High level instances in both Azeroth and Outland often require you to “attune” to the instance in order to take advantage of an instance wing or just to outright pass through the portal. Some attunements are easy, requiring coin or a simple quest that you can complete on the way up to level seventy. Some require tons of participation and time in order to complete.

Instances blocked by a gate only (such as Dire Maul North and Shadow Labyrinth for examples) can often be lockpicked or opened by someone who isn’t going to run the instance with you. Others such as Onyxia’s lair require an item crafted through a quest or a quest to magically attune you. It’s generally considered that if you are not able to attune to an instance then you will probably be unable to complete the instance anyway.

As a note, Warlocks can not summon players inside of instances. You must enter an instance through the instance portal and no other way. So if you are not attuned then you will not be able to enter, unless the key is only required by one person. Warlocks CAN summon you to the entrance of an instance, except for inside of Netherstorm where their summoning spell doesn’t work. Warlocks can also summon you to anywhere inside of an instance given that you are already inside of it.

Other Instance Related Resources

Azeroth Instances

Molten Core

To attune yourself to the Molten Core you must complete the quest “Attunement of the Core” who is given by the High Elf (or possible Blood Elf) near the entrance to Blackrock Depths. He asks for a “Core Fragment” which is located outside of the raid entrance inside of Blackrock Depths.

It’s possible for someone of a higher level to simply stealth to the entrance and obtain the Core Fragment, however it can be rather tricky. It’s best just to complete this quest during a full clear of BRD where you’ll pass the raid instance anyway. As for the location, it’s right next to the forge used for creating Dark Iron.

Onyxia’s Lair

A lengthy quest line for both factions leads to unlocking Onyxia’s Lair. Now with The Burning Crusade out, it may be best just to skip the massive amount of hassle and revisit it at level seventy if you wish to pay Onyxia a visit. If you want to complete the long quest line you start with Warlord’s Command for Horde or Dragonkin Menace for Alliance. It’s an extremely long and lengthy series of quests, it’s our opinion that it’s best to avoid the majority of it if you can travel into Outland.

Blackwing Lair

Kill the Scarshield Quartermaster who is near the entrance to Blackrock Spire (just down the hall from the entrance) and use the “Blackhand’s Command” item he drops that starts the quest of the same name. He stands next to an Orb of Command. Do a full run of Upper Blackrock Spire and slay General Drakkisath and use the Orb of Command located in his room to complete the quest. To enter BWL at that point, simply use the Orb of Command that the quartermaster stands near.


The Argent Dawn in Light’s Hope Chapel offer attunement quests that vary based on your reputation with them. The quest is The Dread Citadel – Naxxramas.

Burning Crusade Instances

Hellfire Citadel – The Shattered Halls

A rather easy attunement, this quest starts off by slaying Smith Gorlunk just outside of the Black Temple in Shadowmoon Valley. He’s not elite or anything and is located in a Blacksmith like building outside of the Black Temple at 67,36. It’s best just to use a flying mount and drop in on him instead of fighting your way there. Once you slay him loot the Primed Key Mold which starts the quest line.

From here, take the Primed Key Mold to either Danath Trollbane in Honor Hold or Nazgrel in Thrallmar. He’ll ask you to show it to Dumphry (Alliance) or Rohok (Horde) who will ask you for 4 Fel Iron Bars, 4 Motes of Fire, and 2 Arcane Dust. Then they’ll ask you to slay a Fel Reaver and use its fires to forge the key. Simply slay a Fel Reaver (a three man party with a tank, healer, and something else can do this) and use the mold inside of its corpse.

Coilfang Reservoir – Serpentshrine Cavern

This instance doesn't require attunement. Previously it did, but now is enterable by anyone.

Auchindoun – Shadow Labyrinth

Talon King Ikiss drops a Shadow Labyrinth Key. He’s the last boss in Sethekk Halls. Only one person in a group needs the key AND a Rogue with about 350 lockpicking can open the door anyway.

Tempest Keep – The Arcatraz

A lengthy quest that is rather “easy” leads to the ability to enter the Arcatraz. Like the Shadow Labyrinth, a Rogue with about 350 lockpicking can just open the door for you. The quest line starts with Consortium Crystal Collection in Area 52. It involves killing Warp Splinter (Botanica) and Pathaleon the Calculator in Mechanar. Only one person needs the key and and a Rogue can just lockpick it so you don’t absolutely have to do it, but the quests give some good XP if you’re about 68-69 and you’ll want to kill those instance bosses anyway.

Tempest Keep - The Eye

No attunement is required for The Eye.

Caverns of Time – Battle of Mount Hyjal

You must slay Prince Kael’Thas and Lady Vashj and loot their Vial Remnant’s as part of the quest The Vials of Eternity available at the Caverns of Time.


You’ll start out by taking on Arcane Disturbances and Restless Activity. Both of these quests are needed and should be done at the same time. They’re available outside of Karazhan and rather easy to do. Arcane Disturbances has you going into two caverns and do some scrying. Restless Activity involves killing ghosts outside of Karazhan.

You’ll then get the quest Contact from Dalaran. Head to Dalaran and visit Archmage Cedric who then sends you to Khadgar in Shattrath City. He’ll then ask you to go into the Shadow Labyrinth and get the first part of the Master’s Key which is in a box near the boss Murmur. Next you’ll head into both the Steamvault (pool of water near Thespia) and Arcatraz (corner of the first room up the stairs from Zereketh) to get the next two pieces of the key.

Khadgar will take the three pieces and remake his key, but it’ll lack magical properties. You’ll have to do “Opening the Dark Portal” in the Caverns of Time which will allow you to speak to Medivh. He’ll give you his key and take the one you make. Return to Khadgar who will send you to Archmage Alturus which will now allow you to enter Karazhan.

Atiesh the Greatstaff of the Guardian can not be used to enter Karazhan, it only opens a portal to the front door.

The Black Temple

Complete "Akama's Promise" then venture forth into Serpentshrine Cavern. A new NPC Seer Olum will be around in Fathom-Lord Karathress's room. Pick up "The Secret Compromised" which has you deliver a message to Akama. Head out and slay Al'ar in "The Eye" in Tempest Keep which will pove what the message says. Then go and kill Rage Winterchill in the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Afterwards return to Xi'ri which has you kill forces so Akama and Maiev can enter the Black Temple.

While not technically part of the attunement.... "Akama's Promise" starts with the Adlor or Scryers in a line of quests that have you starting off obtaining the Heart of Fury.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

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Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.


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