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Heroic mode

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Heroic mode (often abbreviated to Heroic or simply HC) refers to a dungeon difficulty setting. This setting is accessed from the party or raid leader's portrait menu; currently the other other difficulty settings are normal mode (the default setting) and challenge mode. Depending on expansion and dungeon type (5-player or raid), the setting has different effects and requirements. For all heroic mode dungeons mobs and bosses have more HP, hit harder, and have additional or more potent skills. Heroic-mode bosses drop better quality equipment than their normal-mode counterparts as well as currency tokens used to purchase epic equipment from vendors.

Heroic mode dungeons are on a lockout timer much like raids, and can only be run once a day per character. Each dungeon is on an independent timer, however, so a character could run as many as 15 heroic mode instances per day. Heroic timers are reset daily at 9:00 A.M. server time for US servers, and 08:00 A.M. server time for European servers. The daily random heroic resets at the same time as other dailies, generally between 2-4 A.M. realm time.

Heroic dungeons don't require an attunement, but do require all characters in the group to be max level for their respective expansions (70 for The Burning Crusade, 80 for Wrath of the Lich King, 85 for Cataclysm, and 90 for Mists of Pandaria).

The Burning Crusade

Each of the 5-player dungeons introduced in the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion pack may be run on heroic mode.

Some heroic mode instances share loot with their normal-mode counterparts, while some do not. For example, items that drop in a level 70 normal instance like Shattered Halls will also drop in the heroic mode. However, a lower-level instance like Hellfire Ramparts will have completely different items in normal and heroic mode. For the instance where loot is shared there are also additional items that only drop in the heroic mode. These items are of higher quality than the other items. Each boss in a heroic dungeon may drop an epic gem. The last boss always drops one epic item in addition to [Justice Points] (if all party members are below level 70).

Before patch 4.2.0, The Burning Crusade heroic modes required every member of the party to have obtained the appropriate key. These keys were purchased from the faction quartermaster of the faction corresponding to the instance once reaching honored. At introduction the keys required revered, but this was reduced in later patches to allow easier access to the heroic modes. Magister's Terrace, which was introduced later with patch 2.4, did not use a purchased key. To obtain this key, players needed to simply complete a quest which involved killing the final boss of the instance in normal mode.

Each key required honored reputation with the respective faction. (Lowered from revered in patch 2.3.)

Instances Faction Key Instances to grind at 70
Hellfire Citadel HordeThrallmar/AllianceHonor Hold [Flamewrought Key]

Hellfire Ramparts (~633 rep, heroic ~2500 rep)
Blood Furnace (~700 rep)
The Shattered Halls (~1650 rep, heroic ~2700 rep)

Auchindoun Lower City [Auchenai Key]

Mana-Tombs (consortium reputation: ~1200 rep, heroic ~2400 rep)
Auchenai Crypts (~750 rep)
Sethekk Halls (~1250 rep, heroic ~2100 rep)
Shadow Labyrinth (~2000 rep, heroic ~2700 rep)

Coilfang Reservoir Cenarion Expedition [Reservoir Key]

Slave Pens (~650 rep, heroic ~1800 rep)
Underbog (~1000 rep, heroic ~2500 rep)
The Steamvault (~1600 rep, heroic ~1800 rep)

Tempest Keep The Sha'tar [Warpforged Key]

The Botanica (~2200 rep, heroic ~3100 rep)
The Arcatraz (~1800 rep, heroic ~2600 rep)
The Mechanar (~1500 rep, heroic ~2100 rep)

Caverns of Time Keepers of Time [Key of Time]

Opening the Dark Portal (~1100 rep)
Escape from Durnholde Keep (~900 rep, heroic ~2300 rep)

Isle of Quel'Danas Shattered Sun Offensive N [70D] Hard to Kill

Magisters' Terrace (~1450 rep)

Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

With the second expansion, heroic mode was extended to raids. The key requirements were not included on instances, instead heroic mode is available to all players at 80. The token system used in TBC heroics was considered successful, new tokens were added for the various "tiers" of wrath heroics and raids. For example, the same tokens drop in heroic 5-players and the first-tier 10-player raids, while a different token drops in the first tier 25-player raids and second-tier 10-player raids. A third token drops in second-tier 25-player raids, and will presumably drop in the third-tier 10-player raids when implemented.

Before Patch 3.2.0, Heroic mode raids, unlike their instance counterparts, did not dictate difficulty. Instead 10-player raids were considered "normal" mode, and 25-player raids to be "heroic". Heroic raids are not intended to be "harder" than the 10-player version of the same raid, instead simply tuned for the larger number of players. Heroic raids do still drop higher quality equipment than the normal-mode counterparts, by the logic that it is more difficult to form a good 25-player group. The currency tokens dropped in each mode can be used to buy items of similar quality to the boss-dropped items.

Patch 3.2.0 did away with this setting, other than showing up in achievements, in favor of the following:

Dungeon difficulty:
5-player heroic mode for the Heroic mode instances.
Raid difficulty:
10-player heroic mode for the Heroic mode (10-player raid).
25-player heroic mode for the Heroic mode (25-player raid).

In Wrath of the Lich King, heroic mode dungeons have the following relative difficulty.

Instance Reputation Reward
Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom 2300
Azjol-Nerub 1300
Culling of Stratholme 1700
Drak'Tharon Keep 2000
Gundrak 2250
Halls of Lightning 2150
Halls of Stone 1850
Nexus 2300
Oculus 1600
Utgarde Keep 1950
Utgarde Pinnacle 2000
Violet Hold 1300

Heroic Mode: Violet Hold, located within Dalaran, is commonly considered the easiest of all Northrend Heroic instances. This is because it can be completed in under 20 minutes on average by those with even minor Heroic instance skills. Its low difficulty and low Reputation of 1300 makes it commonly a very casual Heroic instance.

Cataclysm

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Bosses in heroic cataclysm instances award [Justice Points]. By using the dungeon finder, players can gain an additional 150 [Justice Points] per day.

Instance Tabard Rep Guild Rep Guild Exp (5 members)
Blackrock Caverns N/A N/A N/A
Deadmines N/A N/A N/A
Grim Batol 1900 220 472400
Halls of Origination 1715 385 826700
Lost City of the Tol'vir 1280 220 472400
Shadowfang Keep N/A N/A N/A
Stonecore N/A N/A N/A
Throne of the Tides N/A N/A N/A
Vortex Pinnacle N/A N/A N/A
Zul'Aman (Heroic only) N/A N/A N/A
Zul'Gurub (Heroic only) N/A N/A N/A
End Time (Heroic only) N/A N/A N/A
Well of Eternity (Heroic only) N/A N/A N/A
Hour of Twilight (Heroic only) N/A N/A N/A

Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.
Instance Tabard Rep Guild Rep Guild Exp (5 members)
Gate of the Setting Sun N/A N/A N/A
Mogu'shan Palace N/A N/A N/A
Scholomance N/A N/A N/A
Scarlet Halls N/A N/A N/A
Scarlet Monastery N/A N/A N/A
Shado-pan Monastery N/A N/A N/A
Siege of Niuzao Temple N/A N/A N/A
Stormstout Brewery N/A N/A N/A
Temple of the Jade Serpent N/A N/A N/A

Daily heroic

Patch 2.3.0 introduced daily quests for heroic dungeons. These daily quests, referred to as "daily heroics", involved killing the final boss in a dungeon on heroic mode, and gave additional [Badge of Justice] in The Burning Crusade or [Emblem of Triumph] in Wrath of the Lich King and money as a reward.

Players were able to earn extra [Justice Points] and gold for the first random WotLK heroic dungeon they complete that day, but the Wrath of the Lich King daily heroic quests were removed in patch 3.3.0, however the The Burning Crusade daily heroic quests still exist.

Patch 4.1.0 removed the daily heroic dungeons, but players would get bonus rewards 7 times per week.

This was later changed in patch 5.0.4 where only the first 5-man heroic would grant additional Valor Points but every subsequent random 5-man heroic would grant Valor Points as well.

Patch changes

  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04):
    • Changed the setting to 5 Player Heroic under the interface setting Dungeon difficulty.
    • Changed the setting to 10 Player Heroic and 25 Player Heroic under the interface setting Raid difficulty.