Starym

Mobs Scaling with Item Level Explained

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Watcher explains the logic behind the mechanic, how it will be tweaked and why it wasn't in the patch notes.

Update: there was a followup post that explained the three major changes that have gone live for the mechanic.

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As players have noticed, 7.2 brought with it a huge change that wasn't quite mentioned in the patch notes, namely that creatures now scaled not only with your level, but with item level as well. Game Director Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas steeped in and confirmed this was indeed intended, but also took some time to explain why the mechanic was implemented, why it wasn't mentioned in the patch notes and clarified that it may be a little too steep at the moment. It's a lot to read, but well worth it, as it seems the devs are paving the way for what WoW will look like in many future expansions, going for a very open-world scaled to your power level environment, that is so very popular in the single player RPG genre.

Blizzard LogoWatcher (source)

Apologies for the delay in getting information out on this - our initial focus was on putting out other patch-day fires.

Yes, this reflects a deliberate change, but it's also not working exactly as we intended. The scaling may be too steep, and the fact that unequipping a piece of gear can ever be helpful is a bug in the system. We'll be looking into making changes to correct this in the very near future.

Power progression is an essential part of the WoW endgame, and the last thing we want is to undermine that. We stressed the importance of that progression when discussing how the level-scaling system worked in Legion around the time of the expansion's launch, and explained why we then had no plans to scale foes' power based on gear. But as we've watched Legion unfold, we've come to observe some side-effects of our endgame content plan and the associated rewards structure that made us reconsider.

We've never had the initial outdoor world content stay relevant for this long in an expansion before. By the end of Mists of Pandaria, for example, the mantid of Dread Wastes that had once been reasonable foes were completely trivial. They'd basically evaporate if a raid-geared player looked in their general direction. But there wasn't much reason besides achievements or completionism to revisit the Klaxxi dailies once Isle of Thunder was out or, later on, Timeless Isle. And the enemies in those later zones could be tuned to a proportionally more challenging baseline difficulty.

But in Legion, while the new content in Broken Shore is the focus of 7.2, and we've made sure that the core outdoor rewards (both dropped and from Nethershards) are superior to the rep-related rewards from the original factions, the intent is not for the Broken Shore to completely replace the rest of the game. You'll still go back to the other Broken Isles zones for emissaries, Legion Assaults (coming next week!), Order campaign quests, improved world quest rewards, and more. And as 7.1 and 7.1.5 progressed, we could see that even with Nighthold gear the pacing of combat was getting a bit silly - what would happen once new content made that level of gear more common, and once the Tomb raid pushed limits even higher?

To reiterate, power progression is an essential part of the WoW endgame. We absolutely want you to feel overpowered as you return to steamroll content that once was challenging. But there's a threshold beyond which the game's core mechanics start to break down. When someone trying to wind up a 2.5sec cast can't get a nuke off against a quest target before another player charges in and one-shots it, that feels broken. And even for the Mythic-geared bringer of death and destruction, when everything dies nearly instantly, you spend more time looting corpses than you do making them. You spend an order of magnitude longer traveling to a quest location than you do killing the quest target. You stop using your core class abilities and instead focus on spamming instants to tap mobs as quickly as possible before they die.

Our goal is basically to safeguard against that degenerate extreme. We tune outdoor combat for a fresh 110 around a 12-15sec duration against a standard non-elite, non-boss enemy. It's great for gear, over the course of an expansion to cut that time in half, or even by two-thirds. But once you get down to a duration of one or two global cooldowns, the game just wasn't built to support that as the norm. (Note that this is an current-content endgame concern; running legacy content for completion/transmog/etc. purposes is a totally different story.)

The intent of our change in 7.2 was to smooth out that progression curve a bit, not flatten it out, and certainly never to invert it. If you get a great set of item upgrades that make you 5% stronger, maybe the world gets 1-2% tougher. Perhaps instead of getting 400% stronger over the course of the expansion relative to the outdoor world, you only get 250% stronger. But you should always be getting more powerful in relative terms, and upgrades should always matter. From some reactions so far, it sounds like we may be off on that tuning. And as noted above, the fact that unequipping items can ever be helpful is a bug that we'll be investigating and fixing.

Finally, there's the natural question of why we didn't patch-note this. It was not to be deceptive; we know it's impossible to hide a change from millions of players. But the system was meant to feel largely transparent and subtle, just like level-scaling does if you don't stop and really think about it, and so we did want players to first experience the change organically. Your feedback and reactions and first impressions of the system are more useful in this particular case when they are not skewed by the experience of logging in and actively trying to spot the differences. Thank you for that, and I look forward to continued discussion.

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Eh. Not sure I agree. It does seem badly tuned at the moment... I had weird moments on on the Broken Shore where I was traipsing along killing without a care in the world, then targeting something else and getting roflstomped.

Then again I considered it badly tuned at 110 anyway. You're 109, got a pace going, working your way through a quest, then you ding... and suddenly you're fighting for dear life. And likely losing. The difficulty jump is pretty nasty.

It seems kind of rude to just throw it in without warning us... and moreover, without testing. This should have been on the PTR and patch notes, and feedback considered before deciding to take it live.

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3 minutes ago, solitha said:

Eh. Not sure I agree. It does seem badly tuned at the moment... I had weird moments on on the Broken Shore where I was traipsing along killing without a care in the world, then targeting something else and getting roflstomped.

Then again I considered it badly tuned at 110 anyway. You're 109, got a pace going, working your way through a quest, then you ding... and suddenly you're fighting for dear life. And likely losing. The difficulty jump is pretty nasty.

It seems kind of rude to just throw it in without warning us... and moreover, without testing. This should have been on the PTR and patch notes, and feedback considered before deciding to take it live.

I agree, but they did acknowledge it isn't well tuned atm, so hopefully it'll improve soon.

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A person in my raid group noted that it's not just at max level either. He can see the changes on his 100s as he equips and unequips gear. I rather dislike that.

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You implemented it - Fine. You failed at balancing this thing at the start - also Fine. The One thing that is not explained why people who do not play in DPS specks must Suffer? Why restoration Druid or Holy priest must suffer for that decision? 12 - 15 second - i doubt that there were included Tanks and Healers... If this is a 12 second fight for a current DMG dealer with average ilvl 880. Then Resto/Holy will spend one minute to kill a single useless mob. 1 min to kill a flower that spawned from herbalism...

That change forces you to spend double or triple time on your world quests, just because someone failed to correctly generate item levels and scaling. I personally believe that there is more ways to increase difficulty at the end game, than this.

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Sorry, this is bullshit. Why should i progress with my item-level if i get no benefit against enemies from it?

WoW lives (and dies) with farming items/ressources. Removing the advantage from high-end-equipment will ruin all other releated components of the game...

Completely! Fail! Blizzard!

Edited by Floristix
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Not sure how i feel about this. Yes i like a challenge, but this doesn't seem like a great change imho, it defeats the whole purpose of an mmo and gearing up, which is to be more powerful and feel stronger. 

For those who don't raid or mythic+, whether mains or alts, there is now zero point in gearing up toons. Gearing up is to make it easier to kill stuff, to make your toon more powerful, and this totally negates that. 

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What's the point in getting good gear then? For example i invested 1000h into a character (gearing) and i need the same time to complete a World Quest as fast as a fresh 110 newbie?

First i could take 1-2 mobs with my boomkin on low gear, then at better gear i can pull a lot of mobs and down them. Now its the same b%&@!$it

Blizzard STAHP PLZ!

 

Edited by Dvanom
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People are losing their heads over this but what do you expect in the type of content that we have in Legion? World Quests are meant to be relevant throughout the expansion and we're not in a strict Timeless Isle or Tanaan Jungle type scenario where they can just increase the HP/Dmg of that subset of mobs.


His argument stands and the reasons for doing this stand as well.

What would you have them do while still keeping the base Legion zones and World Quests relevant?

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Your better gear lets you do better in dungeons and raids.

It made no sense for world content to be completely trivialized mere hours after hitting Lv. 110 (considering Mythic dungeons give 865 along with LFR giving 855-865 gear, with ToS LFR giving -even- higher level gear, you could hit the point where world content was completely trivialized very quickly.)

There is a difference between "progressing your character so you can feel stronger" and "removing all difficulty by completely overgearing world content."

What I don't agree with is scaling applying to Lvs. 98-109, it should only apply at max level. I also think something should be done for healers so they don't have to go dps or take forever to kill world content. They took the time to try and increase healer dps in Legion so they could do world content properly, this change seems counter-productive in that regard.

Edited by Ammako
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I don't object to the change accept for exactly this.  Drops need to increase with Ilvl accordingly then as well, be it gathering nodes, skinned reward, loot dropped, etc..   Otherwise, mats will become scarce. 

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Do the rewards and loot scale, too? Or is this yet another way to make the already awefull daily grinds even more anoying?

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I don't get some of these comments tbh, did you not read the whole post? Increasing your ilvl aka getting better gear WILL make it easier to kill stuff outdoors, it just won't make it as easy as it does now. You'll still get the same benefit in dungeons and raids (the REAL reason people gear up) and you'll (more slowly) improve on killing things outdoors as well. Am I missing something?

A real good point is the healer perspective though, as I don't think tanks will have any issues with this since their DPS is pretty good already. But on the other hand I'm not sure how many healer players don't have decent DPS offspec gear already, and if that gear is lower ilev then it all works out anyway.

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12 minutes ago, Starym said:

A real good point is the healer perspective though, as I don't think tanks will have any issues with this since their DPS is pretty good already. But on the other hand I'm not sure how many healer players don't have decent DPS offspec gear already, and if that gear is lower ilev then it all works out anyway.

As a Healer, why should I be forced to go into DPS, which I hate, to take down mobs? I realize healers will always kill at a slower rate than DPS, but it shouldn't be 10 times as long. On top of that, my DPS spec has a high item level just because it shares so much in common with my healing spec. But I don't DPS, I heal. So now, in order to play content I have to learn an entire new spec that I've neglected on purpose in order to progress. I imagine many people would be upset if they were forced to take a specific spec in order to do content. As a beastmaster hunter, how would you feel if you now have to go survival in order to quest? As a Resto Shaman, I now have to essentially go Enh because Ele isn't nearly as good. But I don't want to be a melee DPS. It's just forcing us into specific things that aren't exactly even.

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1 hour ago, Stitches said:

As a Healer, why should I be forced to go into DPS, which I hate, to take down mobs? I realize healers will always kill at a slower rate than DPS, but it shouldn't be 10 times as long. On top of that, my DPS spec has a high item level just because it shares so much in common with my healing spec. But I don't DPS, I heal. So now, in order to play content I have to learn an entire new spec that I've neglected on purpose in order to progress. I imagine many people would be upset if they were forced to take a specific spec in order to do content. As a beastmaster hunter, how would you feel if you now have to go survival in order to quest? As a Resto Shaman, I now have to essentially go Enh because Ele isn't nearly as good. But I don't want to be a melee DPS. It's just forcing us into specific things that aren't exactly even.

 

I'm mainly a tank(demon hunter tank to be specific, with a brewmaster monk and blood DK alts) But I have a holy paladin that's 10 item levels lower than my main which is at 894-896 ilvl depending on spec as I write this.

 

On my paladin, I ONLY like holy. I don't like ret, I don't like prot. Which is why I agree with you and feel super bad for all main healers out there. When I go on my paladin do world stuff, I feel incredibly weak. Because killing stuff takes forever. And now it will take even longer. I don't want to have to play ret on a HOLY paladin just to do world quests.

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I would like to mirror the sentiments/concerns of the previous few posts, regarding tanks and healers having a much more difficult time with this ilvl scaling.  I have a DPS main, and it always felt very satisfying and positive to have world quests become easier to kill.  It made the game much more enjoyable to run "murder train" through a section that used to be difficult, when I was a lower ilvl.  World quests are only meant to be progression content to a newly minted 110; it isn't supposed to remain progression content throughout the expansion.  Part of me wants to like this change, and I understand the reason for this initiative, but the end result is that the daily grind that the vast majority of players were already complaining about just became much more of a time-sink than it already was (which, in turn, equates to much more stress on actual progression players, who are trying to remain competitive).

 

Now multiply that for tanks and healers...  Trying to complete world quests as a Holy Priest/Paladin or a Prot Warrior/Paladin took about 2-3x a long as a DPS class before this patch.  With this change, tanks and healers will fall behind or be forced to play specs that they have no interest in playing (that aren't fun for them).  Perhaps if there were more alternative WQs that focused around objectives, rather than killing mobs, this concern would be alleviated.

Edited by Ancalagon
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I dunno I usually stay Holy on my pala when wquesting and have no issues, all i have to do i swap 1 talent for crusader strike and I'm all good with world quests. Sure it's slower than ret, but not by that much and I don't even have a particularly high ilev either. I can understand that it can be annoying with other classes healer specs tho, but it's ALWAYS been like that, just ask someone that played healer in vanilla and they will laugh at you and your complaints today :D

But yea I didn't mean to diminish healer issues with this change, I just think people in general are taking it waaaay out of proportion. After today's fixes it should get better for everyone tho.

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19 hours ago, Stitches said:

As a Healer, why should I be forced to go into DPS, which I hate, to take down mobs? I realize healers will always kill at a slower rate than DPS, but it shouldn't be 10 times as long. On top of that, my DPS spec has a high item level just because it shares so much in common with my healing spec. But I don't DPS, I heal. So now, in order to play content I have to learn an entire new spec that I've neglected on purpose in order to progress. I imagine many people would be upset if they were forced to take a specific spec in order to do content. As a beastmaster hunter, how would you feel if you now have to go survival in order to quest? As a Resto Shaman, I now have to essentially go Enh because Ele isn't nearly as good. But I don't want to be a melee DPS. It's just forcing us into specific things that aren't exactly even.

Healers were never meant to be damage dealers. I could understand if you had to swap an entire set of int gear because you need strength for you DPS spec, but you dont. Simply change specs and go. If you decide to quest as a healer, you have decided to take the decreased ability to do damage and have to deal with slower kill times. I would be pissed if healers could simply go out into the world, kill things as quickly as my hunter, and never die because they can simply spam heal themselves. My opinion, you quest as a healer, you deal with the time, so no sympathy there. All of my healers have a few points in there DPS weapon and I quest with them as DPS just fine. Nice change of pace, in fact, from when I am healing dungeons, raids, and PVP.

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I do agree with the 98-109 level issue however. Especially for all of the investment made for twinks by some. That 101 gear at ilvl 830+ is insanely expensive, and now worthless.

Edited by Sharknad0

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I'm sorry but i must say that I don't understand all this problem over doing open world content as healer, you want to kill stuff switch to dps, it's easy and free of charge, you you want to heal stuff, go pvp or do dungeons or raids, unless you want to pvp on open world, but in that case i don't think the mobs scaling will be the issue there, if it is, you're doing pvp wrong

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On 29/03/2017 at 5:00 AM, Dantalian said:

You implemented it - Fine. You failed at balancing this thing at the start - also Fine. The One thing that is not explained why people who do not play in DPS specks must Suffer? Why restoration Druid or Holy priest must suffer for that decision? 12 - 15 second - i doubt that there were included Tanks and Healers... If this is a 12 second fight for a current DMG dealer with average ilvl 880. Then Resto/Holy will spend one minute to kill a single useless mob. 1 min to kill a flower that spawned from herbalism...

That change forces you to spend double or triple time on your world quests, just because someone failed to correctly generate item levels and scaling. I personally believe that there is more ways to increase difficulty at the end game, than this.

Actually what you're saying is basically this: I'm a DPSer but i can't tank those strong mobs and can't heal neither, damn it blizard. I'm a tanker, i can tank very well, but i take forever to kill those mobs, damn it blizzard. I'm a healer, i can heal very well but i can't tank neither do DPS, damn it blizzard. Before you say a thing like this, you should look all the options there is like actually changing to a DPS spec if you wish to do DPS. It would've been actually pretty nonsense a healer do as much DPS as a DPS does.

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