Instance attunement

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For the passive bonuses to secondary stats, see Secondary stat attunement.

Instance attunement refers to the process of gaining permanent access to an instance. The term comes from one of the first of such quests created: N [60D] Attunement to the Core. Many of the endgame instances originally required you to complete a quest or obtain a certain item to enter. This strategy has largely been phased out, although some instances (particularly heroic raid modes) still require attunement.

With patch 1.11, players received a keyring, which holds many items required for attunements. However, some items, like  [Scepter of Celebras] and  [Mallet of Zul'Farrak], still take up inventory space.

Since patch 2.0.1 the keyring grows dynamically as the player gathers more keys, rather than a certain number slots per so many levels.

Heroic mode keys

To enter the heroic mode version of an Outland instance you must earn honored reputation status with a specific faction related to that instance. Once honored status is obtained, the keys can simply be purchased from that faction's quartermaster. The currently available instances and their respective factions are listed below. Please note that all party members must have a key to enter the instance in heroic mode.

Hellfire Citadel AllianceHonor Hold
Coilfang Reservoir Cenarion Expedition
Auchindoun Lower City
Tempest Keep Sha'tar
Caverns of Time Keepers of Time
Magister's Terrace Players must complete the quest chain that starts from Exarch Larethor on the Isle of Quel'Danas and require killing the final boss on Normal difficulty.

As for instances in Northrend, upon reaching the level cap (level 80) Heroic mode is automatically unlocked for all instances. In addition, Northrend raids (Naxxramas, The Obsidian Sanctum and The Eye of Eternity) now include a Heroic (25-man as opposed to the normal 10-man) version as well, which is also unlocked by reaching level 80.


Except for Upper Blackrock Spire and Karazhan, all raid members originally needed to possess a key to enter the instance. Both Molten Core and previously Blackwing Lair provide attunement quests that allow the player to quickly travel to the raid entrance, but these are not required to enter the instances themselves.

Boss Attunements

Certain raid and dungeon bosses could also be unlocked through certain player actions. For example, the last two bosses of Molten Core would only be accessible if at least seven raiders achieved revered reputation with the Hydraxian Waterlords, obtained a specific item from the Waterlords, and brought it with them to the raid. As future expansions are released, prior-expansion bosses are generally unlocked by default and are accessible regardless of party makeup.

Paradigm shift

For April Fool's 2007, Blizzard released a joke attunement page listing all of the impossible tasks that needed to be accomplished in order to enter the Black Temple.[1] This has been taken in retrospect as foreshadowing the attunements' later removal and the fact that subsequent raids (starting with Sunwell Plateau) lacked the ridiculous attunement requirements that had been introduced for the original Burning Crusade content. Blizzard instead decided that it would be better to make content more accessible for everyone and to make the storyline quests optional for the players who want to do them.[2][3]

In Wrath of the Lich King

Attunement to instances was removed for the most part in Wrath of the Lich King. Heroic mode is available for most instances as soon as the player reaches level 80. Notable exceptions include the heroic versions of the Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel raids; the raid leader must have completed the respective non-heroic versions of the instance to be able to switch to Heroic difficulty.

Most Northrend raids, such as Naxxramas, The Obsidian Sanctum, and The Eye of Eternity, defined 10-man raiding as Normal difficulty and 25-man as Heroic difficulty. As with 5-man dungeons, the content was more or less the same, with difficulty increased by making pulls larger and by increasing the mobs' and boss's health and damage output. Both the Normal and Heroic versions were unlocked by reaching level 80.

Cataclysm and Dungeon Finder

Cataclysm endgame content only requires the player to have reached level 85. However, queueing for a group in the Dungeon Finder requires a certain gear level. The Dungeon Finder also enforces a specific order to the last three dungeons and the final raid of the expansion. Before the player may enter the Dragon Soul raid, the player must have completed End Time, Well of Eternity, and Hour of Twilight in order. If the player assembles a group through other means and travels to the instance, there are no gear or other requirements.


The Legion expansion has returned attunements to a few select dungeons in the form of lengthy quest-chains. These dungeons are presently Mythic difficulty only. Patch 7.2.0 introduced Heroic modes for these dungeons that do not require an attunement to access (Mythic difficulty still does, however).

Other keys

Patch changes


  1. ^ Black Temple Attunement Is Serious Business. Archived from the original on 2007-04-06. Retrieved on 2007-07-10.
  2. ^ Attunements for Ulduar?. Retrieved on 10 July 2010.
  3. ^ BWL - Will we ever see a raid like it again?. Retrieved on 10 July 2010.