Whispers of the Old Gods is Hearthstone's next expansion and while everyone excited about free C'Thun and new mechanics, who exactly are the Old Gods? The four known Old Gods--C'Thun, Yogg-Saron, Y'Shaarj, and N'Zoth--have played a major role in shaping the destruction of Azeroth in World of Warcraft. Let's take a look at where you can find them in World of Warcraft--boss encounters, spooky items, corrupted zones, and more. Note: this article contains spoilers from World of Warcraft Chronicle.
Table of Contents
World of Warcraft Chronicle explains the origins of the Old Gods:
- The Old Gods originated from the Void Lords' desire to create eternal torment. Their strategy was to create Old Gods, fling them into the Great Dark, and hope they would make contact with worlds and contaminate vulnerable titans in their pre-awakened state.
- The Elemental Forces--Ragnaros, Al'Akir, Therazane, Neptulon--fought back against the Black Empire but were ultimately imprisoned. The Pantheon took pity on Azeroth, forming an army of metal and stone servants to fight the Black Empire, as well as titan-forged generals, known as the keepers, with special abilities to lead these forces. You may recognize these keepers from past content in World of Warcraft: Freya, Mimiron, and Thorim are encounters in Ulduar, Loken is a boss in Halls of Lightning, Highkeeper Ra became Ra-den in Throne of Thunder, Odyn is the namesake of the Fury Warrior Artifact in Legion, Archaedas is an encounter in Uldaman, and Tyr is the namesake of Tirisfal Glades and The Silver Hand.
- The titan-forged were able to defeat the elemental lords, who were banished to the Elemental Plane. The Pantheon then turned to defeating the Old Gods, destroying Y'Shaarj first. The resulting chaos and destruction led the Pantheon to realize that destroying the other three Old Gods would destroy Azeroth itself. Instead, they decided to imprison C'Thun, N'Zoth, and Yogg-Saron deep underground. Y'Shaarj played a large role in Mists of Pandaria; learn about the history of Pandaria in our World of Warcraft Chronicle: Pandaren guide.
- The destruction caused by eliminating Y'Shaarj and his stronghold was still corrupting Azeroth, so the keepers poured their energy into controlling this rift, turning it into the life-giving Well of Eternity. This location continued to be important in Azeroth's history, notably during the Sundering. Learn more about the Well of Eternity in our World of Warcraft Chronicle: Night Elves guide.
- To further stabilize Azeroth, the titans built the Forge of Wills and the Halls of Origination. The Forge of Wills created new titan-forged servants to maintain order in the world. The Halls of Origination in Uldum would be watched over by the Tol'vir, a race players encountered in Uldum in Cataclysm, and the Halls would send healing energy through the world and also have the power to obliterate the world if it completely fell to corruption. Highkeeper Ra also retrieved the pieces of Y'Shaarj and sealed them into a vault. He then assigned the mogu followers with guarding the vault--this race later enslaved the Pandaren and became a major enemy in Mists of Pandaria.
- In World of Warcraft Chronicle we learn the titans imprisoned C’Thun underneath Silithus, reinforcing his prison by building the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. This was a 40-player raid in classic WoW that dropped Tier 2.5 and notable upgrades for players progressing through Naxxramas. It opened alongside the 20-player raid Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj which offered more-casual players a chance at Cenarion Circle reputations and books that granted more-powerful spell ranks.
- On a mission to revitalize the desert of Silithus and transform it into a lush forest, the night elves discovered Ahn’Qiraj and entered the temple. This awakened C’Thun and the qiraji, starting the War of the Shifting Sands. The only way to subdue the qiraji was to seal them behind a magical wall, which could only be opened with the Scepter of the Shifting Sands.
- The events of the War of the Shifting sands are heavily referenced in the questline to Ring the Scarab Gong, a massive server-wide event in classic WoW. Players across realms had to do numerous turn-ins of trade goods while raiders worked towards retrieving the scattered pieces of the Scepter around the world. These quests involved a variety of tasks such as farming green dragons for The Nightmare's Corruption, raid all classic content and defeat Dr. Weevil for Draconic for Dummies, and complete a speed run of Blackwing Lair in Nefarius's Corruption. You can read more about the questline on the The Scepter of the Shifting Sands page. It is no longer possible to do, but players could complete it until Cataclysm to get the Veteran of the Shifting Sands achievement.
- C’Thun was the first old god players faced in World of Warcraft, as the final boss of Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. While this encounter is easily soloable now, it was challenging due to his chaining Eye Beam ability, one-shot ability Dark Glare, numerous spawning tentacles, and stomach phase with the dangerous stacking Digestive Acid debuff.
- Throughout the instance, C’Thun whispers you:"Death... is... close..."
"You are already dead."
"You are weak."
"Your courage will fail."
"Your friends will abandon you."
"Your heart will explode.”
"You will betray your friends."
"You... will... die..."
- The archaeology item Blessing of the Old God has C’Thun’s whispers as the flavor text. This item turns you into a Green qiraji tank. You can also loot Qiraji tank mounts from AQ40 trash: Red Qiraji Resonating Crystal, Blue Qiraji Resonating Crystal, Yellow Qiraji Resonating Crystal, Green Qiraji Resonating Crystal
- The Cenarion Circle is fighting the qiraji in Silithus and you can earn reputation with them by killing cultists, insects, and NPCs in AQ. Reputation with the Cenarion Circle was needed to complete a 3-piece class-specific set from AQ20. The weapons from this set had a distinctive insect appearance.
- In Cataclysm, placeholder quests were added for Silithus which never made it to live: Befoulers of the Wind, Recalling, Baristolth's Plan, Secretion and Subterfuge, Riding in Plain Sight, Mysteries of the Twilight Hive, Prisoners of Madness,
Hive'Zora B/C, Faceless, Bad Stuff. These quests show the Twilight Hammer’s renewed activity in Silithus. The final quests could briefly be completed, depicting Cenarion Hold overrun with tentacles and Vision of C'Thun, who says Hi! when you fly into him.
- Yogg-Saron was the most challenging Old God for the Titan-Forged to subdue. World of Warcraft Chronicle describes the C’Thraxxi, monstrous generals unleashed by Yogg-Saron, that were so powerful they could mind-control the Titan-Forged. Once defeated, Yogg-Saron was sealed inside Ulduar (later a raid zone).
- A number of titan watchers were sent to guard Yogg-Saron, but Yogg-Saron turned Loken against the rest, and brought the Curse of Flesh to the creations in the Forge of Wills. Hodir, Freya, Mimiron, and Thorim, encounters you can fight in Ulduar, were now trapped there against their will. In Legion, Beast Mastery Hunters are aided by the now-freed Mimiron and Thorim to acquire Titanstrike.
- To prevent further chaos in Azeroth, Tyr, one of the watchers that resisted Loken, prepared to overthrow Loken by stealing the Discs of Norgannon. These relics recorded the history of everything in Azeroth, and studying them would provide key information about Loken’s betrayal. When Loken discovered the Discs were missing, he sent several C’Thraxxi to fight Tyr.
- Tyr sacrificed himself to destroy Zakajz the Corruptor, and his resting place is in Tirisfal Glades, now the starting zone for the Undead. Several Legion Artifact questlines send players to the Tomb of Tyr, when the Twilight Cultists try to reawaken Zakajz in the hopes that he will corrupt Tyr. The Shadow Priest Artifact Xal'atath, Blade of the Black Empire has Old God themes in its appearance.
- In World of Warcraft Chronicle, we learn that Yogg-Saron was awakened when the roots of the World Tree, Andrassil, reached him. The world tree was originally planted to counteract the growth of Saronite, a byproduct of Yogg-Saron’s corruption.
- The Nerubian race was also a byproduct of Yogg-Saron’s influence. Originally a group of aqir that had settled in Northrend, due to their proximity to Yogg-Saron they mutated into the Nerubian race. You can find them in Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom. Their leader, Anub'arak, was the final boss in Trial of the Crusader.
- Andrassil was chopped down to avoid the corruption spreading to the inhabitants of Northrend. Vordrassil, the fallen world tree, lies in the heart of Grizzly Hills. Several quests send you to investigate the corruption, such as Vordrassil's Fall.
- The other trees were planted in Feralas, Ashenvale, Duskwood, and the Hinterlands. At Warcraft’s launch, these portals would spawn Green Dragons--world bosses who dropped powerful loot and recipes. Players would call each other to frantically assemble groups when one finally spawned! Unfortunately, these trees also served as avenues for the Old Gods to corrupt the Emerald Dream, and the Emerald Nightmare is now a raid in Legion.
- Saronite Ore was one of the main crafting materials in Wrath of the Lich King. Saronite nodes are primarily found in Storm Peaks, Icecrown, and Sholazar Basin and were used to craft Blacksmithing Weapons and Armor. Icecrown Citadel was built from Saronite, and Primordial Saronite is an item required for Shadowmourne. General Vezax, an Ulduar encounter, required players to defeat Saronite Vapors in order to replenish their mana. In Heroic Mode, a Saronite Animus spawned and the related achievement was I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning (10 player).
- Yogg-Saron’s whispers can be heard in areas filled with Saronite - Whisper Gulch and the Ymirhiem Saronite Mines:All that you know will fade.
Give in to your fear.
Hope is an illusion.
It WAS your fault.
Kill them all before they kill you.
Tell yourself again that these are not truly your friends.
There is no escape. Not in this life, not in the next.
They are coming for you.
They have turned against you. Now, take your revenge.
Trust is your weakness.
You are a pawn of forces unseen.
You will be alone in the end.
- Yogg-Saron is the final encounter in Ulduar, considered one of the most difficult raid encounters. Players who participated in the Realm-First kill with no assistance from the Keepers were awarded the title %s, Death's Demise, and Mimiron's Head was a 100% drop. Yogg-Saron was a unique 3 part encounter: in the first part, players slowly damaged Sara, the vrykul image of Yogg, by killing Faceless Guardians; in the 2nd phase, players defeated different types of tentacles while one group attacked his brain, and in the final phase, players handled constantly-spawning Immortal Guardians. Throughout the encounter, players had to closely monitor their Insanity - when you hit 100 Insanity, you became mind-controlled.
- Players witness three important events in Yogg-Saron’s brain, implying that the Old God was behind these key moments: the creation of the Dragon Soul by Neltharion, the assassination of King Llane by Garona, and the Lich King torturing Bolvar Fordragon. This image were tied to major events: Deathwing’s corruption, the sundering of Azeroth, the fall of Stormwind, and the fall of the Lich King.
- Y’shaarj was killed by the titans and his death unleashed the Sha in Pandaria. Defeating each Sha rewards Tranquil Master. In World of Warcraft Chronicle, we learn that the chaos caused by Y’saarj’s death convinced the Titans to imprison, rather than kill, the other three Old Gods.
- In the scenario Dark Heart of Pandaria, the excavators stumble upon something troubling. As they investigate the source of the dark energy, they come across the Heart of Y’shaarj. The Kor’kron forces confiscate it for Garrosh’s use - when brought back to life, it corrupts the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and reawakens the Sha of Pride. The Heart of Y'Shaarj is then hung in Orgrimmar.
- The Klaxxi are a faction of Mantid that worshipped Y’shaarj. While you can earn reputation with them, in the quest Shadow of the Empire, you learn that their loyalties lie with the Old Gods:Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: Before your history began, our empire was vast. We shared this world with our sister kingdoms, Ahn'Qiraj and Azjol-Nerub.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: Our Gods were many, and powerful. We mantid worshipped the seven heads of Y'Shaarj.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: Great was the Old One, and terrible was His wrath. He consumed hope and begat despair; He inhaled courage and breathed fear.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: When the usurpers came - the ones you call "Titans" - Y'Shaarj was destroyed.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: His last terrible breath has haunted this land ever since, but the shadows he left behind are mere whispers of his former glory.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: I tell you now, because you have earned this warning.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: Your gods are not our gods, outsider.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: If the Old Ones ever return, we mantid will once again stand by their side.
Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver says: The wisest among you will do the same.
- When the Heart of Y’shaarj is awakened, the Klaxxi show their loyalty. As such, the Paragons (reputation quest givers and revered warriors), are a group you face as the second-to-last encounter in Siege of Orgrimmar. While the Paragons are defeated, you can loot the battle pet Kovok, who became a fan-favorite in the quests The Kunchong Whisperer, Feed or Be Eaten, and Rampage Against the Machine.
- Garrosh forged a corrupted version of his signature weapon Gorehowl, using the Heart of Y’shaarj: Xal'atoh, Desecrated Image of Gorehowl. The original Gorehowl, a symbol of freedom wielded by his father Grom Hellscream, is found abandoned by Jaina and Lor’themar earlier in Siege of Orgrimmar. Xal'atoh, Desecrated Image of Gorehowl, imbued with the power of the Old Gods, whispers to the wielder:"All should bow before you...MAKE THEM!"
"All that you have accomplished, all that you have won...Yet still you lick the boots of kings."
"Caress your fear."
"Carve more slowly, that I may feed."
"Gorge your hatred."
"Embrace your rage."
"Eyes are the windows to the soul... Shutter them forever."
"I can taste the essence of your soul, it is sweet..."
"Pluck their wings...Leave them broken."
"Pay the cost of greatness."
"Voice your doubts."
"When you walk among the black forest, you will see..."
"You should kill them all. You must kill them all."
- There are a number of items named after Y’shaarj from Siege of Orgrimmar: Black Blood of Y'Shaarj, Penetrating Gaze of Y'Shaarj, and Revelations of Y'Shaarj. There are also some general items referencing the Old Gods: Horned Mace of the Old Ones, Cord of Black Dreams, Mantle of Looming Darkness, Visage of the Monstrous.
- Players can loot the battle pet Droplet of Y'Shaarj, which forms a baby Sha from Y’shaarj’s blood.
N’Zoth has not been seen in-game yet, but evidence points to him being trapped under the ocean in Vash’jir.
- Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron, an Archaeology solve, has whispers that alluded to a drowned god in a sunken city:At the bottom of the ocean even light must die
The drowned god's heart is black ice.
In the sunken city, he lays dreaming.
The fish know all the secrets. They know the cold. They know the dark.
In the land of Ny'alotha there is only sleep.
In the sleeping city of Ny'alotha walk only mad things.
Ny'alotha is a city of old, terrible, unnumbered crimes.
- While questing in the underwater zone Vash’jir, there are several references to an Old God underneath. The Undershell area of L’ghorek sprouts enormous tentacles. In ... It Will Come, the player summons Ick'thys the Unfathomable who states ”I laugh at you, feeble
, but I will oblige. Now, let us return to my master, below!” In the followup quest Unplug L'ghorek, Erunak Stonespeaker states:L'ghorek is the ancient that rests upon the shelf across from us. It is being controlled and its life energies slowly consumed by something immense beneath us.
There is a cave known as the Undershell down below L'ghorek. In that cave are three powerful ogre magi that are maintaining a ritual connecting the thing below with the ancient.
- The Dragon Soul boss Warlord Zon'ozz has lines about N’Zoth:Gaze into the heart of N'Zoth.
The will of N'Zoth corrupts you.
Your deaths shall sing of N'Zoth's unending glory.
Your skulls shall adorn N'Zoth's writhing throne.
Victory for Deathwing. For the glory of N'Zoth!
Your souls shall sate N'Zoth's endless hunger.
Once more shall the twisted flesh-banners of N'Zoth chitter and howl above the fly-blown corpse of this world. After millennia, we have returned.
The Darkmoon Faire is a monthly event in Azeroth with numerous minigames, pets, and toys in a carnival atmosphere. As with any carnival, there’s a dark vibe to it. However, there are a few troubling details in the Darkmoon Faire that can lead to Old God speculation!
- When the Whispers of the Old God logo was revealed, we noticed striking similarities to the Darkmoon Faire. The color scheme is quite similar—purple and green, with yellow eyeball accents and whimsical details.
- Professor Thaddeus Paleo is the NPC that turns all of your Darkmoon Cards into decks. Pretty harmless, but he lets it slip that he’s working for a higher power:Welcome to the Faire young one! We have collected wonders from all over the world for your perusal. Oh and please let me know if you manage to collect a set of the lesser Darkmoon cards, as the master...I mean I would be keenly interested in them.”
- The pillars for the Darkmoon Faire archway are exceptionally twisted, resembling tentacles instead of normal trees. Several of the whispers from the Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron reference a black forest.
- In a Blizzard blog about the Darkmoon Faire, written from the PoV of founder Silas Darkmoon, the location is explained as:Things have changed ‘round here: we’ve got an island all to ourselves now, and what an island it is. Mist-shrouded Darkmoon Island is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. It’s a place of mystery and wonder, and you wouldn’t believe the deals we made to get it… or who we made ‘em with.