Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cataclysm Invasion Event Breaks Instance Limit

Public Service Announcement: Do not run any more than four Cataclysm invasion instances within an hour of a raid you want to attend.  

World of Warcraft has an undocumented limit of five instances per account per hour to prevent players from overloading the game's instance servers.  Under normal circumstances, players will not be in danger of hitting the limit, since it's relatively hard to chain any useful dungeons more rapidly than 12 minutes each.  The Cataclysm elemental invasion makes it much easier to hit the limit, as it is possible to queue, enter and clear the instance, and requeue inside of five minutes. 

The automated dungeon finder disregards the five instance rule (which is ACCOUNT-wide, not character specific), so you can easily run vastly over the limit without any idea that you've done something wrong.  Then your guildies ask if anyone else wants to join the raid, you try to join in, and you're not allowed to zone in until the timer wears off. 

It's not the largest of issues, but it's pretty disappointing for you (and potentially your group) if it happens unexpectedly.  There's no UI that informs you of how long you have to wait, so you're just left to guess how long it will be before your fifth-most-recent instance hits an hour old.  It's a bit disappointing that Blizzard did not take this restriction into account when designing the world event. 


Carson 63000 said...

I haven't even been able to see any of the elemental bosses yet, every time I have queued for them, the instance has failed to instantiate due to the instance servers being so overloaded. :-)

Ngita said...

Its hardly undocumented given the number of blue comments about it over the yeara and the initial announcment when it was introduced. Given that ints introduction brought in a massive improvement in instance availability many approve on it.

Anonymous said...

Is this only happening for raids? because i grouped up yesterday and did it over 20 times i think. I had luck SW was cleared a half hour later than IF :-)

Green Armadillo said...

@Carson: Your experience suggests that having this event go live with no limit on how many instances are created was a bad call.

@Ngita: Though the system has been confirmed for those who are actively looking for the information on the forums, it is designed so that average players will never encounter it; I had never run into the problem in the four years since its introduction. This event dramatically lowers the bar so that far more players will discover it.

@anon: The limit is enforced if you try to walk in through an instance portal for an instance that you do not already have open (either because you haven't been there in the last hour or because it reset). I don't know if it's also enforced if a Warlock summons you into an instance. You can run an unlimited number of instances through the dungeon finder and then you'll have no idea when your timer started. Ordinarily it would be from the START of the earliest of your five instances; if you've got ten invasion instances I'm guessing you'd be allowed back in an hour from the start of your sixth run (leaving only the final four that started within the current hour).

Ranjurm said...

If I recall correctly, the 5 instance limit did appear as a tip on the loading screen for those who keep that sort of thing on.