Outdoor Level Scaling is a brand-new feature introduced by Blizzard Entertainment in World of Warcraft: Legion. This feature was revealed by Ion Hazzikostas at BlizzCon 2015. To put it in a nutshell, and simple, mobs’ level and loot scale with your current character level throughout the entire Broken Isles continent. So no matter which zone you are in, the content is relevant and mobs won’t (out-of-the-blue) walk past you as if you didn’t exist.
Ion: In the Broken Isles, there will be four level up zones that all scale flexibly. So if you wanted to start in Azsuna or Stormheim or Val’sharah or Highmountain, you can choose the path you want to take through the Broken Isles. — read our BlizzCon 2015 Legion World Content panel transcript (End-Game Systems).
This new level scale flexibility in the outdoor world allows the players to choose any of the zones to start their level up experience from 100 to 110. In addition, because your main focus in the expansion is to grow the power of your artifact, quest rewards scale too. You gain artifact power in certain quests and you can keep track of how you are doing by viewing the artifact power bar — which let’s you see how much artifact power you need until the next upgrade at the forge in your Order Hall. Relics are special rewards given at the end of a questline.
For example, I will mention three of the relics you can find in Highmountain. Two of them in the quest “Blood Debt” with the friendly Stonedark trogbar tribe (during the Bloodtotem Tribe storyline), and the quest “Crystal Fury” during the Rivermane Tribe storyline.
However, after you complete the three main storylines that unite the Highmountain tribes: the Bloodtotem, Riverbend and Skyhorn — then you unlock the Huln’s War questline, followed by the Secrets of Highmountain questline. At the very end of this last one, Wrathion gives you 4 choices of Relics for your artifact — as seen in this video.
I played the same questlines with an Alliance and a Horde character, and the relic rewards are different for each class.
I played all 100+ quests in Highmountain and 54 quests in Stormheim (before Alpha servers went offline for a Christmas holidays break).
I played all classes (except the Shaman which wasn’t available for testing). You can check out over 260 videos of mine where I gathered the artifact questlines of each class here. Basically, the quests that lead you to acquire your artifact just before you are sent to the Broken Isles.
The character I managed to level up the most was my gnome hunter currently sitting at level 104. At the time this article was written, only Highmountain and Stormheim were open for testing during the Legion Alpha.
I could feel my character growing in power not only with the extra damage coming from leveling up and better gear, but from acquiring new relics and increasing the artifact power. Another thing to note, the first mob I killed at level 100 is now level 104 along with my gnome hunter. If I went back to the Maw of Nashal in Stormheim where I landed on the Broken Isles, that mob would now be 104. If he dropped iLevel 680 green loot when I was level 100, now he would be dropping iLevel 705 or better loot at 104, however.
It is absolutely amazing, how the developers tinkered with merging together what they learned from Flexible Raids, and Time-Walking dungeons, and created this unique gameplay experience in the Broken Isles.
To put that in contrast, in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, I have a level 85 Priest sitting in the Valley of Eternal Blossoms city. Wandering around, I found a mob level 80 that completely ignored me as if I didn’t exist. It only took one spell hit. Something that would usually be insignificant — and that level 80 mob died instantly as if it was level 20. It is awesome that I am that powerful merely 5 levels above, but that content feels so … boring now?
Imagine if someday Blizzard decided, alright, let’s expand scaling not only to the Broken Isles, but to all of Azeroth, Outland and Draenor. Wouldn’t that be awesome in a way?
That no matter where you go, the outdoor mobs scale with your own level, and drop green or blue loot compared to what you loot in the Broken Isles. That no mob will ever ignore you exist, but will automatically aggro at a decent range, and you can fight and feel immersed anywhere you go.
Better yet, this could allow Blizzard potentially to create new questlines, and new mobs in all the continents that are relevant to your own level in whichever expansion is current at the moment.
The only setback might be for miners and herbalists who might no longer swoop down from the sky and loot peacefully, but heck — I’d love the same scale flexibility of the Broken Isles in Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Pandaria, Northrend, Outland and Draenor (AU). It just feels that good, exhilarating and seamless in Legion Alpha.
Even after you run out of content at the end of Legion End-Game, you can still hunt down Elite mobs similar to those we found throughout Pandaria and Draenor (AU). The loot from these elite mobs have a chance to be rare-upgraded as if you were rolling loot in a dungeon, and in addition these elite mobs actually have a chance to drop artifact power items such as these:
If you haven’t yet, I recommend to pre-order World of Warcraft: Legion. From what little content I have experienced as a Legion Alpha tester, I can say this upcoming expansion goes a few notches above the quality we have expected and experienced in previous World of Warcraft expansions. I have only explored two zones, and this is merely Alpha, but I see great promise for the best expansion yet.