The Swamp of Sorrows (also once known as the Swamps of Sorrow) is a contested territory in the southern part of the Eastern Kingdoms. Among its murk-ridden marshes the green dragonspawn patrol at the behest of their dreaming mistress, Ysera. The great Dragon Aspect has warned of a lurking terror within the Temple of Atal'Hakkar, and her loyal servants are determined to protect the land from the emerging doom.
Far distant from civilization, the Swamp of Sorrows is a stagnant marshland of sucking bogs and weeping trees. The ocean seeps into the fen, making the water brackish and ideal for alligators and crocolisks. Salt deposits encrust fallen logs and protruding rocks. Bog beasts slog through the interior. Despite these dangers, the Horde has taken advantage of the region's distance from Stormwind to establish a colony in the zone. A flight of green dragons guards the Lost Temple, or Temple of Atal'Hakkar, an ancient troll edifice that channels demonic energy and drives living creatures to madness and violence.
Some draenei were led through the Dark Portal by a few unknown leaders with the hopes of finding a new life, and have settled in the Swamp Of Sorrows. Unfortunately, most of them were driven mad due to homesickness, and attack all on sight. They routinely send assassins and saboteurs against the orcs.
The orc outpost of Stonard, built during the First War and rebuilt under Thrall's rule, is the only civilized town in the swamp. It serves as a base for the Horde. While being rather isolated from other Horde settlements, it has gained new interest with the re-opening of the Dark Portal.
Most of the swamp is dominated by nature. Wild beasts like crocolisks and jaguars hunt for prey, and ancient Bog Beasts wander through the land. Aggressive Murloc tribes populate the coast and nearby caves.
The Swamp of Sorrows stands on the eastern side of Azeroth, east of Deadwind Pass, north of the Blasted Lands and south of the Badlands. The only established foot route to it is through Duskwood, then Deadwind Pass, although it is also possible to gain entry from Redridge Mountains by climbing through the peaks south of Render's Valley.
Originally, the Swamp of Sorrows was the northern part of an enormous swampland called the Black Morass. After the fall of the Gurubashi Empire, a renegade faction of trolls, the Atal'ai, fled into the swamp and built a large temple, the Temple of Atal'Hakkar. Ysera of the green dragonflight learned of their evil plans, drowned the temple into the largest bog, and sent several members of her flight to guard the ruins.
Years later, in the southern part of the Morass, the Dark Portal was opened, and the Horde invaded the area. The orcs built two settlements in the Swamp of Sorrows, Rockard and Stonard. These towns, and later Blackrock Spire farther north, were the Horde's main bases during the First War against the humans. During the war, Rockard was destroyed and Stonard was severely damaged.
With the implosion of the Dark Portal during the Second war, the southern part of the morass was separated and transformed into the barren Blasted Lands. The implosion left some groups of draenei on Azeroth, forever changed by the disaster. Most of them went mad from homesickness and the separation from their land, transforming into the hostile Lost Ones. A small group, calling themselves Broken Exiles, managed to escape that fate and struggle along.
The northern part of the Black Morass is now called the Swamp of Sorrows and the southern part is the Blasted Lands.
After the Warchief, Thrall, assumed command of the Horde, the old outpost of Stonard was rebuilt by the orcs to its former glory. Researchers have come to study and exploit ancient magical artifacts, as well as the abundant flora and fauna of the swamp.
After the crash of the Exodar, some draenei arrived to help their broken cousins, but they decided to stay neutral towards the Horde and remain in the Swamp of Sorrows.
This desolate wasteland is cracked and dry, consisting mostly of flat stretches of land enclosed by the surrounding mountains. A few hills dot the landscape, and the eastern part of the zone is a large canyon full of black dragons.
The instanced dungeon Uldaman can be found in this area. In addition, there are a few micro dungeons in the Badlands. There are no battlegrounds in this zone.
Alliance: From Darkshire, the player can head east through Deadwind Pass and into the swamp.
Horde: The Swamp of Sorrows is vital to some lower level Horde quests, but can be difficult to find. See Travel Guide:Reaching the Swamp of Sorrows for a detailed guide on how to get here.
Neutral: Alternately for both factions, a player can jump off the Thandol Span (that separates the Wetlands from the Arathi Highlands) into the sea, swim east, then south along the mountainous, impenetrable coast, past the Badlands, Burning Steppes, and the Redridge Mountains through to the Swamp of Sorrows, and right up to the north end of the Misty Reed Strand. While it's a very long swim, there are no mobs to deal with (except those in the Wetlands or Arathi depending on how the player originally got to the span) until the player gets where they need to be to find the crawlers.
As another alternative, a player can climb a barely noticeable mountain pass south of Render's Valley in the Redridge Mountains, which is just smooth enough to climb, and at its end, an almost unnoticeable gap in the mountains to the west. The player has to be careful not to fall at the other side.