Description: Solution to an issue with Instancing Materials in MAX 2010.
[Some of you may have run into this, many of you have likely already resolved it. This post is for the latter group. Enjoy.]
Issue: You create an instance of an object, apply a material, and by default, MAX 2010 instances the material to all objects rather than just the particular element you have selected.
Solution: Material Editor > Options > Propagate Materials to Instances (Uncheck, unless you are intending to have all instances have the same material)
This one has been bugging me for some time but I just got around to looking it up. Enjoy!