What does world Capacity limit exactly mean and when can players exceed it?

I saw someone explaining that you can enter an instance up to twice the world’s capacity “by joining or being invited”.
I’d like to know more specifically under what conditions you can enter, or be kicked out due to the capacity limit.
For example,

  • does it matter if you press the “Join” button on the friend’s UI panel or not?
  • does a single friend have only one extra invitation slot to let another join the instance?
  • does the type of instances being Public, Friend+, Invite etc. matter?

It’s honestly confusing to let world instances allow more players than the specified limit in, so I’d like to know how it exactly works.

World capacity works under these rules:

  • The author of the world sets the capacity when they upload the world, to a maximum of 40. This is known as the “soft cap”.

  • Once a public instance fills up to the soft cap it becomes hidden in the public instance list. This means that no new players can join unless they join off of a friend already in the instance or use an instance link.

  • The instance can then fill up to twice that of the soft cap. For example: a capacity of 16 can actually fit 32 players, a capacity of 40 can actually fit 80, etc. This is known as the “hard cap”.

  • Once an instance reaches the hard cap players will be unable to join it. If the connection still goes through they’ll just get put into a new instance. However there are two exceptions: The instance creator and the world author both get a dedicated spot (under specific conditions). This means that the "true hard cap is actually twice the capacity plus 2, making 82 the maximum amount of players you can have in an instance (without dev intervention of course).

  • This might have changed since I last heard about it, but as far as I know the conditions to make use of the dedicated creator spots is that the creators have to join after the instance has reached the hard cap. So for example if you and 4 of your friends wanted to play The Devouring which has a capacity of 2, you have to do it like this: You make the instance and drop the portal (this makes you the instance creator) and have your 4 friends run through (Note that even though the capacity is 2 the portal won’t actually disappear until it reaches the hard cap of 4). Then you open your menu and join on one of your friends after everyone else has already loaded in. At this point you could also invite Lakuza, the world author, and he’d be able to join too. The world capacity would then read 6/2.

  • So to answer your questions more specifically: pressing “Join” on a friend is the only way you can enter the instance once it passes the soft cap (or using a join link). There’s no limit to how many friends can enter the instance passed the soft cap as long as the hard cap hasn’t been hit yet. The instance type doesn’t matter, however the concept of the soft cap only has an effect on public instances. For all other instance types it doesn’t really matter because you can only join them through your friends regardless.

Yes, this is much more confusing than it needs to be.

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Everything Igbar said is correct as far as I understand it. The one thing I can maybe add is that I believe more than 40 players in an instance is technically “unsupported,” i.e. performance and stability isn’t guaranteed or designed for.

I have no source for this information. I just vaguely remember someone saying that in a semi-official capacity, and it also just makes sense.

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Thanks a lot Igbar and joker for your detailed answers!
Now it’s clear to me.
Yeah, I wish the official vrc dev would make it more intuitive and clear…

Anyway much appreciated for your replies!

One last point I forgot to mention: A capacity of 1 is always 1. You can’t fit more than 1 player in there. At one point you could, but this was later changed because it obviously broke worlds that were made with exactly 1 player in mind.

1 is the loneliest number

I see the hard cap being double the posted occupancy limit as nice and simple.

I’ve seen some game worlds have a limit of 4, and only accept 4 players, any extras can spectate.

I wonder if the softcap vs hardcap concept is swiped from nightclubs. Hard cap is the fire code building occupancy, soft cap is the limit at the front door for entry.