Dungeons are optional party-based PvE instances, each with their own story. There are currently nine dungeons. All dungeons except Fractals of the Mists and the special event dungeons have two modes: a story mode, which focuses on the story of the Destiny's Edge group, and an explorable mode, a more difficult mode which requires more co-ordination to play through and is unlocked after completing story mode. Each mode allows for groups of up to five players; content does not scale depending on the number of players in the party so the difficulty remains constant. The actions of the team influence what happens during a dungeon play-through. Dungeons are also influenced by dynamic events, creating unique experiences even if choosing the same path.
To help navigate the dungeon, waypoints are in place as they are around the world and are available for use should a player or party be defeated. A waypoint can be found at the start of a dungeon, with new waypoints opening upon the completion of major objectives. Additionally, dungeons retain a basic level of persistence: creatures do not respawn, and characters may join or rejoin a party in progress within a dungeon. Players will receive a mail once they reach five levels from the suggested level for the dungeon. They will receive the first letter at level 25 for Ascalonian Catacombs.
 Map icons
 Story mode
Story mode is played through on the first visit to the dungeon. The dungeon stories, told through cut scenes and exposition, are focused on revealing and developing the Destiny's Edge situation. One or two members of Destiny's Edge join the party to guide them through a largely linear dungeon story. This mode is relatively straightforward for a pick-up-group to complete. Personal storylines and dungeon story modes are parallel: the dungeon story mode does not affect a player's advancement in a personal story or the outcome of the story, but still occurs at the same time storywise. The storylines converge just for the last mission which takes place in The Ruined City of Arah. Completing the story mode of a dungeon for the first time will result in a letter in your mailbox, along with a head piece reward and 50 .
 Explorable mode
Explorable mode deals with the aftermath of the events in story mode. The explorable dungeon story is told with fewer cutscenes and little exposition, and is no longer related to Destiny's Edge. The player is presented with at least three different paths to play through for each dungeon. The party votes on the option they will take through the dungeon and the majority determines the dungeon version seen. The explorable mode dungeon is designed to be repeated, with player actions and decisions determining the occurrence of hidden or random events along with the related changes to the dungeon. This mode requires significantly more coordination between team members and so is far more difficult than story mode. It also takes a significantly longer period of time than story mode. A player who has not completed story mode of a particular dungeon may still enter the explorable mode of that dungeon. This can be done whereby a party member who has completed the story mode enters the dungeon and selects explorable mode. All players in the party are then prompted to join their party in explorable mode.
Completing a dungeon in explorer mode awards dungeon currencies. These currencies can be used at a dungeon merchant, located in Lion's Arch, to buy weapons, armor, runes, and other items. Each dungeon has its own unique weapon and armor set modeled according to the theme of the dungeon. These items are no more powerful than items which can be gained doing other activities in-game, the exotic sets are equal to the level 80 exotic crafted sets.
Explorable mode gives a standard reward of dungeon currency, gold, and experience at the completion of a dungeon path as well as a bonus chest for the first completion of any given path each day per account. The standard reward gives 20 pieces of the respective currency, silver, experience and karma. Subsequent runs give 15 and 10 dungeon currencies respectively. Completing one path does not affect the reward from other paths. The bonus chest contains 40 dungeon currencies and a specific amount of gold, ranging from 1 to 3 , depending on path difficulty and length. Completing the same path again with the same or a different character will only give the standard reward.
 Bonus Chests
|Dungeon||Path||Gold reward||Token reward|
|Ascalonian Catacombs||Path 1 - Hodgins||1 50||40|
|Path 2 - Detha||1 50||40|
|Path 3 - Tzark||1 50||40|
|Caudecus's Manor||Path 1 - Asura||1||40|
|Path 2 - Seraph||1||40|
|Path 3 - Butler||1||40|
|Twilight Arbor||Path 1 - Leurent (Up)||1||40|
|Path 2 - Fyonna (Forward/Up) no longer available||1||40|
|Path 3 - Vevina (Forward)||1||40|
|Path 4 - Aetherpath||2||40|
|Sorrow's Embrace||Path 1 - Fergg||1||40|
|Path 2 - Rasolov||1||40|
|Path 3 - Koptev||1||40|
|Citadel of Flame||Path 1 - Ferrah||1||40|
|Path 2 - Magg||1||40|
|Path 3 - Rhiannon||1||40|
|Honor of the Waves||Path 1 - Butcher||1||40|
|Path 2 - Plunderer||1||40|
|Path 3 - Zealot||1||40|
|Crucible of Eternity||Path 1 - Submarine||1||40|
|Path 2 - Teleporter||1||40|
|Path 3 - Front door||1||40|
|The Ruined City of Arah||Path 1 - Jotun||3||40|
|Path 2 - Mursaat||3||40|
|Path 3 - Forgotten||1 50||40|
|Path 4 - Seer||3||40|
 List of dungeons
Characters are down-leveled to the level appropriate for the relevant story or explorable mode, except for Fractals of the Mists, for which characters are boosted to level 80.
|Location||Foe types||Day or Night|
|Ascalonian Catacombs||30||35|| Phasmatis Corridor
Plains of Ashford
|Caudecus's Manor||40||45|| Shire of Beetletun
|Twilight Arbor||50||55 or 803|| Wychmire Swamp
|Sorrow's Embrace||60||65|| Tribulation Rift
|Citadel of Flame||70||75|| The Baelfire
|Flame Legion, Elementals||Night|
|Honor of the Waves||76||80|| Watchful Fjord
|Icebrood, Sons of Svanir||Day|
|Crucible of Eternity||78||80|| Infinite Coil Reactor
|Destroyers, Icebrood, Inquest, Risen||Night|
|The Ruined City of Arah||80||80|| The Narthex
|Fractals of the Mists||NA||80|| Vigilant Hills
|Varies with the fractal||Varies with the fractal|
- 1 A partial list of foe types is available for those interested in using appropriate nourishment and/or sigils.
- 2 Sigil of the Night is helpful in all but three of the dungeons.
- 3 The two Nightmare Court paths are level 55, while the Aetherblade path is level 80.
 Special event dungeons
Characters are scaled to level 80 for these instances which are only available during the relevant special event.
|Dungeon||Event / Duration||Location|
|Ascent to Madness|| Shadow of the Mad King
October 28–31, 2012
| Grand Piazza|
|Tixx's Infinirarium|| Wintersday: The Wondrous Workshop of Toymaker Tixx
December 15, 2012 – January 3, 2013
|See Tixx's schedule|
|Super Adventure Box|| April Fools' Day
April 1–30, 2013
September 3-30, 2013
| Creator's Commons|
|Molten Facility|| Flame and Frost
April 30 – May 12, 2013
|Canach's Lair|| Last Stand at Southsun
May 28 – June 11, 2013
| Bakestone Cavern|
|Aetherblade Retreat|| Sky Pirates of Tyria
June 25 – July 9, 2013
| Sanctum Harbor|
- There are a total of 42 different dungeon paths, of which 9 are fractals, across the nine dungeons in the game, including story and explorable modes.
- The entrances to Citadel of Flame, Crucible of Eternity and Arah can become contested, preventing parties from beginning either story or exploration mode (though members can enter dungeons in progress, including those launched from other servers). Completing a specific event chain in the area will allow access for a given amount of time before needing to be defended or recaptured.
- Dungeons offer a repair anvil, typically near the entrance (excluding individual fractals).
- Each dungeon has its own set time of day, during which its events unfold; they do not follow the game's normal cycle of night and day — some are day and some are night.