We have two Developer Diaries that have recently been released covering changes to the Instance Finder system coming in Update 6. The first one is by Leo “Ransroth” Zelevinsky covering the updates to the Instance Finder Interface. The second, by Brian “Zombie Columbus” Alosio, covers how the Instance Finder will calculate rewards.
The Instance Finder
Currently, within the Instance Finder players are able to choose their role, what type of instance, the size of the group, and what tier the player wants to participate in. In Update 6 players will find that the Instance Finder has not only increased in its functionality, but that it also has a bit of a revised interface as well.
First, there are now three tabs: Simple, Advanced, and Specific. The Simple Interface allows you to merely select your role and one of three types of instances to queue for (Skimish, Isengard, Instance) and has a join button; that’s all. This will be useful for anyone who simply wants to go to any instance as quickly as possible and doesn’t have a care about the size, tier, or type of instance.
The Advanced Tab
The Advanced Tab allows you to refine your selection a bit more. All the familiar options will be available, but it will also have a lower panel on the interface that will list the entire set of instances for which you are queued. It is also within this panel that you will be able to search and refine the list of instances and “uncheck” any that you don’t wish to participate in. An example used within the diary shows the following situation:
…the screenshot above shows a user interested in running a 3-man scaling instance. There are only 4 of these, and they have selected Library or School. Because “6” is not selected for size, none of the 6-man instances are shown.
Note that only encounters that you (and your fellowship, if you are in a fellowship) are eligible for will be displayed in the “Advanced” tab.
The Specific Tab
The last tab, the Specific Tab, accomplishes the design goal of combining the Instance Finder with the Instance Join interface.
This tab allows you to launch a specific encounter with your current group immediately. After you select an instance to join, you can configure its size, tier, and level at the top of the panel before clicking the “Launch Now” button.
One nice addition to the old “Instance Join” functionality is the “Search” box, which will allow you to find instances in the list easier than before.
This list will also include instances that you or your party may not be eligible for, in which case you will find that the “Launch Now” button becomes greyed out.
Last, but not least, there is a new feature being introduced “…to prevent abuses by the leader of fellowships put together by Instance Finder,” which is voting. Now players can vote to dismiss players, change the loot rules, or change the quality threshold. To initiate a vote for loot rules any player simply needs to click on their portrait and select the correct menu option. If everyone agrees then the vote passes and the change is made. If someone chooses “No” or makes no action then the vote fails and nothing happens. Voting to remove a player allows everyone except that player to vote for their removal.
Instance Finder Rewards
In its current configuration, the Instance Finder allows for a bonus (+50% Currency and +5% Morale and Power) only if you choose to allow it to truly randomize which instance you will play. But, with Update 6 and the combining of the Instance Finder and Instance Join, the bonus will now scale depending on how many instances you select to be randomized. However, Free/Premium players don’t need to fret about never being able to reach the full bonus as the bonus is based on the amount of instances are available to you rather than what could be available to you. On the flip side, the more instances that are in your pool the more you can deselect before you take a penalty.
|Example A||Example B|
In Example A you can see that the player has a large pool (11) of instances in which they are eligible to participate in. Therefore they can deselect three of these instances and still retain the full bonus. However, in Example B where the pool of instances is small (4) once they deselect one of the options the bonus is immediately affected. If the player in Example B wished to retain the full bonus they would either need to re-select Inn of the Forsaken as a viable option or add more instances into the pool.
One final change coming is that Skirmishes will once again have a quest associated with them.
The instance quest present every time you play a Skirmish will now award XP, IX, Reputation, gold and Marks. The bonus XP awards that were added to monster kills in Update 5 will be reduced to make room for this. All these award amounts will be balanced off the difficulty / duration of the Skirmish in question.
I like the changes coming to the Instance Finder. I think that these steps will go a long ways in making it a full-fledged feature of the game. And while I still wish that there was the possibility of using it to find raids, Ransroth states that raid functionality and cross-server groups are things that he is working on for future releases. So until that time I hope that these changes will really benefit player in the long run.
The only thing I’m a little nervous about is player voting. While this definitely may be a good thing I just hope it’s not abused in any way. It seems though that some consideration has gone into what players can and cannot do so I don’t have too many worries when it comes to this feature.