All Hail Instance Join!It used to be when you finished the quest content in a zone, you’d hang around the zone to get a group for the zone instances before moving onto the next zone. You and your fellowship would gather up quests for the instances and travel to a set location to enter them.
With the launch of Free-to-Play, Turbine introduced Instance Join as a way to reduce the time it takes to get your group assembled and actually fighting in the instance. The ability to join from anywhere frees you up to work on other content until a group comes along. Yay! Ctrl-J opens the Instance Join dialog.
Unlocking InstancesClassic Tab includes every replayable group instance in the game, except those you talk to a quest NPC to start, once you unlock them. Most unlocks are tied to two things - your character's level and the content packs you own. For example, the Helegrod instances are level 50-65 and part of the Misty Mountain quest pack. So you'll need to be level 50+ and have the Misty Mountain QP or be VIP to access Helegrod.
In addition, two instances - Great Barrow: Sambrog and Helegrod: Dragon Wing - are "gated" by completing other instances in the same cluster. Complete the deed to get the key.
See Instances by Level for the complete list.
Creating a Classic InstanceAs the fellowship leader, it is your job to start up the classic instance. Open the Instance Join dialog [Ctrl-J], select the instance, set the level, then click Create.
If you have group members below the minimum level shown in the dialog, the group leader (that’s you) must travel to the instance and touch the door to start it. See Fellowships: Leading a Group for more info.
Joining a Classic InstanceAs a fellowship member, you will get a pop-up dialog when the leader creates the instance. Find a safe spot to return to when you finish the instance, then click Travel Now to teleport directly into the instance and meet up with your group. If you close the dialog by mistake, click the Instance Join icon in your Alerts panel to restore it (looks like crossed swords over a globe). Note: if your Alerts panel is full you may not see the Instance Join icon. Trying clearing other alerts if it doesn't appear.
Leaving a Classic InstanceLeave the instance by right-clicking your portrait and selecting Leave Instance (if you want to stay in the group) or Leave (if you want to leave the group) or simply run out the door. You will be teleported back to where you were when you joined the instance.
If your group is still in the instance, you can rejoin them by clicking the Instance Join icon in your Alerts panel, then Travel Now. This is really handy if you need to leave the instance to respec, repair, etc. Keep in mind though, you may get a different random daily objective quest if you leave the instance and return.
Level-scaled vs Fixed-level InstancesLevel-scaled simply means you can set the level of the instance (within the supported range) while creating the instance. While Turbine is working on revamping all Class instances to be level-scaled, there are still many fixed-level instances in game. The interactions to create, join and leave an instance are the same for both types (aside from being able to set the level), but there are a few differences you should be aware of.
- All level-scaled instances automatically bestow quests for the instance when you enter. Some fixed-level instances do as well. Be sure you have space in your quest log for these quests.
- If you are planning to do a fixed-level instance, be sure to collect the quests from quest nodes in the same zone as the instance.
- Only level 65+ level-scaled instances have daily challenge quests, where you can earn a Superior Third Mark.
- Level-scaled instances reward instance and skirmish marks that can be exchanged in a skirmish camp for loot. Fixed-level instances give traditional loot.