The floating scourge necropolis of Naxxramas has been one of Warcraft’s most famous raids ever since it’s introduction in Vanilla, but few know it also holds a massive secret.
While it was originally located in the Eastern Plaguelands, Naxxramas was moved to Northrend when it was overhauled during Wrath of the Lich King. It can now be found be found on the eastern outskirts of Dragonblight.
While the raid appears to be contained within it’s 4 wings and upper level, avid explorers will discover that the instance is actually far larger.
To get outside the necropolis and explore for yourself, you’ll want to take the portal to Sapphiron’s Lair, wedge yourself between the icy slope and the wall, make your character larger, and log out. The first minute of my video above goes into more detail about how to do this.
Upon logging back in, you’ll find yourself able to jump through the wall. Just apply a slowfall effect, sprint forward, and jump; you’ll find yourself in a snowy wasteland outside the raid.
The entire upper level of Naxxramas is in this snowy area. This is because when the developers were first making the Kel’Thuzad boss fight in Vanilla they wanted him to summon minions from Northrend through portals, but as Northrend wasn’t in the game yet, they had to build a snowy area from preexisting in-game assets.
As interesting as this snowy area is, it pales in comparison to what lies a few hundred feet farther down…
When the developers were first building Naxxramas, they used a copy of the Eastern Plaguelands (where the raid was first located) as a base. However, when the raid moved to Dragonblight during Wrath of the Lich King, they simply moved the entrance portals rather than redesigning the raid.
What makes this copy of the Eastern Plaguelands especially interesting is that the game-world Plaguelands were revamped in Cataclysm; making this the only remaining vanilla version of the Plaguelands still in the game.
While the zone may be a copy of the Vanilla Plaguelands, it lacks all non-static units. This means the zone has no NPCs or critters, and no world objects like water or skybox effects.
The zone also has an invisible wall running the entire way around it. All terrain stops being rendered past this point. While you can’t fall off the side, it is possible to become stuck in the wall, so be careful.
Because this zone was never meant to be seen, several shortcuts were taken in it’s design. Altitudes weren’t leveled when sections of zone were combined, causing steep vertical cliffs and pits. One such pit can be found where the mountainous snowy zone used for the upper level of Naxxramas intersects with the flatter Plaguelands.
Travelling farther west, you can look up and see where the 4 lower wings of Naxxramas hover over the landscape.
The lower portion of Naxxramas can be found hovering above a collection of ruins near the City of Stratholme, where the original entrance of the raid was located. This demolished tower would later be rebuilt into one of the watch towers used by the Argent Crusade.
Because it is considered part of the Plaguelands, an uninstanced version of the Vanilla Stratholme dungeon was also copied into the landscape and can be accessed via the main gate. While there appear to be two dungeon portals like those found outside the real dungeon, they are purely decorative and have no impact on the player.
The dungeon is a close replica to its in-game counterpart, even using the same intractable gates. However one big difference is that this version of the dungeon lacks the iconic red skybox that is so closely associated with the ever-burning city.
Because Stratholme and the Stratholme service entrance were part of the same dungeon until Cataclysm, the service entrance can still be accessed via the main gate. The dungeon portal is visible, but leads into an undeveloped void.