There is no question that high-level instances in World of Warcraft adjust the difficulty based on the gear score... But is it balanced to the individual player, or to the entire party?

For example, I have gear score 750, but my buddy has gear score 875. When playing an instance or raid together, will the actual difficulty be the same for both of us? Or will it be too easy for my buddy, and too hard for me?

2 Answers 2


The difficulty in dungeons is defined by the difficulty setting, not by your equipment with two exceptions:

  • Your level in Legion dungeons
  • Timewalking dungeons, which will scale down the gear score back to the dungeon's level regardless of how much higher it is. The level scaling described above applies here as well.
    • TBC: 115
    • WotLK: 200
    • Cataclysm: 333
    • Pandaria: 450

You can set the difficulty to...

  • normal (easy)
  • heroic (normal)
  • mythic (hard)
  • mythic keystone (hard, harder, hardest, Chuck Norris approved) - only Legion dungeons

Older raids (before Siege of Orgrimmar) will also make use of the legacy settings, which means you can set them to either 10 or 25 players.

  • Dungeons will always be tuned for 5 players, regardless of how many people you are. But no more than 5 can enter. Dungeons prior to Legion don't have a mythic mode.
  • Raids older than Orgrimmar will be tuned for 10 or 25 players (or 40 in some vanilla raids) depending on your legacy settings and they don't have a mythic mode. Newer raids including Orgrimmar will be tuned for the amount of players that is your raid group and with you in the dungeon.

  • If you're in a raid without legacy option:

    • if you're 10 or less players the dungeon will be tuned for 10 players
    • if you're more than 10 it will scale up to the amount of people that are in the raid dungeon
    • no more than 30 players can enter the raid dungeon
    • mythic raids will always be tuned for 20 people and no more than 20 can enter
  • 1
    I beleive that some scaling occurs when doing timewalking dungeons...
    – Stese
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 14:18
  • Timewalking scales down in general, not based on your equipment level.
    – dly
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 18:06

As dly answerd difficulty can be set by number of players in raids, or with mode of dungeon or raid. But you asked for difficulty scaling with yours item-level(gearscore), so in instances as u ask you will have same difficulty as you set-up before you enter instance, but on Broken Isles while world questing or another activity in open world, is difficulty scaled by item-level. /Added in patch 7.2.5

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