Level scaling refers to a mechanism where the level of a character is adjusted downwards to bring it in line with other players and the rest of the content. Scaling is indicated by a debuff that is placed on your character, which shows the level you are scaled to.
Level scaling may be triggered for several reasons:
Low Level Dungeons
If you outlevel a dungeon by a great margin, you will be scaled to the dungeon's maximum recommended level. For example, the Hollow Tree is a dungeon recommended for level 13 - 18 players, so if you are above level 18, that is the level you will be scaled down to.
Most dungeons let you adjust - or even disable - scaling at the rune located at the dungeon entrance. There are two caveats, however:
- If you disable level scaling entirely, trophies are no longer awarded for this dungeon, until you enable scaling again.
- You cannot disable level scaling if someone in your group is new to the dungeon.
The same runes can also be used to increase level scaling, making your level lower than the recommended level. Doing so rewards bonus experience and extra treasure chests if the final boss (and all bosses on the way) are defeated with level scaling active.
Note that defeating any boss without level scaling or, once activated, removing level scaling at any point in the dungeon forfeits the rewards.
A group leader can enable level synchronization in the group options. This sets the levels of everyone in the group to the lowest level member, and gradually increases as that member levels up.
Synchronizing group levels is useful if you want to help someone else, but are much higher level than they are. Normally, higher leveled players take a larger share of any experience earned in the group (even if they are at the level cap). If you synchronize your levels, all experience is split up equally.
Highly Diverse Groups
Dungeons that do not have summoning stones to adjust the difficulty setting will scale, if:
- At least one player within the dungeon is five or more levels above the recommended level for this dungeon.
- At least one player is five or more levels below the highest leveled player.
If all that is the case, the higher level player is scaled to either the level of the dungeon, or the level of the lowest level player in the group, whichever is higher.
Participating in World Events
World events have a maximum level that a player can participate as. If you enter an area with the world event, and you are above that maximum level, you are offered to scale yourself to the level of the event. Scaling is automatically removed once the event ends, or you leave the map.
Joining a Trial
Trials are boss and quest battles that are fought at a specific level. If you are above that level, you are automatically scaled to the level of the trial once you join it.
Scaling affects your level and your equipment within the dungeon, as well as what spells are available to you, and at what level.
Level scaling affects your combat stats (chance to land critical hits, chance to dodge) that are level based. For example, a level 30 players has a 95% chance to dodge the attacks of a level 20 creature, however if they are scaled to level 20, this is no longer the case.
In addition, how close you can be to monsters before they notice you is level based and thus affected by scaling as well.
Finally, if a monster was tagged as "Low Level" on your regular level, it may no longer be low level once you are scaled. In this case, it will yield experience as usual, and item effects that trigger on defeating monsters that give experience will do so, as well.
In addition, their equipment stats are scaled down to the average stats of equipment that a fully equipped player who has frequently cleared the dungeon would have. As a result, a player that gets scaled still outgears the dungeon and will do above average damage for the level they are scaled to.
Finally, while scaled you only have access to spells and abilities that a player of that level would have. If you attempt to cast a higher level, the level will automatically be reduced to the maximum level you have access to. If you do not have access to even level 1 of a skill, using it will fail altogether. These spells and abilities are also greyed out in your hotkey bar, as well as your skill book.
You can see what level a skill becomes available by hovering it in your skill book. By using the arrows under the skill in your skillbook, you can view when different skill levels are obtained, as well.