^ A [25] Knowledge in the Deeps
  47. ^ The Sundering, chapter 16
  48. ^ The Sundering, chapter 21
  49. ^ Tribunal of Ages
  50. ^ A [28] Uncovering the Past
  51. ^ Loreology on Twitter (2014-05-08)
  52. ^ Twilight Beetle
  53. ^ Warcraft III manual, 79
  54. ^ H [27D] Je'neu of the Earthen Ring
  55. ^ N [44] Screecher Spirits
  56. ^ Arthaus. Lands of Conflict, 59. ISBN 9781588469601. 
  57. ^ Blizzcon 2010: Art Panel HD Part 2
  58. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 4, 25