Great Dark Beyond

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"Cosmos" redirects here. For the item, see  [Cosmos].

“Look to the heavens above. See the million points of brilliance in the great dark beyond. Know you are not alone. Our salvation is out there, somewhere.”

Echo of Arkhaan[1]
As seen in Warcraft Saga.
As seen in the Caverns of Time.

The Great Dark Beyond,[2][3] also known as the Great Dark,[4] Great Beyond,[5] Dark Beyond,[6] or cosmos,[7][4] is described as the physical universe, an infinite realm composed of innumerable stars, worlds, moons, and mortal civilizations. Azeroth is found in it, and it is merely one of the countless worlds drifting through the cosmos. Its counterpart is the astral plane called the Twisting Nether.[8]

The physical universe is governed by the forces of Order and Disorder, while the forces of Life and Death hold sway over every living thing in it. Pure Light and Shadow dwell in a realm outside the borders of reality, but shades of their presence can be found in the Great Dark. The elements serve as the basic building blocks of all matter in the Great Dark.[9]

For eons, the titans of the Pantheon brought life and order to countless worlds while searching for others of their kind.[10] As its opposite, the demonic armies of the Burning Legion annihilated countless species and entire planets across the cosmos during the course of the Burning Crusade.[11] Concurrently, the Light and the Void have been locked in perpetual conflict since before time itself began, waging their massive battle across countless worlds and affecting millions of lives.[12] The Old Gods, parasitic horrors created by the void lords, grow like cancers within planets to corrupt potential slumbering world-souls,[13] while the holy naaru vowed to bring peace and hope to all mortal civilizations and waylay the forces of darkness.[8]

It is essentially the name given to outer space in the Warcraft universe.

Origins and characteristics

Order champion's consciousness projected to Xe'ra's astral presence at the "crucible of creation".

As stated by the Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, the Great Dark Beyond was built[14] and shaped by the First Ones,[15][16] enigmatic godlike beings who shaped the cosmos and the fabric of all realities. According to the broker Al'firim's interpretations of the First Ones' writings, the cosmos began with six governing 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.[17]

According to Chronicle Volume 1, before life began and the universe itself existed, the Light existed alone as a boundless sea of living energy, swelling across all of existence, unfettered by time and space. Yet as the ever-shifting sea expanded, pockets of cold nothingness appeared. From these spaces, the Void coalesced and quickly grew to move against the Light, and before long, the mounting tension between the two forces ignited a series of explosions that ruptured the very fabric of creation, giving birth to the physical universe.[4] The energies released from their clashing raged across the nascent cosmos, forming countless primordial worlds. For long epochs, the ever-expanding Great Dark Beyond broiled in a maelstrom of fire and magic. Shards of Light were flung throughout reality, suffusing worlds with the spark of life,[4] while various types of energies came to be, such as Death.[18] The most unstable energies coalesced into the astral dimension known as the Twisting Nether.[4]

Among the mortal races, some theorized that a catastrophic cosmic explosion sent the infinite worlds spinning out into the vastness of the Great Dark — worlds that would one day bear life forms of wondrous and terrible diversity. Others believe that the universe was created as a whole by a single all-powerful entity.[19]

The alternate timelines are an infinite number of alternate versions of the universe, creating the multiverse.[20][21] Some are nearly identical, only differing in a few key events. According to Aman'Thul of the Pantheon of Order, there is only "one true timeline", although some would have it otherwise, and without the truth of time as it is meant to unfold, the fabric of reality will unravel.[22]

Cosmic realms

Main article: Plane
The Twisting Nether, an ethereal and chaotic dimension that connects the worlds of the universe.

Beings from the cosmic forces, such as the demons or voidwalkers, can only be permanently killed in their plane. If they are killed in the mortal realm (or any other), their essence will return to their original plane to reconstitute, though some exceptionally powerful forces can intervene in the process.[23]

Although the Twisting Nether exists outside the borders of the physical universe, its volatile energies occasionally tear through the veil, flooding into reality and warping creation.[4] It is a chaotic and magical environment that overlaps with the universe, yet is normally imperceptible to mortals.[3] Some warlocks believe that a part of everyone exists simultaneously in the mortal realm and the Nether.[24]

In the Shadowlands, the kyrian of Bastion are tasked with gathering souls from all over the cosmos and keep track of all these worlds.[25] They collect the souls of the dead in the Veil,[26] a shadowy version of the physical world acting as the border with the realm of Death. The spirits there can physically interact with objects and people in the living world.[27]


The only known means of traveling between worlds is through the use of magic or advanced technology. The dimensional gateways, such as the Dark Portal, and other portals fueled by various forms of magic. Legion ships are spaceships created by the Burning Legion that can teleport and travel between the Nether and the mortal realm. Dimensional ships are vessels created and operated by the naaru that can travel between worlds and dimensions, traversing the Twisting Nether just as normal ships traverse the air and sea, and warp time itself.[28] Mages gravitate toward places of power, where the universe wears thin, allowing it to double back on itself, or perhaps even allowing entry to the Nether or other worlds entirely.[29]

It is no simple task to open large and stable portals between the mortal realm and other planes for armies to pass through, such as the infinite forces Burning Legion, since it required astronomical amounts of energy.[30] The void lords can actually manifest in the physical universe, weakened, and only for limited amounts of time, for their energies quickly seep into nothingness. They must therefore consume untold amounts of matter and energy to maintain their presence.[8]

Units of measure

The physical universe is governed by a set of conventional laws of physics and space, with time being a construct of the cosmic force of Order.[31]

  • Weight is known to be measured in pounds[32][33][34] (while the Spanish, French, and Korean versions of the game client use kilograms).
    • Gnomes use a system of measurement based on their small stature that involves units such as WW = Whisker Widths (length and width), IBGs = Itty-Bitty Grams (weight), and TC = Toe Curls (conduction and power).[35][36]
  • Temperature is not expressed in a precise measure, except for one case, the measure in "degrees Kraklenheit" created by the goblin Krakle.[37]
  • Time is known to be measured in seconds,[38][39] minutes,[40][41] and hours.[42][43][44]

Known locations

Azeroth in the Great Dark Beyond.
Main article: Planet

Argus' location

Argus was said to be located on the brink between the Twisting Nether and the Great Dark Beyond.[45] Some man'ari eredar even said that Argus was the mightiest world in all of the Great Dark.[46] Despite this, A Thousand Years of War stated that Argus is fully shrouded by the Twisting Nether. The Tome of Blighted Implements later confirmed that Argus was in the Great Dark before Sargeras came. Since time passes differently in the Nether, the statements in the novel and the audiodrama confirm that Argus moved from the Great Dark to the Nether over time after it fell under the control of the Burning Legion.

Outland's location

Outland is the shattered floating remnants of the destroyed world of Draenor, the homeworld of the orcs. After the sundering of Draenor by Ner'zhul, Outland was thrown partially towards the Twisting Nether, and is now in a constant state of degradation.[47] The damage to the world had sundered reality, gravity, space, and even time may not even function properly.[48] It has been damaged in ways beyond what eyes can see, as even the passage of time feels different to the bronze dragons.[49]

In the RPG

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

When debates on cosmology began on Azeroth, scholars quickly tumbled to an obvious question: where does it end? If Azeroth is surrounded by the Emerald Dream, and separated from other material worlds by the Twisting Nether, what lies beyond the boundaries of the Nether? The result eventually agreed upon, as much a philosophical placeholder as an answer, is the Great Dark Beyond. Neither black nor white, hot nor cold, living nor dead, with a beginning hard to define on the chaotic fringe of the Nether and an end impossible to define: the Beyond is all that is unknowable about the cosmos. Were part of it to be journeyed or defined, it would become its own plane — leaving the Beyond on its horizon, eternal and all-encompassing.[50]

Notes and trivia


  1. ^ N [45] Whispers from Oronaar
  2. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/The Warcraft Universe
  3. ^ a b The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Twisting Nether
  4. ^ a b c d e f World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 18
  5. ^ Gadgetzan Times/A Magical History of Azeroth
  6. ^ Invasion Points - Illidan Stormrage yells: Well done, champions. News of this victory will spread throughout the Dark Beyond.
  7. ^ Algalon the Observer (tactics)
  8. ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 13
  9. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 11
  10. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 19
  11. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 80
  12. ^ A Thousand Years of War, Part Three – Shadow & Light, pg. 36<-37
  13. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 14
  14. ^ Eternity's End – Developer Preview
  15. ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 99: The First Ones who shaped the cosmos knew they needed to protect the Shadowlands from external threats and beyond. Maldraxxus was their answer.
  16. ^ Bellular interviewing Morgan Day & Steve Danuser at 10:30, Steve Danuser: They were these mysterious and very powerful beings that sort of architect-ed the framework of the universe of which the Titans, the Pantheon of Death, pantheons of all these different influences are kind of the next layer down from the First Ones, these progenitors of the universe.
  17. ^  [Expedition Report A37J - Part 1]
  18. ^ Matt Burns on Twitter: "I think at the time the universe was created, many different types of energies came to be as well (death, etc.)."
  19. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual, pg. 133
  20. ^ Alex Afrasiabi on Warlords, Garrosh, and alternate Azeroth
  21. ^ Bashiok
  22. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 21, pg. 286
  23. ^ Ezgi Pajecki 2020-09-26. Maldraxxus, Shadowlands and Beyond - Interview with Steve Danuser. Lorekeeper. Archived from the original on 2020-09-27.
  24. ^  [Void Totem]
  25. ^  [Worlds Beyond Counting]
  26. ^ N [60] To Cross the Veil
  27. ^ N [25-30] Honor is for the Weak, N [25-30] From Whence They Came & N [25-30] An Undead's Best Friend
  28. ^  [Shard of the Exodar]
  29. ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 5
  30. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 62
  31. ^ Ion Hazzikostas interview with Blizzplanet - "Time is a construct of Order and structure; and things in the Shadowlands are more Chaotic in a lot of ways."
  32. ^ World of Warcraft: Traveler, pg. 6
  33. ^ Harrison McCabe#Quotes
  34. ^ Jokes#Pandaren female
  35. ^  [Fizzle Brassbolts' Letter]
  36. ^ N [35] Martek the Exiled
  37. ^ N [15-30] Finding the Source
  38. ^ Night Mistress#Quotes
  39. ^ N [30-35 Daily] Survival Ring: Flame & N [30-35 Daily] Survival Ring: Blades
  40. ^ A [5] Scalding Mornbrew Delivery
  41. ^ A [15] Protecting the Shipment
  42. ^ N [60] Secrets of the Colossus - Regal
  43. ^ B [10-45] The Battle for Broken Shore
  44. ^ N [90 Daily] Vicejaw
  45. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 24
  46. ^ During the world quest N [10-45LI WQ] Battle for the Ruins - Dreadflame Magus says: I am of Argus, the mightiest world in all of the Great Dark.
  47. ^ N [40] The Staff of Archmage Vargoth
  48. ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, pg. 418
  49. ^ Zephyr § Quotes
  50. ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 132
  51. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 9
  52. ^ Stormrage, chapter 29
  53. ^ Khadgar#The Burning Crusade 3
  54. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 113
  55. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 14
  56. ^ N [50] The Eternal City

External links