Dragonflights of the Old Gods and Mystery of the Dragon Isles (Speculation)
Dragons have long been an integral part of the World of Warcraft, although they've seen a significant decline since the events of
. But while the dragonflights which aided players in Dragon Soul are still struggling as their ranks rapidly thin and powers wane, the Black, Twilight, Infinite, and Chromatic dragons seem to be have been gaining power, returning in larger numbers despite setbacks suffered over recent years. With the Infinite dragonflight returning in the 8.1.5 Tailoring questline, we thought it was a good time to review the status the of major dragonflights in
Battle for Azeroth
The Twilight Dragonflight was created by Sintharia, the prime consort of Deathwing, using eggs stolen from other Dragonflights and infused with magic. Although she believed the experiments to be her own idea,
Night of the Dragon
revealed the idea was planted by the Old Gods - further evidence of their obsession with dragonkind. While players destroy a clutch of twilight eggs in
, and defeat Halion in
Wrath of the Lich King
, the Twilight Dragonflight continued to grow into a major threat during the Cataclysm. Sintharia, now reanimated by the the power of N'Zoth as
, is a secret heroic-only boss in the
, from which she experiments on creating more twilight eggs. Upon her defeat, she cries out "Deathwing! I have fallen.... The brood... is lost," implying that the Twilight Dragonflight will not continue and their threat is finally over.
However, during the fight with
in Dragon Soul we learn that at least a "few dozen" Twilight dragons remain, with the implication that many if not all are killed during the encounter, with the exception of Blackhorn's mount
, who escapes. While working to secure the loyalty of the elemental lord Therazane for the Shaman Order Hall Campaign in
, players drive back a Twilight Hammer attack, discovering that the cult has "discovered a method of harnessing the void to subjugate even the most powerful of elementals" in
, but the cult ringleader is discovered to be the twilight dragon Zeryxia in
, who has a strong connection to death:
The blood of Sintharia flows through my veins and her voice whispers to me from the Dark Beyond!
Even in death we shall endure... mother I return...
Battle for Azeroth confirms the once believed to be vanquished Twilight Dragonflight continues to grow - the
reveals many still live in Grim Batol, and in
we learn that thousands more eggs may be buried deep beneath the mountain fortress. The Twilight Dragonflight also isn't keeping their numbers a secret, as they proudly flaunt their perseverance during Island Expeditions invasions.
We fell once to your kind, we will not fall again! Now is the dawn of twilight!
You march towards the death of your world... blinded by arrogance...
The twilight flight returns right under your noses, how arrogant you are!
Our flight is our own now, beholden to no one, especially not you!
Their reference to the
dawn of twilight
is particularly ominous, as N'Zoth's plan during the Cataclysm was called the
of Twilight - a plan to free the Old Gods and destroy all Dragonflights except for Twilight. Zeryxia also seemingly has a connection to Sintharia even after her second death, so perhaps the Old Gods were not only instrumental in the creation of the flight and resurrection of Sintharia, but also continue to aid the Twilight dragonflight in order to create a new army of dragons to herald their return.
Originally the protectors of Azeroth under the leadership of Neltharion the Earth Warder, the black dragonflight became one of Azeroth's most feared threats after the whispers of N'Zoth drove the Aspect of Earth mad, forever corrupting him into Deathwing the Destroyer, Aspect of Death. Following a long line of war and bloodshed culminating Deathwing's explosive resurgence during the Cataclysm, the entire flight seemed irredeemable, until the red dragon Rheastrasza's experiments bore a glimmer of hope: a single Black Dragon egg, cleansed of the Old God's corruption. Although she
gave her life in the process
, from that egg hatched The Black Prince Wrathion, an uncorrupted son of Deathwing.
While evading the other dragonflights who would see him as another threat, he quickly realizes the madness in his kin and sets out to eliminate them in the
story, aided by the inadvertent help of the Dragon Aspects inside the Dragon Soul raid. By the end of the Cataclysm, the self proclaimed self-titled last black dragon has very nearly made it a reality, traveling the world to assassinate any others that remain, though he returned in
Mists of Pandaria
determined to save Azeroth from a vision of destruction... albeit in his own aggravatingly mysterious ways.
While some black dragons have avoided his gaze, like Sabellian's brood in Outland,
introduces us to another uncorrupted black dragon - Ebyssian, better known as the Spiritwalker Ebonhorn of the Highmountain Tauren. When the eponymous hero Huln Highmountain first banished Deathwing from the Broken Isles, he used the
to purify one of the dragon's eggs, and the grateful whelpling pledged his loyalty in
, watching over Huln's descendants and guiding the tribe from that point onward.
Following the events of
Highmountain and Tauren of Kalimdor celebrate
in order to strengthen the bonds between their tribes. However, Spiritwalker Ebonhorn is tormented by Uul'gyneth, a C'Thrax agent of the Old Gods, weakening the wards placed around Highmountain just enough for the corruption to creep in. Forced to reveal his draconic form to Baine Bloodhoof while battling Uul'gyneth's forces, Ebyssian asked for his secrecy, a favor returned as Baine later requests the dragon's help in communing with the spirit of Vol'jin.
During the Battle for Azeroth, the Black Dragonflight seems to have returned in considerable numbers, scouring islands for Azerite during Island Expeditions. The quest
leads players to seek Wrathion at Blackwing Descent, but his guards hint that the Black Prince is searching for the mysterious Dragon Isles - these islands which were originally envisioned as temples to the Old Gods during the development of Vanilla WoW, but given Wrathion's quest to eliminate his corrupted kin, may now hold the secret to their resurgence.
Nefarian, son of Deathwing, created the first chromatic dragons by fusing together traits from the other dragonflights. Although their survival rate was grim, and the dragonflight destroyed during the attack on Blackwing Lair, the novel
Twilight of the Aspects
revealed that Twilight Cultists corrupted the eggs of every dragonflight in Wyrmrest Temple, mutating them into Chromatic whelps. Infected by the mutation as well, the red dragon Korialstrasz sacrificed himself to destroy the sanctums, and all the eggs within them, in order to prevent the Chromatic dragonflight's resurgence. Also in
Twilight of the Aspects
, the Twilight Cultists work to revive Chromatus using the magic of Azeroth transferred through the Nexus. Prophesied to defeat the Aspects and usher in the Hour of Twilight, Chromatus instead falls in battle to the combined attacks of the Aspects, but his body cannot be destroyed so it is locked away in an Arcane Prison.
Unseen since the Cataclysm expansion,
Chromatic dragon has been found on Island Expeditions -
. This rare spawn only appears during Black Dragonflight invasions and shares the same spawn locations and quotes as the other rare Black Dragons on Islands, including "The world's blood is our charge! We are the warders!" and "This world was given to the dragons, your kind is a disease!". As many Chromatic Dragons die before adulthood, the question remains whether
is one of Nefarian's original experiments which somehow survived, Chromatus was involved, or whether someone has created new Chromatic dragons.
The Infinite Dragonflight, formed of corrupted members of the Bronze Dragonflight, worked with N'Zoth to bring about the Hour of Twilight during the Cataclysm. Thanks to the efforts of Nozdormu, his Bronze Dragonflight, and players, the Infinite were ultimately unsuccessful and their leader Murozond defeated in the
, a post-apocalyptic dungeon representing the state of Azeroth should N'Zoth's plan succeed. Remaining members of the Infinite Dragonflight later returned to help Garrosh Hellscream escape to AU Draenor in the novel
, setting up the
Warlords of Draenor
expansion. While their motives are largely shrouded in mystery, the Infinite Dragonflight continually show up when time is meddled with, such as the Caverns of Time to prevent Medivh from opening the Dark Portal in
The Dungeon Journal describes how
destroyed the timeways:
Now living outside of time, Murozond was once the great Dragon Aspect Nozdormu the Timeless One. After the titans showed him his own death, the tormented Nozdormu was tricked by the Old Gods into trying to subvert his mortality. As a result, Nozdormu shattered the timeways and created the infinite dragonflight... jeopardizing the very future of Azeroth.
When we fight Murozond, he gives us some clues about his distaste for alternate timelines that the Infinite Dragonflight does not approve of:
Murozond yells: The "End Time," I once called this place. I had not seen, by then; I did not know. You hope to... what? Stop me, here? Change the fate I worked so tirelessly to weave?
Murozond yells: To repeat the same action and expect different results is madness.
Murozond yells: You crawl unwitting, like a blind, writhing worm, towards endless madness and despair. I have witnessed the true End Time. This? This is a blessing you simply cannot comprehend.
The Infinite Dragonflight seeks power, and doesn't want differing timelines or their hard work undone. To this end, the
Infinite Dragonflight returns
Battle for Azeroth
to take out the one remaining Timeweaver, Delormi, preventing her from mending the timeways. During this questline, in which we visit multiple timeways to discover why Delormi continually dies in each of them, we learn that Delormi is the last surviving member of the Synchronous Tailors - implying that the Infinite Dragonflight has successfully slain all of her friends. It's also noteworthy that Delormi's attacker wasn't simply another member of the Infinite Dragonflight, but
reimagined in an alternate time. This parallels Murozond, the leader of the Infinite, being a corrupted future version of the Bronze Aspect Nozdormu himself.
Could the Infinite Dragonflight eventually turn their attentions to the Timeweavers on Azeroth, now that they've taken care of the Synchronous Tailors? If they attack the Bronze Dragonflight, furthered weakened after the events of Cataclysm, could they try once again to usher in the Hour of Twilight, or do they have a new plan for Azeroth's future?
Those flights which aided mortals in Dragon Soul still struggle to recover from the war against Deathwing, which drained much of their powers, ability to reproduce, and inadvertently destroyed the eggs remaining in their Sanctums. Deathwing was picked by N'Zoth to bring about the Hour of Twilight - the very plan which the Titans imbued the Dragon Aspects with power to stop - and created havoc when he burst out of the innards of the world, bringing about the Cataclysm and reshaping much of Azeroth. The four remaining Aspects worked together with adventurers travel 10,000 years into the past to the
in order to retrieve the Dragon Soul artifact, imbue it with their power, and with the help of Thrall unleash it upon Deathwing in order to finally defeat the Destroyer. This act depleted their Titan-given energy, severely reducing their power and marking the rise of the Age of Mortals.
The Red Dragonflight's few remaining whelps were in harm's way during the Death Knight mount quest
, where the player infiltrates the Ruby Sanctum to learn more about Kyranastrasz. At one point on the PTR, players could even earn a Feat of Strength,
, by killing all of the dragons - a significant blow to their remaining population. Kyranastrasz is eventually resurrected into undeath, serving as the Death Knight's
. In the
Battle for Azeroth
, the Red Dragonflight attains a small victory in preventing the resurrection of more fallen dragons.
The Green Dragonflight was further decimated by massive losses in
, the death of the aspect Ysera in Val'sharah, and corruption of even more dragons in the Emerald Nightmare raid. While they have not yet played a role in
Battle for Azeroth
's whispers about the architect of the nightmare prove frighteningly relevant, as N'Zoth reveals himself inside the
Crucible of Storms
The Blue Dragonflight lost its original Apect, Malygos, during the
Wrath of the Lich King
, and his successor Kalecgos had a short reign before losing his powers to vanquish Deathwing. Since then, we've had few interactions with the blue flight. During
, we rescued the ancient Senegos from the withered and helped restore him using the leyline's mana in Azsuna, while his granddaughter Stellegosa helped Valtrois with the ley lines in Suramar. Arcane Mages and Discipline Priests have additional special
with Kalecgos and Azuregos, helping them protect the Nexus Vault in Coldarra. Sadly though, in
we learn from Senegos that the dragons have been unable to bear eggs since the fall of Deathwing, marking the inevitable extinction of their race.
The Bronze Dragonflight is locked in endless strife with the Infinite Dragonflight, and no longer perfectly controls the flow of time. In the novel
, some of them are frustrated with the philosophy of the Bronze Dragonflight, wishing they could instead change history to ensure a better future, which echoes the Infinite dragonflight's wish to alter the timeways, perhaps showing how the Infinite came to be in the first place.
, the Bronze dragon Chromie came under attack by unknown forces; every future leads to hear death and it's left up to players to investigate disturbances in the
Deaths of Chromie Scenario
. Although Chromie is eventually saved and the timelines restored, the manipulators were never fully discovered, but the entire event parallels Timeweaver Delormi finding dead versions of herself in the
Battle for Azeroth
tailoring quest, revealed to be the work of the Infinite Dragonflight, so perhaps Chromie is also under attack by the Infinite.
aid Timeweaver Delormi
, another member of the Bronze Dragonflight who mends time, in patch 8.1.5. In her timeline, she is a member of the Synchronous Tailors, but sadly, the only surviving one. Much of her work is outside our current timeline, but she's here on Azeroth because of an unusually-high amount of tears in the rifts. This leads us to the Caverns of Time, where she finds dead versions of herself from many alternate timeways. When we track down the source of her attacks, a member of the Infinite Dragonflight, Delormi loses her ability to mend time. As the attacker is a corrupted version of herself, the foreshadowing strengthens that the Bronze Dragonflight will fall prey to the Infinite Dragonflight in the future.
Another member of the Bronze flight and one of the Keepers of Time, Zidormi, transports players to older versions of outdoor questing zones like the Blasted Lands and Theramore. She's seen a lot of activity in
Battle for Azeroth
, allowing players travel to previous versions of Silithus, Darkshore, Arathi Highlands, and Tirisfal Glades. Many of her quotes reference the cyclical nature of history, which we never seem to learn from, and the motif of history repeating itself is particularly ominous in her reference to the the Black Empire:
Silithus: Silithus has ever been a magnet for ancient, malevolent powers. I could open a timeway to reveal how the Black Empire once sprawled over these sands. Or show you wars waged between mighty armies.
Teldrassil: Even the World Trees must bow to the cycle of life. Everything born will die. No one understands this better than the Bronze Dragonflight.
Tirisfal Glades: Tirisfal... a place of beauty and darkness. A land fraught with regret... and graves. Your kind has fought to claim it time and time again.
Arathi: War rages in these lands, repeating patterns set down long ago. The ways of time are ever cyclical.
The Dragon Isles was a mythical land intended for vanilla WoW which never made it into the actual game, but was finally confirmed to be an actual place in the quest
Hello, I was told to expect you. Kindly hand over the scale.
We will, of course, compensate you.
First in information. Have you heard of the Dragon Isles? Few have, and fewer have been there.
We have not found others of the master's kin... forthcoming in information.
Should you uncover anything further in your travels, we will be awaiting a visit, with payment in kind.
Aside from this quest text, some original concept art of the Dragon Isles is reminiscent of the Shrine of the Storms architecture. Former Blizzard employee John Staats conducted a
podcast with Countdown to Classic
in which he confirmed the Dragon Isles were intended to be a group of temples to the Old Gods, which would explain those architectural similarities, as we learn in Patch 8.1.5 that the Old God N'Zoth is present below the Shrine in the Crucible of Storms.
Could the Dragon Isles and its ties to the Old Gods be the key to the sudden reappearance of several Dragonflights? While the primary Dragonflights are severely weakened and even left unable to reproduce after the events of Dragon Soul, the allies of the Old Gods are suddenly growing in numbers with evidence of several young dragons and a large number of Twilight eggs in Grim Batol. The Old Gods had a hand in shaping the Infinite, Black, and Twilight Dragonflights, while Nefarian created the Chromatic Dragonflight, so it stands to reason that with the current Old God emphasis, they may have found a way to aid the dragons and swell their numbers or restore some of their power. In contrast, the Red, Green, Blue, and Bronze dragonflights continue to suffer as their population dwindles.
Of course, many things could have changed since Staats worked on
, and the Dragon Isles could serve an entirely different purpose for the current dev team. Perhaps Wrathion investigates the Dragon Isles because he's concerned about the resurgence of Black Dragons after he sought to wipe them out. That said, Wrathion has been an exceptionally enigmatic character thus far, so just because he is said to be searching for the Dragon Isles doesn't mean that players will necessarily see him or them.
The power of the Dragon Isles could also be harnessed to rejuvenate the ailing Dragon Aspects and their flights. This would be a convenient way to extend the life of the Dragonflights and pave the way for creative new stories - they've been an integral part of Warcraft's plot for a while, but so many are on the verge of extension. Jesse Cox and WoWCrendor, keenly interested if the story of the Dragonflights, interviewed Ion Hazzikostas back in
and asked him if their story would continue. Ion responded by first talking about the development of Illidan, a character whose story arc initially seemed complete in Burning Crusade, but was given a fresh breath of life in
after some retconning tweaks. He then pivoted to the Dragonflights around
in the interview, hinting that Dragon Soul was not their final chapter:
It was never our intent, back in Cataclysm, to close the door forever on "ok, dragons are gone, there's never going to be any in the future, we can't do anything with them again, no more dragon raid bosses, etc..." But yes, we know there's rebuilding to do there, if we want to ever focus the storyline around them in the same ways.
Even if the Dragon Isles won't be made accessible in
Battle for Azeroth
beyond the quest reference, the expanding presence of the evil dragonflights heralds another looming threat, beyond our faction war. The last time the dragonflights played a major role was during the Cataclysm, in which we subdued Deathwing and halted the Hour of Twilight through the combined power of the Alliance, Horde, and the Dragon Aspects. In
Battle for Azeroth
, those Aspects and their flights have been weakened while the Alliance and Horde turn against each other yet again... continually weakening those powers that once stood against the servants of the Old Gods, while their dragon minions grow strong again. Should they attack Azeroth again, the outcome could be very different than that of Dragon Soul.
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