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An instance portal is the sparkling field that marks the entrance to an instance.
The color of the portal indicates the type of instance:
- Blue Instance Portal: Group (5 or less, Blackrock Spire is an exception)
- Green Instance Portal: Raid (10 or more, on a raid reset timer)
- Red Instance Portal: PvP Battlezone (battleground). These portals are no longer functional with the addition of battlemasters at the entrances.
- White Instance Portal: Transit. In the world pre-The Burning Crusade, the only such portals are at the ends of the Deeprun Tram, and for the officer's lounges in Stormwind City and Orgrimmar for players of PvP Rank 6 and up. Patch 2.0, in addition to removing the rank requirements for those portals, adds at least one more: the portal used to enter the Ghostlands from the Eastern Plaguelands (requires expansion). As of now, the portals for accessing the officer's lounges in Orgrimmar and Stormwind are no longer placed at their enterances. These portals can also be found directly inside the Battle for Mount Hyjal instance, leading to each of the 3 camps.
- Purple Instance Portal: All instances in Outland, Northrend, Caverns of Time and those introduced with Cataclysm (with addition of Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep) are this color. Indicates that the instance has a Heroic mode available.
- Skull with Purple Instance Portal: Notifies the player that the five player instance is on Heroic mode.
- Skull with Green Instance Portal: Notifies the player that the raid instance is on Heroic mode. Only available to Trial of the Crusader, Icecrown Citadel, Ruby Sanctum and Cataclysm raids.