What factors determine enemy levels or: How do enemy levels scale to the player character's?



  • When I finished Normal Mode at around Level 30 and went back to the Southern Shelf (still at Normal mode), I found that all enemies there are now very easy to kill, meaning they didn't level up (or hit a level cap).

    When I went to Oasis (Captain Scarlett DLC location) as a Level 36 character in True Vault Hunter Mode, I noticed that the enemies are the same level as me.

    What factors determine enemy levels?

    Specifically, I would like to know:

    • Are enemies affected by what level a character accepted a mission?
    • Or is it what level a character is when they first entered an area?
    • How does Normal Mode, True Vault Hunter mode, and the Ultimate True Vault Hunter Mode affect enemy levels?
    • Are there enemies that will scale to the player level, as the player levels up?
    • Any enemy leveling differences specific to the DLC areas?

    EDIT:

    • There is now an answer that explains how this works generally: "In playthrough 1, outside of the DLC, there's no such thing as scaling. Enemy levels are determined solely by the area they're in and your mission." Can anyone expound on that, and comment or provide an answer on what are the specific enemy levels on specific areas and/or missions?

    • This answer states that "enemies do not actually "scale", or at least from what we know of..." and lists specifics for enemy levels on certain areas in the game (sans DLC areas). Can anyone expound on that and/or add specifics for enemy levels in the DLC missions or areas in TVHM (PT 2.0) and/or UTVHM?

    • The Ultimate True Vault Hunter Mode update has just been released, can anyone provide info about enemy levels on that mode, including the DLC areas or missions?



  • In playthrough 1, outside of the DLC, there's no such thing as scaling. Enemy levels are determined solely by the area they're in and your mission (certain missions effectively "level up" areas, notably Sanctuary and The Dust). You can easily check the level of an area by checking out the vending machines in the area, they sell items scaled to the level.

    DLC in playthrough 1 scales to your level...ish. It maxes out at level 30. I played the DLC as a level 34 character and was disappointed to see everything was at level 30 in playthrough 1. Not sure if it has a minimum level it scales to.

    Playthrough 2 works the same way until you beat the Final Boss; then everything in that playthrough scales to your level (except mission rewards for missions picked up before the final boss).

    Playthrough 3 works the same was as Playthrough 2 after the final boss: Everything scales to your level, period. In team play, it will always be scaled to the highest level player's level. And you have to be at least level 50 to unlock it, so enemies are effectively level 50-61 at all times. Though if you take a mission before leveling up, the mission will still stay at that lower level, as always.

    Basically the game works like a standard RPG without level scaling until you A) beat the game twice (because you should be maxed out anyway) or B) enter a DLC (because you can do that at any time so a preset level would be a really bad idea)


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