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Oribos symbol 2

The coiled serpent of Oribos, a symbol of the First Ones.

“A fragment of a word here, a bit of geometry there—for all the vast knowledge we brokers possess, compared to the First Ones we are like gormlings at the feet of the Winter Queen.”


The First Ones (also known as the Progenitors)[2][3][4][5][6] are enigmatic godlike beings who shaped the cosmos and the fabric of all realities. They conceived and put in place the six governing forces of reality—Light, Void, Order, Disorder, Life, and Death—as well as the pantheons that embody them—such as the Pantheon of Order and Pantheon of Death—and the realms that they inhabit.[4][7][8] The First Ones are shrouded in mystery, and very little is known for certain about them: it is unknown when they first walked the cosmos, whether they still do, or if their existence ended ages ago.[1]

The First Ones' magic and architecture are so advanced that they resemble mathematics, and are characterized by geometric fractals and patterns.[9][10] They and their servants—the automa—speak a complex runic language that is incomprehensible to most mortals.[5][6][11] One of their recurring symbols is that of a coiled serpent, which is believed by broker scholars to be a representation of "their infinite cycle".[12]


Forge of Afterlives

The Forge of Afterlives above Zereth Mortis.

According to the broker Al'firim's interpretations of the First Ones' writings, the cosmos began with six forces (or possibly a different number) existing in opposition to each other until they came together (or were brought together) and gave form to a design. Each "architect" gave a portion of themselves, and thus "the pattern was drawn". With a framework in place, all things in the universe came to be, like a fungus growing upon the frame. The six forces were now in balance, and others arose from their intersections—a simple structure growing infinitely more complex.[13]

The brokers believe that the First Ones made the endless cycle of Life and Death the central part of their creation.[14] The First Ones created the realm of Zereth Mortis within the Shadowlands to be a workshop where they and their servants—the automa—made everything in the Shadowlands and the realms beyond. Zereth Mortis is also home to the Sepulcher of the First Ones,[5][6] a structure containing knowledge that could unmake the cosmos.[15] It was within the Sepulcher that they created beings like the Eternal Ones, the rulers of the Shadowlands.[9]

Oribos preview 1

First One architecture in Oribos.

The First Ones notably crafted Oribos, the entry point for mortal souls in the Shadowlands,[10][12][16] along with several other centers of knowledge, including Korthia, Baraneth, and Nirem-Ahn.[17] Their spirit obelisks can be found throughout the realms of Death. In addition, a First One waystone allowing passage to Oribos can be found in the Maw and was reactivated from dormancy by a Maw Walker, to the great surprise of Zovaal the Jailer who had thought it impossible for a relic of the First Ones to respond to a mortal.[18] The broker Ta'lora notes that the waystone's existence is curious, since the Maw was seemingly intended to be an inescapable prison. One possibility is that the infallible First Ones placed the stone in the Maw as a failsafe, while another is that they foresaw the coming of the Maw Walkers and ensured the waystone was put in place for their benefit; if so, the Progenitors must possess a gift of foresight far beyond even the Eternal Ones.[19] The Forge of Bonds, devices that allow for the ritual of soulbinding, also bear a clear resemblance to artifacts attributed to the First Ones.[20]

The Eternal One Zovaal—who originally served as the Arbiter of mortal souls—long ago defied the will of the First Ones and sought to unmake the balance of the cosmos. Recently, after obtaining the sigils of his fellow Eternal Ones, he opened a portal to Zereth Mortis with the intent of breaching the Sepulcher and remaking reality.[15] He has also stated that he created the Helm of Domination and Frostmourne in order to claim "the final prize", a secret that the First Ones sought to hide.[21]

The brokers long ago set out from their home realm to search for the First Ones' secrets,[17] believing that whoever first managed to harness their power would become the most influential of all brokers.[4] However, according to Ta'lora, every answer they uncovered only led to new questions "exploding like fractals before our very eyes",[17] and they found that whatever extremely rare traces that the Progenitors left behind are only fragments of a larger puzzle.[4] Cartel Al launched an expedition to search for the Sepulcher of the First Ones, which was believed to have ended in failure.[22] However, the expedition member Al'firim and several other brokers did manage to reach Zereth Mortis, where they became the Enlightened and now instead seek to protect the First Ones' secrets.[5]


  • The Trade archaeology draenei tome [Paths of the First Ones] is a book filled with speculation and half-truths, and talks about the pathways connecting the realms of Death.[23]
  • During the events of the Tazavesh, the Veiled Market dungeon, it is discovered that pieces of a First One artifact have been found on Azeroth.
  • The Inv trinket oribos 01 brass [Relic of the First Ones] is a Shadowlands world drop.
  • The armor sets from the Sepulcher of the First Ones raid are visually themed after the First Ones' "math magic".[24]
  • During the Shadowlands alpha, the First Ones were exclusively referred to as "Progenitors". All mentions of this name were replaced with "First Ones" before the expansion went live, but game assets relating to them continued to use the "Progenitor" name internally. Starting in patch 9.1 and the Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, "Progenitors" was brought back into canon as a synonym for "First Ones".
  • It's as yet unclear how the creation of reality as depicted in Chronicle 1 and the creation involving the First Ones relate, whether the latter is a retcon, or both are partially true.



  1. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 160
  2. ^ Tazavesh, the Veiled Market#Adventure Guide: The ruthless cartel boss So'leah means to conduct a heist that spans the realms in order to claim Progenitor secrets.
  3. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 75
  4. ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 150 - 151
  5. ^ a b c d World of Warcraft 2021-11-11. Eternity’s End – Developer Preview | World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. YouTube.
  6. ^ a b c Blizzard Entertainment 2021-11-11. Shadowlands: Watch the Eternity’s End developer preview. Archived from the original on 2021-11-11.
  7. ^ Bellular 2021-02-22. Simply AWESOME! Blizz Devs Hint Spicy New Lore & Major Game Fixes - Torghast V2?! (10:30). YouTube.​ “... but clearly they were these mysterious and very powerful beings that kind of architected the framework of the universe of which the titans, the Pantheon of Death, pantheons of all these different influences are kind of like the next layer down from those First Ones, these progenitors of the universe.”
  8. ^ Mike Williams 2021-06-28. World of Warcraft Devs Talk the New Raid and Mythic+ Score Coming to the Chains of Domination Expansion. PCMag. Archived from the original on 2021-07-03.​ “You learn of this Broker that's on the trail of super-powerful artifacts that were created by the First Ones, the progenitors who created the Shadowlands and other cosmic realms.”
  9. ^ a b Kit 2021-11-11. Shadowlands, Eternity’s End Q&A with Steve Danuser and Morgan Day: End of Book One?. GamerBraves. Archived from the original on 2021-11-11.
  10. ^ a b Opulence Ba'hare#Quotes
  11. ^ Inv misc clipboard01 [Expedition Report A37J - Foreword]
  12. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 36
  13. ^ Inv misc clipboard01 [Expedition Report A37J - Part 1]
  14. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 56
  15. ^ a b N [60] Covenants Renewed
  16. ^ N [50] Tether to Home
  17. ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 149
  18. ^ N [50] Stand as One
  19. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 141
  20. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 86
  21. ^ Ability kaztik dominatemind [Clearing the Fog]
  22. ^ Inv misc clipboard01 [Cartel Al Incident Report]
  23. ^ N [60] The Hall of Tomes
  24. ^ Eric Law 2021-11-12. World of Warcraft Developers Tease New Challenges in Shadowlands: Eternity's End. Retrieved on 2021-11-16.