The line between the instance and the world

| Wednesday, July 14, 2010
All instances have context. Their instance portals are somewhere, maybe they have quests leading up from the surrounding zone. Not all zones are truly part of the world. Of course this is somewhat inevitable merely due to being instances, cut off from the world which we otherwise inhabit together, at least per server.

There are three broad ways to classify the extent to which an instance is part of the world, based on how much it is connected and therefore remains part of that world.

At the lowest extreme are those instances which are connected only by the portal. Furthermore, they have no scenery which could be perceived as outside. Examples include Azjol'Nerub in LK, all TK instances (excluding Hellfire Ramparts), and Blackrock Depths in vanilla.

In the middle are instances which have visual connections to the world. Drak'tharon is a LK example, Hellfire Ramparts in BC, and Scholomance in vanilla.

Then there are the very few instances which are connected to the world beyond just the portal. At certain points the player can actually leave the instance and land in a corresponding spot in the world. I've found none in LK, while BC only has Ramparts, and vanilla is blessed with Blackrock Spire and Shadowfang Keep.

Even though they have, for most purposes, no effect on how the game is actually played, I rather prefer those instances which are connected to the world.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always felt a part of the world when getting to the end of Utguarde Keep, standing out on the huge platform looking out at the Howling Fjords..

Shintar said...

I had to re-read that a couple of times before I understood what you meant. How do the TK instances not have a visible outside, I thought, those big floating citadels are quite visible... then I realised you were talking about looking out from the inside.

However, I still don't understand your distinction between the last two types of instances. How is running through the courtyards and along the ramparts of Drak'tharon Keep less connected to the world than doing the same in Shadowfang Keep? The instance portal is still the only point where you can actually leave the instance, everything else is illusion.

bobreaze said...

Shintar,

Try jumping out of shadowfang keep from one of the walkways. You fall out of the insance into town was funny the first time it happend to me.

Klepsacovic said...

If you liked that one, try exploring the giant hole in LBRS.

Another distinction with exit points might be having a different exit than entrance. For example, DM east ends with a tunnel leading up to an underground area connected to the arena. VC has a similar sort of exit. AN has that as well, but frankly it's not very impressive.

Hana said...

Oculus exists out of the instance. If you fly up and around you can actually see the rings where you fight the third boss and clear some of the construct trash.

I don't think you can leave the instance version except through the portal, but you can see Coldarra beneath you.

Klepsacovic said...

Oculus is a very strange case. It is entirely outside, empty. The only exits I've found are the portal and jumping, to death.

Pazi said...

You can see Magtheridon from the Blood Furnace if that counts. You can see SWP from Magisters' Terrace but I don't think that you can leave the instance other than through the portal or the orb at the end.
You can jump out of Karazhan.

Klepsacovic said...

I don't think I've jumped out of Karazhan. I shall have to try that.

Cassandri said...

I've always felt that Azjol Nerub and Old Kingdom were some of the most connected instances in Northrend.

I think it's because one of wow books (must be Arthas) describes Northrend as being inhabited by giant spidery beings that live beneath the surface.

I think they actually tunnel through to the frozen throne or something? I can't remember exactly but I've always felt that OK and AN were reminders of what Northrend was before we showed up.

I was charmed to find that there are parts of UBRS, if you jump/fall into them, that actually zone you out of the instance and back into the mountain. That felt pretty connected.

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