N'Zoth is an Old God, one of several malefic beings that were sequestered by the Titans during Azeroth's primordial ages. When asked about the "next Old God", Metzen responded "You haven't seen who signs Deathwing's paychecks yet." shortly followed by "The third Old God is N'Zoth, and we've suggested I think directly that, uh, he was the critter responsible for the spark of the Emerald Nightmare, and he's got all sorts of other weird shit goin' on, so, he's a real problem." Millennia ago, Warlord Zon'ozz and his faceless soldiers waged endless war in the name of N'Zoth against the forces of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron.
While it was previously stated that "The Three" where responsible for the corruption of Deathwing, it has been suggested that N'Zoth was the source of Deathwing's insanity, leading to believe that N'Zoth may be part of "The Three" and their "Greater Plan" mentioned by Korialstrasz during the War of Ancients events.
When Malfurion Stormrage contained the Nightmare within the Rift of Aln, he sensed an "ancient evil" that was keeping its foothold in the Emerald Dream from somewhere beneath Azeroth's oceans. This may be N'Zoth.
It may be possible that the physical embodiment of N'Zoth is located below Vashj'ir (under the Scalding Chasm and/or L'ghorek to be more precise). This is hinted by Ick'thys the Unfathomable in the Scalding Chasm who commands the player to return to his master below. In the Undershell are enormous tentacles. They look like the tentacles of Yogg-Saron and may belong to N'Zoth. In the Scalding Chasm, Erunak Stonespeaker says three ogre magi are maintaining a ritual to connect "something immense beneath us" with the ancient demigod, allowing that thing to consume its life energies.
Perhaps the biggest evidence of the presence of an Old God is in Deepholm. At random intervals Haethen Kaul will do a yell, one of which is "It is true that we serve Deathwing, but we also serve a higher power. Never forget that!"
Warlord Zon'ozz refers to "N'Zoth's throne", whether this is a literal throne or simply a metaphor is unclear.
Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron
Cataclysm introduced a new item, the , which whispers to the player on each attempt to open it. The whispers seem to describe an old god residing at the bottom of the ocean, like Malfurion's description, lending belief that the whispers are referring to N'Zoth.
- In the sunken city, he lays dreaming.
- The drowned god's heart is black ice.
- At the bottom of the ocean even light must die.
- In the land of Ny'alotha there is only sleep.
- Ny'alotha is a city of old, terrible, unnumbered crimes.
- In the sleeping city of Ny'alotha walk only mad things.
- The stars sweep chill currents that make men shiver in the dark...
- The fish know all the secrets. They know the cold. They know the dark.
N'Zoth's name is most likely derived from Zoth-Ommog (who may have actually been created by the author Lin Carter) of H.P. Lovecraft's shared Cthulhu Mythos. Just as Zoth-Ommog was imprisoned by the Elder Gods beneath the seabed; N'Zoth was imprisoned by the Titans under what is now the Great Sea. Zoth-Ommog is the third son of Cthulhu; and coincidentally N'Zoth is the third Old God to be added to the Warcraft universe.
On the other hand, the whispers of the puzzlebox mention Ny'alotha, which bears much similarity to the name of Nyarlathotep, another of the outer gods from the Cthulu mythos, though given the nature of its presentation in the mythos, that of an Egyptian Pharaoh, he would perhaps work better if he were associated with the Tol'vir.
In addition to the quotes above, the puzzle box also mentions "a black goat with seven eyes" watching the player. The goat itself is a reference to Shub-Niggurath who was known as "The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young". It is uncertain if the black goat with the seven eyes in meant to represent N'Zoth but the parallel is notable. It is also possible this is a reference to Y'Shaarj and the Sha.