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For the TCG set, see The Caverns of Time (TCG). For the quest, see H [40-70] Caverns of Time.
Caverns of Time
Several instances
Location Tanaris
Race(s) Bronze dragon Bronze dragon
Infinite dragon Infinite dragon
Advised level 30-35
Player limit 5-25
Caverns of Time
Caverns of Time exterior

The Caverns of Time


Within the Caverns of Time

Located in the eastern part of Tanaris, the Caverns of Time (or simply the Caverns)[1] contain various portals to different key historical periods and events in Warcraft history. The caverns act as a crossroads for the various timeways,[2] and through them one can travel back and forth along the ebb and flow of time.

The Caverns of Time are home to Nozdormu and the bronze dragonflight. It is their sacred mission, one which was charged to them by the titans, to guard the caverns against the intrusion of mortals, whose interference would assuredly disrupt the flow of time. Recently, a mysterious force called the infinite dragonflight has begun to meddle with time. The Bronze Dragonflight is recruiting adventurers to make sure that the events that took place in the past remain as they were.


WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

In the aftermath of the Second War, Krasus teleported to Nozdormu's lair using an Eon Rose. The Dragon Aspect was upset with this intrusion in his artifact collecting hobby.[3]

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

Wrath-Logo-Small This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

Deep within the Caverns of Time, the brooding dragon Nozdormu has awakened. Since the world was young, the bronze dragonflight has safeguarded the winding labyrinth, monitoring the shifting timeways to ensure that the delicate balance of time is upheld.[4]

The Timeless One sensed a threat to his beloved timeways. Shadowy agents have infiltrated the Caverns of Time, attempting to sabotage four key historical events: Thrall's escape from Durnholde, the monumental battle of Mount Hyjal, Medivh's creation of the Dark Portal and Arthas' culling of Stratholme. In the face of this overwhelming threat, Nozdormu is enlisting heroes to help him prevent the fabric of time from unraveling forever.[5]

Twilight of the Aspects[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

During Thrall's journey during the events of Cataclysm, Thrall and Desharin ventured to the Caverns. Thrall learned about the timeways such as one, where he escapes from Durnholde. While they were meditating, an agent attacked them and killed Desharin. Thrall was then tossed to a portal by a bronze dragon and began his journey through the past and was able to release Nozdormu.[6]

Third invasion of the Burning Legion[]

Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

During the Legion invasion of Tanaris, the entrance to the cavern was sealed by a protective barrier and defended with the help of the demon hunters. Upon the invasion being successfully pushed back, the barrier was lifted.

World of Warcraft anniversary[]

Warcraft's Anniversary
The subject of this article or section is part of WoW's Anniversary, a seasonal event that typically lasts two weeks. Once the event has run its course, this will no longer be available until next year, but there are no guarantees.

During Warcraft's 15th anniversary, the bronze dragonflight invited adventurers in order to celebrate. Many dragons transformed themselves into Revelers of Time and danced, played volleyball or shot fireworks. The Tavern of Time was transformed into a night club. The banner of every playable race was displayed on the way. Sa'at handled a collection of chronocrystals that would display the memories of the most important moments of Azeroth's recent history. Coridormi handled the Displaced Scarab Gong. The Elite Tauren Chieftains and the Blight Boars provided music. Even Algalon came to the party.

Appearance and denizens[]

The Caverns are littered with artifacts and buildings such as statues, weapons, the half-buried bones of a gargantuan beast, a guard tower from Lordaeron, a dwarven domed building, a temple from Stormwind, dour orcish chieftain quarters, a stranded ship, armor from the reign of the first king of Stromgarde, and the statue of an elven cleric. Nozdormu spent years gathering and cataloguing this mismatch collection of antiquities.[3]

Icon-time This section contains information that is out-of-date.
CoT overview

Overview of the area

The caverns are not all sand — some former barren areas are full of lush forests and all around the Caverns there are huge dragon watchers, some on all fours and some on two legs, towering above everything else, and they wield huge axes. A few vendors and other humanoids exist throughout the Caverns, among them being frozen human warriors that surround towers of old Lordaeron and frozen citizens of Stratholme, an alcohol vendor, an enchantment materials vendor and a vendor that sells general goods. From the general goods vendor (who is called a <Provisioner>) you can buy new types of cheese and water. The frozen NPCs' eyes all creepily move and glance around.

The bronze dragon Anachronos, who sits outside the gate, is labeled as a "?? Boss" but is not hostile at this point in time — although his companions Tick, Chronalis, and Occulus do remain aggressive. It is not at all a risk to walk right into the caverns as they currently stand, so long as you don't get too close to any of the dragons other than Anachronos.

The caverns contain several instances with content culled directly from their previous Warcraft games or periods of the Warcraft history that elapsed between them. At one point Blizzard also discussed a battleground set in the past, but the project appears to have been shelved.

Key Expac Level Label
A Bc icon 66-85+ Entrance
B Bc icon 70+ Instance portal greenHyjal Raid
C Bc icon 66-70 Instance portal purpleOld Hillsbrad
D Bc icon 68-70 Instance portal purpleBlack Morass
E Wrath-Logo-Small 80 Instance portal purpleOld Stratholme
F Cataclysm 85+ Instance portal greenDragon Soul
G Cataclysm 85 Instance portal purpleEnd Time
H Cataclysm 85 Instance portal purpleHour of Twilight
I Cataclysm 85 Instance portal purpleWell of Eternity
1' 70 Neutral Steward of Time <Keepers of Time>
2' 30 Neutral Alexston Chrome <Tavern of Time>
3' Graveyard
4' 65 Neutral Yarley <Armorer>
5' 65 Neutral Bortega <Reagents & Poison Supplies>
Neutral Alurmi <Keepers of Time Quartermaster>
Neutral Galgrom <Provisioner>
6' 70-73 Neutral Zaladormu
Neutral Soridormi <The Scale of the Sands>
Neutral Arazmodu <The Scale of the Sands>
7' Moonwell
8' 66 Neutral Andormu (child) <Keepers of Time>
Neutral Nozari (child) <Keepers of Time>
9' ?? Neutral Anachronos <Keepers of Time>
10' 70 Neutral Andormu (adult) <Keepers of Time>
Neutral Nozari (adult) <Keepers of Time>


Escape from Durnholde Keep[]

CoT entrance to Old Hillsbrad Foothills

The entrance to Old Hillsbrad Foothills

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

Durnholde Keep was the headquarters of the orcish internment camps in southern Lordaeron following the Horde's defeat in the Second War. At this time, Thrall was a 19-year-old slave to human officer Aedelas Blackmoore, who intended to use Thrall as a puppet Warchief to control the orcish Horde and thus gain power over his fellow humans. However, Thrall knew that he was destined for more, and so he made his escape from Durnholde to find others of his kind, eventually discovering the Frostwolf Clan and his place as Warchief.

This instance contains the entire Hillsbrad Foothills area as it appeared 7 years ago, before the Horde destroyed Durnholde, and Tarren Mill fell to the undead.

Opening the Dark Portal[]

CoT entrance to Black Morass

The entrance to Black Morass

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

Medivh, the last of the magical Guardians of Tirisfal, was possessed at birth by the evil Titan, Sargeras. It was Medivh who first contacted the corrupt orc sorcerer Gul'dan, also in the service of the Burning Legion. Together they sought to bridge the dimensional gap between Azeroth and Draenor, homeworld of the orcs, to facilitate the destruction of Azeroth. On the appointed day both Medivh and Gul'dan concentrated their considerable magic energies, forcing the collapse of the dimensional barrier. The setting of this event is the Black Morass, now known as the Blasted Lands.

Players defend Medivh as he opens the portal.

Battle for Mount Hyjal[]

CoT entrance to Mount Hyjal

The entrance to Mount Hyjal

Bc icon This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

At the pinnacle of the second battle against the Burning Legion, it was clear to the races of Azeroth that the only way to achieve victory would be to unite their forces in a final, desperate push for victory. This battle took place at the peak of Mount Hyjal, at the foot of Nordrassil, the World Tree. The night elves, led by Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind, the new Horde, led by Thrall and Cairne Bloodhoof, and the remnants of the Alliance of Lordaeron, led by Jaina Proudmoore, united their forces against Archimonde and the demonic forces of the Burning Legion in a massive, epic battle to defend Azeroth. Victory was narrowly achieved, even as Archimonde reached the World Tree and attempted to drain it of its energy.

Culling of Stratholme[]

CoT entrance to Culling of Stratholme

The entrance to the Culling of Stratholme

Wrath-Logo-Small This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

The next instance, included in the second expansion, is Stratholme several years in the past. Players join Arthas in "cleansing" the city of plagued villagers, one of the final acts in a series of personal changes that culminates in Arthas becoming a death knight of the Lich King, and one of the first acts into his descent to madness. This was a level within Warcraft III. Jaina Proudmoore and Uther are seen in this instance briefly, as Arthas had a disagreement with his mentor before the culling of the people of Stratholme, and disbanded the order of paladins to which Uther belonged — the Knights of the Silver Hand.

Final Push against the Worldbreaker[]

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

End Time[]

CoT entrance to Dragonblight

The entrance to present and future Dragonblight

The Dragon Aspects that occupy Wyrmrest Temple have a problem: They know that if they cannot destroy their fallen brother Deathwing, he'll consume the world. There's only one artefact with the power to weaken the Black Scourge, but it has long since been destroyed: the Dragon Soul. To retrieve the golden disk the Aspects must charge the heroes of Azeroth with its retrieval from the depths of time. Deathwing first unleashed the power of the Dragon Soul to stop Sargeras and the Burning Legion from entering Azeroth through the Well of Eternity. That means sending players to the Caverns of Time and Nozdormu. Upon arriving, the Aspect of Time will tell them that his ability to send them back to the battle at the Well of Eternity is being interfered with by an entity in the future. First then, players must go forward into the Endtime and kill Murozond. Within they'll witness a charred vision of the world should the plan to defeat Deathwing fail.

Well of Eternity[]

COT entrance to Well of Eternity

The entrance to the Well of Eternity

With Murozond's defeat, players will be able to venture into the past and partake in the near-apocalyptic clash at the Well of Eternity. There, players will fight alongside such prominent characters of Warcraft lore as Illidan, Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande. They'll see the demon Mannoroth and the delusional Highborne queen, Azshara.

Hour of Twilight[]

Once the Dragon Soul is secured, players will return to the present and in the third instance will be charged with protecting both Thrall and the artifact as they make their way to Wyrmrest Temple in Northrend. In The Hour of Twilight, they'll discover the Temple is now under full assault by Deathwing and his myriad forces. It's a conceit that players will be familiar with from Wrath of the Lich King's patch 3.3, and it perfectly stages the final Cataclysm raid against Deathwing himself.

Dragon Soul[]

The raid picks up right where the final instance finishes. Thrall and the Dragon Soul are now nearby Wyrmrest Temple and raiders begin by attempting to relieve the beleaguered Aspects. Deathwing's host includes the Twilight dragonflight, Earth Elementals, servants of the Old Gods and the Twilight's Hammer cult. As players reach the summit of the Temple they'll encounter Ultraxion, one of the most powerful Twilight dragons ever created. Once the Twilight dragon has been bested, Thrall is able unleash the charged Dragon Soul upon Deathwing. The raid then boards an airship in pursuit of the wounded dragon who is now flying for the Maelstrom and the safety of Deepholm. En route, Twilight's Hammer drake riders, led by the Twilight's Hammer Warmaster, will harry them. Having dispatched the Twilight's Hammer, players will then leave the airship and climb onto the back of Deathwing himself. Scrambling on the huge dragon, players will be tasked with prying up these huge elementium plates from his back to allow Thrall and the Aspects to shoot the Dragon Soul at him again.

Human Illusion[]

Due to lore reasons, primarily the absence of certain races at the time periods portrayed in the CoT instances, the bronze dragonflight will place the spell Human Illusion on all draenei, night elf, worgen, blood elf, tauren, orc, Forsaken, troll, and goblin player characters, turning them into human forms of themselves - but retaining all of that character's actual gear on their new temporary model. Death knight players will still retain their echo voices and blue glowing eyes. Before patch 4.0.6, worgen players retained their usual human form but were unable to use Ability racial runningwild [Running Wild].

Night Elf Illusion[]

All players appear as night elves in the Well of Eternity instance, similar to the Human Illusion in the Culling of Stratholme and Escape from Durnholde Keep instances.



The Sand Clock

Caverns of Time-Sand Clock

The old Sand Clock


Alexston Chrome appears first; he appears to be a tavernkeeper and operates an establishment named the Tavern of Time where he sells five varieties of alcohol.

Next to appear is Yarley, a dwarven armorer who sells ordinary blacksmithing supplies and can repair your gear. Not far is Otela, a vendor of toys.

The last vendors to appear are Galgrom, and his unfortunate brother Bortega (who's voice has been altered due to the strain of time travel), orcs who have become stranded between some point in the past and the present. Galgrom sells various foodstuffs, including two new items, Inv misc food 94 garadarsharp [Garadar Sharp], which restores 4,320 health over 30 seconds and requires level 55, and Inv drink waterskin 11 [Filtered Draenic Water], which restores 5,100 mana over 30 seconds and also requires level 55, as well as some level 65 foods and projectile weapons. Bortega, a poisons/reagents vendor, sells nothing new.

Since it came out, Inv drink waterskin 11 [Filtered Draenic Water] has been replaced, as it would not have been around at the time

Unselectable NPCs[]

Removed from game The subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages.

Also, other factionless NPC's and they, like the vendors, are members of the Keepers of Time faction (with the exception of Alexston Chrome, who appears to be factionless).

Quick Travel to Caverns of Time[]

The portal rooms in Stormwind and Orgrimmar contain portals to the Caverns of Time.

In addition, Zephyr at the World's End Tavern in Shattrath City can teleport characters who have at least Revered reputation status with the Keepers of Time directly to the entrance of the Caverns.

Removed quick travel[]

In Wrath of the Lich King, players could use the portal located at the Violet Citadel in Dalaran or speak to Zidormi standing in front of it. Unlike the transport from Shattrath, there is no reputation requirement. This portal was removed in patch 8.1.5.

During Legion, players could teleport to Aegwynn's Gallery (bottom floor of Chamber of the Guardian, the center of Dalaran) and descend to the bottom of the room past the Pillars of Creation to the portals. The portals in this chamber were removed in patch 8.0.1.

In the RPG[]

Icon-RPG This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

In the south, amid a mountain cluster, lies this mysterious place. Bronze dragons dwell here for reasons unknown. As Brann Bronzebeard and his guides led him close to the caves, the guides refused to enter for reasons that soon became clear. They saw, to their surprise, a dwarf coming out of the entrance who look a bit like Brann. He grew closer, then he gave a wave and a smile telling them that he entered the cave an hour ago to have a look around. That's when Brann and the dwarf both realized he was him — the caves sent Brann back in time! After an interesting conversation the present Brann headed in, and when he came out he had the exact same conversation with himself again, from the opposite side. The other Brann then went in — and since the present Brann had already come out, his little party went on their way.

Rumors say that Nozdormu, the bronze dragon Aspect and Lord of time, makes his home here. When Brann went into the caves he didn't see him inside, though. He saw multicolored walls, the occasional image of a piece of unrecognizable landscape, and a small bronze dragon who ushered him out of the place.[7]

Relics of past ages live half-buried in the sands near the entrance to this vast cave system. The bronze drakes of the mighty dragon Nozdormu patrol the borders, making sure that no mortals enter the sacred grounds at the cavern's entrance. Those who somehow slip past the drake guardians and enter the caverns have never returned quite the same — tales describe how some appear as old men, while others are reduced to infancy by the cavern's strange energies.[8]

Notes and trivia[]

  • The tunnel leading to the main part of the cave is called Timeless Tunnel on the map, but it doesn't appear as a subzone.
  • Before patch 4.2.0, in order to access the instances in Heroic mode, players had to obtain Honored Reputation with the Keepers of Time, and then buy the Inv misc key 04 [Key of Time] from Alurmi, the Keepers of Time quartermaster, in the Caverns of Time. The Culling of Stratholme does not require any key nor reputation for Heroic mode.
  • In World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the Dark Portal was twisted to link up to the alternate Draenor of the past, rather than the current Outland. It was planned that in order for players to still access Outland (and level from 60 to 70), a portal to Outland would be opened up in the Caverns of Time.[9] The portals were placed in Orgrimmar and Stormwind instead.
  • Very late in the Warlords of Draenor beta, an infinite drakonid known as the "Infinite Vanguard" was found outside the Caverns of Time. Meanwhile, a time rift like those the infinites have been known to use appeared above the sands of Tanaris between the Caverns of Time and the Gaping Chasm. Both of these were removed before the final version of the game.


See also[]


External links[]