are you probably
remember your first real raid vividly. Whether you took on Molten Core,
battled through Serpentshrine, or are currently braved the new dangers
presented by Dragon Soul, raiding is an experience that is not easily
forgotten and will likely keep you coming back for more. This ability
to draw players in and keep them has brought raiding in WoW far from
its humble beginnings in Molten Core, spawning over 25 separate raid
instances scattered across the various expansion packs.

Despite the thrill offered by
raiding, some of these instances were far more successful than others.
While many of these raid instances made us want to /headdesk every
week, the truly great ones left no doubt in our minds why we continued
to devote hours of our precious time each week to raiding. These latter
instances are the truly stuff legends are made of and what WoW is
really about. No matter how old they get, players still trek their
halls from time to time for no other reason than simple nostalgia.

Considered to be the best of
the best, these instances refuse to fade from memory and are sure to
inspire sighs of remembrance in all who have experienced them. Below
you will find five such instances. Read onward to see how these raid
instances stack up against your own personal top 5!

Top 5 WoW Raid Instances

Black Temple
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the edge of Shadowmoon
Valley lies the Black Temple, a raid
instance that literally emanates
evil. As if the outside wasn’t impressive enough, once inside
players will find themselves faced with one of the best raid instances
in the game. A 25-man introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion Black
Temple has everything a good instance should have; amazing visuals,
excellent boss encounters, and a great storyline to back it all up. The
cherry on top is the end boss fight as players take on the infamous
Illidan Stormrage, a boss fight defiantly worth witnessing, and a
chance at the legendary Warglaives that were so sought after not so
long ago.

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Located on the Isle of
Qual’Danas, the Sunwell was introduced as a level 70 instance
in Patch 2.4. Playing upon the story of the Blood Elves the Sunwell
raid instance players must enter into the remains of the Sunwell, the
mystical font of the Blood Elves power, to defeat the demon lord
Kil’jaeden. With amazing visuals as well as some outstanding
boss fights (not to mention excellent gear at the time), the Sunwell
was one of the few instances that was challenging yet not so
challenging that it took away from the fun aspect of the instance.
While in my heart, Black Temple and Sunwell will always be a tie, the
Sunwell wins out for the fourth spot thanks to its excellent textures
and better overall encounters.

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engaging and incredibly
fun despite its age, Karazhan offered up some of the most original
encounters ever experienced in the game. Located in the southern
portion of Deadwind Pass Karazhan was introduced in the Burning Crusade
expansion of WoW as a ten-man raid instance. A huge, scripted instance
containing twelve boss encounters, Karazhan is one of the places in WoW
where you can see the hard work of WoW developers come to life at its
best. From the Opera Event with its classic fairytales come to life to
the giant chess game, Karazhan is a text book example of how to make
players want to experience an instance for more than the gear. Karazhan
was so well thought out that even the trash mobs in this instance are
interesting. Karazhan is one raid instance that I would personally love
to see revamped and brought back to life.

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One of the best examples of
raid instance art and story development is that found inside Ulduar. An
often overlook raid instance, it surprises and saddens me to see that
this instance has managed to fall under the radar of many raiders.
While Flame Leviathan can easily become tiresome, the remaining
instance is epic in both scope and story and well worth taking a run
through. Located in the Storm Peaks Ulduar is the prison of the old god
Yogg-Saron and contains fourteen separate encounters, ten of which have
the option of hard mode.

Ulduar does not follow a
totally linear pattern allowing players to go where they please and
take on bosses in almost any order they wish. Each boss fight offers a
unique experience and become increasingly more difficult and fun for a
raid to take on ending with some of the best boss fights WoW has ever
seen in a raid instance; Yogg Saron and Algalon. So if you are into
beautiful graphics and end boss fights that are sure to blow your mind
head over and check out Ulduar today. Easily soloable by any level 85
player, this is one instance that every player should have experienced.

Molten Core
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The very first raid instance
taken on by most old school players was inside the Molten Core. A level
60 dungeon found inside Blackrock Mountain, Molten Core was one of the
two classic 40 mans released with WoW. The pinnacle raiding achievement
at the time, Molten Core offered up an impressive 10 boss fights as
well as some unforgettable trash. Loot the Core Hound anyone?

While outpaced in the visual
department by other instances, the encounters found inside the Molten
Core ( as well as the impressiveness of taking this on with 40
individuals forever ranks Molten Core as number one in my book. As the
granddaddy of all raid instances, none shall ever manage to overtake
this fiery fortress. So if you haven’t had a chance to
experience it for yourself head to Blackrock Mountain, descend the
chain and take on the Molten Core. Get yourself a Thunderstrike and
don’t forget to look through the window after Golemagg for a
special treat.

Do you think the raid instances
above are some of the best WoW has to offer? Be sure to share you top
raid instances in the comments section below as well as what makes them
stand out in your book.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.