[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ld God: a term that inspires insanity in the minds of World of Warcraft’s denizens and the players themselves.
When Warlords of Draenor was initially unveiled, the expansion was met with one firm idea shared by forum goers and most lore enthusiasts: this will be an expansion devoid of Old Gods. We, the players, are venturing to an alien planet set in an alternative timeline where the Orcs never drank from the blood of Mannoroth (because of Garrosh’s intervention), thus causing them to never fall under the lull of the Burning Legion. The original image of this potentially savage expansion, whose full setting is that of a primordial Draenor where the planet is still in tact and lively, was that it’d be centralized around the conflict between the Iron Horde and the oncoming heroes pushing back their assault on our timeline.
That is no longer the case.
In Warlords of Draenor the orcs will not drink Mannoroth the Destructor’s blood and put themselves under the influence of Kil’jaeden.
No, the Old Gods themselves have a very sound presence on the last place we’d honestly expect: Draenor itself. The fact that their presence exists not only on Azeroth, but Draenor as well, gives a more foreboding feeling to whatever they have planned, and raises a few questions:
Why are the Old Gods on Draenor? What is their plan? How many of them are there, truly?
After extensive research, and newfound information datamined from the recent deployment of Warlords of Draenor‘s alpha client, I’ve found evidence that suggests the rabbit hole with the Old Gods goes much, much deeper than any of us had imagined.
My theories, if right, connect the Draenor from thirty years in the past to the Old God’s current machinations; they serve as a complete linkage between not only the Old Gods, but the Hour of Twilight, the Twilight’s Hammer, and even the Arakkoa (ancient birdlike denizens of Outland/Draenor) themselves too.
Let’s get started:
The Arakkoan Society worships an Old God
Yes, you heard that right: the Arakkoas worship an Old God. This first point shouldn’t come all to shocking to many of you; it’s been foreshadowed since The Burning Crusade that the Arakkoa’s allegiance is tethered to a being bathed in the dark.
The first time this idea had been hatched was, as I said, back in Burning Crusade. For those that recall, there was a certain quest chain in Shadowmoon Valley that was based around aiding an Arakkoa in disrupting the plans of the cult he had split from: the Dark Conclave.
The quest line culminates in destroying the Dark Conclave’s ritual to summon an “ancient and powerful evil.” When you arrive on the scene to actually end the attempted summoning, you’re met with a shadowy apparition at the center of the ritual that holds an EXACT resemblance to C’Thun.
Furthermore, when others decided to dig deeper, the actual name of the NPC is “Summoned Old God.” A developer for Blizzard came outright and stated during a developer questionnaire that the being is an Old God, and IS NOT one of the same Old Gods trapped beneath Azeroth.
Not an Old God, they said. Uh huh.
For many, this seemed odd though: why would the Arakkoa be worshipping and summoning an Old God, especially when a majority of the society was worshipping the king/deity known as Terokk/Rhukmar (more on these two later)? That reason remains a mystery; yet, the link between the Arakkoa and the Old Gods offers up some more answers about them: it offers up a running pattern in the Old God’s behavior between the years since the beginning of Azeroth and present day in the Warcraft universe.
The Old Gods are “salvation”
Let me elaborate before going more-so in depth: in no way am I saying the Old Gods are saviors at all; their means are to cause chaos and destruction. However, despite this, the Old Gods are seen as a last resort for a race or society when there seems to be no other route for survival.
As I had previously said, the Arakkoa offer up a link that helps explain the Old God’s behavior (and even plans) to such an extent. Here’s how:
The Dark Conclave, the cult that had been attempting to summon the Old God that dwells upon Draenor (who actually has a name, but more on that later), had previously worshipped Rukhmar. Rukhmar, also known as Terokk (it’s much more likely they are the same being as of Warlords of Draenor), is the traditionally worshipped deity (or rather king) of Arakkoan culture; he is completely venerated and revered. So what would cause such a shift in allegiance? Simple: desperation.
Desperation makes any person do a number of crazy things for whatever they desire; for some it’s lust, for some it’s reverence, for some it’s power, while for others it’s simply survival. The Dark Conclave, and furthermore the Sethekk (another name for this sect of Arakkoa), fell under the influence of Draenor’s Old God when he promised them salvation after Terokk/Rukhmar randomly disappeared one day. The cult, seeing as their formerly worshipped god simply abandoned them, was desperate for guidance and aid; I think you can connect the dots from there.
But the Arrakoa aren’t the only ones who have fallen under this sway of madness purely for survival. Who else has? Well, that’s simple: the Twilight’s Hammer, the former Highborne of Zin-Azshari, and the Tol’vir.
The Twilight’s Hammer, one of the main antagonists throughout Cataclysm and a major figurehead of villainy throughout Warcraft‘s history, have always been a clan obsessed with bringing about the apocalypse. Their clan, formerly of Draenor and Orcish nature, was almost completely obliterated by order of Orgrim Doomhammer after finding out Cho’gall, their leader, was attempting to open the Tomb of Sargeras. The clan was thrust into desperation just like the Arakkoa, and through unknown means after some time, they found their allegiance now placed in the tendrils of the Old Gods for salvation.
Cho’gall, first of the ogre magi and chieftain of the Twilight’s Hammer
The Highborne of Zin-Azshari, the location of the former Well of Eternity, were shifted into Naga by the whisperings of an Old God as their civilization was thrust into the depths of the ocean. Desperation, once more, caused the Old Gods to rear their ugly heads up and offer “aid” to the denizens of Azeroth that required it.
The Tol’vir, too, fell under this sway by aligning with Deathwing (and thus N’zoth/the Old Gods) after receiving promises of regaining their old stone bodies (that had been turned to flesh via the Curse of Flesh, which was also caused by the Old Gods). What more desperation is there than placing your trust in the very malevolent beings that caused you to originally become desperate?
The point is this: the Old Gods are EXTREMELY opportunistic; their whispers aren’t heard until the darkness is beginning to creep in. They offer themselves as beacons of false hope, as prophets of dark salvation, purely to get what they want: complete chaos and evil. To their many minions and pawns, they are “salvation.”
Moving on, you know how I had mentioned that the Old God on Outlands/Draenor had a name? Well, there’s not one, but possibly two Old Gods on Draenor. Who are they?
Draenor’s Old God is named Arakk, and Anzu is linked to it
Yep, there is an Old God on Draenor, and its name is Arakk. After examining evidence taken from a recently found Russian World of Warcraft site (the same that aided the theory that Terokk and Rhukmar are the same being), the finders of this newfound information have cited Arakk as the venerated “God of the Sun” by the high nobles of the Arakkoan society. I find it highly likely that this creature, this Old God, is most likely the same from the Dark Conclave.
Arakk, the supposed Old God of Draenor, is held as a god to many in Arakkoan society from the little information that’s been datamined. He’s even been given the title of “Dread God” in further reading. Eerily enough, two other major pieces of evidence, images to be precise, were excavated from the site:
Tentacles on a dagger, almost as if usurping or corrupting it. Where have we seen weapons where tendrils and darkness in general seem to be usurping whatever item they’re attached to? Why, Siege of Orgrimmar! Where a multitude of weapons that drop from the bosses within hold corruption from the dead Old God Y’shaarj.
This is the more shocking of the two images, and I was a bit thrown back when I saw this. Does this image bring back any memories to Ulduar, where stained glass windows (much like this one) sported the hallway leading to descent into Yogg Saron’s chamber? The stained glass window, from what I’ve been able to gather, is an actual veneration of Arakk; it’s a “painting” of his image, his face, which definitely seems to fit the description of “Dread God” and more-so “Old God.”
Either Blizzard saw an opportunity to further the story with the Old Gods by taking the idea of more stained glass windows displaying the Old Gods and their horrors, or this has been in the works for their writing since Ulduar’s construction. The earlier seems much, much more likely but in either case this development is huge: this window forges an actual link to the Old Gods that exist upon Azeroth (but, more on that later).
One final note on Arakk: isn’t it odd how similar in nature his name is to the Arakkoan? Though I said earlier that the Arakkoan turned to the Old God for guidance, Outlands itself and our own timeline are set 30 years ahead of the events of the alternative timeline that is Warlords of Draenor, the thought makes you wonder why exactly the Arakkoan (or more-so the Dark Conclave) decided to stop worshipping Arakk for some time until we arrived on Outlands. My hypothesis is as follows for how everything played out with Arakk, up until present day Azeroth:
Arakk, through whatever means, came to Draenor. After ingraining himself on the planet just as every Old God had done upon Azeroth, he decided to “create” life; that life is the Arakkoan. There’s too similar of a name between Arakk and Arakkoan to dismiss it as coincidence; like C’Thun to the Qiraji, Arakk created the Arakkoans. Something during those 30 years caused the Arakkoan to turn away from Arakk, because as Warlords of Draenor takes place there are both high, noble Arakkoan as well as the lesser Arakkoans who in fact worship Terokk/Rhukhmar. The Arakkoan as time passed seem to have taken up a deity system similar to other denizens on Azeroth (e.g. the Night Elves). Basically, society broke down, split, Arakk reared his ugly head back into Arakkoan society when everything was at its darkest/corruption had begun, started pulling strings, and that’s why the evil Arakkoan that we know in our own timeline are the way they are, and why there’s a cult trying to summon him.
Though a majority of the Arakkoan still worshipped Terokk/Rhukhmar during Burning Crusade, it’s obvious that Arakk’s influence was beginning to take shape once more within Arakkoan society. My guess is that Arakk sort of fell behind the scenes when whatever happened to the higher up Arakkoan who still retained the ability to fly happened. The Arakkoan society, as Arakk for whatever reason was buried in the past, marginally forgot about their “Dread God” and looked to other beings (e.g. Terokk/Rhukmar as I’ve been saying) for worship.
Could Anzu the Raven God have some sort of connection to Arakk or the Old Gods?
Moving on, remember the sought after Raven Lord mount in Burning Crusade? Well, after examining evidence taken from the aforementioned Russian WoW site, it seems highly likely that Anzu has some type of link to the Old Gods. The Naaru themselves “do not say anything about this evil being”; for the Naaru to not even acknowledge another creature’s existence, they have to be something truly malevolent or dark. In the article, apparently it was found out that Anzu had a possible hand in the corruption of the Emerald Dream (or tried to simply start trouble there on his own accord).
Isn’t it quite eerie that these two beings took such similar actions to the other Old Gods that exist on Azeroth?
There are seven Old Gods in total
I initially thought there were only five Old Gods. I was under the impression that C’Thun, Yogg Saron, N’Zoth, Y’Shaarj, and whatever fifth Old God round out the “pantheon” of Old Gods that were sealed beneath Azeroth.
This initial thought of mine is actually still correct, but only in that there are only five Old Gods on Azeroth. If you aren’t catching onto what I’m implying, it’s this: Draenor’s Old God(s) is/are linked directly to Azeroth’s, which rounds up the total number of Old Gods to seven.
Now, where did I come to this conclusion that there are seven Old Gods? It actually wasn’t simply from taking Arakk and Anzu (if Anzu is an Old God) and adding them to the other supposed five. Datamined from a recent Alpha build, the following item gained through Archaeology that is most likely gained from the Orcish culture:
[Doomsday Prophecy] – This tablet speaks of the end times. From what you can decipher, the crude scrawls of multiple authors speak of at least seven different and sometimes conflicting versions of a final reckoning for all of the inhabitants of Draenor. Eerily, the iconography of a flaming hammer is clearly depicted – is this the ancestral origin of the Twilight’s Hammer clan?
The number seven, oddly enough, keeps popping up when it comes to the Old Gods. The artifact talks about “seven different and sometimes conflicting versions of a final reckoning for all inhabitants of Draenor.” Now, what else has the number of seven and is directly linked to the Old Gods?
Why, Y’Shaarj’s heads of course!
Could this be the most accurate depiction of seven-headed Y’Shaarj?
Art courtesy of CrickeT9293
There are seven Sha. Why did Y’Shaarj have exactly seven heads? I’ll tell you why: it’s because for whatever reason, just like Satanic worshippers venerate the number “666,” the Twilight’s Hammer, the Arakkoan, the minions of the Old Gods all and all hold the number seven as some godly number. The number stands for their number of masters; it’s too much of a coincidence for there to be exactly seven descriptions of the end times on Draenor while Y’shaarj himself had exactly seven heads.
I think these seven prophecies of the apocalypse all describe what each individual Old God will do to the universe itself. That’s exactly why they’re “conflicting.” In a previous article of mine, I wrote that I was convinced that N’Zoth would end up being the main antagonist of World of Warcraft. My basis for this was he simply sat by and allowed his other “brethren” to make attempts to usurp all life on Azeroth, only for each of them to fail and be “slain” (since apparently “Old Gods can’t die”). Furthermore, stated in Warlord Zo’nozz’s Dungeon Entry from back in Dragon Soul during Cataclysm, it’s stated N’Zoth “waged endless war against the forces of C’Thun and Yogg Saron”. Why would one of their own do that unless each Old God had its own plan and means of executing it? It’s simple: like I said, each individual Old God has its own operation to end the universe and spread chaos, but all plans, despite their split nature, are linked; they are the Hour of Twilight itself.
But what does all of this mean? How do the Arakkoan, Arakk, Anzu, and Draenor itself all connect to Azeroth as a whole? Despite the number seven, despite the stained glass… What does it all mean?
I said at the beginning of this article that the Warlords should be the least of our worries when we finally set foot on Draenor. The reason for this is very grim, and offers some awful foreshadowing for Azeroth’s future.
Draenor is linked to the Hour of Twilight, and N’Zoth may be behind it all
Remember the Hour of Twilight? Remember us walking away into the sunset with Deathwing’s shattered jaw as a trophy, happy as can be, with everything hunky-dory in the world?
Well, unfortunately the Hour of Twilight did not end when Deathwing was obliterated; Deathwing’s destruction itself was part of the plan.
Recall how Deathwing was destroyed: the Aspects were forced to pour all of their power into the Dragon Soul, and in one blast from the ancient artifact it sent Deathwing into the grave; however, the Aspects in turn lost their immortality and their near godlike powers.
Who was the biggest threat to the Old Gods outside of the Titans? Simple: the Aspects.
The Aspects lost their immortality and near godlike powers to stop Deathwing. Did we lose some of our last allies with enough power to challenge the Old Gods?
Just like this insane twist of events, Warlords of Draenor is going down the same path as Cataclysm with the Hour of Twilight, but much, much more subtly.
A stained glass window, exactly like those in Ulduar, painting the portrait of some terrible creature was the first tether connecting the events that take place on Draenor to the Hour of Twilight. The second tether derives from the number seven, which gives too much of an obvious nod towards Y’Shaarj’s seven heads, along with each Old God possibly having its own allegiance if our assumptions about N’Zoth are correct.
With all of this in mind, I’ve come to the following conclusion, and as I said, it’s one as dreadful as you can concoct:
The Old Gods, or more-so just N’Zoth (since he’s been painted as the sort of “mastermind” behind most horrific events in Warcraft‘s history), wanted a direct link to be forged to past Draenor. It’s because during this time period, Arakk and Anzu are still active; they don’t need to be summoned or resuscitated as they obviously had to be in our present timeline. By forging that link, the Old Gods have created a direct line to their other two (or just one) brethren. The chaos caused on Draenor, by the Warlords and high nobles of the Arakkoan alike, causes more dissent for the universe as we know it; it weaves further darkness into all that we know, and plants further doubt into the minds of any living being.
Furthermore, if N’Zoth is somehow the one pulling the strings from afar, it holds him even more-so in the limelight of being the main “mastermind” of the Old Gods. With this link forged to past Draenor, and the heroes distracted with the threats there, it gives N’Zoth even more time to build his forces, build power, and maybe even break free from his prison itself.
The events, however they play out upon Draenor, are all linked to the machinations of the Old Gods. They haven’t been only linked to Azeroth; they’ve been burrowing their deep-reaching tendrils of madness into the heart of Draenor, too. Arakk and Anzu are connected to the Azerothian Old Gods, and if Anzu himself isn’t an Old God then it implies there’s either a sixth Old God beneath Azeroth, or there’s another Old God on another planet that’s also looking to “reconnect” with its family.
The Old Gods, though most likely not complete allies, are pulling all of the strings around us. Each has its own plan, with one (N’Zoth) seemingly standing above the rest. Despite each plan so far failing, they’ve each caused massive losses on our side (the Aspects losing their powers) and weakened us immensely.
Don’t venture to Draenor thinking you’ve left the Old Gods behind; their reach is much longer and their grasp is much tighter than we initially thought.