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Unequipping Gear Makes You More Powerful in the Open World

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Redditor MrDysprosium noticed that unequipping your high item level gear, mostly Heart of AzerothHeart of Azeroth, trinkets, and rings makes you more powerful in the outdoor world in Battle for Azeroth.

Battle for Azeroth mobs scale in power to match your bagged item level. Unequipping said gear will significantly reduce the time needed to kill most mobs, while player power remains unaffected. Redditor lovemaker69 added that you must bank or sell your gear for mobs to be scaled down and just bagging it will not suffice.

The same problem was present in Legion, and here's Ion's reply about mob scaling in Legion.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (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.

So now we have to consult ilvl spreadsheets to figure out which pieces of gear we need to unequip to make our daily chores as painless as possible. Fun.

To be clear, it's unacceptable to us for the "right" thing in any form to ever be equipping weaker gear, unequipping items, or doing things that in any way lower your "absolute" power. There are a couple of loopholes where that is true currently, and they'll be high-priority fixes for us in the next day or two.

Also to be clear, scrapping the entire system is certainly still an option. My post was not meant to be a "too bad, get used to it" proclamation.

But I did want to lay out what we consider to be the very real problem we're trying to solve here. I also understand that to many folks it doesn't appear to be a real problem at all, and it seems like we're just trying to throw up pointless obstacles.

Power always feels good. It feels better to kill something in 5 seconds than in 10, especially when you remember when it took 10. Even better when you can do it in 2. Better still when you can kill 4 or 5 things in that time. But is there a point where that goes too far? We think so, and we're just looking to ease up off the gas pedal a little bit. We don't want to halt the power curve, and certainly never to go in reverse, but rather to take a bit longer on our road to an endgame world where everyone effectively walks around death-touching mobs for quest credit.

In Legion, mobs scaled based on your equipped item level. Now it's more difficult to abuse the system, you need to bank your gear to make it work. Let's see if we'll see any adjustments in the near future.

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Making the world scale to your ilvl is dumb anyway. When I get gear I want to feel badass and wipe the floor with the mobs that once gave me a hard time. The fact the system is so broken, still, is hilarious.

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6 minutes ago, Brutalis said:

Making the world scale to your ilvl is dumb anyway. When I get gear I want to feel badass and wipe the floor with the mobs that once gave me a hard time. The fact the system is so broken, still, is hilarious.

but blizz wants you to experieeeeeeeeeeeeence the content fully man 🙂

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The main problem with no scaling is not even that higher ilvl players destroy early level mobs, but rather that new characters that  want to participate in the new content will get absolutely destroyed (was barely possible to do Burning Shore introduction + questing when it came out if you had bad gear).

Some degree of enemy ilvl adaptation allows mobs in current content to feel challenging enough to geared players without blocking lower geared players from progressing in solo content.

Of course, this brings us to the current system where you can game it by artificially lowering your item level by dropping the least valuable pieces of your gear altogether. 

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Just the title of this topic made me think about the cheap Asian RPGs where your female character gets more exposed with stronger armor.

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The scaling and the reason for scaling makes sense in light of world quests and having all expansion content be relevant for a whole expansion.

They will probably put some floor on the scaling below which the mobs don't get easier.

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2 hours ago, Alkasar said:

Just the title of this topic made me think about the cheap Asian RPGs where your female character gets more exposed with stronger armor.

Lineage Feelings bro

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11 hours ago, Brutalis said:

Making the world scale to your ilvl is dumb anyway. When I get gear I want to feel badass and wipe the floor with the mobs that once gave me a hard time. The fact the system is so broken, still, is hilarious.

How does it feel to read a multi-paragraph explanation of the reasoning behind the system and not learn anything from it?

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Open world is full of chores why reduce our power on doing chores ( wqs and rep grind quests ).  Wqs we're never about fun they have always been rep/gear source and r intended to be finished as fast as possible so u can do then again on 11 alts . Second time they have done this and second time they got mad backlash when will they give up? Prob the day Activision hands ion his walking papers 

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55 minutes ago, CorneliusBrutus said:

How does it feel to read a multi-paragraph explanation of the reasoning behind the system and not learn anything from it?

I understand entirely. I just disagree with them doing it regardless of why they chose to. Outdoor content is always relevant now and they want to ensure you still have a reason to go to 8.0 WQs. Personally I think it's stupid. We have this catch-up content (free epics for everyone!) for a reason - so people can do the current content and in WoW traditionally current content makes old content obsolete.

Here's an example.

When Broken Shore came out all I had left to do to get flying was Legionfall repgrind and story content. So I did that, and I did the grind for the purples that were on offer. At that point the Broken Isles WQs were meaningless to me really and were just a chore for professions or the way to Exalted. Why should that take the same amount of time to do when I'm a much higher ilvl than when it was the current content?

Edited by Brutalis

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12 hours ago, Brutalis said:

Making the world scale to your ilvl is dumb anyway. When I get gear I want to feel badass and wipe the floor with the mobs that once gave me a hard time. The fact the system is so broken, still, is hilarious.

I'm still in leveling gear, a couple levels away from 120, and I can gather up practically as many mobs as I can see in any zone and end that fight at near full health with my DH.    Likewise, I can one-shot, not global, but a true one-shot, practically any non-elite world mob on my hunter, which is in really trash gear. 

I feel pretty badass in trash gear so the effectiveness of mob scaling is largely class based, as far as how badass you should be feeling without it simply being delusional.  If I want to pretend to be a god I go farm lowbie raids and instances.

Edited by Sholto

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2 minutes ago, Sholto said:

I'm still in leveling gear, a couple levels away from 120, and I can gather up practically as many mobs as I can see in any zone and end that fight at near full health with my DH.    Likewise, I can one-shot, not global, but a true one-shot, practically any non-elite world mob on my hunter is really trash gear. 

I feel pretty badass in trash gear so the effectiveness of mob scaling is largely class based, as far as how badass you should be feeling without it simply being delusional.  If I want to pretend to be a god I go farm lowbie raids and instances.

Things are much different at 120, my dude. When I was leveling my mage when I hit 119 every mob out there gained 10k hp and I gained nothing. From 110-114 I could do exactly the same because legiondaries worked still etc. The fact we get weaker as we level up through BFA to 120 is something well documented and a major complaint on reddit from what I've seen so wait 'til it hits you.

Edited by Brutalis
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I'm not getting weaker.  Sounds like a personal problem.  I ding'd 118 last night and I pretty much have only felt like I'm getting stronger.

There's a lot of well documented QQ in this game going back more than ten years.  Not all of it justified.  A lot of those people just need to L2P.  This sounds like a lot of them simply got too used to their welfare "legendaries".

Edited by Sholto
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22 minutes ago, Sholto said:

I'm not getting weaker.  Sounds like a personal problem.  I ding'd 118 last night and I pretty much have only felt like I'm getting stronger.

There's a lot of well documented QQ in this game going back more than ten years.  Not all of it justified.  A lot of those people just need to L2P.  This sounds like a lot of them simply got too used to their welfare "legendaries".

But it's entirely justified and documented, though. I went from 60% crit w/ BIS leggos and set bonus and able to pull a dozen mobs to having 29% at 120 and needing to eat after 2 mob kills.

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It's your feeling of god power that was never justified.  You bought into the power creep, which was the real problem with gear scaling in pretty much the last several expansions.  

My dude, you're a mage.  A mage.  If don't kill it before it reaches you you're going to have to bandage/eat.  What was wrong was prior gear leading you to believe it should be any other way.  You want to wear robes and feel immortal role a priest or a warlock.  A mage in even marginal gear is what you call "meat".

Edited by Sholto

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Tbh it kinda feel ridiculous, when just 2 weeks ago you literally beat a corrupted Titan into submission and now, even with endgame gear, you can still get wiped on the floor by some "possed port workers".

Making it challenging in the beginning is fine, it gives perspective and all, but reducing the powerprogression this hard just feels like you are doing something wrong and like all your previous accomplishments are pointless and worthless. Having a hard time with mobs throughout leveling is ok, but scaling with endgame gear just feels like you achieved nothing and like you wasted all that time on the hard gear grind, which btw is also a thing. Running 5-6 dungeons and barely getting 2 items out of them, let alone a new weapon ? Really ? I miss my artifact.

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56 minutes ago, Sholto said:

It's your feeling of god power that was never justified.  You bought into the power creep, which was the real problem with gear scaling in pretty much the last several expansions.  

My dude, you're a mage.  A mage.  If don't kill it before it reaches you you're going to have to bandage/eat.  What was wrong was prior gear leading you to believe it should be any other way.  You want to wear robes and feel immortal role a priest or a warlock.  A mage in even marginal gear is what you call "meat".

You're missing the point. I'm fine with questing being hard, totally fine. What's not fine is the insane drop all of a sudden due to the poor scaling and now that I'm ilvl320 those same mobs that were a pain in ilvl280 quest gear are STILL a pain. There's no progression whatsoever despite the fact I''m wearing epics. There's no reward for leveling AT ALL. I haven't gained a new skill or talent in 20 levels and now I'm at cap doing endgame content with endgame gear I feel no stronger than when I leveled because that crocodile in Nazmir still takes the same amount of time to kill and still does the same amount of damage to me.

You level up, you get stronger. That's one of the most fundamental things in RPGs. WoW doesn't have that now.

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And you missed the part where I said questing isn't hard.   Questing hasn't been "hard" in this game since, I dunno...Vanilla?  Maybe parts of BC (or that first moment stepping onto Timeless Isle in greens looking for some catch-up epics, which is the strongest any world mob has ever felt since Vanilla, regardless of class)?   If it's not hard now the WQs aren't going to be hard in two levels, regardless how mobs scale with gear.

Mobs scaled with gear in Legion too.

I'm in questing and crafted blues and greens plus three pieces of leveling Azerite gear and absolutely nothing in the game that's not a *boss* or a dungeon elite makes me break out in a sweat.  Soloing quest elites that suggest three players is trivial.  I will take on six+ quest mobs in my completely average leveling gear and end the fight at full health, and that's because of the class I play, not the gear, though as the gear keeps up or improves I just feel a tick stronger.  I actually don't know how many mobs are too many because leash and aggro mechanics don't let me gather as many as I'd like in dense areas.   I don't even need to carry food. 

Edited by Sholto

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Just scrap it. The idea of mobs magically becoming stronger because you have better gear is horrendously stupid. It's just contrived horseshit to try to prolong the life of content. Just call it what it is.

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I'm also quite annoyed by this, prefered the way it used to be prior to legion.

You get great gear for beating such strong such wow bosses and still don't notice a increase in performance during encounters in the open world.

Blizz pretends like we all love doing WQs and such, they are so much fun, they are the reason why i play wow and i wouldn't want it to go quicker :P


Level scaling is cool in many ways, also reducing the wait times for dungeons and such, although being top dps as a disc priest in dungeons while getting in at 110-116 smthing is quite stupid. 

Honestly having 4 disc priests + a proper tank and you could pull the whole dungeon as long as you're not lvl 120, dps is insane due to scaling if you take a lvl 120 tank and the healing is quite badass due to that as well.

 

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I want to be able to one-shot mobs and groups after I'm geared and 10 levels higher than I was when I started.  Who is to decide what way is better?  It would make sense that if you're making a product for the masses, you find out what the majority of the masses prefer.  Why not put a poll out with options and let the players decide?  In saying that, I do understand the creative element that you have to stick to your true creative intent sometimes.. but with this?  Not something I would choose to hold fast to.  Let us feel like gods once we're geared and experienced enough to deserve feeling like a god.

Edited by JVP

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Why not let us choose? If you that kinda guy that enjoys a hard beaten from quest mobs then have it your way. For me leveling should not be a "one shot  exp" but I don't want it to be a single player dungeon either. The challenge should come from group content, not single player conent.... last thing is just annoying.

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2 hours ago, Thundertree said:

Why not let us choose? If you that kinda guy that enjoys a hard beaten from quest mobs then have it your way. For me leveling should not be a "one shot  exp" but I don't want it to be a single player dungeon either. The challenge should come from group content, not single player conent.... last thing is just annoying.

Yes.. this was my thought when the introduced zone lvl scaling and it was terribly more difficult than it should've been.  But I do think a setting could be created to let the player choose.  Maybe today I want more of a challenge.. maybe the next day I want to pretend I'm Thor at the end of 'Infinity War'... let the player choose...

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      And I think there's more to the equation than A + B = C.
      It's very hard to imply or interpret player interest through a single point of data.
      Definitely true as well! It's a little harder to infer fully the impact of the token within the economy as you guys don't have sight on the buying and selling rates. I'm pretty sure people can pick up on what I implied though in my explanation. ?
       
    • By Stan
      Update: Blizzard have added two more new talents to the changes coming to the PTR:
      Elemental Shaman Talents (source)
      Just as a quick update, here's the current version of the experimental new talents that will be hitting the PTR soon. Reminder that these are experimental, the PTR is for testing, we'll probably iterate on or completely replace these designs, etc.
      Call the Thunder - Your maximum Maelstrom is increased by 30, and the Maelstrom cost of Earth Shock and Earthquake is reduced by 10.
      Surge of Power - Earth Shock also enhances your next spell:
      Flame Shock: The next cast does not incur a cooldown. Lightning Bolt: Your next 3 casts will cause an additional Elemental Overload. Lava Burst: Reduces the cooldown of your Fire (or Storm) Elemental by 6 sec. Frost Shock: Roots the target in place for 6 sec. Blizzard outlined a list of changes coming to Elemental Shamans in Patch 8.1 that should be available on PTR by the end of this week. We have the first round of improvements  Elemental Shamans in the next content update.
      TL;DR:
      Earth Shock damage decreased, Lightning Bolt damage increased. In-flight Lava Burst will now benefit from Flame Shock cast after it. Exposed Elements (level 15 talent), High Voltage (level 60 talent) removed. Earthen Rage is now a level 15 talent (up from level 90). Two new talents have been added, but we don't know much about them right now. Both are named after existing Artifact traits, but those are probably just placeholders (thanks @Stormy). Call the Thunder (level 60 talent) -> Call the Thunder (Legion Artifact trait). Surge of Power (level 90 talent) -> Surge of Power (Legion Artifact trait). Blizzard (Source)
      As the patch 8.1.0 information starts to comes out, we wanted to share the current plans of what is being changed for Elemental Shaman. Core Ability Changes:
      Shifted some damage from Earth Shock to Lightning Bolt. Elemental Shaman is the only lightning based spell caster. However, over time, Lightning Bolt has gone from being a significant portion of your total damage to one of your least damaging abilities. It should be a powerful and effective spell for you to cast, and not something that feels like a burden to your rotation. Earth Shock will still be your hardest hitting spell, but Lightning Bolt should feel a bit better as part of your rotation.
      Lava Burst has had its functionality changed behind the scenes to allow an in-flight Lava Burst to gain a guaranteed critical strike from a Flame Shock cast after the Lava Burst has been cast. This change should help your initial spells cast against a monster, boss, enemy player, or whatever else feel much better. You can cast Lava Burst before combat, and when it finishes, cast Flame Shock, and the Lava Burst will gain the critical strike benefit from your Flame Shock. 
      Talent Changes:
      The level 15 talent Elemental Blast will now always pick a different secondary stat buff when causing an Mastery: Elemental Overload. The level 30 talent Master of the Elements can now also benefit a Physical damage spell, allowing it to increase the damage of an Earthquake. The level 100 talent Stormkeeper now also increases the damage of your next two Lightning Bolts by 250% in addition to its existing effects. This damage bonus will also apply to the Elemental Overloads of Lightning Bolt from Stormkeeper. The Master of the Elements and Stormkeeper changes are primarily to help keep balance between single target damage and area damage of the talent rows. Master of the Elements will now affect your next Earthquake spell to keep the talent more competitive when dealing area damage, and Stormkeeper will grant you two really powerful Lightning Bolts that also cause Elemental Overloads when fighting just a single target.
      The level 15 talent Exposed Elements has been removed, and the level 90 talent Earthen Rage has taken its place The level 60 talent High Voltage has been removed. New talent in the level 60 row: Call the Thunder New talent in the level 90 row: Surge of Power When looking at the whole sum of changes made to Elemental Shaman this expansion, we feel that some of the passive talent choices weren’t holding up well, and had no interaction with how you played the game at all. We’re adding some experimental new talents that should allow some additional decision making on how you choose to use some of your abilities. Please keep in mind that both of these new talents, as well as all of the other changes, are still under iteration and may change entirely throughout the patch 8.1.0 PTR cycle.
    • By Starym
      We're back to daily hotfixes it seems, as today brings Druid and Priest nerfs/fixes for unintended interactions, yet more Fetid Devourer nerfs, a Conquest fix for the first brawl of the day and more.
      September 18 (source)
      Classes
      Druid Casting Regrowth with Rampant Growth active and Innervate active no longer grants two stacks of Lively Spirit. Priest Holy Guardian Spirit can no longer heal for more than 200% of the Priest's maximum HP. Dungeons and Raids
      Scarlet Monastery Scarlet Fanatic’s Hands of Purity no longer deals excessive damage. The Underrot Ticks now do less damage and spawn in smaller numbers. Unbound Abomination now spawns pools of Vile Expulsion around him. Uldir Fetid Devourer Corruption Corpuscle health reduced by 10% on Mythic difficulty. Island Expeditions
      The bonus XP reward for completing a normal Island Expedition has been increased. Player versus Player
      The PvP Brawl first win of the day now properly awards 40 Conquest. The Seasonal PvP Mount now properly indicates you need Combatant Rated PvP rank or higher to earn it. Druid Feral Earthen Grasp now only affects melee hit chance, and no longer reduces spell hit chance. Previous Hotfixes
      September 17th September 14th September 13th