The Ancients are one of the Elder Races in the universe, spacefarers with an unimaginable mastery of technology and magic. Alternatively known as the Worldcrafters, they are responsible, directly and indirectly, for making possible almost all of the events in the series. They seem to dwell at the heart of the galaxy the Might and Magic series takes place in - a running goal throughout the series involves returning to the Ancients, and the truth behind their appearance and motives is a mystery which has yet to be resolved.
The Ancients are the creators of the Nacelle worlds, such as VARN-4 and CRON, wielding the powers of the Elemental Lords. As of yet, it appears that they cannot create true planets - this honour belongs to the Elemental Lords alone - but the Nacelles they build can "colonise" water-based planets, forming continent-like lands such as the Isles of Terra. They are capable of this creation, but also of great destruction - that of entire planets and all who dwell upon them.
The Ancients are the mortal enemies of the Creators, and their monstrous underlings, the Kreegans. The origin of the conflict with the Creators is unclear, but the Kreegan wars apparently stemmed from a dispute over the resources of the Ancients' worlds. The Kreegans consumed the Ancients' worlds, resulting in an inevitable war. 1500 years before Might and Magic VI, the Kreegans shattered the Ancients' system of communication between interlinked colonies - the Web of Worlds - splitting the Ancients from their colonies, and causing the Silence.
As the colonists of the universe, the Ancients travelled to many worlds and returned home with indigenous races, such as Humans, Elves and Dwarves. They then transported these creatures to many worlds at the farthest reaches of their empire, on great "seedships" such as the Shikbath Zera and the Tomb of VARN. As the technologies upon these ships were able to contact the Ancient homeworlds, this process expanded the Ancients' territories, but as of the Silence, these creatures have been forced to fend for themselves - resulting in the events of the series.
Only one of the Ancients has been named - Einar, the father of Alleron and Daria, half-Human, half-Ancient residents of the world of Ardon. He is briefly seen in the games, and resembles Vorr the Insane, implying a close connection between the appearance of some of the Forces of the Dome and the Ancients who created them.
The Ancients are the builders of other extremely powerful technologies, including Blasters, the Guardians, the Wire, the Web of Worlds and several Voidships. The first and most powerful of their Guardians is Escaton the Destroyer, an artificial Planeswalker capable of overcoming and capturing the Elemental Lords themselves. Before his demise, Escaton was responsible for destroying entire worlds which had fallen to the Kreegan blight. Other prominent Guardians include the Dragon Pharoah, Corak, Sheltem and Melian.
As revealed in Might and Magic V, the ultimate goal of the Ancients is "To boldly go where no man has gone before". Aside from being an obvious Star Trek reference (a running in-joke), the meaning of this objective is ambiguous.