So, I promised everyone a rant about Legion, and now that I’m at level cap, I have one to share.
Let me provide some context first.
I had a friend over on Saturday, and convinced him to give Bloodborne a try. I haven’t played through the intro in a while, so it was really neat to see it again, particularly from the perspective of an observer. It may be one of the best tutorial-without-being-a-tutorial sequences since Super Mario Bros 1-1. You start off with no weapon, something kills you brutally, you get a weapon and the tables are turned, you’re thrown out into a world with almost no direction and the game throws a guy with an axe at you. Beat him, you get to fight TWO guys, and a guy with a shield, and a guy with a weapon and a torch, and a guy ambushing you from the side and then a patrol where you need to pull singles out with “pebbles” the size of softballs… at every step, you are getting a “here is a new problem. Solve it, or die”, and every time you die you get to prove that you understood all of the encounters up to that point again.
Then you hit the two werewolves and really hope you held on to some Molotov cocktails or are good at exploiting geometry, because those sonsabitches are grade A nasty. They do burn good, though.
But, just past THEM, you get to the game’s first boss, the Cleric Beast – and, win or lose, the odds just turned in your favor. Now, you can use blood echoes for leveling up, and throwing them into VIT for hit points gives you a ton of breathing room for experiments and making mistakes. It lets you start the cycle of increasing player power that is core to most games.
To bring this back to WoW, since that’s where I started, this is where the level scaling added for Legion betrays that basic player expectation – that, as your character gains levels, stuff will get easier.
Let’s take Aszuna, the recommended starting zone for the expansion. It has a lot of demons to fight, and they’re not honestly TOO dangerous, at least not as a priest. Most of them are big bags of hit points who say menacing things and fall over after you hit them enough.
I’m in this zone, and I’m level 102, and I have to kill these demons because some guy with weird hair told me that he wants 12 of them dead because they ran over his dog or something, and I can see that they have 800,000 hit points, and that takes an age and a half to chew through but whatever.
Then I get to about the halfway point in level 102, and they now have 960000 hit points, and as boring as they were to kill before they are now 20% more tedious. Gaining experience has actually been punished.
So, since I got to level 110 having only finished the storylines in two of Legion’s four leveling zones, I got to go and play through the other two zones already being 110 and with everything being ridiculously inflated. I needed to go and kill some of those same demons again, and now they had 1.7 million hit points.
The only way to make the content easier is to outgear it, and yes, as I’m getting equipment it IS getting less frustrating. I hit iLvl 825 last night and ran LFR for a couple of raids, got some new gear and then had to go through a dungeon for a quest. I felt like an absolute badass healer the whole way.
But, none of that is because I’m a level 110 priest now. Rather, it’s 100% based on getting shiny epic gear. Really, there was no good reason for a level cap raise, except to make you feel like a newbie again for the nine levels before capping out and gearing up.
It’s cured me of any urge to make alts, I can tell you that. 🙂
tl;dr: level scaling sucks, has always sucked, and will always suck.
As it happens, this is the same reason I didn’t enjoy Oblivion all that much. I got stronger, but so did all the enemies. What was the purpose in becoming more powerful if there was no way to feel more powerful? FF8 did something similar, meaning you could be the final boss at something like level 8.
Oh, yeah, FF8 was terrible for this. I didn’t know anything about the mechanics back in the day, so I’d hit a tough boss fight and then go and grind a bit because that’s what you DO when you hit a tough spot, right?
I keep meaning to try it again now that I’ve had someone explain how to cheese the system, but other things always come up.
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