Field Photographer Friday is a weekly look at the lore and history behind locations around World of Warcraft. This week, we're taking a look at the Caverns of Time!
The Caverns of Time is an expansive cave system located in Tanaris and is home to the bronze dragonflight. The dragonflight was blessed by the titan Aman’thul with the powers of time travel and a mastery of temporal magic. They use these powers to guard time against meddling from the infinite dragonflight and others wishing to change past events. The Caverns also house the Hourglass of Time, a powerful artifact created by Nozdormu, the leader of the bronze dragonflight, to hold the sands of time. Inside the Caverns, you can see streams of energy flowing to and from the Hourglass, with some of the energies flowing from what appears to be outer space open in the sides of the Caverns.
Originally added with the release of the Burning Crusade expansion, the Caverns contain many portals to different events in time. These portals were opened by the bronze dragonflight to allow Horde and Alliance heroes to assist in thwarting the infinite dragonflight’s attempts to alter time. This means heroes must assist in upholding seemingly negative events in history, as well as obvious positive ones, so the present day remains intact. During the Burning Crusade expansion, this included the Escape from Durnholde Keep instance, where heroes assist Thrall in escaping his prison; the Opening of the Dark Portal instance, where heroes assist Medivh in opening the Dark Portal for the first time; and finally the Battle for Mount Hyjal raid, where heroes take part in the battles that ended the Third War.
During the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, heroes were once again called to the Caverns of Time, this time to stop the infinite dragonflight from thwarting Prince Arthas Menethil’s purge of the City of Stratholme. This was an opportunity for heroes to experience the early stages of Arthas’ descent into madness on his way to becoming the Lich King.
During the Cataclysm expansion, Deathwing’s resurgence saw the dragonflights of Azeroth searching for a way to stop him. They eventually settled on retrieving the Dragon Soul, a powerful artifact that was originally used to stop the Burning Legion from coming through the Well of Eternity during the War of the Ancients thousands of years ago. The bronze dragonflight opened a series of portals to allow heroes to retrieve the Dragon Soul. This included the End Time instance, where heroes get a glimpse of the world if Deathwing wasn’t defeated; the Well of Eternity instance, where heroes retrieve the Dragon Soul itself; and finally the Hour of Twilight instance, where heroes assisted Thrall with delivering the Dragon Soul to the dragonflight’s meeting place, Wyrmrest Accord in Northrend. There is also the portal to the Dragon Soul raid, which picks up where the Hour of Twilight instance left off, ending in the eventual defeat of Deathwing.
The Caverns of Time haven’t been in the limelight much since the Cataclysm expansion. During the Mists of Pandaria expansion, sands from the Hourglass of Time were used to create the Vision of Time, another powerful artifact that allows viewing of the past and future, and alternate timelines. The artifact was eventually used by Garrosh Hellscream to travel to an alternate-universe Draenor with the help of Kairozdormu, a rogue member of the bronze dragonflight.
As we’ve seen with expansions like Warlords of Draenor, the ability to alter time and access alternate universes is infinitely powerful. This ensures that the Caverns of Time will always be a contentious place, even when not at the forefront.
Additional Lore Resources for the Caverns of Time
Recommended Reading related to the Caverns of Time
Aman'Thul - +
Nozdormu - +
Thrall - +
Medivh - +
Arthas Menethil - +
Deathwing (Neltharion) - +
Garrosh Hellscream - +
Kairozdormu - +
Join me every Friday as I work to expand my lore knowledge while completing the Field Photographer achievement. Read lore summaries for each location and follow up with resources where you can go more indepth! I encourage you to share your own selfies and any additional lore resources you know of in the comments below, or tweet @PrestonDvorak. Bonus points if the selfie is somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as an Alliance player in Orgrimmar)!