All of the raids in Burning Crusade Classic (and when they’ll be released)
The Burning Crusade had a series of raids throughout its time, from 10 player raids like Karazhan and Zul’Aman to the seven 25 player raids. Some of these raids had long, involved attunement quests which we’ve covered already, such as Karazhan, Tempest Keep, and Serpentshine Cavern, while other raids like Gruul’s Lair, Magtheridon’s Lair, and the Sunwell did not, but regardless all of the raids were fairly involved affairs. Making the jump from 10 player to 25 player was hard on a lot of guilds as well, and the addition of Badge of Justice gear throughout the expansion meant that 10 player groups could basically keep running Kara and ZA for Badges to buy gear on par with Black Temple by the end of the expansion.
So let’s talk about all the raids you’ll get to explore in Burning Crusade Classic and the phases where you can expect to see each raid debut.
Phase 1 raids
This was the entry level 10 player raid, the first raid most players in BC got to see, and a magnificently lore-filled extravaganza. Karazhan‘s 12 potential encounters (including the optional Nightbane fight with an unlock of its own) were an excellent entry level experience, a training ground for future raid complexity, and a lucrative source of Badges of Justice for players who were otherwise finished with the encounters and ready to move on to other content. Plus, until the arrival of Zul’Aman (which will be in Phase 4 of BCC) it was pretty much the only place for smaller raid groups to go if they couldn’t get enough people for 25 player content. Standout fights include Netherspite, Nightbane, the infamous Shade of Aran with its ubiquitous Flame Wreath meme, and of course Prince Malchezaar.
Two pieces of Tier 4 dropped in Karazhan, as the tokens for the helmet dropped from Prince Malchezaar, while the Curator drops the token for the gloves.
It’s a toss up whether your group ran Gruul or Magtheridon as their first 25 player content in TBC. Gruul was harder to PuG with its council fight surrounding High King Maulgar before Gruul himself, a fight that required a fairly skilled Mage or Warlock to tank one of the caster mobs. Gruul was also necessary for the Serpentshrine Cavern’s attunement quest before it was removed. He dropped Tier 4 leg tokens, while Maulgar dropped the shoulder token.
A lot of lairs in this first phase of Burning Crusade Classic, just as there were when Burning Crusade first appeared for us all to play through. There’s only one encounter in the Lair, which is with Magtheridon himself, but the fight is a touch more complicated with an early add phase and the cube mechanic to keep in mind. Magtheridon drops the token for Tier 4 chest armor.
In order to complete a set of Tier 4, you need to run both 10 and 25 player content. After this, future raid tier gear was exclusive to 25 player raids.
Phase 2 raids
The home of Lady Vashj and her Naga minions, this raid is purely a 25 player one. It had an extensive attunement process that required earlier 25 player raids like Gruul, and also required Nightbane from Karazhan. Furthermore, to unlock the later Mount Hyjal and Black Temple raids, you had to complete Serpentshine and defeat Lady Vashj herself. Three pieces of Tier 5 — the Gloves, Legs, and Helms — were purchased with tokens that dropped in Serpentshrine Cavern.
Kael’thas Sunstrider ruled the Blood Elves ‘loyal’ to Illidan Stormrage from this former Naaru dimensional ship. Like Serpentshrine, it had a detailed attunment chain, and also like SSC, it was necessary to defeat Kael’thas in order to attune to Mount Hyjal and Black Temple. The tokens for Tier 5 Shoulders and Chest pieces were available in Tempest Keep, and Kael’thas drops a special rare mount, the Ashes of A’lar.
Phase 3 raids
This Caverns of Time raid required you to kill both Kael’thas and Lady Vashj to even enter it, and was itself required in order to enter Black Temple. The five bosses here drop various items, including the helm and glove tokens for Tier 6, and the trash waves were some of the most difficult in World of Warcraft up to that time, with guilds experimenting in all manner of creative ways to clear them as quickly as possible. Paladin tanks would often see their shields break due to the sheer volume of mobs beating on them, and Warriors using Spell Reflection were often used to tank the caster mobs if at all possible. The boss fights, while often difficult, were often less stressful than the trash, which came in eight waves before the boss. Wipe at any point, even the boss, and you started again from the first wave.
The Black Temple
The raid where players could confront Illidan Stormrage, The Black Temple is where The Burning Crusade’s first legendary dropped, the Warglaives of Azzinoth. You could also pick up the shoulder, leg, and chest tokens for Tier 6. You finally got to fight Illidan himself, after getting to see a little too much about the guy and his enormous creepy harem of Blood Elves and a few Succubi thrown in for good measure. Since there are no Monks, Death Knights or Demon Hunters in Burning Crusade Classic, the Warglaives will be fought over by your Rogues and Warriors, the only classes that could use them back then.
Phase 4 raids
The only other 10 player raid in Burning Crusade Classic, ZA became a kind of combination of catch-up for players primarily doing 10 player content and a flexing destination for 25 player raiders who wanted to show off how fast they could complete the zone, thanks to the built in timer before some important hostages got murdered. More importantly, if you did it fast enough, you got a bear mount. The fights in ZA were very difficult for the time, and the gear was on par with Tempest Keep/SSC, with some pieces being itemized well enough that they were almost as good as Hyjal/BT gear. However, no tier gear dropped in ZA. The OG Troll from Warcraft 2, Zul’jin, was the end boss of the 10 player ZA raid.
Phase 5 raids
There were no attunements necessary for the Sunwell Plateau, but this 25 player raid was not something you wanted to just walk into without doing some earlier raids. Even if you geared up through Badge of Justice clears of Karazhan and ZA, you’d struggle in this, the final raid of the expansion. Sunwell Plateau had several gear checks, such as the terrifyingly hard Brutallus, the guild-destroying M’uru, and of course Kil’jaeden himself, which dropped the second legendary of the expansion, the amazing Thori’dal. Yes, a Hunter legendary, that a lot of Warriors and Rogues took because we’re terrible.
And that’s all the raids you’ll see in Burning Crusade Classic. I hope you like running stuff to unlock the ability to run other stuff, because you’ll be doing a lot of it.
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