The World of Warcraft has a vast array of diverse enemies and factions that seek to undo the lands of Azeroth and its denizens. While we have seen many world-threatening villains fall at the hands of the defenders of Azeroth, from the Lich King to the Aspect of Death itself. However, there several major villains that have vanished into the folds of the game that simply haven’t re-emerged. One long standing set of villains continue to threaten Azeroth yet to this day and possess the power to tear the very fabric of reality asunder. Some once knew them as the custodians of time, but most now know them as the Infinite Dragonflight.
For many players that have joined Warcraft over the last few expansions the Infinite Dragonflight may be a mystery. Originally appearing in the game’s second expansion, The Burning Crusade, the Infinite Flight emerged to threaten the timeways of Azeroth itself. Charged by the Titans, creators and shapers of worlds including Azeroth, the Bronze Dragonflight and its leader Nozdormu were given power to guard the one true timeline. This timeline, while still being written to the mortals who perceived the present, was the only timeline that could or should exist. From it Azeroth would grow from a dormant planet into the powerful titan its brethren foresaw, great enough to oppose evil growing throughout the universe.
Thus the Bronze Dragonflight set to their task in defending the timeways from those that would seek to rewrite the past or change the future. In an effort to gird the Bronze from corruption, the Titans showed Nozdormu and many of his kin the nature of their individual deaths. In the distant future a tormented Aspect of Time was tricked by the sleeping Old Gods beneath Azeroth into trying to subvert his own mortality. Seeing how timelines bled off from the Prime Line, Nozdormu realized he could subvert his future by recruiting the dragons from each of these timelines into his own force. Intent on this new path, the dragon now known as Murozond sought to stop the depowering of his flight and thus the Infinite Dragonflight was born.
Manipulating the Infinite flight as their mighty and never-ending army, the Old Gods attempted to set them upon the timeways of Azeroth to change history. Inspired by an adventure that saw vital pieces of the War of the Ancients altered, N’zoth tasked the Infinite flight to ensure that Thrall could not fulfill his destiny. If he were never to come to age on Azeroth, he could not prevent the Hour of Twilight and the release of the Old Gods from their prison.
Thus the Infinite Crusade began in the timeways as operatives of the Infinite Dragonflight sought to undo the fidelity of past events. Attacking vital points throughout history, the Infinite Flight sought to ensure the release of the Old Gods, until adventurers managed to kill Murozond and leave the Infinite Dragonflight leaderless. Nozdormu revealed, in passing, that the Infinite would once more emerge, and that he himself would head it again in the future:
“At last it has come to pass. The moment of my demise. The loop is closed. My future self will cause no more harm. Still, in the future, I will… fall to madness. And you, heroes… will vanquish me. The cycle will repeat. So it goes… All that matters…is this moment.”
The Infinite Dragonflight would not again resurge until Warlords of Draenor, where the dragon researcher Kairozdormu liberated Garrosh Hellscream from his imprisonment and crushed a powerful relic. Using the Vision of Time he transported himself and Hellscream to an alternate timeline, to a Draenor thirty years before the invasion of Azeroth. There he was slain, and the Infinite’s only potential leadership was once more thrown into disarray.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the Infinite Dragonflight has gone quiet. Instead, many players believe the shadowy flight is merely biding its time, waiting to exploit vital points in time to make their next move. This theory, dubbed the, ‘Infinite Dragonflight Theory,’ foretells of the resurgence of an enemy with a sinister plan. With the rise of several other prominent Old God related forces in the upcoming Patch 8.2, it is certainly a theory worth discussing in the future, as Nozdormu himself has said that they will once again return.
Since the fall of Murozond, the Infinite flight has certainly made a few subtle moves in Azeroth. Making a brief appearance in the fight against Grand Magistrix Elisande in Legion, the Infinite Flight was expelled from the timeways while she weaponized her chronomancy against heroes of the Horde and Alliance. One of the Bronze Dragonflights more active members, Chromie (or Chronormu if you prefer) came under attack through a most curious means while heroes battled the Legion on the Broken Shore. Attacked both in the present and in various vital points in her history, someone with a powerful grasp of time-related magic attempted to assassinate the Dragon nearly eight times over. While removed for launch, Chromie expressed her concern to her savior about the nature of their attacker during the PTR release of the Death of Chromie scenario;
“Everything seems… back to normal. The Timelines are clearer. I don’t see myself dying anymore… There ARE a few things still bothering me, though. A whole lot of people seemed very intent on killing me. Demons, elements, undead, void lords… even the Horde and the Alliance! Why’s everybody so mad at me?”
Indeed the Infinite Flight has continued to make their appearance in Battle for Azeroth as well. Most players will now be familiar with the Timewalking holiday, where heroes are sent back through time to complete old dungeon content. In both The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King Timewalking events, players are requested by Vormu to infiltrate pivotal moments of history that have very recently been changed. These moments, under threat from outside forces, are in danger of being irrevocably altered to a disturbing degree.
In the Black Temple a vital piece of Illidain Stormrage’s plan has been altered, resulting in a cascading disaster throughout the timelines. Players travel inside to besiege the darkened halls once more, and when successful discover that indeed something has been changed. In examining the plans for the Illidari’s raid on the planet of Mardum, the plans have been drastically improved! Such a change would mean that the Illidari forces had returned to the Black Temple far sooner than originally intended. This act resulted in the entire Demon Hunter forces being captured wholesale, depriving the world of a powerful military force.
Sending players to Ulduar, Vormu made a second and incredibly far more concerning discovery. After ensuring the defeat of the Old God Yogg-Saron, the bindings holding the void-aberration were examined by the Bronze Drake. Under her expert gaze it was discovered that the locks holding the God’s influence at bay had been artificially aged by nearly forty thousand years. Thus, the corruption of Ulduar’s guardians and the fallout of Yogg-Saron’s release had been accelerated, nearly resulting in the Lich King or the Old God’s victory and their freedom in Northrend.
At the end of Cataclysm and the foiling of the Hour of Twilight, the Aspects and Dragonflights surrendered their power, their task apparently having been completed. However, time in the World of Warcraft is not a linear force; it is pliable, and only its enforcers stop it from being altered. The Bronze Dragons still maintain the ability to move within the timeways, though their ability to manipulate them has been reduced. With the subversive nature of the Infinite Flight, it is certainly possible that they are in battle with the Bronze not just in another where, but another when.
A looked over event in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion was the battle for the Bronze Dragonshrine. Being a sacred burial site for the Bronze Dragonflight, the land is steeped in a, ‘time storm,’ and features an ongoing battle between the combatants of time. This location later becomes the staging ground for Murozond’s final stand against Thrall and the Dragonflights in the End Time, as he works to ensure the Hour of Twilight comes. It also makes a return appearance in a Tools of the Trade questline. Most recently in Battle for Azeroth, tailors join with Timeweaver Delormi, one of the Syncronous Tailors working to mend and maintain the fabric of time. Joining her in traveling through her own possible futures, it is discovered an Infinite version of herself is assassinating her possible futures to find her! Fighting her, the agent destroys her ability to mend the fabric of time, thus depriving the Bronze of a vital enforcer, as the two Dragonflights do battle above them.
There is certainly a lot to dissect here, but one thing is utterly undeniable. Whether or not the Infinite Dragonflight has returned to subvert the Bronze Dragonflight, something or someone is purposefully engaging time’s guardians throughout Azeroth’s history. While the original progenitor of this attack has been thwarted and is currently leaderless, Nozdormu himself has confessed that he will eventually fall again. The Infinites, while unconfirmed to be attached to the attempted assassination of Chromie and the altering of vital parts of history, continue to persist in areas where time is being purposefully manipulated.
All of this is occurring while other aspects of the Old God N’zoth’s plan begin to come to fruition; the rising of Xal’atah, the return of Azshara’s Empire and seeding of the Emerald Dream have occurred exactly to his design. Now with the corruption of the Tidesages and House Stormsong, N’zoth has agents once more upon the shores of Azeroth that listen to his whispers alone. The seven-eyed goat of prophecy has made his appearance, watching Azeroth from outside its time. Even now whispers of the mythical empire of Ny’alotha emerge in Battle for Azeroth’s storytelling. Something is preparing to release an Old God from its prison, an act so far unseen in the history of Azeroth, and something that players may not be able to truly fight. Even with C’thun and Yogg-Saron still vastly imprisoned beneath Azeroth it took concentrated siege efforts to pierce their hides and render them defeated. The very heart of Y’shaarj plagued Pandaria with a dark curse for ten thousand years with its dying breath.
An Old God unleashed is N’zoth’s final goal, and someone, Infinite or otherwise, is putting the pieces in motion to make that play.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Lore, MMORPG, Warcraft, WoW Wednesday