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Stunning Regular Instances
Dire Maul is possibly the largest instance complex in Azeroth. Technically it consists of three separate instances, but together they make up an incredible dungeon-diving experience. The East compound has you taking on Alzzin the Wildshaper, while Immol'thar waits for you in the West. The North wing is possibly the hardest section of this vast instance, but it offers choices for the party as to how they can complete it. While you can attempt Dire Maul at level 45, it's advisable that you wait until you're somewhere in the neighborhood of 57-60.
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Instead of saving the princess, Maraudon gives you the opportunity to destroy one. Princess Theradras is a chaotic earth elemental who decided centaurs might make a decent mate. After an unholy union with Zaetar - the keeper of the grove - the Princess ran from her misbegotten child after he killed his father. She waits in a secret sanctuary, keeping watch over Zaetar's tomb. The vistas within Maraudon are inspiring, the bosses are challenging, and fighting the Princess is something you'll really enjoy. You can't even enter if you're under level 30, and foes range from 44-48 - elite, of course.
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With The Burning Crusade comes the Magister's Terrace instance, located on the Isle of Quel'Dannas. The beauty of the Sunwell and stars are available for players to view, thanks to an Observatory. This instance also boasts the only cutscene, other than those seen at character creation time. The architecture of Silvermoon is present in all its glory, and players will find this to be one of the more challenging instances in the game. Battling against Kael'thas Sunstrider is an experience you definitely don't want to miss out on.
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Utgarde Keep is a enjoyable instance in Northrend. Thanks to The Wrath Of The Lich King expansion, players can work their way through some beautiful architecture that shows off the culture of the Vrykul very well. There are a multitude of enemies you will encounter here, from the deadly Blue Proto-Drakes to the undead Abominations. Oh, and of course there are the towering Vrykul themselves, who aren't very happy at your intrusions in their business. There is much majesty to see here and much blood to be shed - hopefully your foes.
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Noteworthy Raid Instances
One of the first raid instances that comes to mind immediately is Onyxia's Lair. It is also one of the first original instances ever created in WoW, but despite it's age the instance never fails to entertain players on both the Horde and Alliance side. Onyxia is a crafty dragoness, who has used all her power to manipulate mortals and dragons alike for her own ends. While her lair is not the most breathtaking, fighting Onyxia herself is what makes this instance extremely enjoyable. She has been crafted visually to exude the epitome of dragonkind, and she plays the part well. There is of course, the afterglow players can bask in as her head is hung over the gates of Stormwind or Orgrimmar following her defeat. Although you can take her on at level 50, you'll most likely want to be level 60 for this one. Ironically, Onyxia's level is stated to be 500, but it's scaled down to within three levels of the players dynamically.
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Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj
Silithius' deserts include many dangers, but the Qiraji are possibly the most powerful. Trapped behind the Scarab Wall, the Qiraji have been fighting to escape for centuries. Rather than wait for the inevitable, Anachronos (a huge bronze dragon) has banded together with adventurers to defeat the Qiraji on their own ground. Although there are multiple bosses, the battle against Ossirian the Unscarred is the one you will remember. He received his name after having his essence bound to powerful and ancient crystals. These crystals granted Ossirian near invulnerability, but he could no longer stray far from their presence. The instance called the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj is his battleground, and you will need everything you can muster to defeat him. This is a 20-man raid, so bring all your friends - you're gonna need 'em.
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Karazhan is a raid instance brought about with the introduction of The Burning Crusade expansion. The instance is quite large, and boasts some stunning rooms - populated by undead of course. Once the tower located here was inhabited by a powerful sorcerer named Medivh, but he is no longer among the living. Since the rest of the residents here are undead, that's quite alright. The instance is located in Deadwind Pass, sitting on top of a mountain very reminiscent of a human skull. The entire is said to be the focus of great magics, and supposedly every ley line on Azeroth meets beneath this ancient tower. Do not attempt to enter here until you are at least level 70. Anything lower than that is sheer folly.
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Ulduar was introduced with the latest expansion Wrath Of The Lich King, and it respresents the best WoW has to offer. Visually, the entire instance is beyond measure. From the holographic star constellations to the gleaming gold throughout, Ulduar will take your breath away. It's also incredibly fun to play through, all the way up to the fight with Yogg-Saron. This old god is likely to be one of the more challenging encounters you will face in WoW. This raid instance is located in the Storm Peaks, and you can expect to try this one only when you reach level 80. It's a nice treat though and makes working your way up to 80 completely worthwhile.