As you know Nevewinter comes with a level-scaling algorithm that allows players of different levels to run the same content together. It applies to Call-to-Arms events, the Siege of Neverwinter, Portobello, Strongholds and more. The algorithm is a little rough on the edges. Normally upscaled players are having a hard time while downscaled ones just breeze through. Apart from the difficulty however, players soon realized you could efficiently power-level characters in scaling content as well.
Lower Levels, More XP!
We’re assuming the reason is that the level 60/70 mobs hand out XP appropriate for their level, not for the level of the adventurers fighting them. So scaled low-level toons receive at least level 60 XP reward for fighting mobs, hence leveling super fast. During the Siege of Neverwinter event you could get from 1-60 in roughly two hours, much faster than the speed of the regular campaign.
Although it clearly seems to be an unintentional side effect of scaling, players widely didn’t consider it to be a true issue. The more astonishing it is that the subject started to quietly disappear (1 2 3). Apparently the devs are viewing this as a true exploit and bannable offense. A wall post at @strumslinger might indicate they have already banned players, although this could also be due to 3rd party.
Legit becomes exploitive
This sneaky policy change is interesting on multiple levels. For us it’s not enough of an issue to be labeled an exploit to be honest, but more than that how are players supposed to find out that the devs are tracking this as of late? Are you already exploiting when participating with a low-level character in scaling content? Even adamantly non-exploiting guilds are directing newer players trying to grind out levels to the Siege map. Whoops!
That being said it makes sense to target those that are indeed exploiting the feature. Apparently there has been a market for power-leveling. Players charge a certain amount and then drag the buyer through Stronghold Heroic Encounters to the desired level. This is probably also what 3rd party website are doing when they offer such a service.
On PC this has already been patched and consoles will presumably follow with the Storm Kings Thunder update. Nonetheless it’s puzzling how such a convenience bug gets the full exploit treatment. It really shows a black/white mentality for anything that could potentially be an unintended advantage for the player. At least they need to have the decency to make a public post about it, even at the risk of raising the overall awareness of such bugs.
What’s your opinion on the topic? Share it in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
*** UPDATE *** The verified bans seem to be limited to players that sold or bought power-leveling services. While unintended power-leveling itself is clearly not appreciated, there should be no repercussions for doing it as long as no money changes hands.