There are a few types of keys:
- An item that can be used to unlock a specific or general type of locked container. Blacksmiths can create skeleton keys and use them (skeleton keys require the same blacksmithing skill to use as to create). These are destroyed upon use.
- A usually soulbound item (often a quest reward) that can be used to unlock a specific or doors and such (gates, hatches, etc.). For example, will open the door to Scarlet Cathedral and Scarlet Armory within the Scarlet Monastery and the Scarlet Bastion within Stratholme. The will open the gate into the Searing Gorge from Loch Modan. These keys are not destroyed upon use.
- Quest item "keys": See below for explanation.
Quest Item Keys Edit
One example of a quest item key would be the Defias Gunpowder required for the cannon near the end of the Deadmines. It is picked up and consumed each dungeon run. It is not exactly a quest item, but it is the only way to open the cannon, it is consumed there, and it cannot be used anywhere else.
Another example would be the Drakefire Amulet, commonly referred to as the "Onyxia Key" or "Ony Key". It is required to gain access to Onyxia's Lair. The method to obtain the amulet varies between the Alliance and the Horde. See Drakefire Amulet for details on how to obtain it.
Patch v1.11 added a "bag" called a Keyring. It is an expandable bag that can store various types of keys, reducing the number of backpack and vault slots filled with these re-usable items. Dungeon keys (like the Scarlet Key) and Blacksmithing keys (such as Titanium Skeleton Key) may also be stored in the keyring.