GW2: I Think… Downscaling is Borked

I’m just a little bit upset.

I am mildly disturbed to the point of not being able to go to bed at 11.50pm on a Friday night and decided to stay up until 1.30am doing a quick experiment, collecting more data and then writing this blog post.

It started out well enough at around 9pm when I settled down to fill in the blanks on my spreadsheet to observe how downscaling on a level 80 had changed from then to now.

That, then, was merely an exercise in being a little obsessive for the explorer fun of it, because really, what else have I got to do besides run around the new Lion’s Arch, shooting karka hatchlings, and then going back to my usual routines?


I finished filling in the blanks from my screenshots and data and settled in to take a look at how my level 80 warrior had changed from before.

Now, this had been a banner warrior going deep into Tactics to pick up quick breathing at the expense of the more meta precision traitline, so it was not a surprise to see that I had gained a little Power, lost a bunch of Vitality, and gained quite a ton more Precision as a result of losing stats on traitlines and gaining stats on zerker gear.

Nothing shocking. Nothing upsetting. All kinda expected, and it’ll be interesting to see how my other more meta-faithful warrior alt changed too.

However, since this was the warrior I was using to collect downscaling stats on, I looked at that next.

After chasing up various mathematical alleys, I decided that trying to figure out any exact downscaling formulae was going to be tough, especially when I forgot to check or record down any -base stats- at those levels.

So it was pretty much just going to be very crude direct number comparison instead.

I gained a bit damage-wise with the new 80, since I no longer had to give up any stats on traitlines for the utilities I wanted. My crit chance went up by 10%, and crit damage by 8% or so.

This somewhat affected downscaling at lvl 70, as toughness and precision at the new 70 was still more or less better than my old not-so-dps-optimal 70. However, Power took a hit even here, dropping below the previous state.

By lvl 60, the Power stat does reveal that it’s been a little chopped off at the knees, 1391 as compared to the 1546 of before. The other stats are ehh… around the same-ish to slightly worse.

By lvl 50, everything’s taken a hit in effectiveness as compared with pre-patch, and it doesn’t get -any- better as you go lower and lower.

Power’s dropped precipitously and alarmingly, and let us not even speak of critical chance. It is near non-existent.

Now, one may argue that this makes sense. We want to bring the downscaled lvl 80 to lowbie equivalency, right? And lowbies don’t get multiple fancy stats on their gear, like precision and ferocity. Nevermind that builds that rely on high critical chance get a little shafted, it’s for a good cause, you know?

So I decided to check the stats on my lowbies to see if the level 80 had been made equivalent.

And what I saw really freaked me out.

I had a bunch of spare lowbies masquerading as storages, a thief, an engineer, a guardian, the works. Most of them are exactly level 20, thanks to the Experience Scroll veterans get, so I settled on that level to compare.

Many of them had 360-420ish Power, as compared with the new downscaled 80’s 225 Power.


Ok, I know I am guilty of twinking out my lowbies hard. I put on even level 20 gear on them. I stack on minor runes of +10 power for 60 total power, give them a sigil of bloodlust (which got nerfed, thanks), I make shiny +Power jewellery for them. So maybe it’s just my twinking making shit unbalanced, right?

(It’s at this point where I realize I can’t go to sleep until I resolve this niggling issue…)

… so lying in bed, I come up with the fairest test I can think of. (That I can perform, given the resource limits that I have.)

Maybe the classes differ, so I am going to take the spare character slot I have, create a new warrior, use up one of my many Experience Scrolls to zap it to level 20, and I am going to buy gear like a noob off the TP, and then check not only just Power stats, but do a quick dps experiment.


This is a near nekkid new level 20. Still in the tutorial gear with nearly no Power on any of it, one hero’s band (+2 Power), and one iron ring (~11 Power iirc) that was a level up reward. She has 178 Power as compared with the downscaled level 80 at 225 Power, 8% crit chance as compared with 21.33% crit chance, 151% crit damage versus 174.7% crit damage. Okaaay.


I go to the TP. I am simulating a newbie, more or less, so here’s what I do. I buy my level 20 armor, all six slots. I pick the one with Power, obviously. I buy weapons the same way.

I -don’t- buy any trinkets or jewellery whatsoever, because they are too expensive anyway, so I have lost a bunch of potential Power stats there already.

I -don’t- put any minor runes or sigils on my gear, because I am a newbie, remember? I don’t understand any of this stuff. I just wear the default thing. It is the same stuff that can drop (which is why it is 2-3 silver as compared with the cutthroat crafted version.)


Do note that my ‘normal’ newbie has 266 Power. The downscaled level 80 has 225 Power.

Ok, she has a crit chance of 8% and crit damage of 151%. He has a crit chance of 21.33% and 174.7% crit damage.

Does that actually make a difference?

In lieu of calculating damage done (because I haven’t looked at those formulas yet), I do a test.

I go to the Wendon waypoint at Brisban Wildlands. The level 80 downscales to 20 in that area. My level 20 is an exact level 20. There are level 19 Jungle Boar there.

I get the exact same utilities, Balanced Stance, For Great Justice, Banner of Strength, minus an elite, because it so happens that I get enough Hero Points by leveling to 20 to unlock those. I have no traitlines on the lowbie, because those unlock at lvl 21. Do the extra traitlines on my level 80 give him an edge, necessitating his stats dropping to under a lowbie’s?


I kill a bunch of boar with the level 20.

Yes, the words are very small, so let me summarize:

  • Cyclone Axe (~80 damage)
  • Chop (~165-170 damage, critting for 210-250)
  • Double Chop (~149-163 damage, critting for 229-259)
  • Triple Chop (~145-149 damage on the first two strikes, 324-334 on the last strike, critting for 469-540 damage on the last strike.)
  • Boar hits me for 70-77 damage each direct attack, more or less, and healing signet pulses away for 32 healing.


I swap over to the level 80 and do the same thing.

  • Cyclone Axe (~64-69 damage, critting for 98-119)
  • Chop (~112-145 damage, critting for 171-245)
  • Double Chop (~104-129 damage, critting for 168-257)
  • Triple Chop (~104-129 on the first two strikes, 235-286 on the last strike, critting for 188-233 on the first two strikes, and didn’t manage to crit on the last strike during my test)
  • Boar hits me for 82-89 damage each direct attack, and healing signet still pulses away for 32 healing.

The boar’s bleeds was a constant 32 in both cases (makes sense, since armor doesn’t affect conditions), and the level 80 had a trait that had a chance of applying a bleed on a critical (which did 28-40 damage.)

I dunno… but it SURE SEEMS TO ME like the level 20 is doing more damage than my downscaled level 80. I kill the same boars in less hits on the lowbie than it takes the level 80 to finish off his.

It’s an untwinked lowbie, even!

Guess what happens if I put on the minor runes (each giving +10 Power for a total of 60 power) and the minor sigil of bloodlust (which I didn’t even bother to max out.) I did not even put on any trinkets, so this can go even higher.


Cyclone Axe 97, Chop 170-214, Double Chop 198-214, Triple Chop 192-226 & 412-485 (not a crit.)

I think someone has really gotten carried away with the downscaling if my level 80 is not even equivalent to a level 20 in a level 20 area!

I will leave others to debate if this is a good thing – maybe level 80s should face a sort of ‘hard mode’ as compared with new lowbies? (Never mind that optimizers would probably just try to make lowbie alts if those are the most optimal?)

Maybe this will make the self-styled “elitist” (but not truly elitist) level 80s in dungeons welcome lowbie noobs more when they are statistically better than downscaled 80s, nevermind that they lack knowledge of the mechanics and experienced 80s tend to know what is going on?

Me, I still can’t get over the knee-jerk emotional outrage of being unequivalent in this manner just quite yet. It is just TOO WEIRD. It doesn’t make any logical sense. (Laying it all out in the blog post -is- helping though. I can probably go to sleep after this.)

I do hope and suspect there will be adjustments to the scaling as time goes on, and hopefully in a better direction, but eesh, that’s a very steep downscale curve to get used to, as compared to before, and I have no more words for this beyond “….”

This Would Have Been Less Urgent, If I Had Been Playing GW1

I -thought- half a mouthful of plain water might have hit the keyboard when I inadvertently sneezed mid-consumption last night.

No visible spillage or seepage. Nothing seemed to be wrong, so I shrugged, shut the computer down and went to sleep.

Woke the next day to discover that three keys had stopped working: Z, N and the space bar.

That’s my heal, RP walk, and you-know-what…

Decided against plan B: get creative with keybinds in favor of plan A: forget GW2 and go out to buy new keyboard.

All liquids, not just sticky or sweet ones, are now banned from the vicinity of the computer.

A moment of silence, please, for my faithful Logitech G15 version 1, that lasted a good seven years or more.

Decided to get with the times and try the mechanical Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Stealth instead. I kinda miss the LCD (which I mostly used as a glorified clock/calendar), but the Cherry MX Brown keys are quite the new and enjoyable tactile experience, not too clicky, not too squishy, but juuust right. YMMV.

It would be the epitome of vanity to tell you that one of the first things I did was to switch the color of my Razer mouse backlight from blue to green, just to match the new keyboard.

So I won’t.

GW2: Lost Shores – Part 2

It’s a good thing I waited until I’ve gained some perspective before writing this recap. (Not to mention, some shiny exotics after phase 3.)

Had I gone with my initial urge to make a post just after phase 2 “one-off event” completed, it would be full of the most vulgar expletives and cursewords ever to plague this blog. Every other word would probably be the f-bomb, and your eyes would likely sear after reading it. What happened, you asked?

Well, it started out promising.

I got to Lion’s Arch. An overflow, anyway. (Take note, this will be important later.)

No one knew where to go. There was discussions in map chat. Nothing over Twitter as yet.

Being the inveterate explorer that I am, I took the initiative to revisit the old locale of phase 1 to see if anything changed. That, after all, is what Guild Wars 2 prides itself on, that stuff can keep changing in their world.

Sure enough, I halted in my tracks and blinked. Was this trebuchet here before? I don’t think so…

No one else was around the area in my overflow at the time, so I am quite happy to say I was probably the first guy to find it on that particular server. (It’s the little things that make us explorers happy, y’know.)

I was chatting up the NPCs, getting more and more sure I was on to something here, as the event state finally switched at around 12.06pm server time and reported the Lionguard and their alchemical weapon thing.


Three minutes later, more people started noticing the treb and it was reported in map chat. (I was admiring the workers going for their beer break at the time, hoping something would start.)

Which led to a vast crowd of people around the treb, climbing on the treb, jumping around, all manner of spell effects as we waited, and waited, and Waited, and WAITED and WAITED some more, in perfect befuddlement as the workers cycled between banging on the treb and having so much beer that their bladders ought to have burst.

At 12.27pm, nearly half an hour later than the event was scheduled to start, the trebuchet FINALLY completed itself on our overflow server.

Cue more perplexed stares as absolutely nothing happened for another three minutes.

When the only thing that happened (aside from a bored someone growing a pine tree on the treb) was a tiny event state change (blink and you’ll miss it) that said the Lionguard had moved on from their alchemical weapon thing and were now launching an assault on the karka colony.


One minute after that, the “coat your weapons with solvent” event finally began…. wherein I made the largest mistake of my virtual GW2 life.

While wading through the combat lagfest that had just hit, the ubiquitous overflow queue thing popped, where it asked if I wanted to travel back to my home server. I didn’t think, just went with the vague feeling that hey, this might be more fun if I did it with my home community with recognizable folks, and hit the “Travel” to get to Lion’s Arch back home.

Wherein I popped up in utterly quiet surroundings, no event around me, and a mail in my inbox pointing me to Southsun Cove.

What the-?

Oh shit, all the servers are on different timers… I should not have done that! I missed that part of the one-off event!

Apparently, as I gathered in mapchat later, the event for them popped for only a couple minutes, they got to the big boss, which bugged out, and then shoved them the mail that shoved us all to Southsun Cove.

And if you bothered to read my guildchat, apparently for some of my other guildies, the workers on their overflow server were still enjoying their beer, half an hour later into the event.

Immensely pissed off at this point at ArenaNet, myself, the world in general, I decided to close my eyes and pretend that the trebuchet fired their alchemical weapon, we coated our weapons in the solvent and killed all the karka in Lion’s Arch, purely in my imagination (which probably was better than the real thing) and board the ship to Southsun Cove – because no doubt, MORE one-off events would be firing there that I didn’t want to miss either.

The Southsun Cove fights went a little better. We ran with Inspector Ellen Kiel through several DEs, capturing control points and what not. I think there were a little less people around than in the Lion’s Arch fights, so all our framerates were better.

Being able to hit the big karka for real damage (my weapon is coated, really, just PRETEND with me here, okay?) was quite a refreshing change. I admired the armor knocking off thing that Anet was so proud of before. I vaguely reflected it would probably look better to me if my graphic settings could go up any higher, but y’know, crowds and all that. Still, it was pretty cool.

There was a sinister growing speck of unease that this effectively gave the big karka multiple very big health bars and locked us all in place attacking and attacking for quite a long time, but for now, it was all still rather new and exciting.

We set up outposts, built roads, smashed through trees for a little bit, running in a big zerg that was vaguely reminiscent of launch day crowds.

Then we hit the fork in the path.

I honestly don’t know how many people realized how “momentous” this was. I spotted it for what it was, a way to separate people and get them following different DEs, dividing the crowd, and also making sure that each experienced a slightly different story.

Except, I’m really not sure how appropriate this is for one-off events. I really don’t like missing out on anything. Call me entitled, but that’s just how my feelings roll.

Eventually, with a heavy heart, as I watched the majority of the zerg, 98% of them, race off after Inspector Ellen Kiel on her bulldozing road steamroll of justice, I decided I would rather see the path not taken, and followed the Asura to find the mysterious lost expedition’s camp.

We (and there were only 5-7 of us at this point) fought more karka and escorted the advisors to the lost camp. The reduction in player numbers did make the events more enjoyable and playable, not to mention a little less auto-attacky, we actually used other skills.

We took over the abandoned camp and set up the outpost or whatever…

It eventually segued into a retrieve consortium crates DE which I was beginning to suspect would run on even after the one-off event. That left me feeling a bit empty, like maybe I might have just missed out on whatever Inspector Ellen Kiel was doing, god knows where.

I did however enjoy being possibly one of the first to spot a splendid chest on top of the lost camp’s roof, and made my jumpy way up to get it and a jumping puzzle achievement.


In retrospect, examining the screenshot, it is ironic that Ellen Kiel’s chain also completed around the same time and I got a bronze medal for it. I don’t know what happened with her, and never shall, unless I check out a youtube video.

Feeling a little sad, and lost and empty, which are very strange feelings for a new zone with new content just being opened… I stared at the rest of the island on my map, unsure of where to go next, whether there was any other one-off dynamic events that I was probably missing out on…

Sighed, and gave up.

The island would be here for good. I could take more time later to explore it at leisure. Running about lost and aimless trying in vain to catch another one-off event or another, while being uncertain whether this one DE would be here all the time or which other DE was a one-off…

…it was just too depressing to fathom.

So I logged off, feeling oddly disappointed and feeling like I missed out on very crucial bits of the story.

My entire misadventure with phase 2 gives me a lot more sympathy for those who couldn’t attend the event, could only attend bits of it due to real life, who may have inadvertently crashed or disconnected, who had bad luck and ran into event-stopping bugs, and basically everyone who might have missed out on a specially advertised  “one-off event.”

It doesn’t feel very inclusive or community-building at all.

And if the attitude of those who did catch it is “lol, too bad, I saw it, you didn’t, and that makes it all the sweeter and more special,” I’m not sure that kind of elitist schadenfreude is the kind of attitude we want to be encouraging with Guild Wars 2 either.