Pillars of Eternity Wiki

In response to patch v1.3.7.0.1377 to Pillars of Eternity (June 6, 2024), the random loot tables shown on the wiki have been updated. These changes may take time to propegate.

As a result, random loot data is no longer accurate to old versions of the game, including all console ports. We'll be working to provide a mechanism to switch between pre-patch and post-patch loot for console players.

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This article is about the scaling mechanic in Pillars of Eternity. For scaling in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, see Level scaling.
PE1 Difficulty Scaling

The difficulty scaling prompt shown just before entering Elmshore

Difficulty scaling is a mechanic in Pillars of Eternity that allows players that exceed the expected level of an area to increase the difficulty in order to keep the game challenging. It is entirely optional, and does not affect the rewards or experience gained.

Overview[ | ]

By default difficulty scaling is disabled. The player is only prompted to enable it in one of four specific situations:

  • (ELMSHORE_HIGH_LEVEL) If the player character is level 10 or above, just before entering Elmshore from Stormwall Gorge for the first time.
  • (ACT4_HIGH_LEVEL) If the player character is level 13 or above, just before entering Breith Eaman from Burial Isle for the first time.
  • (PX1_HIGH_LEVEL) If the player character is level 9 or above, just before entering any The White March - Part I locations (i.e. Stalwart Village) for the first time.
  • (PX2_HIGH_LEVEL) If the player character is level 12 or above, after starting The White March - Part II, just before entering any White March locations (excludes Crägholdt) for the first time.
Your party is considered high level for the content in {0}.

If you would like, the critical path can be increased in difficulty to give you more of a challenge.

The rewards you receive will be the same regardless of the option you choose.

Your choice cannot be changed once it has been selected.

In this prompt, the player is given the option of "High Level" (i.e. difficulty scaling enabled), or "Standard", which keeps it disabled. Not picking either (by clicking the 'X') will back out of transitioning to the new zone, therefore a scaling option must be picked before proceeding.

Keep in mind that (without console commands) difficulty scaling cannot be disabled after it is enabled, and it cannot be enabled after outside of the four potential prompts above. For each prompt, if the player does not meet the requirements before entering the zone, the prompt will not be shown again.

What it affects[ | ]

When scaling is enabled from any source, a set of modifiers are applied to eligable objects:

  • +2 to Attributes of creatures
  • +33% to the level of creatures (rounded down)
  • +25% to the difficulty level of all hidden traps and objects (rounded up)
  • +25% to the difficulty level of all traps (rounded up)
  • +20 bonus Accuracy to trap effects against the party
  • +33% to trap effect damage and duration
  • +25% to skill check DC's (only to specific skill checks)

The following table describes the modifiers applied when a scalable object has multiple scalers applied to it at once. Multiplicative modifiers are determined using the formula 1.33 ^ <stacks>, using NPC level as an example.

Stat Modifier by amount of scalers
1 2 3 4
Creature attributes +2 +4 +6 +8
Creature level +33% +76.89% +135.2637% +212.900721%
Trap and detectable difficulty +25% +56.25% 95.3125% 144.140625%
Trap accuracy +20 +40 +60 +80
Trap duration and damage +33% +76.89% +135.2637% +212.900721%
Skill check DC's +25% +56.25% 95.3125% 144.140625%

When it applies[ | ]

Difficulty scaling applies on a per-object basis, specifically to objects (NPCs, encounters, traps, detectables, and skill checks) that are marked as "scaled" content, and only if the player has the requisite scalers (above) enabled that the object calls for. For example, some objects may only be scaled if the "PX1_HIGH_LEVEL" scaler is active, and others might be scaled if any are active, etc. Multiple scalers may be active at once, and do stack - but this is a rare occurance, with only a few examples in the entire game.

Generally speaking, all objects in an specific area will be scaled based on what scaler is most applicable, but this is not a guarantee as it occurs on a per-object basis. Notably, most areas do not scale hidden non-trapped containers, as well as non-combatants, generic, kith and animal NPCs (with few exceptions). The map and container pages on the wiki clearly indicate if a container is scaled.

There are no locations prior to Elmshore that have scaled content, other than the few instances where The White March - Part I and The White March - Part II content (i.e. bounties) are added to base game zones.

The following table lists the scaler that applies in what location. Any areas not listed here don't have content that can be scaled.

Scaler Locations Applies to Notes
NPCs Encounters Traps Detectables
ELMSHORE_HIGH_LEVEL
Elmshore Yes Yes No No Excludes wisps
Stormwall Gorge No No No No Lions and delemgans are scaled
Northweald Yes Yes No No All kith are excluded, with the exception of Cwineth
Elmshore Cave No Yes No No Nalrend the Wise and co. is not scaled
Hearthsong Yes Yes No No Around 1/3rd of all NPCs are scaled
The Passage of the Six No No No No Only Rîdaî, Arthwn, and some of the glanfathans are scaled
Hearthsong Dwelling (north) Yes No No No Only Alarhî and co.
The Celestial Sapling No Yes No No The monks, Cwineth, and the ogres are scaled
Oldsong Yes No No No Excludes all animal companions, and all children
Galawain's Maw Yes Yes Yes Yes Excludes all animal companions, hidden containers
Noonfrost Yes No No No Only one trap is scaled
Temple of Hylea No Yes No No Only the Sky Dragon is scaled
Elms' Reach Yes No No No Around half of all NPCs are scaled
Hall of Warriors Yes No No No Excludes children and some warriors
Blood Sands Yes No Yes No Excludes supplicants and Tallan
Burial Isle Yes Yes No No
ACT4_HIGH_LEVEL
Breith Eaman Yes No Yes No
Sun in Shadow Yes Yes No No Shadows, Thaos ix Arkannon and heralds only
PX1_HIGH_LEVEL
Stalwart Village Yes Yes No No All kith are excluded
Gréf's Rest Cellar No No Yes Yes Excludes hidden compartment and chest
Flames-That-Whisper Upper Cavern Yes No Yes Yes
Flames-That-Whisper Lower Cavern Yes No Yes Yes Excludes skeleton (containing Wayfarer's Hide)
Durgan's Battery Yes No No No Excludes all kith, War Dog, Deer (but not Stag), and those involved in Bounty: Meztla
The Great Hall (PX1) Yes No Yes Yes Various exclusions
The Mines Yes No Yes No
The Foundry Yes Yes Yes No Burning Golem
Galvino's Cabin No No Yes Yes
Galvino's Workshop Yes Yes Yes Yes
Russetwood Yes Yes No No Excludes all kith, horse deer and stag
Ice Cave (Russetwood) Yes No No No Excludes all kith
Ice Cave (Durgan's Battery) Yes No No No
Longwatch Falls No No No No Includes only some groups of Lagufaeth
The Great Hall (PX2) No No Yes No
Ondra's Gift No Yes No No Lafda and co. only
PX2_HIGH_LEVEL
The Abbey of the Fallen Moon Yes No No No All blights, horses, a few Ondrites
The Halls of Presence Yes Yes No No
The Halls of Silence Yes Yes No No Rising/release NPCs
Cayron's Scar Yes Yes No No Ogre's, some lagufaeth, blights
Ionni Brathr Fragment No Yes No No Only eyeless are scaled
Iron Flail Fort Yes Yes No No Various NPCs are excluded, as are the pigs and the starcrossed lovers to the northwest.
Command Post Yes Yes No No Delegates and ondrites
Whitestone Hollow Yes Yes No No About half of all creatures and encounters are scaled
West Tower Lower Yes Yes No No
West Tower Upper Yes Yes No No All kith
West Tower Artillery Lift Yes Yes No No
Stalwart Mines Yes Yes No No All kith, 1x Xaurip Forager, Rotting Flesh Construct (use both PX1 and PX2 scalers)
Vithrack Common House Yes Yes No No
Luminescent Caves Yes Yes No No Terenat
Dyrford Mill Yes Yes No No Cevestin add co. only
Searing Falls No Yes No No Roedwith and co. only

Notes[ | ]

  • Four sets of scaler values are available (represented by each of the prompts above), however all 4 provide the same scaling values.
  • Scaling can be shown with ShowScalers, and toggled on and off freely (without the use of IRoll20s) with the console command ToggleScaler, with the parameter being one of the four scaler tags above ELMSHORE_HIGH_LEVEL, ACT4_HIGH_LEVEL, PX1_HIGH_LEVEL, and PX2_HIGH_LEVEL.
  • Bestiary entries aren't scaled with difficulty scaling, and will always show the base level and stats.
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