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Blizzard clarifies Challenge Mode gear scaling


U.S. blue Watcher has recently been online answering questions about Challenge Mode gear scaling. Blizzard first responded to discussion about the upscaling of old items, confirming that as many suspected, this has been purely for beta testing purposes. Gear above ilevel 463 will be scaled down, but gear below ilevel 463 will be left alone.

This certainly means that challenge modes will not be available to those who have only recently started working their way through the dungeon gearing system, and I definitely think that is working as intended. After all, players who aren't experienced at the dungeons they're attempting will likely not do well in challenge mode scenarios. One commenter mentioned that it meant they could choose their favorite tier set bonus. I rather sympathize with that perspective; it would be really cool to have the opportunity to go back and reuse those old set bonuses.

In a later post, Watcher went on to clarify how the scaling would work on in the live game. Check it out after the break!

The system that will be used for challenge modes upon release actually preserves your hit and expertise bonuses, compensating by deducting extra rating from your other secondary stats (crit, haste, mastery, Spirit) in proportion to how much of each you had to begin with.

This sounds complicated, but it should be relatively seamless and handled behind the scenes, with the intent being to minimize the need to reforge/regem for challenge modes.

To use some decidedly fake numbers, let's say I have an average ilvl of 500 and I have the following stats:

Outdoors (Item Level 500)
3400 Hit Rating (+10%)
3400 Expertise (+10%)
6000 Crit (+10%)
0 Mastery (+0%)
8500 Haste (+20%)

When I enter a challenge dungeon, my ilvl scales down to 463, reducing my stats by roughly 30% (rounding for the sake of simplicity). However, the system keeps my Hit and Expertise values unchanged, overcompensating by reducing the other ratings more heavily.

So my challenge mode stats would be:

In Challenge Mode (Item Level 463)
3400 Hit Rating (+10%)
3400 Expertise (+10%)
3356 Crit (+5.6%)
0 Mastery (+0%)
4754 Haste (+11.2%)

(Now yes, if your normal gearset is designed to hit-cap you against raid bosses, you'll effectively be slightly over the hit cap against dungeon targets, so people looking to min/max completely may still have some tinkering to do, but unless you're aiming to beat the realm-best time, the cost of being a couple percent over the hit cap is going to pale in comparison to the benefit of precise and coordinated play.)

Tl;dr version: If you are hit-capped before you enter a challenge mode, you'll still be hit-capped inside. It's magic.

This was posted in response to concerns about the downscaling of gear affecting hit caps. The explanation given seems pretty clear, but I do wonder about how the downscaling will work with tanking stats when this feature goes live. I can see how the calculations work. But with the way combat table coverage works for tanking, with a balance of various different stacks and many tanks taking different approaches to this part of damage mitigation, it could be a lot harder to work out the sums so that one tanking class doesn't have an advantage over others.

One possible solution that occurs to me might be to allocate a default set of values to, say, paladin tanks, and another to druids, but then this would depersonalize the tank gearing choices made by players, so I don't think it'd be looked upon too kindly. Whatever Blizzard decides to do, it'll certainly be interesting to keep an eye on!

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