Maelstrom is the 'home dimension' or 'base of operations' of the chaos faction. It manifests in the world of Eternia but is only accesible through chaos rifts. Chaos players can travel from and to it using thses rifts. Order and balance players can also, but at lower tech levels suffer horrible consequence being twisted by the forces of chaos and all.
At the start of the era it spawns second after order settles in an area. The location of order stronghold is determined by the game creators at the start very first era, subsequent eras will be determined by the game itself based on the strongest outpost.
Maelstrom location is dynamic - it changes its location at the beginning of every hour based on the previous, current and predicted population of players online(EPN).
The lower the EPN, the closer to the order base will maelstrom spawn, the higher EPN, the further away up to the exact opposite of the world map from where the current order stronghold is.
Minimum distance from the stronghold will be based on order tech tier (distance 1 on tier 1, 2 on 2 and 3 on 3).
Proximity of maelstrom to the order stronghold does not mean all rifts will lead close to order base but the probability will of course be higher.