Of Scaling and Squishing

As you might know, I have a wee obsession with soloing old raid content and transmog/mount farming; I like to think I’m decent at it (check out my soloing progress here). You might also know that the upcoming Shadowlands pre-patch will introduce a major level squish, making 60 the new maximum character level and 50 the equivalent of a current 120. Since the squish will affect pretty much everything about a character, I had a pressing question: will the squish make my soloing activities more difficult? I spent some time comparing a few Legion boss encounters in both the Shadowlands beta and retail BFA, and the results are NOT encouraging.

The Characters

Retail Character (BeefaTorgo)

  • Level 120 (equivalent to 50 post-squish)
  • Item Level 476
  • 816,811 HP

Beta Character (BetaTorgo)

  • Level 60
  • Item Level 138
  • 31,880 HP

Both characters are protection warriors with similar talents. I’m not sure how item levels will scale with the squish, so I don’t have a feel for the effect that gear has on the situation. BeefaTorgo had the advantage of both Corruption and Azerite traits/essences, so she was capable of significant burst damage and self-healing relative to my poor beta warrior. BetaTorgo had the stock level 60 gear, without any Covenant goodies, legendaries, or the like.

The Attempt

I had done a bit of transmog farming in mythic Tomb of Sargeras earlier in the day, so that seemed like a good place to start. I charged in with gusto, attacking the infernals attending Goroth. They took a VERY long time to kill, but I was never in danger of dying, so things seemed OK. Then I attacked Goroth; I died in 15 seconds after removing perhaps 3% of his health. Clearly, something was off. After a bit of grumbling on Discord, I decided to collect some data to see if I could find the problem.

The Tests

My retail character has soloed raid bosses as recent as Taloc and MOTHER in Heroic Uldir, but I figured that an older Legion raid might be a more reasonable test environment. I decided to start in Tomb of Sargeras, on Heroic difficulty (Mythic wasn’t even a consideration at this point, obviously). I recorded Goroth’s HP and that of the infernals preceding him, as well as the time it took to kill them. This allowed me to calculate my DPS and the ratio of mob HP to player HP, which I’ll refer to as the HP Index. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any damage meter addons to work in beta, so I had no way to record the amount of damage my characters took from each mob.

Heroic ToS is a walk in the park for me at this point, so it shouldn’t be too hard for a fresh level 60, right? Wrong! Here’s how the numbers looked:

BeefaTorgo

DifficultyMobMob HPTime To KillDPSHP Index
HeroicInfernal175,0008 seconds21,8750.214
HeroicGoroth2,870,00044 seconds65,2273.51
NormalInfernal140,1746 seconds23,3620.171
NormalGoroth2,299,25752 seconds44,2162.81

BetaTorgo

DifficultyMobMob HPTime To KillDPSHP Index
HeroicInfernal62,04523 seconds2,6971.95
HeroicGoroth1,017,000NANA30.93
NormalInfernal49,63618 seconds2,7581.51
NormalGoroth814,000NANA24.76

Two things were obvious: BetaTorgo wasn’t going to be farming ToS for transmog any time soon, and the squish scaling was incredibly broken. Trash mobs took 3 times as long to kill in beta compared to retail, and poor BetaTorgo never even came close to killing Goroth. On Heroic difficulty, BetaTorgo lasted about 30 seconds before dying, while her best attempt on Normal lasted 2 minutes 48 seconds, with Goroth reaching roughly 50% health. These differences, though significant, were tiny compared to the HP Indices. BeefaTorgo’s HP Index for Heroic Goroth was 3.51, while BetaTorgo’s HP Index for the same fight was a whopping 30.93! This means that, after squishing and scaling, Heroic Goroth has almost NINE TIMES more HP in beta than in retail. The numbers were nearly identical with the trash mobs: 9.1x scaled HP on Heroic, 8.8x on Normal. No wonder I couldn’t kill Goroth: it’s hard to take down a boss that suddenly has 9x more HP than you’re used to! The scaling discrepancies on Normal difficulty were a bit smaller, but were still way out of line.

Frustrated, I decided to kick it down a notch (Bam!) and try Normal Nighthold. After all, that’s an entire raid tier lower, so it should be a lot easier. Here are the numbers for Skorpyron, which I WAS able to kill on BetaTorgo (the trash mobs were in packs and I didn’t get good DPS data for them):

BeefaTorgo

MobMob HPTime To KillDPSHP Index
Volatile Scorpid37,900NANA0.046
Skorpyron1,380,00019.58 seconds70,4801.69

BetaTorgo

MobMob HPTime To KillDPSHP Index
Volatile Scorpid13,435NANA0.408
Skorpyron487,000177 seconds2,75114.81

The good news: BetaTorgo killed Skorpyron! The bad news: the scaling was still terrible. In fact, both Heroic Goroth and Normal Skorpyron had 8.8 times more scaled HP in beta compared to retail.

Conclusions

  • Soloing old raid content is MUCH harder post-squish; impossibly hard, depending on what you’re trying to kill
  • Enemy HP scaling post-squish is a major factor, as mobs in Legion raids consistently had between 8.8 and 9 times more HP relative to player HP in beta
  • If we consider character squish scaling for Shadowlands content to be the baseline, pre-Shadowlands mobs (in Legion raids, at the very least) need to be squished by an additional factor of around 9 to have the same level of difficulty as they do pre-squish
  • I couldn’t get any real data, but mobs seemed to hit MUCH harder in beta
  • The addition of Shadowlands goodies (soulbinds, legendaries, conduits, etc.) should mitigate the scaling effects somewhat, but there’s no way to know exactly
  • If the squish goes live on October 13 as it exists in the beta, a lot of older farming content is going to be off-limits for a long time (probably until a few weeks after Shadowlands is released, when players have hit level 60 and have collected a slew of upgrades)
  • My math and data collection aren’t great, so I could be totally off-base with my analysis. However, the fact remains: I can solo Heroic MOTHER in BFA right now, while even Normal Skorpyron is a challenge in beta.

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3 Responses

  1. Vonaz says:

    Good analysis, I have a question, is it possible to continue farming WOD content? so far it is my main source of income in the game.

    That Squish will ruin some runs i have been made on Legion Raids.

    • admin says:

      I JUST finished clearing mythic HFC on the beta… Bosses take about 2-3x as long to kill, Hellfire Council is BRUTAL if you can’t burn Darkwhisper fast enough, and Velhari is a bit scary. All of the other fights were about as easy as before, just longer.

  2. Sidonis says:

    I think there were some changes between this post and pre-patch going live, to be honest. Last night I solo’ed Mythic Nythendra as Havoc (DPS) on my DH, with what was 460 ilvl weapons pre-patch and a flask. Xavius I kept getting MC’ed at 20%, ended up having to bring a friend to meet the DPS check. Still, 6/7M EN post-patch.

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