Why did my max health suddenly drop?
I’ve been browsing the official Guild Wars 2 forums for a while and came across a topic that many players seem to be worried about. Content scaling is a feature ArenaNet decided to include in GW2 and it’s purpose is to allow players to play with their friends without restrictions and keeping it fun. Let’s take a look at it.
The first time I heard of Content Scaling (in this video by Alexrediculous) I was pretty excited with it. ArenaNet’s idea of getting players playing together without restrictions is in line with their mentality regarding the rest of the game and it’s a good thing. I sure missed this feature in WoW back in 2006. I had my best friend playing the game with me, but I was a lot higher level than him, so everytime I took time away from leveling to go help him out I’d be missing precious experience and although feeling good for helping him out it was also a bit boring.
So how does Content Scaling work? ArenaNet’s system (actually called the Sidekick system) is something I’ve experienced first hand when I was playing the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event. Basically what it does is it scales your power down to the match the recommended level range of the zone you’re in. It’s not really the content that is scaling, it’s you. You’ll be less powerful than you really are, have lower health (it’s probably the first sign you’ll notice) and deal less damage. This way you won’t just walk over the content in the lower level zone you’re in, you’ll have somewhat the same challenges as the rest of the lower level players. You keep all the skills you’ve unlocked and gear pieces you’ve acquired (even if they have their stats diminished) so it won’t be as hard as to new players, but you won’t see yourself gathering all the mobs around and casting a single AoE to clear them all.
While playing scaled down you’ll still be getting experience points as if you actually were at the recommended level of the zone. I didn’t do any testing as to compare the rate of experience gained while being at my “normal” level to the rate while scaled down, but I assume it will still be a bit lower. But anyway, you’re not supposed to level from 1 to max in the same area, you’re supposed to go out and explore the world. Besides, how boring would that be?
Back in earlier beta builds the Sidekick system also worked the opposite way. It was possible for lower level players to join their high level friends in high level zones. They would get boosted to the approximate level for the high level zone they were in, getting a boost in stats as well. This side of the system was scrapped by ArenaNet in more recent builds without any official reason, as far as I know. I can think of two main reasons for this: one it could lead to players skipping a lot of content to go level up in high level zones, where they can also get access to high level items and materials; second I guess that boosting can present problems in terms of mechanics and such. I wasn’t really too fond of Sidekicking up anyway, if I can get boosted to max level what are the incentives to stay in lower level zones? It was a good thing the developers got rid of it.
There’s some players worried about this system. Some people say that Sidekicking is sort of punishing players for leveling up and it limits player choice. I strongly disagree with these arguments. This system is really cool if you ask me. I have an altoholic friend and this feature guarantees I can always play with him and not feel like I’m missing out on stuff. It also allows me to go back to earlier parts of the game and experience things I haven’t had the opportunity to experience before. In either case I can be sure I will have fun playing the content, and that’s what I bought the game for. I see no downside to this system, good job ArenaNet!