Updated Mon, Dec 07, 2009 by Messiah
In the expansion to the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK), there are many new instances added to the game to facilitate both leveling up and to provide new end-game content. Not only that but many mechanics introduced in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (TBC) will carry over into the new expansion and be improved upon. For instance, in TBC we were introduced to smaller instances and the heroic dungeon format. In WotLK this trend continues with even shorter more access able instances, and new heroic versions.
Not only that, but there are many more 10-man raids in WotLK, as Blizzard has made every raid available in both 10 man and 25 man versions. Better yet both versions are on separate reset timers so you can complete both versions each week if you wish. This means smaller raiding guilds will continue to prevail and probably expand in popularity through this expansion.
Azjol'Nerub is known as the “Spider Kingdom” due to it being the home city of the Nerubians. The Nerubians are a faction being reintroduced in the expansion that are returning from Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. They’re very spider like and contain many connections to the faceless ones and the old gods.
Azjol'Nerub is found in the zone of Dragonblight in Northrend. The instance hub has two instances available for players through an underground cavern. The first is the instance is simply called Azjol'Nerub and is for level 72-74 players. The second instance is the slightly longer and more difficult Ahn'kahet: the Old Kingdom, which is meant for level 73-75 players.
In Warcraft III players were asked to take Prince Arthas and a small band of troops and raze the city of Stratholme to the ground. This was because Mal’Ganis had infected the grain with the Plague of Undeath and the citizens would join the scourge if not killed while alive. In the mission you fought against Mal’Ganis who was constantly going around to the various houses and turning the inhabitants into the undead.
In WotLK you get to return to Stratholme and assist Arthas in his decent into madness and will eventually be able to do battle against Mal’Ganis himself.
Naxxramas was one of Blizzards finest creations of raid content. Unfortunately it was released just before the release of the first expansion: The Burning Crusade. As a result very few players actually got to play through the content. In Wrath of the Lich King the entire raid has been re-worked for level 80 players and moved to the icy reaches of Dragonblight. It is now the first raid that level 80 players can work their way through, in both 10 and 25 player versions.
The Nexus is located within the Borean Tundra, technically in the isle west of the mainland called Coldarra. The instance hub location is not the easiest to find, and really depends on you following quests and their progression to find your way there. As you make your way east and north out of the Alliance Town you turn north to find Amber Ledge. Once there you can fly across to Coldara and a small quest hub. The second round of quests located there direct you into the Nexus to explore.
The Nexus hub contains two five man instances and a raid instance where ultimately you face off with the leader of the Blue Dragonflight, Malygos. The first instance is simply called the Nexus and is meant for level 71-73 players. After that you do not get to come back until you are level 80 when you can enter the Oculus, another instance, or the raid instance of The Eye of Eternity.
Ulduar is an instance hub based heavily on the Titans and their lore.You can find it located in the zone of Stormpeaks. It houses three different instances. The first that you will visit is the leveling instance called the Halls of Stone, meant for players getting near the end of their leveling in Wrath of the Lich King. The second is the level 80 instance the Halls of Lightning, and the third is the yet to be implemented Ulduar Raid, which will launch with the 3.1 patch.
One of the first instances that you will experience in the Wrath of the Lich King is Utgarde Keep. This instance is located in the instance hub of the same name and is a level-up dungeon for players level 70-72. The instance hub also contains Utgarde Pinnacle which is a level 80 instance. Utgarde Keep is located just north of the Alliance starting camp of Valgarde Keep in the Howling Fjord. The instances are full of the Vrykul who are half giant Viking like creatures that are hostile to both the Horde and the Alliance.
The Vault of Archavon is a very short raid instance found in Wintergrasp. The raid is made up of a single boss named Archavon the Stone Keeper, and is located in the fortress. What makes this raid unique is that players can only access it for a few hours after their faction has claimed victory in the PvP zone of Wintergrasp. After that, it becomes locked until another victor is decided for the zone.
Of the many new instances in the WotLK some of them you need to travel a long distance to reach, others are located right underneath your nose. One such instance is the Violet Hold found right in the heart of Northrend's main city of Dalaran. The Violent Hold is an instance in much the same vein as the Stockades in Stormwind, it is the cities prison. Also similar to the Stockades, the instance has been overrun by the bad guys. In this case the bad guys are the blue dragonflight who are trying to over run the guards by attacking and setting inmates free in an attempt to break out into the city.
The zone of Zul'Drak has two main instances in it, Drak’Tharon Keep and Gun'Drak. Drak'Tharon Keep is a troll fortress that once was home to the Drakkari trolls, however they were driven out by the Scourge. Drak'Tharon Keep, located between the northern border of Grizzly Hills and the southern border of Zul'Drak. Gun'Drak is home to the ice trolls and found in the zone of Zul'Drak. Gun'Drak can be found in the eastern edge of the zone and is meant as a leveling dungeon for players in the level 76-78 range.