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Monsters Scaling with iLevel - Undocumented Change Explained

Suzie Ford Updated: Posted:
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Ion Hazzikostas has posted a lengthy explanation on the World of Warcraft community forum about of a previously undocumented change in v7.2. Monsters are now scaling to a player's iLevel rather than character level as before. There are issues with the system, however, in that players who remove an item see a change in the health pool of the monster they are fighting. The post addresses both the undocumented change and the item removal "bug".

Monsters scaling to players' levels was a big talking point at Legion's launch, something that the developers felt was important to the notion of power progression. Over time, however, they have reconsidered that stance.

Devs feel that power progression remains important and that players should be able to return to older areas of the expansion and feel overpowered. But too much power leads to unintended issues:

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.

The post further explains that scaling monsters to player iLevel mitigates these issues specifically with regard to overkill or taking down monsters in 1-2 GCDs. 

"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." reads the post.

Lastly, the post explains why this rather big change never made it to PTR and was not part of the 7.2. patch notes. The change, according to the post, was never meant to be deceptive but to be "subtle" the same way that level scaling is. Devs wanted players to feel the change "organically".

Unequipping items is a bug, the post goes on, and will be something that is going to be addressed in the next day or two. Removing the system entirely is also still an option. 

You can read the full post (and the rather...vigorous discussion) on the World of Warcraft community forum.


Suzie Ford

Suzie is the former Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom