The Great Dark is also known simply as the Dark or Dark Beyond. It is one of the Realms of existence. In simple words, one can describe the Dark Beyond as outer space in the World of Warcraft.
Some descriptions state it to be the first forms of everything when there was nothing in this world. This makes it the first mortal world and it comprises of the lot of moons, stars and other planets.
The Azeroth and Draenor planets are found in this mortal world known as the Dark Beyond. The Twisting Nether when compared to the Dark Beyond is an Astral Plane of chaos.
Planets of WoW
Argus: This planet was the home to the eredars. The eredars were basically magical creatures. The planet was Argus was shattered by the Sargeras and the eredars were split into the Man’ari, who are the current leaders of the Burning Legion and the Draenei, who followed Velun and were exiled into Eredun. The burning Legion continuously hunted the Draenei.
Azeroth: Almost all of the Warcraft stories are set in the Azeroth. Its a planet which was graced by the Titans but later the Burning Legion came in bringing in demon races to Azeroth.
K’aresh: This planet has a prosperous ecosystem until it was attacked by Dimensius, who was the king of the Void. This led the ethereals who lived in K’aresh to roam the Nether Plane and leaving the planet situation unknown.
Xoroth: This it the planet of dread which is the homeland to steeds of the Burning Legion. The dreadsteeds of the dreadlords roam Xoroth under the governance of Lord Hel’nurath. When a warlock requests epic mount, the player will have to call for a Dreadsteed through a portal.
Xandros: This is again a destroyed planet which faced this situation due to the Burning Legion member , Mongrethod. Players are sent to this destroyed world in the quest of the Talador Storyline.
Outland: Draenor is a destroyed world and Outland is the left backs of this destroyed red world. The draenei take refuge in the Outland after their hometown was shattered by the Burning Legion.
Several other planets existed in the Dark Beyond other than the above listed ones.
End of Azeroth
The end of the Azeroth began as a question that faced the scholars. The conclusion was deducted that the realm of Emerald Dream surrounded the Azeroth and layed secluded from the other planes by the Astral plane of the Twisting Nether. Then was the critical question of what comes after the Nether?
The final answer, the Dark Beyond was well acclaimed. It started from the end of chaos at the Nether and the end of the Dark Beyond was not defined. Anything that was beyond knowledge about WoW outer space was the Dark.
Differences Between the Dark Beyond and the Twisting Nether
Several planets and world existed in space and the Astral Plane that lies between these worlds was called the Twisting Nether or Nether Plane. This plane is filled with fragments, chaos and magic. It crosses across the Dark Beyond but still remains unknown or undetectable by the mortals. The World of Wildcraft still does not give an exact definition or purpose of the two planes and its interconnections.
Conflicts over the Description of the Dark Beyond
In the novel, The Last Guardian, the story depicts the Dark Beyond to be filled with demons who made it their homeland and even ruled over it. The Dark Portal was also said to be a connection that existed between two points of the Twisting Nether. In contrast, the future novels continuously spoke of the Twisting Nether to be composed of the demons.
If the first description of the Dark Beyond as given in The Last Guardian holds true, then the Nether Plane should be considered as a three dimensional plane that allowed quick intergalactic travel.
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness has the Second War as the major concept in which Aegwynn describes the Dark Beyond similar to how the current chronicles see the Twisting Nether. Some sources claim it to be a retcon. In the Warcraft II chronicles, the usage of Astral Nether and the Dark has been rather complicated and confusing when compared to the future editions.
There was also the added obscure data which stated Aegwynn to be responsible for taking care of Azeroth from the dark forces of the Beyond, the later chronicles confirm her area of work to be keeping check on the demons of the Nether. The proper description of the Astral plane was provided only later after the Warcraft II edition.
Space in WoW is rather complicated and one might never know if the Dark Beyond had forces that were on constant fight with the Burning Legion and this remains unknown to the other powers who are fighting over the planet of Azeroth.
Gaming in space with real satellites – coming soon?
When a person in the world of WOW or indeed someone working for a real space company is playing Warcraft, the Nether Plane seems to be like a part of the Dark beyond. They exist in the same area with no boundaries. Currently diagrammatic representations of the two are available which shows the Twisting Nether to be running across the Dark beyond in greens. The Dark Beyond can also be assumed to be indefinite. The planets are on the same material plane as the Dark while the Twisting Nether is within the material plane.
This love for outer space can be enjoyed even more for those who have actually worked on a CubeSat launch Project. These projects are undertaken by Universities and Schools, not just in the U.S. but around the world, and will describe how gaming can be done in space through demonstrations, activities and simulations. The participants can create their own small satellites, and launch them in to low earth orbit alongside NASA satellites and other space probes.
Several factors like space safety, engineering and propulsion can be explored and finally the mission can be viewed as a virtual space mission till its successful completion This will help in increase the interest of the new generation in space science and exploration, not just in the World of Warcraft, but also in real space missions
It is our hope that WoW creators and players incorporate the citizen space exploration booming in today’s real-world situations in order to help our understanding of the universe and perhaps, real life WoW games can be played out in orbit with real satellites and space probes. Watch this space to see if it does…