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Community Blog Topic Results: Scaling characters down to low-level content

Our latest Community Blog Topic is about whether or not WoW should offer the scaling of characters to low-level content.

mrfusticle explains the many negative reactions to this and other features.
Blizz: Hey, we're bringing out strawberry ice cream!
Player1: Whaa! I hate strawberry ice cream.. You're gonna waste time making that and not the vanilla I like?!? screw you!
Player2: Whaa! You better not get rid of chocolate ice cream!.. I like chocolate ice cream! Man, I'll be so furious!
Player3: Whaa! You don't even know how to make strawberry ice cream! This game is dying! I'm going to Frozen-yoghurt-star.. At least you get tough ice cream that gives you brain freeze!!!eleven!
Crohmar at Maw of the Moonkin would love having the option for questing content.
I hated (!!) leveling all my chars through Pandaria. I just dont like the continent, the vibe, the theme. If I could have had a choice to scale down and level from 80-90 in Northrend or some Cata zones... Id have loved it. Im a big fan of NR, and being able to level there to cap if you make that choice would be wonderful. Just not sure whether everyone would like it.
JeffLaBowski at Sportsbard thinks that making alts to play with friends is a better idea, but has a suggestion.
If there was some kind of mentoring system, where a max level player could go to a dungeon and "instruct" or guide people through it (including tips on their spec/role) that would be cool. I would reward those players with extra points and probably a goodie bag.
KoplaGames is the person who made the video showing the scaling "bug" and he has this to say:
I personally think that scaling being an option would be a great thing but the key to it is that it HAS to be an option since blizzard themselves have said time and time before that they are going to keep old content soloable and if rewards are implemented right i think this "Feature" may be something that brings back some old players and give lower level toons a larger group of people to experience the dungeons with.
Rossfale at Feckless Leader looks at the positives.
As a whole, I think the idea is wonderful and am a bit surprised something like this wasn't implemented long ago. Good news is, a feature like this indicates Blizzard plans on the game being around for awhile. I think we can all celebrate that.
Mental Maggie at Polka Dots and Popcorn opines:
It is true that for those of us that like to quest and complete a zone, the quests turn green and sometimes grey before the zone is complete, especially if the character is in a level 25 guild and wearing full heirlooms. In my opinion, that is not enough of a reason to introduce level scaling, though. If I want to complete a zone's quests, whether to get the achievement or just to see the full story play out, I am less interesting in gaining levels on my toon that in seeing the story, therefore, I could care less about whether I was getting 50K XP or 25K XP.

Other games

HobMeadows suggests RIFT's scaling method.
RIFT's system is pretty much perfect. You click on your portrait and use a slider bar to determine your level. You have all of your spells and abilities, but they're scaled back appropriately. You earn experience, and a chance at a green or blue treasure boxes that contain gear appropriate for your "real" level.
melbrankin assumed at first that WoW would have the same features as Everquest 2.
Several other MMO's past and current had various mentoring abilities - I asked the my friends in wow about this when I came over from EQ2 why they didnt have mentoring and couldn't just down scale to my level to help me thru content.

Psnacky thinks Guild Wars 2 does it just right.
Downscaling is the single best feature that they could add to WoW. Always on and automatic, you always scale to the recommended level of the zone or dungeon you are in; drops and xp gains are appropriate to you actual level rather than the zone level; all world pvp would be between "equal" level players (higher level players still have talent, skill and scaled gear advantages). Guild Wars 2 implemented this system perfectly so they should just copy the way that ArenaNet did it.

Caveats

thorvathjr expresses a popular opinion.
Worse still would be if Blizz tries to lean on this as "new" content. They've already reused several old dungeons as current content. MoP only got 6 completely new 5-mans, the other 3 were remakes. It's not a stretch for Blizz to just lazily turn the daily heroic into a scaled daily and throw you into any dungeon scaled down.

They could then justify making even less new 5-mans because "hey there's over 50 classic dungeons you could wind up in!"
dawnshadow issues a warning.
(You do NOT want to scale up raid loot to the current level, though, or you get a situation where you need to run Black Temple for your BiS trinket and ICC for bracers and Dragon Soul because Gurth'alak's proc happens to scale ridiculously well at level 100 and ToT for your OTHER BiS trinket, etc, and suddenly you "have" to run ten raids a week to keep up with the Joneses.)

unlimitedBLACK at Power Word: Remix goes in depth about the positive and negative effects of what he calls Timewalker dungeons AKA dungeons where players are scaled down to appropriate levels.
Having a Timewalkers queue where tanks and healers are going to get old content means fewer tanks/healers in the current content heroics queue to do current content. While many of the pre-BC dungeons were fairly light on mechanics more complicated than "tank it whilst thou spank it" there are still plenty of dungeons where those mechanics would need to be known by the tank in order to succeed, and that's a lot of mechanics to track.

PvP

DavidFountain has a PvP suggestion.
Questing zone scaling: if pvp is not enabled, scaling is optional, you can go through as a high level to burn through the zone if you want, or take the "scenic route" as it were. BUT!!! if pvp is enabled, scaling is no longer optional, you are scaled to the zone no matter what. Makes low level ganking a little less unfair. The higher level will still have the advantage because they have more talents and spells and their gear will be scaled to the maximum possible ilvl of the zone (whereas the on-level character might have gear that is below the scale limit), but the lower-level character at least has a chance.
Astalnar at Cogitationes Astalnaris has PvP concerns.
If the downscaling is optional, but can be applied anywhere, what happens with the world PvP? Let us imagine you are picking herbs in Southern Barrens. Because you thought it would be fun, you decided to downscale. Then you encounter an Alliance player that did not downscale. Can he one-shot this Horde herb-gatherer, or will the Horde player automatically return to his max level? And if the latter is true, how does the game decide when you need to be max level, and when downscaled?
Overall, most people felt that level scaling would be a wonderful feature, as long as it is optional. According to Tom Chilton, the feature is already finished, they're just trying to decide on a reward structure. Will this feature be optional? Will only instances be affected? Which dungeons will be available for downscaling? Will you have to be max-level to participate? So many questions. Perhaps BlizzCon will give us the answers.

Do you have any suggestions for future Community Blog Topics? Leave them in the comments below.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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