In WoW: Shadowlands, the Old Gods do not play a role. C'Thun, Yogg Saron, and Y'shaarj have been dead for a long time, and N'Zoth's dream of the Black Empire was over in BfA. Or was it? The death of the Old Gods in World of Warcraft was not in vain, after all, they distracted us from the sinister machinations of a Void creature that has influenced the history of Azeroth from obscurity over the past millennia.

WoW: Furorion versus N'Zoth in Ny'alotha - ingame cinematic

The Old Gods in WoW

The story of the Old Gods in World of Warcraft is somewhat confusing. The reason for this is the numerous contradictions in the story, which have caused a lot of heated discussions in the WoW community in recent years. The forces of the Void originally played only a minor role in the Warcraft universe. For a long time, no one knew exactly how many Old Gods actually existed in Azeroth and how powerful they really were.

With the opening of Ahn'Qiraj and the return of C'Thun in Vanilla WoW, we faced a real Old God for the first time. However, the encounter turned out to be less than spectacular from a Lore fan's perspective. We got our first glimpse of the ruins of the Black Empire, and that was it. Even in the Temple of C'Thun, there were only a few Lore snippets about the Old Gods. That they were once so powerful, no one could really imagine at the time.

As the story progressed, the Old Gods played an increasingly important role in the lore. There was Yogg Saron in Wrath of the Lich King, the Old God who turned out to be a true controller of fate. In Cataclysm, we fought the minions of the Shadowhammer clan and Deathwing, who once fell victim to the corruption of the Old Gods.

The sinister Sha, the remnants of the Old God Y'Shaarj, wreaked death and destruction in Mists of Pandaria. And in Battle for Azeroth, the Old God N'Zoth rose from the depths of the ocean and finally showed his true colors in Ny'alotha, the Awakened City.

The great devourer

In the Warcraft Chronicles, the developers finally put all the lore puzzle pieces from the past years together into a coherent whole. In the Black Empire chapter, they explained that the Old Gods have existed since the beginning of creation. The creatures are not gods, but agents of the mysterious Void Lords who created them as parasites to corrupt the yet unborn souls of the world. The soul of Azeroth, the Sleeping Titan, was a particularly desirable victim. After all, she plays an important role in the prophecies of the Void.
G'huun is a bred creature and is thus not a true Old God. Source: Blizzard According to the Chronicles, several Old Gods landed on Azeroth eons ago. This side information is important because the author doesn't give an exact number of creatures that hit Azeroth. All we learn from the chronicles about the arrival of the Old Gods is that their hunger for power was endless, and they pounced on each other like bloodthirsty beasts at the first opportunity. In this struggle for survival, the four Old Gods devoured their siblings, and even in the age of the Black Empire, C'Thun, Yogg Saron, Y'shaarj and N'Zoth were constantly at war with each other.

Is there a fifth god hiding in the picture?

The image from Warcraft Chronicles shows five Old Gods. Source: buffed

This chaotic story was well summarized by Blizzard in a picture in the Warcraft Chronicles. This illustration features the crest of the Shadowhammer clan towering over the ruins of the Black Empire. The four Old Gods hide in the center of the image or snake around the edge. In addition to C'Thun, Yogg Saron, Y'Shaarj and N'Zoth, this neat frame features another creature that looks just as large and impressive as the enumerated Old Gods. So were there not four, but five great Old Gods in the history of WoW?

Take a close look at the graphic. The unknown Old God in the right corner of the image strongly reminds us of Cthulhu, a terrifying creature from the fantastic stories of American writer H.P. Lovecraft. Well, this little picture could be a small Easter Egg and a tribute to the creepy Cthulhu mythos, which Blizzard's authors once used as a template for the Old Gods in WoW. But let's assume that there is indeed an Old God in the picture. The best proof of this is the story of Xal'atath, the Dagger of the Shadow Priests.

The missing Old God

This Old God is surrounded by skulls and vines. Does this being have something to do with the cycle between life and death? Source: buffed

If you were a Shadow Priest in WoW: Legion, you unlocked the individual chapters of the history of Xal'atath bit by bit through artifact research. According to the ancient records, the mysterious dagger was created from the claw of an Old God in the Dark Ages of the Black Empire.

Exactly which god it was, we still don't know. One of many theories says that Y'Shaarj gave his priests their own claw for sacrificial rituals. Another story, however, speaks of another Old God who was devoured by his siblings and of whom only this one claw remained. Is this vanished Old God to be seen in the picture? Was Xal'atath his name?

Regardless of which god the claw once belonged to, the fact is that Xal'atath has a will of his own. In Legion, Xal'atath spoke about the Old Gods, but she (Xal'atath appears in BfA in the guise of a void elf) did not favor any particular god. She appeared as an independent being until the end. Xal'atath's way of speaking and her appearance did not really fit the brutal image of Y'Shaarj, and so it is reasonable to assume that she was once indeed an independent Alter God. Her supposed death may seem cruel at first glance, but for Xal'atath this stroke of fate turned out to be a true blessing.
Xal'atath forged a pact with N'Zoth in BfA. She may return to the Void if she delivers our hero to the Old God. Source: buffed

Knowledge is power

While C'Thun, Yogg Saron, Y'Shaarj, and N'Zoth rotted in the Titans' prisons for millennia, Xal'atath diligently gathered knowledge that seemed trivial to her siblings. Instead of subjugating mortals, she learned from them. The exciting thing about Xal'atath's story is that she sees the cosmos from a different angle than the other Old Gods who failed with their dream of the Black Empire. It takes more than a few whispers and cults to conquer Azeroth. Xal'atath knows that the mission - to corrupt the World Soul - requires more sophistication. In this cosmic game, the great Old Gods no longer fit in. That's why they won't play a big role in the story of World of Warcraft (buy now 14,99 € )

in the future.

Xal'atath disappeared in the Void Portal in BfA and no one knows when or how she will return. Will she share her knowledge with the Void Lords or continue to play a game of her own? Xal'atath resembles Elune in many aspects. After all, the Moon Goddess is surrounded by just as much mystery.

It is possible that Blizzard will solve this mystery as early as in the next WoW expansion. Keep in mind that with Xal'atath, the Void Lords have gained a small lead in the fight against the Light and the other cosmic powers. The big question currently hanging in the air is whether or not Xal'atath has considered the foul play of the Dread Lords in their plan.

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