Character Power Scaling and Zones

Hello, Secret Worlders!

Now we have the Season 2 announcement, looking at the Reveal video, I started thinking about something I quite often muse about.

First things first, I am NOT suggesting a change of existing zones. I am suggesting an optional, scaled experience of all zones as a choice/instance.

We all know the zones are tuned around a certain IP and the character power scales way, way more than zone difficulty can keep up. Basically, when the Tower was reworked and added to SWL, any and all of the players who were interested in the Elite ladder climb were already past the point where the enemies would prove to be any challenge.

I fear that this will be the case for the upcoming content, also.

Of course, this is not a bad thing in itself. Basically, you cannot scale the story content designed for solo to keep escalating in difficulty as that would alienate the casual player and this game is AMAZING for the casual player.

However, without pumping out group content, keeping the Elite ladder climbers interested becomes a problem as well.

So, my suggestion is, applying the Solo Scenario formula to zones as different instances. Maybe not a full E1-E10 ladder but an E1-E5-E10 scaled version of zones would be amazing for the high IP players.

In all honesty, aside from maybe some more shards, not much balancing to the rewards would be necessary either. I’m pretty sure people would go for the challenge itself - and obviously some other incentive like shards, some extra mof or greater chance at better drops would be good but I seriously doubt they are necessary.

This has the advantage of keeping people entertained with maybe not challenging but at LEAST non-trivial content in the open world and requiring no new assets or writing.

I know this is not a new idea but I wanted to revisit this with the S2 on the horizon and hear your opinions about this.

Also, I know you can go ahead and say “get an alt” but truth be told, with the game not being very alt friendly, I doubt most of us would be interested in levelling an alt, redo story, delete alt, go at it again, etc. I’d much rather go back to Kingsmouth with Shivvies and get stomped by a firefighter all over again <3

What do you think? Would you have alternative methods to deal with the character scaling and making the huge existing content reusable?

EDIT: Just to be clear, I am NOT talking about buffing mobs at existing zones. I am talking about some sort of an instancing system where you select your difficulty and whenever you port to a zone, it is a scaled instance.

It is like The Division’s World Scaling. Of course, meeting up on someone would put you in their instance which would not be scaled, for instance. Or when you group if any of the members do not meet the requirements, your grouping attempt would not go through, etc.



If you want challenge you can always scale yourself down, just remove your talis or change them for some with lower IP.


But what’s the point? Wouldn’t a higher risk / higher reward reuse of a huuuge untapped content benefit everyone?

I mean, I can’t scale down my HEALTH, for instance, it takes a single mob ages to kill me. my bases stats are high, cannot change them. And, THAT would add another level of grind. AND that would not make anything below Shadowy Forest reusable.

And this would be artificial.

The idea is not “finding a challenge” - the idea is keeping the rich, varied content of the game fresh.

I already climb the Elite ladder and frankly, the number of instances is getting boring. So, instead of crying for moar group content -which I obviously want- I thought I’d offer an alternative, long-term supporting method =)



I’m equally worried about loss of enjoyment and even immersion from missions by power creep causing all mobs to die in one hit, and the ability to revisit earlier zones with scaling would breathe new life into the game for me. Currently Tokyo is the only place to go for shards unless everything there is on cooldown, because everything else gives much less shards/hour. It would be really nice to have the ability to go anywhere without feeling like you are wasting resources per time spent.

And @Kaphax, now you’re talking about creating our own difficulty by intentionally making our character weaker. If players actually feel the need to do that, then I feel something is completely wrong with the game. And it also would still give you almost no reason to return to Solomon for other reasons than agents. I understand where you’re coming from with this, but I don’t think it’s relevant to this discussion.

That’s my two cents on this matter, at least.


Yeah, the aspect you bring up is interesting to me as well. I mean, at the moment there is almost zero difference in difficulty between Kaidan and other zones for me but I feel compelled to stick to Kaidan because otherwise I feel the rewards are not satisfactory.

It is basically a pointless reward scaling after a certain IP becaus one shotting a filghy on the Kaidan streets is no different than one shotting a Ghoul in Besieged Farmlands.


I like it, I have been wanting to redo the entire storyline with my main.


Yeah, especially this.

Imagine how barren Kaidan would be without story repeats. Now imagine addition of replayable main missions to old zones scaled to higher IP. It would add SO MUCH replayability without feeling like you are wasting time and resources on an alt <3

Cheers for your input!

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I like your idea. I actually enjoy what ESO has with the zone scaling. Blizzard just did something similar with WoW. Makes the leveling better as you don’t outlevel everything. But for ease of doing, instanced would be great.

Personally, I can’t hang out in Kaidan - I know the rewards are better, but I spent way to much time there in TSW. I tend to bop around the map depending on my mood and often go do missions I haven’t done in eons. I also do have two alts - one sat in CoTSG for five months until the agent system. The other’s still in Sol Isles lvl 40 as he’s doing everything, so no challenge there.


I would love for there to be optional scaling for zones. The zones are small population enough anyway, it shouldn’t be an issue for there to be three tiers of them. And it’d provide some variety for grinding once the story is done.

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Yeah, I actually prefer all content scaling automatically like it does in One Tamriel ESO but that is pretty much a complete overhaul and I doubt Funcom would do that. Don’t get me wrong, what I mean by that is it would be really difficult to match it with the current gearing system and the resources necessary to do it would be immense, I’d think. That’s why I do not think it is feasible.

Besides, this way we have the option. You want to feel powerful enough that nothing can stand in your way once you reach, say, 200 IP? Go normal zones. You like the thrill of trying to stay alive when you pull just one more mob than you could normally handle in Kaidan? Great, go E instances <3


I mean, on that account, I would have loved to see personal instances anyway. Like, unless you are grouped or let someone MU on you, you would never see another secret worlder. The reason for that is A) the missions are much cleanly done so you do not wait for 5-10 minutes for the mobs to spawn after someone JUST cleared an area and B) I feel it is more immersive.

However, it might not be a good fit for the initial design architecture of the dimension system. I am not 100% sure of that.


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Yeah, implementation is not really important. A selector while going into the map, even if it kills the teleport, or better yet choices on the teleport UI would have been wonderful.

It needs not be polished either. Like, just scaled mobs and missions as with Scenarios <3


While I like your idea I do believe it would be a lot of work to implement since ever mob has to be upscaled. If you do that without really checking some things just break balancing by being way to strong or to weak.
Just look at how borked the scaling for dungeons is. Now imagine that on the bigger storycontent maps.

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Well, there are no “mechanics” so to speak in open world. And aside from enrage timer on MT, other things are managable. I mean, yeah, I know the whole sustain tank meta is not ideal but for open world it would be like Scenarios which are fine to most extents.


Not bad idea, but it’s generaly problem to implement that. “Scaling” is not procedural here. Every single tier acts as different dung. They are copy pasted, but manually (or maybe semi-manual) changed all constants. Even triggers are not really percentage and such, but numbers. It’s not just “upscale” formula. It’s different zone, hard to make, hard to test.

Then we get bugs like DW6. Starting with 1.6M, at 1.2M triggers his 2nd phase, you get 300% damage buff, you kill the rest. Then you go to higher tier and you get boss with 8M HP but it’s still triggered on 1.2M (then you get 300% buff and kill the rest).

It goes even further, HP at which boss dies are not what you see in GUI. So for example POL4. Normally you beat the lady until she has 50% HPs then she explode. But it’s easy to mess it up so beat her from 500k to 0, then you beat her a bit more, and if you beat another 1.5M she will explode.

The last bug still applies to ANKH 3 btw. You now how the last guy always stands with 0 a little longer then he should? Based on mechanic from TSW, the last guy is actually fully healed when you kill the other two. So my guess is he still is, just somebody forgot to update the number we see. And you may see this bug only on some tiers :slight_smile:

So scaling in SWL… rather not. It would only bring 3x more bugs, not to mention meetup problems. The another problem are rewards ofc. You really think we would get higher rewards? They are limiting us on every single step in SWL. Whoever steps out of the line is struck down. Either by some cap, or “nerf-fix” with funny explanation (like Tokyo boxes, like glyphs soft cap, like no synergies).

And E10 people are already those game mechanic breakers. They play too long to understand and have resources to experimenting. FC is scared of us. (I would send them to play Warframe a bit to see how PvE balancing does(not) matter to the fun.)

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In a sense every attack an enemy knows is a mechanic. Also every healthtrigger in the game. Also enviroment damage like filth.
Suddendly things that so far worked as story content builds become unviable since you can’t kill enemies with it. Upscaling locust for example turn into far harder challenges than the increase of their healpool would suggest. Filth humans in generally will start wrecking your face. Such things that turn “Just scale up hp and damage” into “Oh god how the hell should I beat that without getting myself ripped a new one”

This has been discussed with devs several times in few older community streams/interviews and they explained it would require large amount of work and they have no time/resources. And even then the amount of work would not be proportional to the retention effect.

The game has changed somewhat since those older discussions. And programmers often miss simple methods of doing things because they are focused on the way things are ‘normally’ done.

For instance, afaik, currently zones are already in effect a ‘10 player max instance’. Also, given player population and zone spread, I often find I am in a zone with only 1 or 2 other people. Thus it does not become unreasonable to have an ‘elite’ and ‘nightmare’ version of a zone that only pops for players with high IP and extreme IP.

We already have (or have had) lair versions and nightmare versions of all the mobs, so populating a zone with those is not that hard. And rewards don’t need to be adjusted beyond what the higher difficulty mobs normally provide in their zone plus maybe a loot table swap in a few places.

I’m not saying it would be ‘easy’, and it is fairly obvious that FunCom barely has the resources to develop anything new much less edit the old. I would actually recommend picking maybe one zone, that gets revisited a lot by higher IP players, and trying it there. If that proves popular, they could maybe add one new zone per quarter to the list.

(Edit: many games have a difficulty setting in Options - players could just select Normal/Elite/Nightmare as their difficulty setting and if a zone has the option to match it, that is the zone model they get)

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I am not a game programmer but what I remember the main problem was somewhat deep in the very core of game and its engine. And with all SWL changes I don’t think the changes went so far.

I’m not saying it would be ‘easy’, and it is fairly obvious that FunCom barely has the resources to develop anything new much less edit the old. I would actually recommend picking maybe one zone, that gets revisited a lot by higher IP players, and trying it there. If that proves popular, they could maybe add one new zone per quarter to the list.

I think this is very naive thinking of someone with no programming experience. It would need nearly the same amount of work as they would introduce elite versions of all zones imho.

Imho with FC/SWl situation this would be dead end, far more loosing than getting. I will always prefer new content and bringing back missing dungeons and pvp, than this amount work for elite versions of old zones.

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Still an idea for later, yeah.
I’d be glad to permascale my character to the zones i visit. I always been against the disppearance of aggro because of level-difference, because it’s illogical, boring and only there to please the bikers in kingsmouth not wanting to have zombie slaps on them while they show off.

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