Lockouts at a Glance
Raid lockouts limit the number of times a character can kill a boss in a week for a chance at obtaining loot from that boss. Throughout the years, different raid lockout systems have been used, and multiple systems exist in the game depending on the system used at the time a raid was introduced.
To check your current raid lockouts press your ‘O’ key in-game, select the Raid tab, and click on Raid Info in the upper right. This will display your current lockouts, and time left until they reset.
There are three types of raid lockouts used in the game.
Used for: All Raid Finder raids, Siege of Orgrimmar Normal/Heroic, Warlords raids Normal/Heroic.
You can kill a boss as many times per week as you like, but only loot it once per difficulty.
Anyone can join anyone’s instance.
Bosses are never locked to you, and you can always go back and kill them later even if you’ve skipped them by joining a group that had progressed further.
Raid sizes can be anywhere from 10 to 30 players, and difficulty automatically scales to match.
Flexible Boss-based Lockout
Used for: Normal difficulty raids from Wrath of the Lich King through Throne of Thunder.
You can only kill a boss once per week, and you may not enter an instance where a boss is alive that you have already defeated that week.
You can move from group to group during a week as long as you’re joining instances that don’t have bosses alive you’ve already killed.
If you enter an instance that is more progressed than your own and get saved to it, you will be locked to all prior bosses.
You can move between 10 and 25 raid size, given these constraints.
Strict Instance-based Lockout
Used for: All classic raids (Molten Core through Sunwell), Heroic difficulty of Wrath of the Lich King raids through Throne of Thunder, and all Mythic difficulty raids.
Progress is tied to a fixed instance ID. Once tied to an instance ID, you may not enter any other versions of that raid of that difficulty until your raid lock resets.
If other players complete that instance while you are absent, the instance will be empty for you as well, because progress is tied to the instance, and not your character.
You may not switch between 10-player and 25-player raid size once locked to one size or the other (does not apply to Mythic which is 20-player only).