The Dark Portal, also known as the Great Portal, is the gateway between Azeroth and Draenor. The Azeroth side of the Portal is located in the southeastern reaches of the Blasted Lands of southern Azeroth, while the Draenor side, the Stair of Destiny, is located in the eastern portion of the Hellfire Peninsula.
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.
In 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. It 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 travelling 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 new racial areas, requires the expansion pack to be installed. If the Burning Crusade expansion pack is not installed and a player tries to enter the Dark Portal, they simply pass through to the rear side and get the notification "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 with a lower level. However, players will still get the "Must be Level 58" message if they try to use the portal to Blasted Lands from a capital city.
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 Holy Nova, 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.
To reach the Dark Portal, Alliance players can fly/ride to Nethergarde Keep or Surwich, north and south of the Portal, respectively. Horde players can travel to Sunveil Excursion to the south of 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 deposit you into a crack in the crater in front of the portal. These portals require that you be level 58 to use.
Closest flight path in Azeroth
Appearance of the Dark Portal
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. The looking of the portal is confirmed in a Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos flashback, one of the RPGs, and the Caverns of Time wing Opening the Dark Portal, where it is shown as it looked in previous sources.
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.
- Demon gate
- Dimensional Gateway
- Dark Portal Opens
- Travel guides for Both Horde and Alliance to Outland.