Dungeon has multiple meanings in World of Warcraft:
- A general fantasy term for an adventuring area, often confined, that is inhabited with enemies (tombs, caves, castles, ruins, etc.).
- Any instance, whether designed for a party or a raid.
- An instance designed to be completed by a 5-man party. The rest of this article will focus on this sense of the term.
Dungeons are designed for a party of up to five adventurers. A "valid" party consists of one tank, one healer, and three damage dealers (melee or ranged). Players can travel to the dungeon themselves (or be summoned with a Meeting Stone or warlock's ), or they can use the Dungeon Finder tool to queue for specific or random dungeons.
Dungeons contain mostly elite creatures, which are more powerful than normal creatures. Dungeons are more challenging and take longer than quests, but are not as difficult or as time-consuming as raids. Some dungeons have unlockable heroic modes, which are more challenging and contain better loot than the normal counterpart.
Completing The Burning Crusade heroic dungeons, Wrath of the Lich King normal and heroic dungeons, and Cataclysm normal and heroic dungeons at the appropriate level will award . These can be redeemed at vendors for gear.