Legion Zones Scale

The Broken Isles Zone Scaling

This isn’t new at all, but if you haven’t been following every Legion detail (like me) then you may find this to be some welcome information: World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion will feature zones that scale to your level. Monster levels, quests, and rewards will all scale based on the level you are in the zone.

This essentially means that instead of everyone progressing down one linear path throughout the entire expansion, players will be allowed to choose when they go to each zone. A few details still evade my understanding such as how this works for telling the narrative of the expansion. I know that when players reach level 110 they’ll be able to go to Suaramar which will present a cinematic experience — perhaps that’s where the more congruent story comes in?

I’m also curious to see how the scaling works, exactly. If I go to Azsuna at level 109, and my friend is level 101, will I be scaled down or will he be scaled up? I guess I don’t understand how we can tackle monsters together and have that experience scale up to me and down to him.

Though my mind is wracked with questions, I find the idea very inviting. I like freedom to go where I want, when I want, and to be able to group with friends more readily. I’m so ridiculously glad I won’t be on a PvP server, though. I can’t imagine having all of the higher levels ganking lowbies just because the zones scale and we’ll be forced more than ever to interact.

Do Levels Really Mean Anything?

The concept of zone scaling does once again bring into question why levels exist in WoW. The entire 1-110 experience will exist as what? A tedious activity designed to keep people paying subs longer? Leveling artifacts and iLvL are already end-game leveling curves anyway.

Although it’s truly too late to remove levels from WoW, I feel as though Legion inches us one step closer to their inevitable free max “level” expansions. After leveling two characters to 100 — I just hit 100 on my Monk last night — I’m pretty tired of the experience, and the idea of buying a level boost isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibilities for me moving forward. I don’t think I can stomach 60-100 ever again. I’ll put my prediction in writing here that we will eventually see progression become an “endgame” activity, and levels will be cleverly hidden behind items or other mechanics.

  • I love this idea. Diablo 3 changed their system with Reaper of Souls to have mobs scale to your level and let you set the difficulty for extra bonuses, thus letting you tailor your difficulty to your liking (with rewards for raising it).

    The crucial part was that gear would significantly affect your power, so you could find that fantastic legendary that would let you plow through monsters like tissue for a while until you out-leveled the gear.

    I would love it if Blizzard could do all of WoW this way. Have monsters scale to your level + some difficulty you specify, and so you could have challenge while leveling up, even if you decide to hang out in low level zones to play out the story lines.

  • I think the gear and rep grinds are enough without levels. That said I have every class over 94 and only 3 are not 100s yet. Leveling us trival these days as far as purpose other than to keep you subbing.

    At least with Timeless Isle and now Tanaan gearing alts is pretty easy, at least to get up to iLevel 650. My problem is that I never can decide on a main. Regards right now it’s my MM Hunter for pve and my combat Rogue for pvp.

    I finally started to finish up my pathfinder rep so flying will help get those last three to one hundred. I started playing some BattleBorn tonight and it may pull me away at least until Blizz allows us to roll DHs.

    As far as scaling as long as it is handled as good as GW2 handles it I am fine. I love the whole Baleful and chance to have them upgrade to an Epic from rare. If course these days Epic is really just Rare. Blue is the old green.

  • By the way BattleBorn is totally awesome. Since PC world didn’t get Destiny at least we got this. Haven’t played any PVP yet but PVE feels like an instance run. Only bad thing is that it is a bit hard to know what to do. Of course we have the open beta for Overwatch coming up. I don’t see BB and OW being in competition though many are acting like they are.

  • This is all pure semantics, as indeed are most human interactions. You can call the progression “levels” or “iLevels” or “masteries” or “AAs”. You can call them Kevins if you want. You can scale them, phase them, sidekick or mentor them but whatever you call them and however you present them, you have to have them or you just don’t have an MMORPG.

    Are there any even moderately successful MMOs (setting the bar as low as “still running after the initial hype wore off”) that feature no incremental progression mechanics at all? There are a lot of MMOs out there so maybe something like that exists but i can’t think of one. I certainly wouldn’t be the one to play it if it did. I like my levels.

  • Hmm it might be “nice” and “convenient” to be able to play the content in the order you choose, but in my eyes this is just another nail in the coffer of virtual-worldness. That ship has sailed of course. But it is still sad.

    As long as you have levels that are supposed to show your character getting stronger in commparison to his surroundings, it does not make sense to have the surroundings completely ignore this power-growth for the sake of convenience. Either do away with vertical progression, at least in the form of levels, or bite the bullet and have the progression mean something.

    That said. From a pure gaming point of view this is probably not a bad thing as such (there might still be some problems though) I just personally hate that all my virtual worlds have to be gamified even further

  • I think guild wars 2 proved pretty effectively that you can convince the player to explore the entire world from top to bottom for achievements rather than levels.

    Think about all the development time spent iterating vertical gear, crafting, mob statistics, player statistics, etc through levels. 90% of the content developed ends up being useless longterm.

    Having a “skill bar” that you fill up so you can earn points to unlock new skills or whatever is perfectly fine for getting the “progression” into a game. Heck, Diablo’s endgame where you unlock small but permanent character improvements would suffice.

  • @Shandren: I agree with both points. I think the virtual-wordness of WoW was sacrificed long ago for convenience and control of the experience. At the same time, I think most of those decisions did lead to enjoyable “gaming” ‘things’.

    @Bhagpuss: While indeed it’s all semantics from strictly a levels and progression point of view, I think levels are quickly becoming the obstacle standing between players and what they’d most like to do. WoW gates everything behind progression in one form or another. The progression people will want right now is stuff like Tanaan dailies (ick) and gear. Before they’re allowed to access that stuff, they’re forced to do the leveling thing. [Note: I enjoy the leveling process the first time. The story is good, sometimes great, and seeing the zones and doing the quests can be enjoyable.]

    @Michael: I haven’t tried BB. I am playing the Overwatch open beta right now, though. 🙂

    @Ravage: Legion is definitely borrowing more than a few mechanics from D3. Setting dungeon rewards, etc., like D3 has will also all be there.

  • Ok I admit I didn’t read every word, but how can zones scale without instancing? And if it’s that, it’s diverging from mmorpg really.

  • @Sanz: I ask a similar question. If I’m level 109 in a zone, and my friend is level 101 in the same zone, and we attack the same monster, how does that work?

    My assumption is that there’s some sort of formula that normalizes everything, but how it normalizes for multiple people at once on the same enemy confuses me. From everything I’ve read, this isn’t taking a player and scaling them down or up but instead scaling the monsters and items.

  • Does the implicit penalty for level difference still exist ? They could tweak the code on that front to scale everything, maybe drop it entirely for Legion zones. This way everyone has the same hit chance on all mobs. There still the HP scaling problem though, if you want to keep the Average time to Kill constant.