Thursday, 8 June 2017

MMOs: TESO Level Scaling

[Added to my MMO Design folder.]

Years ago I did a post about the problem with levels in an MMO. Having now experienced the Elder Scrolls Online, I now get to see the other / another side to it and that is level scaling.

Much like in Skyrim, the bad guys always match your level - irrespective of map zone. This is a truer scaling than what Guild Wars 2 tried to do, where a level 70 who is "down leveled" in a lower level zone can still steamroll everything. Here's a quick Pro/Con tongue in cheek list for what TESO does:

Pros: You can now go in any direction immediately and not his "Foe Walls" to your quest progression. Wandering into a level 60 zone while level 5? No problem! Those enemies will hold their punches for you. Also, this means your friend who just joined the game can come into that uber, end of game quest with you. Nice!

Cons: Missed the tutorial happy cake dungeon (that doesn't exist - just my example) and are going back as a max level character? Expect those tutorial monsters to have a lot of new DPS heavy moves and hundreds more HP - enough to actually challenge you! Also, congrats - you just finished the game after 3 months? The guy next to you finished it in 1 day... while level 5.

I can understand why people both like and dislike the system, and while I don't mind it since I do prefer people to be able to immediately play together in games, I still think having no "over all" levels is the best approach.

By that I mean, don't attach Life or HP to levels, or if you must make it by the smallest of fractions. A new player gets 100hp. And end of game character might have 110 at most. Getting hit by a bus, or more likely stabbed with a sword, should still one shot either.

And don't even get me started about level based gear either. Blargh.

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