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  1. #1

    Lets be clear - Instancing and Phasing in TOR

    First of all lets get our facts straight, TOR is not a fully instanced game
    In my roaming of the boards on this site and elsewhere I have run into this piece of misinformation more than any other in numerous threads.

    Instanced Areas (Story Areas)
    TOR is not instanced, like Vindictus or GW1 or any other game that you are thinking of where once you leave the city the only people you see are those that are members of your party.

    TOR has instanced areas, usually as part of class quests referred to as "Story areas". This is a neat quality of life feature where you don't have to fight for mobs with other players and can enjoy your character's story. Group members can come into your story area and help if they like and vice versa.

    There of course are flashpoints and heroic quest group content that also use instancing technology where youre group is separated to complete the quest or the flashpoint, once again a nice quality of life feature where you don't have to fight for mobs, quest items, or compete for boss kills.

    Will you see people while questing? Yes you will you will see LOTS of people running around, the instanced areas are such a small portion of the playable area that you will never have an issue not seeing or missing people.

    Instanced Zones (Duplicates)
    The other side to this topic is instanced or duplicated zones. This is where a particular zone or area can have several different instances(copies) that a player can be in. This technology does exist in the game and will most likely be used on starting planets during the release of the game.

    Why? The starting areas are going to get hit with a massive number of new players and anyone who has played a new game on release of an expansion on release knows that it is NO FUN to have to compete with hundreds, sometimes thousands of other players for items and quest mobs. This also can cause a performance issue for players with mid to low range system.

    What will happen is once a certain threshold is reached player wise in a starting area, lets say Korriban (go empire!) a second phase (or instance) of that area will open up and new player that come into that starting area will be moved to Korriban (2).

    Players in Korriban (1) will not interact or see players in Korriban (2). However the ability to switch between them in order to meet up with friends and play will be an option. Dev have made it clear that they only wish to use this technology in low level heavy populate areas such as starter planets and most likely in the early days of release when populations are peaking.

    This is a quality of life issue that will make release week experiences better for all who are going to play.

    I hope this might clear up some questions that folks may have had and clear up some misinformation that I have come across a lot recently on boards.

    Feel free to post thoughts on this topic or any questions that can legally be answered.
    Last edited by jearle; 2011-10-27 at 07:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Scarab Lord Blznsmri's Avatar
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    I think why people feel its going to be instanced is because each othe planets are separate. Which kinda makes sense though... I mean, of course you're not going to be able to walk from one planet to the other and two, it helps with server load.
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  3. #3
    Stood in the Fire
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    Another thing to note is that the only time you will see a loading screen is when log in or switch planets. There is no loading screens or apparent slow downs when transitioning a zone, entering a story area, or flash point. In fact if you are in an instanced area you can still see players that are not part of your group outside the instance area entrance.

  4. #4
    Scarab Lord Trollsbane's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post Jearle. This is a very common misconception.

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  5. #5
    See you are seeing instance by wow terms, that they need loading to be called an instance, i was in beta, and i still say it is heavily instance not phased, coz u walk thorugh a green portal to something noone else can see unless they are in you're group but i havnt seen much phased like wow where the terrain or story changes in general without a port and you can only see ppl up to your phase, so thus i say instanced coz its segrigated area that only ppl in your group can see NOT people up to the same quest

  6. #6
    Actually I'm not referring to anything in wow terms.

    There are portions of the map which are instanced for story reasons or group quest reasons. Technically you could say that each planet is "instanced" because there is loading screens between them, however this is a technicality.

    The instanced zones i describe is not the same as WoW's phasing at all as it is an entirely different "copy" of the same area that other folks can play in once the first area gets overloaded with players.
    Last edited by jearle; 2011-10-27 at 06:44 PM.

  7. #7
    Good post there jearle. I usually call the story areas phased instead of instanced because there is no loading screen. From my experience in wow, instance means loading screen, phased means change without a loading screen. But your description works well too.

  8. #8
    Firstly to Jearle thanks for posting this because this topic has been one of the most annoying ones to me I'm glad someone took the time to clear it up for people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintphoenix View Post
    See you are seeing instance by wow terms, that they need loading to be called an instance, i was in beta, and i still say it is heavily instance not phased, coz u walk thorugh a green portal to something noone else can see unless they are in you're group but i havnt seen much phased like wow where the terrain or story changes in general without a port and you can only see ppl up to your phase, so thus i say instanced coz its segrigated area that only ppl in your group can see NOT people up to the same quest

    The term instancing can be used in both examples the difference is whenever you see a loading screen in WoW you are transported to different server be it the Kalimdor,Eastern Kingdoms server or instance server etc, this is totally different to the SWTOR way of instancing.

    I personally don't see why this is such a huge problem to people, I commend Bioware for developing these separated areas do you really want your story disturbed midway through your crucial decisions, and people have stated there is no loading screens anyway.

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyira View Post
    I personally don't see why this is such a huge problem to people, I commend Bioware for developing these separated areas do you really want your story disturbed midway through your crucial decisions, and people have stated there is no loading screens anyway.
    I think it is the misinformed who have an issue with a game that is a lobby type, fully instanced game. I personally do not enjoy those games and I'm sure others feel the same way.

    The way they are doing it in TOR is pretty awesome and a great feature of the game.

  10. #10
    Pit Lord philefluxx's Avatar
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    Good explanation. I was lead to believe that there was "instancing" in the way that AoC or Aion handles it. But if this will only be used in low level zones, that is great news. At the very least all I can ask for is that the versions are not static and that the only open up as needed. Aion had static instances, but the low spawn rate of mobs in some areas made it a necessity.

  11. #11
    The areas are only small parts of the story not like GW1 they just take u to a difference instance where u can have a private convo/or quest without others gettin the the way, ive been on teh beta it is only small parts and i loved it, it is still an instance coz its not a phase coz other ppl cant be in the same place as u but in a different story phase

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Saintphoenix View Post
    See you are seeing instance by wow terms, that they need loading to be called an instance, i was in beta, and i still say it is heavily instance not phased,...snip... so thus i say instanced coz its segrigated area that only ppl in your group can see NOT people up to the same quest
    And they (BW) also call it instanced. Their survey even asks about the instance experience, and that was not in reference to FP
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by davesurfer View Post
    And they (BW) also call it instanced. Their survey even asks about the instance experience, and that was not in reference to FP
    exactly BW called it instanced, i call it instanced so then its instanced in this game, coz the DEVS say it is

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by philefluxx View Post
    Good explanation. I was lead to believe that there was "instancing" in the way that AoC or Aion handles it. But if this will only be used in low level zones, that is great news. At the very least all I can ask for is that the versions are not static and that the only open up as needed. Aion had static instances, but the low spawn rate of mobs in some areas made it a necessity.
    Yeah I plated Aion and even in the upper areas there were several different instances of the same zone. It was incredibly annoying to me. Using it when necessary (low level high populated areas) works because it improves the players experience.

    I wish WoW had some of this phasing/instancing during the BC launch, talk about a clusterfuck of crazyness and frustration in Hellfire. I ended up just running instances for the first 5 hours, LOL.
    Last edited by jearle; 2011-10-27 at 06:34 PM.

  15. #15
    instance and phasing are different things, dont use em in a sentence as the same thing

  16. #16
    I have edited the original post for clarity.

  17. #17
    Dreadlord Adeodatus's Avatar
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    That bit about how BW will streamline the starter zones onlaunch day is awesome. I run a lower grade laptop (just above minimun specs) on a poor internet connection. I may just be able play sooner than I thought!
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  18. #18
    Agreed, hopefully it is something that will only be used sparingly, newbie areas, new launches ect. I am not a fan of zones with multiple copies that you might have to toggle through to find a friend or party member.

  19. #19
    A little something to add about the zone instancing - even though people are in different instances, the chat channels are not instanced, so you will still be able to talk with everyone in that zone through general chat. LFG can still be done through general chat, so if you party with someone who is in a different instance of the zone, you will get the option to move to the other person's instance so that you can quest together. It is quite seamless, and IMO brilliant.

    (Note - if you move instances, it DOES give you a screen load)

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by philefluxx View Post
    Good explanation. I was lead to believe that there was "instancing" in the way that AoC or Aion handles it. But if this will only be used in low level zones, that is great news. At the very least all I can ask for is that the versions are not static and that the only open up as needed. Aion had static instances, but the low spawn rate of mobs in some areas made it a necessity.
    It's not limited to only low-level zones. The entire universe will have the ability to open up second, third, fourth, etc. instances of the same planet depending on the population at that time. It's a good way to keep servers large population-wise without having to deal with slow respawns, raw material nodes, etc. It's sometimes called a "Megaserver."

    To translate it into WoW terms, imagine one big Mega Server containing 6 different smaller servers in which trade chat, auction house, etc. are all shared, and you can teleport between them as you need to depending on which smaller server you need to go to in order to join up with party members or guildies that need help with a quest, or maybe to trade with someone for that Purple you just sold, etc.

    Now imagine the game technology has the ability to, completely on its own, dynamically open up more smaller servers as the population of people logged on grows... and also to close down smaller servers as the number of people online shrinks.

    So for example, while there might always be multiple Orgrimmars or Stormwinds, there will probably never be a need more than one Silvermoon City or Exodar (but if the need suddenly arose, the game would do it).

    That's pretty much how it works in a nutshell.

    There's a couple of drawbacks and kinks I'm sure they're still working out, but it's a nice way to ensure that no server feels too small or too big without having to deal with a lot of the drawbacks of each. It's meant to be a "best of both worlds" solution.

    ---------- Post added 2011-10-28 at 02:30 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by jearle View Post
    Agreed, hopefully it is something that will only be used sparingly, newbie areas, new launches ect. I am not a fan of zones with multiple copies that you might have to toggle through to find a friend or party member.
    No toggling is required. You can always tell on what server you are on, and you can always easily see what server a party member is on. The hardest part is you and him deciding in party chat which server to meet up on
    Last edited by Karazee; 2011-10-28 at 06:33 PM.

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