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This article is a copy of "Wrath of the Lich King Raid Dungeons", an official article from the World of Warcraft Community Site. It overviewed the raids present in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. The original article is no longer available, but it can still be viewed through online archives (see below).

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2004 Game Guide's Banner for the Wrath of the Lich King Raids

One of the most compelling features of massively multiplayer games is the near-infinite variety of things to do in them -- content to suit many different playing styles. 'Raids' are assaults by larger groups of players on powerful monsters or dungeons and in World of Warcraft can include everything from a group of lower level characters tackling a quest well above their level to the epic end-game, high-level attacks against god-like foes.

For Wrath of the Lich King Dungeons, go here.

Naxxramas

2004 Game Guide: Image for the Naxxramas Raid

Years ago, the crypt lord Anub'arak led an army of undead warriors into the ancient nerubian ziggurat now known as Naxxramas. The Scourge forces overran the citadel, and under the will of the Lich King its corridors were transformed into a potent war machine. Dark magic tore the fortress from its subterranean home and lifted it into the sky. Hidden behind a thick layer of clouds, Naxxramas grew in strength. At the Lich King's bidding, the burgeoning wrath within the necropolis was unleashed upon the world. Brave heroes breached the citadel and eventually overcame Naxxramas' vile commander, the lich Kel'Thuzad, but the victory was short-lived.

Above the war-ravaged wastes of the Dragonblight, Naxxramas has returned with renewed fury. Kel'Thuzad, once again seated in the frigid heart of the necropolis, has laid siege to the Alliance fortress of Wintergarde Keep. As factions from around the world converge at the gate to Icecrown, the war against the Scourge enters its most pivotal hour. It is within Naxxramas that the tide of battle could turn against the Lich King... or irrevocably in his favor.

Learn more about the events that darkened the fate of Kel'Thuzad, and ultimately of all Azeroth, in Road to Damnation

Watch the Naxxramas trailer here.

Naxxramas

2004 Game Guide's Banner for the Naxxramas Raid

Once hidden beneath the surface of Northrend, Naxxramas now serves as a mobile Scourge fortress in the skies over Azeroth, a weapon of doom embodying the hate, destruction, and betrayal suffered by the living at the hands of the Lich King.

Years ago, the crypt lord Anub'arak led an army of undead warriors into the ancient nerubian ziggurat now known as Naxxramas. The Scourge forces overran the citadel, and under the will of the Lich King its corridors were transformed into a potent war machine.

While the fortress grew in strength, the Lich King scoured the world for a suitable being to command his new weapon. In Kel'Thuzad, an archmage of the Kirin Tor, the Lich King saw the potential for corruption. Dark thoughts flooded Kel'Thuzad's mind, and, lured by offerings of knowledge and power, he ventured to the frozen wastes of Northrend.

In exchange for immortality and the incredible power he lusted for, Kel'Thuzad abandoned his humanity and swore allegiance to the Lich King. The archmage was granted command over Naxxramas, and before his eyes, dark magic tore the Scourge fortress from its subterranean home and lifted it into the sky.

Hidden behind a thick layer of clouds, Naxxramas carried out its master's grim designs, and its halls echoed with the sounds of war. Amidst the siege engines and war supplies lining the plague-infested corridors of the necropolis, hulking abominations toiled, and death knights trained. From the frigid heart of the fortress, Kel'Thuzad, reborn as a terrifying lich, readied himself for the coming apocalypse that would issue forth from the Scourge citadel.

At the Lich King's bidding, the burgeoning wrath within Naxxramas was unleashed upon the world from the skies over the Eastern Plaguelands. Although many brave heroes stormed the necropolis to quell the onslaught, few emerged untainted by the evil permeating its halls.

But in time, with wisdom, courage, and strength, adventurers vanquished the horrors within Naxxramas. The victory was immense, albeit short-lived. The heroes who destroyed Kel'Thuzad and his allies soon learned that true evil is not so easily defeated.

Above the war-ravaged wastes of the Dragonblight, Naxxramas has returned.

Kel'Thuzad, whose cursed remains fell into the hands of Scourge agents after the necropolis' first defeat, once again commands the citadel. From his icy throne room, the vile lich coordinates a siege on the Alliance fortress of Wintergarde Keep in response to a shocking attack at the gate to Icecrown.

Horde forces have also entered the fray, and as the combined might of factions from around the world converges on the Dragonblight, the war against the Scourge enters its most pivotal hour. It is within Naxxramas that the tide of battle could turn against the Lich King... or irrevocably in his favor.

  • 10/25 Player limit

The Eye of Eternity

2004 Game Guide: Image for The Eye of Eternity Raid

From within the safety of his personal domain, the Eye of Eternity, Malygos coordinates a crusade to reestablish his dominance over the arcane energies coursing through Azeroth. In his eyes, the foolish actions of the Kirin Tor and other mortal magi have plunged the world into chaos, and the abuse of their powers will no longer be tolerated. Threatened by the Spell-Weaver's brutal tactics, the Kirin Tor has allied itself with the red dragonflight. Together, the two groups closely observe Malygos, searching for a way to thwart his campaign and strike out at the Aspect of Magic, but thus far the elusive Spell-Weaver has proven difficult to engage.

At Wyrmrest Temple, the ancient meeting ground of the dragonflights, Alexstrasza and the ambassadors of other flights have discussed Malygos' recklessness and reluctantly concluded that he is beyond the point of salvation. With the red dragons' assistance, Azeroth's heroes may be able to accomplish what has formerly been unthinkable: challenging the Spell-Weaver from inside the Eye of Eternity. Sustaining the safety of Azeroth depends on Malygos' defeat, but his end will also herald a new age: a world of unguarded magic, absent of the Dragon Aspect powerful enough to watch over it.

The Nexus

2004 Game Guide's Banner for The Nexus Raid

The blue Dragon Aspect, Malygos, was charged ages ago by the titans as the guardian of magic. More than ten millennia ago, he watched in horror as Deathwing all but wiped out the blue flight. Maddened by grief, Malygos withdrew to his lair and paid little heed to the rest of the world. Only in recent times did Malygos fully return to his senses. Upon reviving, he quickly assessed the state of magical affairs in Azeroth and reached the grim conclusion that magic was running amok throughout the world. He blamed this dangerous development on the mortal races and their reckless pursuit of magical power.

Determined to forestall a catastrophe, Malygos decreed that the world's unbridled magic must be reined in by any means necessary. And so the great Aspect turned to the Arcanomicon, a map of the world's ley lines, and used it to locate and tap into these sources of raw power, diverting the magical powers that course beneath the earth to his home base in Northrend, the Nexus. Once harnessed, the energies are focused through the Nexus' ascending rings and blasted into the Twisting Nether. Malygos's redirection of the ley lines has carried disastrous consequences, however, splintering the world's crust and opening unstable rifts: tears in the very fabric of the magical dimension.

Malygos' siphoning of the world's magic has not gone unnoticed by the mortal races. The weakening members of the Kirin Tor, the elite magi of Dalaran, have sworn to fight Malygos to the bitter end. In fact, the magi have used their waning powers to transfer the entire city of Dalaran to float above Northrend. From this vantage point, the magi prepare for the next step in their battle against the Lich King, and for the inevitable confrontation with Malygos.

The blue dragonflight's increasingly militaristic methods have been condemned by the red dragonflight. Charged with the preservation of life, the red dragonflight has vowed to neutralize Malygos at all costs. To this end, they have formed a council with the Kirin Tor, and the two groups have begun actively subverting Malygos's devastating campaign.

The sides have been chosen; the battle lines have been drawn. The only question that remains now is...

Who will win?

The Nexus Bio

Check out this inside report on The Nexus.

  • 10/25 Player limit

The Obsidian Sanctum

2004 Game Guide: Image for The Obsidian Sanctum Raid

More than ten thousand years ago, the black Dragon Aspect, Neltharion, began a quest to reign supreme over his fellow dragons and thereby dominate Azeroth. Before Deathwing -- as Neltharion came to be known -- could achieve his goal, the other Aspects drove him into hiding, but the rest of the black dragonflight continued his foul work. Hated and hunted for its evil deeds, the black flight dwindled, and at first Deathwing schemed to bolster its ranks. In time, however, his agents began experimenting with other dragonflights to create a new and mightier breed of dragon. The resulting experiments gave rise to a powerful and terrifying new breed: the twilight dragons. These malefic dragons were believed to be destroyed after an attack on Grim Batol, but a new clutch of twilight eggs was recently discovered within the Obsidian Sanctum, the black dragonflight's domain in the Chamber of the Aspects. Now Azeroth's heroes must destroy the brood once and for all and prevent the dark future that has been set into motion.

The Obsidian Sanctum

2004 Game Guide's Banner for The Obsidian Sanctum Raid

Wyrmrest Temple stands over the fractured path that cuts north through the icy Dragonblight. In a region engulfed by chaos, the temple has become a beacon of hope. Within this venerable structure, the Chamber of the Aspects holds entrances to five sacred domains, each representing a single dragonflight. According to legend, the Chamber of the Aspects is where the titans imbued the five Dragon Aspects with the power to nurture the budding world. To this day, four of the ancient dragonflights carry out their charge to watch over Azeroth. The chamber remains a trusted refuge, but an act of betrayal haunts the sanctuary, an act that forever altered the destiny of the Dragon Aspects.

More than ten thousand years ago, the leader of the black dragonflight, Neltharion, summoned the other Aspects and their flights to the chamber and convinced them all to bestow a portion of their essences upon a magical artifact called the Dragon Soul. He claimed he would use the Dragon Soul to end the Burning Legion's invasion of Azeroth, but unbeknownst to his comrades, he did not infuse the artifact with his own essence. While battling the Legion, Neltharion revealed his true intentions and turned the Dragon Soul on his fellow dragons, who learned too late that Neltharion was no longer their ally. In that moment of treachery, Neltharion shattered the strength of the dragonflights, earning him the new name of Deathwing.

Deathwing's goal was to dominate the other Dragon Aspects and, through them, the rest of Azeroth. Yet just as victory drew near, the Dragon Soul -- now called the Demon Soul -- was destroyed, releasing the lost energy of the other Aspects. Restored to full power, the enraged dragons drove Deathwing into hiding. Even so, the black dragons continued his foul work. Hated and hunted for its evil deeds, the black flight dwindled, and at first Deathwing schemed to bolster its ranks. In time, however, his agents began experimenting with other dragonflights to create a new and mightier breed of dragon.

The most troubling advances were made by Sinestra, Deathwing's former consort. In the depths of Grim Batol, she managed to create the first few members of an incredibly powerful breed: the twilight dragons. In the course of her work, however, the resulting disturbances in and around Grim Batol attracted too much attention from the rest of Azeroth. The ensuing attack on Sinestra's lair led to her demise and the end of her foul machinations.

During these events, Deathwing remained in hiding. His continued absence led many to assume that Sinestra had been acting alone at Grim Batol, but a recently discovered clutch of twilight eggs inside the Chamber of the Aspects has raised fears that Deathwing himself played a role in the creation of the malefic dragons. A powerful guardian, Sartharion, watches over the eggs within the black dragonflight's volcanic chamber, the Obsidian Sanctum. If the rumors of Deathwing's involvement are true, the dark future that he set into motion seems on the verge of plunging Azeroth into a new age...

An age of twilight.

  • 10/25 Player limit

Ulduar

2004 Game Guide: Image for the Ulduar Raid

Since discovering Ulduar in the Storm Peaks, adventurers have journeyed to the titan city to learn more about its mysterious past. Further exploration has revealed that the magnificent complex is above all a prison, intended to permanently confine the Old God of death, Yogg-Saron. This ancient horror has corrupted its guards, and now it is breaking through the last of its restraints. Faced with the peril of Yogg-Saron's imminent freedom, a band of mortals has made preparations for a sweeping assault on the city. Overcoming the legions of iron minions and towering defenses at the city's entrance will take tremendous strength, but even that great victory may not be enough to overcome the madness that dwells below.

Ulduar

2004 Game Guide's Banner for the Ulduar Raid

Since discovering Ulduar in the Storm Peaks, adventurers have journeyed to the magnificent titan city in hopes of unearthing its relics and learning the secrets of the past. Yet they are not fully aware of the purpose behind Ulduar's imposing edifice. It is not merely a repository of artifacts and titan research, but also a prison.

Long ago, the titans encountered a race of horrifying aberrations known as the Old Gods. Their destructive powers threatened to unravel Azeroth, eliminating all life and order. Alerted by this danger to their central tenets, the titans went to war against the Old Gods. Ultimately the titans used their prowess in architecture and construction to imprison their foes deep underground. The Old God of death, Yogg-Saron, was shackled in the depths of Ulduar and placed under the watch of mighty guardians – Loken, Hodir, Thorim, Freya, and Mimiron. They pledged to keep the monstrosity contained there for all eternity. The watchers of Ulduar endured their vigil with fortitude, but the Old God's insidious whispering could not be ignored forever.

With time, the prison's head guardian, Loken, succumbed to the will of Yogg-Saron. Betraying his allies, he seized control of the city and began directing its forces toward deadly new ends. Armies of iron dwarves destroyed the titan safeguards in the Storm Peaks, leaving all of Northrend exposed to the growing danger. Several regions have already felt the corrupting presence of Loken's servants, complicating the war against the Lich King.

Faced with the peril of Yogg-Saron's imminent freedom, a band of mortals has established a staging ground outside of Ulduar. They are preparing to launch a sweeping assault on the city, and they have called on Azeroth's mightiest heroes for aid. Overcoming the legions of iron minions and the towering defenses at Ulduar's entrance would take tremendous strength, but even that may not be enough to conquer the madness that dwells below.

Having turned the minds of its former captors, Yogg-Saron is preparing to exert its full power. With vast iron armies to command, the Old God is nearly ready to break its last bonds. It draws ever closer to annihilating the titans' creations and sinking the world into primitive chaos.

The preservation of Azeroth depends on Yogg-Saron's defeat, but the fall of Ulduar has other grave repercussions. A silent observer has arrived within the city to survey all of the damage that has occurred on the planet since the titans' departure. His cold logic will determine whether the world will be spared or destroyed.

Only Azeroth's heroes can alter the final judgment, for despite their many conflicts and transgressions, their resolve to confront evil in all of its manifestations has earned them the right to determine their ultimate fate.

  • 10/25 Player limit

Vault of Archavon

2004 Game Guide: Image for the Vault of Archavon Raid

Overlooking the frozen plains of the Great Dragonblight and the inhospitable wastes of Borean Tundra lies a region known to the denizens of Northrend as Wintergrasp. Seated atop a high plateau, Wintergrasp has remained undisturbed for ages, its icy winds howling unheard amongst the ancient titan fortifications that dot the landscape. However, an abundance of elemental materials and its strategically important titan fortifications are making Wintergrasp the focus of a vicious tug-of-war between the Horde and the Alliance. And then there are the persistent rumors of an ancient titan vault beneath Wintergrasp's keep. One can only marvel at the thought of what treasures may be waiting there....

Your faction must have control of Wintergrasp to enter the Vault of Archavon.

Vault of Archavon

2004 Game Guide's Banner for the Vault of Archavon Raid

Although long deserted by its titan founders, Wintergrasp has again risen to prominence as a focal point in the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde. Covered in snow and ice, Wintergrasp is a treacherous battleground in which both sides struggle for control over the region's valuable resources, including rare elemental compounds and ancient relics. Alliance and Horde forces have ransacked Wintergrasp's crumbling structures in the hope that the items they procure will give them a much-needed edge in their battle against the Lich King... and each other.

Yet not all of Wintergrasp's ruins are so easily pillaged. At the region's northern border, Wintergrasp Fortress remains mostly intact, so its treasures have not been disturbed. Originally the titans built the fortress to house their many experiments as they cultivated the budding world of Azeroth. The titans' most promising creations were relocated to the nearby jungles of Sholazar Basin, where they have flourished ever since. Before the titans left Azeroth, they completely sealed Wintergrasp Fortress to safeguard it from intruders.

Azeroth's heroes noticed Wintergrasp Fortress initially because of its strategic importance. The fortress' advantageous location provided a relatively secure base for combatants to strategize and gather their forces. Inevitably those who set up camp in the mighty fortress' shadow began to wonder what secrets the stronghold contained. Since then, brave heroes have smashed through the doors and journeyed inside to investigate. According to those who survived, the titans did not leave their fortress unguarded.

A giant custodian known as Archavon the Stone Watcher patrols the inner repository and attacks anyone bold enough to stand against him. Like other titan creations, Archavon conveys his purpose through his construction: he is a craggy behemoth with a spiked fist for impaling his opponents. Although Archavon has impassively guarded the vault for millennia, the slightest provocation will cause him to crush his enemies with a deadly assault that produces choking clouds of dust.

Intrepid champions who have journeyed even farther into the vault have discovered a second guardian. Presiding over an adjacent wing, Emalon the Storm Watcher strikes furiously at any trespassers in his domain. This tempestuous giant also commands a group of storm revenants, all of which are restless after the long span of silence since their watch began.

Despite these dangers, adventurers continue to pursue glory in the vault, for rumor has it that the titans left behind more than just guardians. Untold riches await the victors: treasures that are worthy of the titans.

  • 10/25 Player limit

Crusaders' Coliseum

2004 Game Guide's Banner for the Crusaders' Coliseum Raid

2004 Game Guide: Image for the Crusaders' Coliseum Raid

The time to strike at the heart of the Scourge is drawing close. Clouds blanket the skies of Azeroth and heroes gather beneath battle-worn banners in preparation for the coming storm. They say that even the darkest cloud has a silver lining. It is this hope that drives the men and women of the Argent Crusade: hope that the Light will see them through these trying times, hope that good will triumph over evil, hope that a hero blessed by the Light will come forth to put an end to the Lich King's dark reign.

So the Argent Crusade has sent out the call, a call to arms for all heroes far and wide, to meet at the very doorstep of the Lich King's domain and to prove their might in a tournament the likes of which Azeroth has never seen. Of course, a tournament such as this needs a fitting stage. A place where potential candidates are tested to the limits of exhaustion. A place where heroes... become champions. A place called the Crusaders' Coliseum.

Prove Your Might

The Crusaders' Coliseum will see you and your friends facing off against a series of increasingly challenging bosses, terrible monsters the Argent Crusade brought in from all over Northrend. Although the challenge is great, you will find that the prizes the Argent Crusade has to offer will make it all well worth your while.

The setup for the Crusaders' Coliseum is surprisingly straightforward. If you are familiar with the Ring of Blood quest line, you already have a vague idea of how the Crusaders' Coliseum plays out in principle. After you and your friends enter the coliseum, you will face the first of several bosses; once you've defeated a boss, you will move on to the next one. You must master the encounters one by one, until you finally face the raid's final challenge. Sound simple? That's because there is a twist.

In the "Heroic" version of the Crusaders' Coliseum, you and your raid only have a limited number of attempts for each raid lockout period, and each time your raid wipes, one of your attempts will be used up. To embark on the epic Trial of the Grand Crusader, you must first prove your worth by clearing either the 10 or 25 player version of the Crusaders' Coliseum's normal mode. After you have dealt the killing blow to the coliseum's final heroic mode boss will you be able to collect the Crusaders' Tribute, and the fewer attempts you needed to complete the Trial of the Grand Crusader, the better your reward will be.

  • 10/25 Player limit

Onyxia's Lair

2004 Game Guide: Image for the Onyxia's Lair Raid

Onyxia is the daughter of the mighty dragon Deathwing, and sister of the scheming Nefarion Lord of Blackrock Spire. It is said that Onyxia delights in corrupting the mortal races by meddling in their political affairs. To this end it is believed that she takes on various humanoid forms and uses her charm and power to influence delicate matters between the different races. Some believe that Onyxia has even assumed an alias once used by her father - the title of the royal House Prestor. When not meddling in mortal concerns, Onyxia resides in a fiery cave below the Dragonmurk, a dismal swamp located within Dustwallow Marsh. There she is guarded by her kin, the remaining members of the insidious Black Dragon Flight.

  • 10/25 Player limit

Icecrown Citadel

2004 Game Guide: Image for the Icecrown Citadel Raid

With the legendary heroes Highlord Tirion Fordring of the Argent Crusade and Highlord Darion Mograine of the Knights of the Ebon Blade joining forces to lead the charge through the fortified gates of Icecrown Citadel, members of the Horde and Alliance will be called to end the reign of the Lich King once and for all. It may be the greatest challenge our most courageous adventurers have yet seen.

[Image links to the Icecrown Citadel Underdev article]

  • 10/25 Player limit

Ruby Sanctum

2004 Game Guide: Image for the Ruby Sanctum Raid

Wyrmrest Temple has been breached. The Ruby Sanctum, hallowed domain of the red dragonflight in Northrend, is under siege.

Now, the mighty dragons must rely on the mortal races for salvation. The fate of the red flight, caretakers of all life on Azeroth, hangs in the balance. Stalwart champions, Horde and Alliance alike, will rush to the defense of the sanctum. Will you be among them?

[Image links to the Ruby Sanctum Underdev article]

  • 10/25 Player limit

Notes

  • The original article released in December 2008 only had three of the articles: "Naxxramas", "The Eye of Eternity", and "Vault of Archavon". "The Obsidian Sanctum" and "Ulduar" were added in April 2009. "Crusaders' Coliseum" was added August 2009. "Onyxia's Lair" was added September 2009. "Icecrown Citadel" was added January 2010. "Ruby Sanctum" was added June 2010.
  • The Ulduar Article was written and available in the original December 2008 release through the Dungeons article, but it was not added to the Raid list until April 2009.

References

This article can still be viewed here through the Wayback Machine.

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