An instance is a copy of a game area which is created and maintained by the server for use by a group of players. Instances commonly used for certain activities like story, dungeons, raids, and strike missions. Open world zones are also considered a type of instance that are created automatically, persist even after players left, and do not require forming a party or a squad to join them.
Players in separate instances from one another cannot see or interact with each other, aside from private messages. Party, squad and guild members may still be visible on the open world map even if the player is currently in the instance.
- Open world instances
- Every playable zone can have multiple identical instances that are automatically created if needed to allocate for more players. Players on the same zone who are in a squad or party can join the specific instance of other group members by right-clicking on another player's icon in the party/squad user interface and selecting "Join in <Zone name>".
- Creating an group instance
- When a player in a party attempts to enter an instance (e.g. through a dungeon or raid entrance), all other party members in the same zone will be prompted to join.
- All members of the party must be in the same open world zone to get a prompt to enter, but not necessarily in the same instance within that zone.
- For instances related to story content, each party member usually has about 15 seconds to accept. Party members who decline will not enter the instance. When all players have submitted their acceptance or refusal, or when the timer expires, then all party members who accepted will enter the instance.
- Closing an group instance
- If all party members leave an instance (via exit portal, user interface, or log out), the instance will be closed and progress will be lost.
- If the host of a story-related instance leaves the instance or party, then all other party members will be automatically kicked out of the instance after a short delay. This does not apply to dungeons as of the September 2014 Feature Pack.
List of group instanced locations
- See also: Zone#Instances
- Limited to a party of up to 5 players
- Fractals of the Mists
- Personal story — players must respond "yes" to the pre-instance pop-up to enter.
- Home instance — Each racial city has an area that belongs to the player. The instance will change based on the character's accomplishments and purchases.
- Some instances from seasonal Festivals, like Super Adventure Box or Ascent to Madness.
- Limited to a raid squad of up to 10 players
- Special cases
- Structured PvP — Each match is limited to the amount of players active. Players can join Custom Arenas while a match is already in progress.
- Guild Hall — As guild members join a guild hall, smaller player capped instances of the Guild Hall close and larger instances open.
- 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.