The Dark Portal, also known as the Great Portal, is one of the two gateway portals that teleport between Azeroth and Draenor (Outland). The Azeroth side's portal is located in the central parts of the Blasted Lands in southern Azeroth, while the Draenor counterpart, the Stair of Destiny, is located in eastern section of the Tanaan Jungle in the alternate timeline, or Hellfire Peninsula of today.
The Dark Portal was created by a joint effort between , possessed by the Dark Titan , and the warlocks of the Shadow Council, which allowed the Horde to invade the world of Azeroth. The Portal bridged the distance between the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor, and it was large enough that individuals might pass through it. immediately dispatched orc scouts through the Portal in preparation for the coming invasion. After the Portal was widened, the armies of the orcs poured through it into the unsuspecting Kingdom of Azeroth, beginning the First War.
Following the defeat of the Horde in the Second War, the Dark Portal was captured by the forces of the Alliance of Lordaeron. Hoping to end the threat of the orcs, the Archmage attempted to close the gateway to Draenor. While the structure was damaged/destroyed, the link between the worlds remained as a tear in the fabric of reality. To keep watch over the remnants of the Portal, Nethergarde Keep was constructed.
Using a magical cloak of darkness to escape the detection of the mages at Nethergarde, the Bleeding Hollow clan used the rift to return to Draenor. Hearing the Bleeding Hollow's tales of Azeroth, the Elder Shaman , Chieftain of the Shadowmoon Clan and Warchief of Draenor, planned to open a number of portals on Draenor that would lead the Horde to new worlds to conquer. To do so, Ner'zhul required mystical artifacts - the Book of Medivh, the Skull of Gul'dan, the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras, and the Eye of Dalaran. In order to procure these artifacts, the elder shaman reopened the Dark Portal and sent his forces through. of Lordaeron, convinced that the orcs were preparing a new invasion of Azeroth, assembled his most trusted lieutenants, including Khadgar and the paladin , to form an expedition through the Portal to put an end to the orcish threat once and for all.
Ner'zhul finally opened his portals to other worlds, but he did not foresee the terrible price he would pay. The portals' tremendous energies tore Draenor apart. and - who saw that Ner'zhul's portals would destroy their world, and his insanity would destroy their people - led their clans through the Dark Portal back to Azeroth. The Alliance forces remained on Draenor, agreeing to make the ultimate sacrifice by destroying the Dark Portal from their side in order to prevent that world's destruction from destroying Azeroth as well. There were indications they may have taken one of Ner'zhul's portals to another world, but they managed to survive Draenor's destruction, and remain in the shattered realm now called Outland to this day.
The Dark Portal remained dormant for twenty years, until an artifact of incredible power was found by the demon Lord , a lieutenant of Kil'jaeden. Kazzak used the powerful artifact to reopen the Dark Portal and cross into Outland.
Not long after, however, when the combined forces of the Alliance and Horde had taken control of the Outland-side of the portal, an army of fel orcs and nether dragons led by the death knight Ragnok Bloodreaver attempted to seize the portal. The defenders successfully fought back the assault, but a stray blast by one of the nether dragons resulted in the closing of the gateway. Tyrygosa was, however, able to open a rift to Azeroth, and the rift was stabilized by magicians of the Alliance and Horde after the blue dragon and a group of nether dragons left though it.
World of Warcraft
When World of Warcraft launched, the Dark Portal was a noticeable (but unusable) feature in the Blasted Lands, located southeast of Stormwind in the Eastern Kingdoms. The Portal is located in the southeastern corner of the Blasted Lands and (until Patch 2.0.1) was surrounded by elite demons and servants of the named demons, and the glow around the Portal's gateway was blue, indicating its inactivity. When a player walked through the gate they merely passed through to the back of the gate as if nothing was there - the portal was merely for show in game. At the time, the portal was considered to be decorative only, a piece of Warcraft lore to look at. The Portal on the Azeroth side appears to be rather simple - the only decoration on it being the two "guardians" on either side of the gateway and the coiled snake-head above it.
With the announcement of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, it was revealed that the Dark Portal would be reopened and be the primary means of traveling to Outland. In preparation for the expansion, Blizzard released Patch 2.0.1, "Before the Storm", which prepared the original areas of the world for the impending expansion. In addition to the changes to the map, the addition of new NPCs and the new means of transportation to the new races' capitals, the demons and demon-slaves were removed from around the Dark Portal and the crater it rests in, and replaced with what appears to be a base camp of both the Horde and the Alliance, either helping those going in, or keeping something from coming out. The glow around the gateway turned green, indicating that the Portal is open.
Going through the Portal, like accessing the Blood Elf and Draenei starting areas, once required the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion pack to be installed; since Patch 4.2, this content is included with all paid accounts. Prior to this, when a player tried to enter the Dark Portal without having that expansion pack installed, the player would simply pass through to the rear side and get a notification reading "Burning Crusade Expansion Pack Required". A player used to need to have a character of level 58 or higher, but this is no longer a requirement. If the Expansion Pack was installed, but the character is under level 58, the player used to get "Must be Level 58", but now players are able to access the region at any level. The 'Travel Hubs' section below includes directions for reaching the Dark Portal before level 58.
See the Stair of Destiny for information about the other side of the portal.
- Main article: Dark Portal Opens
The final patch before the release of The Burning Crusade (2.0.3) included a world event surrounding the reopening of the Dark Portal. Invading Felguards and invading Voidwalkers began to pour through the dark portal, and the camps in front of the portal were manned by Argent Dawn defenders. The leader of these forces offered the quest . This quest simply involved killing six of the invading Felguards (due to number of people fighting for these kills.) Completing the quest earned you the , a special version of the . When used, the Tabard produced a visual effect similar to , and the wearer would flex.
Lord also vanished from his former place in the Blasted Lands to take up his new residence in Outland. His vacated office was taken up by . Not content to sit in a hole in the Tainted Scar, Highlord Kruul would periodically lay siege to major cities and other areas, summoning demon minions and killing everybody in sight until driven off.
After the Dark Portal was reopened, the death knight Ragnok Bloodreaver attempted to take control of it as part of his plot to take over Outland. During the battle, a burst of uncontrolled magic from one of his nether dragons struck the portal, temporarily shutting it down. Ragnok was ultimately defeated and the portal reopened, after which it was firmly held by Alliance and Horde forces.
Pearl of Pandaria
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This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
A fragile Alliance between Nethergarde Keep and Dreadmaul Hold is forged, even if neither side trusts one another. Other than that, both sides will keep fighting against the demons coming through the dark portal and those surrounding it.
Warlords of Draenor
This section concerns content exclusive to Warlords of Draenor.
The current gateway between Azeroth and Outland will be warped, as the Dark Portal will turn red because of the time-space distortion, making it a gateway to the world of Draenor in the alternate past. Access to Outland is accessible via portals in Stormwind and Orgrimmar.
During the Ironmarch invasion of Azeroth, a large army of Iron Horde orcs invaded Azeroth through the warped Dark Portal and conquered most of the Blasted Lands, capturing Ok'rilon Hold and destroying Nethergarde Keep. Eventually when the united forces of the Alliance and Horde managed to push the Iron Horde back through the portal, they freed the imprisoned Shadow Council who was being forced to power the portal and then destroyed it on the Draenor side with an Iron Star.
The Iron Horde is empowering the portal through the fel magic of Gul'dan. The Azerothian expedition has severed the power source, allowing Gul'dan and his lackeys to escape, but not before fighting a terrible battle that has cost them a lot of casualties. During that battle, they have destroyed the portal completely via a massive tank named Iron Worldbreaker, but it is only a matter of time before the Iron Horde rebuilds the portal to renew the invasion. Once the Azeroth forces went their separate ways and established their garrisons, the Dark Portal on Azeroth was redirected to their new bases in Ashran.
The path out of the crater was widened extensively by the invaders, and the ramp of the portal, already grooved from the march of the orcs and their equipment from the previous wars has now borne the full brunt of much larger and heavier war machines in great numbers. The lower portion of the ramp especially has taken extensive damage, appearing like it is about ready to break apart.
To reach the Dark Portal, Alliance players can fly or ride to Nethergarde Keep, while Horde players can travel to Dreadmaul Hold. From either base, players may then ride down the main road down to the Portal crater.
With Patch 3.2.0, there are portals to the Dark Portal from near the portal trainers in major cities (e.g.: the Mage Tower in Stormwind, the mage trainer area in Silvermoon, the Pools of Vision in Thunder Bluff). These portals require level 58 to use, and will deposit the player into a crack in the crater in front of the portal. Alliance and Horde portals all drop players in the same location; though players will be Honorless Targets for thirty seconds following their arrival in the Blasted Lands, players on PvP servers will not be completely safe from combat until they reach the Stair of Destiny on the Outland side of the portal.
Closest flight path in Azeroth
Appearance of the Dark Portal
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In Warcraft: Orcs & Humans the Dark Portal wasn't described nor appeared in-game. In Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness appeared for first time, a description was given in the manual and appeared as a building and in a cinematic. In Warcraft III it appeared in a flashback cinematic and used the "Demonic Gateway" model from an earlier Undead Campaign mission. The appearance of the portal is returned to its original Warcraft II sprite design (but as a 3D model) in the Caverns of Time wing Opening the Dark Portal.
Opening as seen in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos The Last Guardian interlude.
The Dark Portal in the Black Morass (The Burning Crusade).
In The Invasion of Draenor it was reconstructed by 's forces with a different look, it is referred as the second dark portal. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal shows it with the same look than in Tides of Darkness (both in-game and cinematic), but that can be explained by graphic reuse. The new look was shown in the Warcraft III official page in an artwork, ironically the artwork was used in The Last Guardian novel which takes place during the First War, probably a mistake of Blizzard. This new look was confirmed in World of Warcraft.
The Dark Portal in the side of Draenor is refered as Dark Portal but also as Stair of Destiny. It looks the same as the portal in Azeroth during the orc campaign cinematic shown after the third mission, but it looks different during the final cinematic of the human campaign. The portal was reconstructed during Dark Portal Opens event and was given a different appearance. However the Warcraft II appareances have been retconned out with Rise of the Horde, as it says that the Stair of Destiny was constructed as it is seen in The Burning Crusade since the very start. Also, the alternate Draenor's portal featured in Warlords of Draenor is a bit taller than its prime timeline counterpart in Outland, and the dimensional gateway resembles the earlier concepts, as it is red in color (as opposed to green one that used to connect to Outland).
managed to destroy the Dark Portal of Draenor with the Skull of Gul'dan.
The Dark Portal by Glenn Rane.
The Dark Portal used as background on the TBC login screen.
A few whisper that the Dark Portal that first brought the demons to Azeroth (during the War of the Ancients) yet remains and rests under the sea waiting for someone to reopen it.
- ^ "Human Campaign: The Great Portal", Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ Nexus Point
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness Manual, 62.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness Manual, 36.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness Manual, 32.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 4.
- ^ http://www.blizzard.com/us/war3/wallpaper/wallpaper04.html
- ^ Golden, Christie. Rise of the Horde, 339. ISBN 978-0-7434-7138-1.
- ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 187. ISBN 9781588460714.
- ^ http://classic.battle.net/war2/
- ^ "Curse of the Blood Elves: The Crossing", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.