Hello everyone! Today, I will rank the raids from Vanilla. This is simply my opinion and if you don’t agree then feel free to let me know. Before we begin I want you to know how I am grading the raids. My grading scale is out of five possible points for every category. My categories are lore, difficulty, bosses, trash mobs, overall design, and music for a possible total of thirty points. I will also take into account when the raids were released.
Now I will be talking as if I were playing raids as when they came out. I also will not be including Naxxramas and Onyxia’s lair, as I feel that they fit the theme of the Wrath of the Lich King raids better. Onyxia’s Lair and Naxxramas are also listed as Wrath of the Lich King raids, so therefore I will treat them as such. I’ve run these at varying levels as well to ensure that I could get a good stable ground about each raid. With the entire preface out of the way, let’s get right into my ranking of classic World of Warcraft raids from worst to best.
4. Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj
The Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj is a raid in Silithus. We as explorers are there to aid the Cenarion Circle. Silithus is getting over-run by the Silithids and we need to stop it with the aid of the Cenarion Circle. It’s a super simple raid with not very much happening design-wise. It was obvious that the team needed another raid tier before the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj. It’s not difficult in the slightest. The bosses only have one or two mechanics at most. Now you may just be saying “That’s because of when it came out”, but no! Temple has one of the best bosses and most difficult in the form of C’Thun.
The only bosses that can give you any issue is General Rajaxx and Ossirian the Unscarred. These fights are relatively simple too though. The design is bad; you will either be looking at brown or bug-like spores. The trash mobs are all annoying and don’t add anything fun to the raid. If you like getting knocked up in the air over and over again then this is the trash for you. The music gives an eerie Egyptian vibe, but Temple just puts it to shame for similar music. Plus there is so little variety.
- Difficulty: 1/5
- Bosses: 2/5
- Trash Mobs: 0/5
- Overall Design: 1/5
- Music: 1/5
- Total: 8/30
3. Temple of Ahn’Qiraj
It’s so sad that this raid is so low, as I do love this raid. I’m sorry if you’re angry, but at least listen to my points first. To quote the official blizzard page “After thousands of years of slumber the Old God, C’Thun, has awakened and is quickly regenerating his power… The dragons that so humbly sacrificed themselves long ago to imprison C’Thun are weakened or enslaved in the temple, so the charge of protecting the land falls to other heroes. Heroes must enter Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, challenge C’Thun’s most wicked servants, and slay a god.” The difficulty didn’t let us down and match the richness of the lore. The problem is it’s bogged down by bad bosses, bad trash, and horrible design. There are only a few bosses that will give you trouble, but there are so many optional bosses that that at least helps.
The Prophet Skeram is a great intro to the raid and is the best first boss in Vanilla. The Twin Emperors had a great mechanic for the time. Plus no one can forget the epic battle with C’Thun. It’s the other six bosses that weigh this down so hard. One annoying boss is Viscidus; at higher levels or on level. If you aren’t a shaman or a mage then you aren’t killing this boss. You have to freeze this boss first to even kill it. It is one of the worst mechanics I’ve seen in a raid. Not to mention if you accidentally hit him with an ability that isn’t ice then the process starts over.
The trash mobs were forgettable except the ones that respawn as they can easily kick your butt. The design turns from Egyptian to only bug spores. Hope you like purple and orange! The music gives a better Egyptian and cave explorer vibe. Plus if you listen closely you can hear C’Thun whispering during the raid. It just sets the town better than the Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj.
- Lore: 4/5
- Difficulty: 3/5
- Bosses: 2/5
- Trash Mobs: 1/5
- Overall Design: 1/5
- Music: 1/5
- Total: 12/30
2. Molten Core
The first-ever raid in World of Warcraft. It was a super ambitious project that the developers took on. It is located in Burning Steppes inside Blackrock Mountain. The story is that the Dwarven city of Thaurissan inside Blackrock was ruled by King Thaurissan. During the War of the Three Hammers, he sought to end the war by summoning a powerful fire elemental. He accidentally was too good at summoning and summoned the Firelord Ragnaros. Ragnaros sieged control of Blackrock Mountain and any dwarf who didn’t help him was immediately killed. Almost three hundred years later, Adventurers seeking fun head deep into the heart of Blackrock Mountain to put an end to the Firelord and his servants once and for all.
This raid isn’t difficult unless you don’t know what you are doing, which most players didn’t because this was their first time experiencing something of this magnitude. A few of the bosses still prove as threats if you are on level and don’t know what you are doing. The bosses when mastered are equally as fun as some of the bosses to come out of modern WoW. The trash mobs are the worst part about this raid, but I do have to give it up for the core hounds that constantly respawn. Having to pull small amounts at a time and time out their deaths and distance them is an awesome mechanic. What is especially amazing is that it’s just on simple trash and not a boss. One of the issues with the trash mobs though is that they are very overwhelming and not super spread out. You could walk for almost thirty seconds and not run into anything, then BOOM!, a huge pack of ninety of them.
The design is simplistic and yet beautiful for the time. The flowing lava and the almost apocalyptic feeling throughout the whole raid are intoxicating. With all the lava flowing toward the heart of the mountain: AKA Ragnaros. The music gives this feeling of a grand adventure and makes me want to listen to it on loop for hours. If you haven’t heard the music then do yourself a favor and listen to it below. It’s thrilling and elevates the mood of the raid.
- Lore: 5/5
- Difficulty: 3/5
- Bosses: 3/5
- Trash Mobs: 2/5
- Overall Design: 4/5
- Music: 5/5
- Total: 22/30
1. Blackwing Lair
This is the closest they got to a perfect raid during vanilla, the major issue was one of the bosses and the music. From the Dungeon Journal, before it was removed, “In the dark recesses of the mountain’s peak, Nefarian, the eldest son of Deathwing, conducts some of his most awful experimentation, controlling mighty beings like puppets and combining the eggs of different dragon flights with horrific results. Should he prove successful, even darker pursuits rest on the horizon. And, yet, the lord of Blackrock is not a mere scientist- he is a great dragon cornered in his lair. Can he truly be defeated by mortal hands?”
This raid was known to be the most difficult raid in Classic if you aren’t including Naxxramas. The bosses do pose a challenge and if you aren’t careful everything — and I DO MEAN EVERYTHING — can and will kill you. The bosses all have unique and awe-inspiring mechanics. In my opinion, one of the coolest and most hated bosses is Vaelastrasz the Corrupt. Every fight felt fun and unique, even the three dragons who share the same model. The trash mobs feel fun and you have to use strategy and plan out your attack on every single pack. It’s like facing mini-bosses; if you don’t do it correctly then you will lose.
The Design is of a mad scientist’s lab. You have blood vials all around. Teleporters that go to who knows where. Everything feels like it has a purpose in this raid and nothing goes to waste. Where this raid flops and flops hard is the music. It is just a low rumble with a few chimes, metal screeches, and horns every once in a while. It doesn’t feel like you are going on an epic adventure. Just feels like you are playing chess with your Aunt Debra and she forgot her knife and wind chimes outside.
- Lore: 5/5
- Difficulty: 5/5
- Bosses: 5/5
- Trash Mobs: 4/5
- Overall Design: 5/5
- Music: 0/5
- Total: 24/30
Final rankings and thoughts
These are my rankings, from best to worst, and again this is my opinion.
- Blackwing Lair (24/30 points)
- Molten Core (22/30 points)
- Temple of Ahn’Qiraj (12/30 points)
- Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj (8/30 points)
If you feel like Molten Core is the worst of the raids, or that ruins aren’t as bad as I say, then feel free to leave a comment. I will be continuing this with the Burning Crusade expansion soon. For now, I am Lore keeper Gosmidin, Thank you for reading!