Scaling zones are perhaps one of the most exciting and anticipated features World of Warcraft: Legion has to offer. However, as is often the case, it likely won’t be all sunshine and rainbows when this feature sees the light of day in game. Almost no feature enters the game without causing some ripples. While players have been waiting years for a feature like this to be implemented into the game, a feature this big is bound to have its problems.
Scaling Zones – The Run Down
For those who missed BlizzCon and are not familiar with the new concept of scaling zones, this is a new feature set to be implemented in Legion. Instead of having a linear questing path to follow, players will be allowed to choose their own adventure to a certain extent. In other words, when leveling in Legion, most new zones will scale to your character’s current level. This scaling includes mob levels and the rewards you will find there.
This leaves players the option to travel to and from most zones at will, something that has never before been available in the game. Only zones made for max level characters will remain static and will not scale with the new system. Scaling zones will make questing and leveling more interesting than ever before and will eliminate the boring linear path that players were forced to take in the past. However, as exciting as scaling zones promise to be; there seems to lie some inherent problems with this feature that many players have already spotted.
Who hasn’t reached max level only to go back to older (and now easier) zones to farm materials, recipes, and other tidbits. This will no longer be an option in Legion. With scaling zones, even at 110 the zones you leveled up through will be just as difficult as they were the first time you ran through them. Forget not aggroing mobs or one shotting anything; you are going to have to do some serious work no matter what zone you are in. While this doesn’t sound like a huge deal, it could have a huge impact on farming and the cost of materials in this upcoming expansion.
Besides being harder to travel back and farm, scaling zones will present what could be a world PvP nightmare. Scaling zones will allow players of every level to comfortably hang out in them, level 100 to level 110 will rub elbows. While this won’t be a big deal for those residing on PvE servers, PvP servers will be a whole other story.
Think about a world where a zone is filled with players of every level and they are all able to attack the others. High levels, low levels, and everything in between will all be completing the same quests, traveling the same paths, and interacting with the same NPCs. This leaves an open invitation for players to gank other players at will. While world PvP can be fun, constantly getting wtfpwned by higher level players is not something most fans enjoy. How this potential issue will be addressed, if it is at all, remains to be seen.
If you aren’t worried about getting ganked, you may find yourself feeling a little less powerful than usual. While leveling each level up typically makes you feel like you are growing more and more intimidating. You gain new spells, talents, stats, and generally are able to defeat your enemies much more easily.
In scaling zones, this will never be the case. No matter how many levels you gain or how powerful you become, the zone will increase in power with you. Imagine random boar from the “starting” zone was still as difficult to kill at max level as it was when you are just starting out. Kind of disappointing.
This leaves little cause for celebration as you gain each level. In fact, leveling will likely feel more like a traditional action game than an RPG. The argument could be made that there will be little purpose to levels at all in Legion. Sure, you will get some shiny new toys along the way; but you probably will not ever feel like you are getting ahead.
There are certainly ups and downs to the scaling of zones in Legion. While I feel it will be a welcome change, we cannot go into it not expecting a few snafus along the way. Hopefully they are worked out quickly and scaling becomes a feature that feels like it has always been a part of the game.
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