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] as well as various other names) are 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 during its primordial age, forming what would become known as the Black Empire. When the Pantheon arrived, they sent their armies, the titan-forged, to shatter the Old Gods' citadels and crumble their empire. The first Old God, Y'Shaarj, proved much too strong for the titan-forged to defeat, however, which prompted the titan leader Aman'Thul to reach down his arm and tear Y'Shaarj apart.

In doing so, he had unintentionally created a giant gaping wound in the planet's crust from which the arcane lifeblood of the nascent titan was hemorrhaging. The titans thus realized that the Old Gods had embedded themselves too deep in the world's surface to be removed without destroying Azeroth itself. They instead decided to imprison the Old Gods deep below the surface of the world and contain their evil forever.[3]

Though incapacitated and, until recently, forgotten, the Old Gods still to this day influence the very people and events of Azeroth. 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 where they attempted to bring about the end of the world, the Hour of Twilight.

Known Old Gods

The Old Gods' sole purpose is to corrupt a titan world-soul into a being of unimaginable evil, a "warped titan" or "dark titan". Should the Old Gods succeed, the warped titan would consume all matter and energy in the universe, bringing all of existence under the void lords' will.[4]


Main article: Y'Shaarj

Unlike the other Old Gods who were merely imprisoned, Y'Shaarj was ripped out of Azeroth and slain by the titans. However, its remains would fall back on the land that would later become known as Pandaria and its essence, seeping into the soil, would spawn the sha. Y'Shaarj's heart survived and was placed under guard beneath the Vale of Eternal Blossoms by Highkeeper Ra. Ages later, Garrosh Hellscream unearthed and managed to restore it using the magical pools of the Vale. While the heart was able to corrupt beings and communicate, Y'Shaarj itself was not resurrected. Following the heart's excavation, the mantid, who had previously worshipped Y'Shaarj, flew to Garrosh's side, with the Klaxxi paragons 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.[5]

The Three

The current primary goal of the Azerothian Old Gods is to escape their titanic prisons. Whereas in ancient times the Old Gods used to wage war against each other, Warlord Zon'ozz leading the armies of N'Zoth against the forces of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron,[6] these three have now formed an alliance that the few mortals who have the knowledge call "the Three", destined to further their goals and influence the oblivious world. The Three were responsible for manipulating the events during the War of the Ancients Trilogy[7] and the Hour of Twilight, but also for the corruption of Neltharion into Deathwing, or for the transformation of Azshara and her Highborne into naga.


Main article: N'Zoth

N'Zoth was the first Old God to be neutralized by the titan-forged. He was imprisoned in an underground prison some distance west of Uldaman, [8] but has since notably been responsible for the formidable growth of the Emerald Nightmare.[9] During the Cataclysm, N'Zoth was a driving force behind the actions of Deathwing.[10]


Main article: C'Thun

After N'Zoth's fall, the Old God C'Thun followed and was sealed in the titan-forged research station of Ahn'Qiraj.[11] There he would create the qiraji by mutating the aqir that dwelled underground. After its imprisonment by the Keepers, C'Thun sent its qiraji armies to conquer the world in the War of the Shifting Sands. Though they almost succeeded in conquering nearly the entirety of Kalimdor, the qiraji were defeated by the combined forces of the night elves and the dragonflights. In recent times, C'Thun reawakened, prepared to take his revenge, but while his gaze was fixed upon the dragons and the night elves, a group of mortals managed to breach his chamber and defeat him against all odds.[12]


Main article: Yogg-Saron

Yogg-Saron, the most powerful of the Three, was imprisoned under the titan city of Ulduar in Northrend. There, he would turn a colony of aqir into the nerubian, and gain access to the Emerald Dream through the World-Tree Andrassil, which he would share with his Old God kin. Yogg-Saron would also manage to turn the Keepers who guarded him against each other and corrupt them all, slowly breaking through all but the last of its restraints.[13] But thanks to the combined might of the Alliance and the Horde, aided by brave adventurers, the Keepers were freed, and together they destroyed the manifestation of Yogg-Saron.

Other Old Gods



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.[4]

Being creations of the shadowy void lords and physical manifestations of the Void, the old gods are deeply intertwined with the dark force, and can control it directly.[18] 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.[19] The ritual dagger known as Xal'atath was used by dark priests of the Black Empire at its height.[20]

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.[9] 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.[21] When they arrived, the Old Gods enslaved the elementals that had once raged freely on primordial Azeroth,[22] 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.[21]

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

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.[6]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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,[11] and N'Zoth was imprisoned in a similar way, though it is not known exactly where[3] (possibly deep below Azeroth's oceans).[25] 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, Alexstrasza 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, dragonkin 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 alongside his brother Malfurion Stormrage to close the portal, unknowingly preventing the release of the Old Gods.

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.[7]

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

After their defeat on the Broken Isles during the Second War, Cho'gall and his surviving minions of the Twilight's Hammer sailed west to the mysterious continent of Kalimdor, drawn in by the whispers of the Old Gods. They were followed by Garona, who was eager to hunt out the last members of the Shadow Council.[29]

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon 16x16.png This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.

C'Thun recently awakened, freed itself, and reemerged from Azeroth's depths.[30] 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.[31] According to Malfurion Stormrage, the Old Gods are behind the Nightmare corrupting the Emerald Dream.[32] 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.[25] It has been confirmed that Yogg-Saron is responsible for the spark of the Emerald Nightmare, but N'Zoth is responsible for its spread.[10][9] 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.[5]

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.


Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

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.[33]

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

Comparative strength

  • Based on ancient tales, Krasus incorrectly[34] believed that should the Old Gods open the gates of their prison, even the titan 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.[35]
  • However, Sargeras and Aman'Thul both demonstrated the ability to kill Old Gods with ease, mostly by taking advantage of their significant size difference. Sargeras killed numerous Old Gods simultaneously with a single stroke of his sword, destroying a nameless world-soul infested with Old Gods.[15] 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 burrowed into the planet's crust. Though the titans could have easily destroyed the rest of the Old Gods in a similar fashion, it was avoided so as to not damage Azeroth any further.[3]
  • On the other hand, the Old Gods of Azeroth don't seem particularly concerned with the Legion or Sargeras, and Star Augur Etraeus considers the 'avatars of non-existence' to be the 'true horror of our reality'. While they may not be as strong as titans, they should not be underestimated.


One of the Old Gods' most notable abilities is their psychic power, being able to mentally twist the thoughts of most beings and take full control of them. Entire armies of titan-forged would turn against themselves under the influence of the Old Gods. Even confined, their mental abilities can reach out to nearly anything around them in the form of dark whispers.

Old Gods have also immense power over Void and twilight magic, and can spread a seeping miasma from their bodies. Their corruption is strong enough to transform a pure world-soul into a twisted abomination. They are so confident in their corruption that Xal'atath stated all things could be corrupted, and are willing to wait millennia for it to bare fruit, showing incredible patience. Only awakened titans are known to be able to fully resist the corruption of the Old Gods. Organic matter seeping from the Old Gods' blighted forms gives birth to hideous minions, such as the n'raqi and aqir, who serve their masters with fanatical loyalty.


Since the dawn of life on Azeroth, the Old Gods have been whispering to the subconsciousness of beings at the surface, subverting their thoughts and feelings, and sometimes driving them to great malice, complete insanity, or both.[36] The old whisperings urge one to do dark, terrible things. They are subtle whispers that eventually become indistinguishable from one's own thoughts.[33]

The most notorious and tragic victim of the Old Gods' whispers 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, the enslavement of the other dragonflights, and the release of his masters.[37]

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 had fallen victim to the old whisperings", as well. This was a reference to the Emerald Nightmare.[32] The highborne Queen Azshara too heard the whispers moments before what would have been her death during the Great Sundering. She accepted the Three's offer: Azshara and her Highborne would be saved, but they would become servants of the Old Gods. They were subsequently transformed into the monstrous naga.[38]

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 tauren says 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."[39] Ysera acknowledged that these whisperings originated from the Old Gods, and that they penetrate even into the Emerald Dream.[33]

All the Old Gods encountered by adventurers to date have whispered to them throughout the fights, trying to convince 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[40] 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.

This, however, appears to be a simplified version of the prophecy, as the Pale Orcs of Draenor had also heard of an Hour of Twilight, one whispered to them by the Void lords themselves, stating that the Hour of Twilight is when the Void will consume all existence.

Other names

The Old Gods have been called various different names by different individuals and organizations.

Mortal worship

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

The Old Gods' crazed worshipers 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, or were forever changed, for example into faceless ones or elemental ascendants. Through the leadership of the ogre-mage Cho'gall, a powerful champion 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 were 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 cousin to the Qiraji and Nerubians, still worship 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..."


  • 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."[48]
  • The Twilight Beetle is an enigmatic species, said to feed off the chaotic energies of the Old Gods.
  • 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 fell 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.[7]
  • Some Old God minions claimed that their masters cannot die for they do not live, and that they are outside "the cycle".[49] However, this was proven false by the death of Y'Shaarj as well as the Old Gods killed by Sargeras.
  • Yogg-Saron is consistently referred to as male throughout Ulduar, but the Old Gods do not actually have gender. When referring to an Old God, it is better to use the gender-neutral pronoun "it" rather than "he" or "she".[50]
    • 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.
  • During Blizzcon 2010: Quests and lore panel, a person 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.[10]
    • 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. It was also later confirmed that it was Deathwing shattering the World Pillar that caused the Shattering.
  • Various sources 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, stated that five Old Gods were chained beneath the world.[23][51]
      • 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"[52] implying that there were, in fact, originally five who landed on Azeroth, but one of them was completely destroyed. One of the possible origins of Xal'atath refers to this comment, and suggests that its counterparts were the cause of its annihilation.
    • According to the War of the Ancients Trilogy, there are three Old Gods actively trying to escape their prison. There may be more however; the Three are indicated to have formed a sort of alliance in order to escape their imprisonment. However, according to a legend Krasus describes, there were only ever three.[7]
    • World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 finally establishes that there were four Old Gods on Azeroth, and since Y'Shaarj was slain this would agree with Krasus's statement that there were three trying to escape.
  • The Tribunal of Ages, a device created by Loken to tell a false story of the events that unfolded on Azeroth to the Pantheon or Algalon in his favor, described the Old Gods as "parasitic, necrophotic symbiotes".[53] "Necrophotic" is not a real English word. 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. The combination of roots and suffix would thus mean "having the character or form of dead light," "of, or relating, to dead light," or "coming from, or containing, dead light." This could be referring to Shadow.

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.
  • Old Gods ruled Azeroth before the titans came.[54]
  • Revenants served as their foot soldiers.[55]

In Hearthstone

Hearthstone This section concerns content exclusive to Hearthstone.

The Old Gods are the main focus of the third expansion for Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods. In addition to adding legendary card versions of the four Azerothian Old Gods, the expansion added a myriad of different cards related to the eldritch beings in some way — mainly in the form of faceless ones, mortal cultists and "what-if" corrupted versions of existing characters such as the Polluted Hoarder (Loot Hoarder) or Hogger, Doom of Elwynn (Hogger). C'Thun was the primary focus of the expansion, and was accompanied by a total of 16 different minion cards who either buffed C'Thun in various ways, or activated unique effects if C'Thun had 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.[56] C'Thun and Yogg-Saron are named after Cthulhu and the Outer God Yog-Sothoth.[57] 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 World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 36-37
  4. ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 21
  5. ^ a b [[Quest:The Last Gasp of Y'Shaarj].
  6. ^ a b Patch 4.3 Raid Preview: Dragon Soul
  7. ^ a b c d The Sundering, 157-158
  8. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 44-45
  9. ^ a b c Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 33
  10. ^ a b c Quests and Lore Panel, Blizzcon 2010
  11. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 38
  12. ^ N [60R] C'Thun's Legacy
  13. ^ Game Guide: Ulduar
  14. ^ 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; ...
  15. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 24
  16. ^ N [70D] Harbinger of Doom
  17. ^ Word of the Conclave
  18. ^ WoW Legion: Game Systems Panel - Blizzcon 2015
  19. ^ Legion Class Preview Series: Priest
  20. ^ Legion: Priest Artifact Reveal
  21. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 29-30
  22. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 176
  23. ^ a b The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth
  24. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 31-32
  25. ^ a b Stormrage, 389
  26. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 2, pg. 75
  27. ^ The Sundering, Prologue
  28. ^ The Prophecy of C'Thun
  29. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, page 198
  30. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Gods
  31. ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/dungeons/wrath-ulduar.xml
  32. ^ a b Malfurion Stormrage#Conversation with Remulos
  33. ^ a b c Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
  34. ^ BlizzCon 2014 - Krasus' words were qualified as "hyperbolic" and they are not to be taken "too literally".
  35. ^ a b c d The Sundering, chapter 10
  36. ^ Knaak, Richard A.. The Sundering. ISBN 978-0-7434-2898-9. 
  37. ^ Faces of Cataclysm: Deathwing (Dead link)
  38. ^ The Sundering, 332-3
  39. ^ 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."
  40. ^ World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Collector's Edition, Chris Metzen
  41. ^ Warcraft III - Firelord description
  42. ^ B [85] Skullcrusher the Mountain
  43. ^ A [17] The Master's Glaive
  44. ^ A [25] Knowledge in the Deeps
  45. ^ a b Samuelson Unmasked#Quotes
  46. ^ The Sundering, chapter 16
  47. ^ The Sundering, chapter 21
  48. ^ A [28] Uncovering the Past
  49. ^ Herald Volazj#Quotes
  50. ^ Loreology on Twitter (2014-05-08)
  51. ^ Warcraft III manual, 79
  52. ^ Blizzard lore posts#Nyorloth
  53. ^ Tribunal of Ages
  54. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 155
  55. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 84
  56. ^ Blizzcon 2010: Art Panel HD Part 2
  57. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 4, 25