The Origination of Azeroth
Recently I have found myself having more and more discussions as to the origins of Azeroth, especially after highlighting Algalon as one of my favorite, if obscure, characters in Warcraft lore. What comes to mind in particular is the discussions I have had regarding the event timelines in the origination of Azeroth, and in classic chicken or egg format, I give you this week’s lore highlight. Which came first, the Titans or the Old Gods?
Now, I do not really know why, but there seems to be a major point of contention here as to whether or not the Titans or the Old Gods were the first to impress their vision upon Azeroth, and while a lot of people are comfortable with dismissing it as irrelevant, I find myself completely unwilling to dismiss it at all. It makes an enormous difference in the development of Azeroth whether or not the Titans or the Old Gods came first.
Here lies a world that the Titans see fit to originate and bring life to, so Aman’thul and his Pantheon land on Azeroth and plant the seed races–Earthen Dwarves, Metallic Vrykul, and Mechanical Gnomes–then they ascend to the cosmos and go back to impressing order upon the galaxy. An unfathomable amount of time passes, and at some point in pre-history the Old Gods either develop or come to Azeroth. Now, I will take this time to note that we do not know anything of the origins of the Old Gods. Are they fundamentally evil or just another race of travelers with their own malevolent plans for the universe? Surely the Titans are not the only creatures in the universe with a vision of a perfect universe. All we know is that the Old Gods become a part of Azeroth, and whether they simply developed there or came to Azeroth in the Titans’ wake, they begin to bind themselves to the very essence of Azeroth.
The Old Gods create the Curse of Flesh, a curse that makes the seed races easier to assimilate and subjugate–the stone dwarves eventually became the fleshy dwarves they are today, and the mechanical metal gnomes eventually became the annoying, high pitched, technologically inclined creatures we see now. The Vrykul de-evolve into the tribal inhabitants of Northrend, and the birth of humans on Azeroth is said to be a severe side effect of the Curse upon the Vrykul. Using the Curse and their elemental servants, Ragnaros the Firelord, Therazane the Stonemother, Al’Akir the Windlord, and Neptulon the Tidehunter, the Old Gods obtain control over Azeroth and steep it in chaotic darkness.
The Titans return to Azeroth to either observe or stimulate the development of the seeds that they had planted, and what they find is a planet shrouded in the dark will of the Old Gods and their elementals, which as we know is about as far from the profound order of the Pantheon as a world can get, and so they do battle with the elementals and eventually banish them to the Elemental Plane from which they came. In defeating the elemental lords, the Titans come to learn of the Old Gods and their Curse of Flesh. The Pantheon attacks the Old Gods, determined to rid Azeroth of their malevolence and Curse, but in slaying the Forgotten One in Darkshore the Titans are forced to re-evaluate their plan. The forest around it is instantly and forever corrupted. Aman’thul and the Pantheon decide that the Old Gods have become so rooted in the essence of Azeroth that removing them would not leave enough of Azeroth to bring order to–and so instead they chain the chaosbringers beneath the ground in celestial prisons so that they might bring an end to the corruption of Azeroth and salvage the order they sought to install upon it in the first place. It is from within those prisons, lying dormant, dreaming of the day that they might be set free, that the Old Gods begin to whisper to the denizens of Azeroth, its very protectors, slowly corrupting them over the centuries it takes to bring us to modern Azeroth.
Why can the Pantheon simply not remove the Curse of Flesh? The simple answer is that the corruption is likely irreversible, and weight is lent to that theory by such things as the Forge of Wills being installed within the Halls of Ulduar to recreate the seed races.
Why not just reorginate the planet? Algalon hints that reoriginating is not so simply done as it is said in that he is there to request a planetary reorigination from the Pantheon. With countless worlds to monitor and countless more to bring order to, I have to assume that the Pantheon was simply most comfortable with their decision to contain the corruption rather than destroy it.
So which came first? The Titans–though it could be argued that the Pantheon did not detect the Old Gods upon first coming to Azeroth, I find that hard to believe as their plan from the moment they take the stage was to drown it in chaos, but the origins of Azeroth are only the beginning. Countless centuries later the mortal races of Azeroth are just now learning about the Old Gods having even existed–much less where they might be and what exactly they are.
For the Pantheon!