So you’ve been using your keys to good effect. You’ve probably gotten most of your dungeon set from the level 70 5 mans. You might have tested your prowess in some heroics. Now your mind is turning toward bigger and better things…to whit…Karazhan. Let me rhapsodize a moment. I’ve been to Mount Hyjal and seen the sewers of the Black Temple before my raiding guild went asplodey. Karazhan is my favorite of these raids even still. So much lore, the ambient music is catchy, and the boss fights definitely take on a bigger feel than the ones you have encountered in 5 mans. Now you might reasonably ask “Briara, I don’t need the key to get into Kara anymore, why should I do this quest line?”
Well, I have an answer. It’s true, you no longer need a key to zone into Karazhan. However, you still most certainly need a key to open the gate that bars the Karazhan entrance. So sure, as long as someone in your group has the key, they can open the gate for you. But wouldn’t you rather do it yourself? Kara is a long instance…11 bosses. It’s not uncommon for a raid of less geared players to do it over multiple nights, and since the fights vary in terms of the optimal group makeup, it is also not uncommon to substitute players in and out between bosses. So you are a off tank and you just got pulled in to help with the Wizard opera event, you’ll have to cool your heels waiting while someone comes to fetch you. And just as a word to the wise, that wait outside the Kara gates can be potentially hazardous to your health on a PvP server such as the one I inhabit. *grin*
I actually have another answer. Until you complete the key quest, you will be unable to receive the questlines that occur within the instance. I tried – no love. You will still be able to pick up the quest for the Violet Eye ring, but being able to complete those questlines inside the zone will give you a nice chunk of your Violet Eye rep (and toward those nicer levels of the ring) if you are not already exalted. And if you are just thinking about Kara for the first time…you won’t be! Once you complete those questlines, you gain an item that allows you to summon what some people (me included) consider to be the instances’ final boss, Nightbane.
“OK Briara,” you say, “You’ve sold me! How do I go about getting my Karazhan key?” I’m glad you asked!
Upon hitting 70, travel to Karazhan, which is located in the southern end of Deadwind pass. Archmage Alturus, who guards the entrance to Medivh’s ruined keep, will send you off on a couple of errands to prove to him that you might be worthy. Take both together, you will get the Ghostly Essences required for the quest “Restless Activity” as you fight your way down to the bodies of water that you will need to scry for the quest “Arcane Disturbances.” In the ruined city outside Karazhan, there are two cellar entrances – you will find one of your bodies of water for “Arcane Disturbances” in each of these. If you have a partner you can do these quests with, it will go faster and be safer, as the cellar in particular is pretty tightly packed with nasties in certain areas. But if you go slowly and carefully by yourself, you should still be fine. I completed both of these on my laughably geared hunter solo with only a few scary moments. Upon turning these quests in to Alturus, you will be sent to visit Archmage Cedric outside of the hidden city of Dalaran. He then sends you in search of Khadgar, Medivhs’ last apprentice, who as we all know, hangs out in the middle of Shattrath with A’Dal.
Khadgar tells you he split the key to the keep into three parts and hid them in various dangerous instances. I hope you are ready to take on some 5 mans! Your first key fragment will come from Shadow Labs. The key will be pulled off the guardian that spawns when you open the container next to Murmur, the final boss of Shadow Labs. Yes, you’ll have to kill him first to safely get to it. (You got your key to Shadow Labs out of Sethhek Halls already, right?) Upon returning this fragment to Khadgar, he sends you off to collect the final two fragments (Dude, why couldn’t you just give me a quest for all three so I could collect them in whatever order?) which come from Steam Vaults and the Arcatraz (You got your key for Arcatraz too, right?). At least for these two fragments, you don’t have to go all the way to the end of the instance – you don’t actually even have to kill a boss for either. In Steam Vaults, the key fragment is in the deep water near the ramps that go to the first two bosses. In Arcatraz, you can clear the room with the first boss without pulling him and scurry up the ramp into the area where the key fragment is. Take your fragments back to Khadgar, who now tells you that you need to take it to Medivh to fix. Hmmm, Medivh, who is presumably dead?
No Problem! We have this handy instance commonly referred to as the Black Morass (though it’s official name is The Dark Portal) and guess who is in it? Medivh! You’ll have to complete the instance event successfully before he will talk to you about the key, and in the ultimate slap in the face basically looks at the product of your many hours of work, laughs, says “that thing will never work” and hands you his own key. Now all you have to do is take it back to Khadgar who says “Yep, that’s his key.” and voila – you are ready to let yourself into Karazhan! Bring: repair money, lots of food for buffs, lots of health and mana potions, 9 friends, and knock yourself out!