Alternate timelines

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Unto you is charged the great task of keeping the purity of time. Know that there is only one true timeline, though there are those who would have it otherwise.
- Aman'Thul's blessing of the Bronze Aspect[1]

Alternate timelines[2] (also referred to as alternate realities,[3][4] alternate universes,[5][6][7] or timeways[citation needed]) are alternate versions of the universe. There are an infinite number of separate alternate, possible,[8] timelines,[9] creating the multiverse.[6][10] Some are nearly identical, only differing in a few key events. Additionally, there are several methods of time travel that can alter the history of a universe's timeline. Bronze dragons exist to keep the main timeline inviolated and the order of events progressing as the fates intended.[11]

Alternate universes

Twilight of the Aspects

This alternate timeline appeared in the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, it was a highly different version of Azeroth witnessed by Thrall while chasing Nozdormu through the Caverns of Time.

In this world, Thrall died as an infant while under the care of Tammis Foxton and his wife. As a result, Aedelas Blackmoore sobered up and raised an army of strong, loyal men. Blackmoore himself led the Battle of Blackrock Spire, killed Orgrim Doomhammer, and brought an end to the Second War. The orcs, rather than being put in internment camps, either became slaves to the people of Lordaeron or members of his private army. Any wild orcs had a very large bounty put on their heads. The Foxton family was not as successful - after failing to raise Thrall, Tammis was demoted to cleaning stables and eventually he and his wife passed away.

Blackmoore returned triumphantly to Lordaeron and, in a swathe of destruction, he and his orcs killed several of the most stalwart defenders of humanity and dethroned the House of Menethil by killing Terenas Menethil. His army also killed Uther the Lightbringer and Anduin Lothar. He then became the self-proclaimed King of Lordaeron, assisted by his duplicitous chief advisor, Kel'Thuzad. He even had Doomhammer's plate reforged into a suit of armor for himself. Lordaeron's rightful prince, Arthas Menethil, fled southward with his wife and son to the kingdom of Stormwind, where Varian Wrynn took his old friend in. Despite the safety of Stormwind, Arthas and Varian fully intend to break Blackmoore's control over Lordaeron. Thus no Scourge, nor Forsaken were ever created and kingdoms like Dalaran and Quel'Thalas were not destroyed. However, Dalaran and Antonidas have severed ties with the chief advisor and their allegiance was more with Stormwind than Lordaeron. Similar to the standard timeline, Korialstrasz is consort to Alexstrasza (indicating she was liberated from the Dragonmaw clan) but still disguises himself as the Kirin Tor mage Krasus. He had a high elven apprentice named Devi.

At some point very recently, Blackmoore mysteriously vanished. The infinite dragonflight recruited him to enter the main timeline and kill Thrall before Thrall had a chance to stop the Hour of Twilight. When chasing the missing Aspect of the bronze dragonflight, Nozdormu, Thrall found himself in Hillsbrad Foothills] in this world, with Taretha Foxton threatening to sell him for the bounty on wild orcs. Thrall was able to convince Taretha of his identity, using a pendant that the Taretha from Thrall's memory had given to him. The two traveled to Dalaran and Krasus to gain answers on what was going on with the timeways. During their discussion, Thrall realized that time was an illusion and all that mattered was the single moment. Closing his eyes, the alternate timeline vanished before Thrall and he found himself facing Nozdormu.

Though the novel seemingly depicts this alternate universe collapsing, Christie Golden clarified that it represented Thrall and Nozdormu escaping its grasp more so than it being destroyed.[12]

Before entering the "Blackmoore's reality", Thrall met his parents in an alternate timeline.[13]

War Crimes

When the time came to free Garrosh and escape to alternate Draenor, Kairoz summoned multiple alternate versions of Azeroth's heroes that fight their original counterparts, causing chaos in the Temple of the White Tiger and distracting everyone while the two make their escape. These counterparts came from alternate timelines including, but not limited to:

Warlords of Draenor

An alternate timeline Draenor is the main setting of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. With the intent of gathering an army capable of defeating the Burning Legion, Kairozdormu used the  [Vision of Time] to bring Garrosh Hellscream to this particular timeline because certain differences — such as Garrosh never being born and Ner'zhul's mate, Rulkan, surviving — were advantageous to his plan. Garrosh used his knowledge of the future to convince Grommash Hellscream to turn on Gul'dan, kill Mannoroth, and unite the orc clans into a technologically advanced Iron Horde. This Iron Horde then used a shard of the shattered Vision of Time to link their Dark Portal with the present day of the prime Azeroth in order to invade.

Prince Malchezaar

Prince Malchezaar has the ability to travel between alternate timelines, considering his quote "All realities, all dimensions are open to me!" This may explain why he has a version of the Gorehowl axe despite Thrall simultaneously having the one Grommash Hellscream used to kill Mannoroth. This is because the Burning Legion resides within the Twisting Nether which transcends all realities.[4]


When the night elf Vandel was undergoing rituals to become a demon hunter, upon eating a demon's heart "he saw not just one universe but a near infinity of them, a complex fractal structure, where new worlds were born each minute from the decisions made a heartbeat before" and the Legion was destroying them all.[8]

Altered timelines

War of the Ancients

The events of the War of the Ancients were altered by the involvement of several time travelers from shortly after the Third War. While most of the major outcomes remained the same as before, some things were changed like the preservation of Blue dragon eggs, killing Hakkar the Houndmaster and Nordrassil being planted a thousand years earlier.

Escape from Durnholde Keep

Due to the interference of the Infinite Dragonflight, Thrall's escape from Durnholde Keep has deviated slightly from how it originally occurred. Taretha was captured so she would be unable to create the diversion that allowed Thrall to escape. Instead, time-traveling adventurers from year 26 created the diversion, aided him in escaping, and freed Taretha from the Infinites. Taretha's and Thrall's memories of these events were subsequently altered so he would believe things occurred as they originally did.[15][16]

The infinite dragonflight also tried to disrupt the events of Opening the Dark Portal, and Culling of Stratholme, which were all preserved.

End Time

One of an infinite number of potential outcomes, the End Time timeway depicts the desolate future of Azeroth should Deathwing fail to be stopped. Nozdormu has identified a powerful anomaly that exists in this moment and bars access to the past - and hope of retrieving the Demon Soul. The tormented echoes and his future self - Murozond - was attacked and killed.[17] The timestrand of the End Time timeway was overwritten,[18] giving Azeroth's protectors the opportunity to avoid this potential outcome.[19] However, Nozdormu states that he will still fall to madness in the future.[20]

Well of Eternity

The final moments of the War of the Ancients were disrupted once more when the adventurers and Nozdormu took the Demon Soul. After the death of Deathwing in the present era, the artifact was returned to its place in time.[21]

Warlords of Draenor

The alternate universe of the Warlords of Draenor expansion already existed prior to Kairoz and Garrosh's arrival.[9] However, their arrival 35 years into the past of this universe has changed the course of history for this timeline. As it was meant to unfold, Grommash drank Mannoroth's blood and made the orcs slaves of the Burning Legion.

Pocket universe


Should Azeroth's timeways come under attack, we must reconstruct history exactly as it happened, or the consequences could be dire.[27]

The Caverns of Time act as a crossroads for the various tunnels called timeways, and through them one can travel back and forth along the ebb and flow of time. They are infinite in numbers. Currently, there are at least 3 known timeways (the Escape from Durnholde Keep in Old Hillsbrad Foothills, Opening the Dark Portal in Black Morass and the Culling of Stratholme)[28][29][30] marked as 'trouble spots' that are under the attack of the Infinite dragonflight and that the Keepers of Time were trying to preserve.[31] They accepted the help of the mortals from the ranks of the Horde and Alliance. The malicious flight's goal is to destroy the true timeway.[32] The master of the Infinite dragonflight tasked Aeonus to oversee the disruption of key moments in the true timeway.[33] The Caverns' timeways were protected and its participants memories were restored so the timelines continue as normal.

The Caverns also have a timeway portal to Battle for Mount Hyjal and it was initially hinted that the place is under the attack of the Infinite dragonflight but the dragons had no presence there.

During the Cataclysm era, Thrall was tossed to one timeway and materialized in Hillsbrad during the Year 0 of a timeway branch.[34] which began his journey through realities in order to find the missing Aspect of Time.[35] In the novel, it seems that the term timeway was used in meaning of a reality / universe.[36] The timeway branch was later referred to as " one of the alternate histories of a malfunctioning timeway".[37]

Krasus believed that Thrall from the true timeway wasn't destined to be killed by Aedelas Blackmoore from a completely different timeway. If he succeeded, all timeways would fall apart.[38] Nozdormu was lost in the timeways because he was searching of how he would become the leader of the infinite dragonflight.[39]

During the war against Deathwing, another timeways appeared in the Caverns - the End Time and Well of Eternity (which was blocked by the first one).[40] Alurmi archived its events.[18][41] The maddened echoes (Sylvanas, Baine, Jaina and Tyrande) spawned from the timeways that Murozond (Nozdormu tricked by the Old Gods in the future)[42] shattered.[43]

Kairozdormu created the artifact  [Vision of Time] and had the essences of the Timeless Isle's creatures collected. He speculated that the isle moved from one timeway to another.[44] The artifact allowed him to see through the timeways various visions - in Orgrimmar,[45][46][47] Stormwind,[48] Pandaria[49] and the Caverns of Time.[50] When he saw the vision of Soridormi, he wasn't sure if this takes place in this timeway.[44]

Around the time of the Invasion on Pandaria, timeways were in flux. Nozdormu no longer had control over them and stated that it is now the duty of Azeroth's races to deal with them.[51] Around that time, the mortals and the bronze dragons allied and formed the group Timewalkers.[52] The bronze dragons can still travel through the timeways but they no longer have knowledge about them. Some dragons believe that they should use their remaining power to manipulate them. During the trial of Garrosh Hellscream, the former Warchief of the Horde escaped with the help of Kairozdormu, who spent his whole life studying them,[9] through a timeway portal and materialized in an alternate Draenor.[53]


  • Chromie, when in Andorhal, worked from a different timeline.[54]
  • Though the developers have recently been using "timeline" and "timeway" interchangeably, they actually mean different things.[55]

Warcraft film universe

Main article: Warcraft film universe

The Warcraft film universe is an alternate, separate version of the main Warcraft universe.[56]

Founded around the 2016 film Warcraft, the film universe is shared by the prequel comic Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood and prequel novel Warcraft: Durotan, and is expected to be used for any future film sequels or literature.

Notably, the film universe does not appear to be simply a different timeline, created by a deviation in key historical events, but rather a subtle reimagining of the main universe, with some contradictions best explained by the unavoidable practicalities of producing a successful film. Director Duncan Jones explains the main reasons for making such changes are to resolve contradictions; to simplify and streamline; for brevity; and on occasion to make things cooler.[57]

See also


  1. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, page 286
  2. ^ War Crimes
  3. ^ Metzen on lore
  4. ^ a b Afrasiabi on Twitter
  5. ^ Prophet's Lesson
  6. ^ a b Alex Afrasiabi on Warlords, Garrosh, and alternate Azeroth
  7. ^ Return to Sender (mission)
  8. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 9
  9. ^ a b c Hellscream
  10. ^ Bashiok
  11. ^ "Brood of Nozdormu" (HTML). Official World of Warcraft Community Site. Retrieved on 2008-05-14.
  12. ^ Christie Golden on Twitter (2014-08-22)
  13. ^ War Crimes, chapter 7: "...The joy of "meeting" his parents in one of the alternate histories of a malfunctioning timeway, and the heart-cracking anguish of being forced to watch them die..."
  14. ^ Christie Golden on Twitter
  15. ^ N [68D] Taretha's Diversion
  16. ^ N [68D] Escape from Durnholde
  17. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  18. ^ a b N [85D] Documenting the Timeways
  19. ^ Patch 4.3 Dungeons Preview, Part One: End Time
  20. ^ Murozond#Quotes
  21. ^ Nozdormu's quote text after Deathwing's death
  22. ^ Battle for Mount Hyjal#Infinite dragonflight
  23. ^ The Sundering
  24. ^ Night of the Dragon
  25. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 23
  26. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 32
  27. ^ N [90 Daily] A Timeless Question
  28. ^ N [68D] Old Hillsbrad
  29. ^ N [70D] The Black Morass
  30. ^ N [80D] Dispelling Illusions
  31. ^ N [68] The Caverns of Time
  32. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 2
  33. ^ Aeonus#Dungeon Journal
  34. ^ Christie Golden on Twitter
  35. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
  36. ^ "So he had existed in this timeway - but had died in infancy... In another timeway, as I told you, I survived..."
  37. ^ War Crimes, chapter 7
  38. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 11
  39. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 12
  40. ^ N [85D] Murozond
  41. ^ N [85D] Archival Purposes
  42. ^ Murozond#Dungeon Journal
  43. ^ Echo of Sylvanas#Dungeon Journal
  44. ^ a b N [90] One Final Turn
  45. ^ N [90] A Vision in Time
  46. ^ N [90] Refining The Vision
  47. ^ N [90] Seeking Fate
  48. ^ N [90] Hidden Threads
  49. ^ N [90] Courting Destiny
  50. ^ N [90] The Essence of Time
  51. ^ Dawn of the Aspects
  52. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
  53. ^ War Crimes, chapter 37 & epilogue
  54. ^ N [56] Counting Out Time
  55. ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (2014-08-23). Archived from the original on 2014-11-12.
  56. ^ Neilson on Twitter
  57. ^ Gizmodo - Director Duncan Jones Answers All Your Burning Questions About the Warcraft Movie