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The Old Gods were the original deities of Azeroth and major antagonists in the World of Warcraft.
Although imprisoned by the godlike Titans and thought dead by many the Old Gods have continually sought the destruction of Azeroth via sanity-shattering whisperings and manipulation: unimaginably powerful and malevolent the Old Gods are said to be amongst the most powerful beings to exist in the Warcraft mythos and it takes the full power of all titans to defeat them since even the most powerful titan like Sargeras cannot take them all alone. Their power is so great that Sargeras will plead a peaceful death, if they are manage to get out of their prison.
Inspired by the deities of Lovecraft the Old Gods are just as dangerous and rarely seen, however in recent times two confirmed Old Gods have made their presence known to adventurers and more may well rise in the future.
The three confirmed Old Gods that have resurfaced in Azeroth are C'thun, Yogg-Saron, Y'shaarj and N'Zoth - the two firsts of whom were responsible for immense suffering before their defeat by brave adventurers. N'zoth is largely responsible for the corruption of Neltharion, who would become the evil Deathwing. A fourth Old God has been named, Y'Sharrj, and is the only Old God that is known to be completely dead. However before its death, it cursed Pandaria with shadows of its former self, the Sha. However, despite being dead, Y'Shaarj's heart still lived and was revived by Garrosh Hellscream, becoming Garrosh's ultimate weapon. In the final battle with Garrosh in the Siege of Orgrimmar, Garrosh absorbed all the powers of Y'Shaarj's heart and still lost. The heart lost all its power with Garrosh's defeat and thus, Y'Shaarj was now truly dead. The true death of Y'Shaarj also destroyed the curse of the Sha.
It is possible that the only reason the mortal adventurers were able to defeat C'thun and Yogg-Saron was because they were still weakened by their long imprisonment and were still rebuilding their strength; still, it is thought they may be still alive, as it is said they cannot be destroyed without destroying the planet itself.
- 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 Yog-Sothoth, one of the Outer Gods. 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 mostly alien to Azeroth, while the Old Gods are native to it, swapping the names and some facts. Many an alternative name, such as Dread Elders or Old Ones, exist of the Old Gods.
- In the Dragon Age universe, they have the same names but the appearances and very existence of which differ greatly.
- It is unknown exactly how powerful they are, but given that the Titans themselves had immense difficulty in beating them, it can be assumed that even the Burning Legion would tremble beneath their full power.
- In the the Valley of Bones, there lies a pair of Dead Goliaths who have been rumored to be the corpses of Old Gods.