The Norse World, also known as the Nine Realms to its inhabitants, is the world of the Norse gods and other races that exist along the branches of the World Tree, weaving them together to form the Norse cosmos. It includes the nine realms (Midgard, Alfheim, Asgard, Vanaheim, Niflheim, Muspelheim, Helheim, Svartalfheim, and Jotunheim), and the Realm Between Realms which serves as an "in-between space" between the nine.
There are nine realms that exist among the branches of the World Tree. The tree itself is said to exist beyond time and space and therefore, has no beginning but at one point there were only two realms in existence, Niflheim and Muspelheim, the lands of fire and ice. When the ice from the north met with the heat from the south, it created water and from this mystic water came the first being in the Norse cosmos to exist: Ymir, the progenitor to all living creatures and the first Frost Giant.
After Odin and his brothers killed Ymir, they fashioned his body to create the realm of Midgard, where humanity would live alongside most animals.
- Population: Light Elves and Dark Elves
- Lake of Light
- Freyr's Temple
- Description: Upon first arriving in Alfheim you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was nicer than Midgard with it's lush forest terrain, tranquil waters and initially peaceful atmosphere. Then you witness a group of Dark Elves massacre a group of Light Elves and you realise that there's been a never-ending war raging here for longer than anyone can remember for no reason other than both sides want the other dead. Chief and greatest among the realm's landmarks is the legendary Light of Alfheim, which both sides fight to control. When the dark elves are in charge the light barely comes out as a trickle as they horde it all inside of Freyr's Temple. When Light Elves rule the realm the light shines bright like a tower into the sky. Don't be surprised when the Dark Elves attack you immediately; they are by nature a vicious and cruel race who kill outsiders indiscriminately while the Light Elves are mostly peaceful and stand-offish but still somewhat unsettling. The land itself is dominated by the temple and the Light though there are ruins lining the outskirts that contain valuable treasures.
- Population: Aesir Gods and the Einherjar
- Ruler: Odin
- Description: The heavily fortified homeland of the Aesir, Asgard is the centrepiece of the Norse Gods' civilisation and the final home for only the greatest warriors who ever lived; a place where they can eat, drink, revel and fight for eternity, at least until the day the final battle of Ragnarok begins. On that day, it is prophesied that the giants will breach Asgard and give their lives annihilating the entire Norse pantheon. The exact layout of the realm is shrouded in mystery due to Odin blocking access to it from the rest of the world; the Aesir however can come and go from it as they please. Its capital is Valhalla, the great golden hall from which Odin rules the Nine Realms. If you value your life, never go anywhere near this realm; if you do, your life is forfeit.
- Population: Various
- Rulers: Hel
- Description: Helheim, also known as Hel, is the primary Norse afterlife in the God of War series. It is the realm where people go when they die and is also where certain deities of the universe reside. Unlike Valhalla, which is reserved solely for those who have died 'honorably' in combat, Helheim houses the vast majority of the rest of the universe's more neutral inhabitants. i.e. those who die of purely natural causes such as old age, or sickness, as well as unnatural deaths such as those who are victims of murder and suicide. As if the freezing winds cold enough to encase your very soul in ice wasn't bad enough, those who find themselves here are tormented by their greatest regrets in life via illusions airing their misdeeds for others to judge for themselves. Hel-Walkers roam this realm unfettered tormenting the dead for sport. Your axe is next to useless in this freezing realm and you will have to rely heavily on your Chaos Blades in combat. Its ruler Hel is a no-show for reasons unknown, though there is the small matter of the unnamed, gigantic bird-being at the the end of the Bridge that does nothing but float there and stare at you creepily if you come close to it.
- Population: Jötnar (Frost Giants)
- Rulers: Bergelmir †
- Regions: Unknown
- Description: Perhaps most appropriate for the ancestral realm of the giants, Jötunheim features the tallest mountains in all the nine realms, which gives you an apt view to the numerous giant corpses that litter the realm for all to see. No one lives here anymore, the only thing left of arguably the wisest among the races of the nine realms is an endless landscape of smaller mountain ranges and, more ghoulishly, giant bodies and a temple speaking of the life of the Jötnar's avenger Loki. Treasure the sights of the realm while you can because once you leave it, you'll never be able to get back into it again. There are no enemies here so take your time and relax.
- Population: Humans and various other races.
- Rulers: None
- Description: Midgard is essentially a middle ground of sorts among the various realms, no pun intended; while not nearly as freezing as Helheim or Niflheim, it is still very cold. It is a vast, sprawling landscape of dense forests, snow-capped mountains laced with elaborate tunnel systems, intricate waterways and numerous ruins left over from various human and non-human civilisations. The realm as a whole is dominated by the famous Lake of Nine, a massive lake in the centre of the realm upon which Tyr's Temple is located. On the plus side, the lake itself is festooned with chests and others treasures of all kinds so be sure to explore every inch of it so that you don't miss anything; conversely it is also infested with a dizzying array of enemies from Dark Elves to Ancients to Trolls so proceed with caution. If you were hoping to run into actual people in this realm don't hold your breath; in the wake of a undead scourge triggered by the sealing away of the Valkyries by Odin, all living people have either fled or gone into hiding. It is perfect for exploring and general wandering and makes for some breathtaking scenery so don't be in such a hurry to make your way through it. The enemies, while standard, become more challenging as you level up but as long as you keep your wits about you and fight smart, you should have no problem navigating this realm.
- Population: Jötnar (Fire)
- Rulers: Surtr
- Regions: None
- Description: A land of primordial fire and blistering heat home to a tribe of slumbering fire giants, Muspelheim is an unending landscape of lava flows, volcanic ash clouds and noticeable signs of giant activity from ages past, though today it is completely lifeless. Its ruler Surtr, the original fire giant, has not been seen or heard from in millennia; he too is presumed to be slumbering deep within Muspelheim's fiery crust until the time of Ragnarok comes, whereupon Sutr and the other fire giants will rise again to lead all giants into battle against the gods. His famous sword can be seen embedded in the peak of the realm's highest and most powerful volcano next to the slumbering Valkyrie of Fire Gondul, who was imprisoned there by the Valkyrie Queen Sigrun. It is in this realm that the greatest warriors of all time are challenged to test their skills in a series of gruelling battles against beasts, monsters and warriors of the Nine Realms. Enter at your own peril.
- Population: Dwarves (formerly)
- Rulers: Unknown
- Regions: Ivaldi's Workshop
- Description: A small but deceptively dangerous realm covered in magical mists and at one time home to a breakaway colony of dwarves led by their great craftsman Ivaldi. A maze that constantly rearranges itself every time someone enters is the Dwarfs greatest testament to their craft. The cursed fog born of Odin's wrath that slowly drains the life of everyone who steps inside of it is testament to their greatest failure. To survive in this realm requires expert timing, fast combat skills and of course the magical armour sets crafted by Sindri to shield you temporarily from the life-draining mists. Enemies of all types abound in this place including another Valkyrie so be on your guard at all times. This is also by far the most frustrating realm in that however much you may want to keep going, you will lose everything you gained if you die in the maze and have to start all over again.
- Population: Dwarves
- Rulers: Unknown
- Regions: Unknown
- Description: The ancestral homeland of the Dwarves, one of the most wiley, inventive and cunning races in the Nine Realms; Svartalfheim's exact layout is unknown as it is off-limits to anyone except dwarves including the Aesir; a rare reward from Odin as payment for services rendered by the Dwarves for his tribe in ages past. It is here that the Dwarves greatest creations are given shape and form, from weapons and machines to objects that are literally defined as Impossible, such is the skill of the inhabitants. Don't bother trying to enter; aside from being obviously impossible, Dwarves aren't exactly the most welcoming bunch and while they aren't violent by nature, they are legendary for holding grudges and you don't want them as an enemy under any circumstances.
- Population: Vanir
- Rulers: Freya (formerly)
- Regions: Unknown
- Description: By far the most mysterious, bizarre and unearthly of the Nine Realms, Vanaheim is an endless expanse of bright and darkly-colourful forests and shining lakes where wild magic runs amok and the very air is filled with disembodied voices. It is the homeland of the Vanir tribe of gods, the greatest rivals of the Aesir tribe of gods and treacherous for any besides them. The exact layout of this realm is currently unknown. Whereas the Aesir's power is purely elemental, blunt and militaristic, the Vanir are highly skilled in numerous forms of magic and their ethereal realm is a reflection of this. It is impossible to enter this realm without their permission, a fact that frustrates Odin to no end and trying to sneak in or break in is both unwise and extremely dangerous, for you.