WoW Classic Raids Guide - About phases of Raiding

classic wow raids
p3ter 06.06.2019 0

About release phases

Before the release of the Classic World of Warcraft Blizzard announced that the content releases will be divided into few phases. These steps are centered primarily on a raid progression and are meant to balance the amount of power that players can gain straight after Vanilla release. Developers also want us to capture the feel of what it was like to play World of Warcraft back in the day. WoW, Classic was said to be released in patch 1.2.x to give players old school experience.


What word ‘Raid’ means in classic wow

Raids are groups of at least 6 and up to 40 people divided into 8 subgroups consisting of 5 players each. By saying Raid, players also can refer to instances that these groups go to, where they can face end game content and fight with most dangerous foes in Azeroth to win valuable item drops. As the monsters in these zones are extremely difficult players need to plan their strategy accordingly if they want to achieve victory.


Inside the Raid, there is often at least one Boss and usually many smaller foes to fight against. To reach the final room with the last adversary players often need to defeat other bosses and groups of smaller mobs called adds. All of the Raid instances have a raid timer which determines when you can receive next drop from the bosses that you and your party have defeated. Because of that Raids are often cleared only once a week.


Phase 1

The first phase of the release, primary focuses on introducing Onyxia and Molten Core to the game. These raids were released before even first player hit level 60. Maraudon dungeon was meant to be released along with those two but it will be postponed a little bit to balance itemization. The gear that players could acquire in Maraudon could directly affect the difficulty of the raids. This is the reason why it will be released later during the first phase.


Onyxia’s Lair

One of the first raids to be released in World of Warcraft is a single boss instance which is an iconic encounter in the game history. It is very likely to be the first raid ever completed by players. In order to enter Onyxia’s Lair at Dustwallow Marsh players needed to finish attunement quests giving them Drakefire Amulets. The group of 40 players could then enter the cave to fight the boss. Defeating this fire breathing dragon rewarded players with Head of Onyxia which starts a quest to put her head on a display in the capital city of players faction. It was a great achievement to complete an amazing accomplishment to share with others.


Onyxia is the daughter of the mighty Black Aspect called Deathwing. She is also the sister of Nefarian which is the Lord of the Blackrock Spire. Although her father uses brute force in his plans, her brother plots in-depth plans, she is slowly manipulating humans to turn against each other. Disguised as Katarina Prestor she tried to start a Civil War in Stormwind but her plans were stopped by Marshal Windsor. After these events, she went back to her Lair where she is waiting for a fight against Azeroth champions.


Boss encounters : Onyxia


Molten Core

Even more iconic than queen Onyxia herself can only be Ragnaros the Firelord. This incredibly powerful ruler of Fire Elementals resides in Molten Core which lies deep in Blackrock Mountains Searing Gorge. He wields a massive hammer called Sulfuras which is one of the most wanted items by all Vanilla players. This raid for a very long time was the most challenging 40 player instance that reigned this title until the release of the Blackwing Lair. Bosses in the Molten Core were dropping first powerful set parts from Tier 1 and Tier 2 as well as items needed for the creation of legendary weapons like Sulfuras or Thunderfury.


Molten Core was created over 3000 years ago in War of the Three Hammers. The leader of Shadowy Sorcerers from Dark Iron Dwarf race Thaurissan tried to summon a powerful Fire Elemental to aid him in the battlefield. He was more than successful since he summoned Firelord Ragnaros himself which was captivated under the mountains for millennia. He enslaved Dark Iron Dwarves to his command and created a giant Volcano called Blackrock Mountain. In the very heart of the volcano lies Molten Core which is now the home of Ragnaros. Firelord lies in a rift between the plane of fire and Azeroth which lets fire elementals pass through the rift. As he cannot leave this place he commands his armies to force Dark Iron Dwarves to build him an army from the living stone.


Boss encounters : Lucifron, Magmadar, Gehennas, Garr, Shazzrah, Baron Geddon, Golemagg the Incinerator, Sulfuron Harbinger, Majordomo Executus, Ragnaros


Phase 2

The second phase prepares players to reach the top of the Blackrock Spire where the next raid begins. During this time players will be able to face rare spawns Kazzak and Azuregos as well as Dire Maul dungeon. Items dropped during these encounters are meant to improve players gear before moving onto the next stage.


Phase 3

The third phase introduces to the game Blackwing Lair raid which is significantly more difficult and rewards players with better items than Molten Core. It also focuses on the pvp aspect of the game as many players until this time should easily reach level 60.


Blackwing Lair

On the top of Blackrock Spire a 40 man instance can be found where players can challenge Nefarian which is the final boss of the Blackwing Lair raid. Bosses in this zone can drop very valuable parts of Tier 2 set (excluding helmets which drop from Onyxia and legs which are available from Ragnaros). As the BbWL introduced to the game many epic weapons players in 2005 rushed to fight Black Dragon and claim his treasures.


Nefarian who vowed to crush Firelord Ragnaros tried many methods to increase his power in order to fulfill his mission. Just like his father Deathwing he gathered forces for war and wants to attack Molten Core. He lies within Blackwing Lair where he is experimenting to create new breeds of Dragonflight and reanimate most powerful foes that Azeroth has ever seen.


Boss encounters : Razorgore the Untamed, Vaelastrasz the Corrupt, Broodlord Lashlayer, Firemaw, Ebonroc, Flamegor, Chromaggus, Nefarian


Phase 4

The fourth stage of content release marks the point when the Zul’Gurub raid is released. It is also the point when players can start farming Green Dragons to get much-needed nature resists to face challenges that await them on the next phase.



The first 20 man raid added to the game features jungle themed instance where players face bloodthirsty Trolls and their leader from Dragonkin race Hakkar. Zul’Gurub was firstly created to be an additional step between 5 man dungeons and 40 man raiding world. The bosses in this instance have a chance to drop valuable loot among which players can find unique mounts which were not available in the game until this point.


The Gurubashi Empire connected many troll races which were united inside one city. This ended 1500 years before the Dark Portal opening when Civil War has taken the city apart. During these events, troll priests called Atal’ai summoned blood-god Hakkar the Soulflayer. The remaining trolls fled from the city and later on tried to take it back. They have sent five great priests to fight against this monstrosity. Each of them was a champion of the primal gods - Bat, Panther, Snake, Tiger and Spider. The failed in this task as Hakkar took control over them. He also took control of great Zul’Gurub which is now his realm.


Boss encounters : High Priestess Jeklik, High Priest Venoxis, High Priestess Mar'li, High Priest Thekal, High, Priestess Arlokk, Bloodlord Mandokir, Jin'do the Hexxer, Gahz'ranka, Edge of Madness, Gri'lek, Renataki, Hazza'rah, Wushoolay, Hakkar

Phase 5

Before the last stage of content release, players will have a chance to fight their way into the Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj. During this phase Blizzard also releases revamped loot tables to balance item gains and tier 5 sets. During Vanilla this raid release came with a big event ‘Opening Gates of AQ’ it is very likely that the same event will take place during its release these days.


Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj

After finishing the attunement quest to enter Ahn’Qiraj players can form a group of maximum 20 to start this challenge. Originally it was released to serve as an additional instance to Zul’Gurub which also was a step from players between dungeons and raids. It allowed more casual players to gear up for raiding and join in this effort most geared players. The drops in this Raid were kind of special since it also offered players a chance to drop skill books unlocking new ranks for spells.


Boss encounters : Kurinnaxx, General Rajaxx, Moam, Buru the Gorger, Ayamiss the Hunter, Ossirian the Unscarred


Temple of Ahn’Qiraj

The 40 man raid dungeon located in north Silithus called Temple of Ahn’Qiraj was the first raid where blizzard used new itemization system that prioritized stats on items depending on the player class. For example, healers would more often get intelligence stat than Strength, Rogues Agility and so on. The instance also brought to the game Tier 2.5 set and various reputation rewards which finally became meaningful and worth farming.


The race of Qiraji was defeated a long time ago by Night Elves and sealed in Ahn’Qiraj. However not for good as one of the Old Gods C’Thun awakened from the slumber beneath the sands. He who created Qiraji started to build strength to invade Azeroth once again. Mighty adventurers of Azeroth who heard about his emergence gathered their own forces to stop him before reaching full strength. They opened the gates of Ahn’Qiraj and stormed the home of the Old God. Although he was prepared to fight against dragons he wasn’t prepared to face mortal adventurers.


Boss encounters : The Prophet Skeram, The Bug Trio (Optional), Princess Yauj, Vem, Lord Kri, Battleguard Sartura, Fankriss the Unyielding, Princess Huhuran, The Twin Emperors, Emperor Vek'lor, Emperor Vek'nilash, Viscidus (Optional), Ouro (Optional), C'Thun


Phase 6

The last stage of content releasing states the time of Scourge invasion. It is also the time when Naxxramas raid opens its doors to the bravest of adventurers.



Last but not least players gained access to the giant castle which is floating over Stratholme in Eastern Plaguelands. This flying Necropolis is home to a powerful lich called Kel’Thuzad which is the Lich King trusted officer. It is one of the most memorable classic Raids since it was the last one and it looked really epic at the time. The instance consists of five different parts also called wings. Four of them had to be cleared in order to gain access to the fifth which was the final one.


Back in the day the crypt lord called Anub’Arak who was raised from the dead to serve Lich King led the army of undead into the ancient Nerubian ziggurat - Naxxramas. The scourge forces commanded by Lich King turned the citadel into a war machine which later was raised from the ground to the skies by dark magic. As it was hidden in the clouds from plain sight it grew in strength over time. It was used as a Kel’Thuzad - Lich King right hand - operation base. He flew with Naxxramas to Lordaeron to spread the plague and kill innocents.


Boss encounters : 

The Arachnid Quarter

Anub'Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, Maexxna


The Military Quarter

Instructor Razuvious, Gothik the Harvester


The Four Horsemen

Highlord Mograine, Thane Korth'azz, Lady Blaumeux, Sir Zeliek

The Plague Quarter

Noth the Plaguebringer, Heigan the Unclean, Loatheb

The Construct Quarter

Patchwerk, Grobbulus, Gluth, Thaddius


Frostwyrm Lair

Sapphiron, Kel'Thuzad

If you have liked our guide make sure to leave a comment below. We value your opinion as we need it to improve our articles. You can also check out class guides for each of Vanilla classes : Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Druid, Hunter, Mage. For content from your favourite expansions like Mists of Pandaria, Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Battle for Azeroth and others check out our blog page.


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