This article needs additional citations for verification . (August 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In massively multiplayer online games, an instance is a special area, typically a dungeon, that generates a new copy of the location for each group, or for a certain number of players, that enters the area.Instancing, the general term for the use of this technique, addresses several problems encountered by players in the shared spaces of virtual worlds. It is not widely known when instances were first used in this genre. However, The Realm Online (1996) is sometimes credited as introducing the concept.
A massively multiplayer online game is an online game with large numbers of players, typically from hundreds to thousands, on the same server. MMOs usually feature a huge, persistent open world, although some games differ. These games can be found for most network-capable platforms, including the personal computer, video game console, or smartphones and other mobile devices.
A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment which may be populated by many users who can create a personal avatar, and simultaneously and independently explore the virtual world, participate in its activities and communicate with others. These avatars can be textual, two or three-dimensional graphical representations, or live video avatars with auditory and touch sensations. In general, virtual worlds allow for multiple users but single player computer games, such as Skyrim, can also be considered a type of virtual world.
The Realm Online, originally known as The Realm, is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) launched in December 1996 for Windows PC. It was designed in the tradition of graphical MUDs, before the usage of the terms "massively multiplayer" and "MMORPG".
|“||Single-player games are great, and I love them. They have a great feature. Your life is very special. You are the hero and you get to save the whole world. You live a truly charmed existence, and around every corner you are finding new things. You're blissfully unaware of your neighbor who is also playing the game. (...) [ Tabula Rasa ] is like Disney World, which has a hub. You can go to shops and get food, but when you get on the boat for the pirate ride, you're in your own version of reality. Once the ride starts, you are blissfully unaware of the boats in front of you and behind you. Then when you finish, you are in the hub, and you can navigate over to the next place.||”|
|— Richard Garriott,in Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic (2003)|
The problem can be stated as follows: every player wants to be "The Hero", slay "The Monster", rescue "The Princess", and obtain "The Magic Sword". When there are thousands of players all playing the same game, clearly not everyone can be the hero. The problem of everyone wanting to kill the same monster and gain the best treasure became obvious in the game EverQuest , where several groups of players would compete and sometimes harass each other in the same dungeon, in order to get to the monsters dropping valuable items. The creation of instances largely solves this set of problems, leaving only travelling to and from the dungeon as a potential risk in player versus player environments.
EverQuest is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) originally developed by Verant Interactive and 989 Studios for Windows PCs. It was released by Sony Online Entertainment in March 1999 in North America, and by Ubisoft in Europe in April 2000. A dedicated version for macOS was released in June 2003, which operated for ten years before being shut down in November 2013. In June 2000, Verant Interactive was absorbed into Sony Online Entertainment, who took over full development and publishing duties of the title. Later, in February 2015, SOE's parent corporation, Sony Computer Entertainment, sold the studio to investment company Inception Acquisitions and was rebranded as Daybreak Game Company, who develops and publishes EverQuest to this day.
Player(s) versus player(s), better known as PvP, is a type of multiplayer interactive conflict within a game between two or more live participants. This is in contrast to games where players compete against computer-controlled opponents and/or players, which is referred to as player versus environment (PvE). The terms are most often used in games where both activities exist, particularly MMORPGs, MUDs, and other role-playing video games. PvP can be broadly used to describe any game, or aspect of a game, where players compete against each other. PvP is often controversial when used in role-playing games. In most cases, there are vast differences in abilities between experienced and novice players. PvP can even encourage experienced players to immediately attack and kill inexperienced players. PvP is sometimes called player killing.
Stated another way, instances can be used to reduce the competition over resources within the game.Excessive competition in these spaces leads to several undesirable behaviors such as kill stealing, spawn camping, and ninja looting as players do whatever they can to acquire the limited rewards. Instancing preserves the gaming experience, since some gaming scenarios do not work if the player is continually surrounded by other players, as in a multiplayer setting. Instance dungeons may contain stronger than usual mobs and rare, sought-after equipment. They also may include level restrictions and/or restrict the number of players allowed in each instance to balance gameplay. Several games use instancing to scale the mobs to the players' levels, and/or the number of players present.
In multiplayer video games, particularly in MOBAs, first-person shooters, MMORPGs and MUDs, kill stealing is the practice of obtaining credit for killing an enemy, when another player has put more effort into the kill. This usually happens when a game only keeps track of which player defeats an enemy, leading to the so called last-hitting mechanics. If one player whittles down some enemy's health points, but a different player eventually finishes the enemy off, this second player might obtain all of the loot or experience points from the enemy. Kill stealing is common when the rewards for finishing enemies off is highly desired within the game.
Despite its advantages, instancing in MMOGs has been criticized. Brad McQuaid, lead designer of EverQuest and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (both of which did not feature instancing at launch), wrote an essay in 2005 arguing that instances can negatively affect the game's community, virtual economy, churn rate, and other factors. — such as the holodeck in the Star Trek franchise. One reviewer described the extensive use of instancing in Age of Conan as "[destroying] the sense of expansiveness an MMORPG should have".In response to this article, Raph Koster added that instancing should be limited to situations in which the creation of a "pocket zone" makes sense within the context of the fictional universe
Brad McQuaid is an American video game designer who was the key designer of EverQuest, a highly successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 1999. He later co-founded Sigil Games Online where he served as CEO and Executive Producer of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes until Sony Online Entertainment's acquisition of Sigil Games Online in May 2007. On July 6, 2012, SOE announced the re-hiring of McQuaid to continue his work on Vanguard. On January 13, 2014, McQuaid announced his role of Chief Creative Officer at Visionary Realms, Inc. for the PC MMORPG, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was a high fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) created by Sigil Games Online, and later developed and run by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). Originally, the game was co-published by Sony Online Entertainment and the company producing it, Sigil Games Online. The game was released on January 30, 2007, with an early access date of January 26, 2007 for pre-order customers. On May 15, 2007, it was announced in a press release that Sony Online Entertainment had completed a transaction to purchase key assets of Sigil Games Online, including all rights to Vanguard.
A virtual economy is an emergent economy existing in a virtual world, usually exchanging virtual goods in the context of an Internet game. People enter these virtual economies for recreation and entertainment rather than necessity, which means that virtual economies lack the aspects of a real economy that are not considered to be "fun". However, some people do interact with virtual economies for "real" economic benefit.
Having players participate in instances tends to spread out populations of players, instead of concentrating them, which may reduce or level the workload for both the server and client by limiting the number of potential interactions between players and objects. Because the player characters in the instance do not need to be updated on all the information going on outside the instance, and vice versa for the characters outside the instance, there is an overall decrease in demands on the network, with the net result being less lag for the players. This also reduces the demands on each player's computer, as the number of objects to be processed can be more easily limited by the game's developer. The developer can better reason about the worst-case performance requirements in an instance because they do not have to consider scenarios such as hundreds of players descending on any location at any time.
A game server is a server which is the authoritative source of events in a multiplayer video game. The server transmits enough data about its internal state to allow its connected clients to maintain their own accurate version of the game world for display to players. They also receive and process each player's input.
A webclient is a piece of computer hardware or software that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network. The term applies to the role that programs or devices play in the client–server model.
A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.
Perhaps the first virtual world to use instances was the MMORPG The Realm Online , launched in 1996. Combat in this game was extensively instanced, with every battle taking place in a special room outside of the open world.
In Guild Wars , Town/Outpost areas are created on demand, with a new "district" of that town being created for every 100 players in it; players can move between these at will. When entering an Explorable Area or Cooperative Mission, a separate instance will be created for each group (ranging in size from 2 to 12) of players. Players can play with players across the globe, as in EVE Online , along with the advantages in load scaling and resources of a traditional multiple server model for ArenaNet, the developers.
In RuneScape , instances are used mostly in quests, so that other players cannot interfere with the player who is doing the quest, such as battling boss NPC s or having to accomplish a special task. They are also used in certain 'minigames'. However, most monsters not related to quests are not instanced, so players often have to compete with each other to get the reward from killing them. They are also used extensively in the new skill Dungeoneering.
Wizard101 has a unique system for its instances. As soon as a player steps on the entry area, ten seconds are given for up to three other players to enter. Once inside, the instance usually triggers a new line of quests, which must be completed to gain access to other parts of the instance. If a player logs out or leaves through the "front door", progress wil be reset (a warning message will appear). If a player dies, flees, or teleports, data will then be reset in 30 minutes. If a monster is defeated in an instance, it stays defeated. Players can repeat instances as many times as they want.
A MUD is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat. Players can read or view descriptions of rooms, objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world. Players typically interact with each other and the world by typing commands that resemble a natural language.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world.
Ultima Online (UO) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), released on September 24, 1997, by Origin Systems.
Twinking is a type of behavior in role-playing video games which involves deceiving other players about one's playing abilities or achievements in the game. A player who engages in such behavior is known as a twink. The precise definition of twinking varies depending on the variety of role-playing game:
DikuMUD is a multiplayer text-based role-playing game, which is a type of MUD. It was written in 1990 and 1991 by Sebastian Hammer, Tom Madsen, Katja Nyboe, Michael Seifert, and Hans Henrik Stærfeldt at DIKU —the department of computer science at the University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Furcadia is a free-to-play MMOSG/MMORPG or graphical MUD, set in a fantasy world inhabited by magical creatures. The game is based on user-created content with emphasis on world building tools, exploring, socializing, and free-form roleplaying. Furcadia hosts a large volunteer program called the Beekin Helpers, allowing players to help with community moderation, welcoming new players, handling in-game technical support, running in game events, creating art for the game itself, accessing and updating the game's website, and bug hunting. Furcadia holds the Guinness World Records title for the longest continuously running social MMORPG and in addition to being one of the first games to heavily encourage modding and let users build virtual worlds for themselves, it was also one of the first freemium online games. In 2008, Furcadia was reported as having over 60,000 players.
Scott Jennings, also known as Lum the Mad, is an American commentator on MMORPG games. He is best known for creating a website, The Rantings of Lum The Mad, a pioneer blog, which existed from 1998 to 2001, when Jennings was hired by MMO developer Mythic Entertainment, where he remained until 2006.
Kingdom of Loathing is a browser-based multiplayer role-playing game designed and operated by Asymmetric Publications, including creator Zack "Jick" Johnson with a small team. The game was released in 2003, with ongoing small updates continually released.
A griefer or bad faith player is a player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game (trolling), using aspects of the game in unintended ways. A griefer derives pleasure primarily or exclusively from the act of annoying other users, and as such is a particular nuisance in online gaming communities, since griefers often cannot be deterred by penalties related to in-game goals. This creates a strong division between griefing and cheating, since cheating is done with intent of winning the game and thus is discouraged by in-game penalties.
In video gaming, grinding is performing repetitive tasks for gameplay advantage. Many video games use different tactics to implement, or reduce the amount of grinding in play. The general use of grinding is for "experience points", or to improve a character's level. However, the behavior is sometimes referred to as pushing the bar, farming or catassing.
Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Turbine for Microsoft Windows and OS X. The game was originally marketed as Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, then renamed Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited upon switching to a hybrid free to play model, and was finally rebranded Dungeons & Dragons Online, with the introduction of Forgotten Realms-related content. Turbine developed DDO as an online adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), based loosely on the D&D 3.5 rule set. The game is set on the unexplored continent of Xen'drik within the Eberron campaign setting, and in the Kingdom of Cormyr within the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
Multiboxing refers to playing as multiple separate characters concurrently in an MMORPG. This can either be achieved by using multiple separate machines to run the game or by running multiple separate instances of the game. Multiboxing might be considered a form of cheating. Multiboxing is considered to be difficult to do well without practice, as it involves adapting to problems in real-time.
The history of massively multiplayer online games spans over thirty years and hundreds of massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) titles. The origin and influence on MMO games stems from MUDs, Dungeons & Dragons and earlier social games.
A raid is a type of mission in a video game where a number of people attempt to defeat either: (a) another number of people at player-vs-player (PVP), (b) a series of computer-controlled enemies in a player-vs-environment (PVE) battlefield, or (c) a very powerful boss (superboss). This type of objective is most commonly seen in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), and usually, but not necessarily, occurs within an instance dungeon in that genre. On the other hand, in military real-time strategy (RTS) games like StarCraft, the term is used differently.
Twelve Sky, often referred to as 12 Sky, was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). It is Korean developer Alt1's first released game set in the Oriental Fantasy universe launched in its home market in 2004. Aeria Games announced Twelve Sky Closed Beta on September 5, 2007. The Closed Beta date was set to be on September 18, 2007. Twelve Sky then went into Open Beta on October 12, 2007. AeriaGames announced the closing of the game on April 6 on their forums. The game officially closed on April 30, 2010 with their item mall closing on April 13, 2010.
Designing Virtual Worlds is a book about the practice of virtual world development by Richard Bartle. It has been noted as an authoritative source regarding the history of world-based online games. Its coverage of the virtual world design process has been called "a step further than most [books] in game design instruction". College courses have been taught using it.
A term used to describe a private portion of a gameworld created just for an individual or group of players.