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Old Gods speculation

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This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Old Gods speculation contains theories and speculation related to the Old Gods.

Number

Nobody knows for sure how many of the Old Gods still exist, based on Harbinger Skyriss, a servants of the Old Gods, the Old Gods might be endless in number and scatter across the universe. Blizzard's History of Warcraft states that only five were present on Azeroth at the time of the titans, all of which were imprisoned.[1] During the events of The Sundering, the dragons believed that only three remained.[2]

  • The only entities confirmed to be Old Gods are C'Thun within Ahn'Qiraj,Yogg-Saron under Ulduar, N'Zoth in the rift of aln/The rift, and Y'Shaarj in what is now Pandaria. All other Old Gods are identified by inference, from references to mad whisperings, sleeping or buried evils, unexplainable alien embodiments, or ancient and dark religions.
  • "Old God" is a term which can specifically refer to the five imprisoned by the titans, but is occasionally used for several other creatures as well.
  • It has been spelled "old god" (lower case) only thrice.[3][4][5]

Identifying and locating the Old Gods is difficult. The titans didn't leave landmarks saying how or where the five Old Gods were imprisoned. Current knowledge about their whereabouts is limited to recorded phenomenon, speculation, and flavor lore. Compounding the difficulty is the imprecision with which the phrase "old god" is used, so that Old Gods, their minions, and other equally powerful deities are conflated together as one group. Only C'Thun, located in Ahn'Qiraj in Silithus, Yogg-Saron, found within Ulduar in Northrend,N'Zoth, and Y'Shaarj, located in Pandaria, are confirmed to be Old Gods. The remaining two Old Gods (as well as N'Zoth, of whom little has been revealed) may be in any of the following possible locations, which are explained in further detail below.

  1. One may still be near Azshara or the Maelstrom.
  2. One or more may be found in Desolace.[6]
  3. One may be Ula-Tek, nearly summoned by forest trolls in Zul'Aman, Quel'Thalas.[7]
  4. One may be Hakkar the Soulflayer, summoned by the trolls of Zul'Gurub, Stranglethorn.[5][8]
  5. One may also not be Hakkar the Soulflayer but still present beneath Stranglethorn as suggested by the Contents of Mosh'Ogg Bounty.
  6. One may be in the Blackfathom Deeps.[9][10]
  7. One may be in the Emerald Dream (likely N'Zoth, who provided the "spark" of the Emerald Nightmare.)
  8. One may be the nearly summoned Old God in Shadowmoon Valley.

Antithesis to the Dragon Aspects

Some people theorize the original Dragon Aspects could have been created as opposites to the Old Gods of Azeroth. This would mean there's five of them in Azeroth, one for each Dragon Aspect:

C'Thun's role in this theory is unclear. He's been called a "God of Chaos" by Cho'gall[11], but the context doesn't specify whether it's C'Thun's essence or just all the Old Gods'. In case C'Thun was the Old God of Chaos, its most logical counterpart would be Neltharion, as the "Aspect of Order", with both being heavily related with elemental powers.

It is still unknown what will corrupt Nozdormu in the future. It's possible his old god counterpart had a role in it.

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 can be found on the surface of the world. If so, perhaps these other Old Gods are lesser ones. This would explain how some Old Gods are apparently dead, while others are easy to kill in spite of their supposed power. The Old Gods C'thun and Yogg-Saron may be eternal, and therefore, ultimately un-killable however still defeatable. This would explain why the all powerful Titans buried five Old Gods opposed to killing them. The Tribunal of Ages implies that if the Old Gods were killed Azeroth would have been destroyed.

Locations

Maelstrom

During the events of The Sundering, an Old God manifested itself in an attempt to salvage the summoning of Sargeras through use of the Demon Soul. After the Old God's plans were thwarted and Zin-Azshari collapsed into the swelling Maelstrom, Azshara heard the dark whispers that transformed her and her followers into the naga.[2] It is highly likely that the Old God remains near the Maelstrom.

  • The Warcraft novel Day of the Dragon mentions a creature known as the Manta, Behemoth of the Deep. Krasus says it was "ten times the size and strength of a dragon." It was slain at least a century before the events of Day of the Dragon.[12] It is possible that this Manta is somehow linked to the Old Gods and the naga.
  • Near Azshara's Coral Sea, it is believed 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.[13]
  • Given the parallels with the works of HP Lovecraft, it is reasonable to see similarities with the short story Dagon. In the story, Dagon is an 'Old God' who transforms its worshippers into sea creatures, and may be the inspiration for any Old God responsible for The Sundering.

Desolace

One of the two Dead Goliath skeletons in Desolace.

Desolace is littered with what is believed to be bones of the Old Gods, presided over by Magram centaur necromancers and skeletons.[6] In the Valley of Bones, the massive corpses of two combatants lay forever facing each other on two sides of a grand valley. It has been speculated that these bones are either Old Gods or Faceless Ones, although they most resemble Nagas, despite their huge scale.

  • A goblin named Hornizz Brimbuzzle in the Kodo Graveyard provides a quest, Ghost-o-plasm Round Up, that refers to these corpses as the Dead Goliaths. The quest has nothing to do with the corpses. He just refers them as a landmark.
  • However, it should also be noted that there's a skeleton of a similar massive naga-resembling beast near the coast of Stranglethorn Vale, and similar skeletons in Blade's Edge Mountains. Given that the Old Gods were limited in number, it is more likely that these were simply the remnants of destroyed behemoths rather than the Old Gods themselves. However the chance remains that the Skeletons in Blade's Edge are long dead demonic or draconic beings...

Quel'Thalas

Main article: Ula'tek

Stranglethorn

Main article: Hakkar the Soulflayer
Main article: Contents of Mosh'Ogg Bounty

Northern Kalimdor

While the skull at the Master's Glaive was found to be merely a faceless one, there may be an Old God in northern Kalimdor. Harbinger Aph'lass and Harbinger Aphotic both mentioned an entity called "IT" that lies beneath them. Yoth'al the Devourer, who is relatively close by, may be related. This Old God may be related to Blackfathom Deeps or the missing Stonetalon Peak caverns. Yogg-Saron has also been called "IT" in Whisper Gulch.

Vashj'ir

In the Undershell, a massive creature is feeding off of L'ghorek. With the presence of faceless once in the area as well, this may be an Old God.

Other location speculation

Star theory

A map of Azeroth showing the location of known (red) and a few possible (blue) Old Gods. These locations entail the Star Theory.
  • Speculation referred to as the "Star Theory" suggests that the Old Gods locations can be shown as a star on Azeroth starting from Stranglethorn Vale, up to Northrend, down to Silithus, up to Tirisfal Glades, and across to Darkshore. This places the Well of Eternity in the center of the star. Hyjal can be explained by the center of the "Star of Azeroth". This also explains the Legions' focus on Azeroth. Led by Sargeras, who despises the titans and Order, they may see the Old Gods as a way to destroy Azeroth. (All this information was thought up in a World of Warcraft forum topic)
  • However, the "Star Theory" assumes much and provides little in the way of explanation, and runs into a number of contradictions:
    • First, it ignores the known manifestation of the Maelstrom Old God.
    • Second, the present day locations of the Old Gods may not be the same geographical locations when they were imprisoned, long before the Sundering.
    • Third, the existence of the "South East Old God" is unknown and speculative. Hakkar may be an Old God or simply a minion, but even if he is an Old God, he was not always located in Stranglethorn Vale. He was summoned there. This theory also thought that this piece of concept art was an Old God on Hiji. However the Contents of Mosh'Ogg Bounty seem to support that an Old God is somewhere in the general vicinity of Stranglethorn Vale.
    • Fourth, it has since been confirmed that whatever is in Tirisfal Glades is not an Old God, nor is the creature at the Master's Glaive.

Possible Old Gods

Forgotten Ones

The forgotten ones are massive and powerful tentacle-bearing aberrations living in the deepest reaches of Azjol-Nerub. Forgotten ones seethe below, eager to return to the world above.[14] Arthas fought one of forgotten ones on his way to the Frozen Throne. The forgotten ones may be lesser Old God or their minions. The faceless one mobs in the Old Kingdom are referred to as Forgotten Ones. This seems to lend credence to the idea that the Old Gods and the forgotten ones are not necessarily the same thing or that the term forgotten one is a title for Old Gods or their servant.

See Yogg-Saron, above.

Elune

It is speculated that the night elves' goddess, Elune the Mother Moon, is actually an Old God, albeit a benevolent one. Common night elven phrase, "I heed the voice of Elune" indicates the whispers the Old Gods use on mortals. Furthermore, Tyrande summons Elune's blessed powers in the corrupted Emerald Dream, which is caused by an Old God without difficulty. Given that the Highborne night elves are turned into nagas by the Old Gods, it is likely that the evolution of dark trolls into modern night elves (confirmed by Cenarius, Freya and the Tribunal of the Ages) can be traced back to Elune.


Hakkar the Soulflayer

Hakkar the Soulflayer is believed to be an old god.[15] It is speculated that he is either an Old God himself or the son of an Old God.

Ula-tek the Serpent Goddess

Ula-tek is believed to be one of the Old Gods, or at least linked to them much like the Blood God Hakkar the Soulflayer.

Ragnaros

Some believe, such as the Dark Iron dwarves, that Ragnaros was not only one of the Elemental Lords but one of the Old Gods himself (or somehow took on Old God status, this is likely the dwarves' opinion relating to their awe and terror more than a genuine knowledge of how powerful the Old Gods actually were).[16]

Summoned Old God

Summoned Old God is a creature described as an "ancient and powerful evil" who resembles C'thun and is being summoned by the arakkoa of Shadowmoon Valley. Perhaps another Old God? This is quite likely due to the similarity of its appearance, however, it may be a forgotten one. The recent summoning of Ahune in Outland makes this possible. It is a likely possibility that this is actually C'Thun himself.

Presence of the Old God

Presence of the Old God is a maw located in Icecrown which resembles C'thun. They also both share the same model. The maw is located at the bottom of some water in the middle of the Weeping Quarry, and moves and seems to be alive.

Anzu

Anzu appears to be some sort of god or demigod. It is not clear if he is connected to the Old Gods but he is apparently at work in the Emerald Dream.[17]

Aku'mai

Aku'mai, the final boss of Blackfathom Deeps, is stated to have been a favorite pet of the Old Gods. The Sundering awoke the hydra Aku’mai who claimed the ruins as her lair.[18]

Ryun'eh

The former member of the Twilight Hammer, Theldurin the Lost, speaks of “a doom approaching” and he is afraid of it. It's known that "they" are imprisoned under surface and if they are freed and rise to the surface, it will be death for everyone. He says he "cannot utter their names or they may hear" him, though he mentioned one name - “Ryun’eh”. Theldurin wants to get the tablet of Ryun’eh that is hidden in Uldaman, in an ancient chest crafted before the works of any dwarf.[19][20]

Like C'Thun and Yogg-Saron, this name appears to be based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft (a city R'lyeh).

Arakkoa

It's possible that the Arakkoa might be servants of the Old Gods; the Arakkoa are known to use dark magics and pledge allegiance to dark forces. In Shadowmoon Valley the Arakkoa attempt to summon a Old God and when a players summon Darkscreecher Akkarai he speaks of "voices below the earth", a common reference to the Old Gods, although since Outland is little more than the floating remains of Draenor, it's hard to image that a Old God might be hiding below.

Forgotten ones

Note: All race names and mob names in Frozen Throne are capitalized. This race name is lower case in other sources.

We have seen three different forms of forgotten ones, the ones in Northrend, the remains in the Master's Glaive[citation needed] and the Forgotten One mob.

The forgotten ones[21] of Northrend are massive and powerful tentacle-bearing aberrations living in the deeps. Forgotten ones seethe below, eager to return to the world above.[22] One of these ancient, terrible beasts lay imprisoned beneath Azjol-Nerub, until Illidan's attempt to melt away the polar ice-caps surrounding Icecrown and crush Ner'zhul, accidentally broke the beast's prison. Before it could act, however, Arthas Menethil, Anub'arak, and a small army of undead Nerubians crashed into its prison, and even weakened as he was, Arthas managed to defeat it.[23] The creature in at Master's Glaive is also a forgotten one.[citation needed]

The Blizzplanet fan speculates its possible that Arthas did not manage to slay the forgotten one, and the name of this forgotten one is Yogg-Saron. However, the article points out that this is uncertain.[24]

It might be suggested that "a Forgotten One" (implying that there are more than one), as Anub'arak referred to it, is in fact an Old God, or portion of an Old God, likely Yogg-Saron.

Forgotten one
C'Thun

Forgotten ones are not Old Gods

Some do not believe that the forgotten ones are old gods. Arguments in support include:

  • C'Thun was only defeated because he was in a severely weakened state, by a raid of forty powerful and prepared people.
  • Relatively, the Forgotten One showed no signs of weakness, and Arthas and Anub'arak were just two unprepared and weakened heroes supported only by a handful of regular undead troops.
  • It could also be theorized that it is a "projection" of C'Thun, since the WC3 version looks incredibly similar and spawns tentacles to attack. C'Thun could have attempted to influence control over both the Silithid and Nerubians at the same time to try and raise his army, but while the C'Thun managed to control the Silithid, the Nerubians (with their natural tolerance to mind control) were not swayed and the C'Thun projection was sealed away within the depths of Azjol'nerub. But that theory is based on C'Thun using a projection-ability not mentioned anywhere else, and leaves another Old God unaccounted for. It is then more probable that "The Forgotten One" was an Old God in his own right.
  • Or it could be that C'Thun was split during the Sundering, half going to Northrend and the other half staying in Kalimdor. This would explain both forms weakness.
  • Another possibility is that the Forgotten One was created by C'Thun in his image, in an attempt to create an army to conquer the Nerubians, in order to re-join the old insectoid empire.
  • The "Faceless One" mobs in the Old Kingdom are called Forgotten Ones which suggests that even if some Forgotten Ones are Old Gods, not all of them are. Forgotten One may be more a title or name of a faction.
  • Another possibility is that the Forgotten One may be the Old God currently under Azjol-Nerub, seperate from C'Thun entirely, as when the cavern of Azjol-Nerub shifted and collapsed the Forgotten One may have been buried in its currently innaccessable deeper reaches. C'Thun and Yogg-Saron are both in very recently awakened and therefore very weakened states, and the time they could have required to come to their full power is unknown as time has no constraints on them as eternal entities.

Forgotten ones are Old Gods

  • When it comes to its physical form, C'Thun is virtually identical to the Forgotten One in the Frozen Throne, except for the one in the Master's Glaive[citation needed]. Also, glimpses of Old Gods in Knaak's "The War of the Ancients" are of huge tentacles, such as the ones of C'Thun and the one in Azjol'Nerub. That the "Forgotten One" would have this appearance and NOT be an Old God is far-fetched.
  • It is very possible that the term "forgotten one" is what nerubians call Old Gods in general. First, Anub'arak called it "a Forgotten One", not "the Forgotten One", which suggests that there are several. Second, the sight of it scared Anub'arak, although this could be because pre-Wrath lore eluded to the Nerubians being former worshipers of old gods and forced to betray by the Lich King. The forgotten one encountered there has the appearance of an Old God, an appearance not shared by anything else known in the Warcraft universe, which suggests "forgotten one" could be be a substitute title for Old God.
  • The Forgotten One commanded the Faceless Ones. C'Thun also commands units that appear to be Faceless Ones, like General Rajaxx. Faceless Ones may be a general name for Old God's most elite of minions.
  • It has been confirmed at BlizzCon that an old god is in Azjol-Nerub.
  • A blue post on the forums recently said that the Nerubians were "followers of the Old Gods on Northrend", although why they would be at war with the Faceless Ones is still up for debate.

Defeating the Old Gods

Many people find it hard to accept that, as with all bosses in WoW, mortals can kill an Old God. There are two theories regarding the matter.

Mortals can kill Old Gods

The Old God in Darkshore was apparently killed by the Titans long before the dawn of mortals. The rest were either believed to be slain or imprisoned. It might be that killing of other known Old Gods, such as the Forgotten One and C'Thun, can be achieved because these Old Gods were in a severely weakened and regenerative state from their previous conflicts, and were just making their way back onto the world stage.

For example, the Titans smote C'Thun ages ago, but he regenerated sufficient strength to start the War of the Shifting Sands before being struck down once again. It is possible that, after these conflicts, C'Thun was only able to regenerate to a fragment of his former strength. This would explain how modern warriors from the Horde and Alliance were able to kill him in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj.

This also coincides with the recurring theme that the important heroes of Warcraft are all mortals who have found ways to defeat the undefeatable. In Wrath of the Lich King, it seems that the Titans may not have killed the Old Gods, because as the creators of Azeroth they are linked to it, the World's survival depending on the survival of the Old Gods.

Old Gods can never be killed

The fact that some NPCs within World of Warcraft assert that an Old God was killed by the Titans can be easily explained away by the ideas that 1) the event occurred long before any mortal could have possibly recorded it, and 2) the powers and natures of the Old Gods and Titans are admittedly beyond any mortal's scope of understanding.

Moreover, the theme that death is not the end is frequently raised in Warcraft. Many other powerful figures have survived "death" in Warcraft lore. Cenarius is more than a mere spirit within the Emerald Dream, living satyrs were born from the destroyed night elf, Xavius. The spirit of Medivh, the Last Guardian, was revived by Aegwynn despite his beheading. Also note the entirety of the Scourge. C'thun may also be very much "alive," as the "C'Thun" destroyed by players was a physical shell constructed for him by the Qiraji.

Y'Shaarj makes it clear that death for an Old God doesn't mean the same thing as for mortals, as it continued to survive in the form of its Heart, allowing for its partial restoration by Garrosh Hellscream. In addition the phrase chanted by a number of Faceless, that the Old Gods "are outside the cycle" implies that life and death work very differently for them.

The origin of the silithid and qiraji

If these speculations are right, the Old Gods' plans are far deeper then the younger races of Azeroth may even think of.

Old Gods and expansion speculation

If the theories mentioned above regarding the location of the Old Gods are true, then they could likely be implemented one by one in various expansions. Check the Rumored Expansions for some of the possible settings for future expansions.

  • Perhaps one Old God could be implemented in an in-game content patch, similar to C'Thun.
  • Finally, an Old God could be found in the Maelstrom with the Naga, as it is also confirmed that Highborne loyal to Azshara were turned into Naga by an Old God so they could survive the Sundering. It is likely they now serve the Old God.

The order in which these Old Gods were implemented would obviously depend on the order Blizzard released these rumored expansions.

References