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Not to be confused with Area of effect, Area damage, or Map.

Area serves as generic term to describe any separately loaded zone in the game. Areas have various attributes and rule sets attributed them depending on the type of the area. Using the rules of the specific area the game creates a randomized time-limited instance of an area which can be played by the character.


Areas are separately loaded zones in the game with a specific set of attributes and rules. Those attributes can be thought of as a plan on how to create a specific zone.

An area may have multiple layouts defined that are used to create the randomized instances. The layouts dictate specific features of an instance, so that for example the waypoint and quest objectives are always located in roughly the same positions. As an example, on the Ledge there will always be three stones next to the waypoint showing which of the two directions leads to the Climb.

The individual pieces used to create a map zone are often referred to as a tileset. These individual pieces (such as walls, doorways, rivers etc) are designed by hand and are non-randomized themselves, however they are put together semi-randomly to form a coherent zone according to the layout. This allows a high level of variation in each instance while using the same building blocks ("tiles").

Once the tiles have been generated, the instance will be filled with objects according to the area rules. Specific flags on the area will also change area behavior - a town does not permit use of skills, a map will scale enemies depending on the map tier, etc. Similar to items maps use a hidden tag system that sets certain attribute that govern which modifiers, monsters and other objects can be placed inside the instance and their likelihood. In addition, each area has a default level associated with it which is used both to determine what monsters, Extra Content, modifiers and such are allowed, but also sets the level of any object within the area.

For example, a level 60 area will also contain level 60 strongboxes and monsters. The level may be overridden, for example by delving deeper, using a Voidstone or other modifiers.

Map rules also include settings such as the spawn chance for league-related objects or masters. Generally this is streamlined to a specific number for most areas, but may be fine-tuned in specific areas to balance around the size of the area. Small areas may have less space to spawn certain league related content. Some areas may also have them disabled entirely (such as towns or Vaal side areas).

Areas can be connected to each other allowing characters to pass from one area to another. Most of the story areas throughout the Acts are connected in some fashion to each other which can be seen on the world map. Areas also have a parent area which is used to determine where the character respawns after death. Usually this is the most recent town area.


An instance is a specific, randomly generated zone using the rules defined by the area. It holds the current state of the zone, so whenever an item is dropped or a monster is killed that will be saved within the instance.

The game automatically creates an instance when a player tries to join an area with the region based on the player's realm choice. If there is an existing instance already created by the player or a party member, then it will be joined instead.

Instances with no players in them continue to exist for a limited time (about 8-15 minutes in instances created in acts, but much longer for instances created from the map device). The instance is destroyed after the time elapses, along with the items and monsters inside it.

When entering an area in Acts, holding Control key displays existing instances of the area, and allows the player to create a new instance. The latter can be used to "reset" an area and start it again with a new layout, set of monsters, etc.

Most instances can hold up to six players at once, with the exception of towns which can hold many more.


Friendly areas:

Hostile areas:

Version history

Version Changes
  • Complete rebalance of areas.
  • Player can now revisit old instances that are still open.