A Visit to Hyjal
I figured out how to enter the non-live zone Hyjal. In the Warcraft canon Mount Hyjal is the place where the evil demon Archimonde tried to destroy the World Tree. As the story goes...
"Under Medivh's guidance, Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore - the leader of the human forces in Kalimdor - realized that they had to put aside their differences. Similarly, the night elves, led by Malfurion and Tyrande, agreed that they must unite if they hoped to defend the World Tree. Unified in purpose, the races of Azeroth worked together to fortify the World Tree's energies to their utmost. Empowered by the very strength of the world, Malfurion succeeded in unleashing Nordrassil's primal fury, utterly destroying Archimonde and severing the Legion's anchor to the Well of Eternity. The final battle shook the continent of Kalimdor to its roots. Unable to draw power from the Well itself, the Burning Legion crumbled under the combined might of the mortal armies."
-- "The Battle of Mount Hyjal", Chapter V: Return of the Burning Legion, History of Warcraft
I've included a map of Hyjal
with numbers. Each number represents the location for the screenshot below.
To enter Hyjal follow the path through Darkwhisper Gorge as shown in the map. Darkwhisper Gorge is filled with level 60+ elite Demons. Melee demons average 500 damage per hit, while the spellcaster's damage ranges from 600 - 850 per hit. I wanted to run around inside Hyjal alive and not as a ghost. It took me around 4 rez run to accomplish. Unless you're a Rogue expect about the same. If you don't care about being a ghost then you can enter right away. The gate in the two screenshots below is located in an area of the Gorge with broken columns (as I've indicated by my red scribbled dot). You need to die very close to the gate. Once you return you can rez past the gate and continue inside Hyjal.
When this zone is live I wonder if the devs will place "lurker" style mobs on this ledge... Watch that first step!
Decided to read the history of Warcraft. The following is a brief history for the "infinite abyss". Amazingly I found out this abyss has a name. If you don't wish to read feel free to skip ahead to the screenshots.
Titans (Gods of Good) shaped the world of Azeroth as one landmass continent without the Burning Legion's (Gods of Evil) knowledge. Satisfied with their creation they decided to move onto other worlds. But before departing they would portion their power to the greatest of Azeroth's creatures... Dragons. Specifically five dragons were chosen and instructed to safeguard Azeroth in their stead. Before leaving they constructed the Well of Eternity to supply Azeroth with life and energy.
Nightelves grew found of the Well. One Nightelf, The Princess Azshara, grew fanatical of the Well and bent on finding out its secrets. She formed a band of like-minded followers called the Highborne and instructed them to tapped into the Well's magical abilities. They became consumes by its power. Their kinsmen warned of abusing the Well's intended purpose. But Azshara refused to listen and continue. In time they released the power in the Well, which caught the attention of the Burning Legion. The Legion summoned Azshara and in exchange for full knowledge of the well they would require her open the doorway to Azeroth through the Well. Azshara agreed, and she and her followers opened the Well as a conduit for the Burning Legion to enter.
The primitive Nightelves, allied with their friends, the Centars and the Demigod Dragons, fought the Burning Legion. One of the Dragons becomes enraged and turned on his fellow Dragonkin. The Nightelves and Centars figured out that the Well of Eternity was the source of the problems and needed to be destroyed. This was an unthinkable proposal but in the end they agreed it had to be done to save their world.
Azshara and the Highborne realizing the Well wasn't large enough to let the leader of the Burning Legion enter Azeroth decided to summon a powerful portal using ALL their combined intellect, deep in the Well's chambers. The Nightelves and Centars meanwhile enter the main audience chamber of Azshara's temple and engaged her and the Highborne. The portal not being fully stabilized begins the fracture. From the stress and strain the portal explodes causing a massive implosion inside the Well of Eternity. The Implosions causes the seas to fill in the void. Eighty percent of the world is consumed by the sea and in the middle of were the Well once stood would be the spinning, churning, violent seas know as the Maelstrom; a constant reminder of a forgotten peaceful utopia.
Azshara and the Highborne sank into the sea along with their Temple. The mixture of their immortal Nightelf facades and imbued Well of Eternity magics transformed them into the mysterious Naga where they spent the next 10,000 years in secret rebuilding their vast undersea kingdom.
The fragmented survivors wash ashore on one of the larger continents. Happy and surprised to see that Mount Hyjal survived they begin to climb the mountain. Nestled inside the mountain they begin to looks for signs of life. Let find a body of water and from it poor a small sampling of water from the first Well of Eternity. A special acorn is thrown in the Well and from that sprung the World Tree (a majestic tree that whose limbs stretch into the heavens). The night elves' gave the World Tree the name Nordrassil, which meant "crown of the heavens" in their native tongue. The demigod dragon Nozdormu placed an enchantment on the World Tree to insure that as long as the colossal tree stood, the night elves would never age or fall prey to sickness or disease.
So it turns out this "infinite abyss" is the second Well of Eternity and I was swimming around in it! Good stuff! :)