- This article is about the Emerald Dream (lore), see also Emerald Dream (US RPPvP server) and Emerald Dream (EU PvE server).
The Emerald Dream, also known as the Dream and the Dream of Creation, is the verdant realm of the Dragon Aspect Ysera. It appears to those who travel within it as Azeroth would have appeared without the development of the sapient races, which means that it is what Azeroth would have been if not for humans, elves and other intelligent creatures. In essence, this plane shows travelers what their world would be if intelligent races had not cut forests, farmed prairies, diverted rivers and built cities (and had Kalimdor not been shattered by the Sundering). 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.
Due to rumors dating back to the early development phase of World of Warcraft in 2003, the Emerald Dream may be added in a future patch or expansion pack as an endgame zone or even as an entire new continent. New speculation seems to suggest that the Emerald Dream was originally intended to be an endgame instance, but got scrapped because Blizzard wants it to become the main theme of an expansion. Tigole stated in late May 2007 that Blizzard has "actually done a lot of work on the Emerald Dream but we scrapped what we had for bigger, grander plans." 
One could say that 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 Emerald Dream is the Azeroth that would not have been split by magic into the two landmasses of today - within it is the original greater landmass of Kalimdor, covered in the hazy emerald green forests of aeons past.
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 and faerie dragons, also roam the forests. However, it is not only the inhabitant creatures that roam the Dream. Creatures from Azeroth constantly visit, though they may or may not know it. Dreaming creatures arrive in the Emerald Dream and often have prophetic and helpful visions.
Druids enter the plane through their connection with nature. While within the dream, the traveler can, through exercise of will, view the waking world and to a limited extent interact with it (as presumably all aspects of the world have some connection to the Emerald Dream). Accessing the Emerald Dream via more conventional magic is possible, but the plane’s natives do not look kindly on intruders.
The entire plane is the dominion of Ysera, the mighty green dragon Aspect, and she and her brood ensure that none despoil this paradise. For all its wonder, the Emerald Dream is not without its dangers. Those who visit via their dreams are welcomed and enfolded within the natural balance, but those who bring their physical selves face suspicion and hostility.
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. Ysera herself and a great number of the green dragonflight reside in the dream either permanently or occasionally, as do the vast majority of the Night Elf Druids. As part of an ancient pact made between Ysera and Malfurion Stormrage, the druids are required to spend long periods of time sleeping in the Emerald Dream in exchange for their powers over the forces of nature, presumably so that they will better appreciate that which they have pledged themselves to preserve. Recently, strange events have been transpiring within the Emerald Dream and it appears that Malfurion himself may be trapped within its confines.
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 dream form, 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.
A darker force has found its way into the Emerald Dream as well. Called The Nightmare, this mobile area of corruption stems from the twisted thoughts and fears of sleeping beings’ subconscious minds. The Nightmare travels slowly through the Emerald Dream, leaving corrupted, vicious animals and Unwaking travelers in its path. None, not even Ysera, knows why the Nightmare exists — nor why its boundaries grow.
Races and Creatures
In World of Warcraft
The Emerald Dream will likely appear in WoW 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), The Hinterlands (Seradane), Ashenvale (Bough Shadow) and Crystalsong Forest in Northrend. Currently none of these portals do anything if a player steps through them, and Crystalsong Forest will not be implemented until Northrend is released. However the portals in Ashenvale, Feralas, Duskwood, and the Hinterlands are protected by high level elite dragonkin. Also, since patch 1.8.0, the Four Dragons, who normally live in the Emerald Dream, have begun emerging from the portals at regular intervals. And, in certain movies you can see people on private servers enter the Emerald Dream.
In written Warcraft lore (see 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 it will be accessible to non-druids, or if it will indeed be something that can be entered via the aforementioned portals at all. It is possible Blizzard could even add a new high level druid spell to port them directly to the Dream itself from anywhere.
In Teldrassil, it is rumored that the corrupted Furbolgs called the "Gnarlpine" tribe, have also been tampering with the Emerald Dream. They have been hostile and now ravaging the Ban'ethil Barrow Den a once safe-heaven for druids to enter the Emerald Dream. One such example is Oben Rageclaw a sleeping druid whose spirit was removed from his physical body by a Gnarlpine Shaman.
The game manual for TBC refers to the Dream as "The Emerald Nightmare" leading to suspicions that the entire realm has been completely corrupted.
The game files for the Emerald Dream are in the mpq archives for a long time, however far from complete. It has been speculated that that a future expansion will involve the Emerald Dream. Some members of the Wowwiki community have speculated over the nature of such an expansion (see Emerald Dream Expansion Ideas).
Back before WoW's closed beta phase, Tigole mentioned interesting details about the Emerald Dream, that seem to support the idea that it will be released.Tigole on Sat, 06 Dec 2003 06:01:04 PST