More of the Same: Scaling

“Self-delusion is pulling in your stomach when you step on the scales.”
Paul Sweeney

More of the Same: Scaling

We’ll know more when we have experienced it. Today’s date is July 17, 2016. It is two days before the pre-expansion patch.

If everything scales to your character, then won’t your experience always be the same?

Leveling Up:
The journey from 100 to 110, with the bulk of your activity in DPS questing, we know that the zones scale to your character. Now, my ilevel is 730 with a four-piece tier set. When I start out at level l00, I should be strong and then less strong when I hit 101, 102, 103 until I even out and begin getting new gear. Ouch, that’s a nasty dip.

I’m told that for a typical player to get to 110 that it will take 16 hours of play time with all the standard qualifiers. The quests have got to be informative, interesting and fun because the fights will all the same. As my gear gets replaced (maybe around 107, I don’t know) then I should feel stronger but only a little. I won’t be a god walking through the zones at 109.

I hope I love my class.

The Onus is on the Designers
We won’t get six quests to kill 20 boars and race through the quests. Killing will take time; it will always take time. Our game is going to slow down, our progress is going to slow down. Collecting Pig Ears had better be damned entertaining with a satisfying story.

They scale to your group. How this is done, I’m not sure but I would guess by gear score. Add all of the five players gear score up and divide by five. What we do know is that it scales. This means that every time I do a dungeon, it is the same.

The encounter with the first boss in a dungeon will take the same amount of time to kill, tank and heal no matter if it is heroic or mythic plus. Scaling means balanced, no?

The “speed runs” designed into Mythic Plus dungeons won’t nor can’t be about us getting so powerful that we blow up a boss since it is scaled. It will be about mastering the mechanics, working in concert, anticipating travel, knowing interrupts and when to sneak. Imagine my disgust when one player doesn’t know when to sneak!

I don’t think raids scale. We will get stronger, kind of sort of; secondary stats are now additive so the ramping up won’t be as dramatic as all of our past experiences.

Editor’s Note: do we have faith that the designers have learned to design “flex”? The punishment of raiding in a small group in WoD will scar me forever. That later hotfix to adjust for smaller groups didn’t even come with an apology; our raid group was already broken.

Wimpy Tanks:
Tanks will need heals. Healers are starved for mana. How fun! Early on, this will be a chore with shackles on our feet. As we get more (additive) haste, it should be less painful. Still, with this dynamic, the bosses can’t hit as hard but will take longer to kill. This will make the dungeons and raids feel very even, right? The formula for fun, this tank/healer synergy kind of forces the encounters to be even.

Balanced Scales
I think (before we actually play) that this is the biggest risk in Legion. Taking away Player Power by scaling in dungeons and emphasizing mechanics on a fight is a different way to play this game. We will need honed skills in dispelling, interrupts, stuns, movement as much as pew, pew, pew. The question becomes: do you like to play that way? You can’t bring a friend with a super gear score to roflstomp your way through content. After two years of the same dungeon, you never get so strong that you can easily kill a boss (or trash mob); it will be the same mechanics rehearsed over and over and over again.

Player Power
I read a long time ago that the very first thing in any game design is that the player must feel Over Powered. As an archer, you hit that target every time! Your sword slicing matters. What you do is … meaningful.

A lot is riding on this expansion. Typical of Blizzard; with little content after reaching 100 in WoD, now when we ding 110 there is a ton. The solo player in Suramar should be getting stronger over the two-year arc. This should be satisfying.

For the group runners in dungeons, I think scaling is the biggest risk taking that I’ve ever seen in game design. Do you think that just because they have the tech that they should be using it? Scaling tech is the new tool in the kit for the designers; let us trust that it is used with wisdom.

2 thoughts on “More of the Same: Scaling

  1. As far as I’ve heard in Q&A, it was plain clear that scaling is for leveling only.
    Naturally players are concerned that when they become 110, they feel no reward if Frogs of Doom in their starting zone still qualifies as a normal fight. So you outgrow mobs through gear. It’s a way to choose zone order to level at, not everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

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