Since World of Warcraft’s become the main source of most lore involving the citizens of Azeroth, most of the main plots have revolved around, in some way or another, the concept of the Old Gods.
In fact, I would argue that the Old Gods are one of the biggest threats, if not the biggest threat, to the stability of Azeroth. They also have shown over and over again that they have the ability to make even the strongest warriors of Azeroth go mad.
As always, I’m breezing through the background stories to get to the nitty-gritty.
But let’s start at the beginning with “What are the Old Gods?” According to various in-game books, the Old Gods were the rulers of Azeroth before the Titans came to the planet in an effort reshape the planet to a more hospitable planet. The Old Gods are fashioned after the creatures of H.P. Lovecraft’s writings, and the similarity between the Old Gods and Lovecraft’s creations is just too obvious.
Before the Titans came to Azeroth, the planet was hell. The Old Gods ruled the elementals that lived on Azeroth. According to everything currently known in Warcraft, the Old Gods would’ve completely ripped Azeroth apart if the Titans have not interfered.
Unfortunately, the Titans found that the Old Gods were so interwoven into the structure of Azeroth that it would be impossible to destroy the creatures without destroying the planet. So the Titans chained the Old Gods up in Azeroth, attempting to make the creatures powerless to torture Azeroth’s future inhabitants.
They failed miserably.
Throughout the events of World of Warcraft, the Old Gods have had their hand in every major event, making mortal and immortal creatures alike go mad with constant whisperings. Old God C’Thun was the driving force behind The War of the Shifting Sands; Old God Yogg-Saron was a major force of insanity in Northrend during the final war against the Arthas/Lich King hybrid, and the unseen Old God N’Zoth had a hand in driving Deathwing towards insanity.
As of Mists of Pandaria 5.2, players have “defeated” C’Thun and Yogg-Saron. I use the term defeated in quotations because Old Gods cannot truly die by mortal hands. They are simply slowed down, like a penny slows down a freight train if put on the track. Problem is the train is slowed down very, very little. And the penny is flattened in the process.
Right now, the people of Azeroth are being flattened. Yes, up until this point, the Horde and Alliance have defeated all the pawns the Old Gods have used. But the Old Gods keep driving new, powerful warriors insane. It’s getting bad.
The evils of Azeroth are and always will be fear and unsureness. It was fear that drove Arthas to take up Frostmorne. It is fear that makes the whispers of the Old Gods sound so right. Fear and unsureness can lead to insanity. And while this is a common theme in some epics, the Warcraft universe is moving closer and closer towards a period of pure fear. And if that happens, insanity wins. If that happens, the Old Gods win.