Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The ordering of Draenor and Azeroth

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

According to various accounts, the Titans have had their hands on almost every inhabitable world in the universe. Certainly Algalon had to keep an eye on more than one planet in his impossibly-long life -- he says as much when we stop him from sending the signal that would re-originate our world. This fact alone is enough to indicate that in the Warcraft universe, worlds aren't quite as unique as we'd expect them to be. If the Titans had a hand in their ordering, they're likely going to have at least some similarities.

But it doesn't mean that every world we come across is going to be just like Azeroth. We've been presented with the idea, time and time again, that Azeroth is unique in the universe. It's special. There's something about it that sets it apart from every other world. And yet, when you hold Azeroth and Draenor next to each other and take a good long look at what they are, you can see the bare bones of what was once upon a time, a blueprint shared between the two. Unfortunately, the comparison raises more questions that it seems to answer -- but those questions are pretty important.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation based on known material. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Primals, Breakers, and Aspects

On Azeroth, the Titans clearly took a different route than the one they'd established on Draenor. Azeroth certainly has its giants -- they roam the coasts and mountains -- but the Titans also created the Aspects, imbuing them with the ability to watch over various aspects of life on Azeroth. This way, the world would be guarded by creatures that were native to it, creatures that were intelligent enough to understand that the world needed protecting, and that possessed the drive and will to do so on their own.

In the novel Dawn of the Aspects, we see exactly how this comes into play. As proto-drakes, Malygos, Ysera, Alexstrasza, Neltharion and Nozdormu are all slightly more cunning than the rest of their kin. When presented with the threat of Galakrond, who was stricken with some sort of strange disease that prompted a rise of undead proto-drakes, the five united and sought to defeat the monster before he destroyed them all.

And it was a rousing success, in part due to the help of Tyr, a Titanic Watcher who once resided at the Temple of Order, but found himself drawn to the proto-drakes, due to the emergence of Galakrond and the threat the massive proto-drake posed.

Tyr obviously saw that also. He smiled briefly as if to reassure the proto-dragon. "In our seeking to guide Azeroth's growth as a whole, we have been too long removed from the daily aspects of the world, too long from interacting with the life of that world. Without guidance, events somehow brought us Galakrond. With guidance, we and your kind might be able to set Kalimdor back on its destined path."

The death of order

Here's where it gets interesting -- certainly the Titans composed a world of order on Azeroth. They even set the Aspects into place to make sure everything was watched over. But that was not the first time they visited Azeroth. The first time they visited Azeroth, we may very well have had a world that looked a lot like Draenor -- primal, brutal. Savage. According to some accounts, the Titans then left, and came back when they realized the world had been overrun by the Old Gods -- and that's when they fought the Old Gods, found that they could not be killed, buried them in the ground, and established the Aspects.

But that's not exactly how it happened, not according to Dawn of the Aspects. Tyr was responsible for the creation of the Aspects, Tyr was the one who suggested the proto-drakes become something bigger than they were. Two cloaked figured performed whatever ritual, spell, or deed was necessary to create them -- and it's implied in the book that those creatures were also Titanic Watchers, like Tyr. Not Titans. So ... where were the Titans, during all of this? More importantly, did the Titans come back at all? Or was it their creations that fixed the world, having finally gained enough self-sentience to realize the Titans plans, however well-intentioned, were continually set on a course for failure?

This again conflicts with the existing timeline, because we assumed that Tyr was stationed at the Temple of Order, part of the area surrounding Ulduar, prison to Yogg-Saron. If this is correct, and he was in fact stationed at that Temple, then there was a much, much larger gap between the point in which the Old Gods were imprisoned and the point at which the Aspects were established than we'd previously thought. Enough time for the Titanic Watchers to remove themselves from the daily aspects of the world, enough time for Galakrond to rise and become the monstrosity that threatened not only the proto-drakes, but life on Azeroth itself.

Primal Draenor

What does this mean in terms of Draenor? It means that Draenor was deserted at the first stages of its ordering, left just like Azeroth to fend for itself. But unlike Azeroth, Draenor never had more than a cursory ordering. Plans were slapped into place -- here is where life should be fostered, cultured, created, and here are the giants that will accomplish that task. Rudimentary steps were taken to make sure that the earth would be formed, and the plant life would be formed, and the creatures that lived on the world would continue to do so and thrive.

Somewhere, at some point after the Titans left, Draenor went wrong -- in a manner similar to Azeroth. We know that the Old Gods had a presence on Draenor, because we saw them on Outland. We haven't seen any direct indication of their existence on this alternate Draenor, but there are hints and signs -- the slow de-evolution of the colossi into the ogres, the strange, mad ramblings of the Pale. Certainly part of that can be attributed to the void state of the naaru, but part of it -- the words they speak during the fight with Tectus in Highmaul -- sounds disturbingly similar to the tongues spoken by the Old Gods on Azeroth. "Yjj'rmr... Xzzolos...Kral'ach... Darkness speaks... A VOICE!"

It all speaks of a world gone wrong. It all speaks of chaos that had yet to fully erupt, whether through the efforts of the arrakkoa -- whose shining spires and gleaming architecture speak to not only a keenly intelligent race, but possible Titan roots
-- or the arrival of the draenei, an arrival which may have interrupted whatever erosion was slowly coming into play. Or maybe the draenei's arrival exacerbated the problem -- maybe it caused the problem to begin with. The Titans have shaped countless, countless worlds in the universe. Of them all, only one -- Azeroth -- is known to have been returned to, reshaped, re-ordered, deemed important enough to live on. But there's still one major question left, and regardless of where the issues on Draenor stem from, it still begs to be answered.

Where did the Titans go? Why, in all the struggle and fighting with the Burning Legion, Sargeras, the Old Gods, and everything else, have they never once made a return? Why was Draenor left to fend for itself, despite the obvious issues beginning to arise, issues that caused these Titan-created bastions of order to fight amongst themselves in some error of planetary programming? What happened to the Titans, and are we ever going to see them again?

While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.