There are 5 Gateways to the Emerald Dream: Seranade(Hinterlands), Dream Bough(Feralas), Bough Shadow(Ashenvale), Twilight Grove(Duskwood) and Crystalsong Forest (Northrend) , guarded by Elite Green Dragonkin and Green Drakes lvl 62.
Few months before Retail, Tigole[Jeff Kaplan] commented about the Emerald Dream, which he confirmed was looking great (June 2004):
Tigole: “Actually, we have some pretty cool stuff planned for druids. They will definitely have a link to the Emerald Dream. There’s also a zone on the way to the peak of Mount Hyjal called Moonglade that will be very core to druid characters. Our *master of Warcraft lore*, Chris Metzen, is never short on ideas when it comes to the druid class. I was running around the Emerald Dream last Thursday… you guys are in for a treat. The level designers are doing a killer job.”—06 Dec 2003
Tigole: “The Emerald Dream is shaping up to be extremely cool. We don’t want to preview any of that content yet as it is *endgame* and we want some surprises for players. The zone is massive and beautiful. And once the content team is done with it, it will be exceedingly challenging >=]”—06 Dec 2003
Nethaera: “As for the Emerald Dream, there are no plans for anything as of yet but it is a consideration for the future. The Emerald Dream opens up a lot of different opportunities and the Burning Crusade is definitely not going to be the last of the expansion packs. There are many different places and story lines that can be pursued. The story is going to keep growing and as it does so, people will get to experience it.”—09 June 2006
The Emerald Dream is the primal heart of Azeroth. It is an echo of what the world would be like if intelligent beings had not altered its surface. The ethereal layer of the Emerald Dream shares the same space of the Physical layer one on top of the other—a parallel realm overlapping the physical world like an invisible and intangible layer. It is characterized by its green hue and verdant forests. The Emerald Dream though is like a perpetual time-frame of creation—back when the Titans reshaped the planet to bring order to chaos, they crafted the Well of Eternity—which created basic life: Trees, plants, animals. The Emerald Dream came to be. A thousand years after the Well of Eternity was created, Eonar the Lifebinder Titan blessed Ysera the Dragon Aspect to watch over the Emerald Dream realm.
Time passes normally within the Emerald Dream as in the Physical world. The only place within the Emerald Dream that doesn’t match inch by inch parallel to the Physical World is the place known as the Eye of Ysera. This place is inhabited by Ysera, ever watchful of her domain; and is heavily guarded by the green dragonflight. The Eye of Ysera is like a storm, it moves from place to place randomly. So does anyone try to find the eye, will find that searching a pin in a hay stack is easier job. If by accident you find a golden dome, know that you have found where Ysera lives at. No one has ever been able to penetrate the golden dome, by any means of magic.
You may find more details of the Emerald Dream in the Warcraft RPG: Shadow and Light. This is a quote from such book:
“The Emerald Dream is the primal heart of
Azeroth. It is a kind of echo of what the world
would be like if intelligent beings had not altered its
surface. The lands are inviting and pure, with
rolling hills, dense woodlands and vast prairies
filled with living creatures enjoying complete freedom.
Even the mountains, such as they are, contain
lush vegetation and peaceful valleys.”
Some fans believe the Emerald Dream has existed since before the Titans arrived. Others say the Great Sea and the Maelstrom exist in the Emerald Dream. However, both thoughts are incorrect.
“This is a place where no elemental walks, where no great power ever altered the terrain. A paradise, indeed.”
This clearly says the Emerald Dream exists far after the Old gods and Elementals were imprisoned. “No elemental walks” means no chaos exist anymore. The Titans bring order to chaos in the universe. Taming the elements and crafting an athmosphere that may spring life such as paradise.
No great power ever altered the terrain: The Burning Legion devastated the Barrens, Suramar and cursed a section of the Moonglades now known as Felwood. This great power “Burning Legion” altered the terrain.
The Emerald Dream is Azeroth if intelligent beings hadn’t existed: Humanoids such as Trolls, Night Elves, Humans, Taurens, etc. Where only the trees, plants and animals roam. The Highborne Elves created Zin-Azshari and many cities out of wood and rock, twisting and reshaping the terrain with arcane magic to take the shape of their glorious cities. The Emerald Dream doesn’t have any of those buildings or alterations on terrain created by intelligent beings. Therefore, the Sundering, Maelstrom and the Great Sea shouldn’t exist in the Emerald Dream.
All this analysis is based on quotes from the Official Site Lore:
“The Titans, colossal, metallic-skinned gods from the far reaches of the cosmos, explored the newborn universe and set to work on the worlds they encountered. They shaped the worlds by raising mighty mountains and dredging out vast seas. They breathed skies and raging atmospheres into being. It was all part of their unfathomable, far-sighted plan to create order out of chaos. They even empowered primitive races to tend to their works and maintain the integrity of their respective worlds…
the Titans brought order to a hundred million worlds scattered throughout the Great Dark Beyond during the first ages of creation.
… For many ages the Titans moved and shaped the earth, until at last there remained one perfect continent. At the continent’s center, the Titans crafted a lake of scintillating energies. The lake, which they named the Well of Eternity, was to be the fount of life for the world. Its potent energies would nurture the bones of the world and empower life to take root in the land’s rich soil. Over time, plants, trees, monsters, and creatures of every kind began to thrive on the primordial continent. As twilight fell on the final day of their labors, the Titans named the continent Kalimdor: “land of eternal starlight”.
This proves the Emerald Dream came to exist when the Well of Eternity was created. A Genesis shockwave was triggered, creating a verdant paradise. The Dragon Aspects were empowered by the Titans a thousand years after the Well of Eternity was created.
In War of the Ancients Trilogy books by Richard A. Knaak, Cenarius teaches Malfurion how to enter the Emerald Dream, and Malfurion uses his dream form to fly towards the location of Zin-Azshari, to investigate what transpired within the palace of Azshara:
“Suddenly, ahead of him lay a huge, black lake. Malfurion frowned, certain that he recognized the foreboding body of water. Dark waves lapped the shores and an aura of power radiated from its center.
The Well of Eternity.
But if this was the Well, where was the city? Malfurion eyed the dreamscape where he knew the capital should have been, trying to summon an image of it.”
This proves that the Maelstrom and the Great Sea doesn’t exist in the Emerald Dream. Malfurion did not see the city of Zin-Azhari nor its palace in the Emerald Dream. Malfurion only saw the Well of Eternity. Therefore, the Emerald Dream instance in World of Warcraft should show the Well of Eternity without any cities crafted by intelligent beings( Highborne), and show the Well of Eternity as if the Sundering had not happened. After all, the Sundering was the consequence of intelligent beings that sought to satiate their curiosity and ambition for arcane magic.
Additionally, the same pocketbook reveals of other layers that are pre-Emerald Dream. Malfurion needed to find where Deathwing was hiding to steal the Demon Soul from him. The Dragon Aspects weren’t able to pinpoint Deathwing as he was cloaked, masking his presence. Malfurion entered the Emerald Dream to no success. He couldn’t still find Deathwing’s lair location. Cenarius then taught Malfurion to enter a different layer beneath the Emerald Dream … a primal layer. The mountains Malfurion knew very well, looked far different now in this new layer. As if recently shaped by a sculptor. This refers to the work of the Titans and the Earthen, as Khaz’Goroth the Shaper shaped the Mountains of the landscape. In this primal layer (pre-Well of Eternity), Malfurion was able to pinpoint Deathwing’s location.
Things to note: The Titans arrived to Azeroth landing upon Un’Goro Crater -147,000 in the Timeline provided by Warcraft RPG: Lands of Conflict. The Well of Eternity was created -64,000. A Thousand years later, the Dragon Aspects were blessed by the Titans and departed away -65,001.
Lately, the Emerald Dream has been affected by the Nightmare. It is not a place. It is an effect that roams the Emerald Dream randomly affecting other dreamers and attacks them during their sleep. The nightmare twists and reshapes the dreams, corrupting the sleeping dream-form. Those trapped within the Nightmare are known as the Unwaking. Their physical form may die of starvation, not able to wake up as the affected can’t escape the Emerald Dream.
Sleeping creatures that get caught within the Nightmare in the Emerald Dream may become corrupted and mutated. They are known as the Corrupted Ones. Many corrupted ones roam the Wailing Caverns in The Barrens.
All creatures that sleep at night roam the Emerald Dream in dream form as visitors, including beasts like wolves, tigers, Furborlgs, bears, plainstriders and other creatures. Some of them are Dryads, Keepers of the Grove, Pixies, sprites, Ancients, gryphons, Ogres, Owlbeasts, Trolls, and any intelligent being that can dream in their sleep.
There are other magical and planar ways to reach the Emerald Dream. Sometimes, Ysera can’t detect intruders that enter the Emerald Dream by means of magic plane-shifting. Native creatures of the Emerald Dream might alert the green dragonflight though, or simply attack you on sight if they see fit that you are an intruder.
Quests related to
When looting Eranikus after killing Jammal in the Temple of Atal’ai in Swamps of Sorrow, he drops the Chained Essence of Eranikus trinket. Take the trinket to Itharius, at the cave located southwest of Swamp of Sorrows. He will give you an Oath rune. Upon acceptance, the trinket is removed from your bag and you become an agent of the Green Dragonflight and Ysera.
Itharius sends you to meet Umbranse the Spiritspeaker, a human, located in Northeastern Winterspring. He says that Eranikus isn’t truely dead, and he could speak and help him, but a powerful augur device he needs to help Eranikus was stolen against his will. No one has been able to find the Augur device required by Umbranse.
In recent quests after the War Effort to open the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj, in order to create the Scepter of the Shifting Sands to bang the gong, you need to gather the pieces of the shattered scepter from 4 dragons that guard a piece. One of them is Eranikus the Corrupted. Eranikus is summoned in Moonglades with help of Remulos – son of Cenarius.
Eranikus the Corrupted claims to serve his god. This triggered the rumor that the Old god C’Thun is behind the Nightmare of the Emerald Dream. Hints of this lead to think it is true. That the Old gods are behind the corruption of the Emerald Dream through the Nightmare.
The introduction of the 4 Corrupted Dragons as outdoor raid-bosses, and later the introduction of Ahn’Qiraj Instance seems to point to a very soon release of the Emerald Dream instance. The page will be updated when such time comes.
One of the four corrupted outdoor-raid dragons drop a corrupted signet ring. When you bring it to Remulos in Moonglades, the dream-form of Malfurion shows up and reveals that he and Cenarius’ spirit are fighting the Nightmare inside the Emerald Dream. Malfurion hints the Old gods are behind the Nightmare:
Malfurion: “I fear for the worst, old friend. Within the Dream we fight a new foe, a born of an ancient evil. Ysera’s noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings. It seems as if the Nightmare has broken through the realm and seeks a new host on Azeroth.”
In War of the Ancients Trilogy the Old Whisperings refer to the Old gods. Neltharion(Deathwing), Malfurion and Varo’then listened to the old whisperings of the old gods who tainted their thoughts when they had the Demon Soul on their hands. The Tauren History within the scrolls of lore at the Elder Rise in Thunder Bluff also mentions: “The dark whispers from the deeps of the world” which resemble the old whisperings, in reference to the Old gods. The Highborne that landed in Tirisfal Glades after their exile, started going insane with whisperings: “After a few years, many of them began to go mad. It was theorized that something evil slept beneath that particular part of the world” – which seems to refer to the Old whisperings (Old gods). Finally, War of the Ancients Trilogy books also reveal that Azshara heard the whisperings of the Old gods as the highborne were about to drown under the rushing waters of the sundering. As confirmed by Richard A. Knaak in our interview, Knaak says the Old gods and Azshara stroke a deal. The Old gods turned the highborne into the Naga—saving their lives in exchange of servitude. The last 10,000 years of Azeroth history has been shaped by Queen Azshara heralding the return of the Old gods.
The sources below give you a whole scope of the quests that hint the Old gods are behind the Nightmare.