One of the more interesting – and controversial – changes with the 8.0 BfA Warcraft patch has been the further introduction of level scaling. It was already around before the patch, but it now seems to be universal. Which has had a huge impact on the speed of levelling.

For the longest time people have complained about out-levelling content so that they feel they can’t effectively finish storylines because the XP reward is basically zero. Not that that meant you couldn’t do the content, just that it felt like you were wasting time – it’s a strange mental trick.

So Blizzard have introduced scaling across all continents and content, effectively splitting it into Vanilla / Burning Crusade + WotLK / Pandaria + Cataclysm / Warlords / Legion / BfA. You can now level in any zone within those brackets, and the mobs and rewards will scale accordingly.

This is pretty great in many ways, as those that enjoy the storylines can experience the entire thing. You can jump to a zone you haven’t played and everything will be a gentle challenge and you’ll get gear upgrades as you travel. It’s a boon for the Alliance levelling we’re doing, making each zone relevant and interesting.

The main disadvantage is all the old speed levelling techniques have dried up. I’m interested in levelling an Allied race – Highmountain Tauren, naturally – so started investigating how best to do it. The received wisdom seems to be that there are basically no shortcuts any more.

The old favourite of chain running dungeons appears to be off the cards, as the time invested in the run is often better served just doing simple questing.

When we started running the low level Alliance dungeons, I assumed everyone would be gaining two or three levels per run, meaning we’d have trouble completing them all. But the scaling has meant that people are lucky to level even once, and all the dungeons are available until level 60. Pretty great, and very clever.

Some claim that carrying through dungeons with a high level friend (or second account) is still an option, running Stormwind Stockades from 1-60(!), but that is terminally dull. Some redditors seem to think that there’s a pet battle loophole, but that too sounds super dull. I want to level fastish, but I don’t want to just do the same thing over, and over, and over.

So in the end, it seems that the simple act of gearing your character up with heirlooms, taking mining and herbing, and setting out into the world is the best method. Which is probably as it should be, and I’m merrily making my way through the Barrens once again as a result, and enjoying every moment.

4 thoughts on “Scalability”

  1. For the first time, I went to a region which I suspect I was ‘supposed’ to do earlier. So I am in Loch Modan and what happens is all the simple filler quests don’t flash up…you can click on someone and they will give it to you but it was a shock the first time BUT the bigger?story quests are scaled to be a few grand experience in line with my levelling. It means I still enjoy the main quests but ignore the little stuff. For the first time I realised there is no way I can do this with one character….oh 43 and running 🙂

    1. Ah, that’s interesting. And surprising. There is a setting somewhere where you can ‘show low level quests’ which makes quests you’ve outlevelled show with grey exclamation marks instead of yellow. I think it’s in either the minimap tracking button or else the general options. Good to do if you want to complete *everything*.

  2. I haven’t tried it (as I’m currently not playing) but this sounds a bit meh. I’m not advocating “speedrunning” at all, but let’s just say I have 14 chars at Level 100 or above and if I am leveling more (I still have a few in the 50-90 bracket as well) I don’t want to be super slow, I did this stuff often enough…

    Actually I found the speed up to Legion really ok. With heirlooms it was fast enough, without it was still ok.

    1. I think it’s really good for the new and early bunch of alts, but you’re right once you get to the 10th you start to want to speed things up as at that point it’s really mainly just to complete the character set rather than experience all the story and lore again. But I guess that’s what heirlooms are for. Heirloom weapons mean you one or two shot things which really speeds it up.

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