The ten greatest World of Warcraft dungeons ever ranked

James Lynch
The dungeon finder logo menu from World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is undoubtedly the most influential MMO of all time. Though it was not the first, it’s easily the most popular, and it has maintained a dedicated player base for nearly two decades. Dungeons are a big part of the experience, but not all were created equal.

Dungeons have seen a lot of changes in WoW over the years, becoming a far more complex prospect, with Heroic, Mythic and Mythic+ difficulties to contend with along the way. In total, there are now 144 dungeons available to conquer in the game, including the Dawn of the Infinite megadungeon.

Whittling that number down to just ten is a daunting prospect, but there are considerable differences in quality across the board. There are compelling arguments for many WoW dungeons, but the objective way of ranking them considers mob density and quality, boss encounters, place within the broader world of Azeroth and overall design.

Bearing all of that in mind, here is Dexerto’s definitive World of Warcraft dungeon ranking.

Complete list of the ten best dungeons in WoW history

Grimrail Depot

The train loading screen for the Grimrail Depot entry on the Best Dungeons list

Grimrail Depot might not be for everyone, but there really is nothing else like it in the game anywhere else. The dungeon does not have particularly memorable boss encounters, with its strength instead lying in its design and place within the broader lore of the world. Much of the dungeon takes place on a fast-moving train traveling along the titular Grimrail, and it’s a visually stunning experience.

As dungeons go, it also feels more high-stakes than many of Blizzard’s other efforts, with the track carrying a railgun capable of destroying Shattrath’s shield. It’s a dungeon that makes players feel like an essential part of the fight for good, and it remains the best effort in the Warlords of Draenor expansion.

Court of Stars

Suramar for the Court of Stars entry on the Best Dungeons list

Perhaps one of the more unexpected choices on this list, Court of Stars has as many dedicated fans as it does those who don’t get the hype. Much of the negativity comes from Mythic+ players who, reasonably, point out that there is a lot of RNG for any runs requiring a timer. That said, in its standard form, Court of Stars has a great story and fun little features that set it apart from its peers.

Added to the game in the Legion expansion, the Court of Stars takes place in the Nightborne home of Suramar, and the setting is unsurprisingly beautiful to anyone who has been to the zone. Small asides like hunting down the spy may seem minor, but they add to the rich tapestry of the whole thing, securing the dungeon’s spot on the list in the process.

Wailing Caverns

The Wailing Caverns dungeons splash art in Season of Discovery

Where Ragefire Chasm gave players a taste of what the developer was trying to do with dungeons, Wailing Caverns blew the formula out of the water. Sprawling, varied and exciting to explore, very few dungeons have managed to provide players with the feeling of exploration and intrepid adventuring that Wailing Caverns did.

From a practical standpoint, it synergized brilliantly with other systems in the game, from collecting certain mats to armor set bonuses. Adding iconic enemies and memorable boss fights to the equation only further secures Wailing Caverns’ place on this list.

Upper Blackrock Spire (10-Man)

One of the rooms in Upper Blackrock Spire for the best dungeons list

The first instance in the sprawling Dark Iron Dwarf-controlled Blackrock Mountain to appear on this list, Upper Blackrock Spire is a classic in every sense. Unusually for a dungeon in WoW Classic, UBRS required a 10-man group to conquer, and every encounter felt like a raid boss as a result.

The Blackrock setting will always be a winner, but reaching the end of Spire felt like the culmination of all the other dungeon forays into the zone. The Stadium is a particular highlight, but the true strength of UBRS lies in its memorable design and logical but challenging encounters (in the Classic version of the game). It arguably feels more complete than the raids set in the mountain, and that perfect sense of scaling guarantees its inclusion here.


The open areas of Zul'Farrak for the best dungeons list.

Wide open spaces may seem counter-intuitive to the idea of a dungeon, but in Zul’Farrak, it just works. In all honesty, Zul’Farrak was an anomaly across the board. It’s so enormous that players could mount throughout, and there were a ton of mobs for players to contend with, particularly at the infamous grand staircase.

The boss encounters were excellent by the standards of the time, and the whole place felt alive with secrets to uncover. It’s probably the closest World of Warcraft will ever get to Indiana Jones, and that’s never a bad thing.

Original Deadmines

The Deadmines final boss zone in Season of Discovery

Original Deadmines is remembered fondly for a variety of reasons. Legendary enemies like Edwin VanCleef call the dungeon home, and fun setpieces like the large ship at the end give Deadmines unusual variety. Ascending said the ship was a uniquely tricky prospect, and many groups met untimely ends in their attempts to do so.

There was a ton of variety throughout, and the narrative progression inside the dungeon itself may be unmatched to this day. The revamp was not terrible by any means, but the earliest version still stands out to many as one of the best Blizzard has ever produced.

The Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme

The Culling of Stratholme loading screen, one of the best Dungeons in World of Warcraft.

The Culling of Stratholme takes one of the most memorable storylines in Warcraft 3 and transfers into Blizzard’s flagship MMO. As dungeons go, few are thematically darker than this one, with the story following Arthas Menethil as he murders the population of Stratholme in a bid to prevent an infection from being spread. It is also the first step in his journey towards becoming the Lich King.

The realization of Stratholme in-game is masterful, and the feeling of tragedy at the situation the player finds themselves in is palpable. The gameplay and encounters all work well enough, but Stratholme’s place within the lore secures its spot as one of the greatest dungeons ever.


The lush

Zul’Gurub has had a uniquely varied history within World of Warcraft, starting life as a tricky raid in the game’s original release. This format was altered during Cataclysm, as were many others, and the instance was left all the better for it. Added to the dungeon pool alongside Zul’Aman, which was excellent in its own right, Zul’Gurub is marginally more impressive.

Most dungeons are relatively unambitious, part of a more expansive patchwork of brief narrative asides in each expansion. Zul’Gurub eschews that and leaves it all out there, offering an extensive experience with unique loot, memorable boss encounters and exciting mount rewards. With Cataclysm Classic on the way, this dungeon is about to be brought to life once more.

Scarlet Monastery

Warriors fight an enemy in the Scarlett Monastery (Best Dungeons list).

Anyone who has played WoW for more than a few hours will likely know about the Scarlet Crusade’s importance in Azeroth. Being able to head into their headquarters and take them on is a defining experience for any budding WoW player.

This enormous dungeon is split into four distinct areas with different level caps, starting in the Graveyard and culminating in the mighty Cathedral. The whole thing is littered with iconic enemies, memorable encounters and some of the most distinctly WoW gear ever. No playthrough in any flavor of the game is complete without a foray into the Scarlet Monastery.

Blackrock Depths

The Blackrock Depths entry on the Best Dungeons list in Season of Discovery

Of all the dungeons in World of Warcraft, few are as ambitious or immediately awe-inspiring as Blackrock Depths. As the capital city of the Dark Iron Dwarves, it was always going to be grand in scope, but the scale of BRD is unlike anything else in the Classic version of the game and the comparisons with the settings of Tolkien are arguably deserved.

The dungeon initially allowed up to ten players, before switching to the more familiar five, and it’s packed with memorable boss encounters, inspired level design and tricky trash mobs. It remains a strong dungeon in every area and the best effort of all time.

That’s the list! To see which WoW expansion is the greatest of all time, make sure to check out Dexerto’s ranking here: Every World of Warcraft expansion ranked.

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