The Elemental Plane is the prison plane constructed by the titans in the Twisting Nether, where they imprisoned the elementals millions of years ago, after they defeated the Old Gods. The plane consists of four major regions, each representing one of the major elements - The Skywall (air), Deepholm (earth), The Abyssal Maw (water) and The Firelands (fire).
The Elemental Plane is described as "a prison plane in the Twisting Nether". However, Highlord Demitrian describes it as "at the core of this world". Khadgar appears to agree with Highlord Demitrian as he thinks that "atop of the Elemental Plane sat the mortal, material worlds". However, being a plane at the core of something and being a plane below something are not quite the same thing.
During the battle where the titans defeated the Old Gods and brought order to the world, the Elemental Lords fell and their forces dispersed. One of the first acts of the titans was to banish the Elemental Lords and their servants to a prison within the Twisting Nether. These agents of chaos could not be allowed to roam freely, or they would disrupt the new order the titans sought to create. Thus, the titans fashioned a separate abyssal plane to hold their old foes; it was called the Elemental Plane. Over the course of a short period, they cast all the elementals they could find into this hastily crafted "jail." There, they would contend with one another for all eternity. The greatest of their battles was the Elemental Sundering. With the elementals' departure, nature calmed, and the world settled into a peaceful harmony.
During the several millennia the elementals grew attached to their adopted home. 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. 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.
Ragnaros the Firelord once commanded the Fire domain in the plane, but 300 years ago Dark Iron dwarves in the Redridge Mountains summoned him to battle their enemies. The catastrophic summoning blasted the land and immolated the Dark Irons, and Ragnaros sunk into the depths of Blackrock Spire to prepare his return. Currently, Ragnaros resides in the Elemental Plane.
In World of Warcraft
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
Now the elementals have learned to open portals to start Elemental Invasions. At the beginning of an elemental invasion, portals will open to the elemental planes and invaders will begin to pass through. Thus, during an invasion you will find two to three times as many elementals in the area, usually slightly higher in level than the standard ones found there.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
After Deathwing breaks through the ceiling of Deepholm, the entire elemental plane is brought up (or down, in the case of Skywall), and can be reached through various means by the mortal races of Azeroth. The Firelands and Skywall have raids, Abyssal Maw has a dungeon, and Deepholm contains a dungeon. After initial intro quests, the associated zones will mostly be accessible by portals in Orgrimmar and Stormwind City.
It would look like any other world to an outsider — at least, when looked upon from above or on the ground: one large continent surrounded by water, with a yellow sun burning above. A casual visitor, arriving on the surface, might even believe he is on an ordinary — if somewhat violent — planet.
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.
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.
Each kind of elemental has claimed a portion of the world as they do not tolerate each other, in total there are four distinct realms:
- The domain of Air is called The Skywall. It is a layer located in the air, and sits atop the middle layer. It is home of Al'Akir the Windlord and his air elemental servants.
- The middle layer supports both, the Water and Earth domains. The surface of the realm is divided almost equally between deep ocean and a gigantic continent dotted with active volcanoes.
- The domain of Water is called The Abyssal Maw. Neptulon the Tidehunter controls the oceans or Water domain.
- The domain of Earth is called Deepholm. It is the soil and stone of the plane's single continent, and the ground beneath the sea. It is riddled with tunnels and under the rule of Therazane the Stonemother.
- The surface of the Elemental Plane's ocean is dotted with a few small islands of rock that yet resist Neptulon's endless assault on the land.
- A thick layer of permanent, tunnel-ridden stone supports the earth and water on the surface.
- The domain of Fire is called The Firelands. It is a third layer of Fire, located beneath the Abyssal Maw and Deepholm. It is a realm of ﬂame, lava and molten rock that constantly struggles to break free of its bonds. This domain was once ruled by Ragnaros, who was later freed by Dark Iron dwarves, as explained above.
Note: There are also rumors that a forge similar to the Black Forge in Blackrock Mountain exists in the heart of the Elemental Plane, where dark iron is much more common. A journey to this site would not be for the faint of heart.
Communicating with elementals is difficult, and they have provided little information about the nature of their realm.
But it is known, that lava flows, earthquakes, windstorms, and tsunami are common, making the Elemental Plane a very dangerous place to visit. Normal levels of gravity pull physical objects toward the bottom of the sphere, where the realm of fire lies.
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.
The elemental beings can alter the plane with a thought. The landscape shifts on its own from time to time. 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.
Azeroth's denizens have few dealings with the Elemental Plane, though they can access it with magic. It can also be accesed 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.
- Skywall (Air): Al'Akir the Windlord rules the skies over the Elemental Plane.
- Deepholm (Earth): Therazane the Stonemother.
- Firelands (Fire): Smolderon the Firelord
- Abyssal Maw (Water): Neptulon the Tidehunter.
- For creatures in each realm of the plane, see Creatures of the Abyssal Maw, Creatures of Deepholm, Creatures of the Firelands and Creatures of the Skywall.
Life exists, filling the skies and lands with creatures similar to those on Azeroth, as well as those as yet unknown to sages.
Each of the realms is filled with life of various types, although the Abyssal Maw is mostly populated by elementals. 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.
- A wide variety of natural creatures, from birds and mammals to reptiles, amphibians and insects can be found scattered throughout the realms.
- Djinni, various types.
- Mephit, various types.
- Phoenix is a natural predator of the Elemental Plane.
- Revenant, various types.
- Sprite, various types.
- Tojanida, various types.
- Xorn, various types.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 22
- ^ a b c d e f Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 216
- ^ a b c d e The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth
- ^ BlizzCon 2009: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Zone, World, and Instance Changes at MMOlecule.com
- ^ a b Highlord Demitrian#Dialogue
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 129
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Shadows & Light, pg. 136
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 128
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 99
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 105
- ^ a b Shadows & Light, pg. 139
- ^ More Magic and Mayhem, 154
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 217
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 23
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 100
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 106
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 102
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shadows & Light, pg. 141
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 140
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 81