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WoW ClassicAug 25, 2023 10:00 am CT

What you need to know about dungeon changes in WoW Classic Hardcore

The rules of engagement for World of Warcraft Classic Hardcore realms, which are now live, have some new, unique features compared to the dungeons we’re used to. They aren’t the only changes to parts of the in-game world, but the changes to dungeons are pretty significant.

Dungeons are supposed to provide players with the opportunity mix up open-world exploration and questing by teaming up with other players to battle challenging enemies, complete unique quests, and ultimately help level your character and earn some nice gear along the way. Unfortunately, some players use dungeons exclusively to power level their characters as fast as they can to max level in order to do endgame content, completely ignoring the rest of the in-game world. Others take it further and sell guided runs of dungeons to other players for in-game and real world currencies, obnoxiously clogging the in-game chat with unnecessary spam advertisements. These dungeon sellers effectively allow people to buy a pass to max level and, in some cases gear, with minimal effort.

Because of this, Blizzard made some changes to Classic Hardcore dungeon system:

  • Most dungeons have a 24 hour lockout timer for players under level 60. When you reach level 60, the 24 hour lockout restriction will be lifted.
  • Players who are level 60 cannot enter lower-level dungeons with players who are below level 60.
  • Players who are significantly higher level than other players will significantly reduce the amount of XP a group can earn from creatures in a dungeon. This is one of the changes from Season of Mastery that is being implemented in Hardcore.
  • Enemy behavior has been adjusted to make them harder to immobilize and kite, which is another change that has been brought over from Season of Mastery.
  • There are no phases — all dungeons and raids will be available immediately at launch.
  • Dungeon quests and dungeon set quests are available at launch.
  • Certain items dropped by dungeon bosses from the latest Classic Era build will be the same source of those items in Classic Hardcore.

The design philosophy of Classic Hardcore centers mainly on the open-world with closed instances like dungeons meant to accentuate gameplay and rewards, not be the sole focus. By implementing these rules, it appears Blizzard hopes to keep players engaged in the open-world while reducing the issues of spam bots and dungeon sellers that permeated throughout the World of Warcraft Classic, The Burning Crusade Classic, and currently plague Wrath of the Lich King Classic.

There are some lingering questions for Classic Hardcores dungeon system — we still don’t know just how punitive the XP reduction will be if one player is over-leveled. In the first and second round of the PTR, you could only earn a portion of XP from bosses or enemies in dungeons. Even then you were capped at level 30 so you can only experience a handful of dungeons which made it a bit difficult to gauge what the dungeon experience will be like when Hardcore goes live. We also don’t know at what point a player becomes over-leveled for a dungeon but it makes sense to assume that each dungeons recommended level range from Classic Era servers will be the same for Classic Hardcore realms and once you pass that level range, you get less XP. If that is indeed the case, here’s where each dungeon would cap out:

  • Ragefire Chasm (Horde): 13-18
  • Wailing Caverns:  15-25
  • The Deadmines: 18-23
  • Shadowfang Keep: 22-30
  • The Stockade (Alliance): 22-30
  • Blackfathom Deeps: 24-32
  • Gnomeregan: 29-38
  • Razorfen Kraul: 30-40
  • Scarlet Monastery: 26-45
    • Graveyard: 28-38
    • Library: 29-39
    • Armory: 32-42
    • Cathedral: 35-45
  • Razorfen Downs: 40-50
  • Uldaman: 42-52
  • Zul’Farrak: 44-54
  • Maraudon: 46-55
    • Wicked Grotto: 45-53
    • Foulspore Covern: 45-53
    • Earth Song Falls: 48-57
  • Temple of Atal’Hakkar: 50-60
  • Blackrock Depths: 52-60
  • Blackrock Spire: 55-60
    • Lower: 55-60
    • Upper: 58-60
  • Scholomance: 58-60
  • Stratholme: 58-60
  • Dire Maul: 58-60

Otherwise, most of what we know about the realms is starting to come in to focus as we close in on Hardcore Classic’s official release. There could still be changes while that on PTR in the next few weeks so be sure to check back with us then to stay up to date on any changes!

Originally published July 18, 2023. Updated August 25, 2023.

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