Could Guild Wars 2 Downscaling Have Unintended Consequences?

One thing in Guild Wars 2 that makes it an “anti-MMO” much like its predecessor is the dynamic downscaling that delevels characters to an area’s max level if they go back to an old area.  The kneejerk reaction when this system was first discussed was, “Well how does leveling up make my character more powerful then?”  ArenaNet’s response was that downleveled characters would still be more powerful than leveling characters at the same level, which makes sense because downleveled characters still get a fraction of the attribute bonuses from their traits, which means in addition to the more powerful skills, particularly signets that give passive bonuses, downleveled high level characters in low level areas are basically going to be like twinks in low level PVP in games like WoW.  😛

Therefore, even though you won’t one-shot everything in a 5-mile radius, you’ll still 2- or 3-shot all kinds of mobs if you know what you’re doing and basically be able to mow things down unless you get too careless about what you’re doing.  I think this is a nice compromise between no character progression at all and old content being trivial if you’re not at level, but could this system cause some unintended consequences because of this?

I know I’ve thought more than a few times about the whole twink thing while leveling my Guardian through his first 30 levels.  Guild Wars 2 doesn’t have a leveling curve in terms of experience per level and helping out in lower level areas actually gets you some experience and drop boosts so you can get things closer to your level even when helping out in other areas.  With that in mind, because of the twink thing with downleveled characters, what’s stopping someone from casually leveling up and not sticking to any kind of progression curve at all?

For example, let’s say you play a human and 100% complete Queensdale, but instead of going to Kessex Hills, you go to another starter zone and 100% complete that as a downleveled character?  One could theoretically just rotate between zones in the same level range and have their entire leveling experience after Level 15 consist of being a downleveled character and thus easy mode.  😛  I realize ArenaNet has adopted a “Play Your Way” attitude to this game, but seriously now.  Doesn’t this go a tad too far?  😛

I actually did this with World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm because of how the questing system was set up where Level 80 quests didn’t turn green until Level 84 or 85, so at the end of either Vash’jir or Mt. Hyjal, I could just go to the other starter zone and 100% complete that instead of moving on to Deepholm where the at-level creatures would be harder to kill.  But that’s just one poorly-tuned expansion of WoW, not an entire game like Guild Wars 2 is.  😛

I think for comparison’s sake since I’m already being a huge altaholic in this game I’ll have to try it myself.  I’m leveling my Guardian the normal way for the most part.  I think what I’ll do with my recently-started Warrior is try this out.  Rotate between areas in the same level range and then move on to higher level content to see how well leveling as a downleveled character works and how much easier it is compared to “playing the game the right way.”  😛

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One thought on “Could Guild Wars 2 Downscaling Have Unintended Consequences?

  1. I like the down leveled option because it means I can play with my friends of any level. We may have to do a lower lever area, but I’ll take playing with friends any day over soloing. With dynamic events popping up around us, it really doesn’t affect game play if we bring a large group or not, because they scale.

    It also makes it fun to play different zones that I haven’t seen yet. Normally when done with a low level area (say human starting zone) I wouldn’t go back to a different low level area (char starting zone) just to see whats there. In GW2 I can see everything about the game, and there is so much of it that I would miss half the content if I only played 1 toon and didn’t go back to lower level areas.

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