- This article is about the lore of the Emerald Dream. For realms, see Emerald Dream (US RPPvP server) and Emerald Dream (EU PvE server).
The Emerald Dream (also known as the Dream of Creation, Green Dream or simply the Dream) is a vast, ever-changing spirit world, that exists outside the boundaries of the physical world, and is the verdant realm of the Dragon Aspect Ysera.
The Emerald Dream is basically how the world would have been, if intelligent beings had not altered its surface.
Nature of the Dream
The Dream's Purpose
The Dream is under the protection of the green Dragon Aspect, Ysera. After the titans had shaped Azeroth, they sent Ysera into an eternal trance and charged her with watching over all of Azeroth from the Dream. As a result, green dragons guard every portal into the Dream, and they always see both the landscape of Azeroth and the corresponding dreamscape. This enchanted vision, known as dreamsight, allows green dragons to perceive their surroundings with perfect clarity despite the dragons' closed eyes.
Unlike Azeroth, the Emerald Dream is a realm that is primarily spiritual instead of physical. All who enter the Dream can affect it to a minor extent, but only temporarily: the underlying structure of the Dream inevitably reasserts itself. Even Ysera cannot change the Dream permanently, nor, indeed, would she wish to do so. She does not control the Dream; on the contrary, it is closer to the truth to say that the Dream controls her. Using the Dream as her unfaltering guide, she regulates the ebb and flow of nature and the evolutionary path of the world itself.
Perception of the Self Inside the Dream
The creatures of Azeroth can visit the Emerald Dream either physically or via dreams, as the realm's name indicates. When an individual's spirit visits the Dream, leaving the body behind, that individual will manifest his or her dreamform, which normally looks and behaves much as that individual's physical body might. Hence, for most creatures, moving through the Dream is achieved in the normal fashion, despite the realm's chiefly spiritual character. These rules do not apply to druids of sufficient skill or experience, who are trained to see beyond physical reality. These druids might be capable of abnormal movement in the Dream (e.g., a night elf who can sprint at a greatly accelerated rate, walk through solid objects, or fly). It is quite rare to see such unusual capabilities in non-druids, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Characteristics of the Dream
The Dream can be affected by all dreamers to a minor and temporary extent. However, no living creature except the titans has ever been able to permanently change the Dream. Ysera herself cannot control or shape the Dream, which has its own ecology and a variety of inhabitants, both sentient and non-sentient. Time is meaningless inside the Dream. As a result, the green dragonflight, which spends the majority of its time in the Dream, is extremely long-lived. Ysera's consorts in particular almost never emerge from the Dream and are effectively immortal, as are all other permanent denizens in the Dream. Because the titans invested a great deal of work in perfecting their design of Azeroth, the Emerald Dream is not one a single perfect vision of what Azeroth would become. The finished design of the planet was the product of many previous flawed or unfinished models. The Dream therefore has multiple layers, one for each of these earlier incarnations. These older layers of the Dream are often incomplete and therefore limited in scope, relative to the finalized Dream. 
The Emerald Dream was originally described as a "a vast, ever-changing spirit world, existed outside the boundaries of the physical world. From the Dream, Ysera regulated the ebb and flow of nature and the evolutionary path of the world itself." This implies less stagnation than the Emerald Dream described in other sources.
The Emerald Dream also has multiple layers, described by Cenarius as different testing versions of Azeroth. These layers were created because the titans invested a great deal of work in perfecting their design of Azeroth, and so, the finished design of the planet was the product of many previous flawed or unfinished models. Each layer represents an abandoned segment or idea that the titans tried and ultimately discarded. Malfurion observed that it looks like neither the mortal plane nor the Emerald Dream. He saw that one mountain peak lacked its northern face, while another peak looked as if someone had started molding it like clay but had lost interest. These older layers were normally uninhabited, invisible and incomplete, therefore limited in scope, relative to the finalized Dream. But they could be accessed by any who knew how to navigate them.
There are several places of interest in the Dream not found in Azeroth:
- Eye of Ysera
- Rift of Aln
- The Nightmare (formerly, currently contained within the Rift of Aln)
- Daral'nir (the Emerald Dream counterpart of Tal'doren) 
- Ysera's Dreamways - This might be just another name for the Dream or a zone within.
The benevolent titans created the Emerald Dream to serve as the underlying blueprint for the planet Azeroth. After the titans had shaped Azeroth, they sent Ysera into an eternal trance and charged her with watching over all of Azeroth from the Dream. As a result, green dragons guard every portal into the Dream, and they always see both the landscape of Azeroth and the corresponding dreamscape. This enchanted vision, known as dreamsight, allows green dragons to perceive their surroundings with perfect clarity despite the dragons' closed eyes.
The First World Tree
During the War of the Ancients, the druid Malfurion Stormrage made use of the Emerald Dream to enter into the palace of Queen Azshara and thwart the plans of Lord Xavius. After the War of the Ancients, three of the Dragon Aspects grew a World Tree, Nordrassil, atop the new Well of Eternity, and Ysera linked Nordrassil to the Emerald Dream. Her action was primarily meant to prevent abuse of the Well and to keep the Well's powers from growing. The tempering energies of the Dream act as a calming influence on the Well's chaotic energies. Secondarily, Nordrassil's connection to the Emerald Dream allowed the druids of Azeroth to travel easily to the Dream.
Since that time, all druids have periodically hibernated while their spirits wandered the dreamways. This hibernation is not some sort of physical requirement for druids, though; rather, the hibernation was a communion with the Emerald Dream. The druids were learning more about the natural world through the Dream. There was always something new for the druids to learn, even in the smallest blade of grass.
During the Third War, the druids empowered Nordrassil with the night elves' immortality and the energies of countless night elf spirits. Nordrassil then gave off a blast of energy that killed the demon lord Archimonde, ending the war and sealing the Burning Legion's defeat on Azeroth. Although Nordrassil was not killed in the process, the night elves' noble sacrifice left them mortal and cost the druids their easily accessible link to the Emerald Dream. Thus, reaching the Dream has become a significantly more difficult prospect, and fewer druids are able to walk the Dream today.
The Second World Tree
Certain that the night elves' immortality could be restored, Archdruid Fandral Staghelm proposed growing a second World Tree, though the dragons showed no sign of offering their assistance in the process. Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage flatly refused; he argued that without the blessing of the dragonflights, the tree would be an abomination. When Malfurion fell into a mysterious coma, Fandral became the new leader of the druids. His first act was to persuade the rest of the Cenarion Circle to grow the second World Tree, which they named Teldrassil. Teldrassil is not linked to the Dream or to the Well of Eternity. Contrary to Fandral's hopes, the new World Tree has not restored the night elves' immortality.
In World of Warcraft
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
Currently, there are no entrances in World of Warcraft that lead to the Emerald Dream. Thus, it is impossible for players to enter it. A few exceptions will allow players to access it temporarily, but the areas visited are merely phased versions of places already found in Azeroth, and not actual areas found within the Dream. While it is still inaccessible, several players have either requested or suggested an "Emerald Dream Expansion" based on the lore so far (see Speculation).
Most references to the Emerald Dream in the original version of the game occur in Moonglade, which is the haven for the druids on Azeroth. The references occurs in quests which involves Keeper Remulos, a Keeper of the grove and the ruler of Moonglade. Likewise, much of the Nightmare's influence upon the Emerald Dream involves the green dragonflight, the protectors of the Emerald Dream under the jurisdiction of Ysera.
One of the earliest mentions of the green dragonflight's corruption - and thus the Nightmare's influence - was the dragon Eranikus within the Temple of Atal'Hakkar, a lvl 45-50 dungeon. The dragon, along with an army of lesser green dragons, had been dispatched by Ysera to take care of the trolls within the temple in the Swamp of Sorrows. There, the trolls attempted to summon Hakkar the Soulflayer, a powerful Old Gods-like being. The temple was smashed to bits by the dragons, but they ultimately fell to Hakkar's corruption themselves. The Shade of Eranikus is now the final boss within the dungeon.
A similar result of the Nightmare's corruption can be found in the Wailing Caverns where several druids have gone into madness. One of them, Naralex, was planning to use the cave to return Barrens to its once lush state, by connecting to the Dream. He was however captured by the Nightmare, and its presence corrupted the creatures within the cave.
In patch 1.8.0, the Dragons of Nightmare were also added to the game. These dragons were once the lieutenants of Ysera, protecting the Emerald Dream from evil and whatnot. They have, however, also been corrupted by the Nightmare, twisting their powers and turning the dragons into what they once fought. There were four of them, each having emerged from one of the four portals connecting Azeroth to the Emerald Dream. They were found in Duskwood (Twilight Grove), the Hinterlands (Seradane), Feralas (Dream Bough), and Ashenvale (Bough Shadow). Although the portals are inactive, the dragons could be fought and killed, all of them being outdoor raid-bosses. The Dragons of Nightmare were later removed in Cataclysm (see below).
Each of the Dragons of Nightmare also dropped a , which came from the Emerald Dream. This item gave a quest which requested the player to hand it in to Keeper Remulos. Purifying the object revealed that it was actually the ring of Malfurion Stormrage, who was fighting the Nightmare inside the dream. The brief dialogue with Malfurion, who was communicating with Keeper Remulos, implied that the Nightmare did not only corrupt the Emerald Dream, but also sought to invade Azeroth.
The story behind the Nightmare's corruption of the Emerald Dream was further fueled by the Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest chain, added in patch 1.9.0. Requesting the player to craft in order to open the raid-dungeons Ahn'Qiraj, the player would seek out the red, blue and green dragonflights to acquire the shards the scepter was made of. The focuses on the green dragonflight, combining the fate of Eranikus in the Sunken Temple with the one of the Dragons of Nightmare.
It was revealed that Eranikus held the Green Scepter Shard, but would not give it up while under control of the Nightmare. Malfurion Stormrage, again communicating from the dream, sent the player to Keeper Remulos which told that Eranikus had to be summoned and defeated in Moonglade in order to be freed from the Nightmare. To summon him, Keeper Remulos required fragments of the Nightmare's corruption. Three of these fragments dropped from random lesser green dragons which were also found at the Dragons of Nightmare's locations. The fourth one dropped from a satyr which preached the Nightmare's power. When Eranikus, having become Tyrant of the Dream, was summoned, he declared that he would destroy both Moonglade and Malfurion. Holding Eranikus back, Tyrande Whisperwind eventually arrived and cleansed the dragon with the power of Elune. Redeemed and freed from the Nightmare's grasp, Eranikus handed over the shard and returned to the Emerald Dream to fight the Nightmare.
The Burning Crusade
This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
The Swift Flight Form quest chain describes how the Emerald Dream is under assault from outside forces as well, lead by an ancient arakkoa spirit called Anzu. One of the missions in the quest chain is waking up and protecting Clintar Dreamwalker which is sleeping in the Stormrage Barrow Dens in Moonglade. Several bizarre plants which likely originate from the Dream can be found here. Phantasmal Lashers which are suppressed by Cenarion Dreamwardens are also seeping out from the Dream.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
So far, the Emerald Dream can only be visited twice:
- While on the Icecrown quest , where Remulos sends the player into a phased version of a portion of Moonglade to gather .
- While attempting to rescue Valithria Dreamwalker in Icecrown Citadel, she will open portals to a phased version of her room to gather Emerald Vigor buffs.
World of Warcraft: Stormrage
During the events of the War against the Nightmare, the Emerald Nightmare was almost able to take hold of the whole Emerald Dream and Azeroth at the same time. However, the Nightmare Lord was eventually defeated with the help of a coalition of races, stopping the crisis.
Despite Xavius' defeat at the hands of Malfurion Stormrage and his allies, the Nightmare was not entirely destroyed following its master's defeat. One small part stubbornly stayed in the Rift of Aln, and Malfurion could only seal off the vicinity around the rift until a time that another war would be in their favor.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
The story around the Emerald Dream was continued in Cataclysm, at a greater degree than in the two past expansions. Much of it is connected to the novel Stormrage, in which the plot happens after Wrath of the Lich King. The novel reveals that the corruption in the Emerald Dream is caused by the former highborne and later satyr Xavius, who takes the form of a twisted tree. Upon his defeat, Malfurion senses that the true force between the corruption, and Xavius' master, is nothing less but another Old God. This being reaches into the Dream through the Rift of Aln, from somewhere in Azeroth's deep ocean. The Emerald Dream-events in Cataclysm appear to be a continuation of this story.
It turns out that the Old God N'Zoth is responsible for the Emerald Nightmare. As Deathwing, Cho'gall, and the naga in the Cataclysm zones The Lost Isles and Vash'jir all serve the Old Gods, it is possible that N'Zoth will be a future encounter in World of Warcraft. This might likely take place in Vash'jir, as the novel hinted how the Old God was located in the sea. N'Zoth's former servant Xavius has left a remnant in Teldrassil called Bough of Corruption, giving the corruption there a face.
Becoming a new zone in Cataclysm, Hyjal features several events related to the Dream. With most of the threat in the Dream defeated in the novel, Ysera has entered Azeroth to continue her fight there. She can be found in the game at Nordrassil where she has taken humanoid form. She asks the player to aid several ancients who are returning to Azeroth from the Dream. These ancients returning are Aessina, Aviana, Cenarius, Goldrinn, Tortolla and eventually Malorne. It is also revealed that Fandral Staghelm, who in the novel became insane due to the Nightmare's corruption, was afterwards moved to the Barrow Dens in Hyjal. As the Twilight's Hammer seeks to capture him, the green dragon Alysra asks the player to smuggle him out to her in the quest . To avoid the cultists, the player and Fandral escapes the Dens through the Emerald Dream, encountering creatures called Nightmare Terrors. Fandral did still join forces with the Twilight's Hammer, though as an ally instead of a prisoner. Seemingly having regained his sanity (and replaced it with a desire for vengeance), he is now the leader of the Druids of the Flame.
The Nightmare Dragons were also affected by the Cataclysm. While Emeriss and Lethon were killed in the novel, it did not mention anything about Ysondre nor Taerar. In the game it turns out Ysondre has escaped the corruption and asks the player in the quest to aid her slay Taerar, who is still corrupted. The fight takes place in Feralas, but on the border to Thousand Needles. The dragonspawn in the Dream Bough have had their levels reduced, and are no longer elite. The dragonspawn in Shadow Bough have also had their levels lowered, and are also no longer elite, possibly due to the nearby Azshara becoming a low-level area for goblins. The Twilight Grove has become a night elf archaeology dig site, and Seradane has been abandoned.
Naralex, finally having regained from the Nightmare while sleeping in the Wailing Caverns, have used his powers to bring life back to the dusty plains outside the caverns. The area is however suffering from the Emerald Nightmare which is seeping out from the dream.
Dawn of the Aspects
During a meeting of the Wyrmrest Accord, Merithra notes that the Nightmare is stirring within the Rift of Aln and seems to be seeking a new Nightmare Lord to replace Xavius. However, Ysera says it is now the duty of the Druids to watch over the Emerald Dream as she has become mortal following the Hour of Twilight.
Emerald Dream as future Endgame Zone?
Rumors dating back to the early development phase of World of Warcraft in 2003 suggest that the Emerald Dream would have been added in an 'at that time' future patch or expansion pack as an endgame zone or as a new continent. Newer speculation suggests that the Emerald Dream was originally intended to be an endgame instance, but got scrapped because Blizzard wanted it to be the main theme of an expansion. Tigole stated in late May 2007 that Blizzard had "actually done a lot of work on the Emerald Dream but we scrapped what we had for bigger, grander plans."
Back before World of Warcraft's closed beta phase, Tigole mentioned interesting details about the Emerald Dream, that seem to support the idea that it will be released.
- See also Emerald Dream Expansion Ideas.
Currently the Emerald Dream is only explorable twice in-game, and even then, is is extremely limited in scope. The Emerald Dream may yet become a more in-depth feature in World of Warcraft at some point in the future, but it's still unclear if it will be a new zone, a world spanning several new zones (Emerald Paradise, etc.), an instance, an expansion pack, or anything else. It is a fact that five Great Trees already exist in Azeroth, with swirling green portals in front which are believed to be entrances to the Emerald Dream. These portals are in Duskwood (Twilight Grove), Feralas (Dream Bough), Hinterlands (Seradane), Ashenvale (Bough Shadow) and Crystalsong Forest (The Great Tree) in Northrend. Currently, none of these portals do anything if a player steps through them and Crystalsong Forest's tree does not even have a portal at present. The portals in Ashenvale, Feralas, Duskwood, and the Hinterlands, until the events of the Cataclysm, were protected by elite dragonkin. From patch 1.8.0 to patch 4.0.1, the Four Dragons, who normally lived in the Emerald Dream, began emerging from the portals at regular intervals.
In the War of the Ancients Trilogy, the Emerald Dream is accessed by Malfurion and Cenarius by achieving a deep meditative state. Therefore, it's unclear if any future implementation of the Emerald Dream will be accessible to non-druids, or if it will indeed be something that can be entered via the aforementioned portals. It is possible Blizzard could even add a new high level druid spell to port them directly to the Dream itself from anywhere.
- The Emerald Dream may have been influenced by H. P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands. The Dreamlands is a vast, alternate dimension that can be entered through dreams, similar to astral projection or lucid dreaming. Experienced dreamers are among the most powerful inhabitants of the Dreamlands and may become its permanent residents after their physical deaths.
- Another similarity to the Emerald Dream is Tel'aran'rhiod, a parallel world in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, that is normally accessed through dreams. There are specially gifted people called "Dreamwalkers" that are able to access this reality at will.
It appears to those who travel within it as how Azeroth would have been if intelligent beings had not altered its surface, such as humans or elves, with the cut forests, farmed prairies, diverted rivers or built cities. It is a vision of the world as a verdant natural paradise. Tranquil forests stretch away in every direction, and rolling hills and majestic mountains mimic Azeroth's landscape.
Azeroth and the Emerald Dream are quasi-duplicates of each other — the Emerald Dream is Azeroth as seen through a magic lens, untouched by the hands of mortals. The mountains are in the same places in both worlds, but where a human metropolis stands in Azeroth, a lush field, vacant of artifice, grows in the Emereald Dream.
The Emerald Dream can be visited in dreams or in the flesh. Although the druids enter the plane through their connection with nature, accessing the Emerald Dream via more conventional magic is possible, but the plane's natives do not look kindly upon intruders.
Some creatures cannot help but dream of the plane and find themselves there without any preparation or conscious intent; these dreaming creatures arrive in the Emerald Dream and often have prophetic and helpful visions. Other creatures intentionally use dreams to reach the Emerald Dream, such as the druids.
Nature is in a perfect balance in the Emerald Dream. Animals of all types inhabit the world, including some that are extinct on Azeroth and subspecies that never got the chance to evolve. Many fey creatures, such as sprites, dryads and keepers of the grove, also roam the Dream. However, it is not only the native inhabitant creatures that roam the Dream. Creatures from Azeroth constantly visit, though they may or may not know it.
List of races:
- ^ a b Charge of the Dragonflights
- ^ a b c d e f g World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 23
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia
- ^ a b c d e f http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/encyclopedia/394.xml
- ^ a b Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 53
- ^ a b c The Sundering, 67
- ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 4
- ^ The Well of Eternity
- ^ World of Warcraft: Stormrage, p.389
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects Part 1, chapter 1
- ^ http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=218.0
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 144
- ^ a b c d Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 217
- ^ Shadows & Light, 145-149