An instance is a copy of a game area which is created and maintained by the server for use by a small group of players. Others who enter the same area are given their own copy of the same area so are not visible to other groups already in the same area.
Guild Wars 2 is mostly persistent and only uses instances for certain content.
 Instanced locations
- Story-mode dungeons have a linear story which a small group is led through by a hero. This content is instanced to be experienced from end-to-end.
- Explorer-mode dungeons are designed and balanced to be a challenge for a small group so are instanced to support this.
- Personal storyline
- Much of the personal story occurs in instances so the player can participate in a story where they are the hero.
- Home instance
- A portion of each race's capital city is instanced per character. This means there is a part of the city which updates as the character plays through the game.
- Many instances are shown on the map as being inside an existing map's or section's area with an exclusion zone marked out visibly. Some areas, such as the Chantry of Secrets, do not have this marking.