[GW2] Mastery of Scaling

For gamers, scaling seems easy. You know when we just ask for features like “why can’t you just add this feature?” And the developer hears “why can’t you sleep under your desk so you can spend every waking hour coding and rewriting tools?” Scaling is one of those things.

It’s just not the tech required, but the actual design. How much scaling? What about players that suck, and equally what about players with perfect stats/builds? The amount of variables can be mind-boggling. Most importantly, where is that sweet scaling spot to keep things fun?

Scaling has been one of Guild Wars 2 jewels since launch, but I feel that at launch it was a gem not well cut. The amount of moving variables seemed to be smaller than what one would dream for scaling. In Orr, events would simply add more undead balloons to pop instead of actually making it harder for a zerg of farmers. My eyes would glaze over as 20 bandits per wave would attack a windmill in the level 2-3 human area.

Throughout their first year ArenaNet has been adding more ways to scale. The most obvious change is scaling upwards to veteran and champion status enemies. With this latest update though, I feel ArenaNet’s scaling jewel is now very well cut. Guild Wars 2 has achieved mastery in scaling their content.

First, let’s step away from events, and discuss the latest instance/mini-dungeon, Scarlet’s Playhouse. I won’t go in to much detail on the dungeon as Jeromai already does a great job breaking the dungeon experience down. Anyway, ArenaNet is making guides for the content patches, but I feel that they left something out. Something I feel is pretty big. Scarlet’s Playhouse can be played with any group number (and solo).

It seems that instead of balancing things only for solo and a full group of five, Scarlet’s Playhouse organically scales to any group number. I don’t know if this was just a ghost in the system or if a designer actually took time to do this, but I am incredibly grateful for it. Mrs. Ravious and I two-manned the instance. It was pretty dead on for good, reasonable difficulty. I’ve heard a lot of people say a group of 4 with a staff guardian of reflection makes the instance incredibly easy. I am just not sure why they wouldn’t advertise this “feature”. I still want more dungeons (5-man required), but for story instances and mini-dungeons, I feel 1-5 scaling is the way to go.

Getting back to the events, and more particularly the invasion events of Clockwork Chaos, I am really enjoying how ArenaNet has been handling the scaling. Here’s a zone capped to probably around 80-100 people where everybody is swarming in random function to an event. I personally don’t follow commanders. I warp to an area I want to be, and 9 times out of 10 there’s another person or two.

Here’s where it gets fun. In those invasion events, I have taken down events with 2 people. I have been in events with 10 people, and of course plenty of times I’m surrounded by 20-30 people in some vast amoeba of a player mob. The scaling has kept things fun all through the way. My favorite was definitely where a random thief and I mostly took down a champion clockwork ourselves with 3-4 other players coming in right at the end. I am also vastly enjoying smaller skirmish scaling compared to amoeboid zerging. The scaling makes it fun.

It wasn’t always thus. I can recall the horrendous difficulty (which still exists) during the Return to Southsun days, where insta-kill was of the norm. Even though the event is quite fun, I rarely seem to see the karka queen surface, and I think in large part it’s due to very high difficulty scaling with the pre-events. Orr is a lot, and I mean a lot better, than launch days in terms of scaling, but right now I feel that the champion bumps could go a tad higher.

Going forward, I am all the more glad that ArenaNet seems to have scaling pretty well down. I like not caring, and actually embracing, the fact that I might be fighting alone, in a small group, or a large zerg, and it all seems to be fairly seamless. I do enjoy the smaller fights better because they require much more skill, but traveling with the herd is fun too. With the mostly positive feedback on these invasion events, I can’t wait for more events of this nature. Even a month or two from now when only a handful of people want to defend against a Scarlet invasion, I know it will scale well.



6 thoughts on “[GW2] Mastery of Scaling”

  1. Are you saying that, when you and the thief duoed the Champion, even though it was called a Champion it didn’t have the hit points/damage of a true Champion? If not, if you mean that you can duo at-level “regular” Champions of which this is an example, then you’re already playing at a level of skill so stratospherically above my own that there’s no point me even considering trying anything like it.

    I waypointed to a couple of invasions last night at which I was the only person present. In each case I was faced with half a dozen or more Veterans in a tight pack. I didn’t attempt to solo them. I opened the map, found a commander and joined the zerg. If those were real veterans I think that was the sensible course. If they are in fact faux-veterans, scaled to be a suitable match for the one and only player in the area, perhaps they shouldn’t be called Veterans in the first place?

    1. It felt like a real champion. A lot of cc from being a necro, coupled with hiding behind trees helped. That and I have ranged non-projectiles so the first phase is okay. I will admit that things were getting really tight at the end, but the cavalry came.

  2. I was beginning to wonder if I could actually do damage lol, until I too found myself doing an event with one other player. The scaling for Scalett, the champions, and the veterans simply seems to be insane amounts of hit points. They NPCs don’t actually really kill anybody or offer any challenge. It is simply a grinding race against the clock. Alot like the dragon events, except for the clock. I would prefer the NPCs actually became a challenge, like they are in small groups. At those times, our characters are actaully at risk and the NPCs have an actual chance to win. But then, I have never liked the dragon events either. Go figure.

  3. In my experience they are real veterans and champions close to those found in the rest of the game, maybe a tad easier. This from my experience in attacking solo. It is not as hard as you might think. Success is a matter of using pulling and kiting techniques until your character gets what he can handle. Then ya can kill them. Running into the middle is not recommended. :)

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