- "In the time before time, when the world was still in its infancy, a battle between a Titan and a being of unimaginable evil and power raged on this very soil. The prophecy is unclear about whether or not the Titan was vanquished ... but it illustrates that a Titan fell."
- —Geologist Larksbane
The Old Gods (a.k.a. the Old Whisperings, the Elder Gods, the Old Lords or the Dread Elders) are mysterious, godlike and greatly malefic entities which ruled in tyranny and chaos over the infant universe before they were defeated and sequestered within the primordial world of Azeroth by the Titanic Pantheon. Only very few mortals have ever been aware of the Old Gods' existence. Fewer still consider them anything else than dire myths from the time before time truly began; a rumor of an ancient and dread past which should forever stay forgotten to the mortal races.
The Ordering of Azeroth
None now remember how Azeroth came to be, yet legends persist that the Titans travelled to the newly formed world--shaping the land and first seeding it with life. Beings as the Earthen were then created by the Pantheon to complete the mighty works the Titans had begun, and to prepare Azeroth for the time when it would give birth to the first mortal creatures. After the Titans had departed from Azeroth however, a great calamity befell the young world. From the endless void of the universe, unspeakable horrors known only as Old Gods came. The world buckled to its foundation under dark powers unimaginable, and the elements were thrown into such great disorder that Azeroth degenerated back into a state of primordial chaos, atrophy and destruction; a world where no life could ever form or exist.
The creations of the Titans too were subjugated by the Old Gods, becoming afflicted with the Curse of Flesh. The elements that comprised the world had become as the dark pawns of the Old Gods, and the Titans' creations had either been destroyed or were suffering a far worse fate. When the Titans discovered what transpired upon their youngest seedling, they made their return. The Pantheon struck down the four Elemental Lords who were devastating the world and shattered the Old Gods' citadels, which caused the greatest battle Azeroth would ever know to erupt. One by one, the Old Gods were defeated and sequestered, but from this great siege between the gods the rumor of a Titan having fallen echoes across the ages.
The Curse of Flesh however had become so malignant that it had bonded the infant world symbiotically to the Old Gods, and their destruction also would cause Azeroth's own annihilation. Instead, the Pantheon neutralized the power of the Old Gods, and sealed the entities away within the world's depths for the remainder of its existence. After the Old Gods were contained and their elemental servants banished, the spirits of the elements again settled into harmony and balance, and Azeroth's ability to birth and sustain life returned. The Titans reseeded the world, re-created the Earthen and empowered defensive measures, such as the Titanic watchers and the Dragon Aspects. They then departed from the world anew, leaving Azeroth to once again await the awakening of the first mortal beings.
Whispers of the Old Gods
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. 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 on Azeroth as well as the enslavement of the other dragonflights.
Malfurion Stormrage and Varo'then momentarily heard the Whisperings when they held the Demon Soul within their grasp. Malfurion has since stated that "Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the Old Whisperings", as well. 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 insidious Naga-- something they either accepted willingly to avoid their fate or which has been coerced on them. The other of her suriving Highborne who made landfall in the Tirisfal Glades are rumored to have succumbed to insanity after hearing these same Whisperings.
The most striking historic account of the Old Whisperings however is found within the ancient scrolls of lore of the Tauren, located in their capital city of Thunder Bluff at Elder Rise. The legend of creation of the formerly nomadic Tauren tribes makes a direct reference to the Whisperings, stating that the first incidents of Tauren committing acts of deceit, murder or warfare were because their early brethren "harkened to the dark whispers from deep beneath the world."
The War of the Ancients
During the War of the Ancients they corrupted the great benevolent Dragon Aspect Neltharion, to create for them the extremely powerful Demon Soul which they empowered as well, to have Sargeras use to unintentionally set them free. The Demon Soul was taken from Neltharion by Malfurion, then taken from him by Illidan and put in the Sargeras-summoning matrix, then taken back by Neltharion, who shortly thereafter was struck away by the Old Gods, who wished to have the summoning completed. Malfurion picked up the Demon Soul after Neltharion dropped it, and used it (in conjunction with Illidan) to prevent Sargeras' entry. It was then given to the dragons, stolen by Nekros ten-thousand years later, taken back by the dragons, and then destroyed.
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 again crushed by the very same Malfurion Stormrage.
Yogg-Saron remains imprisoned beneath Northrend but C'thun has been awakening for some time. C'thun recently awoke completely and was able to physically return to Azeroth. His lair lies in the ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, and packs of brave heroes have already begun to form and venture into the ruins. Perhaps they can destroy the evil god before he emerges to devastate Azeroth?
At some point during his stewardship, Loken came under the sway of Yogg-Saron and eventually betrayed both the Pantheon and his own brother, Thorim. He resides in Ulduar's Halls of Lightning, seeking to free Yogg-Saron and bring down the Pantheon.
The Blackfathom Deeps in Ashenvale was once, long ago, a temple to Elune. The Great Sundering ruined the temple and left it submerged in water and buried under rock. Corruption from the Old Gods seeped up and tainted the sacred moonwell. One may be in the Blackfathom Deeps. Hints that old gods lie in or under the Blackfathom Deeps. Not to be confused Aku'mai who was only influenced by the powers of the Old Gods.
The Old Gods are characterized as the sleeping evil beneath the earth, whose telepathic whispers eventually become indistinguishable from one's own maddened thoughts. Beyond the things attributed to the Old Gods as a whole, individual Old Gods share some common factors between them. Both C'Thun and Yogg-Saron are fought with a section of their bodies sticking out of the ground in the center of a room, with an unknown amount of their forms remaining invisible below. They both appear to have countless tentacles below ground, which can come to the surface to aid in combat. The battles with both Old Gods call for damage to be done to something within each Old God's submerged form to weaken or remove a shield: Killing a Flesh Tentacle in the Stomach of C'Thun and weakening the Brain of Yogg-Saron in the Mind's Eye (which may or may not be a physical place in the God).
The avatars of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron, the qiraji and faceless ones respectively, are similar in a few ways. Faceless ones have similar posture and shape to qiraji gladiators (Which may be due to recycling of wireframes, to some extent). Also, both groups have a general with vaguely similar names, General Rajaxx and General Vezax, and a religious leader, The Prophet Skeram and Herald Volazj (Harbinger Skyriss too, but his affiliation is unknown).
The Number of Old Gods
Depending on the source, three, four, or five Old Gods lie imprisoned. Some of these sources seem to imply that these numbers were the limit to the number of Old Gods. The roleplaying game seems to imply that there were more than five Old Gods, including those imprisoned or killed.
- The Warcraft III manual states that five Old Gods were chained beneath the world.
- The Pantheon shattered the Old Gods' citadels and chained the five evil gods far beneath the surface of the world. Source: 
- According to the War of the Ancients Trilogy, there are three Old Gods still living, imprisoned and chained by the Titans deep beneath the surface of Azeroth. There may be more however, these three are indicated to have formed some sort of alliance in order to escape their imprisonment.
- According to "The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth", four Old Gods were imprisoned beneath the world. This could perhaps be reconciled with the War of the Ancients trilogy if it were taken to include the fallen C'Thun in the count of the imprisoned Gods. This is however unlikely as C'thun was believed dead and not imprisoned. Note that the version of this chapter presented in the story section of the official site does not reference the number of Old Gods.
- "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." 
In the Burning Crusade expansion, a group of Arakkoa known as the Dark Conclave attempted to summon an entity described as an "ancient and powerful evil" into Outland. It is nearly identical in appearance to the first named Old God, C'Thun.
Named Old Gods
- Main article: C'Thun
C'Thun is one of the two Old Gods to be named so far, having received that name from his servants the Qiraji. He was defeated in Silithus in a battle which also may have resulted in the defeat of a Titan. C'Thun was believed to have been permanently defeated, but surfaced once again as the driving force behind the Qiraji. He is trapped deep beneath the ruined temples of Ahn'Qiraj where he has exerted his will for thousands of years over the Qiraji, who in turn command the Silithid.
C'Thun is the final boss in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj.
- Main article: Yogg-Saron
Described by the bear-god Ursoc as "the beast with a thousand maws", Yogg-Saron is only the second Old God to be explicitly confirmed as such. The entity refers to itself in words as "the lucid dream", "the god of death" or the "true face of death", and appears to be secreting a substance called Saronite across Northrend, which is capable of driving any who come into contact with it to insanity.
Slinkin the Demo-gnome discovered shortly before his death that there are mysterious connections between Yogg-Saron and the Scourge. In his last note, he claims to have heard the undead utter the name "Yogg-Saron" with tremendous hatred and contempt, and that this is usually followed by loud outbursts of rage. Yet, the Scourge appear to be mining for Saronite on industrial scales.
Yogg-Saron's underground lair appears to extend through much of east-central Northrend; his influence has been felt directly in the Grizzly Hills (Vordrassil, the Grizzlemaw furbolgs and Ursoc), Dragonblight (Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom, with faceless ones and a sect of the Twilight's Hammer dedicated to Yogg-Saron) and the Storm Peaks (Ulduar, and the corrupted Titanic guardian Loken). The Old God is located within his prison deep inside Ulduar, and is the final boss of the raid instance, much as C'Thun was the final boss in Ahn'Qiraj.
Little was known about the Old Gods and their mad worshippers; practically no one on Azeroth even knew the Old Gods existed until C'Thun made its presence felt in Ahn'Qiraj. The Old Gods do possess worshippers though, even from their prison below the earth. Most followers of the Old Gods have lost all sanity and are wholly evil. The Old Gods are imprisoned or sleeping, but so great is their power that their unconscious but destructive maddening auras seep out and influence some denizens of Azeroth. In some cases, evil but sane individuals turn deliberately to worship of the Old Gods out of spite when the individual feels other more mainstream powers have mistreated them. Anarchists also sometimes turn to worship of the Old Gods out of a desire to destroy the world; some believe a new, better world will rise up in the wake of the destruction. In either case, these worshippers are deluded or misinformed and any who do manage to make even the barest real contact with the Old Gods go hopelessly and irrevocably insane.
Queen Azshara's has managed to make a pact with the Old Gods on behalf of her people. They took on new shapes, new powers and became the hateful, serpentine Naga. More recently naga have begun to reappear around the coasts of the world, creating settlements on land, most noticeably in the ruins of their old cities in Azshara. It seems as though they are now followers of the Old Gods.
Somehow, one of the Old Gods has managed to make the modern Twilight's Hammer Clan clan its pawn; and since that time, the clan's numbers and power have dramatically increased. Even humans and other former members of the Alliance flock to join the service of the elemental lords and help bring about the complete destruction of Azeroth. The largest groups of the Twilight's hammer now camp near the locations where they believe the Old Gods and their minions are sealed away; many wait for C'Thun's awakening in Silithus, and others serve Ragnaros in the Blackrock Depths along side the Dark Iron dwarves.
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. C'Thun appears to be based on Cthulhu and Yogg-Saron appears to be based on the Outer God Yog-Sothoth. 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). Interestingly, the origin of the Titans is alien to Azeroth, while the Old Gods are native to it, swapping the names and some facts. An alternative name of the Old Gods is the Elder Gods.
- Old Gods speculation
- Tribunal of Ages
- The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth
- Prophecy of C'Thun
- Lorgalis Manuscript
- Elemental Lieutenants
- Twilight's Hammer clan
- ^ Waking Legends, WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Malfurion:
"Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings.".
- ^ The Master's Glaive, WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Onu:
"That cult worships the old, old lords of the earth. Lords defeated long ago.".
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25626575587&sid=1
- ^ a b The Sundering, 157
- ^ The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.
- ^ The Founding of Quel'Thalas. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. The Sundering. ISBN 978-0-7434-2898-9.
- ^ Waking Legends, WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Malfurion:
"Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings.".
- ^ WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Elder Bluff. Scrolls of Lore:
"As the children of the earth roamed the fields of dawn, they hearkened to dark whispers from the deep beneath the world.".
- ^ Dark Factions, 88
- ^ Dark Factions, 164
- ^ Lands of Mystery, 8
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, 169
- ^ History of Azeroth
- ^ Warcraft Lore FAQ 1
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/story/chapter1.html#3