Elemental Plane

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The Elemental Plane is a pocket dimension[1][2] created by the Keepers to imprison Azeroth's elementals. The prison plane consists of four interlinked domains, each representing one of the major elements - Skywall (air), Deepholm (earth), the Abyssal Maw (water) and the Firelands (fire). Highlord Demitrian described it as "the core of this world".[3]

The four domains of the Elemental Plane are featured in the Cataclysm expansion.

Background

Creation

Azeroth's native elementals wreaked havoc across the world while they served as the lieutenants of the Old Gods. After the end of the war between the titans and the Old Gods, the titan-forged chose not to destroy the elementals, since they were bound to Azeroth and would manifest again. Instead, Highkeeper Ra, one of the Keepers, found a solution. He set out to imprison the elementals and called on the aid of the gifted titan-forged sorceress Helya. They worked in concert to craft four interlinked domains within a pocket dimension known as the Elemental Plane.[1] Four domains were created within this primordial realm to serve as ideal environments for each type of elemental - Skywall (air), Deepholm (earth), the Abyssal Maw (water) and the Firelands (fire).[4] They then banished the elemental lords, and nearly all of their servants to this enchanted prison realm, and used  [The Highkeeper's Ward] to seal off the Elemental Plane from Azeroth.[5]

For ages since, the elementals engaged in endless strife with each other, waging titanic battles in the confines of their realm.[4] The greatest of their battles was the Elemental Sundering between the elemental forces of fire and air at the core of Azeroth.[3] With the elementals' departure, nature calmed, and the world settled into a peaceful harmony.[6] Some stragglers nonetheless escaped banishment, but their elemental's furry ebbed over time as they became creatures of flesh and blood. It was from these former elementals that some forms of wildlife, such as proto-dragons, came to be.[7]

War of the Three Hammers

300 years before the opening of the Dark Portal, Ragnaros the Firelord who commanded the Fire domain in the plane, was summoned by Dark Iron dwarves in the Redridge Mountains to battle their enemies in the War of the Three Hammers. The catastrophic summoning blasted the land and immolated the Dark Irons, and Ragnaros sunk into the depths of Blackrock Spire to prepare his return.[8]

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon update.png This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

A few years after the Third War, elemental incursions in different parts of Kalimdor were increasing, with waves of elementals blasting every few days into the regions of Silithus, Un'Goro Crater, Azshara, and Winterspring.[9] During these Elemental Invasions, portals were opened from the elemental planes and elemental invaders began to pass through, until they were repelled by the adventurers.

Cataclysm

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Shortly before the Cataclysm, Elemental Rifts spawned in nearly every zone on Azeroth. Following Deathwing's Shattering of the World Pillar in Deepholm and his destructive re-emergence into Azeroth, the Elemental Plane collided with the physical realm and resulted in drastic geographical upheaval, causing chaotic elementals to pour out into the world of Azeroth. The boundary between the mortal planes and the elemental plane was severely damaged and the elemental plane domains can now be reached through various means by the heroes of Azeroth.

The Abyssal Maw is accessed at the bottom of Vashj'ir through the Abyssal Breach and hosts the Throne of the Tides.

The Firelands appear through portals in Mount Hyjal with flamegates leading to four isolated locations.

Deepholm is accessible from going into the Maelstrom and from portals at the Eastern and Western Earthshrine. Deepholm hosts the Stonecore and is the home of the Therazane faction.

Skywall is reachable from Uldum with portals to the Vortex Pinnacle and the Throne of the Four Winds in the air elemental domain.

Later in Mount Hyjal, a portal is opened in Nordune Ridge leading to an open area of the Firelands the Molten Front, and through Sulfuron Spire a raid is led into the Firelands' inner sanctums.

Legion

Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

Some time after Al'Akir's death, when Typhinius obtained the Fists of the Heavens and returned to the Skywall, he immediately set out to end the air elementals' civil war. He flung the spirits of those who had opposed him into the other elemental realms. Alone, they could not stop their natural enemies from finishing them off in a slow and agonizing fashion.[10]

Dragonflight

Dragonflight This section concerns content related to Dragonflight.

The elementals that the Primalists summoned as their reinforcements through elemental gateways on the Dragon Isles were from the Elemental Planes.[11]

Locations in-game

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

The Elemental Plane is featured in open world zones and in instances:

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

During the several millennia, the elementals grew attached to their adopted home.[12] Then, the summoners of Quel'thalas and the human magocracy learned to command the elementals, inadvertently opening momentary pinholes between Azeroth and the Elemental Plane.[13] Elementals are sometimes called back to Azeroth for short periods of time, but most are eager to return to their world when the spell that summoned them ends.[12]

Geography

The Elemental Plane is described as "a prison plane in the Twisting Nether".[14] The Elemental Plane was fashioned by the titans as a separate plane within the Twisting Nether to hold their old foes. The plane the titans created is spherical and comparatively small — about the size of a single world. It is a three-tiered realm. The domain of Air sits atop the middle layer, which supports both the Water and Earth domains. Beneath these lies a third layer of Fire and molten rock.

The sphere of the plane itself is curved in a curious way that tends to baffle creatures of Azeroth's reality. As befits the plane's prison function, escaping through ordinary movement is impossible. A creature attempting to move out of the sphere simply curves inexorably around, moving toward the other side. Thus, if one were to sail across the ocean in a boat, he would eventually arrive on the exact opposite side of the plane's sole continent. The land itself is slightly larger than Kalimdor, while the seas are about the same width in all directions.[15] The continent is known as Deephome.[16]

Khadgar appears to agree with Highlord Demitrian as he thinks that "atop of the Elemental Plane sat the mortal, material worlds".[17] It would look like any other world to an outsider — at least, when looked upon from above or on the ground:[15] one large continent surrounded by water, with a yellow sun burning above.[14] A casual visitor, arriving on the surface, might even believe he is on an ordinary — if somewhat violent — planet.[15] A glowing yellow orb, casting forth light and heat, hovers near the top point of the globe, acting as the "sun" for the entire plane.[15]

Traits

Communicating with elementals is difficult, and they have provided little information about the nature of their realm.[12] But it is known, that lava flows, earthquakes, windstorms, and tsunami are common, making the Elemental Plane a very dangerous place to visit.[15] Normal levels of gravity pull physical objects toward the bottom of the sphere, where the realm of fire lies.[15] The four elements that make up the plane are constantly in opposition and tend to shift and tear at each other, sometimes violently. Volcanoes rip through the solid mantle, assaulting both the land and sea realms wherever they can. The air swirls in unpredictable storms, producing whirlwinds and hurricanes that rake the surface.[15] The elemental beings can alter the plane with a thought. The landscape shifts on its own from time to time.[18] Spells and spell-like abilities with the air, earth, fire and/or water descriptor are empowered and enlarged in all regions of the Elemental Plane.[19]

Azeroth's denizens have few dealings with the Elemental Plane, though they can access it with magic.[14] It can also be accessed with "transit nodes", which are specific locations in Azeroth that connect with the Elemental Plane; these transit nodes exist only in specific elemental-based locations, such as within a volcano, underneath deep oceans or lakes, and the like.[15]

Creatures

Each of the realms is filled with life of various types, although the Abyssal Maw is mostly populated by elementals.[20] The native creatures are just as dangerous, as the world plays home to angry elemental creatures of all types. A few natural animals can also be found, including some creatures never seen on Azeroth. These creatures have adapted to survive in the environment, and the Elemental Lords take special care to protect them.[14] The basic elemental types can be found in the plane, and there are examples of elemental conglomerates as well.[20]

Notes and trivia

  • It was originally said in the Warcraft III manual that after the titans defeated the Old Gods, without the Old Gods' power to keep their raging spirits bound to the physical world, the elementals dissipated and bled back into the earth itself.[21] Later in the History of Warcraft it was said that the elementals were banished to an abyssal plane, where they would contend with one another for all eternity.[6]

References